In a world that is getting ever-smaller, there is always plenty to be gained for breeders by thinking on an international scale. Whether it is France, Germany, the US or even Japan, the options available often provide access to stallions with different strengths and attributes, not to mention some outcross sire lines.

British and Irish breeders, of course, are well versed towards the excellence of the Aga Khan Studs’ Siyouni, who made his name off low-priced crops to become a multiple French champion sire and top ten European stallion. Siyouni’s fee has been increased to €150,000 for 2023 following a year highlighted by the Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Tahiyra, and it would appear that the Aga Khan Studs has repeated the trick with Zarak, whose fee has more than doubled to €60,000. 

Beautifully bred as a Dubawi son of Zarkava and a Group 1 winner to go with it, Zarak’s first crop contains eight stakes winners led by the Prix de Sandringham winner Purplepay as well as the Prix de Diane runner-up La Parisienne. A winner to runners strike-rate of just over 60% is also the best figure of 2022 recorded by any European-based sire.

Siyouni and Zarak fulfil a very valuable role as the flagbearers for the French stallion industry. For some years the lesser relation against Britain and Ireland, it received a real boost with the successes of Le Havre, Kendargent, Wootton Bassett and then Siyouni. Like Siyouni, Kendargent remains in service, in his case for €17,000 at his long-term home of Haras de Colleville. However, against that, Wootton Bassett now resides at Coolmore in Ireland and Le Havre died earlier this year at the age of 16 at Sumbe.

David Egan celebrates after partnering Mishriff to victory in the Juddmonte International – Photo: Bill Selwyn

The task now for Sumbe, the former Montfort et Preaux property bought by Nurlan Bizakov in late 2019, is to find another stallion of the calibre of Le Havre. Time will reveal all but it has certainly placed itself in a position to do so with the acquisition of champion globe-trotter Mishriff. Winner of the Prix du Jockey Club and Dubai Sheema Classic on turf, Prince Faisal’s relation to Invincible Spirit and Kodiac also exhibited a rare versatility to take the Saudi Cup on dirt. In all, he won or was placed in no fewer than 11 Group 1 races.

Installed at €20,000, the launch of Mishriff’s stud career has been delayed until mid-March. However, he will still be well supported by Sumbe, which plans to send around 25 mares, as well as Prince Faisal’s Nawara Stud, which will send between six and eight including multiple Group 3 winner Oscula, a recent €1 million purchase at the Arqana December Sale, and Group 2 scorer Bounce The Blues, bought for 450,000gns.

“He held his form at Group 1 level for so long and was such a sound horse,” says stud manager Tony Fry. “He was a horse of a lifetime for the Prince and it’s great to have the opportunity to stand a horse like this. He’s been busy showing since he got to us and has been going down well.”

Breeders use Sumbe stallions in the knowledge that the operation will do what they can to support them. To that end, the operation purchased stock by its young Group 1-winning sprinter Golden Horde at the Arqana December Sale and plan to continue supporting him in the ring.

“He held his form at Group 1 level for so long and was such a sound horse”

“The message is join us and we’re with you all the way,” says Fry. “We’ll support Mishriff and we’ll continue to support Golden Horde – we’ll send about 12 mares to him next season. What we have by him we like, and we’ll spread them with different trainers. We’ll send some to Clive Cox and we’ll have a few in France. We’ll give him every chance.”

Cox trained Golden Horde to win the Richmond Stakes at two and Commonwealth Cup at three. A consistent presence that year in all the top sprints, he was also Group 1-placed on four occasions. His first crop are yearlings and he is due to stand this season for €8,000.

“He’s always had a lovely walk and presence about him,” says Fry. “And he’s let down really well. There’s a real look of [damsire] Pivotal to him.”

The Sumbe roster also offers Recorder (€3,000), the Queen’s Acomb Stakes winner whose first crop includes the Listed winners Hot Queen and Enola, and De Treville, a Group 3-placed Oasis Dream half-brother to Too Darn Hot. The latter has been utilised more or less as a private stallion by Rashit Shaykhutdinov but he has rewarded his support by producing Listed scorer Gregorian and stakes-placed Diadema out of a first crop of 21. His fee has been doubled to €5,000.

“He’s nearly a private stallion but they’ve come out running,” says Fry. “He’s a very good-looking horse and he produces nice-looking stock. Last year, he covered his biggest book of outside mares so the best is yet to come.”

He adds: “Losing Le Havre was a big blow for us and for France. But from Mishriff to Recorder at €3,000, along with our two horses in between, I think we offer value and something for everyone to consider.”

