Look behind the stats of the sires down under
nx (blue) has provided A$5,627,500 of Street Cry’s seasonal haul
PICTURE: Darren McNamara A look behind the figures of the sires down under By Mark Scully 11:31AM 6 AUG 2016
Five things we learned from the 2015-16 Australian sire standings
1 Posthumous success for Street Cry
Almost two years have passed since a neurological condition brought a premature end to Street Cry’s life and the impact of the loss of Darley’s son of Machiavellian was highlighted once again as he topped the Australian sires’ standings by earnings.
The achievement is thanks in no small part to the exploits of the brilliant mare Winx, who took out five Group 1 prizes last season, contributing A$5,627,500 of Street Cry’s total earnings of A$12,975,554 (£7.6m/€8.9m).
Sheikh Mohammed’s operation has previously occupied the top spot courtesy of Lonhro and Exceed And Excel, with Street Cry now making Darley the first stud to boast three separate champion sires. His success this year is also noteworthy as he becomes the first imported sire since Danehill in 2004-05 to top the standings.
2 Hyped first-season sires fail to sparkle
The 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale was billed as offering one of the best selections of yearlings by first-season sires ever and purchasers were swept up in the hype.
Remarkably, only the well-established champions Fastnet Rock and Redoute’s Choice finished ahead of Sepoy by average at the sale with three or more sold, with So You Think also comfortably inside the top ten. So how did this golden generation go on the track?
It would be wrong to say they have not gone well, but it would also be a stretch to get overly excited. Smart Missile, who also went well on the Gold Coast last year, led the way by earnings with his seven winners bringing in A$454,705.
Love Conquers All, whose four yearlings offered at the Gold Coast all sold for an average of A$116,250, has sired the most winners with eight, double the amount of Sepoys to hit the line in front, despite his yearlings at the same sale averaging A$286,346.
The strength of the Australian bloodstock market means stallion prospects like Sepoy, and now Vancouver and company, are introduced at eyewatering fees that perhaps overstate not only their prospects as a stallion but also a superiority over their rivals.
Sepoy was introduced at A$66,000, a fee that has now been halved but still dwarfs Smart Missile’s A$22,000 fee for this year. Smart Missile has a victory over Sepoy on his CV and, being by Fastnet Rock, is arguably no less a prospect despite what the figures say.
As an interesting aside, while the 24 winners notched by the top five first-season sires this season (Smart Missile, Love Conquers All, Dream Ahead, Sepoy and Pour Moi) is a more than acceptable return, it is not a patch on the 46 returned by the top five 12 months previously.
The impact of all this could well be a more sensible approach being taken with first-season sires and a return to breeders either investing in the tried and tested and seeking better value for money with the likes of a Smart Missile.
3 Tycoon makes a big breakthrough
The 2015-16 campaign was a breakthrough one for Woodside Park’s Written Tycoon, who vaulted to his highest ever position in the general classifications, in large part on the back of the exploits of the superb Capitalist.
Written Tycoon finished 35th two years ago and 20th last year but jumped up to third this time around, with earnings of A$10,107,231. The Magic Millions Gold Coast Classic and Golden Slipper winner Capitalist contributed A$3,508,700 of that total.
While few could have predicted such a remarkable campaign it has not come out of absolutely nowhere. Written Tycoon was the leading first-season sire in 2010-11, having himself been a traditional fast and precocious Australian sort on the track and, although his service dipped to as low as A$10,000, it is now back up to A$49,500.
Being by the Last Tycoon stallion Iglesia, Written Tycoon represents an outcross option for almost all mares and, with his personal stock now higher than ever, it would be no surprise to see him consolidate his position among Australia’s leading sires.
4 Redoute’s Choice son makes presence felt
Redoute’s Choice may have made only a few small ripples in Europe so far but he has firmly cemented his legacy as one of the most influential stallions in Australian breeding history, with his footprint only continuing to extend.
The Arrowfield Stud star again finished inside the top ten in the general classification and, just as 12 months ago, was joined by his two most significant stallion sons, Snitzel and Not A Single Doubt.
While Snitzel continues to be solid if not spectacular, 2015-16 was the year Not A Single Doubt established himself as a major player, finishing second with total earnings of A$12,501,196, his three Group 1 winners equalled only by his sire as well as More Than Ready and Encosta De Lago.
His tally of 154 total winners is the best of the campaign, while he is bettered in the two-year-old sire standings by earnings only by Written Tycoon and Snitzel and tops the three-year-old standings.
Those latter two crops were the first to come after his fee rose from the initial A$13,750 at which he was introduced, which suggests, as the quality of mares increased in 2013-15 (A$33,000) and now at A$71,500, the best could well be to come.
5 Not Fastnet Rock’s greatest year
Fastnet Rock must be judged against his own high standards, and while his influence has begun to extend to Europe his Australian campaign must rank as a shade disappointing.
His yearling sale results of recent years have been unspectacular when compared against his service fee and, remarkably, he failed to sire a Group 1 winner in 2015-16.
He bounced back from finishing fourth in the general classification two years ago to be champion sire last year, so having finished fourth again it would be premature to say Fastnet Rock’s dominance is over.
It is fair to ask, however, if some of the rising stars already discussed could eclipse Coolmore’s flagbearer in the seasons to come.