Kildangan Stud’s 2022 fees (where is the value?)

Godolphin are enjoying a resurgence of success on the track. Their European trained tally of Group/Grade 1 wins (17 by Charlie Appleby) almost matched Ballydoyle’s total for the year (18). I’m not sure how those numbers make Charlie Appleby ‘the best trainer in the world’ but that’s another debate.. Success on the track, ensures a pipeline of new stallions for the Darley operation.

Darley will stand 10 stallions in Kildangan for 2022. Over the past two years they have dropped/lost Shamardal, Slade Power, The Last Lion, Buratino, Dawn Approach, Exceed and Excel, Fast Company, French Navy and Fulbright from their Irish roster. Only Shamardal and Exceed and Excel are significant losses. The Irish roster is slightly weaker than its sister stud in Dalham Hall which houses 13 stallions including Dubawi. Nonetheless, It is still a decent roster with a number of interesting prospects,

Kildangan Stud 2022 fee (2021 fee)

1.Belardo €9,000 (€10,000) (2012 Lope De Vega ex Danaskaya by Danehill)

Verdict: Overpriced

He had a very promising start with his first two year olds in 2020 with a trio of Group winners. This led to a big increase in demand for his services and he covered 182 mares in 2021. Those breeders will now be fretting as he had a quiet year on the track in 2021 and failed to build on that momentum with no new Group/Stakes winners. His own racing career was a bit inconsistent as after winning a Dewhurst, he failed to win in 7 outings at three before coming good again in the Lockinge at 4.

His yearling median increased slightly to €18,633 in 2021 from €14,141 but that is a poor enough return from a crop conceived at €10,000. After his poor season, there will be no queue to use him at €9,000 and he looks a bit overpriced for now.

2. Blue Point €40,000 (€40,000) (2014 Shamardal ex Scarlett Rose by Royal Applause)

Verdict: Overpriced

Blue Point 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. Now entering his third season, he covered 196 mares in his first season and it was a very strong initial book.

The negatives are that he is from an unexceptional female line, he is an atypical Shamardal in terms of distance preference and he didn’t win his first Group 1 until he was four and was at his best at 5. He has every opportunity to succeed and may very well do but I thought they might have shaved some more of his fee given it’s his risky third season.

3. Earthlight €18,000 (€20,000) (2017 Shamardal ex Winters Moon by New Approach)

Verdict: Fairly Priced

Shamardal had his annus mirabilis in 2019 with three top class unbeaten two year old colts in Pinatubo, Earthlight and Victor Ludorum. Earthlight won his five starts at two including a Prix Morny and a Middle Park in which he beat Golden Horde. Covid interrupted the 2020 season and he reappeared in July 2020. He won two of his 4 races that year (a Listed race and Grp 3) but was beaten in the Prix de la Foret (2nd to One Master) and Prix Maurice de Gheest (4th to Space Blues), running creditably in defeat. His dam was placed in Fillies Mile, his granddam bred two Group 1 winners and his fourth dam produced Golden Fleece so its a good female page. Shamardal now has no less than 17 sons at stud due to stand in Europe in 2022 but only Lope De Vega is a proven sire son. I’m not sure what to think of Earthlight’s fee but in relative terms I think he is better value than Blue Point, being more precocious and from a stronger distaff line.

4. Ghaiyyath €25,000 (€30,000) (2015 Dubawi ex Nighttime by Galileo)

Verdict: Fairly Priced

I was a big fan of Ghaiyyath on the track. His career stats are 9 wins and 3 places from 13 stats with his only unplaced run being on very soft ground in Waldgeist’s Arc. He was capable of some exceptional performances including winning the Grosser Preis Von Baden by 14 lengths, and he was very good in the Summer of 2020 winning the Coronation Cup, Eclipse and Juddmonte International. His pedigree is impressive, as you would expect from a colt who cost €1.1 million as a foal and is out of Galileo’s first classic winner Nighttime. Dubawi is starting to motor as a sire of sires with Night of Thunder and New Bay doing well and promising starts from Time Test and Zarak. The doubt about Ghaiyyath is that he was best at 5 but in his defence he won the Autumn Stakes at two and didn’t get to show his worth at three as he only had a solitary start in September in the Prix Prince D’Orange which he also won. Ghaiyyath is the highest rated son of Dubawi , he is bred on the same cross as Night of Thunder and all things considered I think he is fairly priced.

