Value Sires: First 2-Year-Olds


Shalaa | Zuzanna Lupa


For the stallions with first-crop 2-year-olds of 2020, the guessing game is effectively over. The market has offered up its opinions at the foal and yearling levels–for some, reputations have been enhanced even before their firstborns bore tack. For others, the market has nearly already decided their fate.

Irrespective of what happened in the ring, however, a great many first-crop 2-year-olds are now in the hands of their trainers, and we have just mere months to wait before the most precocious of those begin to show their hands. In the meantime, in this fourth installment of the TDN's Value Sires series, let's take a look back on the racetrack and sales ring accomplishments of stallions with their first runners in 2020.

It was a significant coup for the French breeding industry in 2017-one that would be repeated the following year-when Europe's most expensively priced newcomer joined the ranks at Haras de Bouquetot. Shalaa (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) was priced at €27,500 on the merits of a champion 2-year-old campaign that included five wins from six starts, culminating in victories in the G1 Prix Morny over Gutaifan (Ire) and G1 Middle Park S. over Buratino (Ire). It is very much a case of what could have been for Shalaa; injury ruled him out of much of his 3-year-old campaign, but when he at last got going in October he took the six-furlong G3 Bengough S.

It hasn't hurt Shalaa's chances in the interim that he is a son of Invincible Spirit, who needs no introduction as a sire of sires. Further clout is added to the pedigree by the fact that Shalaa's dam, Ghurra (War Chant) is a half-sister to G1 Middle Park S. winner Hayil (Dayjur). Useful sire Dragon Pulse (Ire) (Kyllachy {GB}) also appears under the first dam.

Shalaa led all first-crop sires by foal average at the 2018 breeding stock sales, and he retained his crown last year at the yearling sales. He had 64 sold from 74 offered for an average of £99,251/€117,020 (3.6x his 2017 fee) and a median of £73,607/86,807. Shalaa's fee had dropped to €22,000 last year but he is back up a touch to €25,000 for 2020.

Shalaa isn't the only son of Invincible Spirit who has the chance to become the next Kingman (GB), Cable Bay (Ire) or I Am Invincible (Aus). Territories was among the more talked about first-crop sires at the yearling sales last year, and his 73 sold averaged 3.8x his £12,000 stud fee at £45,508/€53,655. His median of £33,938/€40,024 was 2.8x his fee.

Territories packages together both pedigree and performance. Out of a Machiavellian mare and from the family of Street Cry and Shamardal, he was Group 1-placed at two and went on to win the G1 Prix Jean Prat at three and place in the G1 2000 Guineas-second to Gleneagles (Ire)-and G1 Prix Jacques le Marois. Territories has held his £12,000 fee his first four years at Dalham Hall Stud.

Dalham Hall also has in this sire crop the G1 Middle Park S. winner Charming Thought (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}). Godolphin's 625,000gns yearling won three of his four starts at two, and his third dam is the blue hen Flamenco Wave (Desert Wine), the dam of Group 1 winners Ballingarry (Ire), Aristotle (Ire) and Starborough (GB). It is also the family of the champion 2-year-old and multiple Group 1-winning stayer St Nicholas Abbey (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}). Charming Thought is available for £5,000 in 2020, with his first yearlings having averaged 2.8x his opening stud fee of £8,000 at £17,186/€20,265.

The first-crop foals and yearlings of G1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}) have been very well received. He checked in second to Shalaa by average in both realms, and his 52 yearlings sold last year averaged £72,721/€85,740 (4.8x his €15,000 fee) and returned a median of £42,710/€50,397. Awtaad broke his maiden in his second start at two and went unbeaten through his first three starts at three, including the Irish Guineas over the G1 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold (Ire) (Paco Boy {GB}). Awtaad added the G2 Boomerang S. later in the season. He remains at €15,000 at Derrinstown Stud.

The Gurkha (Ire) is the latest Classic winner by Galileo to attempt to add his name to the burgeoning list of sire sons by his peerless father, and somewhat surprisingly he is the only elite son of Galileo in this sire crop. The Gurkha raced exclusively at three and jumped from maiden company to win the 2016 G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains. He was runner-up in the G1 St James's Palace S. and the G1 Coral-Eclipse before besting Galileo Gold by a neck in the G1 Sussex S. in what would prove his final start due to a bout of colic suffered thereafter. The Gurkha is similarly bred to Frankel, being out of the Group 3-winning Danehill Dancer (Ire) mare Chintz (Ire), and his second dam is a half-sister to G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Solemia (Ire) (Poliglote {GB}). The Gurka's 51 yearlings sold last year averaged twice his initial €25,000 stud fee at £50,985/€60,112, and the fact that he is down to €12,500 at Coolmore makes 2020 the right time to roll the dice.

