2021 was a challenging year for Coolmore. Galileo died, and for the first time since 1990, a stallion outside their roster became the champion sire in Ireland/UK. None of their younger stallions made a significant impact. It felt like watching Man Utd in the post Alex Ferguson era (of all people). The elite sires of Europe are no longer in Coolmore with that status now belonging to Frankel and Dubawi. Wootton Bassett is in the middle of a chasing pack that includes Sea the Stars, Kingman and Siyouni.
There will be 22 stallions on their roster for 2022, a reduction on the 26 that stood in 2021. Aside from Galileo, they also lost Zoffany and Mastercraftsman. Fastnet Rock is remaining in Australia and The Gurkha was banished. The single addition is the well credentialed St Marks Basilica. The roster still includes seven 2000 Guineas winners and two Derby winners so it is still a very strong squad. Below is my assessment of their published fees for 2022..
Stallion 2022 fee (2021 fee)
- Arizona €6,000 (7,000)- (2017 No Nay Never ex Lady Ederle by English Channel)
Verdict: Same as last year- slightly overpriced (my fair price would be €5,000)
No Nay Never hype has subsided and Arizona is now a second season sire so a reduction was inevitable. Arizona has his plus points as a Coventry winner who was second to Pinatubo in the Dewhurst. The negative is that he didn’t train on at three. He will suit breeders looking a commercial source of cheap speed/precocity.
2. Australia €35,000 (€25,000)- (2011 by Galileo ex Ouija Board by Cape Cross)
One of the few stallions to get a fee increase. He had a good season on the track with new group 1 winners in the five year old Broome and the four year old Mare Australis. In total he had a creditable 8 Group winners. His yearling median was a respectable €58,000 and that may have encouraged the fee increase. Things might have been even better if Beresford Stakes winner Point Lonsdale hadn’t been outpointed by Native Trail in the National Stakes. Australia suffers from a perception that his progeny need time and/or distance (Order of Australia and Point Lonsdale seem like outliers). I like Australia as a solid proven sire and the best son of Galileo on the Coolmore roster but thought the price rise was overdone. At their respective prices Teofilo at €30,000 is a better value son of Galileo and in the UK the wildly inconsistent New Approach is listed as private (so there may be other issues) but is presumably cheaper and has a stronger overall record. Australia would benefit from getting access to the speedier mares previously sent to Galileo (Point Lonsdale is out of an Acclamation mare) and it will be interesting to see how much Coolmore get behind him with their own top mares.
3. Calyx €12,500 (16,000)- (2016 Kingman ex Helleborine by Observatory)
Reading back on previous years posts, I was clearly a bit impacted by Kingman mania and two years ago thought his first season fee of €22,500 was reasonable. If that was true then then €12,500 should seem a bargain -but it doesn’t. In the cold light of day, he is now a third season sire who managed only four career starts and never even contested a Group 1 race. Breeders now also have the choice of Group 1 winning sons of Kingman in Persian King and Palace Pier. Kingman hype has also quietened. That said, Calyx impressed me a great deal with his turn of foot and I’m inclined to keep the faith for now.
4. Camelot €75,000 (€60,000)- (2009 by Montjeu ex Tarfah by Kingmambo)
Verdict: Poor Value– Overpriced:
Camelot is now standing at three times his fee on retirement of €25,000. An excellent racehorse, he would have been the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky only for the presence of Encke (a horse who later tested positive for steroids). In 2021 he was the sire of impressive Futurity winner/ Derby favourite Luxembourg and the dual US Grade 1 winner Santa Barbara. He is doing his bit to keep the Montjeu sire line active on the flat. His yearling median rose from €55,000 in 2020 to €160,000 in 2021, so the market seems to have reassessed his merit.
