Foresight – the ability to predict what will happen or be needed in the future – is one of the essentials of a successful involvement in the breeding or buying of young racehorses. And foresight can be especially useful when it comes to purchasing a yearling for resale as a two-year-old in training.
For example, the ability to envisage what a May-foaled yearling, or an unfurnished, gangly individual, will look like in several months’ time can yield substantial dividends.
More often it is simply a case of trying to predict which stallions will be most in vogue when the breeze-up sales come around in April and May in Europe, and a month or two earlier in the US. Last year, Invincible Spirit’s youngsters grabbed the headlines on the opening day of Tattersalls’ Craven Sale, when colts which had cost 150,000gns and €120,000 as yearlings respectively sold for 360,000gns and 320,000gns.
In 2017, many vendors have understandably pinned their hopes on Invincible Spirit’s three-parts-brother Kodiac. I say understandably because Kodiac supplied the top two lots at the 2016 Goffs UK Breeze-up, with one of them – Prince Of Lir – going on to win the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes and the other – Ardad – the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes.
Kodiac’s 2017 juveniles were conceived at a fee of only €10,000 in 2014, since when Kodiac has never been out of the top three sires of two-year-olds, so there is plenty of scope for profits. However, the fact that there are well over 50 Kodiac juveniles in the various catalogues means that potential buyers will be able to pick and choose.
In these circumstances, there is something to be said for having a more exclusive product for the sales, with quite a few vendors opting to take the American route. This strategy paid some handsome dividends at the 2016 European breeze-ups.
On the second day of the Craven Sale, sons of The Factor, Exchange Rate, More Than Ready and Scat Daddy provided the top four prices, selling for 350,000, 340,000, 300,000 and 270,000gns respectively. Fact Finding, the colt by The Factor, was returned to the US, where he developed into a TDN Rising Star and an unbeaten stakes winner.
There was also black-type success for the Exchange Rate colt, Rodaini, who was winning for the fourth time in four starts when he landed Doncaster’s Flying Scotsman Stakes.
It therefore comes as no surprise that quite a few vendors have again put their faith in American-bred youngsters and have had some eye-catching results at this year’s round of breeze-up sales.
Rodaini’s sire, Exchange Rate, was represented at four of the spring sales. Unfortunately, this grey son of Danzig is no longer with us, having died in January 2016. Although predominantly a dirt performer, Exchange Rate has had several European stakes winners, headed by that very fast two-year-old Reckless Abandon and the Group 2 Dahlia Stakes winner Bragging.
His death looks all the more untimely in view of the smart form shown by his three-year-old American son El Areeb, and there has been strong demand for his best youngsters at the 2017 American breeze-ups. A filly sold for $850,000 and a colt for $550,000, with the latter going to John Ferguson. Pretty good going when you remember that Exchange Rate’s 2014 fee was only $20,000.
Other well-established American stallions represented at several of the European sales include Arch (sire of a $1,050,000 colt in the US), the evergreen More Than Ready (whose 2017 American two-year-olds include a colt which sold for $1,100,000 and a filly for $600,000), Elusive Quality and Scat Daddy. Sadly, Scat Daddy is another who is no longer around, but his American breeze-up horses include a $950,000 colt and an $800,000 filly, sired at a fee of $30,000.
The exploits of Caravaggio and Lady Aurelia should guarantee that there is similar demand in Europe, and indeed Sheikh Fahad bought the top lot at the 2017 Craven Breeze-up Sale. The Scat Daddy colt, bought privately at Keeneland for $67,000, went on to fetch 675,000gns at Tattersalls.
The American stallion with the widest representation at the European sales is that noted turf sire Kitten’s Joy, who did so well in Europe last year with the likes of Hawkbill, Taareef and Bobby’s Kitten. Bearing in mind that Kitten’s Joy’s fee was already as high as $100,000 in 2014, most of his representatives didn’t sell well on their previous visits to the sales ring.
However, buyers should know by now that it is often a case of handsome is as handsome does where Kitten’s Joy’s progeny are concerned and his youngsters could well make a bigger impact once on the track.