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Bill's Columns
Date: December 14th, 2018
By Bill Oppenheim
Improvement in the stallion ranks at Newmarket stud farms including most prominently Darley’s Dalham Hall, Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor, and Cheveley Park combined with the cessation of the no-tax-on nominations policy in Ireland in 2008 has seen marked gains in recent English sire crops vis-à-vis Ireland. Now we can add Tweenhills, which is more near jumps country in Gloucesterhsire, as England’s newest breakthrough stud farm. Already the home of Havana Gold (Teofilo), a leading second-crop sire, and the promising Hot Streak (Iffraaj), whose first yearlings stirred attention at this year’s sales, the home of Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani’s Qatar Racing’s sires adds three new stallions for 2019: the European Horse of the Year, Roaring Lion; a hardy son of Pivotal, Lightning Spear; and the young Australian sire sensation Zoustar, who actually traces in male line to Sadler’s Wells’ full brother, Fairy King, and is Australia’s leading second-crop sire (F2015) this season by the same sort of margin we’ve recently seen by North American F2013 Uncle Mo and European F2014 Frankel.
Roaring Lion is the highest-priced of a number of good stallion prospects retiring in England for 2019, and in fact will be one of three sons of Kitten’s Joy, who is about to claim his second North American sire championship, standing in England. The other two are actually among our ‘value sire’ choices for 2019 (which we’re restricting to stallions standing for £25,000 or €25,000 and under): Hawkbill, who retires to Dalham Hall for £7,500; and F2018 (first foals 2018) Bobby’s Kitten, who stands at Lanwades for £10,000.
There are three stallions retiring in Newmarket for £20,000-£25,000 and all three of them have very strong claims, though we’ve selected Hawkbill as the biggest value at £7,500. Dalham Hall also retires Cracksman (Frankel, £25,000), a 4-time G1 winner who was never out of the first three in eleven career starts; and Harry Angel (Dark Angel, £20,000), winner of the G1 July Cup and G1 Haydock Sprint Cup, and second to Caravaggio, with Blue Point third, in the 2017 G1 Commonwealth cup at Royal Ascot, which I rate as one of the best sprint races of recent years. And Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor debuts G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Expert Eye (Acclamation), also at £20,000.
Hawkbill was a $350,000 Keeneland September yearling, trained for Godolphin by Charlie Appleby, from one of the great King Ranch families, and won 10 of 24 races, earning over £3.5-million, in four seasons of racing. He was a 10-furlong 3-year-old, winning the G3 Tercentenary at Royal Ascot, then scoring a mild upset over The Gurkha and Time Test in the G1 Eclipse S. He stepped up to 12 furlongs as a 4- and 5-year-old. He placed in three Group 1’s at four, and this year at five won the G1 Sheema Classic on World Cup night, beating no less a horse than Poet’s Word. He wasn’t devoid of precocity, either – he ran five times at two, beginning over five furlongs at Newmarket in April! He has an admirable record, and is priced right. You could say the same about Poet’s Word (Poet’s Voice), at £7,000 at Shadwell, who won the G1 Prince of Wales’s S at Royal Ascot and the G1 King George Vi and Queen Elizabeth S. You get a lot of middle-distance horse for the money.
Tweenhills’ Zoustar (Northern Meteor) will be standing his first Northern Hemisphere season at £25,000, which I think is the best buy of the year, but as noted above he is the leading second-season sire in Australia, having made a start like Uncle Mo and Frankel ‘up north’; in fact, in a recent table supplied by Arion pedigrees and published in the ANZ News daily (December 11, 2018) he was the leading sire of 3-year-olds in Australia, ahead of Redoute’s Choice, Pierro, I Am Invincible, and Sebring. He was a two-time G1-winning sprinter at six and seven furlongs, and is out of a mare by Redoute’s Choice, who himself is a sensation as a broodmare sire. His sire Northern Meteor was on the way to being a top sire himself when he died in his fourth season at stud; he was by Encosta de Lago, champion sire and broodmare sire, and by far the best sire son of Fairy King. This horse will be standing for over A$100,000 at Widden Stud next season in Australia, and is a rocket source of speed and precocity, so to be able to breed to him for £25,000 makes him hands down the buy of the year in my book.
