Darley, Dalham, Dubawi, Dear?- 2016 fees

Having considered Coolmore’s 2016 fees, the  next step is to look at its main rival Darley. Darley spreads its stallions across the UK, Ireland and France and the growth in its roster sees no sign of abating. To facilitate comparison of the Dalham and Coolmore rosters, I have also converted the sterling fee to euros. The weakness of the Euro compared to sterling is significant in assessing their relative attractiveness.

Stallion 2016 fee (2015 fee)

Dalham Hall Stud

Dubawi £225,000/c.€320,000 (£125,000). (2002 Dubai Millennium ex Zomaradah by Deploy)

Verdict: His merit has never been really in doubt and had a superb season with 9 Northern Hemisphere group 1 winners including King George winner Postponed, French Derby winner New Bay, Dubai World Cup winner Prince Bishop and Juddmonte International winner Arabian Queen. A consequence of all this success is a fee increase of £100,000 over 2015.It looked as if he was going to dethrone Galileo from his usual position as champion sire but ended up as runner-up. To me Galileo still has the edge over his younger rival being a much better sire of two year olds and a lot of Dubawi’s Group 1 winners have needed time to mature (a topic I will return to in future).  My own suspicion is that Dubawi’s fee was set relative to Galileo’s reputed fee of c.€300k and was deliberately set above that level. This is a case of ‘mine is bigger than yours’ (fee wise anyway :)) although in my view his fee should be less than Galileo’s (and perhaps Galileo will be €350-€400k next year). Regardless, at this rarified level, financial concerns and mere 6 figure sums hardly matter for those using the stallion.

Golden Horn £60,000/c.€85,000 (NEW) (2012 Cape Cross ex Fleche D’or by Dubai Destination)

Verdict: Had an outstanding season on the track winning the Derby, Arc, Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes. However his opening fee looks expensive to me. I would quibble with his lack of two year old form (just one narrow maiden victory) and the quality of his female line (highly respectable as his unraced dam unraced is a half sister to Coronation Stakes winner Rebecca Sharp but not an elite female line). His surprise defeat in the Juddmonte International, his erratic behaviour in the Irish Champion Stakes when he should have been disqualified and his defeat on merit by Found in the Breeders Cup also might have been expected to knock some more off his fee.  Given that he is an unproven stallion, his stud mate New Approach is better value and when you convert his fee to euros I think he compares unfavourably with Australia.

New Approach £60,000 €85,000 (£80,000) (2005 Galileo ex Park Express by Ahonoora)

Had a sensational first crop with three two year old winners at Royal Ascot (Dawn Approach, Newfangled and Tha’Ir) and his first crop progressed to annexed the 2000 Guineas (Dawn Approach), the Oaks (Talent) and he sired the Derby runner-up (Libertarian). He has not maintained this momentum and his fee has fallen back from the £80,000 he stood for in 2015 and 2014. This is a reasonable adjustment and although he is still not cheap but he is a fine stallion and is worth his hefty fee.

Iffraaj £22,500 €32,000 (£22,500) (2001 Zafonic ex Pastorale by Nureyev)

A one time champion first season sire by number of winners and a good sprinkling of high quality performers has seen his fee rise from its initial modest level. Had a pretty good year in 2015 with St James Palace Stakes runner up  Latharnach and some high quality two year olds in Group 2 winner Ribchester and Fillies Mile runner up Nathra. That said he never strikes me as a likely sire of a superstar and he seems pricey to me particularly in Euro terms as I would value him at no more than €20,000.

Sepoy £15,000 €21,000 (£15,000) (2008 Elusive Quality ex Watchful by Danehill)

A Golden Slipper winner at two who trained on to be a top sprinter at three. Sons of Elusive Quality have been largely disappointing at stud (Raven’s Pass, Smarty Jones, Elusive City) and at the price I wouldn’t be rushing to take a chance on this being an exception to that rule nor the modest record of most reverse shuttlers.

Poet’s Voice £12,000 €17,000 (£12,000) (2007 Dubawi ex Bright Tiara by Chief’s Crown)

A first crop son of Dubawi who won the Group 2 Champagne Stakes and two and went on to defeat a strong field that included Makfi and Rip Van Winkle in the QE2 stakes at three. Had his first runners this season and they performed reasonably well and more or less in line with expectations if you hold the belief that his progeny will progress with age (which I do). As a superior racehorse, and a son of an exceptional stallion with reasonable early runners he seems fairly priced to me.

