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.

Kildangan 2020 fees reviewed: Why Blue Point is overpriced and other thoughts-Part 1 Belardo to Night of Thunder

Darley stands 16 stallions in Kildangan for 2020. It has a preponderance of sprinters/milers with only Teofilo being a noted middle distance sire. Either by accident of design, Darley’s elite middle distance sires (Dubawi, Golden Horn and New Approach) are homed in Dalham where they don’t compete head on with Coolmore’s array of middle distance sires. In this article, I gave a frank review of 9 sires on its Irish roster and will review the remainder over the Christmas break.

Kildangan Stud 2020 fee (2019 fee)

1.Belardo €10,000 (€10,000) 2012 Lope De Vega ex Danaskaya by Danehill)

Verdict: Fairly Priced

A Dewhurst winning son of Lope De Vega, he was second in the QE2 at three and won the Lockinge at four. That makes him sound very exciting but he actually only won five of his 16 starts and he seemed to lose his way at three, failing to win in 7 starts. His dam Danaskaya is listed as a Champion Irish two year old, but that honour was rather cheaply won and her best performances were placed efforts in the Cheveley Park and Lowther Stakes. It is a useful rather than exceptional female line.

Commercially, the markets didn’t seem in love with his first yearlings. The median was 20,000 guineas which is less than breeders would have expected off an initial €15,000 fee. At €10,000 he gives low cost access to a son of Lope De Vega, he was a Group 1 winning two year old and he compares well with Phoenix of Spain (by Lope de Vega ex Lucky Clio by Key of Luck) who will commence in the Irish National Stud for €15,000.

2. Blue Point €45,000 (€na) (2014 Shamardal ex Scarlett Rose by Royal Applause)

Verdict: Overpriced

There was a fair bit of speculation about Blue Point’s likely fee. His retirement with ‘nothing to prove’ was announced after Royal Ascot. Had Blue Point’s fee been announced in July, I suspect it would have been 25-30k. The arrival of Pinatubo, Earthlight and Victor Ludorum moved Shamardal’s reputation to a whole new level. Of his sire sons, Lope de Vega continues to climb the ranks, so if ever there was a good time to launch a son of Shamardal at stud it is now.

Blue Point was magnificent this year winning his five starts. These included 3 races at Meydan and then a Royal Ascot double in the Kings Stand over 5 furlongs and the Golden Jubilee over 6 furlongs. He has always been high class, winning a Gimcrack at 2, two Group races at three and the Kings Stand at 4. He ran twenty times, winning eleven and placed 6 times, so he was durable as well as classy. His dams pedigree is about speed. Scarlett Rose produced a Railway Stakes winner in Formosina, the second dam produced the tough and durable Tumbleweed Ridge but it’s not a particularly classy female line.

So why do I think he is overpriced?

Blue Point’s fee compares unfavourably with Caravaggio. Caravaggio was a better two year old, beat Blue Point in the Commonwealth Cup, is by an equally fashionable sire in Scat Daddy. Caravaggio has a slightly stronger distaff line yet he stands for 40k (and I think that is overpriced).

Blue Point was best at 5 and didn’t win his first Group 1 until he was four. Who is looking to breed four and five year olds? If you want a recent reminder of outstanding 5 year old sprinters failing at stud, check out stud mate Slade Power 🙂 Blue Point is an atypical Shamardal in terms of his distance preference and his distaff line is not top class. He may well succeed but there are just too many caveats for my liking to justify €45k…

3. Buratino €5,000 (€5000) (Exceed and Excel ex Bergamask by Kingmambo)

Verdict: Overpriced.

It’s small money but I think he is slightly overpriced given the risk/reward ratio. This is a sire heading into his fourth season with an initial yearling median of 6,000 guineas. Buratino was a precocious two year old who made his debut in March. When he won the Coventry in June from Air Force Blue it was his 6th race! Air Force Blue reversed the placings in the Phoenix Stakes but Buratino ran another fine race when only beaten half a length in the Middle Park. His subsequent three year old career was disappointing. As a son of Exceed and Excel, he can be expected to deliver early speedy types and his third dam Mira Adonde produced a rags to riches sire in Danehill Dancer. A few cheaper sons of Exceed and Excel have done well including Bungle intheJungle, Kuroshio and Sidestep and he may join their ranks, but I thought they would have dropped him to €4,000.

