“Price is what you pay, value is what you get” , said Warren Buffett the legendary stock market investor. He made his money through value investing, essentially he believed the market prices often overlooked intrinsic value and therein lay opportunity. I couldn’t agree more when it comes to 2012 stallion fees. Below are some stallions that I feel represent good value at their listed fees for 2012.
1. Manduro (2002 Monsun ex Mandellicht by Be My Guest) 2012 fee €10,000
Manduro was a superstar on the track, rated world champion in 2007 when he was unbeaten in five starts from 1 mile to 12 furlongs. That year he won 3 group 1s (the Prix d’Isaphan, the Prince of Wales and the Prix Jacques le Marois) and most likely he would have won the Arc only for injury. Although he was technically a champion German 2 year old, he was nobody’s idea of a two year old sire. It is therefore very encouraging that he sired a group 1 winner in Mandean (ex Summertime Legacy by Darshaan). Impressively he came very close to a second Group 1 winner in his first crop with Bonfire (ex Night Frolic by Night Shift). He retired to stud at a fee of €40000 and it was €15,000 in 2011 so it was very surprising to me that after such a promising start it was dropped to €10,000. I suspect it will not be available at such a price in 2013 and he represents real value and a good opportunity for most Irish breeders to tap into a different sireline.
2. Big Bad Bob (2000 Bob Back ex Fantasy Girl by Marju) 2012 fee €6000
There is no use in trying to understand how Big Bad Bob has become a successful stallion. A very modest race career of which the highlight was winning a Group 3 in Germany wouldn’t have breeders queuing for his services. The fact that his sire Bob Back ended up as a dual purpose sire also didn’t suggest that Big Bad Bob was destined for success on the track. He does possess plenty of quality links in his distaff side but it was still surprising that he found a berth at stud. He was effectively a private stallion for Windflower Overseas Holdings (Cristina Patina) and reputedly free outside covers were available. However his results to date have been very impressive considering his very limited books to date (in quantity and quality). His percentages for runners to foals, winners to foals and stakes winners are all more suggestive of stallions covering at a multiple of his fee. Trainers like him and this should be of benefit in the sales ring and he is one of the few Roberto line representatives available to Irish breeders. It is clear that he upgrades his mares, and he seems to deliver soundness judging by the numbers of his offspring that actually reach the track. Nothing succeeds like success and breeders should judge him on his results.
3.Kendargent (2003 Kendor ex Pax Bella by Linamix) 2012 fee €4000
If you are looking for the next Big Bad Bob it might just be Kendargent. He was a non-stakes winner and his best performance was when fourth in the Prix Jean Prat. However he got his chance at stud and he is making the most of it. With his first crop of two year olds he had only five representatives on the track but three won including Group 2 winner Restiadargent (ex Restia by Montjeu) and Group 3 winner Kendam ex Damdam Freeze by Indian Rocket). He is a legacy of the Grey Sovereign line and an outsource for most mares. I would hope that he might get enough chances to prove he is not just a flash in the pan and at the price it is hard to complain. Incidentally if you want to use a different son of Kendor with a much more high profile racecourse career then Champion Stakes winner Literato (ex La Cibeles by Cardoun) is also available for a very modest €4000- but of course he has yet to have any runners which greatly tempers enthusiasm.
4. Medicean (1997 Machiavellian ex Mystic Goddess by Storm Bird) 2012 fee £8000
It looked for a time like Medicean was about to become an important sire in the UK after early success with the likes of Dutch Art and Nannina. His fee reached £30000 for the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Since then he has stumbled a little but his fee has reacted and at £8000 I think there are reasons to think he might represent some value at that price. Firstly the offspring of those heady days are now expected to make their mark, particularly as many of Medicean’s offspring (just like himself) improve with age. His son Dutch Art also just enjoyed a very good first season with his two year olds. His overall stats at 4% stakes winners are solid rather than spectacular but he is a decent stallion who might see a bounce in the coming years.
5. Discreet Cat (2003 Forestry ex Discreet Account by Private Account ) 2012 fee $12,500
I certainly don’t profess to be an expert on US racing but I am surprised by the fee for Discreet Cat which seems very reasonable. He was a really exciting horse who won his first 6 starts impressively before flopping as favourite for the Dubai World Cup and he was never the same again. He retired at a fee of $30,000 and had 11 winners with his first crop of two year olds, albeit from a large crop (107 named foals). However he has started 2012 very well with Out of Bounds (ex Unbridled Elaine) winning a Grade 3 and Discreet Dancer (ex West Side Dancer) winning a minor race impressively. Both horses are now quoted in top ten in the betting for this year’s Kentucky Derby. Even if neither horse graduates to major success he is fairly priced and there is very considerable potential upside in using him this year.
6. Birdstone (2001 Grindstone ex Dear Birdie by Storm Bird) 2012 fee $10,000
If Discreet Cat is about potential then Birdstone has been there and done that. A remarkable first crop saw him sire two classic winners in Summer Bird (ex Hong Kong Squall by Summer Squall) and Mine that Bird (ex Mining My Own by Smart Strike) and seven stakes winners from a crop of only 66 foals. Since then he has gone incredibly quiet with only one other stakes winner and his stud fee which climbed to $30000 has dropped back to $10,000. However his number of foals is modest by modern standards with a total of only 204 named foals in his 2006-2009 crops and his 8 stakes winners still leaves him on 4% stakes winners. He is recommended for anyone in the States who claims to want a shot at a classic horse on a budget. He was a triple Grade 1 winner,winning the Champagne Stakes at two, thwarting Smarty Jones triple crown bid in the Belmont and following up in the Travers. I suspect had he not won the Belmont over 12 furlongs he might have had a higher stud fee but such is the insanity of modern fashion. His sire Grindstone was a Kentucky Derby winner and his sire Unbridled was a Kentucky Derby winner. What more can US breeders want for $10000?