Value Sires Part II: First Foals

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Blue Point | Marc Ruhl

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We kicked off our annual Value Sires series earlier this week with a look at the new class of sires entering stud in 2021, and today we move on to the group with their first foals set to hit the ground in the coming months.

While it is not always a straightforward task to pinpoint value in unproven sires, the ripple effects of the global pandemic make the exercise a little more interesting this year. While it has become the norm for some young sires to get fee cuts in their second and third years to help mitigate the damages of a market that often judges them before their first progeny has even set foot on a racecourse, almost every member of this sire crop has had its fee trimmed this year. That trend is, of course, set against the backdrop of a bloodstock sales market that was down somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20%. While the sales were remarkably resilient in the face of such major economic uncertainty, it cannot be overlooked that a good many breeders will have suffered in 2020 and fee cuts nearly across the board are likely necessary to help keep the industry afloat.

Editor's Note: covering figures referenced here are from the Weatherbys Return of Mares. These figures are not final until the supplement is published in February.

While their fees may be down, none of these sires' credentials have lessened during their first year standing in the stallion barns, and Darley's pair of champions Too Darn Hot (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Blue Point (Ire) (Shamardal) remain at the head of the pack on fees. Too Darn Hot is trimmed to £45,000 from £50,000 at Dalham Hall, and he covered 172 mares in his debut season including Frankel Light (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), the €1.3-million top lot at last year's Arqana December sale; Galileo Gold (GB)'s dam Galicuix (GB) (Galileo {Ire}); Masar (Ire)'s dam Khawlah (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}); Time Test (GB)'s dam Passage Of Time (GB) (Dansili {GB}); dual Group 1 and Classic winner Simple Verse (Ire) (Duke Of Marmalade {Ire}) and Group 1 winner Sultanina (GB) (New Approach {Ire}). On paper, Too Darn Hot looks about as foolproof a sire prospect as they come, with little to fault on race record or pedigree. Unbeaten in four starts at two culminating in a G1 Dewhurst S. win that was rated even higher than his new barnmate Pinatubo (Ire)'s, Too Darn Hot was named European champion 2-year-old. His 3-year-old campaign admittedly didn't begin exactly as hoped-after a setback kept him from the G1 2000 Guineas he was beaten in the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas (second) and the G1 St James's Palace S. (third), but he returned to the winner's enclosure in a big way when dropping back to seven furlongs to win the G1 Prix Jean Prat by three lengths in an effort rated equal to his Dewhurst win on Racing Post ratings (125).

For good measure, Too Darn Hot went back up to a mile to defeat his St James's Palace conqueror Circus Maximus and elders in the G1 Sussex S. three weeks later. Too Darn Hot was just the latest classy performer out of Watership Down's triple Group 1 winner Dar Re Mi (GB) (Singspiel {Ire}), herself also a half-sister to three Group 1 winners, and it is also the family of influential sire Darshaan.

Speaking of influential sires, Too Darn Hot's own sire Dubawi has only furthered his credentials as a sire of sires this year with the continued progression of Night Of Thunder (Ire) and New Bay (GB) showing plenty of promise with his first runners. Too Darn Hot, like Night Of Thunder, is very much in the mould of his sire physically and there appears to be little standing in the way of him following in their footsteps.

Blue Point, the only horse ever to win three Group 1 sprints at Royal Ascot, is down to €40,000 at Kildangan Stud from €45,000. Blue Point's debut book of 198 mares included Beach Frolic (GB) (Nayef), the dam of this year's champion 3-year-old Palace Pier (GB) (Kingman {GB}) who topped the Tattersalls December Mares Sale when bought by MV Magnier for 2.2-million gns. Other mares to visit Blue Point last year included Daily Times (GB) (Gleneagles {Ire}), a half-sister to Breeders' Cup winner Newspaperofrecord (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}); Group 1 producer Danetime Out (Ire) (Danetime {Ire}); triple Group 1 winner Golden Lilac (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}); G2 Queen Mary S. winner Jealous Again, the dam of this year's standout but ill-fated sprinter Sceptical (GB) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}); Lucky Clio (Ire) (Key Of Luck), the dam of G1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}); and Sand Vixen (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), the dam of G1 Jebel Hatta winner Dream Castle (GB) (Frankel {GB}). Blue Point was an exceptionally consistent talent over four seasons who ran six times at two, winning the G2 Gimcrack S., but was undoubtedly at his best at five when he went unbeaten in five starts. He won the G1 Al Quoz Sprint before defending his G1 King's Stand S. title from the prior year and four days later added the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. In Blue Point's wake in both his King's Stand scores was Baattash (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}), the winner of four Group 1s and the world's highest-rated sprinter in 2019. Like Too Darn Hot, Blue Point carries the weight on his shoulders of being a potential heir to his outstanding sire, and Blue Point ranks high among a wave of young sires looking to follow in the footsteps of Shamardal's best sire son Lope De Vega (Ire).

