What Goes Up? Recession Busters

Chicken Little aka Chicken Licken wasn’t wrong, she was just ahead of her time. Nowadays it seems that the sky really is falling down as asset values crash around the world. Stallion fees are understandably under pressure as the recent sales season showed falls in the grosses, averages, and medians. However there are still some stallions bucking the trend, who’s fees for 2009 are showing increases on 2008. So in the words of Bugs Bunny “Whats up doc?”

Starting with Coolmore- Montjeu and Danehill Dancer are both now listed as private from last years fees of €125,000 and €115,000. Both sires had good years with Montjeu adding another classic winning colt in Irish Derby winner Frozen Fire and the very impressive Grand Prix de Paris winner Montmartre. His older horses included Group 2 winners Honolulu and MacArthur and the Autumn saw him reveal some promising 2 year olds including a one-two in the final Group One of the Season at Saint Cloud with Fame and Glory and Drumbeat, alongside the Royal Lodge success of Jukebox Jury who also finished second in the Racingpost Trophy. Danehill Dancer had a great year in Ireland where his star turns were Mastercraftsman who won the Phoenix and National Stakes as well as Again who won the Moyglare. These had a large back up cast including Ice Queen who  was just touched off in the Irish Oaks, Caribbean Sunset who was narrowly beaten in the Irish 1000 Guineas and Westphalia who won the Group 2 Champagne Stakes. Both stallions have the offspring of better books of mares on the way and normally you would say that the fee hikes could be justified but in the current environment it is more questionable.  In the case of Danehill Dancer I would contrast his situation with that of Pivotal who sired Guineas winners in three countries but saw his fee cut from £85000 to £65000- and Danehill Dancer whilst a good sire is no Pivotal. It is possible, indeed probable that the decision to list the fees as private is just the famed Coolmore spin machine at work. I strongly suspect that any breeder prepared who offered last years fees for either Danehill Dancer or Montjeu would have no problem getting an appointment for his mare. The other Coolmore giant is Galileo and his fee is advertised as private in 2009, the same situation as 2008.  Galileo had a fantastic year with his three year olds New Approach and Lush Lashes, older horses Soldier of Fortune and Red Rocks and promising two year olds Kite Wood, Cuis Ghaire and Rip Van Winkle. Although there is no advertised change in his fee, with the retirement of Sadler’s Wells he is probably ‘more private’ now than he was before!

Darley have raised two of their stallions. Kheleyf has gone from €5000 to €12000 and Exceed and Excel was raised from €10000 to £12000. It’s easy to understand these increases given the success of both stallions with their two year olds, finishing first and second with 27 and 21 individual winners respectively, including a respectable number of stakes performers.

The Irish National Stud also had a good year with its first season sires. Elusive City was responsible for Group winners Elusive Wave and Soul City and it was no harm that Soul City also won the Goffs million. The success of Raven’s Pass, another son of Elusive Quality was also timely. His fee has now moved from €8000 to €12500 which seems pricey to me. Indian Haven also had two Group winners in Ashram and Aspen Darlin and has fee has increased slightly from €6000 to €7500. I would expect his progeny to train on well and I think he is represents very good value and could be the one to replicate the success enjoyed his sire Indian Ridge and grandsire Ahonoora at the Irish National Stud.

Amongst the second season sires Dalakhani was the star. Two classic winners in Moonstone and Conduit were backed up by Group 2 winners Centennial and Democrate and four other stakes winners. His results justify an increase from €40000 to €50000.

Nayef matched Dalakhani by siring two Group 1 winners in Lady Marian and Tamayuz. Like Dalakhani he is free from Northern Dancer and he represents very good value at his new fee of £15000 up from £10000 in 2008.

Bizarrely Shadwell also increased the fee for Sakhee from £10000 to £12000. He had a few useful performers in Samuel and the Italian Permesso who was twice Group 1 placed but it hardly constituted a successful season. I certainly can’t see the rationale behind this increase.

Juddmonte have not increased any of their fees, nor have Rathbarry or Lanwades, although Lanwades would have been forgiven had they given Hernando an increase after the exploits of Look Here and Casual Conquest.

 The National Stud raised Bahamian Bounty from £9000 to £10000. This was surprising as although he had plenty of winners he had no Group winners all year and his best performer was Gallagher who finished runner up in the Prix Morny. Time will tell whether this decision was brave or foolhardy, but I found it surprising.

The brevity of the above list tells you all that you need to know about the current state of the market.  Confidence is in short supply but no doubt commercial breeders are hoping that when it comes to selling the outcome of their 2009 matings that the financial outlook will be a lot rosier. I hope they will be proved right but I’m always reminded of the saying “anyone who wants to make a small fortune out of horses, needs to start with a big fortune”……..

