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.

Coolmore 2020 Fees- An Honest Appraisal- Part 1

Coolmore has 25 flat stallions on their roster for 2020. I’ve assessed each of their fees as either representing good value, fair value or poor value. I can be honest because I don’t get paid to run full colour page ads for their stallions 🙂 Given the number of stallions, I will consider 12 stallions this week…

Stallion 2020 fee (2019 fee)
Australia €27,500 (€35,000)- (2011 by Galileo ex Ouija Board by Cape Cross)
Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced:

Australia was a superior Derby winner out of an outstanding Oaks winner and a gorgeous mover and physical specimen. I thought he was the natural successor to Galileo but I was wrong. He has done respectably but the market is unforgiving and fickle and his progeny are showing too much stamina for our speed obsessed industry. His average winning distance is 11.9 furlongs and he has yet to sire a Group 1 winner. His sales median held up surprisingly well this year but unless he comes up with some superstars next year, he will be in trouble. He is a high risk proposition for any commercial breeder who would be looking to sell a yearling by him in 2022. In my view, given the risks involved he is overpriced and closer to €20,000 would be more appropriate.

Calyx €22,500 (na)- (2016 Kingman ex Helleborine by Observatory)

Verdict: Fair Value: (surprisingly)

Surely €22,500 is too much for a horse who never won or even ran, in a Group 1? Surely its too much for a horse who was so fragile he only managed four runs in two seasons? Actually, its probably about right. Calyx was brilliantly fast and he is the first high profile son of Kingman to go to stud in Ireland. He comes from a strong Juddmonte family and he was precocious enough to win the Coventry at Royal Ascot. He is ticking the right commercial boxes ie fashionable, precocious and speedy and he should prove popular. That said I would expect the usual slight dip in fee in years 2,3 and 4 especially as more sons of Kingman hit the market. However as a purely commercial play (as opposed to someone looking to breed a racehorse), I think his fee is about right and can be justified.

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

Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced:

He stood for €25,000 for his first three seasons so he clearly has done something right. This season was a case of ‘close but no cigar’- Pink Dogwood was beaten just a neck in the Oaks and the following day Sir Dragonet started favourite for the Derby and was beaten just under a length. Currently he has 25 stakes winners (a creditable 5% of racing age offspring) and Camelot is the main hope for the Montjeu sireline on the flat. His yearling sales median dipped to 60000 guineas from 80000 guineas in the preceeding year. I would have expected a downward adjustment in his fee for 2020 to either €30000 or €35000.

Caravaggio €40,000 (€35,000)- (2014 by Scat Daddy ex Mekko Hokte by Holy Bull)

Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced:

Stood for €35,000 for his first two seasons and it is customary for fees to decrease not increase in the third season. He was an unbeaten two year old who won the Coventry and Phoenix Stakes and he defeated Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup at three. And of course, he was a son of Scat Daddy. It is this fact that accounts for the rise in his fee for his third season. People are assuming that he will replicate the success of Scat Daddy’s son, No Nay Never. He may well be a success but the risk/reward ratio for a third season sire doesn’t appeal to me.

Churchill €30,000 (€35,000)- (2014 by Galileo ex Meow by Storm Cat)

Verdict: Poor ValueOver Priced

Churchill won seven consecutive races including 4 consecutive Group 1’s in 2016 and 2017. Alas, I still had to rewatch videos of his Guineas wins and Dewhurst to refresh the memory. That tells me that although he compiled an impressive cv, he lacked the star quality you would expect from a dual Guineas winner. His pedigree is typically high class Coolmore, with the plebian Airwave family having now arrived at the top table. His sister Clemmie also won a Group 1 in the Cheveley Park. He was high class, is well bred and has as good a chance as any third season sire of proving successful, but perhaps is a bit pricey compared with Gleneagles.

Fastnet Rock €60,000 (€70,000) (2001 Danehill ex Piccadilly Circus by Royal Academy)

Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced (Massively)

Verdict: His overall European record is nothing special given the quality of mares he received. Coolmore had hoped he would be a suitable consort for their many Galileo mares, but he didn’t really deliver. He can get a top notcher but even his best performers last season such as Torcedor, One Master and I Can Fly don’t exactly excite. His yearling median in 2019 was 51000 guineas so I don’t know how anyone thinks he is good value at €60,000. To me he is a €25,000 sire.

