Kildangan fees 2020 Part 2-Profitable to The Last Lion

Kildangan Stud 2020 fee (2019 fee)

  1. Profitable €12,000 (€12,000) 2012 Invincible Spirit ex Dani Ridge by Indian Ridge)

Verdict: Overpriced (slightly)

I don’t know whether to look on Profitable in a glass half full or glass half empty way. He won a Kings Stand Stakes at 4 and was runner up in the same race at 5 to Lady Aurelia. He ran 23 times over 4 seasons but 21 of those runs were over 5 furlongs and only twice did he venture as far as 6 furlongs. By the end of his three year old season, he was still to win beyond Listed class. Although he took time to mature, so did Invincible Spirit who was 5 before he won his Group 1. Profitable ‘only’ cost 95000 guineas as a yearling which was around average for yearling colts by Invincible Spirit in 2013. It is an unremarkable female line which had me googling some unfamiliar names such as Shelter Half, the sire of his grand-dam (turns out he was a Grade 3 winner who stood in Maryland and sired 18 stakes winners from 381 foals). There is no duplication in Profitable’s pedigree until the fifth generation and Northern Dancer only appears once on his page so that increases the range of suitable mares around these parts.

In defence of his fee, the sales results from his foals were strong with a median of 29,000 guineas. On the other hand, he is entering his third season when a reduction is customary and I would have expected €10,000 for 2020.

2. Raven’s Pass €10,000 (€10,000) (2005 Elusive Quality ex Ascutney by Lord at War)

Verdict: Overpriced

He retired at a fee of €40,000 and the fall to €10,000 tells its own story. On the face of it his percentages are surprisingly good with 7% stakes winners (33 from 485 foals of racing age). He had his first Group 1 winner in 2018 when Royal Marine won the Prix Jean Lagardare and had a second this year when Tower of London won a Group 1 sprint in Japan. However despite this mini-renaissance the market has lost patience with him and this year he had a yearling median of 12,750 guineas. He has had his chances with high quality books of mares and he didn’t deliver, so for me he is one to avoid.

3. Ribchester €20,000 (€25,000) (2013 Iffraaj ex Mujarah by Marju)

Verdict: Fair Price (for now)

An admirable racehorse he won or was placed in 14 of his 16 races. He won the Mill Reef at two, was placed in the Guineas, won the Jersey Stakes and Jacques Le Marois at three and won a Lockinge Queen Anne and Prix de Moulin at 4. He was top rated European miler for two seasons and he is the best son to date of Iffraaj.

He comes from a high class female line. His fifth dam is the legendary Fall Aspen, his third dam is Irish Guineas winner Mehthaaf. It’s a live family and the grand dam Tanaghum produced this years Group 3 winner Bangkok (by Australia). Iffraaj has sired a surprisingly good stallion in Wootton Bassett (sire of Alamanzor) and Ribchester’s first foals sold well with a median of 36,500 guineas. He is free of Sadler’s Wells, Danehill and Green Desert so he will suit lots of Irish mares. The odds are against any new stallion succeeding but for now he seems reasonably priced to me.

4. Shamardal Private (Private) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Helsinki by Machiavellian).

Verdict: That depends..

The star of the Kildangan operation who had an unbelievable season. To sire three unbeaten Group 1 winning two year old colts including the exceptional Pinatubo is remarkable and he did this from a juvenile crop of ‘just’ 82. The supporting cast included Blue Point and a French classic winner in Castle Lady.  Shamardal’s reputation has never been higher and he has also carved out a growing reputation as a broodmare sire and sire of sires via Lope De Vega. He has effectively been a private stallion for the Maktoum family for the past few seasons but did cover 16 outside mares in 2019. Kildangan can be very picky indeed about what outside mares they allow to Shamardal for 2020.  As regards a fee, we are in the realms of pure speculation but I would imagine it will be greater than Sea the Stars at €150,000 and probably exceed Frankel at £175,000 but fall short of Dubawi at £250,000 (if anyone hears, please let me know). Whether that represents value hardly matters for the uber-wealthy people involved at that level. 

