Lanwades Stud: 2021 Fees Reviewed

Lanwades Stud titles itself the ‘Independent Option’ . Numerically, it doesn’t try to compete with the Darley or Coolmore rosters. However, despite having only four sires it still manages to provide a varied and interesting stallion choice.

It isn’t a lack of finance that prevents the stud from expanding its roster. The stud’s owner, Kirsten Rausing, is one of the richest women in Europe, due to her part ownership of Tetrapak. To her credit, she has contributed generously to racing welfare and research charities.

Lanwades has always tried to offer alternatives to Northern Dancer line stallions. They stood sires like Leroidesanimaux (a grandson of Blushing Groom) , With Approval (Caro) and Selkirk (Sharpen Up). I felt the stud was almost like a project in ‘breed improvement’ , providing some sires that were worthy but not always commercial. It was the stud farm version of the public service/highbrow broadcaster contrasting with more populist/commercial offerings. Times change and they have embraced larger books for Sea The Moon so they are not averse to availing of commercial opportunity.

Stallion 2021 fee (2020 fee)

  1. Bobby’s Kitten £7,000 (£8,000) (Kitten’s Joy ex Celestial Woods by Forestry)

Verdict: Overpriced

Winner of a Breeder’s Cup Turf Sprint at three (defeating No Nay Never), he failed to win at four. He was shipped across the Atlantic to Dermot Weld and he reappeared early in his five year old career, hacking up by 8 lengths in a listed race at Cork in March on heavy ground. It appeared he was set for a very interesting and profitable European campaign but alas he was never seen again on the track. His sire, Kitten’s Joy, achieved champion sire status in the US in 2013 and 2018, despite being primarily a turf sire. His reputation in Europe has flourished in recent years with Hawkbill quickly followed by Roaring Lion and Kameko. Lanwades are advertising Bobby’s Kitten as ‘a great outcross for most European mares’. Given that Kitten’s Joy is a grandson of Sadler’s Wells and the dam has Storm Cat as a grandsire, it wasn’t the first thought that crossed my mind…

First Crop Results: Bobby’s Kitten had his first runners this year and they did reasonably well with 12 winners from 45 runners. There were no stakes winners, although his best performer Monaasib was runner-up in the Gr 2 Beresford Stakes. That was over a mile and Bobby’s Kitten’s second and third highest Racing Post rated runners, also won over a mile which seems to indicate that his progeny will stay well. It is perhaps worth noting that although he finished his career as a sprinter, as a juvenile he was a Grade 3 winner over 8.5 furlongs and was a close third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile turf over a mile.

Sales Results: He had 14 yearlings sell in 2020 with a median of just £6,000 and an average of £10,165. That crop was conceived at £12,500 so it was not a good outcome for breeders.

Conclusion: It is too early to dismiss him as a sire of racehorses and it is perfectly possible/probable that his progeny will improve at three. He deserves a chance before we make final judgement. I think the market may be a little too dismissive of him which means there may be value in being a buyer of his offspring. However, there isn’t value for the commercial breeder and it is impossible to justify his fee based on sales returns.


2. Sea The Moon £22,500 (£15,000)- (2011 by Sea the Stars ex Sanwa by Monsun)
Verdict: Fair Price

Winner of his first four races including an 11 length triumph in the German Derby . He was made favourite for the Arc but never made it to Paris, being retired after a sub-par showing in the Grosser Preis Von Baden. His dam is a daughter of Monsun and a sister to no less than three German classic winners (Samum, Schiaperilli and Salve Regina). He was from the excellent first crop of Sea the Stars and his first son at stud. He was an interesting addition to the stallion ranks at £15000 and had a sizeable 118 foals in his first crop. Not untypically that initial glow faded and he had reduced crops of 83, 39 and 54 in succeeding years.

Progeny Record: It’s fair to say that Sea the Moon has exceed expectations. His star performer to date is Coronation Stakes winner Alpine Star and she was a little unlucky to just come up short in the French Oaks, Jacques Le Marois and Prix de l’Opera. I wouldn’t have expected him to sire a top miler. He has had a pair of champion two year olds in Germany, another Group winning miler in Hamariyna and he is not a one dimensional stamina influence (although he gets plenty who do stay well) but he imparts that great intangible, class.

