Seven Value Sires for 2024

For any breeders who have yet to decide on their 2024 stallions, I have compiled a shortlist of seven budget-friendly sires offering a good risk/reward ratio. In trying to identify value sires, I ignore sires who haven’t had runners, as most new sires will fail. Value sires will typically fall into one of three categories

  1. Older proven stallions who are getting fee reductions to compete with the more fashionable younger sires. Oasis Dream falls into this category.
  2. Sires with limited track representation who have shown promise but could be on the cusp of breakthrough success. Frontiersman, Coulsty, Phoenix of Spain and Study of Man are in this category.
  3. Sires with good reputations with trainers/agents who will deliver in the sales ring regardless of short term results in the track- Awtaad and Holy Roman Emperor are in this category.

1. Frontiersman (2013 Dubawi ex Ouija Board by Cape Cross)
Fee £2000- Standing at Overbury Stud

I wouldn’t normally recommend a horse with a Timeform squiggle who never won above Listed level as a value sire but this guy offers great value for a £2000 fee.
Firstly, the pedigree is exceptional. Dubawi has solidified his standing as a sire of sires, and Ouija Board adds further luster as both a champion on the track and the dam of a good sire in Australia. Frontiersman had a Timeform rating of 121 (albeit with a squiggle) and was runner up in a Coronation Cup so he was higher rated than many sires. His first runners on the flat (Asian Daze and Missy Dolly Rocker) were both winners. He had been marketed as a dual purpose/NH sire by Overbury but I think he is worthy of serious consideration by flat breeders at a peanuts fee.

2. Awtaad 2013 Cape Cross ex Asheerah by Shamardal
Fee €5000- Standing at Derrinstown Stud

Everybody now loves Awtaad as a value sire and for that reason it makes sense to use him. Agents and trainers will feel reassured purchasing his progeny because they have heard enough people repeating the mantra that he is great value. This year will see his fifth crop on the track and after a quiet start, 2 Group/Grade 1 winners (Anisette and Anmaat) in 2023 made everyone sit up and take notice. That said, his stats aren’t that exciting with 11 stakes winners (4%) and he has only 8 two years this year and 27 yearlings next year so I wouldn’t expect any great fireworks on the track in the near future. However at €5k, following the bandwagon should now work for commercial breeders on a budget.

3. Coulsty 2011 Kodiac ex Hazium by In The Wings
Fee €5500- Standing at Rathasker Stud

Despite his lack of representation he has a Grade 1 winner to his name in Shantisara, a Group 3 winner, three Listed winners and two stakes placed runners. This is an impressive record from only 48 cheaply bred runners. He has 75 two year olds this year and 119 yearlings on the horizon. This compares with 68 foals in all his previous crops so his track profile should soar. Kodiac has gained a decent reputation as a sire of sires and Coulsty could be on an upward trajectory.

4. Holy Roman Emperor 2004 Holy Roman Emperor ex L’on Vite by Secretariat
Fee €8000- Standing at Coolmore Stud

A reliable sire who might be a good option for a younger mare trying to get winners on her page. He didn’t have his best year in 2023 but so far he has sired 14 Group 1 winner (9 in the Northern hemisphere) and is operating at 5% stakes winners to foals. He had a healthy yearling median of €31k last year so he is a decent commercial proposition.

5. Phoenix of Spain 2016 Lope De Vega ex Lucky Clio by Key of Luck
Fee €10,000- Standing at Irish National Stud

I thought his first runners exceeded expectations with 20 two year old winners from 51 runners in a crop of 97. With his progeny expected to improve with time, those are more than respectable numbers. Amongst his winners was Haatem, who won the Grp 2 Vintage Stakes so it was mildly surprising that his fee was shaved from €12k to €10k. He had a yearling median of c. €25k last year but if his progeny progress as expected then I think there could be upside in using him.

6. Study of Man 2015 Deep Impact ex Second Happiness by Storm Cat
Fee £12,500- Standing at Lanwades

I’m keen on this beautifully bred, French Derby winner with Miesque as his grandam. His first crop was promising with 11 winners from a total crop of 55, headlined by the Beresford Stakes winner Deepone and Grp 3 placed Ghorgan. The expectation is that as a son of Deep Impact, his progeny will improve with age. I could see him as a classic sire and there aren’t many sires in this price bracket about whom that could be said.

7. Oasis Dream 2000 Green Desert ex Hope by Dancing Brave
Fee £15,000- Standing at Banstead Manor

Oasis Dream has sired 134 stakes winners (7%) and 20 Group 1 winners so his ability as a sire is not in doubt. His fee reflects his age. Older stallions generally have lower fertility and there is a belief that progeny results also show decline in later crops. This is the lowest fee of his career ( he stood a number of seasons at £85k) and I think it is adequately discounted to account for any age related concerns.

Coolmore’s 2024 fees (Part 2-stallions below €20k)

I received a lot of feedback on my post previous post about Coolmore’s fees. For the avoidance of doubt:
a) I don’t have a grudge against Coolmore.
b) I try to be impartial and I apply the same standards to other studs.
c) My comments are based on the published fee. Most breeders will get a better rate. A lower rate would lead to a more favourable assessment of the sires.

If we return our focus to the Coolmore roster, they have 9 stallions standing for under €20k. This is a more competitive segment of the market, with nearly 50 Irish flat sires standing between €5k and €20k. The Coolmore roster is a mixture of the old and young, those dropping down having failed to make it a higher fee and younger unproven stallions. There is a spread of sprinters, milers and middle distance performers.
As before, I will include some Beatles lyrics in my assessments.

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1. Gleneagles €17,500 (€17,500) (2012 Galileo ex You’resothrilling by Storm Cat).
Verdict: A decent sire at this level but the market is unforgiving
Beatles Lyric Verdict: “That is, I think its not too bad
He was retired at a fee of €60,000 with great things expected of him. He has not lived up to expectations but he has found his place in the world. He had a respectable year on the track in 2023, with three Group 2 winners, 6 Group 3 winners and a Guineas placing for Royal Scotsman. This wasn’t sufficient to stop his yearling median decline to just €21,000. His overall record shows 31 stakes winners (5%) which is ok for this fee level (but is based on crops conceived at much higher fees). He has lacked a superstar to put his name in lights but he has an exciting prospect in One Look (ex Holy Salt by Holy Roman Emperor) who earned rave reviews when she won the Goffs Million on her debut. However he will only have just 18 two year olds in 2024 which may stymie his efforts at market rehabilitation. Commercially, he needs to get back some market love and there may be better value in buying his offspring rather than breeding them for now..

