Coolmore 2021 fees reviewed

Coolmore Stud has a massive 26 flat stallions on its Irish flat roster for 2021. There are four new additions: Arizona, Circus Maximus, Sottsass and big money signing Wootton Bassett. The only departure was Caravaggio who is now in Ashford. The roster includes six 2000 Guineas winners and three Derby winners.

Coolmore has stood the champion sire in Ireland/UK every year since 1990 but apart from Galileo, only Zoffany made the top ten in the 2020 leading GB/Irish sire list. Their quest for a worthy successor to 23 year old Galileo still remains elusive, despite standing six of his sons. The purchase of Wootton Bassett is an effort to fill that void in the elite bracket.

Bloodstock publications are very dependent on advertising revenue. This naturally limits their impartiality and candour. Without such constraints, I am free to give an impartial value rating of their 26 stallions.

Stallion 2021 fee (2020 fee)

  1. Arizona €7,000 (na)- (2017 No Nay Never ex Lady Ederle by English Channel)

Verdict: Slightly overpriced (my fair price would be €5000)

He was ‘only’ a Group 2 Coventry winner, but he was a good second to Pinatubo in the Dewhurst. His dam side is reasonable and he made £65,000 guineas as a foal and €260,000 as a yearling. The negative is that he didn’t train on at three. He provides cheaper access to a son of No Nay Never than Ten Sovereigns. If Ten Sovereigns is the poor mans No Nay Never, Arizona is the even poorer mans Ten Sovereigns 🙂 I suspect there may not have been room for him on the roster, if Wichita hadn’t died in Australia. Whatever my reservations, I suspect he will be popular with breeders looking for a commercial source of cheap speed/precocity.


2. Australia €25,000 (€27,500)- (2011 by Galileo ex Ouija Board by Cape Cross)
Verdict: Overpriced (should be max €20,000)

If stud fees were set in August, this fellow would have been €15,000. However he had a strong end of season with Galileo Chrome giving him a first Group 1 in the St Leger and that was followed up with a Breeders Cup mile winner in Order of Australia. There was a good supporting cast headed by Irish Oaks runner up Cayenne Pepper and interestingly both Joseph O’Brien and Jessica Harrington seem to have a lot of success with his offspring. Commercially his yearling median was €46k this year which wasn’t much of a return on a conception fee of €35,000. I wrote last year that I thought he should he €20000 and that remains my view. That said, I do think he is a credible sire and a good option if the price is right.

3. Calyx €16,000 (22,500)- (2016 Kingman ex Helleborine by Observatory)

Verdict: Undecided

Like Arizona a Coventry winner but this guy had a lot more brilliance about him. Kingman mania has waned since last year so he has taken a chunky price cut. The question is whether the price cut is enough in a fickle and difficult marketplace? Breeders now have another son of Kingman option in the Classic winning (and sounder) Persian King in France and Palace Pier will presumably be retiring in 2022, to further reduce the novelty factor. You can expect his fee to be shaved again next year and the year after so when you come to sell he will be standing at a lower fee and he will be one of a number of sons of Kingman. He is no bargain at this fee but I’m struggling to think what he should be and I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

4. Camelot €45,000 (€40,000)- (2009 by Montjeu ex Tarfah by Kingmambo)

Verdict: Poor Value– Overpriced:

One of the few stallions on the roster to get a price increase. This year he was represented by an Irish Oaks winner in Even So, and a German Group 1 winner in Sunny Queen. He also had a fancied Derby contender in English King, along with Group 1 winners in Australia in Russian Camelot and Sir Dragonet (who couldn’t win a Group 1 in Europe). He has decent percentages of black type horses and he had good sales results with a median of €55,000 for yearlings conceived at €30,000. However these results are no more that you would expect from stallions in this price bracket. In the current market, I don’t think an increase was warranted and in relative terms, Australia is better value at their respective prices.

5. Churchill €30,000 (€30,000)- (2014 by Galileo ex Meow by Storm Cat)

Verdict: Poor Value– Over Priced

Churchill won seven consecutive races including 4 consecutive Group 1’s in 2016 and 2017. He was high class, is well bred and has 126 two year olds in 2021. He covered an incredible 250 mares in 2020 so a lot of breeders have more faith in him than I do. His yearlings sold well with a median of almost €70,000. However using a sire in his fourth season is for gamblers and I would have expected a decent reduction, to reflect this and the general state of the market.

