Value Sires Part I: The Newcomers

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Pinatubo | racingfotos.com

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The calendar has turned at last, with likely many more than usual looking for a fresh start in a new year. Even outside the midst of a global pandemic, the excitement of a new sire crop typically provides plenty of reason for excitement and optimism, despite the fact the very few of the 30-something young pretenders preparing to stand their first seasons in the UK, Ireland and France will truly 'make it.'

But isn't that the point? Those made of thick enough stuff to be involved in the breeding and rearing of Thoroughbreds already harbour a high tolerance for risk, and while the odds may differ wildly, each stallion we are about to run through  nonetheless offers a chance of being the diamond in the rough that could result in slick profits in the ring or bragging rights on the racecourse.

Our annual multi-part Value Sires Series begins today with stallions that will cover their first books in 2021. We'll dissect the entire group, from A(rizona {Ire}) to W(ooded {Fr}), before revealing our Value Podium, in which we will aim to strike a balance between those looking to score early in the auction ring and those looking further down the road at the winning post.

Darley Dominance

Just as it did last year, Darley introduces the two most expensive horses in this sire crop split between its studs in Newmarket and Kildare, though perhaps in a sign of the times the fees are slightly more modest. Pinatubo (Ire) (Shamardal), one of the best 2-year-olds we have ever seen, leads the way as he enters stud at Dalham Hall at £35,000, and it is hard to find holes in either his race record or pedigree. Unbeaten across a brilliant six-race juvenile campaign, Pinatubo was out early with a 3 1/4-length victory at Wolverhampton on May 10, and two starts later was running away with Royal Ascot's Listed Chesham S. by the same margin. A five-length romp in the G2 Vintage S. at Glorious Goodwood was followed by a scarcely believable nine-length tour de force in the G1 National S. at The Curragh, the performance that earned him the plaudit of being ranked higher than even Frankel (GB) at two. His two-length score in the G1 Dewhurst S. to round out the season may not have looked as fancy on ratings, but the fact that he did it over the soft going while turning back the best performance ever put in by another top juvenile of their generation, the G2 Coventry S. winner Arizona (Ire) (No Nay Never), only solidified the toughness that complimented Pinatubo's brilliance.

There is no getting around the fact that Pinatubo's early 3-year-old campaign did not go as hoped, with the colt that was veiled in invincibility after his juvenile campaign failing to sparkle while placing in the G1 2000 Guineas and G1 St James's Palace S., though the latter performance continued to look better all season as the only horse to finish in front of him, Palace Pier (GB) (Kingman {GB}), proved to be a brilliant miler and eventually earned Cartier 3-year-old honours.

With the cobwebs blown out after those two efforts, Pinatubo dropped back to seven furlongs to take Deauville's G1 Prix Jean Prat in July. His final start when second behind the elder Classic winner Persian King (GB) (Kingman {GB}) in the G1 Prix du Moulin cannot be overlooked, either, as on ratings it was his second-best performance next to the National S. Pinatubo retired thereafter with an official rating of 128, second only to his former stablemate Ghaiyyath in this sire crop, and he was the highest-rated 2-year-old since Celtic Swing (GB) in 1994. The best 2-year-old in over 20 years who trained on to be a Group 1 winner at three, by sire of sires Shamardal and from the family that has brought us Invincible Spirit (Ire) and Kodiac (GB); there are no sure things in the world of breeding Thoroughbreds, but Pinatubo certainly has the odds in his favour.

