There is no sure thing in racing or breeding. Be that the result of a well-considered mating, the fortune of an odds-on favourite or the predictability of the bloodstock market.

Increased foal numbers and no apparent increase in investment has maintained the selective nature of the marketplace, with many buyers also tentative in the face of Brexit. The foal sales will, no doubt, be affected by Brexit, with vendors uncertain of the freedom of movement at the time of catalogues going to print.

In spite of this, the Tattersalls December Foal Sale, set for November 27 – 30, has just 50 less catalogued entries this year at 1,125, with the largest consignment once again offered by Trickledown Stud.

Vendors’ confidence will be high based on the 2018 renewal, which returned a record turnover of 34,924,757gns, record average of 51,285gns and record-equalling median of 25,000gns.

Goffs, meanwhile, has catalogued 120 less foals for its November Foal Sale, which is once again split into two parts; Part 1 takes place on November 18 – 20 and is followed by Part 2 on November 22 immediately after the Mares’ Sale.

The smaller number is perhaps a reflection on the 20% drop in turnover at Part 1 of last year’s edition but another influence could be the reduction in the Irish foal crop, with 2018 having returned the first decrease since 2012. Britain, meanwhile, experienced its highest number of foals since 2009 in 2018.

These turns in events may also have influenced the number of stallions retiring to stud, with 21 taking up stallion duties in Ireland in 2018 – quite a significant drop from 33 in 2017. Britain welcomed 18 new additions in 2018, a marginal increase on 17 the previous year.

Listed below are Flat and/or dual-purpose stallions who commanded over £4,000/€4,000 in their first season. Fees and studs listed were those advertised in 2018.

Britain & Ireland

(Acclamation – Aris {Danroad}) – National Stud, £12,500

For many breeders, Aclaim ticked all the boxes, with 160 mares sent to the son of Acclamation in his first year at stud. From the family of Montjeu, the €130,000 yearling proved he had the ability to match his looks by notching seven career wins from two to four years including the Prix de la Foret.

(Kodiac – Good Clodora {Red Clubs}) – Overbury Stud, £6,500

A £170,000 breeze-up buy, Ardad went on to win the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster, a race which has also been won by stallions such as Gutaifan, Sir Prancealot and Zebedee in recent years.

Therefore, he boasts plenty of commercial appeal, something which saw the son of Kodiac cover over 130 mares in his first season at stud.

(Scat Daddy – Mekko Hokte {Holy Bull}) – Coolmore Stud, €35,000

Top sprinter Caravaggio, winner of the Phoenix Stakes and Commonwealth Cup, was the busiest of all new sires in 2018, covering a bumper book of 217 mares as Scat Daddy fever grew. A total of 34 black-type winners were among his first book, including the likes of Airwave, Immortal Verse, Peeping Fawn and Yesterday.

(Galileo – Meow {Storm Cat}) – Coolmore Stud, €35,000

Churchill came a close second to Caravaggio as the busiest new sire in 2018, although his 211 mares included more black-type winners at an impressive 42.

By Galileo and out of a Queen Mary Stakes second, this European champion juvenile won seven straight races, including the Dewhurst and National Stakes at two and Newmarket and Irish 2,000 Guineas at three.

Cotai Glory
(Exceed And Excel – Continua {Elusive Quality}) – Tally-Ho Stud, €6,000

European sons of Exceed And Excel have made a promising start at stud, notably Bungle Inthejungle, and one that has every chance of maintaining that momentum is Tally-Ho Stud’s Cotai Glory.

A three-time stakes winner and narrowly beaten by Profitable in the King’s Stand Stakes, he covered 180 mares in his first season.

Decorated Knight
(Galileo – Pearling {Storm Cat}) – Irish National Stud, €15,000

Decorated Knight winning the 2017 Irish Champion Stakes – Photo: Caroline Norris

As a son of Galileo out of a sister to Giant’s Causeway, Decorated Knight boasts a stallion’s pedigree, while his three Group 1 victories included the Tattersalls Gold Cup and Irish Champion Stakes, regarded as a stallion-making race. Of the 66 mares he covered in 2018, five were black-type winners.

Divine Prophet
(Choisir – Prophet Jewel {Encosta De Lago}) – Tara Stud, €7,500

Divine Prophet shuttled from Aquis Farm to Tara Stud, where the Caulfield Guineas victor appealed as an ideal candidate to capitalise on the popularity of Choisir.

Having covered 59 mares, two of them black-type winners, he did not return to County Meath in 2019.

El Kabeir
(Scat Daddy – Great Venue {Unbridled’s Song}) – Yeomanstown Stud, €8,000

Yeomanstown Stud tapped into another popular stallion line with its recruitment of El Kabeir, a multiple Graded Stakes winner by Scat Daddy. Racing on dirt, his wins came over seven to eight and a half furlongs and included the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at two. He attracted 146 mares in his first season.