6. Circus Maximus €20,000 (na)- (2016 by Galileo ex Duntle by Danehill Dancer)

Verdict: Poor Value– Over Priced

After winning the the Dee Stakes, Circus Maximus ran reasonably well to finish 6th in the Derby. At that stage, it was hard to picture him as a putative top miler but kudos to Aidan O’Brien who ran him 17 days later in St James Palace where he defeated King of Comedy. He added the Prix de Moulin later that season (should have been demoted) and at four he won the Queen Anne on his seasonal reappearance. He had a number of good placed efforts including seconds to Too Darn Hot and Motaather in the Sussex Stakes and he finished his career with a second place in the Breeders Cup mile. His dam, Duntle was high class. Ironically she was demoted from a Group 1 she should have retained (the Matron Stakes). His stud mate, the Gurkha is another son of Galileo out of a Danehill Dancer mare who has made a poor start at stud. Circus Maximus was high class and genuine but for me he lacked a little star quality. There are no shortage of high class sons of Galileo at stud and I’m not sure why this one should succeed above any other.

7. Fastnet Rock €50,000 (€60,000) (2001 Danehill ex Piccadilly Circus by Royal Academy)

Verdict: Poor Value– Overpricedshould be €25,000

Verdict: His European record is nothing special. For the third consecutive year his best performer was One Master and there are no Group winners to date far from his 2017 and 2018 European crops. For some reason his sales results remain strong and he had a median of nearly €62,000. I wrote last year, that he should be a €25,000 sire and I haven’t seen anything to change that position.

8.Footstepsinthesand €12,500 (€15,000) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest)

Verdict: Overpriced – should be 8k

He stood at €10,000 for 9 consecutive years before getting a hike in 2020 to €15,000 following the performances of Threat and Mum’s Tipple. That duo failed to train on and nothing new emerged in 2020. He has always had his limitations and there have been no Group 1 winners in his last 10 crops! Trainers like his progeny and he had a median of €25,000 in 2020 but to me he is at best an €8,000 sire.

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

Verdict: price doesn’t matter for anyone using him

Sired a record breaking 5th Derby winner in Serpentine, a dual classic winner in Love and won a 12th consecutive sires championship. With 146 three year olds and 135 two year olds in 2021 he won’t be relinquishing his title in a hurry. It will be interesting to see how many mares he covers and gets in foal at 23 years of age. The downside of his domination, is that it has made top class racing less competitive and interesting for everyone outside Ballydoyle.

10. Gleneagles €25,000 (35,000) (2012 Galileo ex You’resothrilling by Storm Cat).

Verdict: Significantly Overpriced

I was sanguine about the prospects of Gleneagles following his first two year olds. That optimism is now gone following a disappointing year on the track. Market sentiment has also cooled with his yearling median dropping from €64,700 in 2019 to €30,000 in 2020. It’s hard to see him turning things around and it would be hard to justify the gamble of using him at this price.

11. Gustav Klim€4,000 (€6,000) (2015 Galileo ex Massarra by Danehill)

Verdict: Fairly Priced

‘Only’ a Group 2 winner but placed in the Irish Guineas, St James Palace and Haydock Sprint Cup. His granddam is Rafha, the dam of Invincible Spirit and Kodiac. He may uphold the family tradition but those two tend to be influences for speed and precocity. I’m not sure about a son of Galileo doing likewise but at that price point it’s hard to quibble.

12. Highland Reel €10,000 (€12,500) (2012 Galileo ex Hveger by Danehill)

Verdict: Fairly Priced

Despite a tremendous racing career that saw him run 27 times and record 7 Group 1’s, I always assumed that he was going to end up as National Hunt sire. His 2020 yearling median was €21,000, off a stud fee of €17,500 so it needed a reset. I would have been dismissive of him but I’ve been listening to a few shrewd judges who tell me that they like his stock on the ground. On that basis, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

13. Holy Roman Emperor €12,500 (€15,000) (2004 Danehill ex L’On Vite by Secretariat)

Verdict: Fairly Priced:

A better sire on almost every metric than the similarly priced Footstepsinthesand. In 2020 he had a new group winner in Valeria Messilina, a Stakes winner in Numerian, a high class two year old in Jadoomi and Romanised continued to show high class form. His yearling average was €26,000 and he is a solid proven sire.


14. Magna Grecia €18,000 (22,500)- (2016 by Invincible Spirit ex Cabaret by Galileo)
Verdict: Fairly priced

A Guineas winner who also won the Vertem Trophy at two. His pedigree received a nice boost when his half brother St Mark’s Basilica won this year’s Dewhurst. I thought his initial fee was a touch high (180 mare owners disagreed!) but it’s starting to come back into more reasonable territory.

