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No Nay Never Outstanding 2018 First Season Sire

Posted 27/1/2020

            Supporters of fellow sire Kingman may take exception to the headline siding with No Nay Never but my analysis of the performance of their offspring taking into account mare quality leaves no doubt in my mind as to its veracity. Whilst most of the focus in the breeding game is on the sire, it takes two to tango and the mare input is 50% of the resulting foal. Clearly the stallion supremacy stakes is not a fair race as the top racers get the best mares and in effect is a reverse handicap where the lower rated horses are given extra weight to carry making their task extremely difficult to say the least. Top sires with top mares will usually get more than their fair share of top racehorses resulting in a positive knock on effect on the all important market sentiment which can promote or finish a sire with sometimes undue haste. This analysis attempts to uncover stallions throughout the food chain who are outperforming in the reverse handicap. Below you can find the charts for the first two crops of the 2018 first season sires measuring mare ratings against progeny ratings with a trend-line approximately indicating an average of the cohort.

No Nay Never is the outstanding sire from 2018 so far. Kingman doing very well and Sea The Moon well ahead of expectationsNo Nay Never is the outstanding sire from 2018 so far. Kingman doing very well and Sea The Moon well ahead of expectations

No Nay Never's 2nd crop not quite so dominant but still relatively the best. Sea The Moon better than 1st crop and Kingman also doing very well. Charm Spirit and Toronado not doing badly but need more top performersNo Nay Never's 2nd crop not quite so dominant but still relatively the best. Sea The Moon better than 1st crop and Kingman also doing very well. Charm Spirit and Toronado not doing badly but need more top performers 

            Basically in their first crop, No Nay Never's progeny had a slightly higher average rating than Kingman's but from a group of mares 14 to 15 lbs inferior. We will never know, but the likelihood is that No Nay Never would have done even better with Kingman's quality of mare. In their second crops, Kingman's progeny rated around 3lbs better from a 13lbs better group of mares which, whilst not so obvious still puts No Nay Never ahead when comparing to the trend-line. It is also interesting to note that No Nay Never's 1st crop progeny improved about 3.5lbs on average in their second year which is slightly more than Kingman's and somewhat contrary to many forecasts that they would not train on so well.   

            No Nay Never's equalling of Kingman from inferior partners is backed up in terms of the similar number of quality black type performers with Kingman just edging out No Nay Never with 13 winners vs 12 and 8 placed vs 7 in the 1st crop but No Nay Never having 10 black type performers versus Kingman's 7 in the 2nd crop. Whilst averages are all well and good, the black type performers are critical for the rapidly changing market sentiment to be improved and the proof that the sire can get truly top performers which after all is the main aim of the game. Kingman has produced some top performers including French Guineas winner and French Derby second Persian King, St James's Palace Stakes second King Of Comedy, dual Group 2 winner Headman and Coventry Stakes winner Calyx who is shortly to embark on his own stallion career. No Nay Never has had Ten Sovereigns who won two Group 1 races in the Middle Park Stakes at 2 and the July Cup at 3, Coventry Stakes winner Arizona as well as Group 2 winners Mystery Power and Land Force. Not to be outdone by Kingman, both Ten Sovereigns and Land Force have joined Calyx in the stallion ranks. 

            To be clear, Kingman is an excellent stallion and will continue to receive top mares along with his stablemate Frankel to go along with his nomination fee rise to £150,000 but No Nay Never has catapulted to approximately the same cover fee from his initial fee of €20,000 (a third of Kingman's initial fee) and will surely get a better quality of mare starting from 2019 after his initial explosion on to the scene. Those horses will hit the track in 2022 when we will see if the relatively better mare quality pushes No Nay Never into a clear lead over Kingman. Incidentally when comparing 2016 First Season Sire Frankel with these two from the class of 2018 he comes out roughly 3lbs better than No Nay Never from a mare quality 17lbs better. For me, taking a line through No Nay Never to Kingman, this indicates a slight superiority of Frankel to Kingman but No Nay Never is the best of three excellent sires when comparing average runner ratings versus mare quality.

            Leaving aside the £150,000 and €175,000 stallions from the class of 2018 what else takes the eye from that year? Sea The Moon looks to have made an outstanding start to his stallion career. His first crop were joint 5th best in their first year from the fourth best group of mares and they have progressed in their second year to be 3rd best. His second crop look even better as from a group of mares some 5lbs lower than his 1st crop they are on average 2lbs better and are 4th best from the 5th highest group of mares. That is some performance for a horse whose best form was between 10 and 12 furlongs and whose progeny you would expect to improve at three years old significantly more than most of the progeny of other sires. In fact his 1st crop progeny improved 7lbs in their second year which is double or more than Kingman's and No Nay Never's. A more relevant comparison is to look at his performance versus those of Australia and Mukhadram who also excelled as racehorses over similar distances. Sea The Moon's 1st crop after two years are around 1lb ahead of Australia's and 8lbs ahead of Mukhadram's whilst his quality of mare was around 7lbs lower and 2lbs better respectively. His second crop is repeating the medicine being 2lbs better than Australia and 7lbs better than Mukhadram from mares 6lbs worse and 2lbs better respectively. The repetition of the 1st crop performance with a largely different group of mares is solid evidence that Sea The Moon is way ahead of the game for a middle distance sire and  is proving that he can inject plenty of speed into his offspring. True he will need to overcome the market desire for sprinter/miler sires and also he may have another headwind in terms of where many of his offspring reside with a relatively large proportion in Germany. Industry insiders probably will not attach so much value to performances in top races in Germany as they would in the UK and Ireland and so market sentiment may be lower than it should be unless corroborative form is achieved in the UK, Ireland or to some extent France. German Group 3 three year old Wonderful Moon is one who could raise the profile a lot in 2020 as well as Irish Group 2 winner Alpine Star.

            When comparing with Kingman, Sea The Moon's 1st crop is about 4lbs inferior from a 12lbs inferior group of mares and I would say that is relatively as good as can be seen by their proximity to the trend-line. He has 15 black type performers versus 21 for Kingman but not at the same quality level. His 2nd crop is some 6lbs down on ratings to Kingman's from a 13lbs inferior bunch of mares but with the likely year 2 improvement in this crop I would expect his progeny to be within 2 or 3lbs of Kingman by this time next year. Given the fact that Sea The Moon's advertised fee is 10% of Kingman's it is very clear to me where the value lies.

            Finally I would not write off Charm Spirit or Toronado from this 2018 class although they are clearly behind the principals discussed above. At reduced fees of £8,500 and €8,000 respectively they are not overpriced and "just" need a couple of headline makers to raise their profile and that all important market sentiment.