It is perhaps at this level of the market that bookings have not yet been finalised for this year’s matings. While a number of those named here have since moved up in fee bracket on the back of success with runners and subsequent market response, there is still plenty of value to be found in the hope that stallions coming through could be similarly upwardly mobile.
The aim of this exercise has been to show the average profit for stallions at each of four different levels of the market according to their yearling prices of last year. Those youngsters were of course conceived in 2020, and the table takes into account the stallions’ fees at that time plus a general keep fee for the mare and foal/yearling as well as sundry costs and sales expenses of £20,000. Only stallions showing an average profit with five or more yearlings sold last year have featured in these tables and assessments have already been published for stallions standing at £50,000 and above, between £20,000 and £49,999, and earlier this week for those at £10,000 to £19,999.
Next week we will also consider the value among those sires who have not yet had yearlings at the sales, but for now we will deal with the end of the market that will particularly resonate with a wide range of smaller breeders, involving stallions who were standing at less than £10,000 in 2020.
We can sadly discount the name at the top of the list as Adlerflug (Ger) is no longer with us. The German champion died in April 2021, halfway through covering the mares who will have provided his small final crop. This penultimate crop was not large either, which tends to be the norm for Germany, but his yearling results reflect what was then Adlerflug’s growing international status on the track. He was standing at his highest level when he died, but even then a €16,000 fee looked incredibly reasonable. With this class act no longer available we can look instead to his sons at stud, which include the brilliant Arc winner Torquator Tasso (Ger), who is about to embark on his first season at Gestut Auenquelle, and the German Derby winner In Swoop (Ire), who covered a large book at the Beeches Stud in Co Waterford and whose first foals are expected imminently. In Swoop’s full-brother and fellow Group 1 winner Ito (Ger) was recently transferred from Germany to stand at Yorton Stud in Wales.
Still very much in active service and now flying high beyond this tier is Mehmas (Ire), a horse we’ve heard plenty about over the last few years and it is easy to imagine that will continue. The son of Acclamation (GB) actually stood at his lowest fee in 2020 of €7,500 in his fourth season but then his first runners woke everyone up to his prowess and he hasn’t looked back, climbing to €25,000 then €50,000 and now €60,000. There will be no trouble encouraging mare owners to use him even at this level, and as our table shows, his first runners helped Mehmas’s second crop of yearlings to sell for an average price which was 11.6 times his fee back then.
He will soon face competition from his own sons as three of them — Minzaal (Ire), Persian Force (Ire) and Caturra (Ire) — have already been retired to studs in Ireland and Britain and he can be regarded as one of the most exciting young stallions in Europe.
Ardad (Ire) was a year behind Mehmas in retiring to stud and the yearlings shown here represent his smallest crop of only 19. Once his first runners hit the track in 2021 and started winning early, the mares visiting him at Overbury Stud suddenly increased in number and he has 98 yearlings registered this year. In 2020, Ardad’s fee had remained at his opening mark of £6,500 (it dropped to £4,000 in 2021 and is now £12,500) and, like Mehmas, they sold for an average price which was more than 11 times his fee. He too has been joined in the stallion ranks by one of his sons, the treble Group 1 winner Perfect Power (Ire).
Ardad still looks good value at his adjusted fee, and the same can be said for Havana Grey (GB), who was also standing at £6,500 in 2020 but has risen to £18,500 on the back his first-season sires’ championship laurels. The winners came thick and fast for the Whitsbury Manor Stud resident last year and it will be intriguing to see how they fare as three-year-olds. He trained on himself, from starting his campaign as an April juvenile and running eight times each at two and three before landing his Group 1 on Irish Champions Weekend in his second season. With a whopping 81 of last year’s yearlings making on average nine times the fee for which they were conceived and showing average profit of £31,871, it was clearly a good move to be in the Havana Grey camp in his second year at stud.
