Value Sires Part II: Under 10,000

Without Parole takes gold in this sector and has his first runners this season | Newsells Park Stud

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Having started with the new stallions for 2024, we are continuing the series with those in the lower price tier beneath the fee of 10,000, whether in euros or sterling. For the benefit of this piece we are treating them as one and the same, despite the current exchange rate of £1 = €1.16.

This is the territory inhabited by many small breeders, and in plenty of cases the margins between operating at a profit and a loss are very tight indeed. 

I am reminded here of a particularly interesting quote from Paul Thorman in the interview with Brian Sheerin which appeared in these pages earlier this week. 

Thorman said, “Fashion has never been stronger. We used to be able to sell yearlings by unpopular stallions. If they were good-looking horses out of reasonable mares, they'd find a level and sometimes that level was quite good. Sir Mark Prescott, Peter Makin, the likes of those people would always buy a good-looking horse by an unfashionable sire. Now, if you have picked the wrong sire, there is nobody for it. Stallions are never as good or bad as fashion says they are.”

This does rather underline just why first-season sires are so popular, with their stock often given plenty of benefit of doubt at their first few rounds of sales. It can also be of benefit to breeders to have hit upon the 'right sire' in his second or third crop if his first-crop runners make an impression. Look how well some breeders have done from using Havana Grey (GB) in the seasons in which he was £6,000 before he shot up to £55,000, or Ardad (Ire) at his lowest price of £4,000 in the year that his first runners took to the track.

There are educated guesses to be had if this is your modus operandi and if you've seen enough of a young stallion's stock at the sales to have given you a favourable impression of how well his runners might fare. But even the finest minds and best stockmen have been flummoxed by the unpredictability of the soaraway success for some stallions and perceived failures of others. It's all part of the beauty – and the frustration – of the breeding industry.

Take Your Chance 

These selections mean that you are spinning the wheel of chance with stallions who have runners this year or in the next two years. We will start with Lope Y Fernandez (Ire), who is at the National Stud at a fee of £8,500. Lope he's called and lope he does, this good-walking son of the highly successful Lope De Vega (Ire) who had 40 first-crop foals sell for an average just shy of £22,000. He also has a strong syndicate behind him, with the National Stud teaming up with Coolmore and Whitsbury Manor Stud. He covered 134 mares in his first crop, followed by 152 in 2023, so should have a decent representation of runners next year.

Some sons of Kodiac have been quick to make an impression and it will be interesting to see if the Flying Childers winner Ubettabelieveit (Ire), who stands at Mickley Stud for £5,000, will follow suit. He has first yearlings this year from an initial season in which he covered 96 mares, a figure which increased slightly to 105 in 2023. Breeding a mare to him this year means you will have a foal in the year of his first runners. Richard Kent and his family support their stallions, and that has been the case again with this horse. They breed plenty of winners at Mickley Stud, and it would be no surprise to see Ubettabelieveit represented by some early sorts.

In A'Ali (Ire) and Caturra (Ire) we find two more winners of the Flying Childers, both of whom were bred by Tally-Ho Stud by their home stallions Society Rock (Ire) and Mehmas (Ire) respectively (and don't forget that this was also the team behind 

Ardad and his son Perfect Power). They are a year apart in their retirement to stud with A'Ali having joined Newsells Park Stud in 2022. He also won the G2 Norfolk S., G2 Prix Robert Papin and G2 Sapphire S., and there were favourable comments and results for his first foals, which averaged £23,200 for the 14 sold.

Caturra is now alongside the aforementioned Ardad at Overbury Stud and, like A'Ali, stands for £5,000. He covered 109 mares in his first season and his foals will be appearing in the coming months. Mehmas's sons are appearing thick and fast, with Minzaal (Ire), Persian Force (Ire) and Supremacy (Ire) all at stud in Ireland, and Lusail (Ire) new to France. Caturra is his sole representative in Britain.