15. Mastercraftsman €15,000 (€25,000) (2006 Danehill Dancer ex Starlight Dreams by Black Tie Affair)

Verdict:Overpriced

Took a big reduction but it was necessary after an underwhelming year on the track. Extra Elusive won a Group 3, Cabaletta won a Listed race, Quian won a German Group 2 and Barrington Court won a Listed race but there was nothing exciting. In addition, his better horses are often slow to mature and/or stayers- neither an attribute likely to endear a sire to the market. The market is starting to forget that he was once the sire of Alpha Centauri and The Grey Gatsby, although his median held up pretty well at €29k (albeit off a crop conceived at €25k). His crop conceived post Alpha Centauri will be two year olds in 2022 so there is a chance he could rebound but he is now in risky territory.

16. No Nay Never €125,000 (€175,000) (2011 Scat Daddy ex Cat’s Eye Witness by Elusive Quality)

Verdict: Overpriced

I thought someone had a massive rush of blood to the head when they decided that No Nay Never (NNN) was worth 175k last year. He still covered 193 mares which shows what I know. He had a good year on the track with Alcohol Free winning the Cheveley Park, Witchita training on to win a Group 2 and being placed in the Guineas and Group wins for Vitalogy, Nay Lady Lay and Love Locket. He had a median of €67k which is a great return for those breeders who used him at €25k in 2018.

I wrote last year that he is being priced as if he had already fully delivered on his promise and that remains the situation. His fee leaves limited upside and quite a few risks attached. Ten Sovereigns, Alcohol Free, Land Force and Arizona all won their Group races over 6 furlongs and although Wichita placed in a Guineas, he had to drop back to 7 furlongs to win his Group 2. NNN is a quality sire, whose record can only improve with the better mares that have come his way. However, it’s a big ask to pay 125k for a sire who has yet to really prove he is more than a sire of sprinters. There is a finite market for 200k plus yearlings and these sort of prices are typically for classic prospects. I’m not sure that NNN will reward those using him in 2021 like he did the early adopters.


17. Rock Of Gibraltar €5,000 (€6,000) (1999 Danehill ex Offshore Boom by Be My Guest)

Verdict: Should be Retired…

He is at a bargain basement fee which makes some appeal for a reasonable sire. His yearlings had an impressive median of 25k (but only 4 sold) and that could be an aberration as his 2019 median was 6k. He will be 22 this year and you wonder why he isn’t retired as there is very little demand from breeders.

18. Saxon Warrior €20,000 (€27,500) (2015 Deep Impact ex Maybe by Galileo)

Verdict: Fair Price

A good Guineas winner who also won a Racing Post Trophy and had some great battles with Roaring Lion over 10 furlongs. The only son of Deep Impact in Ireland his dam was a Moyglare winner. He has had a major price cut this year and seems reasonably priced to me. That said for anyone willing to travel, Study of Man at £12,500 is a more attractive option to access a high class son of Deep Impact.

19. Sioux Nation €10,000 (€12,500) (2015 Scat Daddy ex Dream the Blues by Oasis Dream)

Verdict: Overpriced

Has covered very big books and being a son of Scat Daddy has been touted as the next No Nay Never. He was a Group 1 winner but his overall record was only 4 wins out of 15 and his female line is unremarkable. Using him in his third season you are taking a risk that his first runners will have performed well and I thought he might have had a bigger price cut to reflect that risk.

20. Sottsass €30,000 (na) (2016 Siyouni ex Starlet’s Sister by Galileo)

Verdict: Fairly Priced

At three he won the French Derby (beating Persian King) and was 3rd in the Arc. At four he won a Prix Ganay and an Arc (albeit a weakened Arc run in heavy ground. He is the best son of Siyouni (who will be standing for €140k this year) and his dam also produced the 7 time Grade 1 winner Mysistercharlie. That is a lot of positives. He will no doubt drop back in price next year as the memory of his exploits fade and other sons of Siyouni (most likely St Marks Basilica) compete for patronage, but for an opening ask it is in line with expectations.

21. Starspangledbanner €22,500 (22,500)  (2006 Choisir ex Gold Anthem by Made of Gold

Verdict: Fair Price

A quieter than hoped for year on the track. Aloha Star was a Group 2 winning two year old, however Millisle didn’t really enhance her reputation despite a Group 3 victory and there were no other Group wins in Europe. His fertility issues are now behind him and his yearling median held up well at €39k. Although I thought he might have seen a reduction to 20k, I do like him as as sire and think his fee can be justified.