4. Dawn Approach €10,000 (€15,000) (2010 New Approach ex Hymn of Dawn by Phone Trick)

Verdict: Overpriced

He stood at €35,000 for his first three seasons, so his 2020 fee tells you that he hasn’t lived up to expectations. He was a champion two year old, a Guineas winner who won four Group 1’s but it’s his stud record that matters- and his stud record isn’t impressive. His winners to foals of racing age percentage is only 22% (120 from 544) and he is on 2% stakes winner to foals of racing age. He can sire a top horse but he is something of a ‘nearly sire’. Madhmoon is top class, having nearly won the Derby. Musis Amica nearly won the Prix de Diane and Mary Tudor was third in an Irish Oaks. Dawn Approach has yet to sire a Group 1 winner and only Madhmoon has won at Group 2 level. Commercially, he is dead in the water and he had a yearling median of 8500 guineas in 2019. I actually think there is good value in buying his yearlings at those sort of prices but you couldn’t advise a commercial breeder to pay €10k for next season.

5. Exceed And Excel €40,000 (€50,000) (2000 Danehill ex Patrona by Lomond)

Verdict: Overpriced

To start with the positives, Exceed and Excel is a successful stallion in two hemispheres, a real two year old sire, commercially popular and now achieving success as a broodmare sire and sire of sires. He had a very good year in Australia but was much quieter in Europe. This saw his yearling median dipped from 80000 in 2018 to 52000 guineas in 2019. At this stage, we know Exceed and Excel is a good sire with 164 (7%) stakes winners, but I don’t think his Northern Hemisphere results have justified his lofty fee. He still only has three Group 1 winners (Excelebration, Margot Did and Outstrip) to his name. There are better sires out there for the money and the market may be falling out of love with him….

6. Fast Company €12,000 (€12,000) (2005 Danehill Dancer ex Sheezalady by Zafonic)

Verdict: Overpriced

Was brought back to Kildangan for the 2017 after the classic success of Jetsetting and a Group 2 win for Devonshire in 2016. There was nothing comparable in 2019, with his top performer being the 6 year old Safe Voyage who won a Group 3 and finishing third in the QE2.

Fast Company had respectable sales returns this year with a yearling median of 17000 guineas. Anyone thinking of using him in 2020, will have to hope that the better mares he covered since 2017 will translate into track success. I’m not so convinced. He stood for €7000 in 2017 after his breakthrough season. I don’t understand why he is now worth €12,000 with little of note in the interim.

7. French Navy €4,000 (€4000) (2008 Shamardal ex First Fleet by Woodman)

Verdict: Overpriced

Had his first runners this season with a sprinkling of decent winners and there is hope that his progeny will improve with age. A likeable sort, French Navy managed 22 runs and 11 wins in a career that saw him running until he was 7. However, even at €4000 unless he gets a breakout horse he is going to be a very hard sell for the nominations team. His yearling median was an insulting 2350 guineas. Looking into my crystal ball, I see that if Casamento (another son of Shamardal) does ok as a jumps sire this fellow will follow him down that road.

8. Fulbright €4,000 (€4,000) (2009 Exceed and Excel ex Lindfield Belle by Fairy King)

Verdict: Overpriced

Like French Navy had his first runners in 2019. Unlike French Navy there was nothing of any quality and in terms of precocity much more would have been expected of Fulbright’s offspring. His median was 3000 guineas. I can’t think of any good reason to use him at any fee.

9. Night Of Thunder €25,000 (£15,000) (2011 Dubawi ex Forest Storm by Galileo)

Verdict: Unbelievably Good Value

Night of Thunder had an exceptional first season. That could turn out to be a statistical anomaly based on a small sample size but I don’t think so. A fee of €50,000 wouldn’t have seemed outrageous to me. It may be the case that his published fee is bit like those ‘limited special offers’ to get you in the door and they will try to sell you something else (because he is full) but hopefully they aren’t that cynical! I did a full review (probably reads like a love letter ) to Night of Thunder earlier this month and you can read that at http://www.montjeu.com/archives/903 . To summarise, I’m a big fan and if you can access him at €25,000 well that should make for a happy Christmas and New Year.

Coolmore 2020 Fees- An Honest Appraisal- Part 2

Continuing my candid review of Coolmore’s 2020 stud fees- from Magna Grecia to Zoffany…..

