Casting an Expert Eye over the Juddmonte Sires…

If you’ve waited with Bated Breath, for me to cast my Expert Eye over Frankel to check if he is now the King-Man of European stallions, well you are in for treat. This is no mirage or Oasis Dream, this is my review of the Juddmonte sire fees for 2022… 🙂

1.Bated Breath £15,000 (£12,500) (2007 Dansili ex Tantina by Distant View)

Verdict: Overpriced

He was unraced at two, a progressive handicapper at three, before coming into his own at four and five. He won the Group 2 Temple Stakes and was four times a runner up in Group 1’s. Dansili’s progeny having an average winning distance of 9.7f and his dam produced 9 furlong Group 1 winner and underrated sire Cityscape, but this fellow was a pure sprinter equally adept at 5 and 6 furlongs.

His record to date isn’t particularly exciting. He stood at £8,000 for his first two seasons and has gradually crept upwards to reach a new peak of £15,000 for 2022. A lot of his success is in the US with Gift List and Viadera both notching Grade 2’s in 2021 and Space Traveller being Grade 1 placed. In Europe, Sacred Bridge looked like a potential superstar for Ger Lyons but she flopped when favourite for the Cheveley Park . To date, despite 6 crops having run and mostly 3 figure crops, he has a solitary Group/Grade 1 winner in Viadera. His tally of 20 stakes winners from 619 foals of racing age is a modest 3%. There are better value options on both sides of the Irish sea….

2.Expert Eye £10,000 (£12,500) (2015 Acclamation ex Exemplify by Dansili)

Verdict: Fairly Priced

Entering his fourth season at stud so he will have his first runners next year. He finished his career with a record that included wins in the Vintage Stakes at two, and a Jersey Stakes and a Breeders Cup mile at three. His final tally showed five wins and three places from 10 starts. His Breeders Cup mile wasn’t the best running of that contest and in truth, he was a little short of being a truly top miler (well beaten in the Guineas, 2nd in the Sussex to Lightning Spear and 3rd in the Moulin to Recoletos).

On the plus side, he comes from a typically deep Juddmonte family and Acclamation’s reputation as a sire of sires has grown again now that Mehmas has joined Dark Angel as a successful sire-son.

Using any fourth season sire is a risky strategy, but I think he is reasonably priced for the package on offer..

3.Frankel £200,000 (£175,000) (2008 Galileo ex Kind by Danehill)

Verdict: Good Value

Had a stellar year in 2021, ending Galileo’s reign as champion sire in GB/Ireland and also topping the table in Europe. He was represented by Derby winners in Adayar and Hurricane Lane, top fillies in Alpinista and Snow Lantern, a classic prospect with Inspiral and enjoyed a season total of 8 Group 1 winners (2 of them in Australia). He now has 83 stakes winners from 791 foals of racing age. This equates to 10.4%, which is very impressive in the modern era.

The future looks even brighter for Frankel. Just as Galileo replaced Sadler’s Wells as the sire of choice for elite mares, Frankel is now poised to assume that role. Dubawi will be 20 next year and access to him is likely to be increasingly restricted. With longevity, Frankel looks well set to add a few more championships to his record. There are still many gaps in his cv (Guineas winners, top two year old colts etc ) but we can expect these to fill in over time. Noble Truth (by Kingman) finished 2nd in the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere to give rise to expectations that he will make his mark as a broodmare sire as well.

How to assess his fee? His yearling median was ‘only’ £241,500 (Dubawi’s was £446,250) but he is now entering a price point well beyond the typical commercial breeder. Given the year he enjoyed, I expected a bigger hike than £25k. He may only be an option for the super-rich for whom price is less of a consideration but he is a relative bargain at the price…

4.Kingman £150,000 (£150,000) (2011 Invincible Spirit ex Zenda by Zamindar)

Verdict: Fairly Priced…

Had a good year with 20 stakes winners. Palace Pier added 3 new UK Grp 1’s, Domestic Spending won two Grade 1’s in the US and Schnell Meister won a Grp 1 in Japan. In addition, he had 6 Grp 2 winners, 4 in the States, 1 in Japan and Kinross in the UK.