Brazen Beau £10,000 €14,000 (NEW) (2011 I am Invincible ex Sansadee by Snadee)

A top Australian sprinter by a son of Invincible Spirit. I’m not sure we need all these reverse shuttlers but he earned a Timeform rating of 127 so his merit as a racehorse is not in doubt. If European breeders want to believe that overseas sprinters are genetically superior, who am I to stop them spending their money 🙂

Farhh £8,000 €11,000 (£12,000) (2008 Pivotal ex Gonbarda by Lando)

An interesting horse, lightly raced with only 10 runs over 4 seasons. His only two runs as a five year old resulted in wins in the Lockinge Stakes over a mile early in the season and the Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs at the end of the season. Won his only runs at two and three and showed progressive form and at four when he was placed in a number of Group 1’s. His dam was dual Group 1 winner in Germany and is compiling a nice record at stud with Farrh’s full brothers Racing History and Basem both being Group performers in 2015. This is also the family of Fame and Glory and Legatissimo. His pedigree with its single strain of Northern Dancer via Nureyev and absence of Mr Prospector makes him almost an outcross for the majority of Britain’s mares. I’m a lifelong fan of Pivotal but I don’t quite buy the description of him used by some advertisers of him as a proven sire of sires. This claim is based on the respectable record of Kyllachy and the good initial results of Siyouni whilst ignoring Excellent Art, Falco, Virtual, Windsor Knot etc. Farhh was a superior racehorse, but his lack of precocity might hinder his commercial appeal. Overall though his fee is not unreasonable at least until we have evidence to the contrary from the track.

Helmet £8,000 €11,000 (€10,000) (2008 Exceed and Excel ex Accessories by Singspiel).

Another Aussie Group 1 winner at two who trained on to land further group 1 success at three. His success of his sire Exceed and Excel has a lot to answer for in terms of all of these reverse shuttlers 🙂 His pedigree is very European looking from a well known European ‘A’ family that includes Annaba (the filly by In the Wings not the stallion Anaaba), Anna of Saxony, Ave, Anipe etc. There is nothing objectionable about him or his fee (and I would prefer him to Brazen Beau) but he just wouldn’t be for me.

Casamento £5,000 €7,000 (€5,000) (2008 Shamardal ex Wedding Gift by Always Fair)

By a very good stallion in Shamardal and a winner of the Racing Post Trophy at two and a Group 3 at three he earned his place at stud. He will have his first two year olds in 2016 so his merit will quickly be apparent. His fee last season of €5000 seemed about right to me, £5000 seems a little pricey in comparison but not outrageous.

Outstrip £5,000 €7,000 (NEW – Darley Club) (2011 Exceed and Excel ex Asi Sempre by El Prado)

A good two year old who won the Champagne Stakes, a breeders Cup Juvenile Turf and was third in the Dewhurst to War Command. He didn’t add to his success at three or four and this is somewhat reflected in his fee. He is well bred by a great sire of two year olds in Exceed and Excel out of a Grade 1 winning mare from the speedy family of Turkish Treasure. He is being promoted as part of the Darley Club which allows breeders a free return in years 2 and years 3 and if all of these are used then you get a lifetime breeding right. Whilst this is clearly a marketing initiative to help fill less desirable members of the roster (and I wouldn’t recommend it for some of the others) in this case I think it represents a  good deal for breeders with significant potential upside. If I owned a suitable speedy mare likely to produce two year olds I would utilise Outstrip (no sitting on the fence there) and if Darley want to use that quote please give me a call to discuss a fee!).

Next week I will look at Darley Irish stallions in  Kildangan…..

Dubious about Dubai but not Dubawi

From the 22nd of January to the 7th of February, Dubawi had six runners on the all-weather. All six won. The six victories earned the lucky owners £15,811, an average of £2,635 or $4,130 per victory. These are the amounts before deductions for the winning trainers, jockeys and stable staff and before entry fees,riding fees and travel costs are taken into account. If the owners netted £1,400 ($2,192) per victory they would be doing well.

Meanwhile in Dubai, Dubawi’s owner Sheikh Mohammed unveiled the Meydan track. Press reviews were very positive. Estimates of its construction cost ranged from $1.25 billion to $2.4 billion. It has a 1km long grandstand and seating for 60,000.  It will do well to even cover its running costs as general admission is free (but there is a charge for the grandstand). Gambling is prohibited so there is no revenue from that quarter.  It is intended as a visitor attraction and showcase for Dubai which is another way of saying that no one was ever asked to justify the cost. Meydan replaces the Nad Al Sheba track (which had world class facilities) and to me this development represents the most obscene folly and waste of resources imaginable.

 It may not be considered appropriate to criticise the man who has invested more than anyone else in the racing industry for the past three decades but this was utter madness.  In order to pay for his monument to folly Sheikh Mohammed will have to win one million races on the all-weather. Is there a better indicator of the wasteful excesses of the middle-eastern rulers and the pitiful prize-money in the UK, than this fact?

None of Duabwi’s 5 individual winners (Duellist, Monterosso, Your Lad, Ostentation and Solstice) are likely to become celebrated names in the history of the turf. However signs are promising for Dubawi to become a significant new stallion from what looks like becoming an exceptional crop of stallions foaled in 2002 (others included Shamardal, Oratario, Footstepsinthesand and  Motivator). In addition he looks like he will overtake Nayef, Medicean and Zamindar as being the best Mr Prospector line stallion (with runners to date) standing in Europe.

Dubawi’s Racecourse Career

Dubawi was the first of Dubai Millennium’s offspring to appear on the racetrack and no doubt it was very pleasing to Sheikh Mohammed to see him make a winning debut at Goodwood in June. He followed up in the Group 3 Superlative stakes at Newmarket and concluded his unbeaten two year old season with a victory in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh. His victories had been achieved on ground that varied from good to firm to yielding at the Curragh. He went into winter quarters as a leading classic prospect and indeed such was their regard for Dubawi, Godophin went and purchased Berenson who was runner-up in the National Stakes.  Berenson became another victim of the ‘big blue hole’ that is Godolphin and was never seen on the racecourse again.

