The price is right – the value sires of 2017

Harzand: looks a snip in his debut season at a fee of €15,000

PICTURE: Getty Images The price is right – the value sires of 2017
3:15PM 11 DEC 2016

Martin Stevens gives his pick of where the value lies among the 2017 set of stallion fees

New sires retiring to stud in 2017

£5,000 or less (€6,000 or less)

Buratino looks a gift to commercial breeders at the lower end of the market with an introductory fee of just €5,000 at Kildangan Stud, with the further enticement of being part of the Darley Club.

Buratino made a winning debut in the March of his two-year-old season, went on to win three other races including the Coventry Stakes from Air Force Blue and finished placed in the Phoenix and Middle Park Stakes.

He is by yearling buyers' favourite Exceed And Excel and closely related to a champion sire in Danehill Dancer.

£5,500-£10,000 (€6,500-€12,000)

Horses who achieved less on the track than Fascinating Rock did are starting their stallion careers for similar to, or more than, the €10,000 he has been pitched at in his first season at Ballylinch Stud next year.

He may not have been a precocious juvenile but he was truly top-class over 1m2f, as he showed when he soundly beat Found in the Champion Stakes and Tattersalls Gold Cup.

His sire Fastnet Rock was in top form in 2016 and owner-breeder Maurice Regan looks set to give him strong home support.

£10,500-£25,000 (€12,500-€30,000)

As is the case with Fascinating Rock, a lack of early two-year-old form means breeders can gain access to an outstanding middle-distance talent at a reasonable price.

Harzand won the Derby at both Epsom and the Curragh, a feat achieved by only great horses, and he is a Sea The Stars half-brother to three stakes performers from a black type-packed family.

He looks a snip at €15,000 in his debut season at Gilltown Stud.

More than £25,000 (More than €30,000)

Not many new sires fit into this category but looking outside of Europe there is one exceptional performer at a price that looks fair considering his immense talent: California Chrome.

The seven-time Group/Grade 1 winner, including in the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup, is set to stand at Taylor Made Farm at just $40,000 (£31,500/€37,000).

Admittedly his price has been held down by his pedigree, as by far the best progeny of Lucky Pulpit, who stands at just $7,500, and the only stakes horse under his first two dams.

Young and without runners (first covers, foals or yearlings)

£5,000 or less (€6,000 or less)

Cable Bay is set to have a large squad of runners in his debut season with two-year-olds in 2019, having covered 152 mares in his first season at Highclere Stud this year.

If the son of successful sire of sires Invincible Spirit manages to produce a good number of early winners, some of them classy, it could pay to have a Cable Bay yearling at the sales in 2019. A £5,000 fee next year appears a fair bet.

£5,500-£10,000 (€6,500-€12,000)

There appeared to be a bit of a buzz about the first crop of Epaulette at the yearling sales this autumn and out of 90 lots bred off a €7,500 fee offered, 75 sold for an average of 31,940gns and median of 22,409gns including four six-figure transactions.

He covered 140 mares in his first season in Ireland so should have a big army of two-year-olds to go to war with next year, when he could perhaps emulate his half-brother Helmet's freshman success in Europe.

Epaulette is slated to stand at €7,000 at Kildangan Stud next year.

£10,500-£25,000 (€12,500-€30,000)

Using the subfertile Al Kazeem comes with clear health warnings – it could be a struggle to get a mare in foal to him and he may have a fight on his hands to establish himself as a sire with a depleted number of runners to represent him, plus a blank year of progeny when he was returned to the track.

But those drawbacks are mitigated by a £12,000 fee at Oakgrove Stud for a well-bred son of Dubawi who scored in six consecutive seasons and in four Group 1s.

More than £25,000 (More than €30,000)

Regally bred Classic hero Australia has been given every chance to succeed in his second career – 55 and 28 black-type winners in his first two books of mares – and you would imagine his offspring will flourish at three, so it could be no bad thing to breed to him next year to produce a foal to sell as a yearling in his sophomore season.
Coolmore have cut his fee to €35,000 from €50,000 for 2017.

Young and with runners (first, second or third-season sires)

£5,000 or less (€6,000 or less)

Mrs Danvers, unbeaten this year in five starts including the Weatherbys Super Sprint and Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes, has been a wonderful advertisement for her sire Hellvelyn, who stands at Bucklands Farm and Stud at a fee of just £3,000.

Despite the fact Hellvelyn has not been granted the best chances, either in terms of quantity or quality, Mrs Danvers is no one-off. He is also the sire of high-class filly La Rioja and stakes-placed Bonnie Grey, Hellofahaste and Mister Trader.

£5,500-£10,000 (€6,500-€12,000)

Considering Helmet showed himself able to sire early two-year-olds with a notable double at Kempton in March, supplied a steady stream of winners throughout the season and was the only freshman this year to be represented by a Group 1 winner when Thunder Snow scored by a wide margin in the Criterium International, a fee increase of just £2,000 to £10,000 at Dalham Hall Stud next year looks far from unreasonable.

