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 2017 First Season Sires - 1st Crop 2nd Year


            Camelot, Farhh and Intello were the big movers from the first season sire class of 2017 during their second year in 2018. As predicted, Camelot and Intello were expected to improve their position of runner ratings in relation to mare quality as it was difficult to see their offspring flying at two years old whilst Farhh's progeny also improved significantly versus the trendline. One could have expected a few others to show similar improvement but it was not forthcoming.

            This year I have added the number of black type winners and placed offspring as part of the graph as this offers additional insights into how these sires have performed. As a reminder, the numbers after the sire's name refer to his optimal distance, his size in hands high, the % of potential runners to run, the number of runners who have run, number of offspring in this crop, Black Type winners and placed offspring and stud fee for the crop. Below you can see the chart as at the end of December 2018 and also the one at the end of December 2017 for comparison purposes. As I have mentioned before, the trendline is only a rough indicator but it is possible to draw important conclusions from the graph and its movement over time. So how are they doing with their first crop?



Camelot - Has moved from a 1lb above the line to 3lbs above it for a positive move of 2lbs relative to "standard". Moreover his average runner rating has improved 6.5lbs to 77.8 and he has accumulated eleven black type winners and seven placed horses including his first Classic winner when Latrobe won the Irish Derby. He also managed a second Group 1 with Athena winning at Belmont Park. 78% of his offspring have run which shows an inclination towards getting horses that are sound and able to hit the track as the average for the class is 75%. I believe that 2018 has been a very good year for Camelot and he has produced the best ratings from the fourth best quality of mare in this group. When I compare him with the 2016 class against more comparable types he comes out inferior to Frankel, whose average runner rating was 7lbs higher at 85.8 but from a 12lbs better class of mare (101.8 vs 89.9 for Camelot), but 3.6lbs better than Nathaniel who had an average runner rating of 74.2 from an average mare rating of 89.7 which is approximately the same as Camelot. Camelot is clearly out performing Nathaniel with his first crop whilst lagging behind Frankel (not difficult to do!) as I would expect a 12lbs better bunch of mares to give 3-4lbs higher runner rating more or less and not the 7lbs better that Frankel's 1st crop achieved.

Intello - He did not have a great start last year having the fifth highest rated runners from the best bunch of mares but as expected he has picked up in 2018 and is now slightly above the trendline with the third best rated runners from the best bunch of mares. Furthermore his average runner rating has improved 6.8lbs to 76.4 from an average mare quality of 93.3. Thus his offspring are 2.4lbs below Camelot from a better quality of mare by 3.4lbs confirming that Camelot is clearly ahead of Intello at the moment when comparing offspring ratings with mare quality as I would expect Intello to have been a 1lb or so higher in runner ratings not 2.4lbs below. With respect to Nathaniel, Intello is 2.2lbs better from a quality of mare 3.6lbs higher which would indicate to me that Intello is doing a 1lb or more on average runner ratings better than Nathaniel when comparing their first crops. Whilst Nathaniel had a superstar in Enable, Intello can also point to Jean Prat Prix winner Intellogent as an indicator of the ability to produce top quality progeny. Intello also has had 80% of his progeny race and, like Camelot, this is a good sign with regard to getting sound sons and daughters.

Farhh - Farhh improved a couple of pounds north against the trendline in relation to the standard line and his average runner rating improved markedly late in the year to 76.9 from a mare quality rating of 83.4. From 38 potential runners (30 actual runners), versus 145 (114 actual) for Camelot, he has accumulated three black type winners (Camelot 11 winners) including Group 2 winner Nocturnal Fox and double Group 3 winner Wells Farhh Go whilst Dee Ex Bee has a couple of Group 1 places to his name including second in the Derby. Improving horses such as handicappers Elegiac (104) and Bedouin's Story (95) plus listed placed Move Swiftly (104) all contributed significantly to the 2018 1st crop performance. The quality of these runners and others is impressive considering his crop size and Farhh continues to be one to bear in mind for long term success despite his fertility issues but you are unlikely to see him at the top of any table due to the limited crops.

Lethal Force - Slightly below the standard line in his first year he has made average progress to sit just on it as at the end of 2018. The average runner rating has improved by 3.4lbs to 71.1 from a mare quality of 81.3lbs and 74% of his offspring have run. Comparing this with his stablemate Mayson from the 2016 crop who had an average runner rating of 72.6 from a mare quality of 81.6, Lethal Force is not performing too badly but a bit below his stablemate's level. Where he is having trouble is in getting some star performers and to date has no black type winners from this crop although he has four stakes placed horses. He was best at four when a racehorse and perhaps he is a slow burner from this 2017 class. Don't write him off yet despite his lack of top line performers but he needs to show something better in 2019 based on the evidence of this 1st crop.

Society Rock - Kept his position more or less relative to the trendline with his runners improving around 0.8lbs to 67.7 from a mare quality of 75.5. As I suspected might happen, his first crop did not show a big level of improvement from their two year old days. 80% of his offspring have run which is one of the best % of the class. Whilst there is quite a lot of noise about what a loss Society Rock is to the stallion ranks and he has produced some good headline horses like Unfortunately, Tangled, Corinthia Knight and King Of Hearts in this 1st crop I would say that Sir Prancealot from the 2016 class did much better with an average runner rating of 73.2 (5.5lbs better) from a quality of mare only 1.9lbs better at 77.4. Nevertheless, Society Rock has done ok at the cheaper, speedy end and it is a shame he is not still around as he also managed two black type winners in Unfortunately (now at stud) and Corinthia Knight and four stakes placed horses in this crop alone.