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2. Australia €17,500 (€25,000)- (2011 by Galileo ex Ouija Board by Cape Cross)

Verdict: Slightly overpriced
Beatles Lyric Verdict: “But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured”
Had a decent tally of 6 Group winners in 2023 and some wondered if Adelaide River could have won the Irish Derby under a more forceful ride. Over his career, he has amassed a decent tally of 5% stakes winners, but like Gleneagles he lacks real stars. His book dropped to 110 in 2023 from 155 in 2022 and his yearling median was c.€33k from a €25k fee so a price reset was predictable. I suspect they will shave his fee a little more in the coming years. I used to be more of a fan but we know his limitations at this stage. That said, he is not without his good points and for the right mare he would be worth considering if you could get movement on the price.

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3. Ten Sovereigns €17,500 (€17,500) (2016 No Nay Never ex Seeking Solace by Exceed and Excel)
Verdict: Too risky
Beatles Lyric Verdict: “With every mistake we must surely be learning”

He looked to be in trouble after a slow start by his progeny, but things picked up later in the season with a Group winner in Inquisitively (ex Ballyalla by Mind Games), a pair of Listed winners and a final European tally of 25 winners and 9 black type horses (along 2 more in North America). Unlike some other No Nay Nevers, he trained on to win a July Cup so that gives hope that his progeny will follow suit. His yearling results stayed steady with a median of c. €40k so he did enough to reassure the market. Given the numbers at his disposal, I thought his two year olds might have done a little more. At an unchanged fee, I would be reluctant to take a punt that a) progeny will train on well sufficiently for a star to emerge b) his smaller second crop (87 compared to 150 last year) will improve his standing.

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4. Calyx €12,500 (10,000)- (2016 Kingman ex Helleborine by Observatory)

Verdict: Nice first crop
Beatles Lyric Verdict: “Don’t Let me down”

Get a modest price increase which was warranted after a promising first crop. He had a pair of Group 2 winners in Classic Flower (ex Crown of Flowers by Garswood) and Persian Dreamer (ex Surprisingly by Galileo). These were supplemented by a US based Grade 3 winner in Zona Verde (ex Namibie by Dark Angel) and the Dewhurst third Eben Shaddad (ex Galileo’s Lady by Galileo) amongst 27 winners. Given he had a much smaller number of two year olds than Ten Sovereigns (103 vs 150) , his results were much the better of the two. He went somewhat under the radar but this was a decent start and he may be a bit of value.
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5. Magna Grecia €10,000 (15,000)- (2016 by Invincible Spirit ex Cabaret by Galileo)

Verdict: Disappointing first crop
Beatles Lyric Verdict:there’s a shadow hanging over me

As a Guineas winner and Vertem winner who was a half brother to St Marks Basilica, he seemed to have a reasonable chance of success. After a first crop that saw just 12 winners and a solitary Listed winner, his prospects are now a lot less rosy. His yearling median more than halved to under €20k and it’s difficult to see him turning things around. Incidentally, after a glut of ordinary sires I wonder how Invincible Spirit maintains his elevated reputation as a sire of sires?

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6. Footstepsinthesand €8,000 (€10,500) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest)

Verdict: 16 disappointing crops 🙂
Beatles Lyrics: “And you are the one that makes me sad”

It’s difficult to find something new to write about Footstepsinthesand. Each year, I write that he is a very ordinary sire and should be avoided. In 2023 he had no Group winners and a solitary Listed winner. Despite that, his yearling median increased to €24k so (inexplicably) he remains popular despite his limitations.

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7. Holy Roman Emperor €8,000 (€10,000) (2004 Danehill ex L’On Vite by Secretariat)

Verdict: A decent sire at this level
Beatles Lyric Verdict: “And I say, it’s alright

A solid sire at the money and a much better sire than the similarly priced Footstepsinthesand. He had a relatively quiet year on the track with a pair of Group 3 winners his best result in Europe. However, his career stats are good and he is operating at 5% stakes winners to foals of racing age. I think he is good option at that price especially with a yearling median last year of over €31k.

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8. The Antarctic €6,000 (na) (2020 Dark Angel ex Anna Law by Lawman)

Verdict: Leaves me cold
Beatles Lyric Verdict: “You can get it wrong but still you think that it’s alright”

I was surprised that they found a slot for this guy on the roster. His main selling point seems to be that he is a brother to Battash rather than his own accomplishments. He was a relatively modest Group 3 winner by Dark Angel who has yet to hit to mark with his sire sons. He may be ok commercially with his initial crops ,before the racetrack reveals their true merit. He is just one of many possible sources of cheap speed and it’s difficult to get overly excited about his prospects.

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9. Arizona €5,000 (€5,000)- (2017 No Nay Never ex Lady Ederle by English Channel)
Verdict: Will need a quick start or will be surplus to requirements
Beatles Lyric Verdict: “Nothin’ you can say, but you can learn how to play the game”
First runners this season so he will need a strong start or he will likely be moved on from a roster that is top heavy with No Nay Never’s. He had a 2023 yearling median of €19000 and these are part of his 66 strong crop of two year olds. It’s pure guesswork whether he will succeed and he is one for the gamblers.

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Coolmore’s 2024 fees (Part 1-stallions from €200k to €20k)

2023 was a good year on the track for Ballydoyle with 20 Group/Grade 1 winners. Results weren’t nearly as impressive for Coolmore’s stallion roster. Their best placed stallions on the GB/Ire sires table were Galileo in 5th and No Nay Never in 10th. Disappointment with their Irish sires, will have been tempered somewhat by the performance of the Ashford based Justify. He impressed with 4 Group/Grade 1 winning two year olds this year, in a second crop that was considerably better than his first crop. It would be intriguing to see him spend a few seasons in Tipperary but that doesn’t seem to be on the cards.

The Irish roster now comprises 21 stallions. During the year we saw two departures in US Navy Flag and Circus Maximus (even before he had runners) and three new arrivals in Little Big Bear, Paddington and The Antarctic . Coolmore may never reclaim its dominance of the past few decades but it is still a formidable roster that covers a large percentage of Irish broodmares. There are no bargains at the published fees but presumably bar the most popular stallions there is room for negotiation which may make them better value.

