2020 European Value Sires: Proven Sires

Farhh | Racingfotos.com


With the doors of breeding sheds about to swing open for yet another season, we bring you the sixth and final installment of TDN Europe's Value Sires series.

No longer are we judging stallions on their promise alone or their preliminary racetrack merits: these are the proven battlers, with real numbers behind them. No hiding places anymore.

For this installment, we will focus on proven sires standing for £/€20,000 and below. This can be a tricky segment of the market to stand a proven horse in, with many sires in this bracket more than holding their own on the track but deemed “unfashionable” in the sales ring; a growing concern for breeders in the ever commercial-leaning landscape of our industry.

In other words, a breeder in this price range may get a runner and ultimately upgrade their mare, but miss out on that crucial early return in the ring. Therefore, we've narrowed this list down to a select eight sires who have a tendency to churn out winners and also offer a chance to profit in the ring.

Let's get the ball rolling with a horse that featured in this installment last year and, as per usual, has just kept on rolling: Coolmore's Holy Roman Emperor (Ire). The 16-year-old son of Danehill has moved into the top 10 on the TDN's cumulative lifetime active sire list for stallions standing in Europe, where he sits ninth. He has 85 lifetime stakes winners worldwide and had 12 last year alone-the exact number he has averaged throughout his career–thus showing no sign of slowing down. Holy Roman Emperor is responsible for eight lifetime Group 1 winners. His 2018 G1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Romanised (Ire) last year added the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois and stays in training in 2020, and he had another Classic winner in 2019 in the G3 Italian 1000 Guineas victress Fullness of Life (Ire), and 2-year-old Roman Turbo (Ire) won the G3 Anglesey S. Holy Roman Emperor's progeny are effective all over the globe: he has had stakes winners in Europe, North America, Hong Kong and Singapore, and his excellent strike rate in Hong Kong puts a healthy resale price tag on his offspring. Holy Roman Emperor's yearlings have consistently averaged around three times his stud fee in recent years. Holy Roman Emperor was retired at two after winning a pair of Group 1s to fill the void left by another son of Danehill, the subfertile George Washington, so his racing career is to some degree a case of what could have been, but his progeny have excelled almost equally across distances from 1000 to 2400 metres and train on very effectively. He stands for €15,000 this year at Coolmore's Castle Hyde Stud.

Holy Roman Emperor's Castle Hyde studmate Footstepsinthesand (GB) is just outside the top 10 bubble on the lifetime active cumulative sires' list, currently sitting in 11th, and should the purple patch he enjoyed in 2019 continue he could find himself yet climbing the ranks. He was responsible for five stakes winners last year headed by the G2 Gimcrack S. and G2 Champagne S. winner Threat (GB). He also provided one of the most impressive 2-year-old winners of the season in Mums Tipple (Ire), who blew apart York's Goffs UK Premier Yearling Stakes by 11 lengths, and buyers at the sales responded by paying an average of 5.3x his stud fee for his yearlings last year. Like Holy Roman Emperor, Footstepsinthesand has worked across the globe, with stakes winners all across Europe and in Asia and the U.S. He also stands for €15,000, up slightly from the €10,000 he has held since 2013.

Of course, it is not only Castlehyde that offers sires at value in 2020. Amy Lynam detailed the exploits of Juddmonte's Bated Breath (GB) in a recent TDN column. The son of Dansili (GB) commands a career-high fee of €12,500 this year at Banstead Manor Stud, having steadily risen from an initial €8,000-just like his sire. As a sign of the value that can be found among proven sires, Bated Breath is interestingly one of just two sires featured in this installment that is standing for higher than his opening fee.