Stallion 2020 fee (2019 fee)
Magna Grecia €22,500 (na)- (2016 by Invincible Spirit ex Cabaret by Galileo)
Verdict: Overpriced

There are an incredible seven English 2000 Guineas winners standing at Coolmore. Magna Grecia was a decisive winner in 2019 but the race was unsatisfactory, with the near side runners seemingly at a big advantage. That said, he was already a Group 1 winner when he lined up for the Guineas having won the Vertem Futurity Trophy(aka Racingpost/Observer Gold Cup/Timeform/WilliamHill Futurity whatever you are having yourself). He was only 5th in Irish Guineas and missed most of the season before a final below par run in the QE2 at Ascot. He retired to stud with a record of three wins from six starts and a narrow defeat by subsequent French Guineas winner Persian King in the Autumn Stakes. He was an expensive foal at 340,000 guineas. Clearly a good looking individual, his dam was a Group winning daughter of Galileo and being a son of Invincible Spirit is a positive in selling any new stallion prospect. I don’t see him as the next Kingman or I am Invincible and expected him to be around €20,000. His fee will fall back over the coming years as he has to compete with newer arrivals on the marketplace.

Mastercraftsman €25,000 (€30,000) (2006 Danehill Dancer ex Starlight Dreams by Black Tie Affair)

Verdict:Overpriced

Longfellow wrote:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
 When she was good,
 She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid
.

That poem reminds me of Mastercraftsman. He can sire outstanding performers such as Alpha Centauri, The Grey Gatsby and Kingston Hill or lots and lots of dross. He had nothing of the calibre of Alpha Centauri in 2019, with his best winner Technician winning the Prix Royale Oak over nearly 2 miles. His 2019 yearling sales median dropped to 30000 guineas so he isn’t performing in the sales ring. He had smaller foal crops of 87 and 65 in 2017 and 2018 so his offspring won’t be as visible on the track in the coming years either. He may rebound on the strength of the crop conceived post Alpha Centauri but I would have expected him to be 20k for 2020.

No Nay Never €175,000 (€100,000) (2011 Scat Daddy ex Cat’s Eye Witness by Elusive Quality)

Verdict: Overpriced

No Nay Never (NNN) has done very well with his first two crops but someone needs to get a grip and rein in the Scat Daddy hype. NNN has sired one Group 1 winner, and he (Ten Sovereigns) only ever won at 6 furlongs. NNN impressed with his current crop of 131 two year olds, featuring the Dewhurst place getters Arizona and Wichita and Group 2 winner (and Dewhurst also ran) Mystery Power. The breeders who used him in the early days have done well for themselves with a yearling median this year of 80,000 guineas. However to justify his 2020 covering fee, a commercial breeder would have to get 250,000 guineas+ for the resultant offspring. Those are the sort of numbers better suited to classic prospects, not the types sired to date by NNN ie sprinters and two year olds. By way of comparison, Kingman and Frankel who are proven classic sires are £150,000 and £175,000 respectively for 2020 and Invincible Spirit is €100,000. Don’t get me wrong NNN is a hugely promising sire with very good percentages and his record will improve further with the better quality mares that he is now attracting. He is free of Danzig and Sadler’s Wells which helps with his mare compatibility in these parts. However, he is being priced as if he had already fully delivered on his promise and there is limited upside. NNN’s fee has gone too far, too soon and he is best left to the Coolmore band of mares who aren’t paying for the privilege.

.

Requinto €4,000 (€5,000) (Dansili ex Damson by Entrepreneur)

Verdict: No loss

I had just written, how he was somehow clinging on to his place in the Coolmore roster, when I came across a late announcement that he was relocating to Italy for 2020.Had a yearling sales median of 8500 guineas in 2019 and unlikely to be mourned by too many.


Rock Of Gibraltar €6,000 (€7,500) (1999 Danehill ex Offshore Boom by Be My Guest)

Verdict: Should be Retired…

It’s almost a bit sad to see such a great horse operating at this level of the stallion market. Only had a reported 15 foals in 2018 and the median for his 9 yearlings sold this year was 6000 guineas. Has his moments as a sire but his overall record was modest, given the opportunities he received.

Ruler Of The World €6,000 (€10,000) (2010 Galileo ex Love Me True by Kingmambo)

Verdict: Bon Voyage

A beautifully bred Derby winner who finished close up in a Champion Stakes. His stud record consists of Iridessa and nothing else. He was restricted by (relatively speaking) small crops of 45 and 55 in his first two seasons but will now be standing in Haras de Bouquetot for 2020.