Haras de Bouquetot is also in the enviable position of offering breeders a range of horses to suit different tastes. The arrival of National Stakes winner Thunder Moon (€6,000) adds a further flavour of top juvenile form to a roster that already boasts Molecomb Stakes winner Armor, the only son of No Nay Never at stud in France. A youthful roster also includes the Group 1 winners Wooded, a son of Wootton Bassett who won the Prix de l’Abbaye, and Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Romanised.

Thunder Moon, by Zoffany, had the measure of St Mark’s Basilica when winning the National Stakes on his second start and was later second in the Prix Jean Prat. 

“We were looking for a two-year-old performer at the highest level to recruit for France as it’s what has worked in the past with the likes of Siyouni and Wootton Bassett,” says Benoit Jeffroy, deputy director and stud manager of Haras de Bouquetot. “Not only is Thunder Moon a Group 1 winner at two over seven furlongs but he was also a close runner-up in the Prix Jean Prat at three. We were delighted to secure him and his speed profile to the French market. 

“Al Shaqab and partners will support him strongly with about 20 mares. He has been extremely well received since he arrived. Breeders seem to fancy his profile of an athletic horse with fantastic movement and a nice expressive head. Breeding rights have been sold and it will allow him to be supported by numerous French breeders in the long term.”

Armor runs out a ready winner of the Molecomb Stakes – Photo: Bill Selwyn

Armor, whose performances also included a placing in the Middle Park Stakes for Richard Hannon, is about to commence his second season at a fee of €5,000. He covered approximately 60 mares in his debut year.

“When Armor arrived, we syndicated him and all shares that were up for sale were sold,” says Jeffroy. “But we were actually surprised that he didn’t cover much more mares with such a precocious profile, and as a son of No Nay Never. 

“Maybe our French market is not used to these horses who retire at three. The horse was also not physically fully mature last year. This year, he’s completely transformed and is looking more and more like his sire. We’re eagerly awaiting his first foals and are confident he’ll cover more mares this season than last year.”

“Our homebred Wooded foals are strong and powerful individuals – I don’t think we’ve seen the best individuals at the foal sales”

The market has taken a warm view of both Romanised (€7,000) and Wooded (€12,000), with Romanised’s first two books hovering between the 127 and 139 mark and Wooded holding steady at approximately 120 mares each season. 

“We’re really excited about Wooded’s first foals,” says Jeffroy. “Our homebreds are strong and powerful individuals – I don’t think we’ve seen the best individuals at the foal sales – and it will be interesting to see the first yearlings sell next year. 

“When Adam Sangster came here last spring, he saw the outstanding individuals we have in our fields and he quickly made up his mind about shuttling Wooded to Swettenham Stud in Australia. 

“Romanised has been very well received and strongly supported by French breeders. He’s actually covered more mares in his second season than he did in the first, and that’s all thanks to the word-of-mouth. He stamps his foals with quality and his movement. We would like to thank Romanised’s owner Mr Robert Ng for his trust with his stallion.” 

There is also a strong proven element running through Bouquetot led by Olympic Glory (€4,000), whose stud record is headed by the Group 1-winning fillies Watch Me and Grand Glory, and Zelzal (€15,000), France’s busiest stallion last season as the recipient of 189 mares off the back of a start highlighted by the North American Grade 3 winners Dolce Zel and Ouraika. 

“Zelzal was indeed the busiest stallion in France last year, further to his first crop’s excellent start,” says Jeffroy. “One should realise that Zelzal didn’t cover many mares in his first years at stud and, with small crops to start with, he’s already had two Group winners with Ouraika and Dolce Zel as well as the stakes-winning two-year-old Zelda. With only 16 runners from his second crop of two-year-olds, he’s already got six winners including three promising horses for next year – Alto with Henri Devin, Brisbane with François Rohaut and Olkovshka with Christophe Ferland.”

Al Wukair (€5,000), one of the most accomplished representatives of the Warning line at stud, has also sired a brace of stakes winners in his first crop while Ectot (€5,000) is building a fine dual-purpose profile. There is also an intriguing addition for 2023 in the 2,000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold (€7,000), who sired the Phoenix Stakes winner Ebro River and ultra tough Group 3 scorer Oscula from his first crop bred at Tally-Ho Stud.