Kingman’s success to date has been based on his initial crops conceived at £55k. There will be 149 two year olds bred at £75k to run in 2022 and his £150k crops will follow. Despite being a young sire, he will have 5 sons at stud in Europe next year (Palace Pier, Persian King, Calyx, Roseman and Headman).

Commercially, his yearling median dropped to £178,500 from £236k in 2020. That however is still a good return off a £75k cover. His percentage of black type winners is currently running at 9% (43 from 474 foals) and those figures deservedly place him amidst the elite European sires.

With the retirement of Palace Pier, he could do with a new star emerging in Europe. Kingman is not cheap at his current price, but it’s reasonable to assume that he will capitalise on his better and bigger books of mares (116 of the 178 mares he covered in 2020 were elite mares) and on that basis he is probably reasonably priced.

5.Oasis Dream £20,000 (£20,000) (2000 Green Desert ex Hope by Dancing Brave)

Verdict: Good Value..

Now entering his 19th season at stud, the National Stakes & Dewhurst winner Native Trail showed he can still produce a top horse. The supporting cast was not as impressive but there were 3 other Group winners and a total of 8 stakes winners in the year.

He now has lifetime figures of 127 stakes winners from 1631 foals of racing age, which is a very respectable 8%. His yearling median was £69,300 off a covering fee of £30,000 which is also a healthy return.

He has also done respectably as a broodmare sire with 65 stakes winners produced by his daughters to date. He has a good sire son in Showcasing, along with his share of disappointments as well (Arcano, Morpheus, Naaqoos, Muharrar etc). He won’t be around forever and assuming his fertility remains strong, he represents very good value as a proven, reliable sire.

Final Word/Future of Juddmonte/What is it worth?

Khalid Abdullah died in January 2021 casting in doubt the future of the Juddmonte operation. In a statement, the family committed to continuing his legacy but there does not seem to be an obvious successor with the same interest as Prince Khalid. If there are any multi-billionaires looking to buy a seat at the very top table a lock, stock and barrel purchase of Juddmonte would be an excellent place to start. There are plenty of precedents for such moves. In 2008 Sheikh Mohammed paid $460 million for the Inghams operations in Australia and the Aga Khan purchased the Dupré, Boussac and Lagardére bloodstock interests. Juddmonte would be a step up again for any purchaser. It’s interesting to speculate on what it might cost. The broodmare band comprises some 200 mares including the likes of Enable. If we took an average mare value of £400k that would equate to £80 million (a snip). Valuing the stallions is obviously tricky but if we took 500 times their combined stud fees we get a figure of around £200 million with almost all of that accounted for by Frankel and Kingman. This will have to be reduced if there are substantial breeding rights held by third parties. Add in another £100 million or so for the land, yearlings and racing stock and there is a deal to be done for little more than the cost of a struggling Premier League club such as Newcastle… Someone should go for it…..

Tally-Ho Stud- leading the chasing pack?…

Coolmore and Darley dominate the Irish flat stallion ranks and there is quite a gap back to the chasing pack. Tally- Ho stud has made significant progress in recent years and now has claims to be the ‘best of the rest’ in terms of their stallion roster. Their roster would be even more impressive if they hadn’t prematurely lost Red Clubs and Society Rock.

The stud was founded by Tony and Anne O’Callaghan (a sister of John Magnier). They are commercially astute and know how to maximise their assets. The covering figures for 2021 illustrate that point with Mehmas covering 292 mares, Kodiac 239, Inns of Court 184 and Cotai Glory 113…. A portion of these numbers can be accounted for by foal shares and their own band of mares but they are also clearly very good at sourcing, pricing and making stallions that the market desires.

Below is my review of the seven stallions on their roster for 2022.

1.Cotai Glory €8,500 (€5,000) (2012 Exceed and Excel ex Continua by Elusive Quality)

Verdict: Overpriced (slightly)

Stayed in training until he was five and retired with a record of 4 wins from 30 starts. He never won above Group 3 level although he did everything but win the Flying Childers (Grp2), as he swerved and unseated his jockey just before the line. He was also only beaten a neck by Profitable in the Kings Stand as a four year old. He cost 75,000 guineas as a yearling which was below the median for Exceed and Excel that year and indicates that he comes from a relatively ordinary distaff line.