I want to believe but I’m still not convinced by Camelot. Luxembourg may become the second grandson of Montjeu (after Wings of Eagles) to triumph at Epsom but there have been plenty of offspring of Camelot who disappointed in classics when fancied- including Sir Dragonet (5th at Epsom), Santa Barbara (beaten favourite in the Guineas and Oaks), Pink Dogwood (placed in Epsom and Irish Oaks when fancied in both), and English King (5th at Epsom). Luxembourg may be the real deal and the market may continue to pay top dollar for his yearlings but I’m not sure they will. His percentages of black type horses are decent at 6.5% BTW to foals for Northern Hemisphere crops aged 3 or more. Camelot will now come on the radar for really high class mares and should build on his record but at his new fee there isn’t much margin for error.
5. Churchill €25,000 (€30,000)- (2014 by Galileo ex Meow by Storm Cat)
Verdict: Poor Value– Over Priced
Churchill had his first runners this year. After a slow start things picked up a little and at the time of writing he had 24 winners from 73 runners and 3 Stakes winners (all Listed winners). There were 145 foals in that crop conceived at €35,000. He has some monster crops in the wings and I suspect those breeders who sent him 250 mares in 2020 will be getting a little nervy. His yearling median dropped back from €70,000 to €54,000. His progeny may well improve from two to three and it would be unfair to outright dismiss him at this stage. However, it was an underwhelming first season with runners and the risk/reward ratio at his advertised price is not favourable.
6. Circus Maximus €12,500 (20,000)- (2016 by Galileo ex Duntle by Danehill Dancer)
Verdict: Poor Value– Over Priced
Has taken a big reduction in price but one that doesn’t go far enough. The similarly bred The Gurkha has been banished from the Coolmore roster after proving very disappointing. As I wrote last year, Circus Maximus was high class and genuine but for me he lacked a little star quality. There are no shortage of high class sons of Galileo at stud and I’m not sure why this one should succeed above any other.
7.Footstepsinthesand €12,500 (€12,500) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest)
Verdict: Overpriced – should be 8k
He has sired just one Group 1 winner in all of his crops since 2008. His yearling median last year was just over €22,000 which is high considering his limitations. His progeny are overrated by trainers which supports his sales price but I don’t know any good reason why you would use him at that price.
8. Gleneagles €15,000 (25,000) (2012 Galileo ex You’resothrilling by Storm Cat).
Verdict: Fairly priced
Gleneagles was a hot property when he retired at €60,000. Reality has now intruded and his 2022 fee is a quarter of that. 2021 saw him sire his first Group 1 winner in Prix de Royallieu winner Loving Dream. She was backed up by four Group 2 winners in Baby Rider, Insineundo, Velocidad and Novemba. Despite these successes, his yearlings were shunned in the market with a median of only €23,571. There is value in some of his offspring at those prices . I think he is now reasonably priced but as Keynes once said ‘the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent’.. It’s also interesting to note that his fillies seem to be outperforming his colts when it comes to Group and Stakes winner.
9. Gustav Klimt €4,000 (€4,000) (2015 Galileo ex Massarra by Danehill)
Verdict: Fairly Priced
Has his first runners in 2022 so using him is obviously a gamble. I’m happy to repeat what I wrote last year namely that he was ‘only’ a Group 2 winner but placed in the Irish Guineas, St James Palace and Haydock Sprint Cup. 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 (unlike Galileo). His offspring are also supposedly small but so is the fee and I won’t quibble too much.
10. Highland Reel €10,000 (€10,000) (2012 Galileo ex Hveger by Danehill)
Despite winning 7 Group 1’s, I always assumed he was going to end up as National Hunt sire. He had 126 foals in his first crop who were two year olds in 2021 (numbers dropped to 52 in his second). He had 48 runners, 11 winners and one Stakes winner in Atamisque who won a Group 2 in Italy. His yearling median dropped to €11,786 so it’s fair to conclude that the market was underwhelmed. There remains the possibility that his offspring will improve markedly with age and show some of the same durability that he did. However I wouldn’t risk €10,000 sending a mare to him based on that hope…..