Ballyhane Stud's Sands Of Mali (Fr) is a horse with a very interesting profile. He was the co-second top lot at the now-defunct Tattersalls Ireland Ascot Breeze-up Sale and his unheralded sire Panis had a few people scratching their heads. But he had impressed a notable judge in Con Marnane at the Osarus Yearling Sale and then Matt Coleman took a chance on him as a breezer when buying him for the Cool Silk Partnership for £75,000. It was money well spent. He won the G2 Gimcrack S. and the next year followed up with victories in the G1 QIPCO Champion Sprint, G2 Sandy Lane S. and G3 Prix Sigy (the race named after the champion sprinter who appears in the fourth generation of his pedigree), as well as being a close second in the G1 Commonwealth Cup. 

Sands Of Mali is a good-looking horse with a lot more scope than some sprinters. Through his grandsire Miswaki he brings in a different strand of the Mr. Prospector sire-line than that more readily seen in these parts now through Dubawi (Ire), and his is a pedigree which should be open to plenty of mares. Indeed, plenty did visit him in his first book, but that 152 dropped to 74 and 56. His first runners this year could help to put him back on a similar upward curve to Ardad and at a fee of €5,000.

Don't You Forget About Me

It is hard to believe that Holy Roman Emperor (Ire) is now 20, and don't policemen look young these days? He's a grand horse, who in my mind is still that neat two-year-old who went down valiantly and so narrowly to the prize fighter Teofilo (Ire) in the Dewhurst, having already won the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. His stud entrance was hastened by the poor fertility of George Washington (Ire), so we only saw Holy Roman Emperor at two, and in his now-lengthy stud career he has assembled an impressive portfolio that makes his current fee of €8,000 very enticing.

It feels like Dream Ahead has spent most of his stud career being quietly good and not really gaining the recognition and support he deserves. He has two sons at stud in France, where he stood himself for four years after spending his first five seasons at Ballylinch Stud. Now he is at the speed-orientated Bearstone Stud, a sensible place for this top sprinter to be, and the farm is also home to his best daughter, the treble Group 1 winner Glass Slippers (GB). At £6,500, he is at his lowest fee yet and he is far better-credentialed than many younger sprinters at stud. If you have a fast, young mare, why wouldn't you take a chance on a horse who was an excellent racehorse and who has already shown that he can get a good one?

Mayson (GB) is in a similar boat. A July Cup winner who has sired a July Cup winner, he is standing in Ireland for the first time this year at Springfield House Stud for €4,250. Mayson has never covered big books – 90 in his first year, dropping down to 71, 54 and 41 in the last three seasons – but he has the potential to give you a speedy two-year-old who will train on and, as Oxted (GB) and Rohaan (Ire) have shown, he can get a classy individual too.

Owner-Breeder Selections

If you have the luxury of being an owner-breeder with a penchant for middle-distance and staying horses then there is plenty of value to be found by the top-class gallopers who have been recruited by National Hunt studs but could very clearly do a good dual-purpose job. I'd include former Horse of the Year Crystal Ocean (GB) in this bracket at €8,000, along with Haras de la Hetraie's gorgeous liver chestnut G1 Prix Ganay winner Mare Australis (Ire) at €4,500, and the Adlerflug (Ger) full-brothers In Swoop (Ger) and Ito (Ger), at The Beeches Stud and Yorton Farm respectively for €3,500 and £3,000.

And let's not forget an old favourite, Sixties Icon (GB), at Norman Court Stud, with his first-class pedigree and value fee of £3,000. He's far from one-dimensional as a stallion and gets winners across the distance range.

Interesting First Impression

Talking of Adlerflug, his son Iquitos (Ger) made a notable impression last year with only five runners from a total of seven foals in his first crop. His two winners from that set were both stakes winners, including the Group 2 winner and Group 1-placed Mr Hollywood (Ire), a TDN Rising Star who is worth following again this season. Iquitos, a treble Group 1 winner over 10 and 12 furlongs, covered a larger book of 32 mares in 2023 and has subsequently moved from Gestut Graditz to Gestut Rottgen, where he stands for €6,000 and should gain some extra support.

Breeder perspective: Fiona Denniff

Fiona and Mick Denniff of Denniff Farms have focused their attentions on breeding speedily-bred horses with notable success, much of which has stemmed from the purchase of Hill Welcome (GB) (Most Welcome {GB}), ancestress of Beat The Bank (GB), Chil Chil (GB), and Kachy (GB) among a raft of decent winners.