As we can see, and for obvious reasons, not many of the stallions near the top of this table are still covering at fees within this tier, and that is the case for Kodi Bear (Ire), whose lowest fee of €6,000 came in 2019 and 2020 and is now €15,000, while Cotai Glory (GB), who brought more first-season sire glory to Tally-Ho Stud the year after Mehmas, is now €12,500, having previously been €5,000. The Platinum Queen (Ire) was the star for the latter last year and she subsequently fetched 1.2 million gns when sold to Katsumi Yoshida. That obviously doesn’t figure in Cotai Glory’s yearlings figures which were good nonetheless, at an average nine times his fee and average profit of £17,478 for 47 yearlings sold. That figure was just slightly below Rathbarry Stud’s Kodi Bear, whose average profit was £18,247 for 32 sold.
Two sons of Invincible Spirit, Invincible Army (Ire) and Inns Of Court (Ire) have potentially exciting seasons ahead of them with their first runners. The vibes appeared to be very positive about Yeomanstown Stud’s Invincible Army, who was dropped from a starting fee of €10,000 to €7,500, where he remains. Given that these yearlings were conceived off that higher opening mark, his average profit of £14,896 is decent from 72 yearlings sold and he is at a level which makes him very attractive if his first crop of runners deliver in the way which appears to be anticipated.
Similar comments apply to Tally-Ho’s Inns Of Court, who had a massive group of yearlings at the sales last year with 122 sold for average profit of £3,052. His fee has been kept at a lower level, dropping from an initial €7,500 to €5,000.
With these two stallions, as with Highclere Stud’s Land Force (Ire), who also has his first runners this year, there is of course the chance for things to go very much in the breeeders’ favour if they make a promising start and sustain it through to when their later crops are being offered at the sales. The risk involved is often reflected in dips in fees in the third and fourth seasons, though in Land Force’s case he started an acceptable level of £6,500 for one year and had been £5,000 since then. Again, there were some favourable comments from yearling buyers, to the extent that 75 of his first-crop yearlings sold for an average price of £32,779, or five times his fee, at average profit of £6,279.
We’ll see what the coming months bring for these young stallions as the eagerly anticipated early juvenile races get underway. One whose early results were encouraging on the track last year was Tasleet (GB), one of two sons of Showcasing (GB) to be standing at Shadwell’s Nunnery Stud. Considering the increasing focus on success at Royal Ascot, a first-crop G2 Coventry S. winner is just what the doctor ordered for any budding sire, and that is exactly what Tasleet had in Bradsell (GB), one of 16 winners for the sire last season. The Archie Watson-trained colt went amiss when contesting the G1 Keeenland Phoenix S. but is reported to be on the comeback trail. Bradsell clearly has plenty of talent, so let’s hope he is able to show that again this year.
Tasleet started out at £6,000 and has returned to that fee after two years at £5,000, but he remains competitively priced to give breeders a return on their investment. His average profit last year was £6,304 for 23 yearlings sold.
Cheveley Park Stud’s Twilight Son (GB) is another who has remained at an accessible price for breeders. He’s still at his 2020 fee of £7,000, and his yearlings from that crop made on average five times that fee, with an average profit of £8,942. Both his sire and grandsire, Kyllachy (GB) and Pivotal (GB), were hugely dependable and successful members of the Cheveley Park Stud roster and there is no reason that this dual Group 1-winning sprinter can’t develop into a similarly reliable sire capable of getting some fast and commercial offspring if granted enough support.
It is an important year for him but his support is growing and he has been kept at an affordable level to give both him and those who use him a chance.
Silver: Cotai Glory
Yes, his fee has now crept up into the next bracket but not by much and his star package The Platinum Queen was no fluke. There is some depth to his stakes horses from just two crops to race so far, and he can continue the solid work of his sire Exceed And Excel (Aus) as a dependable source of good sprinters.
He too is now in a higher fee bracket, but his fee remains sensible. This year’s crop of juveniles is small, but he covered bigger and better books in the last two years, making it a reasonable proposition to use him now in anticipation of plenty more to come from his offspring on the track.