He retired at €6,000 and had 126 foals in his first crop. At the time of writing he has had 84 runners and 34 winners headlined by Atomic Force who won the Grp 2 Prix Robert Papin. He also had an Italian Listed winner and Eldrickjones who was runner up in the Coventry. His good results on the track saw his yearling median jump from €10,894 to €29,216. There are quite a few sons of Exceed and Excel all at stud for under 10k including Bungleinthejungle, Buratino, Kuroshio, James Garfield and Burwaaz. The expectation with them is that they will produce speed and precocity and these are popular traits in the market. Cotai Glory has delivered so far and to be fair, his results warranted a price increase and his yearling median did likewise. My slight quibble is that although he got plenty of winners, I’d have liked to see a bit more quality. He has a smaller crop of two year olds for 2022 (69) and I’m not sure he will still be as in demand when selling yearlings in 2024.

2.Galileo Gold €7,000 (€5,000) (2013 Paco Boy ex Galiciux by Galileo)

Verdict: Good Value

I thought he had an excellent first crop that exceeded expectations. Ebro River won the Phoenix Stakes, Oscula who cost just €4,000 as a yearling won a Grp 3 and System won a Listed race. In addition, there were 3 other horse who picked up placed black type. At the time of writing his record stood at 24 winners from 61 runners from a total crop of 108 foals conceived off a €15,000 opening fee. He will have a smaller second crop of 62 two year olds in 2022 conceived at €10,000.

His sales returns rebounded after his first crop success with his yearling median increasing from €16,350 to €26,240.

Galileo Gold won the Vintage Stakes at 2 (Grp 2) but was better at three winning the Guineas on his reappearance and later adding a St James Palace. He was kept in training at four but he managed only one disappointing start in the Lockinge.

The big concern about Galileo Gold was his pedigree or more particularly his sire Paco Boy . Paco Boy was banished to Turkey and with only 3% stakes winners no tears were shed at his departure.

Galileo Gold’s female line is solid. He is out of a Galileo mare and Goldream is under his second dam. His fourth dam is Floripedes, the dam of Montjeu.

Paco Boy didn’t stop Galileo Gold being a top class horse and he doesn’t seem to be stopping him as sire. I think he is underrated and represents good value.

3.Inns of Court €5,000 (€5,000) (2014 Invincible Spirit ex Learned Friend by Seeking the Gold)

Verdict: Undecided

A useful sort from 5 furlongs to a mile, he won his only start and two, stood up to 4 seasons of training and compiled a decent looking record of 7 wins and 7 places for 18 starts. His best runs were probably when just touched off in the Prix Jacques le Marois (8f) as a three year old and in the Prix de la Foret (7f) as a four year old. He won the Prix du Gros-Chene (Grp 2) over 5 furlongs as a five year old so he was clearly versatile regarding trip. His female line is good, with his grand-dam Lune D’Or winning the Premio Lydia Tesio when it carried Grp 1 status and she in turn was dam of top class Japanese performer Fierment.

There are no shortage of sons of Invincible Spirit to choose from in Europe (19 listed on stallionguide.com). Invincible Spirit is described as a successful sire of sires based on Kingman and I Am Invincible in Australia but he has had his fair share of disappointments as well (Born to Sea, Charm Spirit, Shalaa) and others who were somewhere in between (Lawman, Mayson). Just as it would be a mistake to dismiss Galileo Gold because of Paco Boy, it would also be a mistake to assume a son of Invincible Spirit will succeed. I certainly don’t think as an unproven sire he warranted 184 mares this year but arguably such demand shows he is competitively priced.

 4. Kessaar €5,000 ( 5,000) (2016 Kodiac ex Querulous by Raven’s Pass size 15.3h

Verdict: Fairly Priced

Retired at the end of his two year old career. He ranks as one of the better sons of Kodiac on the track winning the  Grp 2 Mill Reef Stakes and the Grp 3 Sirenia Stakes. His overall record was three wins from 7 starts and he was 4th on his only run in a Grp 1 (the Criterium International).