Also with every chance at Darley's Kildangan satellite is newcomer Ghaiyyath (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), who debuts at €30,000 and like Pinatubo he has little to knock on race record and pedigree. Ghaiyyath was in the spotlight early, having topped the 2015 Goffs November Foal Sale when bought by Godolphin for €1.1-million. He had plenty to live up to as a son of the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Nightime (Ire), and while it took him a little longer than Pinatubo to hit his best stride, Ghaiyyath was always giving off Group 1 signs. Out in the second half of his 2-year-old campaign, he won the G3 Autumn S. Ghaiyyath missed the first half of his 3-year-old campaign but came roaring back with wins in the G3 Prix du Prince d'Orange and G2 Prix d'Harcourt before shipping to Germany to win the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden by 14 lengths, for which he earned an RPR of 129. Despite struggling over the soft going next out in the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Ghaiyyath went into winter quarters with plenty of expectation on his shoulders, and he delivered in 2020. He strung together a hat trick of Group 1 wins from 2000 metres to 2400 metres, defeating Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Coronation S., Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) in the G1 Coral-Eclipse (RPR 129) and Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Juddmonte International (RPR 131). Ghaiyyath retired with an official rating of 130, was ranked as the world's highest-rated horse on the Longines World's Best Racecourse Rankings as of Nov. 8 and was named Cartier Horse of the Year.

Ghaiyyath's pedigree has only improved, too, since his seven-figure purchase at Goffs, with his half-sister Zhukova (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) winning the GI Man O' War S. in 2017 before being bought to join the Godolphin broodmare ranks for 3.7-million gns. And with newly turned 3-year-old and 2-year-old colts by Dubawi as well as a yearling son of Kingman for Nightime, there is every chance the pedigree will continue to flourish.

Ghaiyyath is joined on the Kildangan roster by Earthlight (Ire), like Pinatubo an unbeaten dual Group 1-winning 2-year-old by Shamardal. While Earthlight didn't quite hit the heights of Pinatubo and Ghaiyyath on ratings, he was undoubtedly an excellent sprinter who is an attractive prospect at €20,000. Sealing his status as the best 2-year-old in France in 2019 with a win in the Prix Morny, Earthlight traveled to Newmarket and bested the subsequent G1 Commonwealth Cup scorer Golden Horn (GB) (Lethal Force {Ire}) in the G1 Middle Park S. A setback early in the season ruled him out of consideration for the French Guineas, and a bit of the gloss perhaps came off after Earthlight was only fourth in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest, but after bouncing back in the G3 Prix du Pin he posted a joint career-best effort when just pipped by One Master (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) over the heavy going in the G1 Prix de la Foret. Earthlight's pedigree is brimming with class, too: his dam Winters Moon (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) was third in the G1 Fillies' Mile and is a half-sister to Group 1 winners Mandaean (GB) (Manduro {Ger}) and Wavering (Ire) (Refuse To Bend {Ire}), while Derby winner Golden Fleece appears further down the page.

The highest-priced of Coolmore's three new recruits in 2021 is the triple Group 1-winning Sottsass (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) (€30,000). A winner in his second start at two, Sottsass surged into Classic contention with a 6 1/2 length score in Chantilly's Listed Prix Suresnes before besting Persian King (GB) (Kingman {GB}) in course record time in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club. Sottsass won the G2 Prix Niel before finding only Waldgeist (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) too good in a soft-ground Arc, after which his connections set their sights firmly on the 2020 renewal of France's great race. Sottsass's 4-year-old preparation saw him take the G1 Prix Ganay over the same 2100 metre trip as the Jockey Club before he at last fulfilled his Arc potential. Sottsass was the world's highest-rated 3-year-old of 2019, and like young sire sensation Night Of Thunder (Ire) is out of a daughter of Galileo (Ire). And that daughter is none other than Starlet's Sister (Ire), who is making quite a name for herself as a broodmare with the seven-time Grade I winner Sistercharlie (Ire) (Myboycharlie {Ire}) also to her credit.

Etreham Snaps Up Group 1 Winners

The aforementioned Persian King also starts out at €30,000 in 2021, he at Haras d'Etreham in Normandy, France. From the first crop of Kingman, Persian King is out of a Dylan Thomas (Ire) three-quarter sister to G1 Prix Ganay scorer Planteur (Ire), from the Wildenstein dynasty that also includes Peintre Celebre. Persian King was favoured for the 2019 Prix du Jockey Club after winning five straight races, including the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains, but had to settle for second behind Sottsass and sat out the remainder of the year after connections revealed he had been sore after. Persian King came roaring back in the summer of 2020 to post his two best efforts when winning the G1 Prix d'Ispahan over 1800 metres (RPR 120) and the G1 Prix du Moulin going a mile over Pinatubo (RPR 124), and was a fine third behind Sottsass in the Arc after setting the pace over the heavy going in his first and only try over 2400 metres. Persian King brings plenty of class to the table and is an excellent coup for French breeders.