22. Ten Sovereigns €20,000 (25,000) (2016 No Nay Never ex Seeking Solace by Exceed and Excel)

Verdict: Overpriced

A Middle Park and July Cup winner, who failed to stay in the Guineas and was beaten in the Commonwealth Cup, Nunthorpe and in the Everest. He has an unremarkable female line. Attracted 214 mares last year so plenty of people believe in him , or maybe it’s the No Nay Never hype. If you use him in 2021 you will be hoping that sentiment remains in your favour.

23. The Gurkha €5,000 (€12,500) (2013 Galileo ex Chintz by Danehill Dancer)

Verdict: Overpriced

He had a very slow start with his two year olds. From a crop of 105, 59 raced to give 16 winners and one Stakes horse in Best of Lips who won a German Group 3. If you think his progeny will be transformed at three (and he was unraced at two), €5000 is a bargain fee for this French Guineas and Sussex Stakes winner. Surprisingly his sales returns held up with a median of €23000 (albeit a lot went unsold), so maybe some people are still optimistic for his prospects. I’m not one of them.

24. U S Navy Flag €12,500 (17,500) (2015 War Front ex Misty For Me by Galileo)

Verdict: Fair Price

His stud fee is now half what it was in his first season. To me he compares favourably with Ten Sovereigns, having a much stronger female line, winning three Group 1’s and staying well enough to be placed in an Irish Guineas. He wore headgear but was tough and genuine. The market has cooled on War Front’s sons and that is reflected in his fee.

25. Wootton Bassett €100,000 (€40,000) (2008 Iffraaj ex Balladonia by Primo Dominie)

Verdict: Overpriced- thought it would be 80k

This was the most interesting move in the bloodstock market this year. Purchasing a 12 year old stallion for a rumoured €50 million was a surprise, but on reflection you could see the logic. He will suit the Coolmore broodmare band and he is an upwardly mobile stallion who will get bigger books in Ireland. If the reported price is close to correct, then the decision to price him at €100k was simply a matter of dividing his cost by the 500 mares they would expect to cover in the next 4-5 years. Coolmore are not averse to buying stallions that were proven elsewhere, with Ahonoora and Alzao coming to mind on the flat and Walk in the Park on their NH roster. Their timing was also impeccable. After the deal was done in August, Audarya landed the first of her two Group 1’s, Wooded landed the Prix de l’Abbaye and the two year old Chindit landed the Champagne Stakes. Wootton Bassett is a proper rags to riches sire who managed to get a superstar in his first crop of 24 foals in the form of Almanzor. No other Group 1 winners emerged until Audarya and Wooded struck this Autumn, but he served reminders of his ability with classic placed The Summit and Speak of the Devil in 2020. Given that his fee was €6000 or less for his first five seasons before reaching €20,000 in 2017 when Chindit was conceived, that is impressive. He also stood at €20,000 in 2018 before reaching 40k for the past two seasons. He deserves his place at the top table and it will be fascinating to see how far he can go with superior mares. I’m a fan of Wootton Bassett and his purchase again shows why Coolmore are the shrewdest in the business, but I would have thought that 80k would have been about right.

Zoffany €20,000(€22,500) (2008 Dansili ex Tyranny by Machiavellian)

Verdict: Overpriced

This year National Stakes winner, Thunder Moon, put a gloss on his record and Mother Earth was another Group winning two year old. However, he had plenty of ammo to fire as he had 158 two year olds in 2020 to go with his 169 three year olds, so some have to hit the target. His record in Europe of 4% stakes winners (36 from 829 foals) is unremarkable, as his tally of 3 Group 1 winners. His yearling median dropped back to €29k and he has a smaller crop of two year olds for the coming season (a still chunky 105). He has his place in the market but he has his limitations and there are better value options out there.

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…..

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.

Mawatheeq-far from the Height of Fashion

It’s probably a sign of old age, but I’m finding it harder to distinguish between many of the less famous Arabic named horses. Mawatheeq was one such horse (incidentally the name means treaty or treaties), however an impressive series of results for his progeny in recent weeks, had me revisiting the record books.  I suspect that given time, Mawatheeq will rise to a more prominent position in the stallion world from his current lowly position.

Recent Results

The table below show the last six runners by Mawatheeq all of whom finished first or second. It’s a brave or foolish person who ascribes too much significance to such a sequence in early season maiden races but it does offer hope of a profitable season. In particular Mulkeyya’s debut run at the Curragh was most promising. This 25 runner maiden was won by the 106 rated The Warrior, and Mulkeyya’s performance gave hope of black type before season’s end.