Darley's third player in this sire crop is none other than the Derby winner Masar (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}), who is available for £14,000 at Dalham Hall, down from £15,000. For those commercial breeders shaken by the word 'Derby', remember that Masar ran five times at two, was a Group 3 winner over the future Irish 2000 Guineas winner and won at first asking in May, beating Invincible Army (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) who went on to be a group-winning sprinter at two, three and four. Masar won the G3 Craven S. in April of his 3-year-old campaign over eventual Horse of the Year Roaring Lion (Kitten's Joy) and again bested that rival and the Guineas winner Saxon Warrior (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the Derby. Masar's dam Khawlah won the G2 UAE Derby and G3 UAE Oaks and is a granddaughter of Melikah (Ire) (Lammtarra), a half-sister to Galileo and Sea The Stars. Masar was laid up with an injury after his Derby win and sportingly brought back for a 4-year-old campaign that unfortunately didn't pan out to fruition, but as such breeders likely got slightly better value in his first season, when he covered 146 mares.

The Coolmore Trio

Coolmore's trio in this bunch-Ten Sovereigns (Ire) (No Nay Never), Magna Grecia (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and Calyx (GB) (Kingman {GB})-all take fee cuts as well.

Too Darn Hot wasn't the only unbeaten Group 1-winning 2-year-old of his generation; so too was Ten Sovereigns, who went three-for-three in 2018 including scores in the G3 Round Tower S. and G1 Middle Park S. Ten Sovereigns put in his best performance at three when besting the triple Group 1 winner Advertise (GB) (Showcasing {GB}) and elders in the G1 July Cup, and he is cut to €20,000 this year from €25,000, having covered 214 mares in 2020. Those include Coolmore's excellent producer Airwave (GB) (Air Express {Ire}), second dam of Churchill (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}); G2 Ribblesdale S. winner Banimpire (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}); Big Boned (Street Sense), the dam of last year's German Group 3 winner K Club (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}); Jessica Rocks (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), a half-sister to Group 1 winner and sire Havana Gold (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}); and Night Fever (Ire), dam of last year's G2 Rockfel S. second Nazuna (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}). Ten Sovereigns looks to follow in the footsteps of his own sire as an important outcross to Sadler's Wells, and he is out of a daughter of Exceed and Excel, who only continues to bolster his record as both an excellent sire and broodmare sire. Ten Sovereigns's first in-foal mares were well received at the recent breeding stock sales, with 15 sold for an average of €114,262/£104,333.

Magna Grecia is reduced this year to €18,000 from €22,500, and like Ten Sovereigns he was a Group 1 winner at two and three. His class was apparent early as a 340,000gns foal purchase by Coolmore, and it didn't take him long to display that class on the racecourse for the partnership of Coolmore and the Niarchos Family; he won the G1 Vertem Futurity Trophy at two over the subsequent Irish 2000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain with Circus Maximus in fourth, and followed up with a 2 1/2 length score in the G1 2000 Guineas on seasonal debut. It will certainly help Magna Grecia's chances, too, that he is a son of sire of sires Invincible Spirit, and his half-brother St Mark's Basilica gave the pedigree a major boost last year when winning the G1 Dewhurst S. Magna Grecia was visited by 180 mares in 2020 including the Niarchos Family's standout producer Alpha Lupi (Ire) (Rahy), the dam of four-time Group 1 and Classic winner Alpha Centauri (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) and last year's G1 Coronation S. winner Alpine Star (Ire) (Sea The Moon {Ger}); Ghurra, the dam of Group 1-winning 2-year-old and sire Shalaa (Ire) (Invincible Spirit{Ire}); and Sun Bittern (Seeking The Gold), the dam of G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest winner Signs Of Blessing (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}). Magna Grecia's first in-foal mares found favour in the auction rings; five were sold for an average of €114,059/£104,169.

Like Ten Sovereigns, Calyx is an outcross to Sadler's Wells, being by Kingman out of the Observatory mare Helleborine (GB), herself a Group 3 winner in France and a full-sister to G1 Sprint Cup winner and stakes producer African Rose (GB). Calyx was the first son of Kingman to retire to stud and though his racetrack career was brief, he caught the eye with the electric turn of foot reminiscent of his sire when winning the G2 Coventry S. at two and the G3 Pavilion S. at three. Calyx covered 163 mares last year for €22,500, and is available for €16,000 in 2021. Calyx had 11 in-foal mares offered at the breeding stock sales and all sold, for an average of €76,899/£70,235.

