The A-Z (Australia-Zoffany) of Coolmore’s 2016 Stud Fees..

This is the time of year in which studs announce their 2016 fees. In the coming weeks, I will consider the prices announced by the major operators and whether they match my idea of value. In the words of Warren Buffett “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get”. I will begin with Europe’s dominant player, Coolmore.

Stallion 2016 fee (2015 fee)
Australia €50,000 (€50,000)- (2011 by Galileo ex Ouija Board by Cape Cross)
Verdict: I thought that there might have been a slight reduction in his second year but obviously they are confident demand will remain strong. Australia has everything you would want in a prospective stallion being a superior Derby winner out of an outstanding Oaks winner so difficult to really quibble with his fee.

Camelot €25,000 (€25,000)- (2009 by Montjeu ex Tarfah by Kingmambo)

Verdict: His reputation when he went to stud was a long way removed from what it was for most of his racing career. He was narrowly denied the honour of being the first triple crown winner since Nijinsky by Encke a horse who was subsequently caught up in the Mahmood Al Zarooni steroid scandal.  On that basis you could argue that he represents good value, however to date Montjeu’s sons are more miss than hit, and he seems fully priced.

Canford Cliffs €17,500 (€12,500) (2007- Tagula ex Mrs Marsh by Marju)

Verdict: A good season with his first two years olds has seen him deliver plenty of winners (30 to date) and a good sprinkling of quality as well with two group winners in Painted Cliffs and Most Beautiful and a Listed winner in Aktoria. His sales results were unexceptional to date and I’m not sure his runners have done enough on the track to justify the increase.

Excelebration €15,000 (€17,500): (2008 Exceed and Excel ex Sun Shower by Indian Ridge)

Verdict: . A superb miler who was unfortunate to live in the era of Frankel. Excelebration’s fee has dropped slightly each year and his sales medians are unremarkable. Will have his first runners in 2016 so using him involves a punt on their likely performance.

Fastnet Rock Private (did not shuttle) (2001 Danehill ex Piccadilly Circus by Royal Academy)

Verdict: Had a good season with three Group 1 winners in Qualify, Fascinating Rock and Diamondsandrubies and a promising two year old in Turret Rocks. To me his overall European record is still modest given the quality of mares he covered in his first few seasons  His last reported European fee was €30000 in 2011 and despite his recovery this season I wouldn’t pay more than half that for him and I doubt very much Coolmore would trade at anything like that price.

Footstepsinthesand €10,000 (€10,000) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest)

Verdict: Has stood at this level for a number of years. Commercially is facing a decline in popularity as new kids arrive on the block.  A reasonable stallion but wouldn’t be high on a wish list of stallions at that price.

Galileo Private Private (1998 Sadler’s Wells ex Urban Sea by Miswaki)

Verdict: For much of the season it seemed he was going to be usurped by Dubawi in the race for the title of European champion sire. However in the end it proved another remarkable year for Galileo who sired an incredible 10 Group or Grade 1 winners. His fee is rumoured to be around the 300k mark and although you could never say that such a fee represents a bargain it can certainly be justified.

Gleneagles €60,000 NEW (2012 Galileo ex You’resothrilling by Storm Cat).

Verdict: A dual guineas winner, first past the post in 5 Group 1’s and out of a full sister to Giant’s Causeway- what is there not to like? Well firstly his career ended in two underwhelming performances in the QE2 at Ascot and in an overly optimistic attempt at the Breeders Cup Classic. In addition the failure to run him from June to October using the ground as an excuse gave rise to a suspicion that he wasn’t quite the superstar his connections had described him as being.  To me his fee is too rich and I would have expected at most a 45k fee. Given the choice of unproven stallion sons of Galileo, I’d opt for Australia over Gleneagles at their respective prices.

Henrythenavigator €7,500 (€15,000) (2005 Kingmambo ex Sequoyah by Sadler’s Wells)

Verdict: A better horse than Gleneagles but his fee has come down from an initial $65000 (when he stood at Ashford) to next year’s €7,500.  The reason for the decline is simply the lack of sufficient quality offspring (c. 1% stakes winners!). His two year olds of 2016 will have been conceived from a 30k covering fee so he might show a small rebound but all aspects of his career to date show him to be a poor stallion that you could not recommend.

Holy Roman Emperor €17,500 (€20,000) (2004 Danehill ex L’On Vite by Secretariat)

Verdict: Had a very quiet year on the track in Europe and is proving to be an inconsistent sire. His fee deserved a bigger reduction than the one he received. His yearling averages held up well in 2015 but the market may not be so forgiving if 2016 does not prove more rewarding on the track.