Below is my assessment of their published fees for 2024, starting with the priciest sires. As the Beatles are once again in the charts I have also included a Beatles lyric that seems apt for each sire.

Stallion €2024 fee (€2023 fee)

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1. Wootton Bassett €200,000 (€150,000) (2008 Iffraaj ex Balladonia by Primo Dominie)

Verdict: Repaying their investment but no upside at price
Beatles Lyric Verdict: I’m fixing a hole
Wootton Bassett had a good year on the track. The imposing King of Steel (ex Eldacar by Verglas) was runner up in the Derby and subsequently triumphed in the Champion Stakes. His 131 two year olds featured Group 1 winners Bucanero Fuerte (ex Frida la Blonde by Elusive City) and Unquestionable (ex Strawberry Lace by Sea the Stars) and Group 2 winner River Tiber (ex Transcendence by Arcano).

His current career tally is 40 stakes winners from 620 foals of racing age (6%). This is not an elite sire percentage but he has covered large books of better credentialed mares (particularly Galileo mares) since his move to Ireland. He has 205 two year olds of 2023 and 170 yearlings waiting in the wings. In 2023 he covered he covered a mammoth book for 221 mares, including 49 of Coolmore’s own mares. With these crops to come,we can expect him to improve significantly on his 11th position in the sires table this year. He is a difficult sire to pigeon hole as his runners vary across the precocity and distance spectrum and he has worked with all sorts of broodmare sires. A €200,000 fee is steep for a sire who had a median of €220,000 this year (95 sold) -albeit off a €100,000 covering fee. Galileo was irreplaceable. Wootton Bassett is a stopgap who is being given every support. However, he is not that attractive as a commercial proposition and his stakes winning progeny percentage is modest, making him overpriced at his new fee.

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2. No Nay Never €150,000 (€175,000) (2011 Scat Daddy ex Cat’s Eye Witness by Elusive Quality)

Verdict: Overpriced and definitely not Danzig
Beatles Lyric Verdict: I’m coming down fast, but don’t let me break you

No Nay Never (NNN) had a marvellous season in 2022 with 3 Group 1 winning two year olds. In 2023, he had no Group 1 winners but he had three Group 2 winners (Les Pavots, Lake Forest and Matrika) and two Group 3 winning two year olds. In 2022, he seemed set to dominate the two year old sire rankings for a number of years. This no longer seems likely as that space has become much more crowded. He now faces competition from his stud mate Wootton Bassett, breakthrough sires like Havana Grey (£55,000) and Mehmas (€60,000) and 2023 first season sires like Blue Point (€60,000) and Too Darn Hot (£65,000). His yearling median was €157k off a €125k cover fee so his risk/reward ratio for commercial breeders is not appealing. Six figure fees are typically the preserve of potential classic sires and despite Meditate placing in the Irish Guineas this year, he is still (correctly) perceived as a two year old/sprinter sire. His career record is now 57 stakes winners from 958 foals of racing age (6%). He was unwisely compared with Danzig last year (18% stakes winners) but there is no comparison. There is also a view that his progeny can be ‘hot’ and difficult to handle. He attracted 190 mares this year with 101 of them being black type mares so there will be plenty of well bred representatives over the coming years. Coolmore is approaching saturation point with four of NNN’s sons on the roster (Arizona, Blackbeard, Little Big Bear and Ten Sovereigns) and its hard to think we need any more. As a two year old/sprinter sire he is overpriced relative to his competitors and he should be closer to €100k.

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3. Paddington €55,000 (na) (2020 Siyouni ex Modern Eagle by Montjeu)

Verdict: Would need to tick a few more boxes at that price
Beatles Lyric: “You say you got a real solution, Well, you know, We’d all love to see the plan”

This time last year he was just the winner of a back end Curragh maiden. He started 2023 in a handicap, before going on an unbeaten run that took in the Tetrarch Stakes, the Irish Guineas, the St James Palace, the Eclipse Stakes and the Sussex Stakes. At that stage he was inviting comparisons with Giant’s Causeway but his career finished tamely with defeats in the Juddmonte International and the QE2 Stakes.

Paddington cost €420,000 as a yearling. His dam was a Listed winner and granddam was runner up in the Prix De Diane (French Oaks) but its not a page that overly excites. He was undoubtedly high class and tough. On the other hand, his lack of precocity, the loss of prestige by his final two defeats and reservations about his pedigree mean that he is at a higher starting price than I expected. They are advertising him as being comparable on the track to Giant’s Causeway but he didn’t quite have that same toughness/constitution. St Mark’s Basilica offers a better package of performance and pedigree at a slightly cheaper price.

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4. St Mark’s Basilica €50,000 (65,000) (2018 Siyouni ex Cabaret by Galileo)

Verdict: a well credentialed but expensive gamble
Beatles Lyric: All I can tell you brother is you have to wait
A predictable dip in his fee for his third season and now facing internal competition from another son of Siyouni in Paddington for high end mares. Covered 173 mares this year and 160 in 2022 and his 10 foals sold had a median of c€94k so the market is still sanguine on his prospects. As I said in previous years he has a lot to recommend him on performance and pedigree and looks. I’d rate him as better relative value than Paddington but he is still a high risk and expensive gamble. Time will tell.

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5. Camelot €50,000 (€60,000)- (2009 by Montjeu ex Tarfah by Kingmambo)

Verdict: The quest for the holy grail continues
Beatles Lyric: Don’t You know that you can count me out
His fee has gone into reverse in the past few seasons after reaching €75,000 in 2022. Luxembourg added another Group 1 (Tattersalls Gold Cup) to his collection and Los Angeles picked up a late season Group one in the Criterium de Saint Cloud to give some respectability to his season. Blue Stocking went close in the Irish Oaks and overall there were 9 stakes winners this season. His yearling median increased to €98,451 albeit off a €60,000 fee so there was little room for error. His career stats are now 59 black type winners from 947 foals of racing age a ratio of 6%. He is undoubtedly a useful sire but as I said in previous years, I think his progeny flatter to deceive.

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6. Starspangledbanner €45,000 (€50,000) (2006 Choisir ex Gold Anthem by Made of Gold

Verdict: Pricey given his black type percentages
Beatles Lyric: Get back, Get Back to where you once belonged
I would have expected a greater reduction after a modest year on the track. Group 2 Rockfel winner, Carlas Way was the best of his European results and his career stats are now just 37 stakes winners from 869 foals of racing age (a very modest 4%). His yearling median in 2023 was almost unchanged at €60,000 which was a good return from a €22,500. However the value is now well gone for commercial breeders.