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

Verdict: Fairly Priced

Got a belated first Group 1 winner in Europe this year with the Pretty Polly winner Thundering Nights. His yearling median this year was €81,757 a nice return on a crop conceived at £15,000. Night of Thunder had an exceptional first crop (17 stakes winners from a crop of 112) but he hasn’t maintained that blistering pace (3 stakes winners to date from his smaller second crop and none to date amongst his two year olds of 2021. His bigger and better crops are in the pipeline and its reasonable to assume he will benefit from the upturn in quality and quantity. The only quibble I would have is his lack of a real superstar, with his highest rated horse being the Group 2 winning sprinter Suesa. I did a detailed review 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/) and I see no reason to change that view now.

6.Profitable €12,500 (€10,000) 2012 Invincible Spirit ex Dani Ridge by Indian Ridge)

Verdict: Overpriced (slightly)

Profitable won a Kings Stand Stakes at 4 and was runner up in the same race at 5 to Lady Aurelia. He had 129 foals in his first crop and a truly remarkable 85 of them ran this year. There were 25 winners and three stakes horses headlined by Queen Mary winner Quick Suzy. It was a solid start yet the market saw fit to drop his yearling median to €31,722 from €36,955 in 2020. I’m not sure he did enough to warrant a fee increase and thought they might have kept it steady but he did improve markedly with age so its possible his offspring could follow suit..

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

Verdict: Overpriced

Had a new Group 1 winner this season in the five year old Romantic Proposal who won the Flying Five and Lemista was placed in the Beverley D. However his yearling median has been in steady decline for the past number of years and was only €12,370 in 2021 off a €10,000 covering fee. He has very good percentages for a stallion at this fee with 37 stakes winners from 555 foals (7%) but he has never attracted big books despite being an outcross pedigree for most mares. He is unlikely to recover the market’s affections at this stage and he is not an attractive commercial option for breeders (although his progeny are worth a second look at the sales for purchasers).

8. Ribchester €12,500 (€17,500) (2013 Iffraaj ex Mujarah by Marju)

Verdict: Overpriced

On the eve of Royal Ascot, Ribchester seemed likely to end up as one of the top first season sires. Ruthin from Wesley Ward’s yard was favourite for the Windsor Castle and Gisburn was strongly fancied for the Coventry. Neither figured in their respective races and the rest of the season was somewhat underwhelming for Ribchester with no real stars emerging. He now has 16 winners from 59 runners and Flaming Rib was his sole stakes winner. His yearling median dipped but was still pretty strong falling from €46k to €34k. The hope for his supporters is that his progeny will improve like he did with age. He won the Mill Reef at two, the Jacques Le Marois at three and the Lockinge, Queen Anne and Prix de Moulin at 4. He is the best son of Iffraaj (sire of Wootton Bassett) from a high class female family. He may well deliver on his potential and by the end of next year his 2022 fee could look an absolute bargain but for now there are safer bets out there.

9. Space Blues €17,500 (na) (2016 Dubawi ex Miss Lucifer by Noverre).

Verdict: Fairly Priced

Retires on a high after winning the Breeders Cup mile. Prior to his victory at Del Mar he had won the Prix de la Foret over 7f. In 2020 he won a high quality renewal of the Prix Maurice de Gheest defeating Hello Youmzain, Earthlight, Golden Horde, Wooded etc. His overall record was 11 wins and 4 places from 19 runs. In many ways, he was a typical Dubawi who improved each season. He won his only race at two, had group 1 placings at three, improved again at four and showed his best form at five.

His dam, Miss Lucifer was a quality performer who won a Challenge Stakes (Grp 2). His pedigree should also suit most of the mares around and he is free of Sadler’s Wells and Danzig. Darley are advertising him as Dubawi’s fastest son and he was seen as a specialist 7f horse for much of his career. His Breeders Cup mile victory was a big plus in increasing his attractiveness to breeders. Sons of Dubawi are doing well but Space Blues lack of precocity has held back his commercial appeal. His fee will probably be gradually reduced each year until he has runners but his opening fee seems quite reasonable for now.