Sons of Kodiac are very fashionable right now with Ardad, Kodi Bear and Coulsty all delivering good results and he does seem to have a better strike rate with his sons than many other sires (including the previously mentioned Invincible Spirit). This may account for Kessaaar’s yearlings selling well in 2021 with a median of €28,152 off an €8,000 initial fee. Kessaar will have his first runners in 2022 so there is added risk/potential reward to using him next year . He come from an unremarkable female line but so are many of the early sire sons of Kodiac. If you think he is going to be the next son of Kodiac to out-perform then the fee he probably represents a fair bet at the price.

5. Kodiac €65,000 ( €65,000) (2001 Danehill ex Rafha by Kris size 16. 0 1/2h

Verdict: Overpriced

The Kodiac story/fairytale is well known now. He never won a stakes race, raced until he was five and only got his chance at stud because of the first crop success of his half brother Invincible Spirit. He started at €5,000 and was available at €4,000 in his third and fourth seasons. Despite this, he has become the golden goose that has brought Tally-Ho stud to new heights. He is an ultra reliable sire of two year old winners and he is now acquiring a reputation as a sire of sires. He has attracted very large books at €65k since 2019 and €50k since 2017.

The downside is that his percentages are not great for a horse at his fee. He has now had 1586 foals of racing age and 77 Stakes winners, working out as a modest 5%. His tally of only 6 Group 1 winners is underwhelming and to me he has plateaued despite getting better mares. Commercially, if anyone is paying the list price and not on a foal share then there is not a lot of profit in him at his listed fee. His yearling median was €92,850 in 2021 but was only €54,766 in 2020. He will be 21 in the next covering season and I would have thought something around €50k would be more appropriate at this stage.

6. Mehmas €50,000 ( €25,000) (2014 Acclamation ex Lucina by Machiavellian size 16.0 h)

Verdict: Overpriced

He stood at €7,500 in 2020 so the hike to €50,000 tells you that he has made a very impressive start to his stud career. He has obvious parallels with Dark Angel, both being by Acclamation out of Machiavellian mares and retired at the end of their two year old career. Dark Angel won a Middle Park (Grp 1) and Mill Reef Stakes (Grp 2) , Mehmas won the Richmond and July Stakes (Grp 2) and was third in the Middle Park. Comparing stats and accounting for book sizes, Mehmas has made a more impressive start. He has two Grp 1 winners in his first crop (Supremacy and Going Global) and an impressive 12 Stakes winners from the 141 foals in that crop. He has continued the good work with his two year olds of 2021 which included three Grp 2 winners (Lusail, Malvath and Caturra) .His yearlings median in 2021 jumped to €65,242 a great return off a €10,000 fee.

He has a smaller crop of two year olds next year 57 foals so his star may dim a little . I thought he deserved a chunky hike but felt that €40k might have been better. Commercially the massive/excessive crops (292 mares covered this year ) are bound to have an impact at the sales and I don’t see huge upside at his €50k price. To move to the next level commercially he will have to start showing he can get classic prospects rather than just two year olds/sprinters and a wait and see approach might be more prudent at his new price.

7. Starman €17,500 ( na) (2017 Dutch Art ex Northern Star by Montjeu size 16.0 h)

Verdict: Overpriced

Unraced at two, ‘only’ and only a Listed winner at three he showed his best form at four. This year he won a Duke of York Stakes (Grp 2)before an impressive performance in the July Cup that earned him champion sprinter status. He failed to follow up that success though, finishing 3rd in the Prix Maurice De Gheest and a short head second to Emaraaty Ana in the Haydock Sprint Cup. His final career stats were 8 runs, 5 wins and two places.

His pedigree is reasonable with its share of black type but Starman is easily the best in the family. His dam was a modest winner over 10f at Bath who also produced a stakes performer by Kodiac. The second dam was unraced but produced two Stakes horses.