Typically, Fiona provides a pragmatic approach in considering this year's mating plans and admits that she has reduced her broodmare numbers.

She says, “I always add on £20,000 to the stud fee to think about whether I will break even. So if you're using a stallion at, say, £10,000, they've got to make £30,000 before I've made a profit selling them as a yearling, so really to make money and call them good value they've got to make £40,000.

“GBB has been fantastic for improving the lot of fillies but you still have to think very carefully about whether you would get £40,000 if your mare produced a filly.

“There will come along another Havana Grey at some point and those who are astute enough to use that stallion will make their money but you have to consider the flipside. I have sat outside stables waiting for people to come and I know what it's like when nobody does come. Last year was very difficult. I feel that the bottom market has gone and the middle has slipped down.

“Hopefully in this new year some of the factors which affected the sales in 2023 will go, but they won't all go. I'm pulling back on breeding because it's not as commercial at the moment, and I have always been very much in the commercial field.”

Denniff adds,”The reason I never went for middle-distance horses is firstly that I love the look of a sprinter, I love the shape of them. Secondly, when I first started, I couldn't get into a middle-distance pedigree for £3,000, which is what I bought Hill Welcome for. It wouldn't have bought me a good enough pedigree to get going, but for a sprinter it was a good enough pedigree.”

“I am sure among this group of stallions there will be another Havana Grey lurking there, but quite which one it will be is hard to say.

“I don't want to put people off breeding, because we need young blood coming in, and there is nothing better than the feeling of having bred a winner. I'd say that money can't buy that feeling, though of course money does buy it, but it is the best feeling in the world.”

TDN Value Podium

Bronze: Awtaad (Ire), Derrinstown Stud, €5,000

Awtaad remains one of the best value sires in Europe. The son of Cape Cross (Ire) had five black-type winners last year, putting some other much more expensive stallions to shame, and these included G1 Prix d'Ispahan winner Anmaat (Ire) and dual Grade I winner Anisette (GB). His global reach was extended by two Group 3 wins in Sydney for Diamil (Ire). 

His Listed-winning daughter Primo Bacio (Ire) sold for 1.1 million gns at Tattersalls in 2023 and while he had only a handful of yearlings sold last year, the previous season the returns had been decent enough, with 28 sold for an average just over £40,000.

Having dropped to 38 mares covered in 2022, Awtaad was back up to 79 last year, so someone loves him, and rightly so.

Silver: Intello (Ger), Haras de Beaumont, €8,000 

Intello spent his early years at stud alternating between Cheveley Park Stud and Haras du Quesnay, and he is just about to embark on his second season across the road from the latter at Haras de Beaumont. 

From his initial feel of £25,000 he has been at €8,000 for three seasons and that of course tells its own story, but he is clearly a capable sire, and while he may fall more into the owner-breeder category his yearling prices weren't too shabby last year: the 12 sold from 13 offered at Arqana October returned an average of €43,417 and a top price of €135,000. 

That may have been helped by Intello's five black-type winners last year, with Junko (GB) ending his year on a high with victory in the G1 Hong Kong Vase.

Gold: Without Parole (GB), Newsells Park Stud, £8,000

There is a growing surge of Frankel's stallion sons in the pipeline but Newsells Park Stud's Without Parole (GB) was among the first and the fastest, as the winner of the St James's Palace S. in 2018. He's now at £8,000 having opened at £10,000, and he has physical refinement to match his lovely pedigree. His half-brother Tamarkuz (Speightstown) preceded him at stud and won the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, while his dam, who brings some Lemon Drop Kid blood to the equation, was a half-sister to the GI Travers S. winner Stay Thirsty (Bernardini).

Thirty of Without Parole's first yearlings sold for an average of £35,700. His book size actually rose to 92 last year, after he covered 83 then 75 mares in his first two seasons. That is hopefully a sign that breeders were encouraged by his youngsters. He could surprise a few people this year and if he does, his fee would likely rise again. It could be a good time to jump aboard. 

 

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