Ivawood €9,000 NEW (2012 Zebedee ex Keenes Royale by Red Ransom)

Verdict: Really! Zebedee has had his fee reduced to €8000 and although this guy was classic placed and was the most expensive Zebedee yearling, his overall record shows that he never won after July of his two year old days and was beaten in his final 7 runs. His fellow Coolmore stallions should be insulted by his presence on the roster 🙂

Kingston Hill €6,000 NEW (2011 Mastercraftsman ex Audacieuse by Rainbow Quest)

Verdict: Unfortunate in that injury kept him off the track in 2015. Winner of the Racingpost Trophy at two, runner up to Australia in the Derby, winner of the St Leger and a close up fourth to Treve in the Arc. Ironically if he hadn’t won the St Leger his fee would probably be higher. His overall pedigree is unexceptional but given his quality as a racehorse I wouldn’t quibble with his fee.
Mastercraftsman €35,000 (€40,000) (2006 Danehill Dancer ex Starlight Dreams by Black Tie Affair)

Verdict: A stellar first crop saw him provide two classic winners in 2015 in Kingston Hill and The Grey Gatsby.  Amazing Maria become the third Group 1 winner to emerge from that crop when she notched a Group 1 double in 2016. Nothing comparable emerged from his subsequent crops to reach the track which explains the reduction in fee. Still has a few crops conceived at much lower fees to work their way through the system so might be quiet for a period, before his better bred crops emerge.

Most Improved €4,000 (€5,000) (2009 Lawman ex Tonnara by Linamix)

Verdict:  Although he won a St James Palace Stakes this guy must be a hard sell even for the Coolmore marketing team. A modest fee for a modest performer.

No Nay Never €17,500 (€20,000) (2011 Scat Daddy ex Cat’s Eye Witness by Elusive Quality)

Verdict: A big powerful precocious two year old who dominated his contemporaries in the Norfolk Stakes and the Prix Morny. To be fair he also showed useful form at three including when runner up in a Breeders Cup Sprint Turf. His sire Scat Daddy had a very good year in 2015 and his fee has been hiked from $35000 to $100000. Regardless its a no nay never from me at the quoted fee.
Pour Moi €10,000 (€12,500) (2008 Montjeu ex Gwynn by Darshaan)

Verdict: Interesting at the price but still not quite cheap enough to represent value. The expectation was that he was not going to sire two year olds so it was a bonus that he sired a nice Listed winner in Only Mine, however it is a decision for the brave to invest for next year.

Power €8,000 (€8,000) (2009 Oasis Dream ex Frappe by Inchinor)

Verdict:
Attractively priced for a Group 1 winning two year old who went on to win an Irish 2000 Guineas and comes from a strong family. I’d certainly use him over Ivawood.

Requinto €5,000 (€4,000) (Dansili ex Damson by Entrepreneur)

Verdict: Was an unusual Dansili in being so speedy and precocious (just like his dam). I have a prejudice against atypical sons of stallions so that puts me off him and I’m not sure what he did to justify an increase in fee for his fourth season

.Rip Van Winkle €12,500 (€25,000) (2006 Galileo ex Looking Brill by Stravinsky)

Verdict: Interestingly he remains the second highest rated son of Galileo after Frankel. Had a Group 1 winner in his first crop with Dick Whittington but had a very quiet year in 2015. Seems destined for export unless things change quickly in 2016.
Rock Of Gibraltar €10,000 (€12,500) (1999 Danehill ex Offshore Boom by Be My Guest)

Verdict: Overall record is modest given the opportunities he received. Has had his moments as a sire but not enough to still warrant a 10k fee.

Ruler Of The World €10,000 (€15,000) (2010 Galileo ex Love Me True by Kingmambo)

Verdict: A beautifully bred Derby winner who finished close up in a Champion Stakes. Being a half brother to the now South African based Duke of Marmalade is also starting to look like a positive after Duke of Marmalade had a good season in Europe. Obviously his merit is still unknown but he is competitively priced given his pedigree and performance.

So You Think €12,500 (€12,500) (High Chapparal ex Triassic by Tights)

Verdict: A big beast of a horse but hard to argue with 10 Group 1’s between Europe and Australia. I didn’t think much of High Chaparral as a sire and the Australian side of his pedigree will be unfamiliar to many here but did enough as a racehorse to justify his fee at least until his runners hit the track.

Starspangledbanner €15,000 (25,000)  (2006 Choisir ex Gold Anthem by Made of Gold

Verdict: A quality sprinter on two continents and a very good first crop of two year olds. Didn’t have a similar impact with his current two year olds and some of the initial fanfare has faded. Also suffers from fertility issues so that will dissuade some mare owners but his fee probably reflects the additional risks.

War Command €15,000 (€15,000) (War Front ex Wandering Star by Red Ransom)

Verdict: An impressive Coventry winner and subsequent Dewhurst winner but one who disappointed at three. The War Front bandwagon rolls on, so commercially you can see how he would appeal.
Zoffany €45,000 (€12,500) (2008 Dansili ex Tyranny by Machiavellian)

Verdict: Probably surprised even his biggest supporters at Coolmore when he landed a Royal Ascot treble with Waterloo Bridge, Washington DC and Illuminate. Champion first season sire and plenty of runners who look like they will train on including Royal Lodge winner Foundation . Its a huge fee increase but you can’t say he didn’t deserve it.