Cheveley Park’s Ulysses received great support from the stud in his first season, as he figures to cross well with many of Cheveley Park’s sprint-bred mares, and of course he’s also been supported by his owner-breeders, the Niarchos family, for whom he won the G1 Eclipse and G1 Juddmonte International at 10-10 ½ furlongs at four in 2017, and ran second to Enable in the G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth S., and third to Enable in the G1 Prix de l’Arc, both those races at 12 furlongs. He improved to be the best older male in Europe in 2017, and by the way is by Galileo out of G1 Epsom Oaks winner Light Shift from a top Niarchos family. He’s been dropped to £17,500 for 2019.
Of English sires with their first foals, we’d like to put in a good word for Bobby’s Kitten, even though Lanwades’ policy of not pushing their stallions commercially was illustrated by 12 foals from his first crop averaging just over $11,000. That’s just like his dad, by the way: there were two seasons when Kitten’s Joy stood for $100,000 when his yearlings averaged just at or below his stud fee. The real story with Bobby’s Kitten was the day he nailed No Nay Never in the 2014 G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf down the hill at Santa Anita in what was, amazingly, his first start under a mile. Sure, racing form doesn’t always translate to breeding form, but still – beating No Nay Never? That’s strong form.
Among English sires with their first yearlings, the market really liked another Tweenhills stallion, Hot Streak, a 5-furlong horse by Iffraaj, also the sire of Wootton Bassett and Ribchester. From 51 yearlings sold, Hot Streak averaged $54,252 off his initial £7,000 stud fee, including eight yearlings which brought over 80,000 (€ or guineas), three of which made 200,000-plus. They obviously looked the part.
It’s a hot group of European sires with their first 2-year-olds, headed by No Nay Never, Kingman, and Australia. In the second ten is a not very well known Shadwell son of Shamardal, Mukhadram by name, who stands for £6,000. Trained by William Haggas, as a 4- and 5-year-old in 2013-14 Mukhadram ran RPR’s of 119-123 six different times, including when second to African Story in the 2014 G1 Dubai World Cup, and when winning the G1 Eclipse S. the same year. He’s now sired 11 winners, of which surely the most intriguing must be the filly A Bit Special, an €80,000 Orby yearling who was not sold for $70,000 at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-old sale, and has now won two one-mile turf stakes at Gulfstream Park for M.V. and J.P. Magnier and Linda Shanahan, trainer Patrick Biancone. Among English sires with 3-year-olds, the champion cheapie has to be Overbury Stud’s half-brother to Bated Breath by Selkirk, Cityscape, whose fee has only been raised to £5,000 though he’s made a bright start. A solid performer for Prince Khalid’s Juddmonte Farm as a racehorse, Cityscape did actually run RPR’s of 120+ ten different times, including when winning the G1 Dubai Duty Free as a 6-year-old. His first crop of only 46 named foals includes the G3-winning fillies Dan’s Dream (Fred Darling S.) and Give And Take (Musidora S.), as well as the Irish Listed-winning sprinter, The Broghie Man, and a total of six different horses which have run RPR’s of 95+. He’s another big bargain.
The most expensive new stallion for France for 2019, by a head over Haras du Logis’s Cloth of Stars (€7,500) is Haras du Quesnay’s Recoletos, by Whipper, and still only €8,000. He won the G2 Prix Greffulhe and ran a length third to Brametot in the G1 Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby), at 2000-2100m as a 3-year-old. He had better form at shorter this year, winning the G1 Prix d’Ispahan (1850m, or 9 ¼ furlongs) and the one-mile G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, having previously run second to super-filly Alpha Centauri in the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois, also at a mile.
Haras de Boquetout’s Shalaa, by I Am Invincible and Kingman’s sire, Invincible Spirit, was the top-rated sprinting 2-year-old colt of 2015, when he won his last five races, including the G1 Prix Morny and G1 Middle Park at six furlongs. Though he ran RPR’s of 119-120 three times at two, Coolmore’s Air Force Blue, who won three Group 1’s including the National S. and the Dewhurst, was rated even higher. Nonetheless, Shalaa was himself indisputably a top-class 2-year-old. He was sick for a lot of his 3-year-old season and only returned in October, when he won a G3 but finished off the board in Ascot’s end-of-season G1 British Champion Sprint S. No matter: his 2-year-old form rates him a top prospect to make a sire, and the market liked him too; he’s the leading European first-year sire at the foal sales, where 19 weanlings have averaged $106,822. Shalaa will stand for €22,000 in 2019, down from €27,500 his first two seasons.
