As the yearling sales descend upon us, attention turns to the latest round of first-crop sires with progeny on the ground. Their stock first came under the microscope at the winter foal sales, where as ever the majority of big names were well represented.
It is in that arena that pinhookers, such an important element to the market, draw swift judgements – both good and bad. Fast forward ten months or so and with the yearling sales on the horizon, the merits of these young stallions are on the verge of being exposed to a much deeper audience, starting with the Arqana August Sale (August 13-15) in Deauville.
Unsurprisingly, the high powered Darley duo of Blue Point (Stands: Kildangan Stud: 2020 fee: €45,000) and Too Darn Hot (Dalham Hall Stud: £50,000) each boast strong Arqana representation. It is a measure of the quality of their stock and the mares covered in their debut books that they both returned foal averages in excess of 80,000gns and between them account for 13 yearlings at France’s premier yearling auction.
Too Darn Hot boasts speed and pedigree in equal abundance, being a Dubawi son of Group 1 winner Dar Re Mi who swept through his championship two-year-old season unbeaten before returning at three to win the Sussex Stakes and Prix Jean Prat. In all, this relation to Darshaan won five Group races and as such covered a debut book of 165 mares that included the Group 1 winners or producers Barshiba, Bastet (resulting colt is catalogued to the Arqana August Sale), Falls Of Lora, Galicuix, Montare, Octave and Passage Of Time. His first foals averaged 106,182gns and sold for up to 270,000gns.
As for Blue Point, his first crop through the ring included a filly out of Indigo Lady, who sold for 300,000gns to Blandford Bloodstock. In all, 17 of his foals sold for an average of 84,647gns, as befits a champion sprinting son of Shamardal who is the only horse to ever win three Group 1 sprints at Royal Ascot, two of them – the King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes – at the same meeting.
Blue Point sat among an array of fast horses available to breeders for the first time in 2020.
Advertise (The National Stud: £25,000), a Group 1 performer at two and three for Martyn Meade, was another high-profile addition. Runner-up to Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst Stakes, he trained on to great effect to add the Commonwealth Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest at three and consequently covered a debut book of 140 mares that included 67 black-type performers and/or producers. The resulting foals sold for up to 135,000gns last year. Nor does it harm his profile that he shares his sire Showcasing with Tasleet, who has made such a bright start with his first two year-olds.
Showcasing is also represented within this group by the similarly fast Soldier’s Call (Ballyhane Stud: €10,000). A precocious juvenile, the tough Soldier’s Call landed the Windsor Castle Stakes, Prix d’Arenberg and Flying Childers Stakes and ran a close second in the Prix de l’Abbaye during his productive first season. Nor was he just a two-year-old, as his performances at three included placings in the Nunthorpe Stakes and King’s Stand Stakes.
Soldier’s Call proved popular in his first season, covering 164 mares, and was the subject of positive reports in the ring last winter, where his first crop sold for up to 100,000gns.
Green Desert influence
The influence of the Green Desert sire line is not restricted to sons of Showcasing.
He remains particularly prominent via Invincible Spirit, himself a major force as sire of the Pattern race sprinters Eqtidaar (Nunnery Stud: £6,500), winner of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, Inns Of Court (Tally-Ho Stud: €7,500), who won Group races over five, six and seven furlongs capped by the Prix du Gros-Chene, and Invincible Army (Yeomanstown Stud: €10,000), a hardy sprinter who won the Sirenia, Pavilion, Duke of York and Chipchase Stakes from ages two to four.
Inns Of Court, who also ran a nose second over a mile in the Prix Jacques le Marois, was the most popular Flat orientated first-season sire of 2020 as the recipient of 218 mares. His first foals sold for up to 80,000gns, while those representing Invincible Army were also well received, selling for up to 85,000gns.
Invincible Spirit’s most expensive son to retire to stud in 2020, however, was Magna Grecia (Coolmore: €22,500) on account of a career capped by wins in the 2,000 Guineas and Vertem Futurity. A good-looking individual who commanded 340,000gns as a foal himself, he possesses a lively pedigree as a half-brother to champion St Mark’s Basilica.
It’s an appealing package, one that attracted a debut book of over 140 mares, among them Alpha Lupi (the dam of Alpha Centauri, Alpine Star and Discoveries). Unsurprisingly his first foals captured the imagination of the market, with three breaking the six-figure barrier led by a colt out of Twitch, who made 210,000gns to Jamie McCalmont.
Coolmore also welcomed another member of the sire line to its roster in 2020 in Calyx (€22,500), the first son of Kingman to retire to stud.
The first ever winner for his leading sire, Calyx backed up that impressive debut win by running away with the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Unfortunately, he wasn’t seen again that season but when he did reappear in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot the following May, he was again impressive, scoring by four lengths.