Dutch Art at times promised to be an important sire through the likes of Slade Power, Garswood and Mabs Cross but he proved unreliable both with his fertility and with his runners on the track. His sire son Garswood failed to make the grade as a sire and was sold for just 40,000 guineas this summer and previously a first crop son Caspar Netscher suffered fertility issues.

With doubts over his lack of precocity, his relatively modest page and his unproven sire line I think he is too risky at that price…

Final Word:

With Kodiac entering the twilight of his career, Tally-Ho are fortunate to have another money making machine emerge in Mehmas. One criticism of the stud is that they don’t participate in the ITM Irish Stallion Trail. It’s obviously an inconvenience to open the doors but it’s the right thing to do to help showcase the industry to racing and bloodstock fans. It’s disappointing that Tally-Ho have opted out as they could well afford it…..

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

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

Kildangan Stud 2020 fee (2019 fee)

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

Verdict: Fairly Priced

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

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

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

Verdict: Overpriced

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

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

So why do I think he is overpriced?

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

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

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

Verdict: Overpriced.

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

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

Verdict: Overpriced

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

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

Verdict: Overpriced

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

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

Verdict: Overpriced

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

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

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

Verdict: Overpriced

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

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

Verdict: Overpriced

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

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

Verdict: Unbelievably Good Value

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

Darley, Dalham, Dubawi, Dear?- 2016 fees

Having considered Coolmore’s 2016 fees, the  next step is to look at its main rival Darley. Darley spreads its stallions across the UK, Ireland and France and the growth in its roster sees no sign of abating. To facilitate comparison of the Dalham and Coolmore rosters, I have also converted the sterling fee to euros. The weakness of the Euro compared to sterling is significant in assessing their relative attractiveness.

Stallion 2016 fee (2015 fee)

Dalham Hall Stud

Dubawi £225,000/c.€320,000 (£125,000). (2002 Dubai Millennium ex Zomaradah by Deploy)

Verdict: His merit has never been really in doubt and had a superb season with 9 Northern Hemisphere group 1 winners including King George winner Postponed, French Derby winner New Bay, Dubai World Cup winner Prince Bishop and Juddmonte International winner Arabian Queen. A consequence of all this success is a fee increase of £100,000 over 2015.It looked as if he was going to dethrone Galileo from his usual position as champion sire but ended up as runner-up. To me Galileo still has the edge over his younger rival being a much better sire of two year olds and a lot of Dubawi’s Group 1 winners have needed time to mature (a topic I will return to in future).  My own suspicion is that Dubawi’s fee was set relative to Galileo’s reputed fee of c.€300k and was deliberately set above that level. This is a case of ‘mine is bigger than yours’ (fee wise anyway :)) although in my view his fee should be less than Galileo’s (and perhaps Galileo will be €350-€400k next year). Regardless, at this rarified level, financial concerns and mere 6 figure sums hardly matter for those using the stallion.

Golden Horn £60,000/c.€85,000 (NEW) (2012 Cape Cross ex Fleche D’or by Dubai Destination)

Verdict: Had an outstanding season on the track winning the Derby, Arc, Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes. However his opening fee looks expensive to me. I would quibble with his lack of two year old form (just one narrow maiden victory) and the quality of his female line (highly respectable as his unraced dam unraced is a half sister to Coronation Stakes winner Rebecca Sharp but not an elite female line). His surprise defeat in the Juddmonte International, his erratic behaviour in the Irish Champion Stakes when he should have been disqualified and his defeat on merit by Found in the Breeders Cup also might have been expected to knock some more off his fee.  Given that he is an unproven stallion, his stud mate New Approach is better value and when you convert his fee to euros I think he compares unfavourably with Australia.

New Approach £60,000 €85,000 (£80,000) (2005 Galileo ex Park Express by Ahonoora)

Had a sensational first crop with three two year old winners at Royal Ascot (Dawn Approach, Newfangled and Tha’Ir) and his first crop progressed to annexed the 2000 Guineas (Dawn Approach), the Oaks (Talent) and he sired the Derby runner-up (Libertarian). He has not maintained this momentum and his fee has fallen back from the £80,000 he stood for in 2015 and 2014. This is a reasonable adjustment and although he is still not cheap but he is a fine stallion and is worth his hefty fee.