Also fitting that description is Hello Youmzain (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), who likewise starts out at Etreham at €25,000. Hello Youmzain won the G2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte at two before besting Calyx (GB) in the G2 Sandy Lane S. at three. He further advertised his credentials as a top-class sprinter when third behind Advertise (GB) in the Commonwealth Cup, and later solidified them with a win in the G1 Sprint Cup. Etreham and Cambridge Stud purchased the colt at the end of his 3-year-old campaign, and Hello Youmzain rewarded their faith to keep him in training when winning this year's G1 Diamond Jubilee S. His dam, Spasha (GB) (Shamardal), has proven to be a consistent source of class as the dam of four stakes horses, and the quality continues down the page with plenty of classy runners including Derby winner Slip Anchor (GB) under the third dam. With Kodiac beginning to build a legacy as a sire of sires, too, there is plenty to like about Hello Youmzain.

Group 1 Milers

Kameko (Kitten's Joy) debuts at Tweenhills Stud at £25,000, and somewhat remarkably he is the first G1 2000 Guineas winner to retire to stud in Britain since Frankel (GB). Kameko was first or second in each of his four starts at two, culminating in a win in the G1 Vertem Futurity Trophy, and he backed that up when beating Wichita (Ire) and Pinatubo (Ire) in the fastest-ever Guineas. After a string of fourth-place finishes in Group 1 company over the summer, the old Kameko resurfaced again in the G2 Joel S. in September, where he beat older horses in a career-best performance (RPR 125). He retired with an official rating of 122, and his credentials are further backed up by a solid pedigree; his Grade III-winning dam is a half-sister to Group 1-winning 2-year-old Kingsbarns (Ire).

Another top-class miler newly available in 2021 is Circus Maximus (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who is introduced at Coolmore at €20,000. Circus Maximus boasts a top-class pedigree, being out of the Niarchos Family's G2 Duke Of Cambridge S. winner Duntle (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) who traces back to the influential Lady Winborne, herself the dam of eight stakes horses and a half-sister to French champion Allez France.

Circus Maximus justified his pedigree by becoming one of the most reliable milers of recent seasons. He was third behind Persian King and Magna Grecia in what worked out to be an excellent G3 Autumn S. at two, and won the Listed Dee S. at first asking at three. He was sixth behind Anthony Van Dyck in the Derby and went just once beyond a mile in his 11 starts thereafter. He won the G1 St James's Palace S. at Royal Ascot next out and, after finishing a half-length second behind Too Darn Hot (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the G1 Sussex S., traveled to France to beat the year-older G1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Romanised (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}) in the G1 Prix du Moulin. After winning the G1 Queen Anne S. on seasonal debut this year, Circus Maximus was second after setting the pace in a vintage renewal of the G1 Sussex S., and added placings in the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois, Moulin and GI Breeders' Cup Mile. He is, interestingly, the only son of Galileo to retire to stud in Europe this year.

Mohaather (GB) (Showcasing {GB}) was the winner of that aforementioned vintage Sussex, and he likewise is available at Shadwell's Nunnery Stud for £20,000. A 110,000gns yearling purchase by Sheikh Hamdan, Mohaather showed all the right signs when winning the G3 Horris Hill S. in October of his 2-year-old campaign, an effort he backed up at first asking at three with a win in the G3 Greenham S. Bone bruising thereafter ruled the colt out of a summer 3-year-old campaign, but he caught the eye at Ascot in July of 2020 with a 3 3/4-length win in the G2 Summer Mile (RPR 123), and followed that up with his popular Sussex score (RPR 127) in what would prove his final start, with bone bruising again interfering.

Mohaather was bred by Fulke Johnson Houghton, and there is plenty of class under his first dam alone; he is a full-brother to the multiple graded stakes-winning and Grade I-placed Prize Exhibit (GB), and to the dam of G1 Queen Anne S. winner Accidental Agent (GB) (Delegator {GB}).