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7. Saxon Warrior €25,000 (€35,000) (2015 Deep Impact ex Maybe by Galileo)

Verdict: Disappointing and the battle seems lost
Beatles Lyric: Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight.

Breeders flocked to him after a strong end to 2022 by his first two year olds and he covered 264 mares. I can safely say he wont be attracting anything like those numbers this season after a very underwhelming year on the track. His best results were a Group 2 win for Lumiere Rock and a Group 3 for Greenland. His yearling average stayed respectable at €40,000 but he is a very hard sell at his current fee.

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

Verdict: A two hit wonder but loads of dud tracks
Beatles Lyric: Oh dear, what can I do?
Blue Rose Cen added three Group 1’s to her tally this year but Vadeni failed to add to his stellar 2022 season. Churchill is not a good sire but these two top performers have glossed over an otherwise very modest stud career. His current statistics show 201 winners from 677 foals of racing age and a woeful 14 stakes winners (2%). He still has large books in the wings having covered 227 mares this season, 108 in 2022 and 198 in 2021 so there could be more good horses to come but for me his limitations are such that he is well overpriced.

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9. Sioux Nation €27,500 (€17,500) (2015 Scat Daddy ex Dream the Blues by Oasis Dream)

Verdict: Don’t follow the herd on this
Beatles Lyric:Well you can celebrate anything you want”
He has somewhat outperformed expectations and had a good year on the track with 3 Grp 2 winners and 5 Group three winners. He lacks a real superstar with the classic placed and Challenge Stakes winners Matilda Picotte being his best runner to date. His sales results have been encouraging with a yearling average of over €45k in 2023 so you can see why Coolmore were tempted to increase his fee. However, he will have his smallest crop of two year olds next season, so he may go a little quiet next season. His stakes winning percentage is currently 4% (13 from 301 foals) which is nothing special. He started out marketed as a sire of cheap speed/precocity but at his new fee he will have to start throwing his share of Group 1 winners. There are big crops to come after he covered an insane 289 mares in 2023 and 221 in 2022 and I think he will struggle with these loftier expectations.

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10. Little Big Bear €27,500 (na)- (2020 by No Nay Never ex Adventure Seeker by Bering)

Verdict: Like Paddington, another overpriced bear
Beatles Lyric:Roll up, for the mystery tour”

An impressive two year old who put up a top performance in winning the Phoenix Stakes by 7 lengths along with three other victories. Trained for the Guineas, he ran no sort of race before redeeming himself somewhat in the Grp 2 Sandy Lane Stakes. He was runner up in the Commonwealth Cup to Shaquille before ending his career with a flop in the July Cup. He has an interesting pedigree as his third dam is the great middle distance mare All Along. His dam is by Bering and was best over 10 furlongs but ran respectably over 12. None of these maternal influences seem to have had much bearing (or Bering :)) on Little Big Bears aptitudes which mirrored his sires profile linked to speed and precocity. Its impossible to say if he will succeed as a sire but we can predict big crops, a gradual reduction in fee over the next few years, early crops to sell better than later crop, limited support from Coolmore themselves and then the performances of his first runners determining if he has a future or not. The market likes speedy two year olds and he was very good in that capacity but he is more than fully priced.

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11. Sottsass €25,000 (25,000) (2016 Siyouni ex Starlet’s Sister by Galileo)

Verdict: One for gamblers but a reasonable bet
Beatles Lyric: “Let it be”

Sottsass has his first runners in 2024 so anyone using him this season will quickly have a fair idea of their fate,albeit his progeny would be expected to improve at three. He was a top racehorse winning an Arc, Ganay and French Derby out of a Galileo mare who is proving to be a top producer. Her record includes 7 time Grp 1 winner Sistercharlie, Grp 1 placed My Sister Nat and now Sottsass’s full brother Shin Emperor emerged as one of the top two year olds in Japan. With three sons of Siyouni on their roster, Coolmore will be hoping that he makes a mark as a sire of sires. His fee hasn’t officially dropped for the 2024 season but anecdotally they are willing to negotiate more than with some other fees. I think he is the best value (in relative terms) of their sons of Siyouni.

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12. Blackbeard €20,000 (20,000)- (2020 by No Nay Never ex Muirin by Born to Sea)

Verdict: Doubt he is a source of treasure
Beatles Lyric:Where do they all belong”

Ran 8 times and won 6 times including a pair of Group 1’s in the Prix Morny and Middle Park. Noticeably quirky, he was odds against improving his record at three and was dispatched to stud. His dam Muirin is by a disappointing sire in Born to Sea but she was 4th in the Moyglare. Despite these reservations, he attracted 195 mares in 2023. Coolmore have 4 sons of No Nay Never on their books and you have to wonder if Ireland is repeating the mistakes of Australia. In 2019, Plusvital published research that showed a halving in the number of horses with stamina markers (TT horses) and a 70% increase in horses with C:C speed indicators. With the huge numbers of mares being bred to these speed sires these worrying trends are gathering momentum. As a temperamental sort from an unexceptional female line I wouldn’t be in a hurry to use him at his current fee.

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.


French Sires for 2023- Reviewing the créme de la créme

A decade ago, things were pretty grim in the French flat stallion ranks. At that time, the forgettable Elusive City, standing at €15,000, was the most expensive French based sire. Things have improved greatly since then and there is now a decent selection of credible stallions. The generous French premium system help to underpin their breeding sector and the success of French National Hunt breeders shows the potential of the French industry.

Other changes have been less positive. The death of Le Havre and the sale of Wootton Bassett were big blows. Book sizes have increased dramatically with 17 flat sires covering 100+ mares in 2022 and this level of concentration isn’t good for diversity. With the epic World Cup final between France and Argentina still fresh in the memory, I have used footballing references for my sire verdicts.


2023 fee (2022 fee)

1. Siyouni €150,000 (€140,000) 2007 Pivotal ex Sichilla by Danehill

Football Comparison: A footballer who scores some spectacular goals but doesn’t score often enough


If the Aga Khan wasn’t one of the world’s richest men, this could be considered a rags to riches story 🙂 Retired at a fee of €7000, there were no great expectations for Siyouni. Pivotal had failed to deliver a top class sire son and Siyouni’s race record was good (he won a Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere), but unremarkable.

