Top Industry Judges Have Their Say On The First-Season Sires

It’s early-February and already the Flat enthusiasts are getting excited about what stallion will end the season as champion first-season sire. A futile exercise, one would have thought? Not a bit of it.

Even the greatest handlers of young stock, Malcolm Bastard, Alan McCabe, Joseph O’Brien, Conor Hoban and Dick Brabazon, men who know better than most the folly that comes with predicting 2-year-old talent, are keen to have their say on which up-and-coming stallion can make the biggest splash this season. 

O’Brien is sticking loyal to Ten Sovereigns (Ire) in his prediction for first-season sire championship honours while Bastard, who broke and pre-trained Too Darn Hot (GB), has reported striking similarities between the unbeaten champion 2-year-old and his stock.

Meanwhile, Dick Brabazon, one of the finest horsemen in Ireland who has had Snow Fairy (Ire) (Intikhab) and Exultant (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) through his Curragh base, has taken a swing on Study Of Man (Ire) to come up trumps with a top-notcher.

Welcome to this year’s earliest predictions to what the next Mehmas (Ire), Cotai Glory (GB) or Havana Grey (GB) will be. Each opinion is right until proven otherwise and, for starters, Bastard, McCabe and Hoban are in agreement that the bookmakers have found the right favourite in Blue Point (Ire), priced up as a general 5-2 market leader by most firms.

McCabe, who pre-trains for Rabbah Bloodstock, Simon Crisford and Charlie Appleby among others, is particularly keen on Blue Point’s stock and said, “I think he will make a big splash. I think that bookmarkers are barking up the same tree as I am with Blue Point as I think he will go well in the first-season sire championship. In fact, there was a very smart Blue Point colt I was dealing with, and he’s gone into Simon Crisford’s. He was the smartest Blue Point I had and, if he is not winning up at the July Course at Newmarket, I’d be very surprised.”

Bastard agrees.

Malcolm Bastard |

He said, “We have six or seven Blue Points and they are nice solid horses who are very good in their minds. They all have nice action about them. They are only just cantering away nicely at this time of year, so it is difficult to say, but the Too Darn Hots and the Blue Points stand out a little bit at the moment. The Blue Points are definitely not early horses, not ours anyway.”

But it’s the Too Darn Hots who have set the temperature at Bastard’s Wiltshire operation with the renowned handler of young stock particularly impressed by the progeny of the young sire.

“I have about a dozen Too Darn Hots and they are very similar to him. From day one, he cantered like an old pro–he was a beautiful-moving colt–and his progeny seem to be the very same. I think they will be late summer horses, if not autumn horses, like he was. They will be seven furlongs plus and they are not going to be sprinters so he’s probably priced right [at 14-1]. You’d expect him to have a really good number of winners by the end of the season and quality horses out of that number as well.”

Hoban may be one of the newest names on the Irish scene but he has made a major impact already. The professional jockey has had two Classic winners, Magical Lagoon (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Sonnyboyliston (Ire) (Power {GB}), through his hands and has built up an impressive portfolio working with Barnane Stud, Yulong Investments, Johnny Murtagh, Eddie Lynam, Jessica Harrington and Paddy Twomey.

Along with the progeny of Blue Point, Hoban nominated Invincible Army (Ire) to throw down an early marker this spring, and said, “I have a very nice Invincible Army colt. He’ll be going to one of the breeze-up sales and he seems to be doing everything well. He’s the only Invincible Army I have but I’d be keen to recruit more of them at the sales as everything about him is promising. He just has a lovely way of going and nothing seems to phase him. I’m very interested in the sire.”

Hoban added, “I don’t have a Ten Sovereigns but there seems to be a bit of chat about them, which is interesting, and the couple of Blue Points that I have are really nice. They are forward-going, are strong and seem to have good minds. I’ve had a couple of Phoenix Of Spain (Ire)s as well and, while they won’t be that precocious, they are well-balanced horses who have great attitudes. They will be more for the second half of the year.”

One man who has his fair share of Ten Sovereigns to work with is O’Brien and he likes what he sees.

“It’s early days, obviously, but we’ve been lucky enough to have accumulated quite a few by Ten Sovereigns and we really like what we are seeing from them,” the trainer said.

McCabe has the biggest sample size to choose from given he has broken in the best part of 100 yearlings to go into training for this year and, while he admits a certain amount of luck is needed for a stallion to break through, he identified a broad spectrum of young sires whose stock has impressed him.

