Lanwades Stud titles itself the ‘Independent Option’ . Numerically, it doesn’t try to compete with the Darley or Coolmore rosters. However, despite having only four sires it still manages to provide a varied and interesting stallion choice.
It isn’t a lack of finance that prevents the stud from expanding its roster. The stud’s owner, Kirsten Rausing, is one of the richest women in Europe, due to her part ownership of Tetrapak. To her credit, she has contributed generously to racing welfare and research charities.
Lanwades has always tried to offer alternatives to Northern Dancer line stallions. They stood sires like Leroidesanimaux (a grandson of Blushing Groom) , With Approval (Caro) and Selkirk (Sharpen Up). I felt the stud was almost like a project in ‘breed improvement’ , providing some sires that were worthy but not always commercial. It was the stud farm version of the public service/highbrow broadcaster contrasting with more populist/commercial offerings. Times change and they have embraced larger books for Sea The Moon so they are not averse to availing of commercial opportunity.
Stallion 2021 fee (2020 fee)
- Bobby’s Kitten £7,000 (£8,000) (Kitten’s Joy ex Celestial Woods by Forestry)
Winner of a Breeder’s Cup Turf Sprint at three (defeating No Nay Never), he failed to win at four. He was shipped across the Atlantic to Dermot Weld and he reappeared early in his five year old career, hacking up by 8 lengths in a listed race at Cork in March on heavy ground. It appeared he was set for a very interesting and profitable European campaign but alas he was never seen again on the track. His sire, Kitten’s Joy, achieved champion sire status in the US in 2013 and 2018, despite being primarily a turf sire. His reputation in Europe has flourished in recent years with Hawkbill quickly followed by Roaring Lion and Kameko. Lanwades are advertising Bobby’s Kitten as ‘a great outcross for most European mares’. Given that Kitten’s Joy is a grandson of Sadler’s Wells and the dam has Storm Cat as a grandsire, it wasn’t the first thought that crossed my mind…
First Crop Results: Bobby’s Kitten had his first runners this year and they did reasonably well with 12 winners from 45 runners. There were no stakes winners, although his best performer Monaasib was runner-up in the Gr 2 Beresford Stakes. That was over a mile and Bobby’s Kitten’s second and third highest Racing Post rated runners, also won over a mile which seems to indicate that his progeny will stay well. It is perhaps worth noting that although he finished his career as a sprinter, as a juvenile he was a Grade 3 winner over 8.5 furlongs and was a close third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile turf over a mile.
Sales Results: He had 14 yearlings sell in 2020 with a median of just £6,000 and an average of £10,165. That crop was conceived at £12,500 so it was not a good outcome for breeders.
Conclusion: It is too early to dismiss him as a sire of racehorses and it is perfectly possible/probable that his progeny will improve at three. He deserves a chance before we make final judgement. I think the market may be a little too dismissive of him which means there may be value in being a buyer of his offspring. However, there isn’t value for the commercial breeder and it is impossible to justify his fee based on sales returns.
2. Sea The Moon £22,500 (£15,000)- (2011 by Sea the Stars ex Sanwa by Monsun)
Verdict: Fair Price
Winner of his first four races including an 11 length triumph in the German Derby . He was made favourite for the Arc but never made it to Paris, being retired after a sub-par showing in the Grosser Preis Von Baden. His dam is a daughter of Monsun and a sister to no less than three German classic winners (Samum, Schiaperilli and Salve Regina). He was from the excellent first crop of Sea the Stars and his first son at stud. He was an interesting addition to the stallion ranks at £15000 and had a sizeable 118 foals in his first crop. Not untypically that initial glow faded and he had reduced crops of 83, 39 and 54 in succeeding years.
Progeny Record: It’s fair to say that Sea the Moon has exceed expectations. His star performer to date is Coronation Stakes winner Alpine Star and she was a little unlucky to just come up short in the French Oaks, Jacques Le Marois and Prix de l’Opera. I wouldn’t have expected him to sire a top miler. He has had a pair of champion two year olds in Germany, another Group winning miler in Hamariyna and he is not a one dimensional stamina influence (although he gets plenty who do stay well) but he imparts that great intangible, class.
Sales Results: He had 14 yearlings sell in 2020 with a median of £37,275. That’s a good return off a covering fee of £15,000. His yearling median has risen steadily since his first two year olds hit the track. It is probably good for his sales figures that there will be a thriving resale market for his ex-flat racers as jumps prospects.
Conclusion: Coming from a German family and having a dam by Monsun and her dam by Old Vic, it wasn’t difficult to envisage him ending up as a National Hunt sire. He has already shown his ability in that role via Allmankind but his future in the flat ranks is now secure. He may go a little quieter with his smaller current crop of two year olds and three year olds but there should be a bright future ahead with bigger and better crops in the offing and he covered 164 mares in 2020..
3. Sir Percy £7,000 (£7,000)- (2003 by Mark of Esteem ex Percy’s Lass by Blakeney)
A cracking racehorse, he won the Dewhurst, the Derby and was runner up in a Guineas, but an ordinary sire. He had St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco to represent him in 2020 but he has failed to sire a Group winner in every crop since 2015. He is advertised as the sire of two Group 1 winners but I suspect most people would struggle to tell you anything about either Sir John Hawkwood (Australian Group 1 in 2016) or Wake Forest (2016 Man O’War stakes).
Sales Results: He had 13 yearlings sell in Europe in 2020 with a median of £31,366. It’s a very good return but might be an aberration as his medians were £15,324 and £21,543 in the preceding years. His GB/Irish sales median was £19,425. Maybe it was the national hunt folk trying to source the next Presenting Percy:)
Conclusion: It’s nice to see an active sire from the Mill Reef line but he hasn’t produced the goods in his stud career and I don’t see that changing.
4. Study of Man £12,500 (£15,000)- (2015 by Deep Impact ex Second Happiness by Storm Cat)
Verdict: Fair Price
He won the Gr 2 Prix Greffuhle and a weakish renewal of the Prix du Jockey Club but failed to win again in 7 subsequent starts. He did however finish runner up in both the Prix Ganay and the Prix d’Ispahan as four year old. He was high class (Timeform 122) but just a few lengths short of being truly top class.
On the other hand, his pedigree is truly top class. He is a very welcome son of Deep Impact to join the European stallion ranks. The dam was a non-winner but as a daughter of Storm Cat and Miesque, it is a pedigree to drool over. Miesque was an exceptional race-mare and just as good a broodmare. Her legacy would have been secured with Kingmambo, never mind her other offspring East of the Moon and Miesque’s Son. Her daughters are just as prominent and their descendants include Karakontie, Rumplestiltskin, Tapestry, Alpha Centauri and Alpine Moon with the list growing each year. Even if he had been unraced, his pedigree almost warranted a slot at stud.
Conclusion: He was a contemporary (and occasional rival) of another son of Deep Impact, Saxon Warrior, but was a few pounds inferior to him. His pedigree however stands up to the closest scrutiny and I think his £12,500 fee compares well with Saxon’s €20,000 fee (and I wouldn’t quibble with Saxon’s fee). Its always a gamble using an unproven sire but I think he is well worth a punt at the price and I would expect sons of Deep Impact to make er a Deep Impact.