Anodin, who also stands at Quesnay, is a full brother to Goldikova, by Anabaa. Though his best win was in the G3 Paul de Moussac he was second or third in five one-mile Group 1’s at three and four, including, in his final two starts at a mile, second to Kingman in the 2014 G1 Jacques le Marois, and second to Karakontie in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita. He was like Dansili that way: always right there but never won a Group 1. He’s now the top Freshman Sire in France, with 18 winners, including G3 Prix des Chenes winner and G1 Prix Lagardare third Anodor, which has earned him a price hike for 2019 to €15,000. A freshman sire whose price has dropped (to €8,000) is Haras de Bouquetot’s Olympic Glory, a son of Choisir who was a four-time Group 1 winner at seven furlongs and a mile for trainer Richard Hannon. He always had a reputation for being a soft-ground horse until he ran seven furlongs on rock-hard ground in the 2014 G1 Prix de la Foret in a near-impossible time for the 1400 metres of 1:17.7. Olympic Glory now had 20 winners, one of them a black-type winner. The price looks very tempting.
Pedro The Great won a soft-ground G1 Phoenix S. and is by perhaps the most bitter sire disappointment in recent times, Henrythenavigator. So expectations weren’t stratospheric, and he went to stud at France’s Haras de la Haie Neuve for only €3,000. From just 72 foals in two crops he’s the sire of Fatale Bere, who won the G1 Del Mar Oaks for transplanted trainer Leonard Powell and has now earned over $427,000; as well as two stakes-placed 2-year-olds, one of them a very promising filly named Lagrandecateherine. ‘Pedro’ is up to a €10,000 fee for 2019, but he’s proven he can do it as he is actually #7 on the European second-crop sire list by cumulative progeny earnings, which is a good accomplishment for a sire who started at €3,000.
They may have given up some ground to England and France in terms of sire power in recent years, but Ireland is the cradle of civilization as far as the thoroughbred business is concerned, so, even though sales of nominations don’t enjoy the tax concessions they once did, Ireland is still the most powerful horse country in Europe, and that especially means Coolmore.
They don’t quite stand as many stallions at Coolmore as the next ten biggest stud farms in Ireland combined, but they’re definitely not taking their foot off the gas pedal. Coolmore is retiring five new stallions for 2019, opening prices ranging from €7,500 - €30,000, and interestingly, two of the five are outcrosses to Galileo. The two most expensive are out of G1-winning Galileo mares: Saxon Warrior (Deep Impact – Maybe, €30,000), winner of the G1 Racing Post Trophy and this year’s G1 English 2000 Guineas); and U S Navy Flag (War Front – Misty For Me, €25,000), who possibly hasn’t got the credit he deserves for being the first horse since Diesis, in 1982, to win the G1 Middle Park – G1 Dewhurst 2-year-old double, plus he came back to win the G1 July Cup this year, as a 3-year-old. The two who have no Galileo are Australian-bred Merchant Navy (by Fastnet Rock out of a mare by Snippets, by Lunchtime, €20,000), a Group 1 winner in Australia who was 2-for-2 in Europe, including the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. at Royal Ascot, having been weighted as a 4-year-old though he was still three on Southern time; Sioux Nation (€12,500), by Scat Daddy out of an Oasis Dream mare, won the 5-furlong G2 Norfolk S. at Royal Ascot and the 6-furlong G1 Phoenix S. as a 2-year-old and would also suit Galileo mares. The only one of the five actually by Galileo is Gustav Klimt (€7,500), out of a Danehill mare; winner of the G2 Superlative S. at Newamrket as a 2-year-old, he was four time Group 1-placed as a 3-yeare-old at six furlongs (once) and one mile (three times).