“It was an idea that grew up last spring when we started thinking about Toronado staying in Australia from this season onwards,” says Jeffroy on the decision to bring Galileo Gold to France. “It came with the fact we’d have a proven stallion to fill the void left with Toronado’s departure. It wasn’t the original plan but after some negotiation with Tally-Ho, they decided to entrust us with Galileo Gold and we thank them for this and for all the work they’ve done so far with both him and Mehmas. We hope we can do as well with Galileo Gold as they did in Ireland!”

Rather like Galileo Gold, Ribchester (€7,000) swaps Ireland for France, in his case with a switch to Haras du Logis. Winner of the Prix Jacques les Marois during his championship career with Richard Fahey, Ribchester is the sire of four first-crop stakes winners, among them the Prix Perth winner Facteur Cheval.

He joins a roster at Logis that has much to look forward to with Victor Ludorum (€15,000), the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner who won the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at three. By Shamardal, he also hails from the female family of Shamardal, and was extremely popular in his first season as the recipient of over 150 mares.

Fellow Logis stallion Cloth Of Stars, another champion whose racing career was highlighted by a win in the Prix Ganay, holds steady at €7,000 following the achievements of his first runners, a group that includes the promising Nottingham winner Laafi. 

There is also a welcome new name among the studs in Haras de Beaumont, the breeding operation of Kamel and Pauline Chehboub situated on land that was formerly part of Haras du Quesnay.

Sealiway, by Galiway, is new to Haras de Beaumont – Photo: George Selwyn

It is from the Quesnay stallion yard that Prix du Jockey Club winner Intello (€8,000), the sire of Group 1 winners Adhamo and Intellogent, shifts, while the durable Group 3 winner Stunning Spirit (€3,000) transfers from Haras du Hoguenet. Centre of attention, however, is Sealiway (€12,000), the champion two-year-old of France who trained on to win the Champion Stakes and run second in the Prix du Jockey Club at three. 

Sealiway might be the apple of Beaumont’s eye but his background has a distinct look of Haras de Colleville to it given he represents the cross of Galiway over Kendargent. Both have rewarded Colleville’s backing to rise from a lowly level to become premier French sires; 20-year-old Kendargent (€17,000) boasts 40 stakes winners including fellow Colleville stallion Goken (€15,000), himself the sire of last season’s Listed-winning juveniles Sivana and Lova, while Galiway owes his ascent from €3,000 to €30,000 to the success of his first two crops, which consists of nine stakes winners from fewer than 90 foals.

Powerful roster

One of the most powerful rosters in France belongs to Haras d’Etreham. Formerly the launchpad of Wootton Bassett, the farm now offers his best son Almanzor (€25,000), who appears to boast a Classic prospect for 2023 in the unbeaten Rajapour. Also sire of a Group 1 winner in New Zealand, Almanzor stands alongside the high-class sprinter City Light (€7,000), one of the first sons of Siyouni to stud, Poule d’Essai des Poulains winner Persian King (€25,000), a son of Kingman, and Group 1-winning sprinter Hello Youmzain (€22,500), the sole son of Kodiac at stud in France. Persian King and Hello Youmzain have first yearlings in 2023 and each have been supported to an extent by British and Irish 

breeders. In the case of Persian King, one of his auction highlights arrived in Newmarket courtesy of a 130,000gns Tattersalls December foal. As for Hello Youmzain, his first foals sold for up to €150,000.

As far as producing winners is concerned, they don’t come much more reliable than Sunday Silence’s grandson Dabirsim (€8,000). At the time of writing, he had sired almost 60 winners during 2022 while an overall group of seven stakes winners includes a filly familiar to a British and Irish audience in Albany Stakes heroine Different League. Dabirsim is a new addition to Haras du Montaigu alongside fellow Group 1 winner Shamalgan (€4,000), the sire of last year’s German Oaks heroine Toskana Belle. Montaigu, of course, offers a varied roster to suit both codes that also includes the $9.5 million earner Flintshire (€6,500) and German Horse of the Year Dschingis Secret (€4,000).

As far as producing winners is concerned, they don’t come much more reliable than Sunday Silence’s grandson Dabirsim

Proven Group 1 stud records, meanwhile, sit behind Muhaarar, who stands at Haras de Faunes for €7,000, and veteran Lawman (€6,000), who stands at the newly launched Karwin Stud alongside first-season sire Keiai Nautique (€5,000), a Group 1 winner by Deep Impact, and the Group 2-winning Scat Daddy horse Van Beethoven (€4,500).

Among the younger proven horses, it should pay to keep an eye on Haras du Petit Tellier’s The Grey Gatsby (€12,000) given the success of his first crop, which contains four stakes winners including the Classic-placed Mylady.

