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)
- 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)
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– Overpriced– should 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 Klimt €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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.