Sales Results: He had 14 yearlings sell in 2020 with a median of £37,275. That’s a good return off a covering fee of £15,000. His yearling median has risen steadily since his first two year olds hit the track. It is probably good for his sales figures that there will be a thriving resale market for his ex-flat racers as jumps prospects.

Conclusion: Coming from a German family and having a dam by Monsun and her dam by Old Vic, it wasn’t difficult to envisage him ending up as a National Hunt sire. He has already shown his ability in that role via Allmankind but his future in the flat ranks is now secure. He may go a little quieter with his smaller current crop of two year olds and three year olds but there should be a bright future ahead with bigger and better crops in the offing and he covered 164 mares in 2020..


3. Sir Percy £7,000 (£7,000)- (2003 by Mark of Esteem ex Percy’s Lass by Blakeney)
Verdict: Overpriced

A cracking racehorse, he won the Dewhurst, the Derby and was runner up in a Guineas, but an ordinary sire. He had St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco to represent him in 2020 but he has failed to sire a Group winner in every crop since 2015. He is advertised as the sire of two Group 1 winners but I suspect most people would struggle to tell you anything about either Sir John Hawkwood (Australian Group 1 in 2016) or Wake Forest (2016 Man O’War stakes).

Sales Results: He had 13 yearlings sell in Europe in 2020 with a median of £31,366. It’s a very good return but might be an aberration as his medians were £15,324 and £21,543 in the preceding years. His GB/Irish sales median was £19,425. Maybe it was the national hunt folk trying to source the next Presenting Percy:)

Conclusion: It’s nice to see an active sire from the Mill Reef line but he hasn’t produced the goods in his stud career and I don’t see that changing.


4. Study of Man £12,500 (£15,000)- (2015 by Deep Impact ex Second Happiness by Storm Cat)
Verdict: Fair Price

He won the Gr 2 Prix Greffuhle and a weakish renewal of the Prix du Jockey Club but failed to win again in 7 subsequent starts. He did however finish runner up in both the Prix Ganay and the Prix d’Ispahan as four year old. He was high class (Timeform 122) but just a few lengths short of being truly top class.

On the other hand, his pedigree is truly top class. He is a very welcome son of Deep Impact to join the European stallion ranks. The dam was a non-winner but as a daughter of Storm Cat and Miesque, it is a pedigree to drool over. Miesque was an exceptional race-mare and just as good a broodmare. Her legacy would have been secured with Kingmambo, never mind her other offspring East of the Moon and Miesque’s Son. Her daughters are just as prominent and their descendants include Karakontie, Rumplestiltskin, Tapestry, Alpha Centauri and Alpine Moon with the list growing each year. Even if he had been unraced, his pedigree almost warranted a slot at stud.

Conclusion: He was a contemporary (and occasional rival) of another son of Deep Impact, Saxon Warrior, but was a few pounds inferior to him. His pedigree however stands up to the closest scrutiny and I think his £12,500 fee compares well with Saxon’s €20,000 fee (and I wouldn’t quibble with Saxon’s fee). Its always a gamble using an unproven sire but I think he is well worth a punt at the price and I would expect sons of Deep Impact to make er a Deep Impact.

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.

Nothing sporting about these team tactics

I’m a huge admirer of the unrelenting excellence of the Ballydoyle/Coolmore operation. However recent races have led to serious questions about their use of team tactics. Ballydoyle are arguably pursuing tactics that are against the spirit of the sport. Pacemakers have an acceptable and valuable role in the sport, however we are witnessing tactics that seem more akin to the use of ‘domestiques’ in cycling and that is objectionable.


The BHA’s rules on team tactics are as follows:
46: ASSISTING ANOTHER HORSE IN A RACE
A Jockey must not ride in such a way which is intended to, or does, give an advantage to or is in the interests of a horse which:
-shares one or more Owners in common with; or
-is from the same stable or team as the horse they are riding in the Race.
A Trainer is also responsible for any breach of Rule (F)46 by a Jockey riding one of their horses, except where they can demonstrate that they instructed the Jockey to treat every other horse in the Race equally.
Nothing in these Rules prohibits pure pace making.


Watch the ride on 50-1 shot Royal Dornach (see video below) and you have to wonder, was he more interested in riding his own race or in inconveniencing Threat?