Saxon Warrior €27,500 (€30,000) (2015 Deep Impact ex Maybe by Galileo)

Verdict: Fair Price

Lots to like about Saxon Warrior. By the 5th of May in his three year old career his career stats were 4 runs, 4 wins that included a 2000 Guineas, A Racing Post Trophy and a Beresford Stakes. In two of those races he defeated Roaring Lion. He ran five more times, finishing fourth at odds on in the Derby behind Masar and finishing third in the Irish Derby. He was narrowly beaten by Roaring Lion in an Eclipse before again finding that rival too good in the International Stakes and the Leopardstown Champion Stakes. He seemed versatile in trip being equally adept at a mile and a mile and quarter and not being beaten too far in two Derbies. He is a welcome top class son of Deep Impact to stand in Europe and his dam Maybe (by Galileo) was a champion two year old who won the Moyglare Stud Stakes from a high class female line. You could argue that he is just another unproven Guineas winner standing at Coolmore and his fee will be shaved further in the coming seasons but the novelty of his sireline in these parts make him an interesting prospect for the right mares. He attracted 165 mares in 2019 and should remain popular for now.



Sioux Nation €12,500 (€12,500) (2015 Scat Daddy ex Dream the Blues by Oasis Dream)

Verdict: Overpriced (slightly)

The poor man’s son of Scat Daddy and like others by SD he needed good to firm ground to show his best form. His overall record of 4 wins from 15 starts shows he was just short of top class even if he did snare a Group 1 in the Phoenix Stakes to go with his Group 2 at Royal Ascot in the Norfolk. His female pedigree is more than a little light by the usual Coolmore standards. Interestingly, the granddam Catch The Blues serves as a nice reminder that Aidan O’Brien didn’t always train Galileos. She was unsold for IRP£3500 but Aidan managed to win a Ballyogan Stakes with her and got her placed in a Haydock Sprint Cup. I would have thought something like 10k would be closer to the mark. However breeders obviously disagree with me and 241 mares were covered at €12,500 in 2019..



Starspangledbanner €22,500 (17,500)  (2006 Choisir ex Gold Anthem by Made of Gold

Verdict: Fair Price

A quality sprinter on two continents who had well reported fertility issues and he didn’t return from Australia for a few years. His first small crop (2012) of only 33 foals included a very impressive 8 Black Type winners including the Wow Signal, Home of the Brave and Anthem Alexander . There were 73 foals in his 2017 crop with Millisle delivering a second Group 1 for her sire in the Cheveley Park. His yearling median sales price took a bit of a dip to 30000 guineas in 2019, so that doesn’t leave a lot of scope for profit for commercial breeders. Maybe, I’m still blinded by the memory of that first crop but for me he is a likeable sire, who upgrades his mares and is worth using.

Ten Sovereigns €25,000 (na) (2016 No Nay Never ex Seeking Solace by Exceed and Excel)

Verdict: Overpriced

The poor man’s No Nay Never 🙂  Unbeaten at two, he won the Middle Park. He failed to stay in the Guineas before disappointing in the Commonwealth Cup. He bounced back with a top class performance in the July Cup before again disappointing in the Nunthorpe. On his final run, the Everest in Australia, he again failed to scale the heights 🙂 He cost 200,000 guineas as a yearling, with his dam being Listed placed and his grandam being Group placed. However, its an unremarkable distaff line and his siblings by Halling and High Chaparral were sold for €21,000 and 40,000 guineas respectively. The use of those sires and those prices gives an indication that this isn’t the bluest of blood. For less money, you could use a proven July Cup winner in Starspangledbanner, or a better bred one in US Navy Flag but regardless of what I say, Ten Sovereigns will  prove popular in his first season as people jump on the NNN bandwagon.

The Gurkha €12,500 (€17,500) (2013 Galileo ex Chintz by Danehill Dancer)

Verdict: Fair Price

Unraced at two, he was an impressive winner of the French Guineas. He then ran second in the St James Palace to Galileo Gold (after Frankie outrode Ryan Moore) and in the Eclipse to Hawksbill. He finished his career on a high with a victory in the Sussex Stakes over Galileo Gold, Ribchester and Awtaad.

The Gurkha has a classy enough pedigree. His dam, Chintz was a Group 3 winner of the CL Weld Stakes, his Granddam was a Listed winner and the third dam Brooklyns Dance is the dam of Arc winner Solemia and other notables.

It’s always a brave/foolish act (usually the latter) to use a horse in his fourth season. His first yearlings had a median of only 25000 gns which is a very poor result off a €25000 fee. There is no scarcity of quality sons of Galileo at stud competing for mares, but €12500 is enticing enough to overcome the usual caution in this matters.