Galileo Gold
(Paco Boy – Galicuix {Galileo}) – Tally-Ho Stud, €15,000

Given his base of Tally-Ho Stud, 2,000 Guineas hero Galileo Gold was expected to be busy and did not disappoint with 140 mares.

A Group 2 winner at two, he won twice at the highest level, at which he was also placed on three occasions.

Highland Reel
(Galileo – Hveger {Danehill}) – Coolmore Stud, €17,500

An impressive 23 of Highland Reel’s 184 first mares were black-type winners. Such support is hardly surprising since Highland Reel, the highest-earning colt in European history and the winner of seven Group 1 races, also has the pedigree to match his race record, being bred on the Galileo/Danehill cross and from the family of Starspangledbanner.

Jack Hobbs
(Halling – Swain’s Gold {Swain}) – Overbury Stud, £4,000

Jack Hobbs was the easy winner of the Irish Derby having previously run second in the Derby. He later returned at five to win the Dubai Sheema Classic. A welcome member of the Sharpen Up sire line, he covered 168 mares in 2018.

(Galileo – Occupandiste {Kaldoun}) – Elwick Stud, £6,000

A Grade 1 winner at Arlington and Woodbine, Mondialiste retired to stud at his owners Geoff and Sandra Turnbull’s Elwick Stud in County Durham.

The son of Galileo, who is out of a dual Group 1 winner, was well supported by the Turnbulls, who sent him 35 of their own mares including a €270,000 half-sister to Beauty Parlour.

My Dream Boat
(Lord Shanakill – Betty Burke {Choisir}) – Bridge House Stud, €4,000

My Dream Boat initially retired to Bridge House Stud where he covered 60 mares in his first season, two of them black-type winners, before switching to Clongiffen Stud for 2019.

His finest hour on the track came at Royal Ascot when defeating Found to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

National Defense
(Invincible Spirit – Angel Falls {Kingmambo}) – Irish National Stud, €12,000

An injury during his first season saw National Defense cover a reduced book of 64, 11 of them black-type winners.

A €280,000 yearling, he was crowned champion two-year-old colt in France following his impressive success in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

(Dubawi – Ever Rigg {Dubai Destination}) – Dalham Hall Stud, £20,000

Postponed’s Juddmonte International success last year was one of his finest wins – Photo: George Selwyn

Standing alongside his super sire Dubawi at Dalham Hall Stud, Postponed covered 112 mares in 2018. Postponed’s nine victories included the King George and Juddmonte International, so it was unsurprising to see him receive a quality first book, 21 of them black-type winners.

(Invincible Spirit – Dani Ridge {Indian Ridge}) – Kildangan Stud, €12,000

Profitable proved popular with breeders in his first season at stud, with Darley capping his first book at 185 mares.

A juvenile winner, he trained on to win the King’s Stand and Temple Stakes as a four-year-old and claimed runner-up honours in the King’s Stand the following year.

(Iffraaj – Mujarah {Marju}) – Kildangan Stud, €30,000

Ribchester was purchased privately by Godolphin after finishing second in the Gimcrack Stakes, and went on to reward them with four Group 1 wins, including the Lockinge and Queen Anne Stakes.

The son of Iffraaj attracted 154 mares in his first season at Kildangan Stud.

Spill The Beans
(Snitzel – Miss Dodwell {Falbrav}) – National Stud, £6,000

Three-time Group winner Spill The Beans became the first son of Snitzel to stand in Britain when reverse shuttling to the National Stud.

Having covered a large first book in Australia, he covered 33 mares and did not return in 2019. Aquis Farm recently announced the death of the son of Snitzel.

Time Test
(Dubawi – Passage Of Time {Dansili}) – National Stud, £8,500

A four-time Group winner and three times Group/Grade 1-placed, Time Test only finished out of the first four on one of his 14 starts.

By Dubawi and out of a Group 1-winning two-year-old, he certainly appealed to breeders, who sent him 111 mares in his first season.

(Galileo – Light Shift {Kingmambo}) – Cheveley Park Stud, £30,000

Ulysses (right) wins the Eclipse Stakes – Photo: George Selwyn

The dam of Ulysses’ first foal, $525,000 mare purchase My Hope, is a prime example of the quality that he covered in his first season at stud.

By Galileo and out of Epsom Oaks heroine Light Shift, the Eclipse Stakes and Juddmonte International hero covered 115 mares in total, eight of them Group 1 winners.