5. Slade Power €7,500 (€7,500) (2009 Dutch Art ex Girl Power by Key of Luck)

Verdict: Overpriced

Most people would struggle to name anything that he has sired apart from Raffle Prize and that is because she is his only stakes winner from 176 foals of racing age. He stood for €20,000 in his first two seasons so he is clearly a big disappointment. His yearling median dropped to 8000 guineas in 2019. The only glimmer of hope is that he improved with age but I wouldn’t be holding out too much hope for a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of his offspring in the ring anytime soon. His record may improve (it can’t get much worse) but you would imagine that foreign shores beckon for him soon.

6. Teofilo €40,000 (€40,000) (2004 Galileo ex Speirbhean by Danehill)

Verdict: Overpriced

A reliable sire with 86 stakes winners (7%) from 1316 foals of racing age. Depended on older horses such as Cross Counter, Flight Risk and Exultant for most of his success in 2019.  There was no stakes winner amongst his 95 two year olds and he has smaller crops of 64 and 65 coming through ( presumably a consequence of his underwhelming fertility levels) .  His yearling sales median in 2019 was only 25,500 guineas . He is a good sire but at those sales levels you are better off buying his offspring than trying to breed to him…

7. The Last Lion €7,500 (€7,500) (2004 Choisir ex Mala Mala by Brief Truce)

Verdict: Overpriced

A tough precocious two year old who won the Brocklesby and then on his 10th start of the season won the Middle Park (incidentally beating Blue Point). He was then shipped off to stud in the hope that he would be the next Dark Angel who also retired after the Middle Park. He comes from a respectable female line that seems to throw up quality performers in most generations. Choisir has a good sire son to his name in Starspangledbanner and a less successful one (to date) in Olympic Glory. The Last Lion had a solid yearling median of 21,000 guineas in 2019. Using him in 2020 (his fourth season) may prove inspired but it is for gamblers only and the odds don’t look particularly attractive to me.

Chaucer to write a classic tale?

It has been a good few months for Montjeu. He started in July with an Irish Oaks winner in Chicquita (Montjeu ex Prudenzia by Dansili) who despite showing a lot of quirkiness, confirmed that Montjeu could sire the occasional top class filly. Chicquita’s prior run had seen her finish runner up to the brilliant Treve (Motivator ex Trevise by Anabaa) in the Prix de Diane. This was also a good result for Montjeu who is the sire of Motivator.
The classic run continued when the improving Leading Light (Montjeu ex Dance Parade by Gone West) landed his first Group 1 with his victory in the St Leger. Remarkably he thereby became the seventh different son of Montjeu to land an English colt’s classic since his first crop of three year old’s in 2005. Leading Light provides a link to Treve as Montjeu attracted his share of Gone West mares following the success of Motivator who was the first poster boy for that cross. The 2.8 million paid at Goffs for the Montjeu ex Finsceal Beo by Mr Greeley) is another example of this cross as Mr Greeley is a son of Gone West.  Two classics and the highest yearling sales price in Europe this year undoubtedly add lustre to Montjeu’s legacy but it was the success of the two year colt Geoffrey Chaucer in the Beresford Stakes on September 29th that might yet prove most significant as it raises the probability of Montjeu siring a fifth Epsom Derby winner. This would make him the most successful Derby sire in the history of the turf, a title he currently shares with Sir Peter Teazle, Waxy, Cyllene and Blandford.

Geoffrey Chaucer’s career to date

Geoffrey Chaucer made his debut over a mile at Leopardstown in July 18th. In a field of only three runners, his home reputation saw him start at 2/7, however odds on punters had to sweat as he only got home by a head from Tarfasha (Teofilo ex Grecian Bride by Groom Dancer), a Dermot Weld trained half brother to Saddler’s Rock and Galileo’s Rock. Tarfasha subsequently broke her maiden at Galway before finishing third in the Group 3 C L Weld Stakes to the promising My Titania (Sea The Stars ex Fairy of the Night by Danehill). In the Group 2 Beresford Stakes Geoffrey Chaucer was again sent off a very short price at 4/7. This time his performance was more impressive as he won comfortably from his stablemate Oklahoma City (Oasis Dream ex Galaxy Highflyer by Galileo). After the race Aidan O’ Brien was talking about the Racing Post Trophy as a suitable target.  Oklahoma City subsequently franked the form by winning the £500,000 Tattersalls sales race on October 5th.  On what we have seen so far this season only Geoffrey Chaucer’s stablemate (Galileo ex Ouija Board by Cape Cross) who looked top class in beating Free Eagle (High Chaparral ex Polished Gem by Danehill) in a one mile Group 3 at Leopardstown has impressed as a more likely Derby winner.