US Navy Flag €17,500 (25,000) (2015 War Front ex Misty For Me by Galileo)

Verdict: Fair Price

US Navy Flag makes for an interesting comparison with Ten Sovereigns. Both won by the Middle Park and July Cup but US Navy Flag also won the Dewhurst. In addition, U S Navy Flag stayed better than Ten Sovereigns, finishing a credible second in the Irish 2000 Guineas to Romanised. US Navy Flag comes from a much better distaff line than Ten Sovereigns. His dam, Misty For Me won an Irish 1000 Guineas and Moyglare Stakes amongst her four Group 1’s and is also the dam of triple Group 1 winner Roly Poly (also by War Front).  To add to the story, Misty for Me is a sister to Prix Marcel Boussac winner Ballydoyle and this is also the family of champion two year old and flash in the pan sire Fasliyev.  Overall this is a real quality family. War Front is a better (and more expensive) and proven sire compared to No Nay Never. However NNN is more fashionable so Ten Sovereigns will attract more mares…..  Alas, commercial breeders have to take heed of fashion even when they disagree. The words of Keynes are very apt “the markets can stay irrational, longer than you can stay solvent”!

So how to assess US Navy Flag? He raced in headgear but he was genuine.  In terms of commercial appeal he is held back by his sire War Front. I’m not sure what happened to people with War Front. Everyone loved War Front, until they stopped loving him. He didn’t become a bad sire, quite the contrary, but there is a suspicion about his sire sons in Europe so in his first season US Navy Flag ‘only’ attracted 119 mares. The record of sons of War Front in these parts is not actually that bad. Declaration of War only stood in Europe for one season and his record was underwhelming, War Command can be excused on the basis of ordinary mares but this year Due Diligence exceeded expectations. Overall looking at the total package of pedigree and performance, U S Navy Flag looks a reasonable price to me.

Zoffany €22,500(€25,000) (2008 Dansili ex Tyranny by Machiavellian)

Verdict: Overpriced

Zoffany is Marmite (or should that be kryptonite) – everyone has an opinion on him, with little middle ground. Incidentally most people don’t like Marmite 🙂 I once part-owned a 40’s rated Zoffany colt/gelding but I try not to let that colour my view of him 🙂 

Albigna winning the Prix Marcel Boussac was a big result for Zoffany. He needed a Group 1 horse as he had lacked one since the forgettable Ventura Storm in his first crop. The heady days of a Royal Ascot treble in 2015 with Waterloo Bridge, Washington DC and Illuminate are all but forgotten.  In 2019, Zoffany had a useful supporting cast with Fleeting being placed in two Oaks and Main Edition winning a German 1000 Guineas. Albigna is however the only stakes winner to date from the 169 two year olds representing him in 2019. He has another 158 foals in his 2018 crop so he has plenty of ammunition for next season. For me, he hasn’t delivered on his early promise. He gets good looking sales horses and had a yearling median of 40,500 guineas in 2019 . However, his overall stats of 3% stakes winners don’t justify his stud fee.

Coolmore 2020 Fees- An Honest Appraisal- Part 1

Coolmore has 25 flat stallions on their roster for 2020. I’ve assessed each of their fees as either representing good value, fair value or poor value. I can be honest because I don’t get paid to run full colour page ads for their stallions 🙂 Given the number of stallions, I will consider 12 stallions this week…

Stallion 2020 fee (2019 fee)
Australia €27,500 (€35,000)- (2011 by Galileo ex Ouija Board by Cape Cross)
Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced:

Australia was a superior Derby winner out of an outstanding Oaks winner and a gorgeous mover and physical specimen. I thought he was the natural successor to Galileo but I was wrong. He has done respectably but the market is unforgiving and fickle and his progeny are showing too much stamina for our speed obsessed industry. His average winning distance is 11.9 furlongs and he has yet to sire a Group 1 winner. His sales median held up surprisingly well this year but unless he comes up with some superstars next year, he will be in trouble. He is a high risk proposition for any commercial breeder who would be looking to sell a yearling by him in 2022. In my view, given the risks involved he is overpriced and closer to €20,000 would be more appropriate.

Calyx €22,500 (na)- (2016 Kingman ex Helleborine by Observatory)

Verdict: Fair Value: (surprisingly)

Surely €22,500 is too much for a horse who never won or even ran, in a Group 1? Surely its too much for a horse who was so fragile he only managed four runs in two seasons? Actually, its probably about right. Calyx was brilliantly fast and he is the first high profile son of Kingman to go to stud in Ireland. He comes from a strong Juddmonte family and he was precocious enough to win the Coventry at Royal Ascot. He is ticking the right commercial boxes ie fashionable, precocious and speedy and he should prove popular. That said I would expect the usual slight dip in fee in years 2,3 and 4 especially as more sons of Kingman hit the market. However as a purely commercial play (as opposed to someone looking to breed a racehorse), I think his fee is about right and can be justified.

