European Yearling Sales Show 8% Gain
Date: October 23rd, 2017
This article originally appeared in BloodHorse Daily.
North America’s yearling market has enjoyed gains in the neighborhood of 14% so far this year, with Fasig-Tipton’s massive four-day end-of-season yearling sale kicking off Oct. 23. Goffs, in Ireland, has a two-day “open” yearling sale with 480 cataloged later this week, and even next month, the opening day of Tattersalls’ December Sale (that means it ends in December, not starts in December) will be a day of yearlings Nov. 27.
So even though we’re not completely finished, figures compiled by my team disclose that, at the European yearling sales so far this year through the end of the Arqana October sale at Deauville last Friday, there have been 5,116 yearlings cataloged and 3,812 sold (that’s 74.5% of those cataloged, a percentage North American yearling consignors can only envy). Total sales stand at €242,752,423 (which converts to about US$285 million), for an average of €63,681 (US$74,990).
This is about an 8% gain in both gross and average from 2016 figures of €225,719,356 gross and average €59,012, and is about 3% above 2015 post-recession highs of €235,553,442 and €62,266 respectively. The gains in Europe are not as much as the gains in North America (yearling gross +14% over 2016 heading into this week), nonetheless the European market has mirrored gains in North America— though interestingly, except for the two biggest international powerhouses of the Maktoum family and Coolmore, most of the other big buyers tend to operate on one side of the Atlantic or the other.
Another area in which the two markets mirror each other is the emergence of an “elite of the elite” crops of five sires—three in Europe, two in North America—whose yearling averages are nearly two-thirds higher than the top of “all other sires.”
The number five sire of this top five super-elite is Juddmonte’s Frankel, who has had 25 yearlings sell this season for an average of $658,685. Number six by average among North American and European sires is Darley’s Medaglia d’Oro, who’s had 40 yearlings average $396,720. That gap of $261,965 between number five and number six computes to 66%, and demonstrates beyond debate the gulf between the “super-elite” and the mere “elite.”
Frankel now has nearly 11% graded stakes winners from his named foals in his first crop (13 GSW/120 foals) after the demolition job by Cracksman, who became his first European group 1 winner in the Oct. 21 QIPCO Champion Stakes (G1).
This is massive, though Frankel already moved into the number three spot among European commercial sires, behind only Darley’s Dubawi whose 29 yearlings averaged $992,678 and Coolmore’s Galileo who had 33 yearlings average $851,841. The two top American commercial sires are Gainesway’s Tapit (21 yearlings, averaged $883,333) and Claiborne’s War Front (22 yearlings, averaged $709,252).
A further eight sires—four in Europe, four in North America— have averaged over $280,000 so far. Europe’s four are: The Irish National Stud’s Invincible Spirit with $362,912; Juddmonte’s leading European first-crop yearling sire (and son of Invincible Spirit), Kingman with $321,350; Darley’s Shamardal with $308,176; and Gilltown Stud’s Sea The Stars with $280,729.
The North American four are: Darley’s Medaglia d’Oro with $396,912; WinStar’s Pioneerof the Nile with $345,511; Ashford Stud’s late great Scat Daddy with $329,757; and Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Curlin with $324,886.
Four more European sires round out 11 who stand in Europe that averaged over $180,000: Morristown’s Dark Angel with $202,372, from just 109 sold; Coolmore’s Australia, number two first-crop yearling sire with $191,301; Ballylinch’s up-and-coming= Lope de Vega with $184,725; and Juddmonte’s veteran Dansili with $183,355, though his nine sold was exactly 100 fewer than Dark Angel’s. You would think Dark Angel’s 109 sold (76% of the 144 originally cataloged) would break the all-time record, but no: that distinction belongs to Tally-Ho Stud’s Kodiac, who had 136 yearlings sell (81% of 156 cataloged), for an average of $132,219.
Kingman, who is by Invincible Spirit out of a classic-winning half sister to Oasis Dream, was the top 3-year-old miler in Europe in 2014, when he won four group 1 races at a mile, and had his only defeat in eight lifetime starts when he was mugged by 40-1 shot Night of Thunder in the 2014 QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (G1) at Newmarket.
With those credentials it’s not surprising he’s been a hot item at the sales, and in fact ranks number five on average among all European sires, with 37 selling for an average of $321,350. Also among the top 10 European sires by yearling average is 2014 Investec Derby (G1) winner Australia. By Galileo out of the great mare Ouija Board, he ranks ninth in Europe, with 59 yearlings sold for an average of $191,301.
The top six first-year sires of yearlings are rounded off by: Coolmore’s No Nay Never, a very fast son of Scat Daddy who had 60 yearlings (an impressive 87% of the 69 cataloged) average $148,830; Lanwades Stud’s IDEE 145 Deutsches Derby (G1) winner Sea The Moon (by Sea The Stars out of a Monsun mare), who had 44 sell for an average of $102,164; Charm Spirit, the second- best European 3-year-old miler of 2014—like Kingman by Invincible Spirit—who won three group 1 mile races himself that year. He has alternated between Tweenhills Farm in England and Haras de Bonneval in France and had 53 yearlings from his first crop average $87,950. Number six first-crop yearling sire in Europe is Darley Kildangan’s Slade Power, by Dutch Art. He won two six-furlong group 1 sprints in 2014—the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot and the Darley July Cup at Newmarket—and has 57 yearlings from his first crop that averaged $84,127.
Next Up: Kentucky’s November sales kick off with Fasig-Tipton’s one-day extravaganza Nov. 6, followed by Keeneland’s 12- day run. Besides the many high-class racing and broodmare prospects, the sales will feature the first weanlings by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (28 weanlings cataloged), a powerful Lane’s End trio of Honor Code, Tonalist, and Liam’s Map, as well as WinStar’s Constitution; and first mares in foal to the likes of Frosted, Nyquist (both at Darley), and Taylor Made’s California Chrome.
Visit www.billoppenheim.com to see archived columns and the Weekly Sales Ticker, showing results for the last six years for major sales and sales sectors.