From the same Juddmonte family of Populi also responsible for Native Trail, Calyx covered approximately 170 mares in his first season and his first foals sold for up to €125,000. The filly in question is out of Listed winner We Are Ninety and was sold to WH Bloodstock.
Claremount Stud also stands a grandson of Invincible Spirit in Richmond Stakes winner Barraquero (€4,000), a son of Zebedee.
Other stallions to be represented by a six-figure transaction at the foal sales included Ten Sovereigns (Coolmore: €25,000), for whom the commercial package of juvenile speed and the Scat Daddy sire line helped attract a debut book of almost 220 mares.
From the first crop of No Nay Never, Ten Sovereigns capped an unbeaten juvenile season with a win in the Middle Park Stakes, won in the third ever fastest time for the race, and trained on to win the July Cup at three.
Four of his first foals through the ring sold for six figures led by a filly out of Sodashy who realised €165,000 to Filip Zwicky. And there is every chance that momentum will carry over into Arqana, where he has five entries.
Also represented at Arqana is fellow No Nay Never stallion Land Force (Highclere Stud: £6,500). Winner of the Richmond Stakes and a member of the respected Cassandra Go family, Land Force covered 155 mares in his first season and was represented by stock that sold for up to 65,000gns last year.
Another popular young horse was the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Phoenix Of Spain (Irish National Stud: €15,000), for whom a debut book consisted of 148 mares. A strapping son of Lope De Vega, he appears to have passed down his frame to plenty of his progeny judging by the stock at the foal sales, where the highlight was a three-parts sister to Group 1 winner Lucky Vega sold at Goffs for €195,000 to the BBA Ireland and Yulong Investments.
It was also at Goffs where Arc hero Waldgeist (Ballylinch Stud: €17,500) hit the headlines courtesy of a filly out of Ezalli bred by Swordlestown Little who made €180,000 to Boherguy Stud.
Champion Waldgeist is best remembered for his victory over Enable in the 2019 Arc. However, he was also a top-class two-year-old who defeated four subsequent Group 1 winners in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud and was Classic placed at three when a short-head second in the Prix du Jockey-Club. A Galileo member of Gestut Ravensberg’s’ Waldrun family, his Group 1 haul also included the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Prix Ganay.
Waldgeist’s connections – notably Ballylinch Stud, Gestut Ammerland and Newsells Park Stud – have really thrown their weight behind this stallion, which played out in a strong debut book of over 100 mares that included the dams of Golden Lilac, Bayside Boy, Chriselliam and Garrus. He has six entries in the Arqana August Sale and another nine in the BBAG September Sale.
Meanwhile, Derby hero Masar (Dalham Hall Stud: £15,000) attracted his share of admirers at the Tattersalls December Sale, where his representatives included a colt out of Muscovado who realised 110,000gns to Pier House Stud and a close relation to Subjectivist and Sir Ron Priestley who made 80,000gns to the Fairway Partners.
While probably best remembered for his victory in the Derby, Masar was also forward enough to win the Solario Stakes at two having previously broken his maiden over six furlongs at Goodwood.
He is also particularly well-bred as a direct descendant of Urban Sea, the dam of Galileo and Sea The Stars.
Pedigree is also a major feature of the CV belonging to Study Of Man (Lanwades Stud: £15,000). Firstly, he possesses a profile similar to former Lanwades stalwart Hernando as a Prix du Jockey-Club winner bred and supported at stud by the Niarchos family. However, adding further lustre is the fact he is a Deep Impact grandson of the outstanding racemare and blue hen Miesque, dam of the highly influential sire Kingmambo. The only British-based son of Deep Impact, he is also bred on the same Storm Cat cross as one of his sire’s best stallion sons, Kizuna.
Understandably, he has been well supported by Lanwades Stud and the Niarchos family, backing which will stand him in extremely good stead going forward.
Of the dual-purpose horses, it would be folly to disregard Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Crystal Ocean (The Beeches: poa). Although primarily a jumps stallion (a sphere where his first foals sold for up to €120,000 last winter), the son of Sea The Stars returned an average of 32,333gns for three Flat-bred foals sold during the first day of the Tattersalls December Foal Sale and is due to have representation in Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale – as befits a horse who was rated the world champion of 2019.
Irish St Leger winner Flag Of Honour (The National Stud: £4,500), a well-bred son of Galileo who also won the Eyrefield Stakes at two, also has first yearlings as does the unraced Sogann (Norton Grove Stud: £2,000), a Frankel half-brother to Dabirsim.