Ballylinch's New Bay (GB) is the lone son of Dubawi (Ire) in this sire crop, and his supporters thus far can rejoice in the success of Darley's lynchpin as a sire of sires, bolstered significantly this year by the promising start by Night of Thunder (Ire). New Bay gets strong marks on the bottom side of his pedigree, too. He is out of the stakes-winning Zamindar mare Cinnamon Bay, and his third dam is Bahamian (Ire) (Mill Reef), whose dynasty includes Oasis Dream (GB), Kingman (GB), Beat Hollow (GB) and Martaline (GB). New Bay won the 2015 G1 Prix du Jockey Club over Highland Reel (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and took the G2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano and G2 Prix Niel in the following months before finishing third behind Golden Horn (GB) and Flintshire (GB) in the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. He added the G3 Prix Gontaut-Biron at four and holds the advantage of being supported by a syndicate that includes Ballylinch, his breeder Juddmonte Farms and the China Horse Club. New Bay's 46 yearlings sold last year averaged £39,105/€46,105, and he stands for €15,000 this year.

Starting out alongside New Bay at Ballylinch was fellow Group 1 winner Fascinating Rock (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}). The Dermot Weld-trained colt won a pair of Derby preps at three and trained on to take the G1 Champion S. at four and the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at five, both over the prolific mare Found (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), and retired with an official rating of 123. He shares a broodmare sire, Polar Falcon, with the great Pivotal (GB), who is by that son of Nureyev. Fascinating Rock is down to €7,000 from an opening fee of €10,000, and his yearlings averaged £27,895/€32,892-2.8x his stud fee. Breeder Newtown Anner Stud supported him heavily at the sales buying his top two lots, fillies for 140,000gns and €160,000.

Gilltown Stud's dual Derby winner Harzand (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) has swung wildly in fashion before a runner has even set foot on the racetrack. He covered 87 mares in his debut season and dropped to 30 in 2018. The judges must have liked what they saw in his first-crop foals, however, as he was back up to 94 last year. Indeed, his 31 first-crop yearlings sold averaged 2.6x his opening fee at £39,026/€46,014. Harzand, in the mould of his sire, was at his best at three so it would be no surprise if his progeny were to take time to develop, and breeders that use the horse in 2020 would have foals to sell when Harzand's first crop are completing their 3-year-old campaigns. After starting out at €15,000, he has dropped down to €8,000.

The hopes of Darley's Kildangan Stud ride on three in this sire crop: Belardo (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}), The Last Lion (Ire) (Choisir {Aus}) and Buratino (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}).

Belardo has the momentum behind him of his grandsire Shamardal–who he stands alongside–and indeed like Shamardal, Belardo won the G1 Dewhurst S. at two before going on to win a Group 1 mile, in his case the G1 Lockinge S. at four. Only the champion miler Solow (GB) (Singspiel {Ire}) stood between Belardo and a Group 1 win at three in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S., and just Tepin (Bernstein) prevented him from going out a winner in Royal Ascot's G1 Queen Anne S. Belardo is out of the G1 Cheveley Park S. and G2 Lowther S.-placed Danaskaya (Ire) (Danehill), now a multiple stakes producer. His 52 yearlings sold last year averaged £34,354/€40,507, and his six-figure yearlings were bought by the likes of Klaravich Stables, Mike Ryan and Shadwell. Belardo started at €15,000 and is standing for the second straight year at €10,000.

Buratino has been the busiest of the Kildangan trio, covering a combined 360 mares his first three seasons at €5,000. The chestnut was in action on the first day of the season in 2015, breaking his maiden by 3 1/2 lengths at Chelmsford and he held his form through seven subsequent starts at two. He took Epsom's Listed Woodcote S. on Derby day and beat Air Force Blue (War Front) by two lengths in the G2 Coventry S. at Royal Ascot. Buratino was then placed in the G1 Phoenix S. and G1 Middle Park S. to round out the season.

Buratino is out of the listed-placed Kingmambo mare Bergamask, and his Group 3-winning second dam Adonesque (Ire) (Sadler's Wells) is a half-sister to Danehill Dancer (Ire). That's a lot of sire power in a €5,000 package, and breeders likely aren't going to have to wait long for the Buratinos to shine on the racecourse.

The Last Lion was similarly precocious, having first stepped out on Apr. 2 of his 2-year-old campaign with a win at Doncaster and having held his form through nine subsequent starts before capping off his campaign-and career-with a win in the G1 Middle Park S. over Blue Point (Ire) (Shamardal). The son of sprint star Choisir and the dual Group 1-placed juvenile Mala Mala (Ire) (Brief Truce) was never off the board in the interim, also winning the G3 Sirenia S. and Listed Dragon S. and placing in the G2 Norfolk S., G3 Molecomb S., G2 Gimcrack S. and G2 Flying Childers S. His first yearlings found favour with the market, his 26 sold averaging almost three times his opening fee of €12,000 at £34,091/€40,197. The Last Lion stands for €7,500 in 2020.