More Quality Speed

The fourth Group 1-winning 2-year-old in this sire class laden with top-class sprinting talent is Advertise (GB) (Showcasing {GB}), who stays at £25,000 having covered 138 mares at the National Stud in 2020 including 67 black-type performers or producers, like the dams of Group 1 winners Aclaim (Ire), Maarek (GB) and Dick Whittington (Ire), as well as a half-sister to Battaash.

Advertise found only Calyx and Too Darn Hot too good during his five-race juvenile campaign. A first-out winner in May, Advertise was second to Calyx in the Coventry before winning the G2 July S. and the G1 Phoenix S. After a late summer holiday, he split Too Darn Hot and future Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the Dewhurst. Advertise failed to see out the mile trip of the Guineas at first asking at three, but put that defeat firmly behind him next out with a career-best win in the G1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. Second to Ten Sovereigns in the July Cup, he bounced back once more with a win over elder sprinters in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest. Advertise has plenty of sire power behind him in his pedigree, too, being the best son to date of Oasis Dream's prolific son Showcasing out of a daughter of Pivotal (GB), whose prowess as a broodmare sire needs no introduction. Advertise had seven in-foal mares sell at the breeding stock sales for an average of £80,091/€87,665.

Middle Distance Stars

Also sticking with his 2020 fee (€17,500) is Waldgeist (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who looks to have been very fairly priced from the outset as a multiple Group 1 and Arc-winning son of Galileo from a stout German family littered with black-type stars. For those not convinced by Waldgeist's 2019 Arc score over Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), Sottsass (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}), Japan (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), let's rewind to 2016, when he was a Group 1-winning 2-year-old in the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud. Despite finishing a short-head second in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club, Waldgeist failed to win at three, but connections' patience paid off the following year when the chestnut won four straight group races including the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud over the grand mare Coronet (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and the G2 Prix Foy over GI Breeders' Cup Turf scorer Talismanic (Medaglia d'Oro). He won the third of his four Group 1s, the Prix Ganay, over Classic winner Study Of Man (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) on seasonal debut at five and finished third in both the G1 Prince of Wales's S. and G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. before winning the Foy again and the Arc. Waldgeist was the joint highest-rated horse in the world in 2019 and his official rating of 128 is the highest in this sire crop. He covered 117 mares last year at Ballylinch Stud with plenty of support from Ballylinch as well as his co-owner Gestut Ammerland-it is worth remembering this is the same team that brought us Lope De Vega.

The aforementioned Study Of Man is trimmed to €12,500 from €15,000 after covering 71 mares at Lanwades Stud, many of those from the blue-blooded broodmare ranks of Kirsten Rausing and the Niarchos Family, the latter having bred and raced Study Of Man. Being by Deep Impact and out of a Storm Cat daughter of the great Miesque, Study Of Man's pedigree is choc-full of stallion-making influences, and he is also an outcross to both Sadler's Wells and Danehill. Study Of Man won his lone start at two before taking the G2 Prix Greffulhe and the G1 Prix du Jockey Club, and he picked up two Group 1 seconds at four behind Waldgeist in the Ganay and Zabeel Prince (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) in the G1 Prix d'Ispahan.

Another Lope Rising

Another Classic winner in this crop is the Irish National Stud's Phoenix Of Spain (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), who stands for €12,500, down from €15,000. Looking to follow in the footsteps of another son of Lope De Vega, Belardo (Ire), who made a promising start with his first runners last year, Phoenix Of Spain covered 148 mares in 2020. The winner of the G3 Acomb S. at two and second to Too Darn Hot in the G2 Champagne S. and Magna Grecia in the Vertem Futurity Trophy, Phoenix Of Spain turned the tables on Too Darn Hot in the Irish Guineas the following spring.

Four-Figure Finds

Taking the prize for the busiest member of this sire crop last year was Inns Of Court (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), who covered 218 mares for €7,500 and is this year available for €5,000. Inns Of Court was a winner in his lone 2-year-old outing before winning a pair of seven-furlong Group 3s in France at three and finishing second in the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois. He won the G3 Prix de Ris-Orangis at four and was a short-head second to One Master (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) in the G1 Prix de la Foret, and held his form through his 5-year-old campaign when he won the Listed Prix Servanne and the G2 Prix du Gros-Chene. Inns Of Court's dam Learned Friend (Ger) (Seeking The Gold) is out of the G1 Premio Lydia Tesio winner Lune d'Or (Fr) (Green Tune) and is a half-sister to dual Japanese Group 1 and Classic winner Fierement (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}).

