It’s Eurovision week. All of the countries in Europe (and Israel which hasn’t realised it is in Asia) are sending forth various puppets, freaks, he-males, she-males and the occassional singer to battle for national pride. I’ll use it as an excuse to review the best sires standing in each country and then see who gets my douze points.
Ireland/ Irlande.- Selection Montjeu
Possible representatives: Montjeu, Galileo. Very hard to choose between these two as leaving aside the Coolmore hype both are undoubtedly very good stallions. Galileo is the more expensive and Montjeu’s offspring have a reputation as being a bit temperamental. Montjeu has had one more crop to represent him but I think overall that Galileo has had the better quality of mares. It’s easy to forget just how good Montjeu’s first crop actually was siring the first 2 home in the Epsom and Irish Derby’s with 4 different colts. Authorised’s win last year made it two of out three possible Epsom Derby’s and he has plenty of contenders from Ballydoyle again this year which could lead to an incredible 3 from 4 Epsom Derby’s. Lest you think I’m just being biased given the name of this blog well I’ll rely on the stats on Coolmores website which give the relative percentage of stakes winners to runners which is 9% to 7.4% in favour of Montjeu. Accordingly I nominate Montjeu as the Irish selection
United Kingdom /le Royaume Uni.- Selection Pivotal
Possible representatives: Pivotal & Dansili. Not a lot between them and the future is very bright for both as they are now well established at the top tier of stallions and will enjoy the best of mares. Pivotal is having a great season highlighted by Falco’s impressive win in the French Guineas, but Dansili could match it with Famous Name due to run in the Irish Guineas on Saturday. Dansili has sired an Arc winner something that Pivotal will never do but my preference is for Pivotal as I think he overcome greater obstacles in reaching the top of the tree.
France/ La France- Selection Sinndar
Possible representatives: Sinndar, Anabaa & Muhtathir. Without Linamix there is a real dearth of quality stallions in France. Anabaa is the most expensive stallion in France, he spent time in Kentucky and has been a consistently good sire but to me he was never outstanding. Muhtathir has sired Doctor Dino and Satwa Queen both group 1 winners from smallish crops of lesser mares. Sinndar was unloved by Irish breeders but for me they have missed out on the chance to use one of the few stallions around capable of siring a superstar which he did with Shawanda and he came within inches of getting an Arc winner with Youmzain. For me Muhtathir is the best value of the three but value doesn’t come into these rankings and Sinndar gets the nod.
No contest here. An outstanding stallion with incredible percentages. It should be very interesting to see how he gets on with the bluebloods he has started to attract in the past couple of years. Also we should see a lot more of his progeny running in Ireland and the UK. Fairly priced at 150k the only quibble you might have is the lack of precocity of his runners.
Italy/l’Italie- Selection Martino Alonso
Not a very competitive national contest. The only contenders were Blu Air Force who did well with his first crop, Munir who produced a few stakes horses from minimal opportunities and a few horses who had failed elsewhere. Martino Alonso was the victor purely on the basis of one very tough and versatile horse in Ramonti which doesn’t say much for the opposition.
Czech Republic/la République tchèque- Selection Relaxed Gesture
I did a quick search to see who was standing there and was surprised to see a few familiar names such as Rainbows for Life, Dandoun and Capri. I selected Relaxed Gesture as the best prospect as he is a Group one winner by Indian Ridge from a nice Moyglare family and I would have thought he was worthy of a place at stud at somewhere more upmarket.
Greece/la Grèce- Selection Lujain
Interesting to see that Lujain ended up here. Never sired anything better than Group 3 from his stint at Dalhalm and unlikely that anybody even noticed he left.
Hungary/la Hongrie: Selection Overseas Transfer
Hungary was the home of Kinscem who was unbeaten in her 54 races and one of the greatest racemares of the 19th century. Alas the country is not currently the repository of much in the way of quality bloodstock. I found two stallions listed for the country Satin Stone a Mr Prospector half brother to our Greek entry Lujain and Overseas Transfer an Mtoto half brother to Rock of Gibraltar. Tough decision -Eenie meenie miney moe
Russian Federation/ La Russie- Selection Massi Seraf
I never heard of Massi Seraf before but he is by Deputy Minister out of Miss Alleged which is an interesting pedigree. In recent years the only Russian sire of note is Leo Castelli the sire of Indian Charlie who spent a few years there before being repatriated to the States.
Turkey- Selection Sri Pekan
There is a good range of stallions available in Turkey including familiar names such as Common Grounds (who I thought was dead), Distant Relative(who I thought was dead), Sea Hero the 1993 Kentucky Derby winner, Danehill’s brother Eagle Eyed, and Manila (who I thought was dead) who beat Dancing Brave in the Breeders Cup turf. Divine Light the sire of Natagora is also a new arrival. Sri Pekan never hit the heights when at Coolmore but was well capable of siring a stakes horse such as Alayan, Tropical Lady and Whilly.
And the voting
Douze Points– Pivotal, ok he won’t sire you a middle distance colt, but he will do everything else and his fillies stay quite well. To me he is still good value at £85k and Sheikh Mohammed made a smart move by buying a big chunk of him. He is the Habitat of our times and his record is only going to improve. Terry Wogan would be delighted….
Dix Points– Montjeu. Lost a few points for temperament issues but apart from that he is the real deal and keeps delivering group winners over 10 furlongs plus and dont forget both his Epsom Derby winners were Group one winners at 2
Huit Points- Monsun. His stakes winner statistics are easily the best of any stallion around but I still can’t get away from the impression given by the careers of Manduro, Shirocco and now Getaway that you need to wait until they are 4 or 5 before you get a real racehorse.
Six Points- Sinndar- A fair bit behind the stallions listed above but he is a good sire of racehorses even if the commercial market don’t appreciate him.
Deux Points- Sri Pekan- Free of Northern Dancer and capable of getting a group performer.
Une Point- Martino Alonso. DId I mention he sired Ramonti?
Null Points-Relaxed Gesture, Lujain, Massi Seraf, Overseas Transfer