By Kelsey Riley

Over the last three weeks, we have dissected sire lists aplenty in an effort to uncover some hidden gems in our value sires series. After first speculating on those young pretenders whose progeny have yet to see a racecourse, last week we dug into those sires who have handed us some solid clues with their first crop or two on the track. Today, we pay homage to the older battlers who, despite changes in fashionability and fee fluctuations, with books rising and falling, continue to reward breeders and deliver. In order to highlight less-obvious horses at the lower end of the fee scale, we’ve capped this installment at horses standing for under £/€20,000

BATED BREATH (GB) (Dansili {GB}) (Banstead Manor Stud, £10,000)

Juddmonte clearly priced Bated Breath well from the start; the G2 Temple S. winner who was agonizingly second in three Group 1 sprints at four opened at £8,000 at Banstead Manor in 2013, and he has stayed between that and £10,000 ever since.

Though a solid and admirable racehorse himself, Bated Breath wasn’t the star turn joining Juddmonte’s roster in 2013; he had to make his start alongside none other than Frankel (GB). And while that luminary has predictably gone on to dominate their sire crop, Bated Breath has continued to productively ply his trade, turning out winners in high numbers. In fact, his 112 lifetime winners sits second only to Frankel’s 114 among their sire crop. Bated Breath has sired three stakes winners, two of those graded, but the fact that he has nine group horses indicates he could yet have some good ones knocking on the door. While he still lacks that crucial Group 1 winner, his runners have been thereabouts in some important races; Beckford (GB) won the G2 Railway S. and was second in both the G1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National S. and G1 Keeneland Phoenix S., while G3 Prix Minerve winner Worth Waiting (GB) was fourth in last year’s G1 Prix Vermeille, and stays in training this year. Al Johrah (GB) was second in the G2 Queen Mary; Gavota (GB) was third in the G2 Rockfel S.; Landshark was second in the G3 Round Tower S., etc. Bated Breath has continued to be popular with breeders, covering 142 mares last year, and his yearlings last year averaged £42,575/€47,982, which was 4.3x the £10,000 fee they were conceived at.

EXCELEBRATION (IRE) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) (Coolmore, €8,000)

While Excelebration’s fee hasn’t gone the direction that a stallion owner would want-a slide from €22,500 in 2013 to €8,000 this year–the brilliant miler is actually carving out a similar profile to Bated Breath, and could yet solidify a reputation as a solid source of winners.

Also a member of the Frankel/Nathaniel/Bated Breath sire crop, Excelebration actually sits fourth on that crop’s cumulative sire table by earnings. That is largely thanks to Barney Roy (GB) who, incidentally, won the G1 St James’s Palace S. over Excelebration’s half-brother Lancaster Bomber (War Front) and is just the type of top-class miler one could have expected Excelebration to throw. Excelebration’s three other stakes winners in the Northern Hemisphere are the G3 Phoenix Sprint S. winner Speak In Colors (GB) and the listed winners Rebel Assault (Ire) and Tilly’s Chili (Ire), and he has a total of 99 winners.

MAYSON (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) (£6,000, Cheveley Park Stud)

By sire of sires Invincible Spirit out of a daughter of standout broodmare sire Pivotal (GB), Mayson delivered what his genes seemed destined to do when winning the G1 July Cup in 2012. He started at £8,000 in 2013, had slipped down to £5,000 the year his first crop debuted and has stayed at £6,000 since 2017. He has five stakes winners, all listed, but his rate of stakes horses to named foals (8.2%) is higher than anyone bar Frankel of this sire crop.

DREAM AHEAD (Diktat {GB}) (€12,000, Haras de Grandcamp)

Two of Dream Ahead’s five Group 1 sprint successes came in France, and while he started out in Ireland at Ballylinch Stud in 2012, many of his progeny seemed to share his affinity for France, and so in 2017 he was relocated to Haras de Grandcamp. Dream Ahead was famously rated the equal of Frankel at two before sticking to the sprint ranks at three, and he rewarded connections with wins in the G1 July Cup and G1 Sprint Cup over Bated Breath, and the G1 Prix de la Foret over Goldikova. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that Dream Ahead’s best runners are showing pace. His 15 stakes winners include the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois winner Al Wukair (Ire), whose first foals arrive this year; G2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte winner Donjuan Triumphant (Ire), who was also placed in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest and the G1 Qipco British Champions Sprint S.; and last year’s G2 Vintage S. winner Dark Vision (Ire). Dream Ahead has 7.5% black-type horses/named foals, highest among his sire crop, and at a career-low fee of €12,000 he looks a reliable source of class for not a ton of money for French breeders.