Iffraaj £22,500 €32,000 (£22,500) (2001 Zafonic ex Pastorale by Nureyev)

A one time champion first season sire by number of winners and a good sprinkling of high quality performers has seen his fee rise from its initial modest level. Had a pretty good year in 2015 with St James Palace Stakes runner up  Latharnach and some high quality two year olds in Group 2 winner Ribchester and Fillies Mile runner up Nathra. That said he never strikes me as a likely sire of a superstar and he seems pricey to me particularly in Euro terms as I would value him at no more than €20,000.

Sepoy £15,000 €21,000 (£15,000) (2008 Elusive Quality ex Watchful by Danehill)

A Golden Slipper winner at two who trained on to be a top sprinter at three. Sons of Elusive Quality have been largely disappointing at stud (Raven’s Pass, Smarty Jones, Elusive City) and at the price I wouldn’t be rushing to take a chance on this being an exception to that rule nor the modest record of most reverse shuttlers.

Poet’s Voice £12,000 €17,000 (£12,000) (2007 Dubawi ex Bright Tiara by Chief’s Crown)

A first crop son of Dubawi who won the Group 2 Champagne Stakes and two and went on to defeat a strong field that included Makfi and Rip Van Winkle in the QE2 stakes at three. Had his first runners this season and they performed reasonably well and more or less in line with expectations if you hold the belief that his progeny will progress with age (which I do). As a superior racehorse, and a son of an exceptional stallion with reasonable early runners he seems fairly priced to me.

Brazen Beau £10,000 €14,000 (NEW) (2011 I am Invincible ex Sansadee by Snadee)

A top Australian sprinter by a son of Invincible Spirit. I’m not sure we need all these reverse shuttlers but he earned a Timeform rating of 127 so his merit as a racehorse is not in doubt. If European breeders want to believe that overseas sprinters are genetically superior, who am I to stop them spending their money 🙂

Farhh £8,000 €11,000 (£12,000) (2008 Pivotal ex Gonbarda by Lando)

An interesting horse, lightly raced with only 10 runs over 4 seasons. His only two runs as a five year old resulted in wins in the Lockinge Stakes over a mile early in the season and the Champion Stakes over 10 furlongs at the end of the season. Won his only runs at two and three and showed progressive form and at four when he was placed in a number of Group 1’s. His dam was dual Group 1 winner in Germany and is compiling a nice record at stud with Farrh’s full brothers Racing History and Basem both being Group performers in 2015. This is also the family of Fame and Glory and Legatissimo. His pedigree with its single strain of Northern Dancer via Nureyev and absence of Mr Prospector makes him almost an outcross for the majority of Britain’s mares. I’m a lifelong fan of Pivotal but I don’t quite buy the description of him used by some advertisers of him as a proven sire of sires. This claim is based on the respectable record of Kyllachy and the good initial results of Siyouni whilst ignoring Excellent Art, Falco, Virtual, Windsor Knot etc. Farhh was a superior racehorse, but his lack of precocity might hinder his commercial appeal. Overall though his fee is not unreasonable at least until we have evidence to the contrary from the track.

Helmet £8,000 €11,000 (€10,000) (2008 Exceed and Excel ex Accessories by Singspiel).

Another Aussie Group 1 winner at two who trained on to land further group 1 success at three. His success of his sire Exceed and Excel has a lot to answer for in terms of all of these reverse shuttlers 🙂 His pedigree is very European looking from a well known European ‘A’ family that includes Annaba (the filly by In the Wings not the stallion Anaaba), Anna of Saxony, Ave, Anipe etc. There is nothing objectionable about him or his fee (and I would prefer him to Brazen Beau) but he just wouldn’t be for me.