List of Mawatheeq’s Recent Runners in UK and Ireland

The performance of the three year old runners is in contrast to his first two year old runners in 2014, which consisted of only 2 winners (one in Italy and one in Hungary) for the season. In Britain there were no winners from 13 runners. However, bearing in mind his own race career and that his first book consisted of only 42 mares, that lack of success is less surprising.

Mawatheeq’s Race Record

The bare facts of Mawatheeq’s career are underwhelming,showing a solitary stakes win from a 9 race career. Trained by Marcus Tregonig, he was unraced at two (reportedly due to injury), won two of his four starts at three (a maiden and a handicap), before blossoming in the Autumn of his four year old career. After a disappointing four year old reappearance in April, he won a Doncaster handicap in September before making a big leap forward with an impressive victory in the 12 furlong Group 3 Cumberland Stakes. The upward trend continued when on his seasonal bow he finished runner up in the Champion Stakes to Twice Over. It wasn’t the strongest ever field for a Champion Stakes but he still had the likes of classic winners Sariska and Fame and Glory behind him. With such an improving profile, his five year old career promised much, but proved anti-climatic consisting of a solitary run, when well beaten in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes Stakes at Royal Ascot. A recurrence of his two year old injury, saw the end of his track career and he was retired to Shadwell Stud.

Stud Career and Sales

Mawatheeq’s initial stud fee was a modest £5000 which dropped to £4000 and is now listed as private (but not in the Galileo sense of the word- more the too embarrassed to disclose sense) so we know that the mares he was covering were a modest bunch. This lack of quality is reflected in a yearling average that was just over 6000 guineas for his first two crops. He has struggled for patronage possibly due to a bias against staying sons of Danzig,as conventional wisdom would have us believe that Danzig’s really good sire sons were sprinter/milers (eg Green Desert,Danehill, War Front). In the case of Mawatheeq there was no need for Shadwell to trumpet their restricted books as you can take it they didn’t need to turn away hordes of disappointed mare owners :). Incidentally the aforementioned Mulkeyya (ex Rifqah) might be one of the best bred mares that he covered being a descendant of Allegretta.

Pedigree

Mawatheeq’s pedigree is a match for any stallion’s. He is from the last crop of the great sire and sire of sires Danzig and his female line is dripping in black type.  His dam Sarayir (by Mr Prospector) was an unbeaten stakes winning two year old, rated highly enough to make her three year old reappearance in the 1000 Guineas. That she failed to add to her reputation at three hardly detracted from her paddock valley as she was a daughter of the Queen’s Height of Fashion. Height of Fashion was top rated British Two year old filly of 1981 with victories in the Fillies Mile, and May Hill Stakes to her credit and she added a Princess of Wales’s Stakes to her record at three (in which race she broke the track record held by her half brother Milford). She was sold for an undisclosed amount (but estimated at the time to be between 1.4 and 1.8 million) after the Princess of Wales’s Stakes to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, in whose colours she ran poorly in both the King George and Yorkshire Oaks. Ultimately though, she proved to be a real bargain for the Sheikh as she became the dam of dual classic winner Nashwan Gr1x4 (by Blushing Groom), Nayef G1X4(by Gulch), Unfuwain G2 (by Northern Dancer), Alwasmi G3 (by Northern Dancer) and Mukddaam L (by Danzig) all of whom had stud careers with varying degrees of success. This success was hardly surprising as Height of Fashion’s dam Highclere was herself a winner of a 1000 Guineas and French Oaks and Highclere’s grandam Hypercium also won the 1000 Guineas. Other branches of the family have provided the likes of Japanese superstar Deep Impact (a great grandson of Highclere).

Mawatheeq’s dam Sarayir did her bit for the family tradition by producing Ghanaati (by Giant’s Causeway) who also won the 1000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes. In addition she is the dam of Rumoush (by Rahy) who was a listed winner and a good third to Snow Fairy in the 2010 Oaks. This is undoubtedly one of the best family’s in the stud book.

Conclusion

As one of the last sons of Danzig from a stellar family, one might have thought that Mawatheeq would live up to his grandams name as the Height of Fashion. However his initial book of only 42 mares, despite a modest fee of £5000, tells you all about the market prejudice against late maturing types. In addition he didn’t correspond to the market expectation of a good Danzig sire being best at middle distances and standing 16 1 ½ . His solitary stakes success at no more than Group 3 level also counted against him. His results to date are still very modest with no stakes performers but the early results for his three year olds are relatively promising and it will be interesting to see if his offspring continue to improve with age. On pedigree he has everything you would like to see in a stallion and at such a lowly fee he might just prove a bargain for any patient breeders, not too concerned about the yearling market.

