By Amy Lynam
The Juddmonte stallion roster enjoyed a terrific season in 2019, headlined by the exploits of Frankel (GB) and Kingman (GB), both blue-blooded superstars in their own right before retiring to stud. Frankel maintains his roster top spot at £175,000, following a year that brought two Classic winners in the shape of Anapurna (GB) and Logician (GB). Kingman, meanwhile, has earned the moniker of 'sire sensation' after siring a G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains winner in his first crop, which sees his fee double to £150,000 in 2020.
Quietly making a name for himself in their shadows is Bated Breath (GB), who stands for a comparatively diminutive fee of £12,500 in 2020. It's a slight increase from his 2019 fee of £10,000, and is a career high for the stallion, but looks good value considering he sired six group winners last season—the same number as Kingman. In total, he was responsible for 12 black-type winners in 2019—the same number as Kingman's sire, Invincible Spirit (Ire). In fact, Bated Breath is the leading European sire of stakes winners of those stallions standing for £35,000 or less.
The highlight of last season came at Royal Ascot. There, Bated Breath was represented by three winners in 2019: Daahyeh (GB) in the G3 Albany S., Space Traveller (GB) in the G3 Jersey S., and Britannia H. winner Biometric (GB).
There is every reason to think Bated Breath's rise will continue, given that his progeny appear to improve with age—as he did himself—and considering many of his star performers are to stay in training in 2020. His highest-rated performer in 2019 was the Richard Fahey-trained Space Traveller, who earned an official rating of 113 for his hold-up tactics in the G2 Boomerang S., suitably sponsored by his owner Steve Parkin's Clipper Logistics. Bought by Joe Foley for 85,000gns, he won his first two starts as a juvenile and was Group 3-placed. He excelled at three, winning group races at Royal Ascot and on Irish Champions Weekend, as well as placing three times at stakes level, before receiving an invitation to the Breeders' Cup.
Racing manager Joe Foley confirms Space Traveller stays in training as a 4-year-old, the age at which Worth Waiting (GB) won the G2 Dahlia S. last May, improving on her listed and Group 3 victories the previous season. That considered, it makes the 3-year-old return of Daahyeh (GB) all the more exciting. A £75,000 yearling purchase by Oliver St. Lawrence, Daahyeh finished in the first two on all of her six starts, which included two group victories and two seconds at the highest level in Britain and the US.
Despite enjoying a breakthrough season on the track, Bated Breath did not light up the yearling sales in 2019. His yearling price average was a career low at 24,283gns, while his highest-priced yearling sold for 105,000gns. Pinhookers obviously anticipate that Bated Breath's star will continue to raise as at the foal sales, the highest price paid for a colt foal was 185,000gns, while his top-priced filly foal was also a career-high at 62,000gns, while his average rose to 34,310gns.
Bated Breath's peak foal price of 185,000gns was paid for a colt bred by the Bryce family's Laundry Cottage Stud, from a covering fee of £10,000.
On what attracted them to the progressive sire, Colin Bryce explained, “We thought he was well-priced. The mare is a good size and Bated Breath is himself quite handy, so they were a good fit physically. He's by Dansili, was a tough racehorse and ran for a good few years, so not just a flash in the pan. Considering all that, and how his runners were progressing, he seemed good value. There are very few sires at that price range in the UK, with that distance profile and potential commerciality. We can't afford to be paddling in the Frankel and Kingman pool, so we always look for value.”
While breeding talented racehorses is a priority for every breeder, Bated Breath also sires an attractive individual, which was another draw for Bryce.
“He always produces lovely stock,” he says. “I remember a few years ago at Goresbridge sale, Eamonn Reilly bought the top lot—a beautiful Bated Breath colt who went on to do well as Landshark (GB). He was a typical Bated Breath, a lovely, dark, well-proportioned athlete.”
Bryce plans to use Bated Breath at his new fee of £12,500, he adds, “I think he's fantastic value and we'll certainly use him again. If you look at him versus newly retired stallions who start at £25,000 or £50,000, but have done absolutely nothing yet, he's brilliant value.”
Juddmonte's nominations manager Shane Horan anticipates that the best is yet to come for the 13-year-old stallion.
He said, “His foals of 2019 hailed from his best book thus far and those breeders were duly rewarded in the sales ring. However, 2020 promises an exciting future for the stallion as he is now heavily oversubscribed for the 2020 breeding season and is fully booked at 140 mares. His latest book of mares will easily be his best to date as we have again seen a significant rise in mare quality and equally encouraging is the fact that many of Europe's most established and successful breeders are now including him in their mating plans.”
Horan compare Bated Breath's rise as that of another Juddmonte stallion.
“Fingers crossed Bated Breath can follow in the footsteps of his sire Dansili, who also started his own stud career at £8,000, and proved himself a mainstay of the European stallion scene.”