This incident follows closely on the Irish 2000 Guineas where 6 of the 11 runners were Ballydoyle trained. Thankfully Siskin and Colin Keane were good enough to extract themselves from a phlanx of Ballydoyle runners and the best horse won on the day. However as Ger Lyons said “we were up against a football team”.

In 2008, Ballydoyle were fined in regard to the running of Red Rock Canyon who facilitated Duke of Marmalade in the Juddmonte International see https://www.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/disciplinary-panel-result-and-statement/

Nobody expects Ballydoyle’s jockeys to adopt an ‘after you’ approach to their rivals, but they are sullying their reputation with this behaviour. Given their power in the industry the media give them a relatively easy time.

It is time for the British and Irish stewards to get serious about this issue.

Team Tactics in the St James Palace
Siskin versus ‘a football team’

140-A Useful Restriction?A Straw in the Wind?

At a time when people are complaining about lockdowns and restrictions, the Jockey Club of North America has introduced what could be an intelligent and helpful restriction. Limiting book sizes to 140 for stallions born during or after 2020 is a first step in regulating the market. It is surprising that the ultra-capitalist USA has intervened in the free market, whereas European countries don’t act. US racing is no exemplar having failed utterly to deal with its drug problem and it has serious welfare issues but this is welcome example of intelligent leadership coming from Trump’s America. Alternatively, maybe there is a secondary motive that is in line with Trump’s protectionist policies. It might not be a coincidence that ‘foreign’ owned Coolmore is likely to be most impacted by this change…..

Gradual Introduction:

The new rules only apply to foals born in 2020. That means it is unlikely to affect any new stallions until the 2024 breeding season.

To see its potential impact, I looked at the 2019 covering figures in the US. IN 2019, 46 sires in the US covered 140 or more mares (see table at end of this article) . If the 140 mare limit was imposed on all of those stallions then 1397 mares would have gone to alternative stallions . However, under the terms of the phased introduction it would have applied to just 4 stallions (Justify, Mendellsohn, Bolt d’Oro and Good Magic) who collectively covered 322 mares over the cap. If the logic is to help improve diversity in the gene pool, then it’s not going to transform the landscape dramatically. It is a small step in the right direction and the impact will increase over time.

Implications for Stallion Values

A decrease from 252 to 140 equates to a 44% reduction in mares covered for Justify and Mendellsohn. In absolute terms, had the cap been in force there would have been a notional loss of over $20 million to Coolmore (assuming these mares didn’t switch to alternative Coolmore stallions). Justify was standing for $150000, and based on 112 mares this equates to $16.8 million and for Mendelssohn at $35000 the loss would have been $3.9 million. The excess over the cap equates to $1.8 million for Bolt D’Oro (74 mares at €25000) and €840000 for Good Magic (24 @$35000).

It doesn’t automatically follow that their values or purchase prices would have dropped by 44%. They can still shuttle to the Southern Hemisphere where their earning potential will not be impacted. Stallions are typically less popular after their first season so the impact will be reduced in those years. Most stallions can only dream of attracting more than 140 mares so for the majority of stallions it will have no implications.

Coolmore’s Modus Operandi

In the past Coolmore could outbid rivals for stallions but still recoup the higher price through greater utilisation of those stallions (ie more mares covered). Coolmore usually recoup the majority of their investment in the initial years before the first runners arrive.

They can still outbid rivals but the ‘stack ’em high’ advantage will be gone, at least in the US (shuttle coverings won’t be impacted). The phased introduction of the cap, lessens the threat to Coolmore and they have time to adjust their purchasing decisions and pricing strategies for new recruits. I suspect, they would prefer if the cap wasn’t introduced but they will adapt to it’s introduction.

Implication for Genetic Diversity

The stated reason for the rule is to improve genetic diversity and to avoid the narrowing of bloodlines that we have witnessed in recent decades.

I think quotas are to be welcomed and the intervention is warranted. For 200 years, the unwritten cap on stallion books was 40 mares. It is only since the 1980’s that we have seen the relentless rise in what is considered acceptable. Given the multiple variables at play it is hard to definitively prove that larger books have damaged the soundness of the breed, as measured by starts per runner.

However, the lack of definitive proof doesn’t mean that nothing should be done. It is reasonable to suggest that a more prudent and precautionary approach should have been adopted. To me it makes sense to avoid situations whereby 1% of all US mares are bred to a single unproven stallion (as was the case with both Justify and Mendellsohn).