£10,500-£25,000 (€12,500-€30,000)

Another sire who has suffered fertility issues, Starspangledbanner, appeared to have shown a sudden improvement back at Coolmore in Ireland this year, with around 90 mares in foal.

He is set for a quieter time of it on the track, with no mares covered in Europe between 2013 and 2015, but he had some Australian foals during that time and memories of his strong start will not fade quickly, so crops bred after his rennaissance are bound to provoke interest at the sales.

More than £25,000 (More than €30,000)

Last year's leading first-season sire Zoffany may not have had the jaw-dropping results in 2016 as he did in 2015, when he notched three Royal Ascot winners, but he had 11 stakes performers in Europe and showed he could transmit Classic class with Oaks second Architecture and St Leger runner-up Ventura Storm.

Zoffany covered a good book this year, including lots of Galileo mares, so will have firepower in the future. His fee has been reduced by €10,000 to €35,000 at Coolmore for 2017.

One more established

£5,000 or less (€6,000 or less)

Finding a proven Flat sire at a chickenfeed fee is a tall order and requires some thinking outside the box. Perhaps there are bargains to be had for breeders unconstrained by commercial concerns and prepared to use one now advertised for the jumps.

Mount Nelson is one example, with the sire of 30 Flat performers with an RPR of 100 or higher standing at Boardsmill Stud at a fee of €4,500.

Jumps-oriented Champs Elysees, Dylan Thomas, Notnowcato and Shirocco were far from abject failures as Flat sires, either.

£5,500-£10,000 (€6,500-€12,000)

Versatility is one of the hallmarks of Lanwades Stud stalwart Sir Percy. The Derby hero can get you an early two-year-old, as shown this year by Washington Singer Stakes second and Superlative Stakes third Mr Scaramanga, and later-maturing types such as Sir John Hawkwood and Wake Forest, top-level winners on the international stage in 2016.

Sir Percy's yearling average price in Britain and Ireland this year shot up to 44,482gns this year, making his fee of £7,000 look attractive.

£10,500-£25,000 (€12,500-€30,000)

It could be a big year ahead for Mastercraftsman, with the foals bred in the afterglow of his fine freshman season – which included Racing Post Trophy winner Kingston Hill – set to turn two on January 1.

The Coolmore sire has maintained momentum in the intervening years, and had 19 stakes performers in Europe this year. His fee has been cut by €10,000 to €25,000 for 2017

More than £25,000 (More than €30,000)

Juddmonte has slashed the fee for Oasis Dream at Banstead Manor Stud in 2017 by a third to £50,000, likely in response to a quieter than usual year on the track with his progeny and a related dip in his yearling average at the sales this year.

But it is impossible to believe the sire of 15 Group/Grade 1 winners has suddenly lost his ability to produce high-class horses and if this year turns out to be an anomaly his revised fee will look cheap.

Especially as he has lots of well-bred young horses in the pipeline.

Golden oldie

£5,000 or less (€6,000 or less)

The sire of one of the best racecourse performers in Europe of 2016 is available at €4,000 next year, with Tagula set to command that fee in his 21st season at Rathbarry Stud.

Tagula's star performer was Limato, the clear-cut winner of the July Cup and Prix de la Foret, but he was also represented by Lingfield Derby Trial scorer and Derby fifth Humphrey Bogart.

Also the sire of champion Canford Cliffs, he could be a good option to help establish a young broodmare.

£5,500-£10,000 (€6,500-€12,000)

Brilliant miler Rock Of Gibraltar might not have soared to the heights expected of him – as his fee of just €9,000 at Coolmore next year demonstrates – but he has nonetheless supplied 14 top-level winners worldwide, including Society Rock.

The son of Danehill's yearling average dropped this year, although a few vendors got lucky with nine sold for €50,000 or more.

£10,500-£25,000 (€12,500-€30,000)

He is no relic – as proved by the fact his own sire, a true golden oldie, appears below – but Kyllachy is approaching the status of elder statesman at Cheveley Park Stud, where he will stand next year at the age of 19 at a fee of £15,000.

The sire of this season's Diamond Jubilee Stakes winner Twilight Son has covered healthy-sized books in the last three seasons and his yearling average in Europe improved to 56,890gns this year from 40,792gns in 2015.

More than £25,000 (More than €30,000)

There can be few sires still at stud who have exerted such a deep influence on pedigrees as Cheveley Park Stud's 23-year-old standard-bearer Pivotal, a noted sire of sires and broodmare sire. He even stands alongside a great-grandson in Garswood.

The fee for the sire of 25 Group 1 winners in 2017 is £40,000 – the lowest it has been since he was on his way to stardom in 2004.

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