Tally-Ho Stud is home to a pair in this crop in Mehmas (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) and Vadamos (Fr) (Monsun {Ger}). Mehmas carries the same cross as Dark Angel-being by Acclamation out of a Machiavellian mare–and like that luminary he retired after a prolific 2-year-old campaign. Mehmas was second to Caravaggio in the G2 Coventry S. before winning the G2 July S. and G2 Richmond S.-the latter over Blue Point-and he rounded out his career with placed efforts in the G1 National S. and the G1 Middle Park S. behind Churchill (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and The Last Lion, respectively. Mehmas's pedigree also includes dual French Classic winner Avenir Certain (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) and the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf victress Queen's Trust (GB) (Dansili {GB}). Mehmas has seen a gradual reduction in fee and is down to €7,500 this year. His yearlings averaged £31,238/€36,833 last year.

Vadamos brings an interesting profile to the table. He broke his maiden going 2100 metres at three and won a listed race three months later over 2400 metres. After moving from Francois Rohaut to Andre Fabre at four, however, he was dropped down to a mile for the G2 Oettingen-Rennen and won by five lengths. He had a globetrotting campaign at five, running in France, Dubai and Australia and collecting three more group races over a mile, headed by the G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. He was fourth in both the G1 Cox Plate and G1 Emirates S. in Australia and retired with a rating of 120. Vadamos was well supported with 167 mares in year one, but was visited by just 65 in year two. He was back up to 84 last year when dropped from €10,000 to €7,500, and he is given a further cut to €6,000 in 2020. His yearlings averaged £26,150/€30,834.

Cheveley Park Stud starts out another sprint stallion in Twilight Son (GB), and they will be hoping he follows in the hoofprints of his sire Kyllachy (GB) and grandsire Pivotal (GB), both of which they have stood. Twilight Son showed brilliance right off the bat and won his first five starts including the G1 Haydock Sprint Cup at three, and he added Royal Ascot's G1 Diamond Jubilee S. at four. Twilight Son's yearlings averaged £28,358/€33,436 (2.8x his fee), and he is available for £7,000 in 2020, down from his initial £10,000.

Emerging as a bit of a surprise package at the yearling sales was Tara Stud's Estidhkaar (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), whose yearlings averaged 4.2x his £5,000 stud fee last year at £20,765/€24,485. He had three six-figure yearlings, two of which were secured by his racing owner Sheikh Hamdan for 120,000gns and 110,000gns, and one of which was bought by Roger Varian for 140,000gns. Estidhkaar is a half-brother to champion 2-year-old Toormore (Ire) (Arakan) and he himself was precocious, winning the G2 Superlative S. and G2 Champagne S. at two.

Similarly popular with his first yearlings was Chapel Stud's (formerly Bucklands Farm & Stud) group-winning sprinter Pearl Secret (GB) (Compton Place {GB}). The 11-year-old has stood for £4,000 his first four seasons, and his yearlings averaged 4.4x that-£17,578/€20,729 for 23 sold. His median held up similarly well at £13,377/€15,776. Pearl Secret raced from two to six and won three five-furlong stakes including the G2 Temple S., and was third in the G1 King's Stand S. in 2013. He is from the family of good sire Dutch Art (GB).

Another son of Dark Angel raced by Sheikh Hamdan in this sire crop is Markaz (Ire), who stands alongside Awtaad at Derrinstown Stud for €5,000. The full-brother to G1 Nunthorpe S. winner Mecca's Angel (Ire) won the G3 Criterion S. over seven furlongs and three and added the G3 Chipchase S. over six at four.

With Roaring Lion having sadly died and Hawkbill off to Darley Japan after one season in Newmarket, the hopes of Kitten's Joy establishing a sire son in Britain now lie with Lanwades's GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Bobby's Kitten. A Grade III winner at two, Bobby's Kitten bested none other than No Nay Never at the Breeders' Cup and became the first 3-year-old to win the Turf Sprint. He was later transferred from Chad Brown to Dermot Weld to take a shot at Royal Ascot, and while he didn't make it to that meeting he did win his lone start in Ireland, the Listed Cork S., by 8 1/2 lengths. Bobby's Kitten is a full-brother to stakes winners Camelot Kitten and Major Magic, and his third dam is the influential American mare North of Eden (Ire) (Northfields), the dam of champion Paradise Creek and Grade I winners Forbidden Apple and Wild Event. Bobby's Kitten started at £12,500 and is available for £8,000 this year.