Another young son of Invincible Spirit who proved popular in Ireland last year was Invincible Army (Ire), who covered 139 mares at €10,000 and stands for €7,500 in 2021 at Yeomanstown Stud. Invincible Army was a group-winning sprinter at two, three and four, and he was at his best at four when winning the G2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics S. and the G3 Chipchase S. and finishing third in the G1 Flying Five S. Invincible Army is out of the G1 Falmouth S. scorer Rajeem (GB) (Diktat {GB}).

The fourth son of Invincible Spirit in this sire crop is the G1 Commonwealth Cup winner Eqtidaar (Ire), who stand at Shadwell's Nunnery Stud for £5,000, down from £6,500 in 2020 when he covered 74 mares. Eqtidaar, whose only other win in eight starts was a Nottingham maiden on debut at two, is out of the high-class Madany (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}), also the dam of G2 Hungerford S. winner and Guineas-placed Massaat (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) and G3 Horris Hill S. scorer Mujbar (GB) (Muhaarar {GB}).

Joining Advertise as a son of Showcasing in this sire crop is Soldier's Call (GB), who covered 165 mares at Ballyhane Stud last year at €10,000 and is trimmed to €7,500 for 2021. Soldier's Call won the Listed Windsor Castle S. at Royal Ascot, the G2 Prix d'Arenberg at Chantilly and the G2 Flying Childers S. at Doncaster before being beaten a neck by elders when third in the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye. He ran eight times at two and despite not winning at three, held his form to place in the King's Stand and the Nunthorpe. Soldier's Call had just two in-foal mares go through the ring at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale and they fetched 190,000gns and 120,000gns.

Likewise, Ten Sovereigns's sire No Nay Never has a son available for a four-figure fee, and that is Highclere's Land Force (GB), who covered 155 mares at Highclere Stud for £6,500 last year and is down to £5,000. Like Soldier's Call, Land Force ran eight times at two, winning in May and picking up the Listed Tipperary S. and G2 Richmond S. in the summer. A €350,000 yearling, Land Force's pedigree catches the eye: out of Group 3 winner Theann (GB) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}), he is a half-brother to the dual Grade I winner Photo Call (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and a grandson of Cassandra Go (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}), whose daughter Halfway To Heaven (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) has brought us the Group 1-winning Galileo mares Magical (Ire) and Rhododendron (Ire). The top mare at the Goffs November Breeding Stock Sale–Zain Art (Ire), the dam of Group 2-winning 2-year-old Aloha Star (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus})–was sold in-foal to Land Force (Ire) for €390,000.

While Sottsass (Fr) this year becomes the first Group 1-winning son of Siyouni (Fr) to retire to stud, he was preceded last year by two stakes-winning sons of the French star, City Light (Fr) and Le Brivido (Fr). City Light showed plenty of potential at three, placing in multiple black-type sprints, and he won the G3 Prix de Saint-Georges at three before finishing a short-head second in the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. He added another Group 3 sprint, the Prix du Pin, at four before once again being narrowly beaten in a Group 1 when a half-length second to One Master in the Prix de la Foret, and he stays at €7,000 at Haras d'Etreham in Normandy. It is worth noting that with a short head and a half lengths' difference, that fee could easily have been double.

Le Brivido, meanwhile, moves to Haras de la Haie Neuve in France and stands for €5,000 after covering 56 mares at Overbury Stud in Britain last year at £7,000. He, likewise, came agonizingly close to Group 1 glory, finishing a short head second in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains before winning Royal Ascot's G3 Jersey S.

Godolphin's triple Group 1 winner Best Solution (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) was a welcome addition to the German stallion ranks last year, and he once again stands at Haras Auenquelle for €6,500. Best Solution was, incidentally, second to Waldgeist in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud at two after winning the G3 Autumn S., and while he won the G3 St Simon S. at three he was at his best at four, winning the Grosser Preis von Berlin, the Grosser Preis von Baden and the Caulfield Cup on the bounce. Best Solution's third dam is Juddmonte's excellent producer Eva Luna, who left Classic winner Brian Boru (GB) (Sadler's Wells) and the dam of Derby and Arc winner Workforce among many other stakes winners.

Value Podium

Gold: Masar (£14,000) – a precocious 2-year-old that trained on to win the Derby from the family of Galileo and Sea The Stars.

Silver: Soldier's Call (€7,500) – a tough 2-year-old who trained on to mix with the best sprinters at three. Has been well supported and should be popular commercially.

Bronze: Advertise (£25,000) – a sprinter of the highest quality at two and three. Plenty of stallion-making influences in his pedigree.

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