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

Verdict: Overpriced for commercial breeders

A good reliable sire who has joined the exclusive ranks of sires with 100 or more stakes winners. His current figures are 100 stakes winners (7%) from 1492 foals of racing age. He had a stellar year in 2020 with 6 Group 1 winners and added two more in 2021 (Gold Cup winner Subjectivist and Prix Royal Oak winner Scope. He has sired high quality milers and middle distance horses and even a Dewhurst winner but the perception is that he is a sire of stayers and horses who get better with age(reinforced this year). His yearling median was €53,500 last year an increase on the €29,596 median in 2020. Unfortunately for breeders these crops were conceived off €40,000 covering fees. He is overpriced for commercial breeders but as a sire of racehorses he is much better value than many other sires who won’t ever match his record.

Kildangan fees 2020 Part 2-Profitable to The Last Lion

Kildangan Stud 2020 fee (2019 fee)

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

Verdict: Overpriced (slightly)

I don’t know whether to look on Profitable in a glass half full or glass half empty way. He won a Kings Stand Stakes at 4 and was runner up in the same race at 5 to Lady Aurelia. He ran 23 times over 4 seasons but 21 of those runs were over 5 furlongs and only twice did he venture as far as 6 furlongs. By the end of his three year old season, he was still to win beyond Listed class. Although he took time to mature, so did Invincible Spirit who was 5 before he won his Group 1. Profitable ‘only’ cost 95000 guineas as a yearling which was around average for yearling colts by Invincible Spirit in 2013. It is an unremarkable female line which had me googling some unfamiliar names such as Shelter Half, the sire of his grand-dam (turns out he was a Grade 3 winner who stood in Maryland and sired 18 stakes winners from 381 foals). There is no duplication in Profitable’s pedigree until the fifth generation and Northern Dancer only appears once on his page so that increases the range of suitable mares around these parts.

In defence of his fee, the sales results from his foals were strong with a median of 29,000 guineas. On the other hand, he is entering his third season when a reduction is customary and I would have expected €10,000 for 2020.

2. Raven’s Pass €10,000 (€10,000) (2005 Elusive Quality ex Ascutney by Lord at War)

Verdict: Overpriced

He retired at a fee of €40,000 and the fall to €10,000 tells its own story. On the face of it his percentages are surprisingly good with 7% stakes winners (33 from 485 foals of racing age). He had his first Group 1 winner in 2018 when Royal Marine won the Prix Jean Lagardare and had a second this year when Tower of London won a Group 1 sprint in Japan. However despite this mini-renaissance the market has lost patience with him and this year he had a yearling median of 12,750 guineas. He has had his chances with high quality books of mares and he didn’t deliver, so for me he is one to avoid.

3. Ribchester €20,000 (€25,000) (2013 Iffraaj ex Mujarah by Marju)

Verdict: Fair Price (for now)

An admirable racehorse he won or was placed in 14 of his 16 races. He won the Mill Reef at two, was placed in the Guineas, won the Jersey Stakes and Jacques Le Marois at three and won a Lockinge Queen Anne and Prix de Moulin at 4. He was top rated European miler for two seasons and he is the best son to date of Iffraaj.

He comes from a high class female line. His fifth dam is the legendary Fall Aspen, his third dam is Irish Guineas winner Mehthaaf. It’s a live family and the grand dam Tanaghum produced this years Group 3 winner Bangkok (by Australia). Iffraaj has sired a surprisingly good stallion in Wootton Bassett (sire of Alamanzor) and Ribchester’s first foals sold well with a median of 36,500 guineas. He is free of Sadler’s Wells, Danehill and Green Desert so he will suit lots of Irish mares. The odds are against any new stallion succeeding but for now he seems reasonably priced to me.

4. Shamardal Private (Private) (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Helsinki by Machiavellian).

Verdict: That depends..