Bated Breath took until the age of five to win a pattern race, taking the G2 Temple S. over five furlongs having the year prior finished an agonizing second in three Group 1 sprints. He was forced to play second fiddle once again when retiring in the same year as Frankel (GB) to Banstead Manor but is suitably holding his own in fourth on the cumulative fifth-crop sires' list. Bated Breath had three stakes winners by the time his first cropped wrapped up their 4-year-old campaigns at the end of 2018, and thanks to high-class horses like Worth Waiting (GB) and Beckford (GB), there were whispers that there could be more to come. The whispers grew to shouts last year when Bated Breath added a remarkable 11 stakes winners to his haul, bringing his total to 14. He sired six group winners last year (equal to another illustrious barnmate, Kingman {GB}): the G2 Boomerang S. and G3 Jersey S. victor Space Traveller (GB); the G2 Rockfel S. and G3 Albany S. winner Daahyeh (GB); Worth Waiting, who added the G2 Dahlia S. to her G3 Prix Minerve victory the previous year; Simply Breathless (GB), who won the GIII Wilshire S. in the U.S.; Maid In India (Ire), winner of the G3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy S. and Breathtaking Look (GB), winner of the G3 Sceptre S. Bated Breath's 177 winners is second only to Frankel's 182 in this sire crop. Bated Breath's current yearling crop numbers 135, he covered 73 mares last year and is booked full for 2020 at 140. His numbers at the yearling sales were curiously down last fall, although he still fared well, his average 3.6x his stud fee (it had been 5.5x and 6x the previous two years). The drop is likely a reflection of the fact that his yearlings of 2019 were bred on his lowest stud fee yet of £8,000.

Bated Breath's G1 July Cup and G1 Sprint Cup conqueror Dream Ahead (Diktat {GB}) is also carving out a solid reputation. Joint champion 2-year-old with Frankel and the winner of five Group 1s at two and three, Dream Ahead started out at Ballylinch Stud but has since relocated to Haras de Grandcamp, and his first French-bred crop are yearlings in 2020. Dream Ahead added seven new stakes winners last year worldwide, headed by G1 Prix de l'Abbaye winner Glass Slippers (Ire). Previous stakes winner Donjuant Triumphant (Ire) added to his haul in the G1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint before going to stud; and Dream Ahead had two Group 1-placed sprinters at Royal Ascot: Dream of Dreams (Ire) in the Diamond Jubilee and Forever in Dreams (Ire) in the Commonwealth Cup. Dream Ahead's total of three Group 1 winners makes him the leader of his sire crop in that realm over the likes of Zoffany (Ire) and Wootton Bassett (GB). He has had a minimum of three stakes winners (and up to seven) in each European crop to race thus far. The sire of 27 black-type winners worldwide, Dream Ahead stays at a career-low €12,000 for the third straight year. His 2019 yearlings averaged 2.7x his fee.

A pair of elder statesmen to consider at €10,000 in Ireland are Tamayuz (GB) and Raven's Pass. Tamayuz's banner year undoubtedly came in 2017 when he supplied the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches victress Precieuse (Ire) and the GI E.P. Taylor S. winner Blond Me (Ire). He also had the smart 4-year-old Mustashry (Ire) that year who won the G3 Strensall S., and he has proven an evergreen performer for Sheikh Hamdan, adding a pair of Group 2s at five and the G1 Lockinge S. and G2 Challenge S. at six last year. In fact, Precieuse also won a Grade III in the U.S. at five last year, and Tamayuz was also represented in 2019 by Australian Group 2 winner Gallic Chieftain (Fr). Tamayuz's strike rate of 6% stakes winners to foals is very respectable for his fee level, and he is maintaining a steady stream of stakes winners year on year. His fee takes a small dip this year from €12,500 the last two seasons. Tamayuz's yearlings averaged 2.4x his stud fee last year.