GROUP 1 STAR BUOYS GERMANY
Germany welcomed a particularly high-profile new recruit for 2020 in the multiple Group 1-winning globetrotter Best Solution. The son of Kodiac won the Autumn Stakes at two but blossomed at four for Godolphin when he landed the Grosser Preis von Berlin, Grosser Preis von Baden and Caulfield Cup. He was subsequently purchased by a syndicate of German breeders that included Gestüt Brümmerhof, Gestüt Röttgen and Gestüt Hof Ittlingen, and installed at Gestut Auenquelle at a fee of €6,500. He has since moved to Gestut Lunzen.
Best Solution was the busiest sire in Germany in each of his first two seasons, notably when covering 71 mares in his debut season in 2020. Unsurprisingly, he is well represented within the BBAG September Sale with 13 entries, among them a half-brother to Italian Derby winner Ardakan and a close relation to champion Lucky Speed.
In France, talented sprinter City Light was understandably popular in his first season at Haras d’Etreham as the recipient of 137 mares at €7,000. City Light struck at Group 3 level in the Prix de Saint-Georges and Prix du Pin but also fell only a head short of Group 1 glory when second to Merchant Navy in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
City Light, who boasts 15 entries to the inaugural Arqana September Sale, is one of the first sons of Siyouni to retire to stud alongside Le Brivido, who swapped Overbury Stud for Haras de la Haie Neuve in France in 2021. Le Brivido, who won the Jersey Stakes having run a close second in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, covered over 50 mares at £7,000 at Overbury and another 77 in his first season in France.
Group 1-winning sprinter Donjuan Triumphant (€4,000), who stands alongside Group 1-winning two-year-old Robin Of Navan (€3,000) at Haras de la Barbottiere, is also represented in the Arqana September Sale as is the regally-bred Taj Mahal (Haras de la Haie Neuve: €4,000). A Group 2- winning brother to Gleneagles from the family of Giant’s Causeway, Taj Mahal has 11 lots catalogued to the September Sale.
Omaha Beach turning heads with first crop
First-crop sires certainly caught the imagination at last month’s Fasig- Tipton July Sale in Kentucky. The sale places an emphasis on such prospects as the host of a first-crop sires showcase, where the progeny of 15 of this year’s group came under scrutiny.
Omaha Beach (Spendthrift Farm: $45,000), a well-connected son of War Front who swept the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, Santa Anita Sprint Championship and Malibu Stakes during his three-year-old campaign, led the charge with an average of $236,000 that was aided by the presence of a $410,000 filly.
In what was a good sale for the young inmates of Spendthrift Farm, there was also a warm reaction to the first crop of Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Vino Rosso ($30,000), a son of Curlin who returned an average of $135,455, and champion sprinter Mitole ($25,000), a four-time Grade 1 winner whose average came in at $108,400. Each ended 2021 with a weanling average in excess of $80,000, as did WinStar Farm’s Florida Derby winner Audible ($25,000), for whom a fine showing at Fasig-Tipton was underlined by an average of $136,667.
WinStar Farm is also home to Yoshida ($20,000), a son of Heart’s Cry and therefore a welcome member of the Sunday Silence sire line. He won Grade 1 races on dirt and turf, as did Catholic Boy ($25,000), a durable seven-time winner who stands at Claiborne Farm alongside Grade 3 winner Demarchelier ($5,000). The latter is a son of Dubawi bred by Newsells Park Stud whose career was cut short by injury, but he has been well supported at stud by his owner Peter Brant.
“Blue Point is an obvious pick. The foals were very good and he was a top-class racehorse. I would think his offspring will improve a lot physically between foal and yearling, as he did himself. So I’d be very keen to see his first-crop yearlings.
“Magna Grecia is extremely wellbred and his first foals were very impressive. I also think Masar could get some nice stayers. I was very impressed with his first foals. “I’d give a favourable mention to Advertise, who also got very nice types. As a wildcard, Waldgeist was a top-class racehorse and again I liked a number of his foals – I’d be keen to find a yearling by him I like.”
Mark McStay, Avenue Bloodstock
“I’d roll the dice with Soldier’s Call. He covered over 150 mares in his first two seasons so he’ll have plenty to run for him. He was a brilliant two-year-old himself, tough as teak, and given the ownership of the horse, I’m sure plenty of his two-year-olds will be sent to people who will train them to best effect. The Showcasing sire line is off to a flier with Tasleet and Showcasing himself is having a very good season. For me, Soldier’s Call has all the attributes to be a leading first-crop sire.”
Richard Fitzsimons, BBA Ireland
“Like many others, I am looking forward to seeing the first yearlings by Too Darn Hot and Blue Point. There were some very good foals by both at the sales last year, as there were for Magna Grecia. A number of Masar foals, many of them light, easy movers, also made the list and I’m keen to see more by Study Of Man – a top Deep Impact descendant of Miesque with the backing of powerful connections, he must have every chance.”
Nancy Sexton, Bloodstock Editor