Breeders in Britain and Ireland looking for four-figure sons of Kodiac (GB) certainly aren't lacking for choice. Whitsbury Manor Stud's multiple Group 2-winning sprinter Adaay (Ire) was well received at the yearling sales, his 54 sold averaging £25,112/€29,610, 3.6x his €7,000 opening fee, while his median also held up well at £16,237/€19,148. Adaay won the G2 Sandy Lane S. and G2 Hungerford S. at three and is available for €5,000 this year.

Rathbarry's Kodi Bear (Ire) was patronized at the sales last year by the likes of China Horse Club-who bought a €100,000 colt-his former trainer Clive Cox, Stephen Hillen and Kevin Ryan and SackvilleDonald. Kodi Bear was a listed winner at two and second in the G1 Dewhurst S. before winning the G3 Sovereign S. and G2 Celebration Mile both over 1600 metres at three. After starting out at €10,000, he is down to €6,000 for 2020.

Prince of Lir (Ire) retired to Ballyhane Stud after his 2-year-old campaign, the highlight of which was a victory over The Last Lion in the G2 Norfolk S. His highest-priced yearling by far was a 260,000gns three-quarter brother to last year's G2 Mehl-Mulhens Rennen winner Fox Champion (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}). Prince of Lir stands for €4,000.

Coulsty (Ire) joined the ranks at Rathasker Stud after a four-year career that included a win in the G3 Prix de Meautry over six furlongs at three. He rejoins the ranks at Rathasker this year after spending one season at Norman Court Stud in Britain and is available for €4,000.

In France, Haras de Bonneval's Dariyan (Fr) is the lone son of Shamardal in this crop, and he has held his €8,000 introductory fee through his first four years. Dariyan was a smart middle- distance performer, winning the G2 Prix Eugene Adam over 2000 metres at three before rounding out that campaign with a third behind Highland Reel (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Hong Kong Vase and adding the G1 Prix Ganay at four. Not surprising for a product of the Aga Khan's system, Dariyan is bred in the purple, being a son of the G1 Hong Kong Vase victress Daryakana (Fr) (Selkirk) and a grandson of the G1 Prix de Diane winner Daryaba (Ire) (Night Shift). Dariyan posted promising yearling sale results, his 25 sold averaging 2.4x his stud fee at £19,171/€22,608.

Another interesting prospect for France is Scissor Kick (Aus), a son of Redoute's Choice (Aus) who shuttles from Australia to Haras d'Etreham and is available for €5,000 this year. Scissor Kick was beaten just a head in the stallion-making G1 Golden Rose S. over seven furlongs at three, and later that season took the G3 Eskimo Prince S. over six furlongs. Redoute's Choice himself shuttled to France for two seasons and that move really bore fruit last year, as he was responsible for the G1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis victor Danceteria (Fr) and the triple Group 2-winning staying filly Enbihaar (Ire). Scissor Kick's pedigree packs plenty of kick, indeed, on the bottom side too, his third dam Kerali (GB) having produced the legendary mare Hasili (Ire), dam of Dansili (GB) and his five Grade I-winning siblings. Scissor Kick's first yearlings averaged £20,624/€24,316.

Goken (Fr) started out at Haras de la Huderie, and this year moves to Haras de Colleville to stand alongside his sire Kendargent (Fr) in the year of his first runners. A Group 3 winner at two, Goken added the G3 Prix Texanita over 5 1/2 furlongs at three. His first yearlings were well received in France, especially at Arqana's v2 sale where he had a high price of €50,000. His 26 yearlings sold averaged four times his opening €5,000 stud fee at £20,420/€17,316, and he stands for €3,000 this year.

The flagbearer of this sire crop in Germany is Protectionist (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}), Gestut Rottgen's G1 Melbourne Cup and G1 Grosser Preis von Berlin victor. Protectionist was a winner and Group 2-placed at two, and while he had an abbreviated 3-year-old campaign he made amends at four, winning Group 2s in Germany and France before heading Down Under to clinch their greatest prize. An Australian-based campaign, however, was not as kind to Protectionist the following season, and he went winless in eight starts while trained by Kris Lees. He came back to life when returned to his native land, however, winning the Berlin and the G2 Grosser Hansa-Preis at six. Protectionist has been supported at stud and in the sales ring by owner Australian Bloodstock, and his yearlings made up to €95,000 off a €6,500 stud fee. They averaged an impressive £37,774/€44,540-5.8x his fee, although just nine of 17 through the ring were sold.

Value Sires Podium

GoldShalaa (€25,000) – the most expensive member of the crop has been very well supported and may never be this low again.

SilverThe Gurkha (€12,500) – a Classic-winning son of Galileo who is now available for half his initial price.

BronzeEstidhkaar (£5,000) – a son of Dark Angel who has been well supported by his owner Sheikh Hamdan.

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