Giving yourself a pat on the back is probably deemed un-British but I’ve been feeling quite pleased with myself about an article I wrote for the March 2013 issue. I had been asked to nominate some comparatively inexpensive stallions which I felt represented good value for the 2013 season. Several have worked out well.

Nominating Dark Angel was something of a no-brainer, but that doesn’t alter the fact that his fee has risen from €12,500 in 2013 to €27,500 this year. Kodiac might also have been fairly obvious but there was nothing wrong when I counselled everyone to “expect Kodiac to add plenty more juvenile winners over the next few years.” This Tally-Ho stallion ended 2013 with a total of 33 individual two-year-old winners in Britain and Ireland – a figure bettered only by his three-parts-brother Invincible Spirit. At the time of writing Kodiac holds a clear lead on the equivalent 2014 table, with 16 winners already. He’s another whose fee has risen, from €7,500 last year to €10,000.

However, the two I am most pleased with are Champs Elysees and Siyouni. In nominating Champs Elysees I wrote: “Two of Danehill’s best middle-distance sons, Dylan Thomas and Duke Of Marmalade, failed to hit the heights in 2012, which perhaps explains why Champs Elysees went from being hot at the 2011 foal sales to comparatively cold at the 2012 yearling sales.
“However, this multiple Group 1 winner may be better judged by comparing him to his brothers Dansili, one of Europe’s most reliable sources of Group winners, and Cacique, who has sired three Group winners and a pair of Listed winners from only 35 foals. Champs Elysees’ 2013 fee of £5,000 is half his original fee.”

My advice wasn’t heeded, to the extent that Champs Elysees’ book fell from 112 mares in 2012 to around 50 last year. However, his first two-year-olds did well, with nine scoring in Britain and Ireland and another four winning abroad. He was also represented by his first stakes performers, which was very encouraging for a stallion who didn’t win until he was three.

There is increasing evidence that Champs Elysees’ progeny don’t need a test of stamina

Consequently there was enormous demand for Champs Elysees in 2014 and the breeders who dared to use him in 2013 look well placed to enjoy a profitable time at the foal sales. Champs Elysees has built substantially on last year’s solid foundation. Five of his daughters have been doing very well, with the French filly Xcellence leading the way. In addition to winning the Group 3 Prix Imprudence, Xcellence has taken third place in both the French 1,000 Guineas and French Oaks, and finished fourth in the Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 5.

Doing him proud
Avenue Gabriel, who was a Listed winner over a mile at two, also performed creditably in a Classic, losing third place close home in the Irish 1,000 Guineas. Another daughter, Regardez, ran in the Oaks after finishing third in the Musidora Stakes but possibly found a mile and a half beyond her. Dropped back to a mile and a quarter, she ran out a six-length winner of the Listed Hoppings Stakes.

Champs Elysees once failed by only a nose to win the Prix Maurice de Nieuil over a mile and three-quarters and his three American Grade 1 successes came over a mile and a half.

However, there is increasing evidence that his progeny don’t need a test of stamina. For example, Lustrous won a Listed race over a mile at York. However, she then demonstrated her versatility by finishing a very creditable second in the Ribblesdale Stakes. Eastern Belle has also enjoyed success at Listed level, over ten furlongs at Newbury.

Watch out too for Champs Elysees’ son Glaring. After an impressive win at Saint-Cloud, he was beaten only a length into fourth place in the Group 3 Prix du Lys.

The other stallion who has pleased me with his progress is the French-based Siyouni. Here is what I wrote nearly 18 months ago: “Although the cost of sending a mare to France would have to be added to the price, Siyouni strikes me as an interesting prospect at his 2013 fee of €7,000. We have already seen several other sons of Pivotal sire Group winners, with Kyllachy carving out a place as a very reliable commercial sire, while Captain Rio did well at bargain-basement level. The first crop by Falco, another of Pivotal’s French-based sons, contains the Group-winning Snowday.

“Siyouni had four future Group 1 winners behind him on the day he landed the 2009 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, to improve his juvenile record to four wins from six starts. Although he failed to add to those victories at three, Timeform still rated him 122. A half-brother to the 2012 Group 1 winner Siyouma, Siyouni is out of a half-sister to the highly talented Slickly, so he is well qualified to make his mark.”

Quick off the mark
From a first crop numbering 80 foals, Siyouni has wasted no time in clocking up a respectable total of winners. When his son Mocklershill held off Special Duty’s first foal, South Bank, to take the Prix Yacowlef at Deauville in late June, he became the first stakes winner and seventh winner for the Haras de Bonneval resident. Then Lehaim, a debut winner at Chantilly in June, finished third at long odds in the Prix du Bois.

The Aga Khan has only a handful of Siyouni two-year-olds, but one of them, Ervedya, has won her first two starts for Jean-Claude Rouget, notably defeating the Niarchos Family’s royally-bred Galileo filly Malicieuse at Maisons-Laffitte. It could also be worth watching out for the filly Garala, a daughter of the talented Grand Vadla in training with Mikel Delzangles.

Siyouni’s second crop isn’t quite as sizeable as his first but the Aga Khan has a half-sister to Sarkiyla, a Group 3 winner by Oasis Dream, and a half-brother to Tashelka, a dual Group 3 winner by Mujahid.

Although speed was Siyouni’s main asset, the same could have been said about both his sire Pivotal and broodmare sire Danehill, and they both sired good winners over a range of distances. Buzzword, another of Pivotal’s three Group 1 winners out of Danehill mares, went on to win the Deutsches Derby after finishing third in Siyouni’s Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, so it’s possible that Siyouni too will get some good winners beyond a mile.