The star of the Kildangan operation who had an unbelievable season. To sire three unbeaten Group 1 winning two year old colts including the exceptional Pinatubo is remarkable and he did this from a juvenile crop of ‘just’ 82. The supporting cast included Blue Point and a French classic winner in Castle Lady.  Shamardal’s reputation has never been higher and he has also carved out a growing reputation as a broodmare sire and sire of sires via Lope De Vega. He has effectively been a private stallion for the Maktoum family for the past few seasons but did cover 16 outside mares in 2019. Kildangan can be very picky indeed about what outside mares they allow to Shamardal for 2020.  As regards a fee, we are in the realms of pure speculation but I would imagine it will be greater than Sea the Stars at €150,000 and probably exceed Frankel at £175,000 but fall short of Dubawi at £250,000 (if anyone hears, please let me know). Whether that represents value hardly matters for the uber-wealthy people involved at that level. 

5. Slade Power €7,500 (€7,500) (2009 Dutch Art ex Girl Power by Key of Luck)

Verdict: Overpriced

Most people would struggle to name anything that he has sired apart from Raffle Prize and that is because she is his only stakes winner from 176 foals of racing age. He stood for €20,000 in his first two seasons so he is clearly a big disappointment. His yearling median dropped to 8000 guineas in 2019. The only glimmer of hope is that he improved with age but I wouldn’t be holding out too much hope for a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of his offspring in the ring anytime soon. His record may improve (it can’t get much worse) but you would imagine that foreign shores beckon for him soon.

6. Teofilo €40,000 (€40,000) (2004 Galileo ex Speirbhean by Danehill)

Verdict: Overpriced

A reliable sire with 86 stakes winners (7%) from 1316 foals of racing age. Depended on older horses such as Cross Counter, Flight Risk and Exultant for most of his success in 2019.  There was no stakes winner amongst his 95 two year olds and he has smaller crops of 64 and 65 coming through ( presumably a consequence of his underwhelming fertility levels) .  His yearling sales median in 2019 was only 25,500 guineas . He is a good sire but at those sales levels you are better off buying his offspring than trying to breed to him…

7. The Last Lion €7,500 (€7,500) (2004 Choisir ex Mala Mala by Brief Truce)

Verdict: Overpriced

A tough precocious two year old who won the Brocklesby and then on his 10th start of the season won the Middle Park (incidentally beating Blue Point). He was then shipped off to stud in the hope that he would be the next Dark Angel who also retired after the Middle Park. He comes from a respectable female line that seems to throw up quality performers in most generations. Choisir has a good sire son to his name in Starspangledbanner and a less successful one (to date) in Olympic Glory. The Last Lion had a solid yearling median of 21,000 guineas in 2019. Using him in 2020 (his fourth season) may prove inspired but it is for gamblers only and the odds don’t look particularly attractive to me.

Can you have too much of a good thing?

Frankel’s first foal was born on the 11th of January.  The dam Chrysanthemum was a Group 3 winner trained by David Wachman for Coolmore connections. In truth, in terms of racing performance and pedigree Chrysanthemum was no more than a middle ranking member of Frankel’s stellar first book of mares.

However what is far more interesting is the pedigree cross it represents.  We are by now, well used to seeing variants of the  Sadler’s Wells (and sons) by Danehill cross , the cross that reached its pinnacle with Frankel himself. It has proved hugely successful with Galileo alone having sired  8 Group 1 winners out of Danehill mares. Chrysanthemum is by Danehill Dancer out of a daughter of Sadler’s Wells and it begs the question can you have too much of a good thing?

Sadler’s Wells and Danehill are the giant names of European breeding in recent decades. Coolmore achieved considerable success with the likes of Horatio Nelson (Danehill ex Imagine), Peeping Fawn (Danehill ex Maryinsky and Chevalier (Danehill ex Legend Maker) bred on this cross.  Given the number of high class broodmares they possess with both names in the pedigree it is perhaps unsurprising that they are considering doubling up what has worked in the past.

They would have been encourage by the results to date for Teofilo (Galileo ex Speirbhean by Danehill) who is similarly bred to Frankel. Teofilo has made a good start to his stud career highlighted by Group 1 success for Parish Hall  (ex Halla Siamsa by Montjeu) and Irish Derby success  with Trading Leather who is out of a Sinndar mare and thus has another cross of Danzig as does Voleuse Des Coeurs (ex Vadorga by Grand Lodge). This new foal is just gone a little further in terms of duplication.