Among European sires which had their first foals this year, France’s Shalaa had the highest average ($106,822) at the mixed sales, with Derrinstown’s (Shadwell’s Irish arm) Awtaad number two. The 2016 G1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner, Awtaad is by Cape Cross, best known as the sire of Sea The Stars and Golden Horn; but, classy as the two G1 Epsom Derby winners were, Cape Cross himself was a miler, and in that respects Awtaad is really more like him than Sea The Stars and Golden Horn were. Whether that’s a good pointer or not, the Judges like Awtaad, as 29 weanlings from his first crop sold, for an average of US$75,148 off his €15,000 stud fee.
Among sires with their first 2-year-olds racing in 2018 – the sire crop of No Nay Never, Kingman, and Australia – one little surprise package has been the 2013 G1 Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World, sire of G1 Fillies’ Mile winner Iridessa, bred by the Aidan O’Brien family’s Whisperview Trading and trained by son Joseph. Somewhat tarnished by being a half-brother to Duke of Marmalade – who actually turned out okay by the time of his export to South Africa, but it took a long time – Ruler Of The World went to stud in 2015 for €15,000, but is now down to €8,000, which looks pretty good value for a horse the judges consider to be very good-looking and who sired a top Group 1-winning 2-year-old in his first crop.
Darley Kildangan’s Dawn Approach, the unbeaten champion European 2-year-old from New Approach’s first crop, only had one a Runner by Mid-Year 2018 (0.45 A Index), but that doesn’t tell the whole story, as he also had 5 B Runners (2.25) and two Classic-placed fillies in his first crop, G1 Prix de Diane second Musis Amica and G1 Irish Oaks third Mary Tudor. His second crop includes Shadwell’s unbeaten Irish 2-year-old Madhmoon, impressive winner of the one-mile G2 Champions Juvenile S. during Irish champions weekend, after which veteran trainer Kevin Prendergast wrapped him up for his 2019 three-year-old campaign. Dawn Approach, now down to €15,000 from an opening €35,000 is no forlorn hope, and even though so far it has been near misses and great promise he still ranks #4 European second-crop sire, behind Camelot, Society Rock, and Intello.
Two horses which have somewhat parallel histories at stud are England’s Whitsbury Manor’s F2012 Showcasing, whose fifth crop are 2-year-olds of 2018 and whose fee reaches a new high of £55,000 for 2019, and Coolmore’s F2013 Zoffany, whose fourth crop are 2-year-olds this year and will be standing for €25,000 next year. Showcasing ranks #6 among European 2-year-old sires this year, with 17 two-year-old winners, five 2-year-old Black-Type Winners, four of them GSW, including G1 winner Advertise. Zoffany is not so far behind him, ranking #10 by 2018 two-year-old progeny earnings, with 25 winners, seven 2-year-old Black-Type Winners, three of them GSW, including G2 May Hill S. winner Fleeting and dual G3 winner Main Edition. Hot as Showcasing is and deserves to be, Zoffany looks awfully good value.
Finally, Coolmore’s F2012 Starspangledbanner, an Australian-bred son of Choisir who was a dual G1 winner in Australia, then came up north under the Coolmore banner to win the G1 then-Golden Jubilee (now Diamond Jubilee) S. and the G1 July Cup at Newmarket. From two small European crops he had two Royal Ascot G2 winners in his first crop, The Wow Signal (subsequently a G1 winner) and Anthem Alexander, plus multiple Group winner Home Of The Brave. But fertility problems meant he missed three seasons up north, until his fertility suddenly dramatically improved in Victoria, and he returned to Ireland in 2016. Those were yearlings of 2018, and 37 of them averaged $97,224, including a 750,000 gns filly (about $1.03-million) at Tattersalls October Book 1, bought by Stroud Coleman, presumably for Godolphin. Coolmore is adamant his fertility is now fine, and that being the case his €17,500 ticket for 2019 looks a pretty fair bet given his early successes.
For more articles by Bill Oppenheim, APEX ratings, and Brianne Stanley’s Weekly Sales Ticker, please visit www.billoppenheim.com
SIRE 1st Fls ST Farm Fee 19
ANODIN 2016 FR QUESNAY € 15,000
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