The G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. and GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner Raven's Pass, at Kildangan Stud, has a slightly more impressive stakes winners to foals strike rate of 7%. Raven's Pass's books have been capped at around 70 due to him being a selective breeder, but he has nonetheless sired 33 stakes winners, 12 of those group winners and two Group 1 winners. As advertised by Darley, Raven's Pass's strike rate of winners to runners is 9%, higher than other outcross sires like Le Havre (Ire), Dark Angel (Ire) and Iffraaj (GB). The son of Elusive Quality out of a Lord at War (Arg) mare has averaged four stakes winners per crop, which makes for impressive reading for a €10,000 price tag. It has taken him some time to come up with a Group 1 winner but he has picked up some steam later in his career: Tower of London (Jpn) was among the top juveniles on the ultra-competitive JRA circuit in 2017 before winning the G1 Sprinters S. last year, and Royal Marine supplied a first European Group 1 win for his sire in the 2018 G1 Jean-Luc Lagardere. His 2019 yearlings averaged three times his stud fee.

Farhh (GB) (Pivotal {GB})'s numbers in quantity have been affected by restricted books due to fertility issues, but it is difficult to deny the quality that the G1 Champion S. winner is turning out at a fee of £12,000 at Dalham Hall Stud. He sits sixth by earnings among fourth-crop sires, but leads by percent of black-type winners to foals (9.9%, higher than his sire Pivotal and the likes of Shamardal, Invincible Spirit, Lope de Vega and Sea The Stars), black-type horses to foals (12%), group winners to foals (5.5%), Group 1 horses to foals (2.2%) and average earnings per foals (£33,763/€40,151). Farhh turned heads immediately when posting two stakes winners from just 20 runners and seven winners in his first year with runners in 2017, and that crop now includes six stakes winners, and his second crop three. His flagbearers from that first crop were the multiple group-winning stayer and G1 Investec Derby second Dee Ex Bee (GB) and Wells Farhh Go (GB), a Group 3 winner at two and three, while last year the 3-year-old King Of Change (GB) beat elders in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S., while Move Swiftly (GB) took the G2 Duke of Cambridge S. at Royal Ascot and Nocturnal Fox (GB) won Chantilly's G2 Prix Hocquart. His yearling average in 2019 was likely the perfect storm of excellent racetrack results combined with the scarcity of his progeny, and breeders were rewarded with an average 5.8x his stud fee.

A younger up-and-comer to keep an eye on is third-crop sire Sea The Moon (Ger), who has, remarkably, maintained his £15,000 fee throughout his career thus far. The G1 Deutsches Derby-winning son of Sea The Stars out of a Monsun (Ger) mare defied his stamina-laden blood to supply two group winners in his first season with runners in 2018-equal to No Nay Never (Ire) and Kingman (GB)-and thus entered 2019 with hopes high. His 2018 G3 Preis Zukunftsrennen winner Quest The Moon trained on to add the G3 Prix du Lys and a first-crop filly, the Aga Khan homebred Hamariyna (Ire), took the G3 Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial. Sea The Moon's second crop came out running just as hard, with Alpha Centauri (Ire)'s half-sister Alpine Star (Ire) taking the G2 Debutante S. and Wonderful Moon (Ger) taking another Group 3 in Germany. They were among 11 second-crop 2-year-old winners last year for Sea The Moon, who had tallied 15 2-year-old winners the year prior. Quest The Moon and Wonderful Moon were both bred by Sea The Moon's breeder's Heike Bischoff and Niko Lafrentz of Gestut Gorlsdorf, who have provided their pride and joy with plenty of support at Lanwades Stud. Sea The Moon currently sits fourth by earnings in his sire crop behind Kingman, No Nay Never and Australia (GB), and is just one stakes winner off the latter with eight. He appears to have plenty of talented runners waiting in the wings, too, with 18 black-type horses. Sea The Moon covered 74 mares in 2018, the year of his first 2-year-olds, and that number spiked to 164 last year. His yearlings in 2019 averaged 4.3x his stud fee.

Value Sires Podium

Farhh (€12,000) – the son of Pivotal has made a big impression from limited books and has thus put a premium on his yearlings.

Sea The Moon (£15,000) – a well-bred Classic winner whose first two crops have delivered.

Raven's Pass (€10,000) – a consistent source of stakes winners who has added two Group 1 winners later in his career.

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