Blue Point: favourite for the first-season sire championship |

He said, “I’d be very keen on the Masar (Ire)s and the Too Darn Hots as well. The Blue Points are a sharp bunch and they look as though they will be 2-year-old types and the Too Darn Hots are just beautiful horses. They are lovely to deal with and are all very good-looking horses. We like them a lot.

“The Masars are very similar to the first Night Of Thunder (Ire)s. They’re very honest horses and I’d imagine he will be pretty successful. Masar won over seven furlongs as a 2-year-old and was no slouch. He’d a great constitution as a racehorse and, like Night Of Thunder, they come in all different shapes and sizes. They seem to have good minds and are easy to work with.

“I only had one Magna Grecia (Ire) colt but I liked him a lot. He looked like he would be a runner. I have a little filly by Intrinsic (GB) and she goes very well. Intrinsic won a Stewards Cup and his trainer Robert Cowell said that, if he didn’t get injured, he’d definitely have been a group horse. He’s only had a handful of runners and he’s had winners, with one of them [Intrinsic Bond (GB)] achieving an RPR of 101 so he may not be a bad sire at all. I know he’s not a first-season sire but we’ve a lovely Kodi Bear (Ire) as well and I’d be a fan of him as a sire.”

On the championship as a whole, he added, “I used to ride Kheleyf and nobody would have predicted he’d have done what he did at stud. You get horses who you think will do well at stud and they don’t do it for whatever reason and then you get others who you think will be basement level and they come up with the goods. It’s very hard to predict but, if I was a betting man, I’d be rowing in behind Blue Point to get rocking and rolling early. You need a lot of luck.”

One stallion who definitely won’t be ending the year as the champion first-season sire is Study Of Man but, for different reasons, the stock of the impeccably-bred French Derby winner has impressed Brabazon.

He explained, “We deal more with the owner-breeder type of horse, the one that will be slower to mature, but still, when I go through my list, we’ve got a nice filly by Magna Grecia and another by Phoenix Of Spain. But if I was to nominate one sire that I am particularly interested in the progeny of, it would have to be Study Of Man, as the two that we have by him are very athletic, hardy and tough types. He could be a very interesting sire and it would be great if Deep Impact (Jpn) had a major influence over here given what he achieved in Japan. He’s a horse I will follow with great interest this year. His granddam is Miesque so it is one hell of a pedigree. Saxon Warrior (Jpn) has got going in Ireland so it will be really interesting to see how Study Of Man gets on. Now, it’s only February, and I might be talking nonsense at this early stage in the year, but these two Study Of Man fillies have really caught our eye.

“We’ve only just started out on the Curragh gallops with our 2-year-olds now. I am beside the Old Vic gallop and we’ve only just started with the colts cantering up the Old Vic now. We’ll get the fillies going now soon. It’s all about education for me. I am not the trainer, so I let the trainer train them and I only educate them. I am always shouting at the riders to remember they are only babies. Sometimes they start scooting around on them if they start showing a bit but I always try to mind them and turn the horses into a career horse for their owners. I am not going to win any Brocklesbys, I am afraid! I have accepted that at this stage in my life. My aim is for the horse to last. I just lay the foundation for the trainers and then follow the horses’ careers with great interest.”

He added, “The riders are so important. Tim Carroll is my main rider and he’s just super. He just has a natural feel for a horse and can tell exactly how well each horse is going. If he says this is nice, I take note of what he says. He has picked a few already and he is a fan of the Study Of Mans. They don’t all go on the right way but you’d have a fair idea at this stage.”

Similarly, Bastard has seen enough from the progeny of Land Force (Ire), Inns Of Court (Ire) and Ten Sovereigns to suggest that their 2-year-olds can achieve good things on the track this season.

He concluded, “We’ve had a few Land Forces and they’ve been quite nice to deal with as well. They’ve got a bit of size and scope about them and plenty of strength. They have good bone, are nice in their minds and are quite forward-going and they look okay. He might be a bit of a surprise package. He could do well. Inns Of Court is another worth mentioning. I must say, we only had one by Inns Of Court, but he was very nice and I expect him to do very well. We have a few by Ten Sovereigns, who go well but, again, the ones we have seem as though they will want a bit of time. There is nothing really early amongst them but they are nice horses. They are quite scopey.”

The post Top Industry Judges Have Their Say On The First-Season Sires appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.