11. Holy Roman Emperor €10,000 (€12,500) (2004 Danehill ex L’On Vite by Secretariat)
Verdict: Fairly Priced:
Had a quiet year on the track with only three stakes winners in the Northern Hemisphere and the highlight being the five year old Rockemperor winning a Grade 1 in the US. His yearling median dipped to €21,035. That said I think he is a solid proven sire and he is appropriately priced.
12. Magna Grecia €17,500 (18,000)- (2016 by Invincible Spirit ex Cabaret by Galileo)
Verdict: Fairly priced
Normally I would have expected a bigger cut in fee for his third year at stud but in this instance there were other factors at play. The most notable being the exploits of his half brother St Mark’s Basilica who landed four Group 1’s during the season. A Guineas winner who also won the Vertem Trophy at two, he is by a fashionable sire of sires and his price seems about right for now.
13. No Nay Never €125,000 (€125,000) (2011 Scat Daddy ex Cat’s Eye Witness by Elusive Quality)
Verdict: Significantly Overpriced
No Nay Never is significantly overpriced and has been for the past few few years. In 2021, he had success on the track with Alcohol Free who trained on to win a Coronation Stakes, Zain Claudette won a Lowther (Grp 2) and Armor won Molecomb (Grp 3). These are decent results for runners conceived at €17,500 and €25,000 but there is limited upside at his current fee. His yearling median was €150,000 last year which sounds impressive but that was based on a €100,000 fee. At that level, he was covering high class valuable mares who are bringing a lot to the table and who expect a chunky return over the covering fee.
It’s worth looking at the figures for his black type winners to foals by crop.
|Year Foaled||Foals||Rnrs||Wnrs||BTW||% BTW to foals|
The figures above will improve considerably over the coming years especially for the 2019 crop as they get more opportunities to run. However, I don’t see them matching his exceptional first crop figures which are looking a bit of an aberration. At €125k, he will need to be producing 2 or 3 Grp 1 winners in each crop to keep people happy. He is a multiple of the fee for Dark Angel, Kodiac and Mehmas who all started from much lower fee levels to produce similar types of horses (quality two year olds/sprinters/milers) and at this stage I don’t think that differential is warranted…
14. Rock Of Gibraltar €5,000 (€5,000) (1999 Danehill ex Offshore Boom by Be My Guest)
Verdict: Should be Retired…
It’s strange that they continue to list him on the roster. He will be 23 this year and there is almost no demand from breeders.
15. Saxon Warrior €20,000 (€20,000) (2015 Deep Impact ex Maybe by Galileo)
Verdict: Fair Price
Will have his first runners in 2022. His yearlings sold well in 2021 with a median of €61,900 off a €30,000 fee. I would have expected a price cut given this is such a risky year to use him but these good returns probably prompted them to hold firm on the price. He was as a good Guineas winner who also won a Racing Post Trophy and had some great battles with Roaring Lion over 10 furlongs. He is the only son of Deep Impact in Ireland his dam was a Moyglare winner so there is plenty to recommend him.
16. Sioux Nation €10,000 (€10,000) (2015 Scat Daddy ex Dream the Blues by Oasis Dream)
He was a Group 1 winner but his overall record was only 4 wins out of 15 and his female line is unremarkable. His first yearlings had a median of €26,000 off a covering fee of €12,500. The advertising highlights his similarities with No Nay Never (both good two year old sons of Scat Daddy). It’s possible that he will emulate NNN but I’m not convinced its worth taking a risk on him.
17. Sottsass €25,000 (30,000) (2016 Siyouni ex Starlet’s Sister by Galileo)
Verdict: Fairly Priced
His fee has had a predictable reduction in his second season. St Mark’s Basilica boosted the reputation of Siyouni. Sottsass race record of an Arc, Prix Ganay and French Derby is impressive. St Mark’s Basilica is now the sexy son of Siyouni at Coolmore but Sottsass is fairly priced at €25,000.