Since his first runners in 2014, Siyouni has delivered stars such as St Mark’s Basilica, Sottsass, Laurens and Ervidya. This ability to get superstars helps to gloss over the fact that his 6% percentages of stakes winners (66 from 1052 foals of racing age) is modest enough for a sire at his fee.

Siyouni had 63 yearlings sold this year for a median of €210,000 and he covered 132 mares this year. On the track he had a healthy 9 Group winners and 14 Stakes winners, so it was understandable that he was popular in the sales ring. A sire who has risen from such a modest opening fee clearly belongs in any discussion of the elite European sires. However for me a career tally of 7 Group 1 winners in the Northern Hemisphere is a little underwhelming. Three of his best performers were also siblings to other top horses so he got plenty of help on the dam side. This was the situation with Sottsass (1/2 brother to MySisterCharlie) , St Mark’s Basilica (1/2 brother to Magna Grecia) and Tahiyra (1/2 sister to Tarnawa), . When his progeny are good, they tend to be very, very good but I would like to see him converting his quality books of mares into top performers with a little more regularity.


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2. Zarak €60,000 (€25,000) 2013 Dubawi ex Zarkava by Zamindar

Football Comparison: A young player with famous parents who is overpriced

Another Aga Khan owned sire is the second most expensive sire in France. Unlike Siyouni, Zarak was always expected to make a big impact. That expectation is understandable, when you are by Dubawi out of Zarakava who was one of the greatest fillies of our lifetimes. On the track, he almost lived up to his stellar pedigree winning a Grand Prix de Saint Cloud and finishing runner up in Prix de Jockey Club (to Almanzor) and Prix Ganay (to Cloth of Stars). At stud he has produced 9 stakes winners led by Grp 2 winner Purplepay. His yearling median has risen to €56,500 and he covered 159 mares this year at €25,000. Sons of Dubawi are very fashionable and his pedigree is free from Danzig and Sadler’s Wells so he can suit most mares. However, I was surprised at the size of the price hike. He stood for €12,000 for his first four season and then got a hike to €25,000 after his first two year olds did well. He lacks a superstar and his sales results don’t justify the hike he received. Those facts may change but I would have thought something around €35,000 would have been more appropriate for now.



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3. Galiway €30,000 (€30,000) (2011 Galileo ex Danzigaway by Danehill)

Football Comparison: Overrated like Paul Pogba at Man Utd

He covered 170 mares at €30,000 this year which goes to show that French breeders can be just as influenced by a foolish herd mentality as their Irish/ UK counterparts. 🙂 Galiway never won above Listed level and his half brother Silent Name was disappointing as a sire. In total he has 9 Stakes winners from 190 foals of racing age. This is 5% which is arguably a very good outcome given that he stood at €3,000 for his first four seasons. I’m more sceptical about his merits. His popularity is primarily down to Sealiway who won a soft ground Champion Stakes in 2021 but whose trainers (Frederic and Cedric Rossi) are caught up in the ongoing French doping investigation. His next best progeny are Grp 3 winners Esope and Kenway. He also has a high class hurdler in Vauban. I simply can’t see the wisdom of paying €30,000 for him when you have a much better son of Galileo like Nathaniel standing for £15,000.



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4. Almanzor €25,000 (€30,000) (2013 Wootton Bassett ex Darkova by Maria’s Mon)

Football Comparison: Hoping to hang on for extra-time to see if he can turn things around

An outstanding winner of the Prix de Jockey Club, Irish Champion Stakes and Champion Stakes, he was an exciting addition to the French stallion ranks. When his sire was sold to Coolmore, Almanzor was perfectly positioned as the heir apparent. Alas his first crop hasn’t set the world alight and he badly needs some top runners to emerge to remain relevant. He has no winners above Listed level in Europe although he does have some nice prospects. His yearling median fell back to €35,500 from more than double that amount. He still has some big crops waiting in the wings so he could yet turn things around but its odds against at this stage. He covered 129 mares this year but he will prove a harder sell for next year. It would have been better to shave some more from his fee as his star is waning.


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5. Persian King €25,000 (€30,000) (2016 Kingman ex Pretty Please by Dylan Thomas)

Football Comparison: A nice prospect but not cheap

High class on the track, he won the Autumn Stakes at two, the French Guineas at three, and he was runner up in the Prix de Jockey Club. At four he won the Prix de Moulin and the Prix D’Ispahan at four and he stretched his stamina to finish a very creditable third in the Arc. He comes from a good Wildenstein family that includes Peintre Celebre under his 4th dam, Policy Maker under his third dam and Planteur under his 2nd dam. Covered 115 mares this year. He lacked the brilliant turn of foot of Kingman but he still rates an interesting prospect.

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6. Mishriff €20,000 (na) (2017 Make Believe ex Contradict by Raven’s Pass)

Football Comparison: Should have looked to transfer a year earlier when he was hot property


Connections probably regret not retiring Mishfriff at the end of 2021. At that point, he was after annexing the Sheema Classic and the Saudi World Cup on Dirt. For good measure back on turf he won an International Stakes and he was just touched off in a King George to complement the Prix de Jockey Club he won as a three year old. It was an appealing story for the marketplace, a classic winner who could perform on turf or dirt and who had Rafha (dam of Invincible Spirit and Kodiac) as his 3rd dam. Keeping him in training as a five year old did nothing to improve his cv. His best effort in 2022 was a narrow defeat in the Eclipse. His sire Make Believe has also failed to sire anything else above Group 3 level and will be standing for his lowest fee of €10,000 for 2023. It will be interesting to see what level of support he attracts and I think he may struggle, despite his many fine attributes as a racehorse. Incidentally, It seems hard to believe that his foals will have the still active Dubawi as their great, great grandsire.

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7. Hello Youmzain €22,500 (€25,000) (2016 Kodiac ex Spasha by Shamardal)

Football Comparison: : Could go either way -like a penalty shootout

A Grp 2 winner as a two year old in the Criterium de Maison Lafittes, he won the Sprint Cup at 3 and the Diamond Jubilee at 4. Sons of Kodiac have outperformed expectations at stud with Ardad, Coulsty and Kodi Bear doing well this. This fellow was Kodiac’s best performer on the track but for me he is a little pricey for an unproven sprinter. His distaff line has a lot more stamina influences than you might expect with his first three dams by Shamardal, Sadler’s Wells and Mill Reef respectively. It will be interesting to see if he is a pure influence for speed and precocity or if those other elements come through. He received 128 mares in 2022 and is likely to remain popular for the coming season.