Dubawi wintered in Dubai and such was his work and performance in some of Godolphins private trials that he started favourite for the 2000 Guineas. He finished fifth behind Footstepsinthesand but was beaten only three lengths. His defeat was blamed on the good to firm ground. He resumed winning ways and achieved an impressive classic success in the Irish Guineas on good ground, defeating Oratario by two lengths. He was then sent to Epsom where he ran creditably to be third behind Motivator, but it was obvious that 12 furlongs was farther than optimal. Given a break until August he reappeared in the Jacques le Marois and he put up his best ever performance in defeating Whipper, Valixir and the previously undefeated Divine Proportions. Dubawi was next seen in the QEII at Ascot and he was made favourite and expected to wrap-up the title of European champion miler. Instead he was beaten 3/4’s of a length by the five year old Starcraft with many people questioning Frankie Dettori’s tactics.

That proved to be Dubawi’s final racecourse appearance. He never made the Breeders Cup and retired as the winner of five of his 8 starts including three Group 1’s. He had shown brilliance but also quirkiness as he had drifted across the track on a number of occasions (a tendency he shared with another son of Dubai Millennium now at stud, Echo of Light). He seemed versatile as to the going with only firm ground (as in the Guineas) being unsuitable.  He was clearly a brilliant miler, he had shown guts in running well over 12 furlongs at Epsom and it was surprising that he was never asked to run over 10 furlongs, a distance that would have seemed ideal for him.


As could be expected of any representative of Dubai Millennium’s only crop, Dubawi owns an impressive pedigree. His dam Zomaradah went from winning a maiden to winning the Italian Oaks. She subsequently maintained a high level of form adding Group successes in the EP Taylor stakes, the Royal Whip and the Premio Lydia Tesio and she finished a close third in the 1999 Breeders Cup Fillies & Mares Turf. Zomaradah ranks as the best offspring of Deploy (by Shirley Heights)who was runner-up in the Irish Derby and who was just one of the many celebrated offspring of Slightly Dangerous.

Dubawi’s granddam Jawaher ran five times without success but she was a daughter of High Tern who produced Derby winner High Rise (by High Estate by Shirley Heights).  Dubawi’s 4th dam Sunbittern is the dam of classic placed High Hawk (by Shirley Heights) and High Hawk was subsequently dam of In The Wings. No doubt all these Shirley Heights connections led to the selection of Deploy as a mate for Jawaher.

Dubai Millemmium left behind only 56 foals before his premature death. Dubawi was his only Group 1 winner and he was supported by the Group 2 winner (and nutcase) Echo of Light and Group 3 winner Belenus. After his death Sheikh Mohammed set about buying all the offspring of his favourite horse.  In hindsight with 9% black type winners Dubai Millennium had the makings of a very good but unexceptional sire given the opportunities he was afforded.

 Dubawi’s stud career to date

Dubawi’s first runners last year saw him crowned champion first season sire by winners (34). In addition to quantity his first crop included Group 2 winners Poet’s Voice (ex Bright Tiara by Chief’s Crown) and Sand Vixen (ex Fur Will Fly by Petong). This crop was conceived off an initial fee of £25000 and this remained his fee in 2007. He spent the 2008 season in Kildangan in Ireland at €40,000 before returning to Dalham Hall for 2009 season at a fee of £15000.  His initial success has seen this rise ot £20000 for the current season which seems quite reasonable to me. Dubawi has also shuttled to Australia and his first crop of two year olds are also now making a mark with Cellarmaster recently winning a Group 3 in New Zealand and finishing runner-up in a Group 2.


It would be foolish to put too much weight on a flurry of low level winners at this time of the year. However it is certainly encouraging that Dubawi is maintaining his momentum as his runners mature from two to three.  As a sire he can offer breeders a very good prospect of getting a winner and a reasonable prospect of a high class winner at that.  The best is yet to come and if Sheikh Mohammed wants to take his mind off Dubai’s debt crisis and his own profligacy he can console himself with the thought that he controls one of the most promising young stallions in Europe.



DUBAWI (IRE) 2002 c b

Millennium (GB) 1996
The Gold (USA) 1985
Prospector (USA) 1970
A Native (USA) 1961
Digger (USA) 1962
Game (USA) 1974
(USA) 1963
(USA) 1959
Dancer (IRE) 1986
Dancer (USA) 1980
Dancer (CAN) 1961
Alliance (USA) 1974
Aspen (USA) 1976
(USA) 1963
Water (USA) 1969
(GB) 1995
(GB) 1987
Heights (GB) 1975
Reef (USA) 1968
(GB) 1969
Dangerous (USA) 1979
(USA) 1969
You Lead (USA) 1970
(IRE) 1989
Brave (USA) 1983
(USA) 1969
Princess (USA) 1974
Tern (IRE) 1982
Line (GB) 1966
(GB) 1970