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.

2013 stud fees- some overpriced examples

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and defining value is a very subjective measure. Looking at the published fees for 2013 there were a few fees that took my eye as representing particularly poor value.  I wouldn’t have time to list all the overpriced first season sires, so I’m restricting myself to those sires with runners……

Poor Value Sires

1. High Chaparral (1999 Sadler’s Wells ex Kasora by Darshaan) 2013 fee €25,000

I could just cut and paste my comments from last year regarding High Chaparral- yes he was a great racehorse, yes he has done very well in Australia/New Zealand but there is no way his European results merit a €25000 fee.  It is extraordinary to think that he has yet to sire a European Group 1 winner from his huge number of European conceived progeny. His sales returns have been good for the past two years but  sooner rather than later European breeders will wake up to the fact that he is only managing 3% stakes winners and is due a significant cut in fee. By way of comparison for the same fee you could access Dalakhani who has 5% stakes winners and has sired 5 individual European Group 1 winners.

2. Footstepsinthesand (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest) 2013 fee €10000

Not as egregiously bad value as his stud mate but nonetheless I think Footsteps has been a disappointment and is now overpriced.  He has managed only 2% stakes winners and if you take into account that his stud fee was over 20k for his first three years at stud, his record is not going to improve in the coming years. His median for the past two years has hovered around his stud fee so the commercial market is hardly in love with him. Interestingly he is the last and only Storm Cat line horse now in Coolmore Ireland but I’m sure if a suitable offer came from overseas, Coolmore would be happy to offload him and that particular experiment would come to an end without too many tears being shed by Ireland’s breeders. By way of comparison you could use Azamour for the same fee and he has 4% stakes winners.

3. Elusive City (2000 Elusive Quality ex Star of Paris by Dayjur) 2013 fee €12,500

I wrote about Elusive City last year when he was France’s most expensive stallion at €15000. He no longer holds this particular title but he still remains a sire who manages only 2% stakes winners and he remains considerably overpriced. You could pick 20 stallions who represent better value but two similarly priced Mr Prospector line stallions that are far better sires (albeit standing in the UK) are Medicean and Zamindar.

4. Teofilo (2004 Galileo ex Speirbhean by Danehill ) 2013 fee €35,000

I might be eating my words on this one, given that he produced three very nice two year old colts last year in Loch Garman, Havana Gold and Trading Leather. However I’m not arguing that Teofilo isn’t capable of producing high class horses but to me he didn’t do enough last year to justify a hike from €25000 to €35000. This is particularly the case when I felt that his three year olds were somewhat disappointing although admittedly the absence of his first crop star Parish Hall had a big impact on this.  His stud fee owes a lot to the growing belief in Galileo as a sire of sires and the fact that he shares the Galileo/Danehill cross with Frankel probably helps along with some strong Autumn sales results. People are taking a punt of fashion and on potential and  although he is an interesting sire his fee should have stayed at its 2012 level until he truly delivered on that potential.  By way of comparison at the exact same fee, his stud mate Cape Cross has demonstrated his ability to produce the goods and I would rather the proven over the possible any day.