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8. Kendargent (€17,000 ) Kendor ex Pax Bella by Linamix

Football Comparison: A game of two halves and he hasn’t had a good second half

His first crop of 19 foals were conceived at a fee of €1,000. Despite such humble beginnings, his first crop included Group winners Restiadargent and Kendam. Given that Kendargent had never even won a Stakes race (he was placed 2nd in Grp 3 and 4th in Grp 1) it seemed like we were witnessing the emergence of an extraordinary and unlikely success story. His fee was hiked in the coming years to €22,000 and he started covering three figure books. However his progress stalled. To date, Skalleti is his only Grp 1 winner and Kendargent has sired just 38 Stakes winners (4%) from 873 foals of racing age. He has failed to deliver on that initial promise.

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9. Goken (€15,000, €15,000) Kendargent ex Gooseley Chop by Indian Rocket

Football Comparison: Has come from the lower leagues and doesn’t look at home in the top flight

He has mirrored his father in many ways. Like Kendargent he was owned by Guy Pariente and he has a wonderful outcross pedigree. He was the first son of Kendargent at stud but he can boast a better race record than his sire, as he was a dual Group 3 winning sprinter and he was 3rd in a Kings Stand. He was retired at fee of €5,000 and like his sire he had a strong first crop of two year olds which saw his fee hiked to €15,000. His oldest runners were four in 2022 and his stakes winners include three Grp 3 winners and four Listed winners from 116 foals of racing age (6%). A yearling median of €18,500 doesn’t justify his current fee and he will need to start delivering more on the track.

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10. Victor Ludorum €15,000 (€15,000 ) 2017 Shamardal ex Antiquities by Kaldounevees

Football Comparison:When the seagulls follow the trawler it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea“- Eric Cantona

Victor Ludorum was popular with French breeders (the seagulls) covering 154 mares in his first season, so he will have lots of opportunities to succeed (sardines) 🙂 He was one of the three unbeaten Group 1 winning two year old colts by Shamardal in 2019 (along with Pinatubo and Earthlight). In the case of Victor Ludorum he won the Prix Jean Luc Lagardare and followed up at three in winning the Poule d’Eassi des Poulains. He was kept in training at four when he added a Grp 3 from 6 starts that year. He is from a predictably strong Darley family with Irish Oaks winner Helen Street (the dam of a very good sire in Street Cry and Grand-dam of Shamardal) as is his third dam (and Helen Street appears 3X3 courtesy of Shamardal). He is pitched at the same price as Earthlight and it’s probably reasonable for what he offers.

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11. Zelzal €15,000 (€15,000 ) 2013 Sea the Stars ex Olga Prekrasa by Kingmambo

Football Comparison: More likely to be relegated than promoted

Won a Prix Jean Prat at three and was 3rd in the Prix de Moulin at four. Has sired a pair of Grp3 winners this year in Dolce Zel and Ouraika. He may have benefited from the successes of Baaed who is also bred on the Sea the Stars/Kingmambo cross. However this guy whilst not bad, is not Baaed either! In truth his tally of 3 stakes winners from 104 foals of racing age isn’t that impressive and I’m not sure the big hike in fee from €6000 in 2020 to €15,000 in 2021 was warranted. His yearling median this year was €13,000 and I think he is well overpriced.






Kildangan Fees 2023

There are 9 stallions at Kildangan for 2023. Belardo (Bearstone Stud) and Ribchester (Haras du Logis) have departed and Naval Crown has landed. There are four sons of Dubawi, two sons of Shamardal and one each for sons of Galileo, Invincible Spirit and Elusive Quality. Five of the sires have yet to have runners and overall the Irish roster is weaker in quality and quantity than the 12 sires in Dalham stud. Dubawi’s growing reputation as a sire of sires has worked in their favour. It also helps that Dubawi’s sons are often a good outcross option for an Irish broodmare band saturated in crosses of Sadler’s Wells and Danehill . That said, blindly believing in sire lines rarely works out and its always worth remembering that for every Night of Thunder/ Zarak/New Bay there have been underwhelming sire sons of Dubawi eg Worthadd, Poets Voice, Makfi, Postponed etc. In terms of marketing and promotional savvy, Darley are now a match for Coolmore or any other operator. Unfortunately, they have also adopted Coolmore’s policy of what would traditionally be regarded as very large (excessive) books of mares.

2023 fee (2022 fee)

1. Night Of Thunder €100,000 (€75,000) (2011 Dubawi ex Forest Storm by Galileo)

Verdict: No longer a bargain


Highfield Princess kept his name in lights with victories in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, The Nunthorpe and the Flying Five. The two year old Isaac Shelby won the Grp 2 Superlative Stakes and Rumbles of Thunder and Lola Showgirl won Grp 3’s . Night of Thunder’s offspring were wildly popular at the sales and he had a yearling median of €186k from a crop conceived at €25,000 . These sales results provided the justification for the latest price increase more than results on the track.

He covered 180 mares in 2022 at €75 000 and 177 mares in 2021 at €75,000. If you were to quibble, you could argue that his fee has gotten ahead of his results on the track and his first crop greatly outshone his 2nd and 3rd crops. I did a piece on Night of Thunder back in 2019, when I said he seemed destined for the very top (see http://www.montjeu.com/night-of-thunders-lightning-start/) . I will keep the faith for now. He is no longer in bargain territory but with his better bred crops imminent, he should maintain his climb up the ladder.
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2. Blue Point €35,000 (€40,000) (2014 Shamardal ex Scarlett Rose by Royal Applause)

Verdict: Overpriced/ High risk with first runners in 2023

Covered 142 mares this year, 183 in 2021 and 198 in 2020 so there are a lot of believers in his potential. He was a superb racehorse, winning a Gimcrack at 2, two Group races at three and the Kings Stand at 4. At five he was unbeaten in five starts including 3 Group 1’s. He ran twenty times, winning eleven and placed 6 times, so he was durable as well as classy.

The negatives are that he is from an unexceptional female line, he is an atypical Shamardal in terms of distance preference and he was at his best at 5. I’d worry that people will expect fireworks from his first runners. Its always a mistake to assume that sprinters should be good sires of two year olds just because two year olds run over sprint distances. With such a modest reduction in fee and facing into such a risky season, I wouldn’t be rushing to take a gamble on him this season.