France Signs Up Quality Speed

There are few sires more in vogue than Wootton Bassett (GB) at the moment, and on the cusp of his first Group 1-winning son Almanzor (Fr) having his first runners in 2021, his second, Wooded (Ire), goes to stud at Haras de Bouquetot for €15,000. Wooded was a winner and twice group-placed at two, and immediately played his hand at three with a 3 1/2-length score in the G3 Prix Texanita on May 13. Beaten just over three lengths in both the G1 Prix Jean Prat and G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest this summer, he was three-quarters of a length second in the G3 Prix du Petit Couvert when dropped back to five furlongs in September, and held off the defending winner and subsequent GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint heroine Glass Slippers (GB) (Dream Ahead) when winning the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye in October.

Bouquetot made a late signing in December in the form of dual Group 1-winning miler Romanised (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), who will stand for €7,000 in 2021. Romanised was a winner in April of his 2-year-old campaign before finishing second to Masar (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) in the G3 Solario S., and the following spring he beat US Navy Flag (War Front) when winning the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas. Romanised trained on to win the G2 Minstrel S. and G1 Prix Jacques le Marois at four and was a nose second to Circus Maximus in the Prix du Moulin, and he won the Minstrel again in 2020. His triple stakes-producing dam is a half-sister to Hong Kong star Designs On Rome (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}).

In addition to Wooded and Hello Youmzain, another Group 1-winning sprinter to retire to France is this year's G1 Commonwealth Cup winner Golden Horde (GB) (Lethal Force {Ire}), who starts out at Montfort & Preaux for €10,000. Golden Horde won the G2 Richmond S. at two before placing in the G1 Prix Morny and G1 Middle Park S., and he built on those efforts to take this year's Commonwealth Cup. Golden Horde retires after respectable beaten efforts in the G1 July Cup, G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest and G1 Sprint Cup, and he boasts a female family sprinkled with class, being out of a winning daughter of Pivotal from the family of the great American champion Serena's Song.

Two further Royal Ascot winners retire to stud this season: Without Parole (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and Arizona (Ire) (No Nay Never). The Gunthers' Without Parole, who starts out at Newsells Park Stud at £10,000, is out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Without You Babe, who seems to improve the pedigree year after year; she is also the dam of GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Tamarkuz (Speightstown)-who has gotten off to a promising start at stud himself with five first-crop winners last year from 26 foals–and She's Got You (GB) (Kingman {GB}), who won a listed race in the U.S. last autumn. Without Parole went unbeaten through his first four starts at two and three, culminating in the G1 St James's Palace S. in what the second-fastest ever running of the race. Without Parole later transferred to trainer Chad Brown in the U.S. and while he was plagued with poor racing luck on a few occasions, he picked up Grade I placings in the 2019 Breeders' Cup Mile and 2020 Shoemaker Mile and Shadwell Turf Mile.

Arizona, who is available for €7,000 at Coolmore, won the G2 Coventry S. three weeks after breaking his maiden by eight lengths at The Curragh. He was then placed behind Pinatubo in both the National S. and the Dewhurst, in the latter putting in a career-best effort and running the champion to two lengths over the soft ground. Arizona wound up rated only behind Pinatubo and Kameko in his 2-year-old crop, and in addition to being a full-brother to the multiple graded stakes winner Nay Lady Nay (Ire), he is from the family of the useful French sire Dabirsim (Fr) and the dual Oaks-winning filly Sea Of Class (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}).

Farhh Makes His Mark

The Irish stallion ranks welcome a handful of intriguing prospects in the €5,000 to €7,000 range, including two sons of Darley's underrated Farhh (GB): King Of Change (GB) (Derrinstown Stud, €7,000) and Far Above (GB) (Starfield Stud, €6,000). As is common for the progeny of Farhh, King Of Change was a later developer, breaking his maiden in April of his 3-year-old campaign before running second to Magna Grecia in the 2000 Guineas at 66-1. King Of Change was not seen again until the autumn, but proved that effort was no fluke when winning the Listed Fortune S. and the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. King Of Change was again being prepared for a late-season campaign last year before time was called on his career. Though he was lightly raced, the brilliance he flashed is reflected in his official rating of 120. From the sire-making Pivotal line, he is out of the Echo Of Light (GB) mare Salacia (Ire), who has also left the classy miler Century Dream (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}).