Footstepsinthesand €15,000 (€10,000) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest)

Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced

He stood at €10,000 for 9 consecutive years before getting a 50% hike for 2020.  The justification was the emergence of two high class two year olds in Threat and Mum’s Tipple. This racecourse success also saw a rise in his yearling median to 27000 guineas from 20000 guineas. However both Threat and Mum’s Tipple were beaten in the Middle Park. That is the story of Footsteps, he is a reasonable stallion, who progeny are popular with trainers. However his best progeny fall short of being truly top class. He has a place in the market but his fee for the previous 9 seasons is about right.

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

Verdict: Value 🙂

We take his extraordinary results each year for granted. Another four classic winners in 2019 with Hermosa, Anthony Van Dyck, Sovereign and Search for A Song. The supporting cast included Circus Maximus and Japan. His fee has been private for over a decade now and supposedly over €500,000. At this level, the saying ‘if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it’ springs to mind, so his actual fee is of little relevance to anyone who does their own shopping.

Gleneagles €35,000 (30,000) (2012 Galileo ex You’resothrilling by Storm Cat).

Verdict: Value

What’s not to like? A dual Guineas winner, first past the post in 5 Group 1’s and out of a full sister to Giant’s Causeway. He has had a very nice first crop with Group 2 winners in Royal Lytham and Royal Dornoch and a Royal Ascot winner in Southern Hills. Overall there were an impressive 25 winners from 111 foals. In the sales ring he had a yearling median of 75,000 guineas. No superstars (yet), but a promising start and less of a risk than some of his studmates.

Gustav Klimt €6,000 (€7,500) (2015 Galileo ex Massarrah by Danehill)

Verdict: Overpriced

‘Only’ a Group 2 winner but placed in the Irish Guineas, St James Palace and Haydock Sprint Cup. His place on the Coolmore roster is due to the fact that 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 and I’m not sure about a son of Galileo doing likewise.

Highland Reel €12,500 (€17,500) (2012 Galileo ex Hveger by Danehill)

Verdict: Overpriced

A really admirable racehorse. He ran 27 times. He won the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at two, won two Group 1’s at three, two Group 1’s at four and two Group 1’s at five. His successes included a King George, a Breeders Cup Turf, a Prince of Wales Stakes a Coronation Cup and a Hong Kong Vase. He is bred on the Galileo Danehill cross and his siblings include a Group 1 winner in Cape of Good Hope and an Irish Derby runner up in Idaho. We bemoan the fashion for speed and the lack of respect for soundness and toughness in our sires. However, I would be surprised if Highland Reel proves a successful flat sire. Nor does he appeal as an obvious choice for a commercially minded breeder. He lacked a striking turn of foot, improved with age and I expect him to be in Coolmore’s National Hunt division in a few years time!…

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

Verdict: Fairly Priced:

Romanised helped show his sire in a positive light with his victory in the Jacques Le Marois and a controversial defeat by Circus Maximus in the Moulin (the placings should have been reversed in my opinion). Overall though it was an unremarkable year on the track. He got a new two year old Group winner in Roman Turbo and Listed two year old winner in Piece of Paradise. His yearling median last year was a solid 31500 guineas and his stats of 85 stakes winners from 1746 foals of racing age is a healthy 5%. He can sire a top class horse, can get two year olds and deliver a return in the sales ring so I think it’s fair enough to price him at €15000.

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.

Camelot- a new legend?

Camelot has delivered Montjeu, his first Guineas winner. His success didn’t look likely until inside the final furlong, but in the end he was probably worth a little bit more than his official margin of a neck.  His success confirms the greatness of both Montjeu and Aidan O’Brien.

Aidan O’Brien

Camelot was Aidan O’Brien’s sixth 2000 Guineas winner, following King of Kings, Rock of Gibraltar, Footstepsinthesand, George Washington and Henrythenavigator. All of them were making their seasonal debuts and to me the ability to get a horse fully fit on the gallops is one of the hallmarks of a top trainer. The ability to learn from past mistakes and the knowledge that comes from training a lot of the members of the same family or offspring of the same sire can give trainers that extra edge. Aidan has trained more Montjeu’s than anybody else and he was quick to acknowledge that he made mistakes in prepping a previous Racing Post Trophy winner St Nicholas Abbey for the Guineas and he clearly didn’t repeat those mistakes with Camelot.

Camelot’s pedigree

Camelot cost 525,000 guineas at the 2010 Tattersalls October sales which made him the highest priced yearling by Montjeu sold that year.  For that sort of money you would expect him to be both handsome and especially well bred. His pedigree is undoubtedly high class although in truth it has lacked a superstar until Camelot, so we can assume he was a very taking physical specimen.

