More on overseas sire lines – Turf Talk: 11 September 2017

Acclamation at Rathberry Stud.

Acclamation at Rathberry Stud.

At a time when the mid-ranges of the South African breeding industry are being hammered by the sales results of 2017, it might be thought insensitive to advocate overseas purchasing.

In one sense, there‟s no “might be” about it. Saying “Hey let’s go and spend money you haven’t been able to earn” would be downright offensive. Those in our industry who don‟t have to work to the bottom line, or if they do can subsidise the business when it drops into the red, are financially bomb proof. They can and do spend overseas whether investing in farms and stock for those farms or sending runners or importing new stallions. If they do it well, the trickle-down back into SA racing and breeding will always be valuable.

But for those who must work to the bottom line with a bank obligation, a family, workforce and future to safeguard, singing “Come Buy With Me”, to paraphrase the Sinatra title, would be taking the you-know-what.

Nevertheless, being armed with information and having a plan formulated in advance of our next rise in prices and/or the arrival through the door of the next investor is essential.

Whilst it is not possible to follow all racing everywhere, it is important to be ahead of the game not behind it, and to have the background information to take full advantage of opportunities.

Where some SA yearling or breeding stock buyers will have researched deeply and will lap up new names, recognising them from overseas achievement, others are working from the base of what has already happened within South Africa. It is the blend of the two that is essential to the refreshment of a tired gene pool – as well as being exciting.

Nothing in the 2017 run of poor sales results is clearer than the incredibly narrow band of sires that are “wanted”. Or, conversely, the long list of sires of good winners whose correct, attractive progeny are not wanted. The essential truth is that there is insufficient support in actual end users (real owners) of racehorses in the current circumstances, whether by virtue of “the economy”, the paucity of real buyers or some real or exaggerated progeny reputations that seem to “stick”. Trainers-as-buyers face a tough task convincing doubtful cheque signers that “this colt by [not one of the obvious few] could be a really good prospect”.

As the sun was setting in Johannesburg on 16th July, off a flight from the North and waiting for a pivotal meeting between sales companies, I wrote my Turf Talk-Monday column for the next day, extolling the virtues of the Royal Applause/Acclamation sire line as ideal for South Africa.

Harry Angel (Dark Angel) – Gr1 Darley July Cup winner – got a mention in that piece. He followed up on Saturday winning the Haydock Sprint Cup Gr1 proving that he can handle any ground. This race has been won by Green Desert and Danehill, Dayjur and Invincible Spirit, and Royal Applause himself.

Harry Angel reconfirmed his future in the Darley Stallion ranks with a runaway win. He may well stay in training as a 4 year old before covering mares. The recent tongue lashing dished out to stallion owners, including Darley, for standing too few stallions that have performed beyond a mile will not deter them from putting this super speedster up in lights.

Meanwhile, have a look at the table (Leading Sires in Europe 2017, page 3) to see how well all three of those antecedents of Harry Angel are doing today.

Old Royal Applause is gone but is still 17th by Sires of European Winners. His son Acclamation remains one of the best commercial sires and sits 3rd, his 103 winners including Gr1 Coolmore Nun-thorpe Stakes filly Marsha. Acclamation (now 18) covered 104 mares last year.

Meanwhile, just above him in 2nd is one of the hot-test of the hot Dark Angel, now 12 having retired at 2 and gone to stud at 3 as is happening quite of-ten these days. Dark Angel has transcended that methodical quest for cheap speed and is sire not only of Harry Angel but also of Mecca‟s Angel who won that Nunthorpe Stakes twice. He covered 195 last year at a fee of €65,000, not far off a million rand, a lot more rand a year ago and way above cheap speed levels.

When it comes to money won, Galileo (now 19 – 158 mares when 18) is miles ahead with £9.4 million pounds compared to Dubawi (15 – 159) next at £3.6 million (boosted yesterday by Shamreen‟s Gr2 win in the race in which Smart Call finished 6th) but only a little ahead of Dark Angel at around £3 million and Acclamation very competitive at £2.4 million.

Equiano (Acclamation) – the same age as Dark Angel, with 95 mares last year, the books in England being generally smaller than in Ireland – won the Gr1 Kings Stand Stakes at The Royal Meeting twice and is sire of Gr1 winner The Tin Man (see Turf Talk 26th June also 3rd in Saturdays Gr1 Haydock Sprint. Standing at Dr Andreas Jacobs‟ Newsells Park Stud and advertised in Maine Chance yellow and black, he sires sensibly priced yearlings, some of which we shall be seeing from next week at Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sales.

Equiano advert. Medicine Jack was the one on which we underbid

Equiano advert. Medicine Jack was the one on which we underbid

There we shall try not to repeat the mistake of two years ago when under bidder on a cracking Equiano colt very early in the sale. Nine months later, he won the Gr2 Railway Stakes at The Curragh multiplying his value. Equiano is a good way into this blood.

Elsewhere in the table, we pick out the recently retired Kyllachy (Pivotal) a speed sire often recommended by us as a broodmare sire, the strength of Mastercraftsman (Danehill Dancer) who will only get even better as his best bred crops come through now and the greatly underrated Footstepsinthesand (Giant‟s Causeway).

Finally, “Rocky”. Rock of Gibraltar fades then comes back, fades then comes back. Right up there in 13th, his 2017 performance should give heart to those who have invested in his youngsters who came into the country in utero in the CTS mare deals. Rocky (18 years old) covered 87 mares this year, down from previous heights, but still in demand. – tt.

Statistics supplied by Hyperion Promotions, as used is EBN. Includes results to 7 September

Statistics supplied by Hyperion Promotions, as used is EBN. Includes results to 7 September