Sunday with a difference

Sunday saw the running of the Irish Oaks and the Prix Jean Prat. The results credited two stallions with Group One winners from their first crops and refreshingly both stallions are free from Northern Dancer. Moonstone was still a maiden going into the Irish Oaks, but after finishing runner-up in the Epsom Oaks she was probably the highest rated maiden in training.  She had cost 700000 guineas at Tattersalls so it is no surprise that her pedigree lacks nothing. The most obvious credential is that she is a three part sister to L’Ancresse who was trained by Roger Charlton at two but ended up with Aidan O’Brien at three. L’Ancresse ran 9 times as a three year old. She won just once in a Listed race, but she had some impressive placings including when she finished second to Vintage Tipple in the Irish Oaks and her final run when she finished second to Islington in the Breeders Cup. That run saw her rated champion three year old filly. Moonstone’s third dam Arctique Royale was also a classic winner at the Curragh when she won the 1981 Irish 1000 Guineas for Kevin Prendergast. Further back this is a family that provided success to Coomore through Scorpion who shares a fourth dam with Moonstone in Arctic Melody a winner of the Musidora stakes and the Athasi Stakes. This is also the family of Ardross.  It was a good Oaks for Dalakhani who also sired the fourth home in Chinese White. His fillies have proved popular at the sales as owners see him as ready made replacement for his sire Darshaan who has compiled a very impressive reputation as a broodmare sire and one who nicked very well with Sadler’s Wells and his sons. It is probably an odds-on shot that Moonstone will be sent to either Galileo or Montjeu when she retires to the paddocks.

Tamayuz already had three victories to his name including a Group 3, however he was on something of a redemption mission having disappointed in the French Guineas. And he certainly redeemed himself. This year saw the best field assembled in the Prix Jean Prat for many a year and Tamayuz was impressive in beating the held up Ravens Pass and Rio de Le Plata. The winning distance was one and a half lengths which interestingly was double the distance by which Henrythenavigator defeated Ravens Pass. It will be interesting to see him take on Henrythenavigator. Tamayuz never passed through the sales ring but he certainly would have been demand as his dams side is dripping under the weight of black type. His own dam Al Ishq cost 280000 Ir guineas but won only one minor race. However her second dam Allez les trois is dam of a French Derby winner in Anabaa Blue, whereas third dam Allegretta is the dam of an Arc winner in Urban Sea who is now almost more famous as dam of Galileo. For good measure she is also dam of other Group 1 winers in  Black Sam Bellamy and My Typhoon as well as group winners in All too beautiful and Urban Ocean. Incidentally her two year old colt by Green Desert Sea the Stars was a promising fourth in the first race maiden at the Curragh.  Allegretta is also dam of Guineas winner Kings Best and this family is amongst the most succesful in the modern era. Nayef came close to a classic success earlier in the year when Spacious finished runner up in the 1000 Guineas and Shadwell will have no trouble in filling his book at a bargain fee of £10000.

With breeders so fickle and with the demand for immediate success these Group One successes will be warmly welcomed by the Aga Khan and by Shadwell.  Both can now point to promising young stallions capable of delivering quality horses and almost just as importantly they are stallions free from Northern Dancer who have delivered success with mares from his line. European breeding needs these stallions.

TAMAYUZ (GB) 2005 c ch

(USA) 1998
(USA) 1984
Prospector (USA) 1970
A Native (USA) 1961
Digger (USA) 1962
(USA) 1976
(USA) 1960
Mary (USA) 1969
Of Fashion (FR) 1979
(GB) 1971
(GB) 1963
Yard (GB) 1963
(GB) 1971
Hussar (GB) 1960
(GB) 1958
Ishq (FR) 1997
(USA) 1977
Dancer (CAN) 1961
(USA) 1954
(USA) 1957
(USA) 1969
(ARG) 1963
(USA) 1964
Les Trois (USA) 1991
(USA) 1969
Bend (USA) 1960
Lady (USA) 1963
(GB) 1978
(GER) 1967
(GER) 1969


MOONSTONE (GB) 2005 f b

(IRE) 2000
(GB) 1981
Heights (GB) 1975
Reef (USA) 1968
(GB) 1969
(FR) 1972
(FR) 1959
(FR) 1965
(IRE) 1989
(USA) 1978
Prospector (USA) 1970
(USA) 1971
(FR) 1981
Palace (FR) 1974
(FR) 1973
De Lune (IRE) 1990
Society (USA) 1982
(USA) 1974
The Flag (USA) 1968
Pout (USA) 1966
Bikini (USA) 1969
(USA) 1963
(USA) 1960
Special (IRE) 1985
(USA) 1980
(CAN) 1967
(USA) 1969
Royale (IRE) 1978
And Regal (USA) 1970
Melody (GB) 1962