Camelot €40,000 (€40,000)- (2009 by Montjeu ex Tarfah by Kingmambo)

Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced:

He stood for €25,000 for his first three seasons so he clearly has done something right. This season was a case of ‘close but no cigar’- Pink Dogwood was beaten just a neck in the Oaks and the following day Sir Dragonet started favourite for the Derby and was beaten just under a length. Currently he has 25 stakes winners (a creditable 5% of racing age offspring) and Camelot is the main hope for the Montjeu sireline on the flat. His yearling sales median dipped to 60000 guineas from 80000 guineas in the preceeding year. I would have expected a downward adjustment in his fee for 2020 to either €30000 or €35000.

Caravaggio €40,000 (€35,000)- (2014 by Scat Daddy ex Mekko Hokte by Holy Bull)

Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced:

Stood for €35,000 for his first two seasons and it is customary for fees to decrease not increase in the third season. He was an unbeaten two year old who won the Coventry and Phoenix Stakes and he defeated Harry Angel in the Commonwealth Cup at three. And of course, he was a son of Scat Daddy. It is this fact that accounts for the rise in his fee for his third season. People are assuming that he will replicate the success of Scat Daddy’s son, No Nay Never. He may well be a success but the risk/reward ratio for a third season sire doesn’t appeal to me.

Churchill €30,000 (€35,000)- (2014 by Galileo ex Meow by Storm Cat)

Verdict: Poor ValueOver Priced

Churchill won seven consecutive races including 4 consecutive Group 1’s in 2016 and 2017. Alas, I still had to rewatch videos of his Guineas wins and Dewhurst to refresh the memory. That tells me that although he compiled an impressive cv, he lacked the star quality you would expect from a dual Guineas winner. His pedigree is typically high class Coolmore, with the plebian Airwave family having now arrived at the top table. His sister Clemmie also won a Group 1 in the Cheveley Park. He was high class, is well bred and has as good a chance as any third season sire of proving successful, but perhaps is a bit pricey compared with Gleneagles.

Fastnet Rock €60,000 (€70,000) (2001 Danehill ex Piccadilly Circus by Royal Academy)

Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced (Massively)

Verdict: His overall European record is nothing special given the quality of mares he received. Coolmore had hoped he would be a suitable consort for their many Galileo mares, but he didn’t really deliver. He can get a top notcher but even his best performers last season such as Torcedor, One Master and I Can Fly don’t exactly excite. His yearling median in 2019 was 51000 guineas so I don’t know how anyone thinks he is good value at €60,000. To me he is a €25,000 sire.

Footstepsinthesand €15,000 (€10,000) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest)

Verdict: Poor ValueOverpriced

He stood at €10,000 for 9 consecutive years before getting a 50% hike for 2020.  The justification was the emergence of two high class two year olds in Threat and Mum’s Tipple. This racecourse success also saw a rise in his yearling median to 27000 guineas from 20000 guineas. However both Threat and Mum’s Tipple were beaten in the Middle Park. That is the story of Footsteps, he is a reasonable stallion, who progeny are popular with trainers. However his best progeny fall short of being truly top class. He has a place in the market but his fee for the previous 9 seasons is about right.

Galileo Private (Private) (1998 Sadler’s Wells ex Urban Sea by Miswaki)

Verdict: Value 🙂

We take his extraordinary results each year for granted. Another four classic winners in 2019 with Hermosa, Anthony Van Dyck, Sovereign and Search for A Song. The supporting cast included Circus Maximus and Japan. His fee has been private for over a decade now and supposedly over €500,000. At this level, the saying ‘if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it’ springs to mind, so his actual fee is of little relevance to anyone who does their own shopping.

Gleneagles €35,000 (30,000) (2012 Galileo ex You’resothrilling by Storm Cat).

Verdict: Value

What’s not to like? A dual Guineas winner, first past the post in 5 Group 1’s and out of a full sister to Giant’s Causeway. He has had a very nice first crop with Group 2 winners in Royal Lytham and Royal Dornoch and a Royal Ascot winner in Southern Hills. Overall there were an impressive 25 winners from 111 foals. In the sales ring he had a yearling median of 75,000 guineas. No superstars (yet), but a promising start and less of a risk than some of his studmates.

Gustav Klimt €6,000 (€7,500) (2015 Galileo ex Massarrah by Danehill)

Verdict: Overpriced

‘Only’ a Group 2 winner but placed in the Irish Guineas, St James Palace and Haydock Sprint Cup. His place on the Coolmore roster is due to the fact that his granddam is Rafha, the dam of Invincible Spirit and Kodiac. He may uphold the family tradition but those two tend to be influences for speed and precocity and I’m not sure about a son of Galileo doing likewise.