Mawatheeq’s Page

mawatheeq's pedigree

See below for a promotional video of Mawatheeq by Shadwell

 

 

Cheltenham 2009 by numbers

Cheltenham is almost overwhelming.  Four days, twenty four races, twelve Grade 1 races and remarkable individual achievements such as Ruby Walsh’s record breaking 7 winners or Tony McCoy’s astonishing never-say-die ride on Wichita Lineman.  21 stallions got on the roll of honour and only 3 stallions managed to sire more than one winner. So what did we learn from the week?

 

1. Stallion of the week was Presenting. He sired two Grade 1 winners in Weapons Amnesty who battled to win the Albert Bartlett hurdle and Dunguib who was an ultra impressive winner of the bumper. For good measure he sired Some Present who was runner up in the bumper and Denman showed he has retained most of his  ability with a fine second in the Gold Cup. Presenting is still only 17 and has bigger and better crops coming through and he will hopefully be around for a few years yet.  It is also interesting that Weapons Amnesty is out of an Old Vic mare and this is a cross or reverse cross we are likely to see tried a great deal over the coming years. Old Vic and Presenting are the two outstanding National Hunt stallions of our era and it will be interesting to see if this proves to be a potent nick.

 

2. Well done to Nikos who sired two winners in Master Minded and Oh Crick. Nikos was retired some years ago so his success will have little practical impact on breeders. Nikos won the Prix Edmond Blanc and was twice runner up in the Prix de la Foret. On the flat his best runner was Nononito who won a Prix du Cadran and over jumps he also left Cenkos who won a Victor Chandler Chase and finished third in a Queen Mother. Nikos was a son of Nonoalco the 1974 2000 Guineas winner who also won a Prix Jacques le Marois and at two he won the Prix Morny and Prix de la Salamandre. He was exported to Japan but left behind the great Katies. Trivia fans will be interested to note that Nonoalco was by Nearctic (sire of Northern Dancer) and was bred by Forest E Mars of chocolate bar fame.

 

3. Old Vic also got two winners in Ninetieth Minute (in the Coral Cup) and Andytown (Martin Pipe hurdle) as well as being broodmare sire of the previously mentioned Weapons Amnesty.

 

3. Sons of Sadler’s Wells are everywhere. Amazingly 7 different sons of the Coolmore legend sired winners. They were Kings Theatre sire of Wichita Lineman,  Oscar sire of Tricky Trickster,  Old Vic sire of Ninetieth Minute and Andytown, Barathea sire of Silk Affair, Kayf Tara sire of Kayf Aramis, Dolpour sire of Something Wells and Accordion sire of Character Building.  Interestingly none of the wins came in Grade 1 races, however Galileo came close to adding a Champion Hurdle to his role of honour through Celestial Halo who was a close second.  Funnily enough the hurdler who’s reputation was most enhanced after Cheltenham was Hurricane Fly (by Montjeu and subject of a previous article) who had previously hammered the Supreme Novice winner Go Native at Leopardstown.

 

 4. The diminutive Mill Reef pops up with surprising frequency. It is well recorded that Kauto Star is bred 4*4 to Mill Reef through Moulin and Port Etienne.  Mill Reef’s son Garde Royale is sire of Garde Champetre winner of the cross country chase and is broodmare sire of Master Minded.  Garde Royale is also sire of Robin des Champs the sire of Quevega the easy winner of the David Nicholson hurdle for mares. Finally the Triumph hurdle winner Zaynar is by Daylami who is by Doyoun who is by Mill Reef. 

 

5. Two sons of Top Ville sired winners. Beneficial sired Cooldine the impressive winner of the RSA chase and Pistolet Bleu sired Cappa Bleu the winner of the Foxhunters.

 

6.  Nijinsky obviously didn’t want to be upstaged by Mill Reef and crops up with some regularity.  His son Moscow Society sired his second Arkle winner in Forpaddytheplasterer who followed in the hoofprints of Moscow Society.  Champion Hurdle winner Punjabi was out of a Hernando mare and thus has Nijinsky in the fourth generation and he also appears in the fourth generation of Mikael D’Haguenet. World Hurdle winner Big Bucks is by Cadoudal a grandson of Nijinsky through Green Dancer and Triumph hurdle winner Zaynar is out of French Oaks winner Zainta a daughter of Kahyasi who is by Nijinsky’s son Ile de Bourbon.

