Value Sires Part Five: First 3-Year-Olds
The latest installment of our values sires series brings us to the second-crop sires of 2021. While there was a runaway leader, this group gave us plenty to unpack. A handful of rising star sires were crowned, and a few remain on the bubble with plenty to entice us with this year as their first crops prepare for their crucial 3-year-old campaigns.
The race for champion first-season sire honours was not much of a competition at all last year, with Mehmas (Ire) jumping out of the gate with a pair of winners the day after British racing’s resumption on June 1. As the winners continued to pile in for Tally-Ho’s son of Acclamation (GB), his race became more against history than his contemporaries, and in mid-October he sailed past Iffraaj (GB)’s 10-year-old record for winners in a debut season (38), eventually settling at an eye-popping 56. Mehmas certainly had numbers on his side, with 101 of the 121 named foals from his first crop having made a start, but the quality was undoubtedly there, too: he led his sire crop by all metrics bar group winners, with five black-type winners (only Fasliyev, Night Of Thunder Ire, Frankel GB, No Nay Never and Oasis Dream GB have had more in their first season), 12 black-type horses, two group winners and two Group 1 horses, headed by the G1 Middle Park S. winner Supremacy (Ire), and earnings of €1,212,486/£1,079,930. Mehmas had 16 runners achieve a Racing Post Rating of 90+, eight achieve 100+ and two reach 110+. In addition to Supremacy he had the G2 Gimcrack S. victor and Middle Park third Minzaal (Ire) and listed winners Acklam Express (Ire), Method (Ire) (also third in the G3 Cornwallis S.) and Quattroelle (Ire) (a listed winner at Santa Anita who is also Grade III-placed). Mystery Smiles (Ire) was third in the Gimcrack and the G3 Sirenia S., while Muker (Ire) was second in the G3 Mercury S. and third in the Listed Windsor Castle S. Mehmas has risen to €25,000 for 2021, having stood for €7,500 last year after starting at €12,500. With Mehmas himself having retired at the end of a 2-year-old campaign in which he won the G2 July S. and the G2 Richmond S., beating Blue Point (Ire) (Shamardal) and placing in the G1 National S. and G1 Middle Park S., breeders will be waiting on the edge of their seats this year to see if his progeny train on. They can take some comfort in knowing that hasn’t been a problem for the progeny of a horse bred on the same cross and from a very similar profile in Dark Angel (Ire). Mehmas’s second crop averaged €52,172/£46,445 at last year’s yearling sales–third among this cohort.
Whitsbury Manor Stud’s Adaay (Ire) (Kodiac GB) was second to Mehmas on last year’s first-season sires’ table by both earnings (€470,925/£419,438) and winners (23). It is important to point out that a hefty €147,500 of Adaay’s earnings haul came from Shark Two One (GB)’s victory in the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale S., but he is nonetheless the sire of three stakes horses, including G3 Premio Passi third Doctor Strange (GB) and the Listed Marygate S. second Furlong Factor (GB). Adaay, the winner of the G2 Sandy Lane S. and G2 Hungerford S. at three, stays at £5,000 for the third straight year and has a second crop of 57 2-year-olds to go to bat for him this year, which averaged €15,062/£13,416 at last year’s yearling sales.
Adaay is one of four sons of Kodiac in the top 10 first-season sires of 2020 by stakes horses that are still at stud. The G3 Prix de Meautry winner Coulsty (Ire) made an eye-catching start with numbers not on his side: his first crop of 32 foals, of which 23 started, yielded five stakes winners last year (22%), three additional black-type horses (13%) and nine overall winners. Coulsty’s highest-rated runner thus far is the G3 Princess Margaret S. winner and G2 Duchess Of Cambridge S. third Santosha (Ire), while he has also had the Italian listed winners Sopran Aragorn (Ire) and Suicide Squad (Ire) and the G3 Round Tower S. third Coulthard (Ire). Coulsty was a winner and made six starts at two before winning the six-furlong Meautry and the seven-furlong Listed King Charles II S. at three, and he added another listed win and was second to Adaay in the Hungerford at four. Coulsty stays at €4,000 at Rathasker Stud this year, and while he is sure to garner attention off a strong start he will face an uphill climb in the years to come, having sired just four foals last year before covering nine mares.
Kodi Bear (Ire), who stays at €6,000 at Rathbarry Stud for the third successive season, joins Coulsty on five stakes horses. A listed-winning 2-year-old who went on to win the G3 Sovereign S. and G2 Celebration Mile going a mile at three, Kodi Bear was represented by the Listed Stonehenge S. scorer and G2 Royal Lodge S. third Cobh (Ire) last year, but the fact that he had five stakes horses, five runners rated 90+ and two rated 100+ stands him in good stead should his progeny progress with age as he did. There was plenty of quality among Kodi Bear’s stakes-placed runners: Measure Of Magic (Ire) was third in the G2 Flying Childers, Scarlet Bear (Ire) second in the G3 Firth of Clyde and third in the G3 Dick Poole, Broxi (Ire) third in the G3 Acomb S. and Mystery Angel third in the G3 Zetland S. Buyers took notice of the Kodi Bears, too, at the yearling sales last year; they averaged €21,098/£18,791 off an €8,000 covering fee.