What Goes Up? Recession Busters

Chicken Little aka Chicken Licken wasn’t wrong, she was just ahead of her time. Nowadays it seems that the sky really is falling down as asset values crash around the world. Stallion fees are understandably under pressure as the recent sales season showed falls in the grosses, averages, and medians. However there are still some stallions bucking the trend, who’s fees for 2009 are showing increases on 2008. So in the words of Bugs Bunny “Whats up doc?”

Starting with Coolmore- Montjeu and Danehill Dancer are both now listed as private from last years fees of €125,000 and €115,000. Both sires had good years with Montjeu adding another classic winning colt in Irish Derby winner Frozen Fire and the very impressive Grand Prix de Paris winner Montmartre. His older horses included Group 2 winners Honolulu and MacArthur and the Autumn saw him reveal some promising 2 year olds including a one-two in the final Group One of the Season at Saint Cloud with Fame and Glory and Drumbeat, alongside the Royal Lodge success of Jukebox Jury who also finished second in the Racingpost Trophy. Danehill Dancer had a great year in Ireland where his star turns were Mastercraftsman who won the Phoenix and National Stakes as well as Again who won the Moyglare. These had a large back up cast including Ice Queen who  was just touched off in the Irish Oaks, Caribbean Sunset who was narrowly beaten in the Irish 1000 Guineas and Westphalia who won the Group 2 Champagne Stakes. Both stallions have the offspring of better books of mares on the way and normally you would say that the fee hikes could be justified but in the current environment it is more questionable.  In the case of Danehill Dancer I would contrast his situation with that of Pivotal who sired Guineas winners in three countries but saw his fee cut from £85000 to £65000- and Danehill Dancer whilst a good sire is no Pivotal. It is possible, indeed probable that the decision to list the fees as private is just the famed Coolmore spin machine at work. I strongly suspect that any breeder prepared who offered last years fees for either Danehill Dancer or Montjeu would have no problem getting an appointment for his mare. The other Coolmore giant is Galileo and his fee is advertised as private in 2009, the same situation as 2008.  Galileo had a fantastic year with his three year olds New Approach and Lush Lashes, older horses Soldier of Fortune and Red Rocks and promising two year olds Kite Wood, Cuis Ghaire and Rip Van Winkle. Although there is no advertised change in his fee, with the retirement of Sadler’s Wells he is probably ‘more private’ now than he was before!

Darley have raised two of their stallions. Kheleyf has gone from €5000 to €12000 and Exceed and Excel was raised from €10000 to £12000. It’s easy to understand these increases given the success of both stallions with their two year olds, finishing first and second with 27 and 21 individual winners respectively, including a respectable number of stakes performers.

The Irish National Stud also had a good year with its first season sires. Elusive City was responsible for Group winners Elusive Wave and Soul City and it was no harm that Soul City also won the Goffs million. The success of Raven’s Pass, another son of Elusive Quality was also timely. His fee has now moved from €8000 to €12500 which seems pricey to me. Indian Haven also had two Group winners in Ashram and Aspen Darlin and has fee has increased slightly from €6000 to €7500. I would expect his progeny to train on well and I think he is represents very good value and could be the one to replicate the success enjoyed his sire Indian Ridge and grandsire Ahonoora at the Irish National Stud.

Amongst the second season sires Dalakhani was the star. Two classic winners in Moonstone and Conduit were backed up by Group 2 winners Centennial and Democrate and four other stakes winners. His results justify an increase from €40000 to €50000.

Nayef matched Dalakhani by siring two Group 1 winners in Lady Marian and Tamayuz. Like Dalakhani he is free from Northern Dancer and he represents very good value at his new fee of £15000 up from £10000 in 2008.

Bizarrely Shadwell also increased the fee for Sakhee from £10000 to £12000. He had a few useful performers in Samuel and the Italian Permesso who was twice Group 1 placed but it hardly constituted a successful season. I certainly can’t see the rationale behind this increase.

Juddmonte have not increased any of their fees, nor have Rathbarry or Lanwades, although Lanwades would have been forgiven had they given Hernando an increase after the exploits of Look Here and Casual Conquest.

 The National Stud raised Bahamian Bounty from £9000 to £10000. This was surprising as although he had plenty of winners he had no Group winners all year and his best performer was Gallagher who finished runner up in the Prix Morny. Time will tell whether this decision was brave or foolhardy, but I found it surprising.

The brevity of the above list tells you all that you need to know about the current state of the market.  Confidence is in short supply but no doubt commercial breeders are hoping that when it comes to selling the outcome of their 2009 matings that the financial outlook will be a lot rosier. I hope they will be proved right but I’m always reminded of the saying “anyone who wants to make a small fortune out of horses, needs to start with a big fortune”……..