Geoffrey Chaucer’s pedigree

There is much to like in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Pedigree. His dam Helsinki was a winner in France who picked up some cheap black type when third in a Listed race. Although she has a slightly crooked front leg she was a daughter of an Irish Oaks winner in Helen Street, who became the dam of 10 winners. The pick of Helen Street’s offspring by some way was Helsinki’s brother Street Cry (Machiavellian ex Helen Street)who won the 2002 Dubai World Cup and the Stephen Foster Handicap in the US before becoming a major sire with a Kentucky Derby winner in Street Sense and the brilliant Zenyatta to his credit. Street Cry he has also done well in Europe with the likes of Carlton House and Majestic Roi. Third dam Waterway won the Group 3 Prix de Calvados and finished third in the French 1000 Guineas (Poules d’Essai des Pouliches).

However Helsinki has already produced a celebrity in the form of Shamardal (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Helsinki). Shamardal was a Grade 3 wobbler a diagnosis that usual results in euthanasia. However in a remarkable story he wasn’t put down and given unconventional treatments including energy healers and massage therapists and whether due to these treatments or some other reason he recovered sufficiently to be sold at Tattersalls in October 2003 for  50000 guineas. He quickly proved himself to be a bargain with an unbeaten two year old campaign that featured victories in the Vintage Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes. He was crowned European champion two year old but unfortunately for his trainer Mark Johnston it also saw his transfer to Godolphin. He thus wintered in Dubai but his three year old campaign began with a very poor run in the UAE Derby on dirt. It proved to be his only defeat as returning to turf he benefitted from a fine Frank Dettori ride to win the French Guineas from Indesatchel (who conversely suffered from a Jamie Spencer ride). Next time out Shamardal was upped in trip for the French Derby( run over the shortened distance of 10.5 furlongs  for the first time that year). Again Frankie Dettori was exemplary and Shamardal gained a second classic at the expense of Montjeu’s son Hurricane Run who would surely have won that classic at its traditional distance of 12 furlongs.  Nine days later Shamardal was back in action and put up a superb performance to win the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot (run at York) from Ad Valorem and Oratorio. He was at the peak of his powers but alas injury intervened and he was not seen again on the racetrack. He retired as a four time Group 1 winner and proved popular at Kildangan Stud. He has performed very well with Lope De Vega in his first crop, emulating his two French Classic successes and  high class performers such as Casamento and Mukhadram helping him to a tally of 44 Group or Listed winners and 6 Group 1 winners.

Helsinki’s other offspring are modest, although 5  have won. The best of the rest was Diamond Necklace (by Unbridled’s Song) who although she never won was highly tried by Aidan O’ Brien and finished third in a Listed race and was beaten less than 7 lengths in the Irish 1000 Guineas. Diamond Necklace fetched 1.3million dollars as a broodmare prospect at the 2008 Keenland November Breeding stock sale, which gives an indication of the regard people have for this family. In 2009 Helsinki produced a sister to Geoffrey Chaucer called Shamarbelle.  She was trained in France where she won one race but showed none of the ability her brother has now demonstrated. Shamarbelle was offered for sale at the 2012 Tattersalls December sales where she was not sold at 240,000 guineas. In another example of how racing siblings are often very different in terms of ability, Helsinki produced two relatively moderate full brothers to Shamardal called Yorgunnabelucky and Velikiy Zeys.


Geoffrey Chaucer is an exciting stallion prospect with a female line that features a €50000 stallion in Shamardal and a $100,000 stallion in Street Cry. He looks a good bet to become another Group 1 winner for Montjeu and the 16-1 available about his becoming Montjeu’s fifth Epsom Derby winner seems a reasonable ante-post bet.