This foal will have Sadler’s Wells 3X3, and Danehill 3X3.  In the first 6 generations Northern Dancer’s name appears 5 times and he appears once more in the 7th generation. Given that Danehill features 2 crosses of Northern Dancer’s dam Natalma, her name appears 8 times in the pedigree! If this was  a human we would be appalled, even if it was a pedigree dog we would be concerned yet when it comes to our friends the thoroughbreds we just think it’s interesting!  As regards the question, whether you can have too much of a good thing,  we will obviously just have to wait until he finishes his racecourse career to answer that one…

Frankel's first foal
6 generation pedigree

2013 stud fees- some overpriced examples

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and defining value is a very subjective measure. Looking at the published fees for 2013 there were a few fees that took my eye as representing particularly poor value.  I wouldn’t have time to list all the overpriced first season sires, so I’m restricting myself to those sires with runners……

Poor Value Sires

1. High Chaparral (1999 Sadler’s Wells ex Kasora by Darshaan) 2013 fee €25,000

I could just cut and paste my comments from last year regarding High Chaparral- yes he was a great racehorse, yes he has done very well in Australia/New Zealand but there is no way his European results merit a €25000 fee.  It is extraordinary to think that he has yet to sire a European Group 1 winner from his huge number of European conceived progeny. His sales returns have been good for the past two years but  sooner rather than later European breeders will wake up to the fact that he is only managing 3% stakes winners and is due a significant cut in fee. By way of comparison for the same fee you could access Dalakhani who has 5% stakes winners and has sired 5 individual European Group 1 winners.

2. Footstepsinthesand (2002 Giant’s Causeway ex Glatisant by Rainbow Quest) 2013 fee €10000

Not as egregiously bad value as his stud mate but nonetheless I think Footsteps has been a disappointment and is now overpriced.  He has managed only 2% stakes winners and if you take into account that his stud fee was over 20k for his first three years at stud, his record is not going to improve in the coming years. His median for the past two years has hovered around his stud fee so the commercial market is hardly in love with him. Interestingly he is the last and only Storm Cat line horse now in Coolmore Ireland but I’m sure if a suitable offer came from overseas, Coolmore would be happy to offload him and that particular experiment would come to an end without too many tears being shed by Ireland’s breeders. By way of comparison you could use Azamour for the same fee and he has 4% stakes winners.

3. Elusive City (2000 Elusive Quality ex Star of Paris by Dayjur) 2013 fee €12,500

I wrote about Elusive City last year when he was France’s most expensive stallion at €15000. He no longer holds this particular title but he still remains a sire who manages only 2% stakes winners and he remains considerably overpriced. You could pick 20 stallions who represent better value but two similarly priced Mr Prospector line stallions that are far better sires (albeit standing in the UK) are Medicean and Zamindar.

4. Teofilo (2004 Galileo ex Speirbhean by Danehill ) 2013 fee €35,000

I might be eating my words on this one, given that he produced three very nice two year old colts last year in Loch Garman, Havana Gold and Trading Leather. However I’m not arguing that Teofilo isn’t capable of producing high class horses but to me he didn’t do enough last year to justify a hike from €25000 to €35000. This is particularly the case when I felt that his three year olds were somewhat disappointing although admittedly the absence of his first crop star Parish Hall had a big impact on this.  His stud fee owes a lot to the growing belief in Galileo as a sire of sires and the fact that he shares the Galileo/Danehill cross with Frankel probably helps along with some strong Autumn sales results. People are taking a punt of fashion and on potential and  although he is an interesting sire his fee should have stayed at its 2012 level until he truly delivered on that potential.  By way of comparison at the exact same fee, his stud mate Cape Cross has demonstrated his ability to produce the goods and I would rather the proven over the possible any day.

The importance of birth dates

Studies have shown that a horses birth date has only a marginal impact on its subsequent racing performance. It follows that it should therefore be of little relevance to the sales price achieved.  I put this assumption to the test in this month’s International Thoroughbred magazine.  To read the article follow the link http://issuu.com/international_thoroughbred/docs/aug_issuu and go to pages 44-46