The 2016 G2 Norfolk S. winner Prince Of Lir (Ire) was one of the first of this crop to make a big impression last year, with his The Lir Jet (Ire) breaking the course record on debut at Yarmouth before himself winning the Norfolk and placing in the G1 Phoenix S. and G2 Prix Robert Papin. Prince Of Lir supplied in total 14 winners and three additional stakes horses from his initial crop of 51, and is available for a career-low €3,500 in 2021 after covering 46 mares last year.
While Mehmas took Britain and Ireland by storm, it was a similar story for Goken (Fr) in France. During a time when France has hit new heights on the sire front with the likes of Siyouni (Fr), Le Havre (Ire) and Kendargent (Fr) staking their claims as truly international sires, it is a son in Kendargent in Goken who made a case for someday joining their ranks, with two group winners and three group horses from 37 starters (his first crop numbered 57 foals in total). Goken had three runners last year assigned an RPR of 100+ headed by the G3 Prix la Rochette scorer Go Athletico (Fr) at 110. Goken was also represented by the G3 Prix du Bois one-two Livachope (Fr) and Axdavali (Fr) and 15 total winners. Goken was himself a precocious horse who ran eight times at two including winning the Bois himself, and he trained on at three to win the G3 Prix Texanita as well as finishing third to Profitable (Ire) in the G1 King’s Stand S. at four. Goken is up to €15,000 alongside his sire at Haras de Colleville for 2021 after dropping to as low as €3,000 in 2020.
New Bay (GB) (Dubawi Ire) may have wound up just 10th by earnings, but he was one of this cohort’s true eye-catchers based on the quality of his winners. The G1 Prix du Jockey Club victor New Bay was one of the 118 Group 1 winners campaigned by Khalid Abdullah, and he had 39 starters from a first crop of 63 last year. Twelve won; two were pattern-race winners, and four overall were stakes horses. New Bay was, significantly, the only other first-crop sire in addition to Mehmas and Goken last year to have a runner rated RPR 110+ (G2 Royal Lodge S. scorer New Mandate Ire), and he had three rated 100+. New Bay had five runners last year rated RPR 90+, and four on the cusp at 89. New Bay’s other standouts included the G3 Oh So Sharp victress and G1 1000 Guineas hopeful Saffron Beach (Ire). New Bay, who is from the family of successful sires Oasis Dream (GB) and Kingman (GB), has received continued support from his ownership syndicate including Juddmonte, China Horse Club and Ballylinch Stud, and he is back up to his opening fee of €20,000 this year at Ballylinch after dipping to €15,000 the past two seasons. Buyers were clearly buoyed by New Bay’s early signs, making him the leading second-crop sire at the yearling sales last year with 34 sold for an average of €74,005/£65,654.
Haras de Bouquetot’s G1 Prix Morny and G1 Middle Park S. winner Shalaa (Ire) (Invincible Spirit Ire) had been the leader of this crop with his first yearlings in 2019, and buyers were encouraged enough by his start in 2020 to snap up 51 of his 58 yearlings offered last year for an average of €58,889/£52,244. Shalaa didn’t have a stakes winner in the Northern Hemisphere last year but he came close with the G2 Coventry S. third Saeiqa (GB), the G3 Prix Eclipse second Legal Attack (GB) and the Listed Ingabelle S. second No Speak Alexander (Ire), and he had 20 winners from 64 starters. Shalaa leads the first-season sires’ standings in Australia; his G3 Breeders’ Plate winner Shaquero (Aus) recently took the Listed Restricted Magic Millions 2YO Classic. Shalaa has provided a respectable three winners Down Under just over halfway through the season, and those also include the G3 Ottawa S. second Nice For What (Aus). Shalaa was the leader of this sire crop when he retired for €27,500 in 2017, and the son of Invincible Spirit is available for €15,000 in 2021.
Another son of Invincible Spirit, Darley’s G1 Prix Jean Prat winner and G1 2000 Guineas second Territories (Ire), carried high hopes on his shoulders after the 2019 yearling sales and he likewise made a promising start, with two stakes winners and seven stakes horses among the 19 winners (65 starters) in his first season. Those were led by the G3 Prix des Reservoirs scorer and G1 Prix Marcel Boussac third Rougir (Fr), and he looks to have some useful runners waiting in the wings with nine of his runners having already achieved RPRs of 90+; that is more than anyone bar Mehmas in this crop. Territories has had three new winners since the turn of the calendar, including a double at Deauville on Jan. 9. Territories has been well supported at Dalham Hall at a fee of €12,000 through his first four seasons, and he takes a cut for the first time to €10,000.