The Situation in Europe

The European regulatory environment is complicated by differing national laws and possible the need to comply with EU competition law. Changes could be implemented by industry agreement and self-regulation. Hopefully this US initiative may prompt debate and action on the issue.

In the National Hunt sphere there are some ridiculous book sizes, particularly amongst unproven sons of Galileo (see http://www.montjeu.com/1122/ for a full discussion on that issue). Ireland’s National Hunt breeding environment would benefit most from book size restrictions.

Conclusion

If this change was in effect in 2019 only 322 mares out of c.20,000 would have been redirected to other stallions. It is a modest initial intervention but a significant ideological shift and an acknowledgment that the market isn’t always right. It will hopefully spur other countries to act and follow the US example…

List of stallions covering more than 140 mares in 2019

StallionMares BredMares over capYear born
Justify2521122015
Mendelssohn2521122015
Into Mischief2411012005
Uncle Mo2411012008
Goldencents239992010
Bolt d’Oro214742015
Munnings202622006
Practical Joke200602014
Sharp Azteca195552013
Cross Traffic188482009
Klimt187472014
American Pharoah178382012
Mor Spirit176362013
Cloud Computing171312014
Kantharos171312008
Violence171312010
West Coast168282014
Accelerate167272013
Gun Runner166262013
Always Dreaming165252014
Good Magic164242015
Good Samaritan162222014
Candy Ride (ARG)161211999
Collected156162013
Nyquist156162013
Hard Spun155152004
Union Rags155152009
Quality Road154142006
Tapwrit154142014
Twirling Candy154142007
Cairo Prince152122011
Arrogate14992013
Girvin14992014
Kitten’s Joy14992001
Stay Thirsty14772008
Street Sense14772004
Uncaptured14772010
City of Light14662014
Frosted14442012
Mo Town14442014
California Chrome14332011
Mastery14332014
Speightstown14221998




Total74171397

National Hunt Sire Lines- 1st Monsun, 2nd Montjeu, 3rd Galileo

With the world in the grip of a pandemic, it may seem crass to write about something as trivial as horse racing, but we all need our distractions.

I was asked via Twitter to look at the overall performance of grandsons of Galileo in National Hunt Racing (I recently wrote about their performance at Cheltenham). As the overuse of sons of Galileo is a bugbear of mine, I didn’t take much persuasion to accept the challenge.

To make a meaningful comparison, I looked at the performance throughout the 2019/2020 season of sire sons of Galileo, Montjeu and Monsun. The numbers confirm that sire-sons of Galileo are nothing special in the world of National Hunt racing. In fact their performance is inferior to that of sires by Montjeu and especially by Monsun.

Methodology:

I looked at the sire standings for National Hunt in 2019/2020 for the top 550 sires from the Racing Post website. I then extracted and aggregated the results for the sons of Galileo, Montjeu and Monsun. The summary results are shown below:

SIRELINEWnrsRnrsW/R %WinsRuns%Stks Wnrs
GALILEO SIRES TOTAL12752224.3%174172110.1%11
MONSUN SIRES TOTAL22479728.1%322263712.2%15
MONTJEU SIRES TOTAL16561326.9%235202311.6%13

Summary of Findings:

Sons of Galileo fare poorly in terms of winners to runners and wins to runs compared with sons of Montjeu and especially sire sons of Monsun. There may be some reasons to account for the difference such as a younger age profile of the representatives of the Galileo tribe but there is nothing in the figures to suggest that National Hunt breeders should be flocking to sons of Galileo…

Blindly believing in sire lines on the flat or in National hunt racing will lead to lots of disappointments. There are individual sons of Galileo who could be promising jumps sires (Nathaniel especially) but overall the figures suggest that most sons of Galileo are not that welcome an addition to National Hunt pedigrees. The real concern is that sending one third of mares to sons of Galileo may eventually cause long term damage the National hunt breed by narrowing the gene pool. National Hunt breeders may feel reassured in using sons of Galileo ( everyone else is doing it) , but as the Corona virus has shown, being part of the crowd isn’t always such a good idea….