(IRE) 1996
Wells (USA) 1981
Dancer (CAN) 1961
(USA) 1954
(USA) 1957
Bridge (USA) 1975
Reason (USA) 1968
(USA) 1969
(FR) 1985
Ville (IRE) 1976
Top (IRE) 1969
Ville (USA) 1968
Cy (FR) 1979
(FR) 1970
Toumignon (IRE) 1971
(GB) 1993
(USA) 1987
Prospector (USA) 1970
A Native (USA) 1961
Digger (USA) 1962
De Folie (USA) 1982
(USA) 1969
The Standard (USA) 1978
Street (GB) 1982
(GB) 1976
(GB) 1965
Milo (GB) 1963
(FR) 1976
(USA) 1969
(IRE) 1968

Watch the 2013 Beresford Stakes

Lope de Vega- something to write about

Lope de Vega was a celebrated Spanish writer, ranked almost the equal of Cervantes and the author of an incredible 1800 plays (thanks Wikipedia). Last weekend’s French Guineas (Poule d’Essai des Poulains) saw another Lope de Vega defeat Dick Turpin by half a length.  The equine Lope is unlikely to achieve evarlasting fame but on a line through Dick Turpin there is currently little between him and Makfi at the top of the European rankings for milers.

Lope de Vega- performance to date

Lope de Vega was a very useful two year old winning his first two starts before winding up his season with a close fourth behind Siyouni in the Grand Criterium. He was third, beaten only half a length on his seasonal reappearance in the Prix de Fontainbleu before his half length success in the Poule D’Essai des Poulains.  In the aftermath of his victory it was stated that he would be aimed at the 10 furlongs of the French Derby. On pedigree, he should have a reasonable chance of getting the additional two furlongs.

Lope de Vega- bred for the French Guineas

In some respects Lope de Vega was bred for the French Guineas. His sire Shamardal won the race in 2005 and his broodmare sire Vettori won the 1995 edition of the race. In addition his grandam Lady Golconda is a daughter of Kendor who won the 1989 renewal.  Furthermore Rahy is the broodmare sire of Giants Causway and Rahy is a son of Blushing Groom the winner of the 1977 renewal.

Shamardal’s racing career

Shamardal was unbeaten on turf, winning the Dewhurst at two for Mark Johnston, before winning the French Guineas (from the luckless Indesatchel ridden by Jamie (Frank) Spencer) at three. He followed up in the first 10 furlong French Derby defeating the fast finishing Hurricane Run.  In the case of both French classics he benefitted from canny rides from Frankie Dettori.  Just 9 days after the French Derby he contested the St James Palace Stakes and he put up an extremely impressive performance that marked him out as an outstanding performer. Unfortunatley it proved to be his last race.

Shamardal’s life story was certainly interesting as he was diagnosed as a wobbler, his first owner Abdulla Buhaleeba sold him at the end of his two year old career after reputedly incurring significant casino losses. He was by Coolmores Giant’s Causeway out of a sister to Godolphins Street Cry, but Coolmore passed him over at the Houghton Sales after failing an endoscopic test. He was the star of Giant’s Causeway’s first crop that also featured Footstepsinthesand and Karen’s Caper.

Shamardal’s stud career

Shamardal’s first crop 143 was conceived off a fee of €40,000. From that crop Arctic was a group 3 winner in Ireland before disappointing somewhat in the Middle Park stakes. Shakespearean won the Solario Stakes and followed up in the Goffs million.  As three year olds Siyaadah won the UAE 1000 Guineas and Zazou won a German Group 3 before coming a close sixth behind Lope de Vega in the Franch Guineas.  From his time in Australia he is represented by Faint Perfume who is a dual Group 1 winner including the Crown Oaks over 12 and half furlongs. He is currently listed as €20000 and should be popular at that price as he is delivering plenty of stakes horses.

Lady Vettori

Lady Vettori, the dam of Lope de Vega won  her first five races as a two year old including the Group 3 Prix du Calvados. She finished her season with a highly creditable third in the Prix Marcel Boussac. She ran just once at three when just touched off in the Prix Imprudence. At stud she had four foals prior to Lope de Vega, the best of whom was Bal de la Rose (by Cadeuax Genereux) who was a 10 furlong Group 3 winner. Lady Vettori is herself a half sister to a stakes performer in Rosey de Megeve (by Efisio) and there are some decent connections further back in the pedigree. However, overall it is not a particularly high class family and it was her racing merit not her pedigree that saw Lady Vettori sold for €500,000 in December 2005.