Darley has an equally promising prospect at Kildangan Stud in the G1 Dewhurst S. and G1 Lockinge S. victor Belardo (Ire) (Lope De Vega Ire), who was the joint leader among this group by number of group winners (three), with four stakes winners overall last season and 13 winners from 53 starters. Belardo’s top-rated runner was the G2 Rockfel S. and G3 Prestige S. winner Isabella Giles (Ire), while he also had the G3 Park S. scorer Elysium (Ire) and the G3 Prix Miesque winner Lullaby Moon (GB) and one listed winners. His mark of four Northern Hemisphere black-type winners is just one off Mehmas, while he also had one listed winner in the Southern Hemisphere. Belardo remains at €10,000 at Kildangan Stud, the fee at which he has stood the past three seasons after opening at €15,000.
Pride Of Dubai (Aus) (Street Cry Ire) has not returned to Coolmore’s Irish headquarters from Australia since shuttling for a second season in 2018, but a case could be made for him doing so after he left behind five first-crop stakes winners, equal with Mehmas, last year. Three of those were group winners, including the G3 Sweet Solera S. winner Star Of Emaraaty (Ire), and he had eight runners RPR rated 90+ and five RPR rated 100+. Pride Of Dubai currently remains ensconced in Jerry’s Plains, having been leading first-season sire in Australia last year with two stakes winners.
Coolmore has another representative here in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains and G1 Sussex S. winner The Gurkha (Ire) (Galileo Ire), whose 15 winners were led by the G3 Preis des Winterfavoriten scorer Best Of Lips (Ire). This first crop was bred on a fee of €25,000, and The Gurkha is chopped to €5,000 this year, having stood for €12,500 last year.
Cheveley Park Stud’s G1 Sprint Cup and G1 Diamond Jubilee winner Twilight Son (GB) (Kyllachy GB) was well supported early at stud with a first crop of 109 foals yielding 80 runners last year, and 22 of those became winners, good for third among first-crop sires by that metric. His Aria Importante (GB) was a standout juvenile in Italy, winning four races last year including the G3 Premio Primi Passi, and his Grammata (reI) was second in Cork’s Listed Tipperary S. Twilight Son himself didn’t hit his best stride until the second half of his 3-year-old campaign, and he is available for £5,000 this season.
The two others in this crop to supply stakes winners last year were Derrinstown Stud’s G1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad (Ire) (Cape Cross Ire) and Tara Stud’s G2 Superlative S. and G2 Champagne S. victor Estidhkaar (Ire) (Dark Angel Ire), who stand for €10,000 and €5,000, respectively, in 2021. Awtaad’s stakes winner came in the U.S. in the form of the Santa Anita listed scorer Ebeko (Ire), and he also had the Listed Ingabelle S. third A Taad Moody (Ire) among his 15 winners. Estidhkaar’s flagbearers were the Listed Sea The Moon-Rennen victor Belcarra (Ire) and the Italian listed-placed The King Geremia (Ire) among his 10 winners. The G1 Deutsches Derby victor Isfahan (Ger) had just 10 runners to his name last year from his debut crop of 36 from Gestut Ohlerweiherhof, and those included five winners headed by the G3 Premio Guido Berardelli scorer Isfahani (Ger) and Sardasht (Fr), who is a maiden after five starts but was given an RPR of 95 for his fourth in the G3 Wackenhut Mercedes-Benz-Preis Zukunftsrennen.
Haras de Bonneval’s G1 Prix Ganay winner Dariyan (Fr) (Shamardal) was responsible for two Group 3-placed horses among his 10 winners, and he stays at €8,000, the same fee he has commanded since his debut in 2017. Kildangan’s G2 Coventry S. winner and dual Group 1-placed 2-year-old Buratino (Ire) (Exceed and Excel Aus) supplied 13 winners, including the G2 Beresford S. third Snapraeterea (Ire), and he stays at €5,000, while Lanwades’s GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Bobby’s Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) provided 12 winners last year including Monaasib (GB), who edged Snapraeterea out for second when they were beaten by the Derby favourite High Definition (Ire) (Galileo Ire). Bobby’s Kitten stands for £7,000 this year.
A trio of Group 1 winners whose progeny could reasonably be expected to progress with age this year are Harzand (Ire) (Sea The Stars Ire) (seven winners from 24 starters last year), Fascinating Rock (Ire) (Fastnet Rock Aus) (three winners from 17 starters) and Protectionist (Ger) (Monsun Ger). Protectionist had one winner, the G3 Preis der Winterkonigin third Amazing Grace (Ger), from 13 starters, and his Milka (Ger) was also listed-placed. Protectionist remains at €6,500 at Gestut Rottgen, while Harzand stands for €8,000 at Gilltown Stud and Fascinating Rock for €5,000 at Ballylinch Stud.
Gold: Mehmas (€25,000) – if he can keep up his early tempo like Dark Angel did, €25,000 will look like value in a few years’ time.Silver: Territories (£10,000) – more runners rated RPR90+ than any sire in this crop bar Mehmas last year, and he has gotten off to a quick start in 2021.Bronze: Coulsty (€4,000) – his small book sizes the last few seasons will not help those looking to sell their foals of 2022, but the numbers don’t lie: he can get a runner.