Havana Gold - After being slightly above the trendline in 2017, his progeny have not progressed much on average and he now sits on the line with his average runner having improved only 1.5lbs to 70.2 from a mare quality of 81.7. This positions him 0.9lbs behind Lethal Force on runner ratings from a mare quality 0.4lbs better which is not something you would have expected given some high profile performers he has had including Group 1 winner Havana Grey, who won the Flying Five Stakes this year and has now gone to stud himself, and Group 3 winner Treasuring. Indeed he has had a remarkable five black type winners and one placed stakes horse which perhaps has over-hyped him as one of the future stallion stars although it is no mean feat to get top horses like these from a relatively average bunch of mares. Havana Gold has also had 82% of his offspring run from this 1st crop which is another positive but overall a disappointing second year.

Epaulette - He has moved south by a pound or so towards the trendline after being 8th highest in terms of runner ratings from the 12th best bunch of mares in 2017. His average runner rating is now 68.7 only 1.1lbs up from December 2017 from an average mare quality of 73.2lbs. He has had 81% of his offspring run but he has had no black type winners and five placed horses which positions him in a similar vein to Lethal Force in that he needs a star from this first crop in the Northern Hemisphere. He did get a Group 1 winner in South Africa from his Southern Hemisphere crop and has had a couple of Group 3 winners in Australia but he has not made the breakthrough yet with this crop in the North. He is doing quite well from a low level bunch of mares (eighth best runner ratings from the eleventh best quality mare cohort) and his success in the South augurs well for him making it in the North although success in one hemisphere is no guarantee of success in the other and he may need a better quality of mare in the North to show it.

Dawn Approach - His average runner rating has improved 2.1lbs to 72.4 from a mare quality average of 92.4 which puts him 5.4lbs behind Camelot from a 2.5lbs superior quality of mare. Camelot can claim further strength from the fact that you would have expected his offspring to improve more over time and that he has a 78% runner ratio whereas Dawn Approach has only had 67% of his 1st crop run. Considering he was a very early type himself and showed his best form at 7/8f this low runner rate is a negative and concerning. Despite the second best quality of mare covered he only figures at fifth best with his progeny performance with only three stakes winners from this crop. Unfortunately one of the, Mary Tudor, who finished third in the Irish Oaks, has since died. Dawn Approach's first crop must have disappointed connections as after cover fee cuts in 2017 and 2018 he has had another cut to €15,000 for 2019 which is well below the €35,000 that this first crop was bred from. He needs to see improved results going forward quickly.

Declaration Of War - In relation to the trendline he has declined being around 1 to 2lbs below it although his average runner rating has improved 3.6lbs to 73.7 from a mare quality of 91.1lbs. He has had Classic success winning the French 2000 Guineas with Olmedo but the number of black type performers is almost a third of Camelot's from a similar crop size and a mare quality 1.2lbs higher and his average runner rating is 4.1lbs behind the Coolmore stallion. He has had 74% of his crop run which is only 1% down on the average whereas he was some 10% down on the average for the 1st year of this crop which suggests that they have taken some time to develop.

Cityscape/Swiss Spirit/Red Jazz/Most Improved - Red Jazz and Swiss Spirit both improved their average progeny performance by a couple of lbs or so with the former getting a number of winners in Italy, Snazzy Jazzy winning a Group 3 in France and Urban Beat an improving handicapper. Cityscape did have three three black type winners in the Spring of 2018 but overall his progeny did not improve in 2018 and only 64% of them have run. Most Improved went backwards versus the trendline and it looks tough for any of these stallions to make a serious impact on the game. Indeed Swiss Spirit has moved to Batsford Stud from Whitsbury Manor Stud and had his cover fee cut to £3000 whilst Red Jazz now stands in Germany.


Summary - Camelot stands out for me as the stallion from the 2017 crop with the best chance to make a long term impact on the breeding of thoroughbreds. From the fourth best average quality of mare he is out in front and consistently proving he is adding a bit extra in the production of his offspring. Intello is on the up with his 1st crop improving plenty in 2018 as was expected with 13 stakes performers including 7 winners. Farhh continues to indicate that what he lacks in numbers he has spades of in quality. Havana Gold has disappointed me in terms of the average runner rating in 2018 for this crop but has certainly proved he can produce a good one and Havana Grey's Group 1 win helps to dispel any thoughts that his offspring do not train on so well. Lethal Force has made a reasonable start but clearly he needs a top line performer or two to capture the industry's imagination. Epaulette progeny did not improve so much at three which was a bit disappointing and I sense that market sentiment is against him. Whilst it is still relatively early days, of the other two sires with a higher quality book of mares Dawn Approach has not had a great start and must do better soon or he will be packed off somewhere else. Declaration Of War did not do so badly but does not convince me as successful long term prospect whilst Cityscape, Swiss Spirit, Red Jazz and Most Improved are up against it. As for Society Rock, his fate is already sealed. 

This analysis should be read in conjunction with the one on the 1st year of the 2nd crop which has not been considered here.


Jim Atkinson

James Ortega Bloodstock Ltd

January 6th 2019