Al Wukair
(Dream Ahead – Macheera {Machiavellian}) – Haras de Bouquetot, €8,000

Unbeaten as a juvenile, Al Wukair finished third in the 2,000 Guineas at three before securing Group 1 honours in the Prix Jacques Le Marois.

A member of the Warning sire line, he covered 117 mares in 2018, which rose to 122 in 2019.

(Wootton Bassett – Darkova {Maria’s Mon}) – Haras d’Etreham, €35,000

When retired to stud, connections announced that Almanzor would be restricted to 140 mares for each of his first four seasons and after just two weeks, he was full.

Crowned the champion three-year-old colt of Europe in 2016 following victories in the Prix du Jockey Club, Irish Champion Stakes and QIPCO Champion Stakes, his popularity transferred to the Southern Hemisphere, where he covered another full book at Cambridge Stud.

(Acclamation – Gwenseb {Green Tune}) – Haras du Quesnay, €5,000

Attendu became the first son of Acclamation to stand at stud in France.

A Group winner at two, three and four, the Wertheimer homebred is one of four black-type winners out of his stakes-winning dam.

(Dark Angel – Layla Jamil {Exceed And Excel}) – Haras de la Huderie, €5,000

Dark Angel gained a first representative within the French ranks with the retirement of Birchwood, winner of the Superlative Stakes.

Also twice placed at Group 1 level as a juvenile, he covered 93 mares in his debut season, aided by the stud successfully syndicating 50% of its new recruit.

(Rajsaman – Morning Light {Law Society}) – Haras de Bouquetot, €10,000

Prix du Jockey Club winner Brametot stands at Haras de Bouquetot – Photo: George Selwyn

Both of Brametot’s Classic victories demonstrated the bay’s battling qualities, with his Prix du Jockey Club success now all the more impressive following the subsequent exploits of narrow runner-up Waldgeist.

A grandson of Linamix and from the family of Monsun, Brametot offers an outcross and covered 61 mares in his first season.

(Hurricane Run – Tonnara {Linamix}) – Haras de Bouquetot, €5,000

Ectot stamped his class from his juvenile days, his four wins that season led by a victory in the Criterium International. He also trained on to land another top level success at five in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes.

A half-brother to Most Improved, he covered 68 mares in his first season and breeders must have been pleased with the results given the increased support of 78 mares in 2019.

(Soldier Hollow – Indigo Girl {Sternkoenig}) – Haras du Thenney, €4,500

By leading German sire Soldier Hollow, Ivanhowe was a multiple Group 1 winner in both hemispheres.

The syndicate who campaigned him in Australia retained a majority interest and have supported him strongly.

Ivanhowe transferred to Haras d’Annebault in 2019 and will stand at Haras de Cercy in 2020.

(Galileo – Memory {Danehill Dancer}) – Montfort et Preaux, €6,000

The Queen’s Recorder received a first book of 158 mares, the most of any new French stallion in 2018.

By Galileo and out of Group 2 winner Memory, he won two of his three starts and was last seen winning the Acomb Stakes at York before being retired due to injury.

Storm The Stars
(Sea The Stars – Love Me Only {Sadler’s Wells}) – Haras du Lion, €4,000

A dual stakes winner, several of Storm The Stars’ best performances came in defeat, notably when placed in the Epsom and Irish Derbys.

Standing in association with Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum, he boasts major appeal on pedigree, being out of a half-sister to Giant’s Causeway.

The Grey Gatsby
(Mastercraftsman – Marie Vison {Entrepeneur}) – Haras du Petit Tellier, €7,000

The Grey Gatsby on his way to winning the Prix du Jockey Club – Photo: George Selwyn

An impressive winner of the Prix du Jockey Club, The Grey Gatsby will perhaps be best remembered for his dramatic defeat of Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes.

From the first crop of Mastercraftsman, he was a popular new French recruit, covering 110 mares in his first season at stud.

(Manduro – Epitome {Nashwan}) – Haras du Logis, €7,000

Like his sire Manduro, Ultra was unbeaten as a two-year-old, his three successes topped by the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp in record time.

Crowned champion French two-year-old as a result, he comes from the Niarchos-associated family of Hector Protector and Bosra Sham.

(Dubawi – Zarkava {Zamindar}) – Haras de Bonneval, €12,000

Zarak is of obvious appeal on pedigree alone as a Dubawi son of Arc heroine Zarkava.

However, he confirmed his own class when taking the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and lost little in defeat when second in the Prix du Jockey Club.

(Sea The Stars – Olga Prekrasa {Kingmambo}) – Haras du Bouquetot, €8,000

Zelzal was one of three sires retired to Haras du Bouquetot for the 2018 season, in which he covered 77 mares.

He was top-class at three, notably when winning the Prix Jean Prat in record time.