Bill Oppenheim: European Second-Crop Sires

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By Bill Oppenheim

Three European second-crop sires–Juddmonte’s Frankel (Galileo); Darley’s Sepoy (Elusive Quality); and Coolmore’s Excelebration (Exceed And Excel)–saw important black-type performances last weekend. Following Andrew Caulfield’s illuminating discussion of Sepoy and another Darley sire, Helmet (also by Exceed and Excel), let’s drill down a little bit and look at these sires in the context of the whole list of European second-crop sires. Any discussion of that list of course begins with Frankel, only the greatest racehorse of all time; we discussed this in our Apr. 5 column, in which we noted that Frankel had an Official Rating of 140, a highest RPR of 143, and his best Timeform rating was 147, the all-time best.

Frankel now leads the European second-crop sire ‘money list’ in cumulative worldwide earnings, and his numbers of black-type horses are quite impressive: seven black-type winners–all of which are group winners (GSW), and 11 total black-type horses, of which nine are ‘group horses’ (GSH), including the Japanese Group 1 winner Soul Stirring. He has five black-type horses (BTH) this year, including three last weekend: G3 Craven S. winner Eminent, in just his second career start; G3 Greenham S. second Dream Castle; and Seven Heavens, third in the Listed European Free H. Some private research we have done shows that Frankel’s runners are turning in ‘superior’ performances (Timeform 90+ @ 2yo, Timeform 95+ @ 3yo) at a better than 35% clip, twice as good as the next sire in six groups of North American and European young sires, and three times as good as most of the top sires on the list.

The horse Frankel regularly beat up on the most was Excelebration. He was placed five times behind Frankel as a 3- and 4-year-old, four times second and once third. When Frankel stepped up to 10 furlongs in the summer of his 4-year-old year, Excelebration duly scored a one-mile Group 1 double, winning the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville and the Queen Elizabeth S. at Royal Ascot. But Excelebration wasn’t an instant success as a sire, ranking 19th on the 2016 European freshman sire list; however, he had already had some promising runners this year, and things improved dramatically last weekend, when the Excelebration colt Barney Roy won the G3 Greenham S. at Newbury. If you look at the European second-crop YTD sires by earnings in North America and Europe, as opposed to by worldwide earnings, you can see that Excelebration has sired 16 NA/EU winners and the earners of $263,484 this year, slightly ahead of Frankel, who has 13 winners and the earners of $254,792, just in North America and Europe.

Casamento, a son of Shamardal who has now moved from Darley Kildangan Stud in Ireland to Dalham Hall in England, is third in 2017 with 11 winners and the earners of $247,009; he has three BTH so far this year, including G3 Prix Penelope third Rythmique. Tally Ho’s Sir Prancealot is in fourth; he has one BTH this year, the filly Beau Recall, who came to the States and ran second last month in the one-mile China Doll on the grass, and Tweenhills Farm’s Harbour Watch (Acclamation) is fifth. Harbour Watch actually has two BTH this year, both in the States, including the China Doll S. third, Miss Sugars.

Darley’s Australian-bred pair of Sepoy (Elusive Quality) and Helmet rank on 10th and 11th by 2017 progeny earnings in North America and Europe. One place before the two Darley Aussie imports is the Haras de la Cauviniere’s Rajsaman–the last Linamix, and now sire of the G3 Prix de la Fountainbleau winner, Brametot. On the worldwide list, as we’ve seen, Helmet is second to Frankel by virtue of Thunder Snow’s win in the G2 UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night. Sepoy, as Andrew noted on Tuesday, himself had three black-type horses last weekend, though their money totals were not immense. The European season is now really underway, and the good news is Frankel isn’t the only European second-crop sire showing promise– although, as on the racetrack, they’re all likely to be chasing him for second by a respectful margin.

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