Detailed Workings: Stallions listed by their placing in the sires table by earnings- figures as shown on Racing Post website on 28/03/2020 and referring to UK and Irish earnings for 2019/2020 season

RankStallionWnrsRnrsW/R %WinsRuns%Stks WnrsEarnings £
13Mahler5321325%7275210%2£949,163
49Nathaniel173944%2211719%4£328,541
98Sixties Icon53415%71216%0£146,624
114Rip Van Winkle102934%1410114%0£121,731
135Sans Frontieres64115%91178%1£98,224
141Teofilo83921%91257%1£92,078
148New Approach72429%98211%0£87,972
164Soldier Of Fortune31127%64513%1£71,857
240Cima De Triomphe11100%2450%1£42,105
246Imperial Monarch21613%4469%1£40,774
253Australia3933%32811%0£37,282
255Heliostatic3560%41233%0£36,694
259Battle Of Marengo2633%42615%0£35,329
294Finsceal Fior21217%32811%0£27,716
390Vendangeur1425%1205%0£14,971
435Frankel090%0240%0£11,521
444Noble Mission1333%2633%0£11,039
451Roderic O’Connor1714%1157%0£10,552
465Intello090%0190%0£9,464
485Feel Like Dancing11100%1520%0£8,178
512Ruler Of The World1425%11010%0£6,607
529Cape Blanco030%060%0£5,688
537Red Rocks030%0120%0£5,478
GALILEO SIRES TOTAL 12752224.3%174172110.1%11


RankStallionWnrsRnrsW/R %WinsRuns%Stks WnrsEarnings £
11Getaway7525829%9886611%5£1,100,603
16Network216134%3219616%3£845,837
29Arcadio3014121%454819%1£541,960
30Shirocco3914826%5543613%2£531,547
57Schiaparelli105020%141549%1£283,101
63Gentlewave61250%83921%1£233,923
72Samum4667%81942%1£201,211
82September Storm93327%1714911%0£181,315
133Salutino51436%116517%0£102,638
149Aizavoski93030%127915%0£87,690
167Manduro51436%84916%0£69,827
220Noroit31619%4557%0£48,225
254Lauro3560%41429%0£37,087
264Axxos2367%21513%0£34,877
303Ocovango1425%2825%1£26,632
367Speedmaster22100%21217%0£17,480
MONSUN SIRES TOTAL 22479728.1%322263712.2%15


RankStallionWnrsRnrsW/R %WinsRuns%Stks WnrsEarnings £
17Scorpion4218922%557198%1£810,218
35Walk In The Park82730%98011%4£483,862
36Fame And Glory3313624%4938013%1£473,569
37Authorized225937%3220016%1£451,972
77Pour Moi113037%189020%0£195,358
92Montmartre72726%128814%2£155,773
96Maxios81747%115122%1£150,255
97Motivator72035%125920%1£148,850
103Papal Bull83126%101139%1£139,334
105Davidoff2540%41822%1£135,129
120Jukebox Jury61060%123139%0£114,475
153Camelot52818%5836%0£84,328
352Honolulu2450%21020%0£19,342
375Frozen Fire2633%22110%0£17,080
400Hurricane Run0110%0320%0£14,439
455Masked Marvel1250%1714%0£10,104
461Spider Flight050%0200%0£9,735
484Recital1617%1215%0£8,221
MONTJEU SIRES TOTAL 16561326.9%235202311.6%13

Cheltenham and Galileo..

I recently wrote about the deeply concerning rush by National Hunt breeders to use sons of Galileo http://www.montjeu.com/archives/1122. The results at Cheltenham don’t lessen that concern.

Herd mentality will see one third of NH mares go to sons of Galileo this year. Looking at the results at Cheltenham, where Galileo had 3 runners and his sons sired 17 runners, there is nothing to justify such faith.

Nathaniel did very well with 2 winners (albeit Burning Victory was fortunate that Goshen unseated) from 3 runners. However, he is a £25000 flat sire and if you take him out the results are very ordinary. If Irish and UK breeders want to reclaim some of the ground they have lost to French breds then they will have to put less trust in the adverts from the stud farms and look at supporting a more varied range of NH stallions… The full listing of runners by Galileo and his sons is shown below.

