Since I published my initial review of Coolmore stallions, Gustav Klimt has been exiled. This leaves ten sires standing for €20k or less. It’s a mix of the young and old, proven and unproven, pretenders, contenders and wannabees. Luck is a huge factor in successful breeding. Building on this insight, I incorporated a fortune cookie generator to help with my sire reviews. Initial results are promising and it seems more credible than some of the ‘expert analysis’ available in the trade press who simply regurgitate press releases/puff pieces. The Gods have spoken and who are we to disagree?
1. Gleneagles €17,500 (€15,000) (2012 Galileo ex You’resothrilling by Storm Cat).
Fortune Cookie Advice: “It is now and in this world that we must live“
The days when he stood for €60,000 and he was the bright shiny new thing on the Coolmore roster are gone. He has not lived up to expectations or the opportunities afforded him- but he is not a complete flop either. He sired five Group winners this year including a Grade 1 winner in Highland Chief (Man of War Stakes). He also sired two Group 2 winners including Royal Scotsman who was a close second in the Dewhurst and two Group 3 winners. His progeny seem to improve with age and many stay middle distances. There is nothing wrong with those qualities but they are not perhaps what the market expected from his offspring. His yearling median stayed at €32,000 but that is for a crop conceived at €35,000 so many breeders will have been stung by their involvement with him. Gleneagles is finding his place in the world, he has regained credibility as a sire but it would have been better to leave his fee unchanged as his best days commercially are long behind him.
2. Sioux Nation €17,500 (€10,000) (2015 Scat Daddy ex Dream the Blues by Oasis Dream)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “It’s better to be alone sometimes”
44 winners to date, saw him take a prominent position in the first season sires table. He topped the European listing by number of winners and was just behind Havana Grey by prizemoney. His results on the track saw his yearling median increase from €24k to €43k. He was advertised as a source of precocious speed and he delivered on that. In that regard, it is understandable that he got a price increase. He had three Stakes winners so there was some quality but overall he doesn’t strike me as a sire who is going to be a consistent source of high class winners. In contrast, I can envisage Havana Grey moving to the next level. Sioux Nation covered 158 mares in 2020, 61 in 2021 and a mammoth 255 in 2022 so he will have lots of representatives in the ring on and the track in the coming years. There will need to be more quality horses emerging to justify his elevated fee. That may happen but I’d be very wary of following the herd on this one.
3. Ten Sovereigns €17,500 (€17,500) (2016 No Nay Never ex Seeking Solace by Exceed and Excel)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “If you feel you are right, stand firmly by your convictions“
He has benefitted from the good season enjoyed by No Nay Never. 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 but in relative terms he is better priced than Blackbeard. He will have plenty of representatives in the ring and on the track as he covered 173 mares in 2022, 152 in 2021 and 214 in 2020. He had 88 yearlings sell for a median of €43,500 this year so they are popular in the ring and that underpins his fee. With big numbers to represent him, he will be one of the favourites for first season sire honours. He will be quickly shunned if he doesn’t make a strong start with his first runners but given his numerical strength, he has every chance to make an impact.
4. Magna Grecia €15,000 (17,500)- (2016 by Invincible Spirit ex Cabaret by Galileo)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “Let the Deeds Speak“
First runners this year so definitely in the high risk category. That said, he was a good Guineas winner, he is a half brother to St Mark’s Basilica and Invincible Spirit has a decent reputation as a sire of sires. Although he won a Vertem Futurity at two , I wouldn’t expect his runners to be especially precocious. His yearling median was €45k this year but commercially everything is dependent on how his first runners perform and anyone who tries to predict that is just sticking a finger in the air.
5. Calyx €10,000 (12,500)- (2016 Kingman ex Helleborine by Observatory)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “A short stranger will soon enter your life with blessings to share”
Alternative Fortune Cookie Advice: “You learn from your mistakes, you will learn a lot today”
Another sire due to have his first runners 2023. His fee has steadily dropped each season from an opening €22,500. Since then, we have all cooled somewhat on Kingman. In the cold light of day, Calyx’s race record shows he was talented but fragile. He managed only 4 starts and never contested a Group 1. He covered 163 mares in 2020 which dropped to 105 in 2021. He is not the biggest at 15.3 but I liked his turn of foot. He is one for gamblers that could go either way.
6. Circus Maximus €10,500 (12,500)- (2016 by Galileo ex Duntle by Danehill Dancer)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “You will travel to many exotic places in your lifetime”
Entering his third season at half his opening fee, but has been a hard sell to breeders. Circus Maximus was high class, sound and genuine but for me lacked a bit of star quality. He has received some high class mares from the Niarchos broodmare band which should help his prospects. Despite this, it would be no surprise if he followed in the path of the similarly bred The Gurkha, who ended up plying his trade elsewhere after initial runners failed to fire.
7. Footstepsinthesand €10,000 (€12,500) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “Now is the time to try something new“
I never understood the attraction of Footstepsinthesand. He is now entering his 17th season at stud but he has sired just three Northern Hemisphere Group 1 winners . His progeny are overrated by trainers . This underpins his sales price (yearling median of c.€23k) but for me he is very limited and is one to avoid.
8. Holy Roman Emperor €10,000 (€10,000) (2004 Danehill ex L’On Vite by Secretariat)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing those you hold well”
Had a decent year on the track with 5 Group winners in the Northern Hemisphere, headlined by dual Group 2 winner Jadoomi. At the sales, his yearling median increased to €26,783. At the money, I think he is a solid sire who is perhaps a better percentage choice for a young mare than some of the more fashionable but unproven sires.
9. U S Navy Flag €10,000 (€12,500) (2015 War Front ex Misty For Me by Galileo)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “You already know the answer to the questions lingering inside your head”
Had his first runners in 2022 and started brightly before faltering. Perhaps bolstered by early season results he covered 144 mares a big jump on the 59 covered in 2021. To date he has an underwhelming 11 winners that included 2 Listed winners. His yearling median has declined from €53,500 in 2021 to €22,000 in 2022 so the market has lost faith. We sometimes bemoan the tendency to write off sires much too early but it’s hard to see him recovering and he may be used as another stick to knock sons of War Front. There are now big question marks surrounding him.
10. Arizona €5,000 (€6,000)- (2017 No Nay Never ex Lady Ederle by English Channel)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “Fortune favors the brave”
Now entering his third season, he got a price reduction despite the good year for No Nay Never. Arizona has his plus points as a Coventry winner who was second to Pinatubo in the Dewhurst. He will suit breeders looking a commercial source of cheap speed/precocity and is probably reasonably priced overall who may get a return with him.
Coolmore has lost ground to their rivals but they are still the biggest operator by far in the Irish market. The roster lacks diversity and is relatively unadventurous. Given their financial muscle, it would be refreshing to see them introduce some American and more Japanese bloodlines. Coolmore achieved their elevated status through years of shrewd decision making. In the words of the fortune cookie generator ” The man on the top of the mountain did not fall there”. Staying on top of the mountain will need them to adapt but they are more than capable of that.