His run in the French Guineas represented a career best performance for Lope de Vega. His manner of victory was not overly impressive and he will probably need to show further improvement if he is to succeed in his stated target of the French Derby.  He is a nice advert for his sire Shamardal who is one of the leading lights of a bunch of highly promising new sires to burst on the scene. His dam Lady Vettori owned a modest enough pedigree but she was a superior racehorse and she can certainly take her share of the credit for her sons success.  Machiavellian appears 3*3 in the pedigree as broodmare sire of Shamardal and sire of Vettori but rather than reading too much into that I think we can just credit the combination of a much better than average sire and dam.

LOPE DE VEGA (IRE) 2007 c ch

(USA) 2002
Causeway (USA) 1997
Cat (USA) 1983
Bird (USA) 1978
(USA) 1976
Storm (USA) 1991
(USA) 1985
(USA) 1979
(GB) 1993
(USA) 1987
Prospector (USA) 1970
De Folie (USA) 1982
Street (GB) 1982
(GB) 1976
(FR) 1976
Vettori (GB) 1997
(IRE) 1992
(USA) 1987
Prospector (USA) 1970
De Folie (USA) 1982
Distingue (USA) 1980
Ivor (USA) 1965
(USA) 1975
Golconda (FR) 1992
Kendor(FR) 1986 Kenmare
(FR) 1975
Mecene (FR) 1982
Sharp (FR) 1981
(IRE) 1976
(FR) 1970

A vintage crop?

When we think of races involving horses that became successful stallions, the standout event is the 1984 French Derby that famously saw Darshaan defeat Sadler’s Wells and Rainbow Quest.  The 1996 July Cup won by Anabaa, had Danehill Dancer and Pivotal back in fifth and sixth places.  It is early days yet, but we might soon be adding races from the 2005 season to the above list as the likes of Dubawi, Shamardal,  Oratorio, Motivator and Footstepsinthesand were all in their classic year, whilst Azamour was enjoying a very successful four year old season. Arakan never competed against the aforementioned horses but he is also enjoying a good start with his first three year olds.

The above thoughts are prompted by the results of the French 2000 Guineas which resulted in a 1-2-3 for second season sires with Lope de Vega (by Shamardal), defeating Dick Turpin (Arakan ex Merrily by Sharood) and Shamalgan (Footstepsinthesand ex Genevale by Unfuwain). Following on from the classic successes of Dubawi’s offspring Makfi and Worthadd and some promising results for Azamour and Oratorio, it looks as if we have an unusually large number of promising sires coming on stream at once. It is much too early to be dogmatic about any of these sires but we can make some reasonable assumptions.

1. Arakan is the least likely to succeed. In one sense he has already surpassed expectations and he has sired a horse (Dick Turpin) of superior racing merit to himself. Arakan never won above Group 3 level despite being kept in training until the age of five, and as a son of Nureyev (who many regard with suspicion as a sire of sires) he didn’t immediately appeal as a likely sire success. The challenge will be to remain above the radar for the next few years until he can hopefully capitalise on the success of Dick Turpin.

2. Motivator has been plagued by bad luck. Injury restricted his first crop size and he has now missed the 2010 breeding season.  He had some promising two year olds last year notably Pollenator and Prompter and he seems capable of getting a decent horse but in a fickle market place he needs a big horse to appear quickly.

3. Azamour seems the best source of quality stamina at this stage. Despite being a son of Night Shift who sired more than his fair share of sprinters the early signs are that Azamours progeny will stay as well as he did himself. To date he has sired two Derby trial winners in Azmeel and Puncher Clynch. Eleanora Duse also ran well when a close third in the Musidora Stakes.

4.  Darley are currently outscoring Coolmore amongst the younger brigade.  The achievements to date of Dubawi outrank those of any of the other sires listed. Shamardal has also achieved more than  Coolmore’s Oratorio or Footstepsinthesand.  Coolmore will be hoping that Steinbeck can be the big horse that Footstepsinthesand needs, whereas Oratorio looks as if he has a good spread of possible top horses with Lolly for Dolly being a contender for the Irish Guineas and Fencing Master and Beethoven could add to last years achievements.  I doubt if they are panicking in Tipperary but it does seem to be a few years since they have added a real star to their roster.