Brooding on lessons from the past
LONG involvement in the Australian thoroughbred industry, through its highs and lows, has taught me a few things and the huge prices paid for broodmares and broodmare prospects at last week’s Magic Millions Gold Coast sales set a few alarm bells ringing in my mind.
Admittedly, the market was fuelled by a lot of overseas investment but I can’t help but recall a number of past downturns in the breeding industry which is always sensitive to Australian and world economic conditions oversupply of racing stock.
With more than 40 new, unproven stallions retiring to Australian studs this spring, many standing at high fees, it seems me many breeders may struggle to obtain reasonable financial returns in the next few years if today’s buoyant market for weanlings and yearlings turns down, as it may well do if production of stock increases beyond demand and while the top of the market generally holds up, horses in the middle and lower price brackets are the hardest hit.
A decade ago, overproduction was a major concern in the Irish breeding industry which 2007 produced 12,633 foals. Following worldwide GFC in 2007/08 that figure dropped to 7,546 by 2012 – so overproduction was no longer a worry.
Better financial conditions, though, have since then seen the Irish foal crop increase to 9,381 in 2016 and again numbers may start to be a problem, an experience which provides lessons for breeders in this country. IRELAND’S great trainer Aidan O’Brien was last Saturday seeking his sixth success in the Derby at Epsom, sending a team of six to tackle the classic, five them by Galileo, first of his Derby winners back in 2001.
The odd horse out, so to speak, was 40/1 outsider Wings Of Eagles, a son of 2011 Derby winner Pour Moi (Montjeu), the only recent Derby winner for Coolmore partners not trained by O’Brien – but saddled by champion French mentor Andre Fabre.
With Douglas Macarthur (Galileo) sent out to ensure a strong pace, everything seemed to be going to plan as stable elect Cliffs Of Moher (Galileo), with Ryan Moore in the saddle, hit the front in the final stages before Padraig Beggy brought Wings Of Eagles with a late swoop to seal a three-quarters of length victory which was soft in the end.
Third placed Cracksman (Frankel), just a neck further back, and fourth Eminent (Frankel) may be the improvers from the race and may clash again with Wings Of Eagles in next month’s Irish Derby.
For Pour Moi, previously a shuttler to New Zealand, the Derby win may rescue his ailing stud career in Ireland where he has moved from Coolmore’s main farm to a satellite farm and is being advertised as a dual purpose stallion suitable for breeders of jumpers.
Wings Of Eagles is a half-brother to three winners, two them stakes placed, from the well performed French mare Ysoldina, a daughter of Kendor (Kenmare), shuttler for a short time some years ago to Arrowfield Stud in NSW.
Ysoldina won France as a twoyear-old and placed in six blacktype events, including a third in the French One Thousand Guineas.
Run in torrential rain 24 hours before the Derby, the 2017 Oaks was won dashing style (five lengths) by Juddmonte Farms’ home-bred filly Enable in race record time of 2:34.12, beating Coolmore’s odds-on favourite Rhododendron (Galileo) with Alluringly (Fastnet Rock) another six lengths away in third place.
Linebred 3 x 2 to Sadler’s Wells, Enable comes from the first crop of her dual Group 1 – winning sire Nathaniel (Galileo) while her superbly related, stakes-winning dam Concentric is a daughter of Sadler’s Wells, the sire of Galileo.
The classic scene moved to France last Sunday when Brametot had a narrow win in the Prix du Jockey Club (Gr. 1, 2100m), shortened French Derby, at Chantilly which followed on from his earlier narrow triumph in the French Two Thousand Guineas (Gr. 1, 1600m).
Brametot is the star of the first crop by French sire Rajsaman (Linamix) while his German-bred dam Morning Light (Law Society) is out of stakes winner Mosella (Surumu), a half-sister to six times champion German sire Monsun, sire of Melbourne Cup winners Fiorente, Protectionist and Almandin. CHAMPION sire Deep Impact (Sunday Silence) added to his tally of Group 1 winners in Japan last Sunday when six-year-old stallion Satono Aladdin downed Logotype (Lohengrin) by a neck in the Yasuda Kinen (Gr. 1, 1600m) at Tokyo.
It was the eighth and most important win of Satono Aladdin’s 25-start career this brother to Group 1-winning filly Lachesis is out of yet another top quality American mare brought to Japan for breeding, Storm Magic (Storm Cat), winner of the Breeders’ Cup Oaks in her racing days.
Magic Storm’s dam Foppy Dancer is by Fappiano from stakes winner Water Dance (Nijinsky), a halfsister to champion Little Current and other major winners. GLOBETROTTING Coolmore star Highland Reel (Galileo) has come back as good as ever as a five-yearold, recording a comfortable success first-up in last Friday’s Coronation Cup (Gr. 1, 2400m) at Epsom.
Now winner of five Group 1s in Britain, the United States and Hong Kong, W.S. Cox placegetter should one day return to Australia as a stallion and being out of Australian-bred Hveger (Danehill – Circles of Gold, by Marscay), a placegetter in two Oaks and sister to Elvstroem, he should be well supported by breeders who value both pedigree and durability. DARLEY reverse shuttler Sepoy (Elusive Quality) continues to have much greater success as a sire in Europe than in Australia, with his daughter Unforgetable Filly last week winning a Listed event in Britain to become his fifth stakes winner.
The former champion Australian two-year-old is yet to have a stakes winner at home, so it would not surprise if Darley soon decides to base him permanently in Britain or Ireland with the Australian stallion market being so competitive.