Tarfah

Camelot’s dam Tarfah was unraced at two, won three of her 4 starts including a listed handicap at Ascot as a three year old and then continued the good work by winning the listed Snowdrop stakes and the Group 3 Dahlia stakes in her first two runs at four. She failed to trouble the judge in the Windsor Forest run at York that year when Ascot was being redeveloped and was last seen disappointing in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom in June 2006. She was reported as having burst a blood vessel that day and was not seen again on the track but retired with a very creditable record of 5 wins from 8 starts. Tarfah’s first foal was a filly by Galileo who cost 240,000 Guineas and named Ideal.  Trained by David Wachman, from her seven starts to date she won a 10 furlong maiden at Clonmel but is clearly a long way short of top class.

Fickle

Tarfah’s dam Fickle was trained by Michael Bell and ran five times as a three year old. She won her maiden at Brighton on her third start and won a listed race on her final start at Newcastle when she got the run of the race and sprung a surprise when winning at 20-1. With the black type secured it was presumably decided to retire her to the paddocks.  At stud Tarfah was by a long way her best offspring with her only other winner being the very modest Sistine who is closely related to Tarfah being by Dubai Destination (a son of Kingmambo).

Fade

Camelot’s third dam Fade was unraced but she proved a useful producer, leaving 8 winners from 8 runners including 3 other stakes performers besides Fickle in Faru (by Mtoto) , Birdie (by Alhaarth) and Fading Light (by King’s Best).

One over Parr

Camelot’s fourth dam One Over Parr (by Reform out of Seventh Bride) was very useful .  She won the Cheshire Oaks and the Lancashire Oaks, both Group 3’s and was a full sister to an Epsom Oaks winner in the 1974 winner Polygamy who gave Pat Eddery his first English Classic on the day that I was born ! As for the name One Over Parr history buffs might recall that Henry VIII’s sixth wife was called Catherine Parr hence with a dam of Seventh Bride, the name One Over Parr was very clever.

Kincsem

For those who really, really like to delve into a pedigree (and my thanks to the poster who notified me), Camelots 17th dam is no less than the Hungarian supermare Kincsem! Kincsem retired with a record of 54 wins from 54 starts and was dominant on the continent before crossing the Channel and claiming the Goodwood Cup in 1878. For a detailed account of her racing and broodmare career click here

Nicks

Tarfah is a daughter of Kingmambo and he has combined very well with daughters of  Montjeu’s sire Sadler’s Wells.  Kingmambo has sired Henrythenavigator, El Condor Pasa and Divine Proportions on this cross and his son King’s Best has produced Workforce out of a Sadler’s Wells mare.

Conclusion

Camelot is an unbeaten Group 1 winner at two and now a Guineas winner at three. The next logical target is the Derby and he is already an odds on shot in most books for the Epsom showpiece.  The assumption is that being by Montjeu he should have no difficulty in staying 12 furlongs and the triple crown is also now being talked about.  However before getting carried away with the hype, it is worth remembering that neither Tarfah nor Fickle were ever asked to race beyond 10 furlongs and as racehorses themselves the sires in the lower half of the pedigree were all sprinters or milers with the exception of Persepolis who won the Prix Lupin over 10 furlongs. The slight concern is that winning a Guineas shows Camelot to be an atypical Montjeu and perhaps he will also not stay as well as the other high class Montjeu colts.  I certainly wouldn’t be rushing to back him at odds on  for the Derby, however for the sake of racing I fervently hope that he goes on to claim the holy grail that is the triple crown, and for which we have been waiting 42 years to find a successor to Nijinsky.

CAMELOT (GB) 2009 c b

Montjeu
(IRE) 1996
Sadler’s
Wells (USA) 1981
Northern
Dancer (CAN) 1961
Nearctic
(USA) 1954
Natalma
(USA) 1957
Fairy
Bridge (USA) 1975
Bold
Reason (USA) 1968
Special
(USA) 1969
Floripedes
(FR) 1985
Top
Ville (IRE) 1976
High
Top (IRE) 1969
Sega
Ville (USA) 1968
Toute
Cy (FR) 1979
Tennyson
(FR) 1970
Adele
Toumignon (IRE) 1971
Tarfah
(USA) 2001
Kingmambo
(USA) 1990
Mr
Prospector (USA) 1970
Raise
A Native (USA) 1961
Gold
Digger (USA) 1962
Miesque
(USA) 1984
Nureyev
(USA) 1977
Pasadoble
(USA) 1979
Fickle
(GB) 1996
Danehill
(USA) 1986
Danzig
(USA) 1977
Razyana
(USA) 1981
Fade
(GB) 1988
Persepolis
(FR) 1979
One
Over Parr (GB) 1972