Highland Reel €12,500 (€17,500) (2012 Galileo ex Hveger by Danehill)

Verdict: Overpriced

A really admirable racehorse. He ran 27 times. He won the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at two, won two Group 1’s at three, two Group 1’s at four and two Group 1’s at five. His successes included a King George, a Breeders Cup Turf, a Prince of Wales Stakes a Coronation Cup and a Hong Kong Vase. He is bred on the Galileo Danehill cross and his siblings include a Group 1 winner in Cape of Good Hope and an Irish Derby runner up in Idaho. We bemoan the fashion for speed and the lack of respect for soundness and toughness in our sires. However, I would be surprised if Highland Reel proves a successful flat sire. Nor does he appeal as an obvious choice for a commercially minded breeder. He lacked a striking turn of foot, improved with age and I expect him to be in Coolmore’s National Hunt division in a few years time!…

Holy Roman Emperor €15,000 (€15,000) (2004 Danehill ex L’On Vite by Secretariat)

Verdict: Fairly Priced:

Romanised helped show his sire in a positive light with his victory in the Jacques Le Marois and a controversial defeat by Circus Maximus in the Moulin (the placings should have been reversed in my opinion). Overall though it was an unremarkable year on the track. He got a new two year old Group winner in Roman Turbo and Listed two year old winner in Piece of Paradise. His yearling median last year was a solid 31500 guineas and his stats of 85 stakes winners from 1746 foals of racing age is a healthy 5%. He can sire a top class horse, can get two year olds and deliver a return in the sales ring so I think it’s fair enough to price him at €15000.

Night of Thunder’s Lightning Start

After a few years hiatus, I’ve found time to start writing again. My first topic is Night of Thunder who looks destined for the very top. His 2020 fee has been raised to €25,000, having covered at Dalham Hall for £15,000 for the past two years. He is likely to be heavily oversubscribed so you should call in whatever favours you can, to access him at that fee. He retired at a fee of €30,000 and if that was justified as an unproven stallion prospect, then €25,000 after a sensational first crop has to be the best value out there. If Coolmore stood him, he would be at least €50,000. I would be surprised, if he not covering at a six figure fee within a few years.

Night of Thunder’s Racing Career:

Night of Thunder made his debut in October 2013 , winning a 6 furlong Goodwood Auction Maiden by 6 lengths. He ran again two weeks later in a Listed race at Doncaster, this time by 3 lengths. Both races were on soft ground. It was a very satisfactory first season for a horse that Richard Hannon Snr was quoted as being all about his three year old season. He was best priced at 20-1 for the Guineas after his Doncaster victory.

However that price didn’t look very attractive following the first run of his three year old campaign in the Greenham Stakes. He was beaten over four lengths by Kingman with no apparent excuses. He was 40-1 when he reopposed Kingman in the Guineas. Richard Hannon Jnr, had taken over the licence from his father and stable jockey Richard Hughes chose Toormore, leaving Kieran Fallon to get the ride. It was a very strong Guineas field but despite hanging near the finish, Night of Thunder won by half a length from Kingman. Subsequent Derby winner Australia was in third and the also-rans included Group One winners Charm Spirit, Toormore, Kingston Hill, The Grey Gatsby and War Command.

Kingman won his classic in the Irish Guineas and got his revenge over Night of Thunder in the St James Palace, winning by a comfortable 2.5 lengths. Kingman added two more Group 1’s that season whereas Night of Thunder suffered three defeats. He didn’t stay in the Eclipse behind Mukhadram. He ran better back at a mile finishing a close third behind Charm Spirit in the Moulin and finishing his season with a close second again behind Charm Spirit in the QEII at Ascot. At the end of the season he was rated 5 pounds inferior to Kingman and a pound inferior to Charm Spirit.

Night of Thunder was kept in training at four. The decision seemed a wise one when he won the Lockinge on his seasonal debut defeating his stable companion Toormore . The rest of the season was slightly underwhelming. He was fifth behind Solow in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and sixth behind Solow in the Sussex Stakes. His final career stats were 11 runs, 4 wins , 3 seconds and a third. He was a stakes winner at two, a classic winner at three and a Group 1 winner at 4. His Guineas win may have been slightly surprising and Kingman was a better horse than him but he still defeated him on the day that mattered.