There is also plenty to choose from when it comes to horses with two-year-old form, notably the Phoenix Stakes winner Ebro River (€4,000). He has retired to stand at Haras de la Haie Neuve alongside the Classic-placed Le Brivido (€3,500), a son of Siyouni whose first crop – conceived at Overbury Stud – sold for up to €77,000, and Champagne Stakes winner Seahenge (€3,500), by Scat Daddy.

Haras du Mont Goubert also offers a Champagne Stakes winner in the form of Threat (€4,000) while Fighting Irish (€3,000), a son of Camelot who won the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte at two for Harry Dunlop, is based at Haras d’Annebault alongside former Coolmore stallion Gustav Klimt (€3,500), whose first crop includes the stakes-placed Sopran Blakey.

Threat: Group 2 winner stands at Haras du Mont Goubert. Photo – George Selwyn

Hopes running high for Torquator and Japan

Germany does not boasts the numerical power of either Britain or Ireland, with its annual foal crop having dropped to around 800 in recent years. It’s a sad and strange development for a nation where the thoroughbred remains highly regarded for its quality and soundness.

Indeed, what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. For that, look no further than champion Torquator Tasso, who shone on the international stage with his victory in the 2021 Arc for Gestut Auenquelle. The winner of six races in all, including the Grosser Preis von Berlin as a three-year-old, Torquator Tasso is new to Auenquelle at a fee of €20,000. Not only does he offer access to the Adlerflug sire line but he also descends directly from blue hen Allegretta and is inbred twice to her dam Anatevka.

“We have had bookings from nearly all the major German studs for Torquator Tasso and also almost the same number of nominations from breeders outside Germany”

“We are extremely proud of Torquator Tasso and of being able to offer him as the first German-owned Arc winner to stand in Germany,” says Stefan Ullrich of Gestut Auenquelle. “He has settled in very well. He is happy out in the field, which is next to Soldier Hollow, and he socialises with some cattle during the day.

“We will send him several mares because we really believe in him. We have had bookings from nearly all the major German studs and also almost the same number of nominations from breeders outside Germany. So we are looking forward to next spring.”

Winning jockey Rene Piechulek is congratulated after guiding Torquator Tasso to Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe glory | Photo: Bill Selwyn

Auenquelle’s former champion sire Soldier Hollow, the sire of five Group 1 winners in total, will also be available this season at the age of 23. 

Germany breeders also have plenty to look forward to in the case of Japan, who is about to commence his second season at Gestut Etzean alongside the Shamardal pair Amaron (€4,500), sire of 2020 Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Run Wild, and Waldpfad (€3,000), winner of the Hackwood Stakes.

Japan is one of those rare horses who has lived up to expectations throughout his life. Out of Group 1 producer Shastye, he was a 1,300,000gns yearling and having been a Group 2 winner at two, went on to win the Juddmonte International and Grand Prix de Paris during a championship three-year-old campaign and a brace of Group 3 events as an older horse. He stands for €11,000 as the property of Etzean, Gestut Farhof and Bernhard and Brigitte Matusche.

“He was very well received in Germany last year,” says Etzean’s Ralf Kredel. “He covered 83 mares and was heavily supported by Etzean, the Matusche family and Gestut Fahrhof as well as nearly all the leading German stud farms and breeders; 40% of his book were black-type mares or producers, including the dams of Group 1 horses Alter Adler, Miss Yoda, Olorda and Virginia Joy. He also covered German 1,000 Guineas winner Lancade and champion two-year-olds Monami and Whispering Angel.”

He adds: “He is the perfect stallion to us. His pedigree, race record, looks and character is superb. He was our first choice and in the beginning we thought that we wouldn’t be able to stand him. 

“Currently, he is the only son of Galileo in Germany, a sire line that has been very successful here. He also carries two top German lines in his pedigree in Allegretta and Schwarzgold, which means that there will be a bit of line-breeding when mated with German mares. I am looking forward to that being a success. 

“We are very proud that such a stallion is standing at Etzean. Not often in German history has there been a stallion of his calibre retiring directly to stud. Dashing Blade was similarly exciting but did stand one unlucky season in Britain before being bought by us. He was a great success for Etzean and we hope that Japan will be in the same league.”

Japan: a fine addition to the German sire ranks. Photo – George Selwyn

Etzean has also added high-class sprinter Waldpfad, a relation to Waldgeist, to its roster for 2023.

“He covered two seasons at Gestut Erftmuhle with the strong support of his owners Gestut Brummerhof and other German breeders,” says Kredel. “He looks spectacular, as do his first crop of foals.”