EQUIANO (FR) (Acclamation {GB}) (£6,000, Newsells Park Stud)

While Equiano’s Newsells Park barnmate Nathaniel (Ire) may prove to be one of the value sires of the century at £25,000, the horse in question fits the bill as well. Equiano has been somewhat quietly plying his trade since 2011, and like Bated Breath he appears to always have been well-priced–while he is at a career-low £6,000 this year, he has never stood for higher than £8,000. A two-time winner of the G1 King’s Stand S., Equiano has certainly supplied one in his own mould in his flagbearer The Tin Man (GB), the winner of three Group 1 sprints. His 11 stakes winners also include the G2 Railway S. winner Medicine Jack (GB) and the G3 Hackwood S. winner and G1 Sprint Cup second Strath Burn (GB), and he has had a number perform well in America, including Belvoir Bay (GB), who has won four group races over three seasons in California and on Jan. 12 won Santa Anita’s Listed Las Cienegas S. Equiano may not be overly fashionable at the European foal and yearling sales, but the fact that his progeny adapt well to America shouldn’t be overlooked by breeders; those types of horses can draw huge price tags from overseas markets.

FAST COMPANY (IRE) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) (€12,000, Darley Kildangan)

Fast Company started at Rathasker Stud in 2011 for €5,000, and he hit the ground running with his first crop in 2014, supplying the G2 Norfolk S. winner Baitha Alga (Ire). He really made headlines the following year, however, with from the same crop the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Jet Setting (Ire) and the G2 Ridgewood Pearl S. scorer Devonshire (Ire). By that point Fast Company had moved to Overbury Stud, and the breeders that had used him that year for £4,000 must have been pleased when his yearlings last year averaged £16,986, 4.2x his stud fee. The crop bred on the back of Jet Setting and Devonshire’s successes for £7,000 are two this year, and continued success in the interim-13 total stakes winners including South American star and last year’s GI Arlington Million winner Robert Bruce (Chi)-means Jet Setting’s fee has climbed to €12,000 at Kildangan.

STARSPANGLEDBANNER (AUS) (Choisir {Aus}) (€17,500, Coolmore)

Starspangledbanner’s brilliant but stop-start stud career to date due to subfertility has been well documented, especially in these pages, and after producing Group 1 winner The Wow Signal (Ire) and three other pattern-race winners from a first crop of just 33 foals in 2012, the dual hemisphere Group 1-winning sprinter finally gets another shot this year, with his first substantial Irish-conceived crop since having just turned two. That group numbers 72, and the 37 sold at auction as yearlings last year underscored the excitement surrounding the horse; they averaged £75,562/€85,255 off a €15,000 stud fee, and his 17 foals sold averaged £39,933/€45,096. Let’s revisit why: his eight stakes winners give him a strike rate of 15.4% black-type winners to named foals. Twenty-one percent of his named foals are stakes-placed, and 13.4% group-placed. First-crop representative Home of the Brave (Ire) has continued to fly the flag for Godolphin in both Britain and Australia, and during the interim years when he did not shuttle Starspangledbanner continued to thrive Down Under, siring horses like G3 Blue Diamond Prelude winner Of The Brave (Aus) and listed winner Thrillster (Aus). Starspangledbanner’s newfound fertility has been remarkable-he has covered 97 and 152 mares the last two years-so now it’s time to see if he can uphold his staggering figures.

WHIPPER (Miesque’s Son) (€3,300, Haras de Treban)

Whipper popped up on our radar thanks to his 2018 Group 1 winner Recoletos (Fr), but closer inspection reveals that the 18-year-old is still good value for money for French breeders. He has left 26 stakes winners in total at a rate of 4.3% of named foals, and last year in addition to his headliner he had three other stakes winners (4.7% of starters) and two other group winners: the G3 Strensall S. and G1 Queen Anne second Lord Glitters, and the G3 Prix de Lutece victor Jackfinbar. Not bad for €3,300.

HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR (IRE) (Danehill) (€15,000, Coolmore)

Holy Roman Emperor sits 13th on the TDN‘s Lifetime Cumulative Active Sires list, and he showed little sign of slowing down last year, notching eight stakes winners including three Grade/Group 1 winners of three very different profiles: the Irish 2000 Guineas winner Romanised (Ire), the G1 Preis der Diana scorer Well Timed (Ger) and the 7-year-old Glorious Empire, winner of the 2400 metre Sword Dancer S. at Saratoga and two other Grade IIs. He has sired 60 lifetime stakes winners (5.9% of named foals) and 113 stakes horses (11% of named foals-excellent figures for his price level). The success of his progeny in Australasian markets, particularly Hong Kong, has been well-publicized, and as outlined with Fast Company there is plenty of money on the table for the sale of horses-in-training to foreign markets.

MANDURO (GER) (Monsun {Ger}) (€7,000, Haras du Logis)

Manduro displayed versatility at the highest level on the racecourse, winning Royal Ascot’s G1 Prince of Wales’s S. before dropping back to a mile next out to take the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois, and his progeny have since displayed an ability to win at the highest level in a variety of conditions. His headliner is the dual Group 1 and 10-time group-winning stayer Vazirabad (Fr), but he is also responsible for his now stud-mate Ultra (Ire), the fastest-ever winner of the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, and G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Mandaean (GB), as well as G1 Prix Jean Romanet victress Ribbons (GB) and G1 Premio Lydia Tesio and G2 Oaks d’Italia scorer Charity Line (Ire). Manduro has sired 27 total stakes winners, and his seven last year alone indicate that he isn’t yet slowing down at the age of 17.

MYBOYCHARLIE (IRE) (Danetime {Ire}) (€7,500, Haras du Mezeray)

Another attractive option for French breeders is Myboycharlie. He is up to a career-high fee of €7,500 in 2019, but when he can consistently produce top-class fillies like Sistercharlie (Ire), Euro Charline (GB) and Camprock (Fr) that still looks like good value, doesn’t it? Also keep on eye on Noblesse Oblige (Ity), who was one of Italy’s top 2-year-olds last year before being sold to Martin Schwartz for €520,000 at Arqana December to race on in America, like the Breeders’ Cup winner Sistercharlie with trainer Chad Brown. Myboycharlie has also been a success in Australia, his shuttling days yielding the champion filly Jameka (Aus) and Group 1-winning 2-year-old Peggy Jean (Aus) in addition to a handful of other group winners. Myboycharlie’s strike rate of winners sits at a respectable 39% of named foals, and he has proven time and again an ability to produce winners at the highest level across the globe.

CAMACHO (GB) (Danehill) (€12,000, Yeomanstown Stud)

Camacho has been grafting away in the four-figure stud fee range since his first crop hit the track in 2009, but he jumps into the five figures for the first time at 17 this year, his fee rising to €12,000 from €7,500 after a banner year. He enjoyed a dream run in the spring when Teppal (Fr) became his first Group 1 winner in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, and Signora Cabello (Ire) has a fair shot to give him another Classic winner in 2019 after taking the G2 Queen Mary and G2 Prix Robert Papin and finishing runner-up in the G1 Prix Morny. As such, his yearlings were sought after at the sales, realizing an average of £37,979/€42,938, 5x the fee they were bred on, with high prices like 325,000gns, 270,000gns and 200,000gns. Those using him this year and selling his yearlings in 2021 will be hoping that he throws out a few more good ones in his later years and justifies a relatively steep fee hike, but nonetheless he is a sire that has historically turned out good numbers of winners (39% of named foals) for his price.

Value Sires Podium

Gold – Holy Roman Emperor (€15,000): a sire proven at the top level all over the world that just keeps on producing.

Silver – Myboycharlie (€7,500): a consistent record for producing real top-class fillies.

Bronze – Mayson (£6,000): while he hasn’t yet broke through at pattern level, he is a reliable winner and black-type getter.

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