PEDIGREE ASSESSMENT

Combining a daughter of the best stallion in Europe with the second best stallion in Europe seems like an obvious recipe for success. The feud between Coolmore and Sheikh Mohammed meant that it wasn’t tried as often as you would have expected and even now there are only 42 foals of racing age bred on this cross. Night of Thunder, a March foal was bred by Frank Dunne and fetched only 32,000 guineas as a yearling in Book 1 of the 2012 Tattersalls October sales. He must have been an underwhelming physical specimen as his dam, Forest Storm was a winner for Jim Bolger and runner up in the Listed Flame of Tara Stakes (where she started odds on) . Indeed, she earned quotes of only 20-1 for the 1000 Guineas after winning on debut by 5 lengths at the Curragh. Forest Storm had herself cost €240,000 as a foal. Her form seemed to regress after her run in the Flame of Tara Stakes and she missed most of her three year old season, before putting in three modest performances in September 2009. Night of Thunder was her first foal.

The granddam Quiet Storm was by a disappointing sire in Desert Prince but she was also a winner and Stakes placed over 10 furlongs and a mile. She eventually found herself in India where she produced a domestic classic winner to the former Charles O’Brien/Aidan O’Brien stalwart Burden of Proof. The third dam Hertford Castle was by another hugely disappointing sire in Reference Point. The fourth dam Forest Flower earned the title of European Champion Two Year Old Filly in 1987, after edging out her great rival Minstrella in the Cheveley Park Stakes (a race from which she was controversially disqualified). She trained on the win the Irish 1000 Guineas to add to her Cherry Hinton, Queen Mary and Mill Reef victories.

Overall its a solid rather than spectacular female line.

Sons of Dubawi

Until the emergence of Night of Thunder, Dubawi had yet to get an outstanding sire son. His other Guineas winner Makfi had his moments (and his son Make Believe had a good freshman crop) but he wasn’t missed on his sale to Japan), Poets Voice also had some success (notably Poets Word) but no one greatly lamented his death in 2018. Al Kazeem had fertility issues, Worthadd was disappointing at the Irish National Stud and Universal was always going to struggle to get better class mares. There are a host of his sons at the early stage in their careers so plenty of sire sons could yet emerge.

Night of Thunder Dubawi Dubai Millennium Seeking The Gold Mr Prospector
Con Game
Colarado Dancer Shareef Dancer
Fall Aspen
Zomaradah Deploy Shirley Heights
Slightly Dangerous
Jawaher Dancing Brave
High Tern
Forest Storm Galileo Sadler’s Wells Northern Dancer
Fairy Bridge
Urban Sea Miswaki
Allegretta
Quiet Storm Desert Prince Green Desert
Flying Fairy
Hertford Castle Reference Point
Forest Flower

Night of Thunder’s First Crop

Night of Thunder’s stats to date are very impressive for a crop conceived at €30,000. There were 112 foals in that first crop. To date, he has had 51 runners with 28 winners, a winners/runners rate of 55%. There is no lack of quality either, with 7 Stakes winners including Group 2 winner Night Colours (f. ex Many Colours by Green Desert), Group 3 winners, Under The Stars (f. ex Jumeirah Palm Star by Invincible Spirit) and Pocket Square (f. ex Shared Account by Dansili). He has four Listed winners to his credit including Molatham (c. ex Cantal by Pivotal, Keep Busy (f. ex Look Busy by Danetime), Thunderous (c. ex Souviens Toi by Dalakhani) and Cacciante (c. ex Suggest by Raven’s Pass). Believers in nicks might see the above as a recommendation for Green Desert or Danehill crosses (and Night of Thunder also has two Listed placed sons with Cape Cross as broodmare sire) but I think it is just a reflection of the opportunities to date and the sample size is much too small to rely upon.

His winners have come from 5 furlongs to over a mile plus and seem versatile regarding ground. The strike rate is particularly high on good to soft ground and falls back on the all-weather but there may be other variables at play here including the lower quality of racing on the all-weather.

Conclusion and the future:

Night of Thunder has delivered lots of winners and plenty of high quality runners to date. He lacks a Group One superstar and that is possibly the reason that Darley didn’t go for a huge hike in his fee. However, his overall stats indicate that we are witnessing the emergence of an important new sire who is transmitting a lot of quality to his progeny. He improved from two to three and it would be surprising if his progeny don’t improve with age. The markets have been quick to notice his success and he had 43 yearlings sell this year for an average of 81000 guineas and a median of 48,000 guineas. I suspect we will look back on these prices as bargains in a few years time. My advice is simple- Breeders should do everything they can to use him while he is still affordable and owners/trainers should do all they can to get their hands on his progeny….