Casamento £5,000 €7,000 (€5,000) (2008 Shamardal ex Wedding Gift by Always Fair)

By a very good stallion in Shamardal and a winner of the Racing Post Trophy at two and a Group 3 at three he earned his place at stud. He will have his first two year olds in 2016 so his merit will quickly be apparent. His fee last season of €5000 seemed about right to me, £5000 seems a little pricey in comparison but not outrageous.

Outstrip £5,000 €7,000 (NEW – Darley Club) (2011 Exceed and Excel ex Asi Sempre by El Prado)

A good two year old who won the Champagne Stakes, a breeders Cup Juvenile Turf and was third in the Dewhurst to War Command. He didn’t add to his success at three or four and this is somewhat reflected in his fee. He is well bred by a great sire of two year olds in Exceed and Excel out of a Grade 1 winning mare from the speedy family of Turkish Treasure. He is being promoted as part of the Darley Club which allows breeders a free return in years 2 and years 3 and if all of these are used then you get a lifetime breeding right. Whilst this is clearly a marketing initiative to help fill less desirable members of the roster (and I wouldn’t recommend it for some of the others) in this case I think it represents a  good deal for breeders with significant potential upside. If I owned a suitable speedy mare likely to produce two year olds I would utilise Outstrip (no sitting on the fence there) and if Darley want to use that quote please give me a call to discuss a fee!).

Next week I will look at Darley Irish stallions in  Kildangan…..

Bargain Basement British Sires- Best of the Rest

There is a difference between price and worth. Bargains can be found by recognising that difference. Browsing through a list of stallions in Britain at fees of under £5000  there were a few surprising names. Some of these are older stallions who have fallen out of fashion, some are stallions facing into difficult second, or third seasons and others just seem cheap to me. In no particular order my selections as the best value bargain basement sires are as follows:

1. Proven Sire standing in the UK= Generous at £4500.

Ok his sales figures are terrible and he is being marketed as a dual purpose sire. However he is a very good sire of racehorses and that should count for something. He is the sire of 37 stakes winners from 599 foals of racing age which is a very respectable 6%.  He started his career with huge expectations and a fee to match. When early results were solid rather than spectacular, it was impossible to resist a big money offer from Japan where his sire Caerleon was very popular. On his return to these isles he was being marketed as a dual purpose sire and covering very moderate mares. He still managed to sire a classic winner in Mystic Lips (2007 German Oaks) from one of the mares covered since his return.  He is also achieving success as a broodmare sire and Tartan Trader came within a length of giving him a Derby success as a broodmare sire to go with the Guineas victory of his brother Golan.  To these can be added Tungsten Strike and High Accolade who are also out Generous mares. 

2. Promising UK based sire= Lucky Story at £4000

It’s very early days for Lucky Story but he has made a bright start. He has sired Art Connoisseur who is unbeaten in two runs and will be well fancied in whatever engagement he takes up at Royal Ascot. He has also sired Caranbola who is a winner and was second in a Listed race. That isn’t a lot to go on but its a better start than anyone would have predicted. Lucky Story is a son of Kris S out of a Miswaki mare and is a full brother to the St James Palace winner Dr Fong (who stands for £9000). Although he never won a group 1, Lucky Story was the equal of his brother and he won two Group 2 races at two in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood and the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. At three he put up a fine performance in the QEII at Ascot running Ratki to half a length with Refuse To Bend, Soviet Song and Antonius Pius in his wake.  With a pedigree free of Northern Dancer and two promising performers in his first crop he offers value to British breeders.

3. Unknown but seems cheap- Zafeen at £3000
Zafeen won the Mill Reef Stakes at 2 and was second in the Prix Morny. At three he was runner up to Refuse to Bend in the 2000 Guineas and won the St James Palace.  He was rated the champion European three year old miler. He is a son of supersonic Zafonic, who to date has not left a major sire son (although Count Dubois is doing well in South Africa and Ifraaj has just started his career). His dam Shy Lady was by Kaldoun and was a 6 furlong listed race winner in Germany from the family of Diffident.  Northern Dancer is buried far back in his pedigree at 4sx6d so there should be no problem breeding  to stallions from his line. Zafeen looks good, he was a top class racehorse at two and three, his pedigree is respectable and he looks very reasonably priced to me.