HorseSirePositionRunnersClassType
WhatsnotoknowMahler815Grade 1Hurdle
SupasundaeGalileo717Grade 1Hurdle
SacchoaandvanzettiFinsceal Fior1122Grade 3Hurdle
Fraser IslandAustralia1822Grade 3Hurdle
Ocean WindTeofilo623Grade 1NHF
Mahler AllstarMahler1223Grade 1NHF
Annie McMahler912Grade 1Chase
Itchy FeetCima de Triompheur12Grade 1Chase
ConcertistaNathaniel122Grade 2Hurdle
Vienna CourtMahler822Grade 2Hurdle
Bob MahlerMahler323HcpChase
Deise AbaMahler523HcpChase
Le MuseeGalileo1323HcpChase
Like the SoundSoldier of Fortunepu23HcpChase
Burning VictoryNathaniel113Grade 1Hurdle
Navajo PassNathaniel413Grade 1Hurdle
Lord LamingtonAustralia1013Grade 1Hurdle
BuildmeupbuttercupSixties Icon324Grade 3Hurdle
Chris’s DreamMahler1012Grade 1Chase
Big BlueGalileo1923HcpHurdle

Galileo, Groupthink, National Hunt Breeding And A New Heresy….

Back in 1633, Galileo was convicted of heresy for his espousal of the heliocentric view of the universe. He was sentenced to house arrest which lasted until his death in 1642.

Sadler’s Wells transformed National Hunt breeding, so breeders seem to assume that Galileo will do the same. Here is my heresy; when it comes to National Hunt breeding, I don’t believe in Galileo… The Catholic Church admitted it was wrong in 1992. I wonder if it will take as long to admit to a mistake by National Hunt breeders?

Grounds for Concern:

1. Sadler’s Wells was a great sire of jumpers, Galileo isn’t.

Looking at Racing Post Ratings, from 294 runners over jumps, Galileo has sired just two runners rated over 155, Celestial Halo on 167 and Supasundae on 165 . In contrast from 362 runners, Sadler’s Wells has 11 runners including the imperious Istabraq on 181, Synchronized on 171, Pridwell on 169, Essex on 165 and Theatreworld on 164 .

Galileo also suffers in comparison with Montjeu. Montjeu had fewer National Hunt runners at 249, but has sired 8 horses rated 155 or above, headlined by Hurricane Fly on 173. To date sire sons of Montjeu have also achieved more than sons of Galileo in the National Hunt realm(eg Douvan, Min, Tiger Roll, Might Bite aka Does Bite) but that’s a discussion for another day. The fact that Galileo hasn’t sired good jumpers doesn’t mean that his sons won’t succeed, but it does create a doubt. Where there is doubt, you would expect caution but instead we have a reckless herd mentality on an almost unprecedented scale.

2. Galileo’s National Hunt Stallion Sons are unproven

Galileo has no proven, established National Hunt stallion sons. Mahler has made a good start (eg Chris’s Dream, Ornua) but not enough to warrant 227 mares in 2019. Soldier of Fortune attracted 275 mares in 2019 and 290 in 2018. That is a lot of faith to put in a stallion who still has to deliver a really top horse but who at least has Busted and Lord Gayle as his dams grand-sires.

Displaying even more faith, but without a comparable female line or any racecourse evidence, were the 275 breeders who used Order of St George, the 225 who went to Idaho and the 190 mares who went to Telescope. That is around 1200 mares from those 5 sons of Galileo. Am I the only person who thinks this might be insane?

3. The sheer scale of the problem

Next season those five stallions will be joined by Leger winners Capri and Flag of Honour, who can both expect significant books. There are a host of others including Finsceal Fior, Imperial Monarch, Proconsul, Vendangeur, Sans Frontieres, Shantaram also in the marketplace. The total foal crop in the UK (4655) and Ireland (8788) in 2019 was 13,443 foals. In Britain it is estimated that 23% of the foal crop is intended as NH or dual purpose and in Ireland it is 48%. This would equate to 5,288 national hunt or dual purpose foals. We could be looking at over 1,700 or around one third of the National Hunt crop being by sons of Galileo.

Conclusion:

I’m sure that there will be many good horses sired by the sons of Galileo. The sheer weight of numbers make that almost inevitable. However, the percentages may be less than expected.

No one is asking about the implications of having so many foals from the same sire line. Half of the foals will be fillies so we are the changing the National Hunt breed forever.

French National Hunt breeding has outperformed the UK and Irish sectors over the past two decades. There are a lot of factors at play, but a willingness to embrace diversity in sire lines and smaller books that allow more stallions a chance have an impact. Irish breeders acting individually think they are being rational but the cumulative effect of their group-think could damage everyone in the National Hunt sector…