10 things we’ve learnt so far this season

1. Havana Grey (Havana Gold ex Blanc de Chine (Dark Angel) is the real deal. This is a proper breakthrough sire who just had his first Group 1 winner with Vandeek (ex Mona Misa by Exceed and Excel) . Rags to riches sires are a rarity and he is following in the recent footsteps of his broodmare sire Dark Angel, along with Showcasing and Mehmas who all established themselves as quality sires of two year old and sprinter/milers. His current crop of two year olds includes Group 2 July Stakes winner Jasour (ex Twilight Thyme by Bahamian Bounty) and Group 3 winner Elite Status (ex Dotted Swiss by Swiss Spirit) . Encouragingly five of his three year olds have won Stakes races so they are also training on. He should go gangbusters at the sales and there will be no surprises if his fee deservedly reaches £40,000+ for next season.

2. Charlie Appleby and Dubawi: Charlie Appleby is 7th in the UK trainers championship and Dubawi is 6th in the UK & Ireland sire tables. These would be stellar results for most trainers and sires but with a stud fee of £350,000 more is expected of Dubawi. Similarly, having topped the table in 2022 and 2021 it is relatively slim pickings for Charlie. With so many of Dubawi’s offspring trained in Moulton Paddocks the two events are highly correlated. So is Charlie suffering because of a bad crop of Dubawi’s or is Dubawi struggling because of a stable that is not firing for whatever reason? It’s probably a little bit of both. Ironically, the best two year old by Dubawi seen so far this season is the Futurity Stakes winner Henry Longfellow (Dubawi ex Minding by Galileo) is on track to become the first son of Dubawi to stand at Coolmore whenever his career ends.

3. Sons of Dubawi : Dubawi has garnered a reputation as a sire of sires. Night of Thunder and New Bay were the poster boys and are clearly very good sires. Night of Thunder looks to have a potential new star in Vespertilio but New Bay has had a quiet season so far. Zarak continues to post excellent percentages but could do with a Group 1 winner. Time Test has gone cold and Postponed is facing the exit. Too Darn Hot (ex Dar Ra Mi by Singspiel) looked to be disappointing early in the season but he has come nicely to the boil in recent weeks with a pair of a Group winning fillies in Fallen Angel and Darnation. Too Darn Hot defied his pedigree by being so precocious and not improving with age so it will be interesting to see what road his progeny follow.

Incidentally, I think Dubawi’s most interesting and best value son may be Frontiersman (Dubawi- Ouija Board by Cape Cross) who stands for just £1,000 at Overbury. He was runner up in a Coronation Cup, has a pedigree to die for and has sired two decent flat winners from three runners this year. That’s a lot of pedigree and performance for a pittance compared with many speedier sires. Who knows what he might achieve with better support from flat breeders?

4. Kodiac and sons: For a number of years, Kodiac was the two year old sire par excellence. However, the rise of No Nay Never, Mehmas and now Havana Grey have changed the two year old landscape. The appropriately named Lowther winner, Relief Rally (ex Kathoe by Fayruz) showed he can still produce top two year olds and with the three year old Good Guess (ex Zykina by Pivotal) winning a Prix Jean Prat and Zarinsk winning three Group races he has had a decent season.

Many of Kodiac’s sire sons started their careers with a flurry and outperformed their fees. However, things have quietened down since then with Kodi Bear not building on his strong start, Ardad not following up on Perfect Power and Coulsty must await his bigger crops. Prince of Lir was sold to India before Live In the Dream’s success in the Nunthorpe, Adaay is modest and Kessaar hasn’t thrown much. He has a few more sire sons to come on stream, notably Hello Youmzain, but it might serve as another reminder not to get too carried away (in a positive or negative way) with the notion of sires of sires.

5. Frankel will comfortably reclaim the sires championship and is out on his own in Europe. His dominance will only increase in the next few years. Dubawi’s quiet year has removed any doubt about who is the best sire around.

6. Galileo– still a force to be reckoned with . A 1-2-3 for Galileo in the Yorkshire Oaks was like a step back in time. Sadler’s Wells success waned in his final crops but Galileo’s fillies are still top drawer. 100 individual Group 1 winners will happen.

First Season Sires: We are quick to condemn the hasty rush to judgement on sires, but that’s not going to stop me donning my judges wig..

7. Advertise (Showcasing ex Furbelow by Pivotal) : Coventry winner by Showcasing who trained on to win a Commonwealth Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest. He has 103 two year olds conceived at £25,000. I thought he would be near the top of the first season sire table but he has made a really slow start with only 2 winners to date, particularly in contrast with another son of Showcasing in Soldiers Call.

8. Ten Sovereigns (No Nay Never ex Seeking Solace by Exceed and Excel) had big numbers (150 two year olds) and as a speedy son of No Nay Never, would have been expected to get off to a quick start. He has done reasonably well with two Stakes winners and 15 winners to date but it’s going to be a tricky to accommodate all of the sons of No Nay Never/ Scat Daddy on the Coolmore roster next year. Ten Sovereigns, Little Big Bear, Arizona, Blackbeard and Sioux Nation will all be vying for patronage so there may be some outward transfers.

Ahead of expectations:

9. Blue Point (Shamardal- Scarlett Rose by Royal Applause) improved with age so he wasn’t necessarily just going to be a sire of two year olds but he has done well with 29 winners so far and has a buzz about him. That said people might be getting a bit carried away as he does have 161 two year olds conceived at €45,000 to represent him.

10. Phoenix of Spain (Lope de Vega ex Lucky Clio by Key of Luck). Haatem has already provided him with a Group 2 winner. He has strong percentages of winnners/runners and his horses are improving as they move up in trip which augurs very well for this resident of the Irish National Stud. Expect a strong performance at the sales and he deserves a good support from breeders for next year.

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