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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.