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3. Teofilo €30,000 (€30,000) (2004 Galileo ex Speirbhean by Danehill)

Verdict: A very likeable sire but overpriced for commercial breeders

Teofilo sired a new Grade 1 winner in Nations Pride and Boundless Ocean, Gear Up and West Wind Blows all added Group victories. Teofilo did even better as a broodmare sire with 4 Group 1 winners in Coroebus (by Dubawi), Cachet (by Aclaim), German Oaks winner Toskana Belle (by Shamalgan) and Dreamloper by Lope De Vega. Teofilo is a very solid proven sire (109 stakes winners from 1560 foals (7%) who can sire top horses from milers to out and out stayers. The negatives are that his yearling median was €51,434 last year off a €40,000 covering fees. When you consider his fertility is not the best then he is not attractive for commercial breeders. Conversely his yearlings at the sales represent good value for buyers as he is underrated by the market.

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4. Ghaiyyath €25,000 (€25,000) (2015 Dubawi ex Nighttime by Galileo)

Verdict: Fairly Priced

Now entering his third season, he attracted 161 mares in 2022 and 138 in 2021.. He is bred on the same cross as Night of Thunder and his dam was a classic winner, hence his €1.1 million price tag as a foal. His 13 career stats saw 9 wins including 4 Group 1’s. He was a Grp 3 winner at two which is bonus territory for a son of Dubawi. Dubawi’s reputation as a sire of sires is continuing to grow and that probably meant he didn’t get the price drop that is common in a sires third season. Using any unproven sire is a gamble but for me this fellow isn’t badly priced for the package on offer.

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5. Space Blues €16,000 (17,500) (2016 Dubawi ex Miss Lucifer by Noverre).
Verdict: Slightly Pricey for second season

Attracted 160 mares this year after retiring on a high following his Breeders Cup mile victory. He also annexed a Prix de la Foret and a Prix Maurice de Gheest in a career that say him amass 11 wins and 4 places from 19 runs. In many ways, he was a typical Dubawi who improved each season. He has a nice outcross pedigree for many mares as he is free of Sadler’s Wells and Danzig. I thought they might have taken a little more off his fee for his second season but he still rates an interesting prospect.

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6. Earthlight €15,000 (€18,000) (2017 Shamardal ex Winters Moon by New Approach)

Verdict: No strong views


He attracted 162 mares in 2021 but this dipped below 100 this year (which perhaps indicates an issue of which I’m not aware). Earthlight won his five starts at two including a Prix Morny and a Middle Park in which he beat Golden Horde. At three, he won a Listed race and Group 3. Shamardal’s reputation peaked in 2019 when Pinatubo, Earthlight and Victor Ludorum all enjoyed unbeaten two year old seasons. Lope De Vega remains his only proven sire son. Having retired at 20k, Earthlight’s fee is now predictably reduced for his third season. Comparing the two sons of Shamardal, I think Earthlight’s fee is more attractive than Blue Point’s, as he was more precocious and from a stronger distaff line. However, I wouldn’t be rushing to use him either.

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7. Naval Crown €15,000 (na) (2018 Dubawi ex Come Alive by Dansili)

Verdict: Doesn’t excite at the price

With Charlie Appleby enjoying a golden run, there are a lot of sons of Dubawi being retired to stud. Naval Crown earned his place courtesy of a narrow victory in the Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. He also won a Grp 2 at Meydan, was runner up in the July Cup and 4th in the 2000 Guineas to Poetic Flare. He was a 33-1 shot when winning his Grp 1 and it was a curious race with the draw having an impact. His overall record was four wins from 20 starts so whilst undoubtedly talented he wasn’t a superstar. His pedigree is modest by the usual Darley standards and its not one of the stronger female families in their broodmare band. On that basis, I think he is a little less exciting than some of his stud mates and there are better value unproven sires available.

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8.Profitable €9,000 (€12,500) 2012 Invincible Spirit ex Dani Ridge by Indian Ridge)

Verdict: Overpriced


He sired a Queen Mary winner in his first crop and Darley overreacted by giving him a fee hike. The market responded by reducing the number of mares to 118 in 2022 , compared to the 168 in 2021. He had another Grp 2 winning filly this year in Wed and Miramar won a Grp 3 as did Mitbaahy. Profitable won a Kings Stand at four and he is very much an influence for speed. He has five stakes winners from his 135 three year olds and one to date from his 91 two year olds. These aren’t particularly impressive statistics and those invested in him will hope that his offspring will improve with age, just as he did. He had a yearling median of €25,074 which was reasonable but a reduction on the €32k of 2021. The market may be cooling on him and he needs a top horse or two to emerge.

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9. Raven’s Pass €7,500 (€7,500) (2005 Elusive Quality ex Ascutney by Lord at War)

Verdict: Overpriced (slightly)

Had a quiet year on the track but strangely his sales results were much improved with his yearling median increasing from €12,370 to €21,397. He has good percentages for a stallion at this fee with 38 stakes winners from 590 foals (6%) but he has never really excited . He has achieved some notable successes as a broodmare sire with Mishriff, Kessaar and Saffron Beach being offspring of his daughters.












Coolmore Fees 2023- €20k or less sires- What do the fortune cookies foresee?

Since I published my initial review of Coolmore stallions, Gustav Klimt has been exiled. This leaves ten sires standing for €20k or less. It’s a mix of the young and old, proven and unproven, pretenders, contenders and wannabees. Luck is a huge factor in successful breeding. Building on this insight, I incorporated a fortune cookie generator to help with my sire reviews. Initial results are promising and it seems more credible than some of the ‘expert analysis’ available in the trade press who simply regurgitate press releases/puff pieces. The Gods have spoken and who are we to disagree?

1. Gleneagles €17,500 (€15,000) (2012 Galileo ex You’resothrilling by Storm Cat).
Fortune Cookie Advice: It is now and in this world that we must live

The days when he stood for €60,000 and he was the bright shiny new thing on the Coolmore roster are gone. He has not lived up to expectations or the opportunities afforded him- but he is not a complete flop either. He sired five Group winners this year including a Grade 1 winner in Highland Chief (Man of War Stakes). He also sired two Group 2 winners including Royal Scotsman who was a close second in the Dewhurst and two Group 3 winners. His progeny seem to improve with age and many stay middle distances. There is nothing wrong with those qualities but they are not perhaps what the market expected from his offspring. His yearling median stayed at €32,000 but that is for a crop conceived at €35,000 so many breeders will have been stung by their involvement with him. Gleneagles is finding his place in the world, he has regained credibility as a sire but it would have been better to leave his fee unchanged as his best days commercially are long behind him.