 

7. The other sires to get on the scoresheet are Double Eclipse who gave his career a nice fillip as sire of Supreme Novice winner Go Native.  Komaite sired Punjabi the winner of the Champion Hurdle, Lavirco sired Mikael D’Haguenet and it will be interesting to see if we are about to witness German breds make an impact on the National Hunt scene in the same way that Monsun has led their assault on the flat. Turgeon sired Chapoturgeon and Sendawar sired American Trilogy. Finally Flemensfirth sired Ryanair chase winner Imperial Commander.  Considering he stood for €10000 and is hyped by Coolmore as one of the hottest jumps sires around it was important he sired a winner. However it is interesting that he is the same age as Presenting and to me he still has a long way to go to match the achievements of his Rathbarry rival.

Eurosavers- Best Bargain Basement sires in Ireland

With so many stallions in Ireland, I thought it would be easy to compile a list of five or six of the best value sires in Ireland standing for less than €7000. I was wrong and I’m not sure why. Maybe it is just my methodology that is suspect, as I define bargain basement sires as those standing for a published fee of less than €7000. I would imagine that with the right mare and cash in my hand I would gain access to a great many sires with a published fee much greater than 7k.

Maybe Irish breeders are more commercially astute than some of their European counterparts and there is very little discrepancy between price and value, with studs correctly pricing their stallions. Coolmore in particular are expert at stallion pricing and while you could argue that some of their stallions are slightly over-priced it is very hard to think of one that is underpriced. The best I could manage is as follows:

Proven Stallions under €7000

None, nada,nil, zip,zilch. I went through the full list of stallions in Ireland standing in Ireland and could not honestly recommend one of those stallions as being a proven and reliable source of quality offspring. If I’m missing one, please let me know.

Promising Start- 1. Redback at €6500 Tally-Ho stud

Redback was a decent racehorse winning the Solario Stakes at 2 and the Greenham at 3. He also finished 3rd to Rock of Gibraltar and Hawk Wing in a very good 2000 Guineas. He went to stud without great expectations. His own sire Mark of Esteem was seemingly in decline at the time but Sir Percy has since restored some credibility to his record. His dam Patsy Western is by Precocious, by Mummys Pet and would be associated with cheap speed. . His results to date are very promising. His first crop included Gilded who won a Queen Mary, backed up by Sonny Red who won a listed race. His second crop is headed by Redolent who has won at listed level and looks up to Group level. Redbacks pedigree has only one cross of Northern Dancer in the fourth generation so he should have no problem crossing with mares with Northern Dancer close-up. However Interestingly all 3 of his best runners are out of mares from other sire lines with Gilded being out of an Aragorn mare, Sonny Red being out of a Petong mare, and Redolent out of a Highest Honour mare. Whether this is a reflection of the opportunities afforded to him or evidence of bias is too early to say. We can however categorise Redback as a useful sire of tough, speedy types and he is capable of upgrading his mare. His results should also improve as he benefits from the better mares sent after his very promising first season. At €6500 he represents good value. Incidentally Tally-Ho stud obviously don’t believe in the internet as a means of promoting their stallions as their website http://www.tallyhostud.net/ is an embarrassment and badly needs an upgrade. (Note since this article was written tally-ho stud have notified me of their bright new shiny website at www.tallyhostud.com )

Promising Start 2:- er, nobody else springs to mind.

I was going to write about Modigliani who sired group winner Magritte and sales race winner Sudden Impact in his first crop but Greentree Stud have pushed his price up to €7500 which takes him out of the bargain basement and to be honest might be too much too soon.

Unproven but might prove cheap.

Trying to pick winners from amongst the ranks of new stallions is a foolish activity but it won’t stop me trying…. If I had to spend my own money on nominations to some unproven stallions in Ireland I would choose the following; Alamshar at €5000 and Indian Haven at €6000 both at the Irish National Stud.