18. St Mark’s Basilica €65,000 (na) (2018 Siyouni ex Cabaret by Galileo)
Verdict: Over Priced
Had a flawless season in which he captured the French Guineas, French Derby, Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes. For good measure he ended his two year old campaign by annexing the Dewhurst. He was a 1.3 million Guineas yearling so he had the looks to go with his pedigree (he is a half brother to Magna Grecia). He is the most expensive first season to retire to Coolmore that I can remember in recent years (Gleneagles was slightly less at €60,000 in 2016, the same price as George Washington in 2007, Giant’s Causeway was 100,000 guineas in 2001) and even if I have forgotten someone it does indicate that it is an exceptional opening fee. The question is whether this chunky opening fee is justified? I wouldn’t dispute his merit as a racehorse (albeit he was fortunate not to be demoted in the Irish Champion Stakes) . If you are to quibble about something then you could point out that Siyouni is yet to establish his merit as as sire of sires and until the arrival of Magna Grecia and SMB it was a good rather than great female line. Comparing his fee to his similarly bred and similarly talented studmate Sottsass, also indicates that his opening price is perhaps a little frothy.
19. Starspangledbanner €35,000 (22,500) (2006 Choisir ex Gold Anthem by Made of Gold
Verdict: Over Priced
Received a chunky hike after some good results on the track. State of Rest travelled to the States to win the Saratoga Derby and then travelled to Oz to win the Cox Plate. He had some nice two year olds with Castle Star and Flotus finishing runners up in the Middle Park and Cheveley Park respectively. His yearling median jumped to €60,000. He is a sire I like, but the increase was overdone.
20. Ten Sovereigns €17,500 (20,000) (2016 No Nay Never ex Seeking Solace by Exceed and Excel)
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 and No Nay Never hype is on the wane. Predictable drop in price in his third season but to me he has been overpriced each season.
21. U S Navy Flag €12,500 (12,500) (2015 War Front ex Misty For Me by Galileo)
Verdict: Over Priced (Slightly)
Will have his first runners in 2022 so using him is more of a gamble. His yearlings sold well with a median of €55,000 with 41 sold, so not everyone has given up on sons of War Front. This median was a good return on his opening fee of €25000. To me he is better value than Ten Sovereigns, having a much stronger female line, winning three Group 1’s and staying well enough to be placed in an Irish Guineas. I thought however he would have been cut a little for this season.
22. Wootton Bassett €150,000 (€100,000) (2008 Iffraaj ex Balladonia by Primo Dominie)
Wootton Bassett sired two new Group 1 winners this year in Prix Marcel Boussac winner Zellie and Prix St Alary winner Incarville. I’m not sure that warranted a 50% increase in fee though. His yearling median reached €130,000 last year for a crop conceived at €40,000. It seems that Coolmore are looking to recoup their sizeable investment as quickly as possible and he is priced as the joint most expensive stallion in Ireland (Sea the Stars being the other) We know that he has bigger and better crops in the pipeline but I think the price increase is taking for granted that he will maximise that opportunity and prove himself to be an outstanding stallion. He may well do so but I think he is being priced a little too much on upside potential rather than actual achievement at this stage.
I think Coolmore pitch their advertised fees on the high side to create the psychological anchors that sales people use in negotiations. Deals should and will be available for many of the sires.
Looking at their roster, it is top heavy with Galileo blood. It contains no less than 6 of his sons on the roster and there are another five stallions of which he is broodmare sire. That looks excessive and much more diversity would be welcome. Coolmore also have the option of bringing some American stallions over here to provide some alternative sire lines.
Its also noticeable that neither Dubawi nor Kodiac are represented by any sons on the roster. These are the two sires who have done the most in recent years, to develop their reputations as sire of sires and it’s surprising Coolmore haven’t plugged these gaps in their roster.
Coolmore have lost ground to their rivals and John Magnier is now 73 and suffered health issues in recent years. It will be up to the next generation of the family to restore the fortunes of the stud to previous heights as that won’t happen overnight. The task is made easier as they an exceptional broodmare band to support their stallions. They also have the financial firepower to get whatever they fancy at the yearling sales or to purchase promising stallions from smaller operations. Are they too big to fail? Interesting times ahead….