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2. Sioux Nation €17,500 (€10,000) (2015 Scat Daddy ex Dream the Blues by Oasis Dream)

Fortune Cookie Advice: It’s better to be alone sometimes”

44 winners to date, saw him take a prominent position in the first season sires table. He topped the European listing by number of winners and was just behind Havana Grey by prizemoney. His results on the track saw his yearling median increase from €24k to €43k. He was advertised as a source of precocious speed and he delivered on that. In that regard, it is understandable that he got a price increase. He had three Stakes winners so there was some quality but overall he doesn’t strike me as a sire who is going to be a consistent source of high class winners. In contrast, I can envisage Havana Grey moving to the next level. Sioux Nation covered 158 mares in 2020, 61 in 2021 and a mammoth 255 in 2022 so he will have lots of representatives in the ring on and the track in the coming years. There will need to be more quality horses emerging to justify his elevated fee. That may happen but I’d be very wary of following the herd on this one.
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3. Ten Sovereigns €17,500 (€17,500) (2016 No Nay Never ex Seeking Solace by Exceed and Excel)

Fortune Cookie Advice: If you feel you are right, stand firmly by your convictions

He has benefitted from the good season enjoyed by No Nay Never. A Middle Park and July Cup winner, who failed to stay in the Guineas and was beaten in the Commonwealth Cup, Nunthorpe and in the Everest. He has an unremarkable female line but in relative terms he is better priced than Blackbeard. He will have plenty of representatives in the ring and on the track as he covered 173 mares in 2022, 152 in 2021 and 214 in 2020. He had 88 yearlings sell for a median of €43,500 this year so they are popular in the ring and that underpins his fee. With big numbers to represent him, he will be one of the favourites for first season sire honours. He will be quickly shunned if he doesn’t make a strong start with his first runners but given his numerical strength, he has every chance to make an impact.

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4. Magna Grecia €15,000 (17,500)- (2016 by Invincible Spirit ex Cabaret by Galileo)

Fortune Cookie Advice: Let the Deeds Speak

First runners this year so definitely in the high risk category. That said, he was a good Guineas winner, he is a half brother to St Mark’s Basilica and Invincible Spirit has a decent reputation as a sire of sires. Although he won a Vertem Futurity at two , I wouldn’t expect his runners to be especially precocious. His yearling median was €45k this year but commercially everything is dependent on how his first runners perform and anyone who tries to predict that is just sticking a finger in the air.

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5. Calyx €10,000 (12,500)- (2016 Kingman ex Helleborine by Observatory)

Fortune Cookie Advice: “A short stranger will soon enter your life with blessings to share”

Alternative Fortune Cookie Advice: “You learn from your mistakes, you will learn a lot today”

Another sire due to have his first runners 2023. His fee has steadily dropped each season from an opening €22,500. Since then, we have all cooled somewhat on Kingman. In the cold light of day, Calyx’s race record shows he was talented but fragile. He managed only 4 starts and never contested a Group 1. He covered 163 mares in 2020 which dropped to 105 in 2021. He is not the biggest at 15.3 but I liked his turn of foot. He is one for gamblers that could go either way.

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6. Circus Maximus €10,500 (12,500)- (2016 by Galileo ex Duntle by Danehill Dancer)

Fortune Cookie Advice: “You will travel to many exotic places in your lifetime”

Entering his third season at half his opening fee, but has been a hard sell to breeders. Circus Maximus was high class, sound and genuine but for me lacked a bit of star quality. He has received some high class mares from the Niarchos broodmare band which should help his prospects. Despite this, it would be no surprise if he followed in the path of the similarly bred The Gurkha, who ended up plying his trade elsewhere after initial runners failed to fire.

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7. Footstepsinthesand €10,000 (€12,500) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest)

Fortune Cookie Advice: “Now is the time to try something new

I never understood the attraction of Footstepsinthesand. He is now entering his 17th season at stud but he has sired just three Northern Hemisphere Group 1 winners . His progeny are overrated by trainers . This underpins his sales price (yearling median of c.€23k) but for me he is very limited and is one to avoid.

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8. Holy Roman Emperor €10,000 (€10,000) (2004 Danehill ex L’On Vite by Secretariat)

Fortune Cookie Advice: “Life consists not in holding good cards, but in playing those you hold well”

Had a decent year on the track with 5 Group winners in the Northern Hemisphere, headlined by dual Group 2 winner Jadoomi. At the sales, his yearling median increased to €26,783. At the money, I think he is a solid sire who is perhaps a better percentage choice for a young mare than some of the more fashionable but unproven sires.

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9. U S Navy Flag €10,000 (€12,500) (2015 War Front ex Misty For Me by Galileo)

Fortune Cookie Advice: “You already know the answer to the questions lingering inside your head”

Had his first runners in 2022 and started brightly before faltering. Perhaps bolstered by early season results he covered 144 mares a big jump on the 59 covered in 2021. To date he has an underwhelming 11 winners that included 2 Listed winners. His yearling median has declined from €53,500 in 2021 to €22,000 in 2022 so the market has lost faith. We sometimes bemoan the tendency to write off sires much too early but it’s hard to see him recovering and he may be used as another stick to knock sons of War Front. There are now big question marks surrounding him.

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10. Arizona €5,000 (€6,000)- (2017 No Nay Never ex Lady Ederle by English Channel)
Fortune Cookie Advice: “Fortune favors the brave”

Now entering his third season, he got a price reduction despite the good year for No Nay Never. Arizona has his plus points as a Coventry winner who was second to Pinatubo in the Dewhurst. He will suit breeders looking a commercial source of cheap speed/precocity and is probably reasonably priced overall who may get a return with him.

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Final Thoughts

Coolmore has lost ground to their rivals but they are still the biggest operator by far in the Irish market. The roster lacks diversity and is relatively unadventurous. Given their financial muscle, it would be refreshing to see them introduce some American and more Japanese bloodlines. Coolmore achieved their elevated status through years of shrewd decision making. In the words of the fortune cookie generator ” The man on the top of the mountain did not fall there”. Staying on top of the mountain will need them to adapt but they are more than capable of that.