Maybe this is a sign that the Irish National Stud is taking seriously its obligations to small Irish breeders. Alamshar and Indian Haven are both Irish classic winners and both seem competitively priced. I fondly remember watching Alamshar win his maiden at Listowel and he is certainly the best flat horse to ever win there. He followed up by winning the Beresford. At three he finished third in the Derby but subsequent event showed he was the best horse in the field. He became the only horse to ever beat Dalakhani when out-battling him in the Irish Derby. He followed up by routing the field in the King George where his Derby conqueror Kris Kin was over five lengths in arrears. His career fizzled out when he was unplaced in both the Irish and Newmarket Champion Stakes. However he had proved himself to be an outstanding middle distance horse. At the end of his career the Aga Khan accepted an offer from Japan and it was surprising that he found his way back to these shores before his Japanese offspring had a chance to fully prove themselves. His fee is probably a reflection of the fact that he is by far the best offspring from his sire Key of Luck. As is typcial with Aga Khan families you don’t have to go far to find some class and his granddam is Aliysa who won the Oaks only to be controversially disqualified later for drug infringements, a disqualification that prompted the Aga Khan to withdraw all his horses from Britain.  Aliysa was already the dam of Desert Story who earned a berth at stud with wins in the Horris Hill at two and the Craven at three. His stud career in these parts never really got off the ground and he is now exiled to Alamshars former home of Japan. It might not be what everyone looks for in a stallions pedigree but given his race record he is certainly not overpriced.

Indian Haven is the Irish National Studs hope to continue the successes they enjoyed with his sire Indian Ridge and his grandsire Ahonoora. Indian Ridge has yet to sire a stallion son as good as himself despite some promise from Compton Place and Namid. However Indian Haven seems to have a better chance than most. He was at as best in the Spring of his three year old season when he won the Free Handicap, got crucified in the Newmarket Guineas and then won well in the Irish Guineas. His form then tapered off and a decision to keep him in training at four failed to add to his record. His dam Madame Dubois won the Park Hill Stakes and she is also dam of Count Dubois (by Zafonic) who is doing well at stud in South Africa.  His first two year olds have now hit the track and at the moment he has one winner from 7 runners. However although this is hardly an exciting start it wouldn’t be a surprise if his progeny took after his example and improved markedly between two and three. At €6000 it might be worth taking a chance that he could be the one to continue the Ahonoora success story at the Irish National Stud.

Bargain Basement British Sires- Best of the Rest

There is a difference between price and worth. Bargains can be found by recognising that difference. Browsing through a list of stallions in Britain at fees of under £5000  there were a few surprising names. Some of these are older stallions who have fallen out of fashion, some are stallions facing into difficult second, or third seasons and others just seem cheap to me. In no particular order my selections as the best value bargain basement sires are as follows:

1. Proven Sire standing in the UK= Generous at £4500.

Ok his sales figures are terrible and he is being marketed as a dual purpose sire. However he is a very good sire of racehorses and that should count for something. He is the sire of 37 stakes winners from 599 foals of racing age which is a very respectable 6%.  He started his career with huge expectations and a fee to match. When early results were solid rather than spectacular, it was impossible to resist a big money offer from Japan where his sire Caerleon was very popular. On his return to these isles he was being marketed as a dual purpose sire and covering very moderate mares. He still managed to sire a classic winner in Mystic Lips (2007 German Oaks) from one of the mares covered since his return.  He is also achieving success as a broodmare sire and Tartan Trader came within a length of giving him a Derby success as a broodmare sire to go with the Guineas victory of his brother Golan.  To these can be added Tungsten Strike and High Accolade who are also out Generous mares. 

2. Promising UK based sire= Lucky Story at £4000

It’s very early days for Lucky Story but he has made a bright start. He has sired Art Connoisseur who is unbeaten in two runs and will be well fancied in whatever engagement he takes up at Royal Ascot. He has also sired Caranbola who is a winner and was second in a Listed race. That isn’t a lot to go on but its a better start than anyone would have predicted. Lucky Story is a son of Kris S out of a Miswaki mare and is a full brother to the St James Palace winner Dr Fong (who stands for £9000). Although he never won a group 1, Lucky Story was the equal of his brother and he won two Group 2 races at two in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood and the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. At three he put up a fine performance in the QEII at Ascot running Ratki to half a length with Refuse To Bend, Soviet Song and Antonius Pius in his wake.  With a pedigree free of Northern Dancer and two promising performers in his first crop he offers value to British breeders.

3. Unknown but seems cheap- Zafeen at £3000
Zafeen won the Mill Reef Stakes at 2 and was second in the Prix Morny. At three he was runner up to Refuse to Bend in the 2000 Guineas and won the St James Palace.  He was rated the champion European three year old miler. He is a son of supersonic Zafonic, who to date has not left a major sire son (although Count Dubois is doing well in South Africa and Ifraaj has just started his career). His dam Shy Lady was by Kaldoun and was a 6 furlong listed race winner in Germany from the family of Diffident.  Northern Dancer is buried far back in his pedigree at 4sx6d so there should be no problem breeding  to stallions from his line. Zafeen looks good, he was a top class racehorse at two and three, his pedigree is respectable and he looks very reasonably priced to me.