Value Sires Part I: The Newcomers


Space Blues winning the Breeders' Cup Mile |


Welcome to TDN Europe's annual Value Sires Series. Over the next few weeks we will analyse the continent's sires by sire crop and provide a general state of play in the stallion market and, most importantly, pull out some potential value that may be lurking beneath the surface. Of course, the concept of value is subjective and can depend upon a wide range of goals: whereas one breeder may be looking to produce an animal that they can race and pick up purses with for years to come, many more will be looking to spin the resulting foal for a profit at the sales. For some, the €65,000 required for one date with St Mark's Basilica (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr})–the five-time Group 1 winner and joint-highest rated 3-year-old in the world-is a good deal. Others won't spend that amount on the entirety of their broodmare band. Therefore, in the selection of our Value Podium, we have attempted to take into account a wide swath of considerations. We begin with the class of new sires entering stud in 2022.

Before introducing them, it may be significant to look at trends of the sire tables that could influence the direction of the market. Most significantly, next week Galileo's amazing ten-year reign as champion European sire will come to an end; in the year of his passing, Galileo has fallen to fifth on the list by European earnings. That is no knock on the great champion: he will long-perhaps forever–be considered the greatest sire since his own grandsire Northern Dancer, and his fingerprints remain all over the top of the table. Taking over the mantle is his own son, the great Frankel (GB), while his younger brother Sea The Stars (Ire) is second. French champion sire Siyouni (Fr) has just nipped Galileo for fourth, and his two highest-rated runners to date, the aforementioned St Mark's Basilica and the 2020 G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Sottsass (Fr), are both out of Galileo mares.

The point that we arrive at is that next year marks the first time in quite some years in which a son of Galileo will not retire to the flat ranks in Britain, Ireland or France. His G1 Grand Prix de Paris and G1 Hong Kong Vase winner Mogul (GB) enters stud for €4,000 as a National Hunt sire at Coolmore's The Beeches Stud, while Mogul's year-older full-brother, the 2019 G1 Grand Prix de Paris and G1 Juddmonte International winner Japan (GB), debuts at Germany's Gestut Etzean next year for €11,000.

Leading this sire crop on price is St Mark's Basilica who, at €65,000, is the only colt retired to Coolmore's flat roster this year. If there were ever a horse to tick all the proverbial boxes, it is he, the G1 Dewhurst S. winner and champion 2-year-old who trained on to be unbeaten at three, sweeping the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains, G1 Prix du Jockey Club, G1 Coral-Eclipse (by 3 1/2 lengths over Addeybb {Ire}) and the G1 Irish Champion S. over the GI Breeders' Cup Turf winner Tarnawa (Ire). He is out of a Galileo mare, like hot young sire Night Of Thunder (Ire). St Mark's Basilica was a 1.3-million gns yearling, and his dam is the G3 Silver Flash S. winner Cabaret (Ire). St Mark's Basilica follows his older brother, the Group 1-winning 2-year-old and Classic winner Magna Grecia (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), into the Coolmore stallion barn, so it will be fascinating to see what precedent he sets with his first runners in 2023.

Leading the newcomers of the British stallion ranks is Palace Pier (GB), who is the first Group 1-winning son of Kingman (GB) to retire to stud in Britain or Ireland and who starts out at Darley's Dalham Hall Stud for £55,000. The wide-margin winner of both his starts at two, Palace Pier defeated Pinatubo (Ire) (Shamardal) to win the G1 St James's Palace S. in his first start in stakes company before shipping to France to beat a stellar field of milers in the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois, sealing European champion 3-year-old honours. Palace Pier's only other defeats would come in the last two renewals of the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. on Champions Day, and he compiled another excellent campaign in 2021 with wins in the G2 bet365 Mile, G1 Lockinge S., G1 Queen Anne S. and the Marois, where he bested this year's brilliant G1 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace S. winner Poetic Flare (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}). The latter is himself Europe's loss and Japan's gain as he prepares to enter stud at Shadai Stallion Station. Palace Pier was again a Cartier champion in 2021, taking older horse honours, and he packs a punch on pedigree, too, being out of a daughter of Nayef and a grandson of the high-class producer Night Frolic (GB) (Night Shift). His third dam Miss d'Ouilly (Fr) (Bikala {Ire}), meanwhile, has no fewer than 15 stakes-winning descendants thus far.

Tally-Ho Stud introduces this year's G1 July Cup scorer Starman (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}) at €17,500, and the breeders who support him will be hoping he can bottle some of that magic that has seen Tally-Ho produce Mehmas (Ire) and Galileo Gold (Ire) the past two seasons. Starman's owner/breeder David Ward was busy at the breeding stock sales, too, buying up mares to support his stallion.

Kodiac has begun to make an impact as a sire of sires, his representatives in that realm already including Ardad (Ire), Coulsty (Ire), Prince Of Lir (Ire) and Kodi Bear (Ire), and he has a pair of group-winning 2-year-olds in this cohort: the G2 Coventry S. winner Nando Parrado (Ire) at the Irish National Stud at €6,000, and G2 Flying Childers S. winner Ubettabelieveit (Ire) at Mickley Stud at £5,000.

Supremacy (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) was among the leading 2-year-olds of 2020, defeating Lucky Vega in the G1 Middle Park S. From a hot sireline and the family of champion sprinter Harry Angel (Ire), Supremacy starts at Yeomanstown Stud for €12,500.

