20/20 Vision: Sophie Buckley


Sophie Buckley | Culworth Grounds

In this TDN series we ask a group of experts for their predictions for the 2020 flat season in Europe. Today we hear from Sophie Buckley.

TDN: Who do you think will be the leading first-season sire this year?

SB: When I think about who might be leading first-season sire I try and go for one whose stock I think that I will be able to afford to buy. I like the idea of Belardo (Ire) on paper. His dam Danaskaya (Ire) was a top 2-year-old and Belardo himself won the G1 Dewhurst. Belardo also ran on, winning the G1 Lockinge at four, so hopefully his stock will be able to win at two and progress with age. Leading first-season sire will mean nothing if they don’t progress.

I heard from yearling consignors and pre-trainers that the stock by Territories (Ire) have great ‘can do’ attitudes which could help them. I also think Pearl Secret (GB), who is amongst the value sires, has a good chance of siring precocious stock. I saw a few and thought they looked like racehorses but his covering numbers would limit him gaining any sort of a title.

TDN: Have you bought any by Belardo? Does he typically stamp his stock?

SB: I did put my money where my mouth was and bought a Belardo filly at the Tattersalls Ireland foal sale. She looks just like Lope de Vega (Ire) rather than Belardo himself. I also bid on several foals by Territories but didn’t manage to get one.

TDN: Hope for the 2020 flat season?

SB: At Culworth Grounds we will be cheering on Kipps (Ire), trained by Hughie Morrison, for 2020. He is by War Command from the lovely family of Knight to Behold. He was our first Tattersalls Book 1 horse that we sold and he won very impressively at Lingfield in December. The race has worked out very well and he holds a Derby entry.

TDN: We have been running a series in TDN recently on value sires. What European stallion(s) do you think represents the best value?

SB: Every year I do myself a little spreadsheet of all the stallions that stand for £25,000 and below and their percentage of runners to stakes winners, winners and starters. I think that Oasis Dream (GB) for £25,000 at Juddmonte, Starspangledbanner (Aus) for €22,500 at Coolmore, and Farhh (GB) for £12,000 at Darley all represent great value for money.

If you are trying to breed a black-type horse they are the horses that are right up there in terms of percentage stakes winners to runners. They are all proven and they all have solid sales figures in relation to their fees.


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