Far Above, meanwhile, was set for a big sprinting campaign in 2020 off the back of a win in Deauville's Listed Prix Kistena in the summer of 2019 and the G3 Palace House S. last June. Injury unfortunately cut his career short, but his raw speed and classy pedigree-his third dam is Bahr (GB) (Generous {Ire}), whose legacy includes the Group 1-winning dam and son Nahrain (GB) (Selkirk) and Benbatl (GB) (Dubawi {Ire})-mean that he should find plenty of patrons in his second career.

Shrewd stallion master Joe Foley introduces another sprinter, Sands Of Mali (Fr) (Panis), for €6,500 at his Ballyhane Stud, and he was good enough to win at group level at two and three, taking the G2 Gimcrack S., G3 Prix Sigy and G2 Sandy Lane S. before a career-high win over a top-class field of older horses-like Harry Angel (Ire), Donjuan Triumphant (Ire), Brando (GB), The Tin Man (GB), Limato (Ire), Librisa Breeze (GB) and Dream Of Dreams (Ire)-in the 2018 G1 British Champions Sprint S.

Yeomanstown Stud debuts Shaman (Ire) (Shamardal) (€6,000), a Wertheimer et Frere homebred who won at first asking in July of his 2-year-old campaign and trained on to win group races at three and four (the G3 Prix la Force and G2 Prix d'Harcourt). He was also Group 1-placed at three and four, including a second to Persian King in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains, and as is typical of products of his breeder he has a stellar pedigree to back him up, his third dam being the excellent producer Elle Seule (Exclusive Native).

River Boyne (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}) returns to his birthplace, Tara Stud, to stand for €5,000, and he brings some solid credentials, having been a reliable top-class miler in the U.S. the past three seasons. River Boyne finished out of the top four just twice in 21 starts in the U.S. and won two Grade IIs, a Grade III and last year's GI Frank E. Kilroe Mile.

Two new sons of Scat Daddy are available for four figures in the UK: Sergei Prokofiev (Whitsbury Manor Stud, £6,500) and Legends Of War (March Hare Stud, £5,000). Sergei Prokofiev was a $1.1-million yearling who was a listed winner by May 20 of his 2-year-old campaign and went on to win the G3 Cornwallis S., and the Listed Cork S. going 5 1/2 furlongs at three. His dam, Orchard Beach (Tapit), is a half-sister to the dual graded stakes-winning and track record-setting sprinter Necessary Evil (Harlan's Holiday).

Legends of War was similarly expensive, having topped the 2018 Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale on a bid of 900,000gns. He won twice at two and was second in the G2 Gimcrack S. before transferring to the U.S., where he won the 2019 GIII Franklin-Simpson S.

Joining the French ranks at €6,000 each are a trio of group winners at two: Elarqam (GB) (Frankel {GB}) (Haras de Saint Arnoult), Threat (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}) (Haras du Mont Goubert) and Van Beethoven (Scat Daddy) (Haras de Grandcamp). Elarqam, Sheikh Hamdan's 1.6-million gns son of the great Attraction (GB), was a group winner at two, four and five over middle distances and won five stakes in all. Threat won the G2 Gimcrack S. and G2 Champagne S. in addition to finishing second in the G2 Coventry S. and G2 Richmond S., while Van Beethoven was a winner in early May who ran eight times at three and won the G2 Railway S.

Value Podium

Gold: Earthlight (€20,000)-an excellent sprinter who got off to a fast start, trained on and is by a sire of sires.

Silver: Golden Horde (€10,000)-a top-class 2-year-old who became a Group 1 winner at three. The sire line is doing the job and the female family is deep.

Bronze: Shaman (€6,000)-a Group 3-winning and Classic-placed son of Shamardal who was always knocking at the door at the highest level.

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