The National Stud's new recruit for 2022 is Lope Y Fernandez (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), a Group 3 winner at two and listed winner at four who was Group 1-placed an agonizing five times in some of the world's best sprinting/miling races. Lope Y Fernandez, who debuts at £8,500, has pedigree power behind him, being out of a multiple stakes-producing daughter of Dansili (GB). He drew plaudits from the recent stallion open houses and should get plenty of support from his syndicate including the National Stud, Whitsbury Manor Stud and Nick Bradley.

Victor Ludorum (Ire) (Shamardal) leads the incoming sire crop in France at €15,000 at Haras du Logis. The Godolphin homebred was France's unbeaten champion 2-year-old of 2019 who trained on to win the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains and finish third in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club. Victor Ludorum picked up another black-type win in this year's G3 Prix Messidor, and was beaten by the brilliant Baaeed (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) when third in the G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp in September. Victor Ludorum is inbred 3×3 to the great producer Helen Street (GB) (Troy {GB}), whose descendants include sires Street Cry (Ire) and Territories (Ire) as well as his own sire Shamardal.


Bronze:  Lucky Vega (Irish National Stud, €15,000) – A brilliant 2-year-old who started off the right way this year at three, Lucky Vega's racing career was brought to a premature halt this summer when stud duties at Yulong Stud in Australia beckoned. A debut winner at two, Lucky Vega beat the G2 Norfolk S. winner The Lir Jet (Ire) as well as future Group 1 winners Laws Of Indices (Ire) (Power {GB}) and St Mark's Basilica when he won the G1 Phoenix S. by an eye-catching 3 1/2 lengths in just his third start. A difficult trip next out saw him finish fifth in the G1 National S., and he found only Supremacy a half-length too good in the Middle Park. Lucky Vega outran odds of 12-1 when a half-length third on seasonal debut in the G1 2000 Guineas, and after finishing fourth in the Irish equivalent he was second in the G1 St James's Palace S. It would have been fascinating to have seen what Lucky Vega could have accomplished in an autumn campaign, and although he was retired prematurely it is apparent that he did train on at three. Lope De Vega only continues to grow his profile year-on-year. He already has one successful sire son in Belardo (Ire) and with the likes of Lucky Vega and his G1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain (Ire) at the Irish National Stud and Lope Y Fernandez (Ire) at the National Stud in Newmarket, he looks set to continue on a rising tide. Lucky Vega is out of a daughter of the class influence Cape Cross (Ire), who is also the broodmare sire of Australia (GB), who this year took his stud career to new heights. Lucky Vega's owner Yuesheng Zhang purchased a plethora of top-class mares to support his stallion at the breeding stock sales this year, including Alcohol Free (Ire)'s dam Plying (GB).

Silver:  A'Ali (Newsells Park Stud, £7,500) – A'Ali displayed the precocity to be a Royal Ascot-winning 2-year-old and the class to train on into a 4-year-old campaign. He won Royal Ascot's G2 Norfolk S. in just his second start, and built on that when adding the G2 Prix Robert Papin and G2 Flying Childers S. to his CV. A'Ali trained on at three to add the G3 Coral Charge and G2 Challenge S., and came from near the back of the pack to fill fourth behind Battaash (GB) (Kodiac {GB}) in the G1 Nunthorpe S. Kept around for a 4-year-old campaign, A'Ali indicated there was still petrol in the tank with a third in the G2 Meydan Sprint in February, but was sadly injured in running and retired. A'Ali is by Rock Of Gibraltar's G1 Golden Jubilee S. and G1 Sprint Cup winner Society Rock (Ire), who did his best running at four and five but who died when his first crop were yearlings, before he earned champion first-season sire honours. With a dam by Motivator (GB) and Danehill and Montjeu in his third generation, A'Ali should be easy mate with a large selection of mares, too.

Gold:  Space Blues (Darley Kildangan, €17,500) – It is rare to see a well-bred, triple Group 1-winning son of Dubawi priced so competitively at €17,500, but that is exactly the case with the Breeders' Cup Mile, Prix Maurice de Gheest and Prix de la Foret winner Space Blues. The winner of his lone start at two, Space Blues was started over 2000 metres and 1700 metres at three by trainer Charlie Appleby, but after a pair of blanks was dropped down to seven furlongs. That proved the trick, and the chestnut won the Listed Surrey S. before hitting the board behind Too Darn Hot (GB) and Advertise (GB), respectively, in the G1 Prix Jean Prat and G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest. Space Blues won four of his five starts last year, taking the G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot and G2 Lennox S. before besting a strong field in the Maurice de Gheest. Going into Space Blues's 5-year-old campaign this year, trainer Charlie Appleby didn't hide the fact that the GI Breeders' Cup Mile was the ultimate goal, and along the way he picked up wins in the 1351 Turf Sprint in Saudi Arabia, the G2 City of York S. and Prix de la Foret before taking the spoils at Del Mar. Space Blues heads into his second career with a lot of momentum behind the Dubawi sireline. He hails from a family choc-full of high-class winners; out of the Group 2-winning Noverre mare Miss Lucifer (Fr), Space Blues is a half-brother to Godolphin's multiple group-winner and black-type producer Shuruq (Elusive Quality). Further down the page it is the family of the G1 1000 Guineas winner Virginia Waters and G1 Matron S. victress Chachamaidee (Ire).

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