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