Speed is also the theme behind Counterattack, a Group 1-placed sprinter in his native Australia who returns to Gestut Karlshof at a fee of €7,500 having left behind three stakes winners out of a first German crop of 37 foals.

Isfahan (€7,500) is another worthy of international attention given his first crop contained two of the leading German three-year-olds of 2021 in Sisfahan, winner of the German Derby, and German Oaks runner-up Isfahani. He stands at Gestut Ohlerweiherhof, while the historic Gestut Rottgen houses Melbourne Cup hero Protectionist (€6,500), one of the last Flat-orientated sons of Monsun at stud and sire of multiple Group 2 winner Amazing Grace, alongside its German Derby hero Windstoss (€4,000), whose first crop are yearlings of 2023.

Areion, one of the great stalwarts of the German industry who died late last year, is represented by the Group 1-winning two-year-old Alson (€6,000) at Gestut Schlenderhan, as well as the Group 2-winning miler Rubaiyat (€4,500), a new recruit to Gestut Ohlerweiherhof.

Hopes also run high for the multiple Group 1 winner Best Solution (€5,000), whose globetrotting exploits for Godolphin took in wins in the Caulfield Cup as well as the Grosser Preis von Baden and Grosser Preis von Berlin. The son of Kodiac stands at Gestut Lunzen on behalf of a consortium of powerful German owner-breeders and, as such, has been very well supported so far. His first yearlings sold last year for up to €120,000.

Temple the value in Kentucky

Medaglia d’Oro (Jonabell Farm: $100,000), War Front ($100,000: Claiborne Farm), Speightstown (WinStar Farm: $80,000), Uncle Mo (Ashford Stud: $150,000), Quality Road (Lane’s End Farm: $200,000), American Pharoah (Ashford Stud: $60,000) and Hard Spun (Jonabell Farm: $35,000) are all older proven Grade 1 sires who continue to work for breeders as effective options for both dirt and turf racing. As such, each is invariably well represented in Europe on an annual basis. 

Yet to be well represented in Europe is Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner, but by all accounts he is being supported by several leading European owner-breeders in 2023, and rightly so given his outstanding first crop includes no fewer than six Grade 1 winners. A $16 million earner on the track himself, the son of Candy Ride now stands for a private fee.

It will also be interesting to watch the progress of Triple Crown hero Justify (Ashford Stud: $100,000), whose six first-crop stakes winners include the talented Irish fillies Statuette and Aspen Grove.

Among those Kentucky-based stallions standing for under $25,000, Spendthrift Farm’s Temple City must rank as a value play at $5,000. The sole son of Dynaformer left at stud in Kentucky, this proven Grade 1 sire is North America’s fourth leading active turf stallion of 2022.

Another member of the Hail To Reason sire line, Blame (Claiborne Farm: $25,000) has long proven his ability to throw high-class turf runners on a regular basis, with the Group/Grade 1 winning fillies Abscond and Senga leading the way in that bracket. 

Claiborne also has several turf-orientated stallions to look forward to, notably War Of Will ($25,000), a son of War Front who won the Preakness Stakes on dirt and Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile on turf. His first foals were well received at auction, selling for an average of $102,762. Fellow Claiborne resident Catholic Boy ($15,000) was also a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf, while a light race record capped by a Grade 3 victory probably doesn’t do justice to the Dubawi horse Demarchelier, whose career was restricted by injury. Both Catholic Boy and Demarchelier have their first runners this year. 

Kentucky also possesses a welcome member of the Sunday Silence sire line in Yoshida (WinStar Farm: $10,000), another versatile performer who won Grade 1 races on dirt and turf. He has over 100 two-year-olds to run for him this year.

Sunday Silence can also be found in the background of Gainesway Farm’s Karakontie ($10,000), in his case as damsire. Winner of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains for the Niarchos family, Karakontie has been well represented in Europe, where his runners include Horris Hill Stakes winner Kenzai Warrior. 

Gainesway Farm is also home to Raging Bull ($10,000), a Wildenstein-bred son of Dark Angel who won three Grade 1 races for Peter Brant. He has been extremely well supported by his owner.

It is also worth paying attention to the start made by the champion turf horse Oscar Performance (Mill Ridge Farm: $20,000), whose first crop of two-year-olds includes a Grade 2 winner on turf in Andthewinneris alongside a dirt stakes winner in Red Carpet Ready.

Justify: American Triple Crown winner has already made an impact in Europe. Photo – Bill Selwyn