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2018 First Season Sires - 1st Crop/2nd Year

            I just re-read my analysis of the 1st crop in its 1st year which you can find in the relevant tab within the Research tab and am feeling rather smug with myself having made several predictions that played out pretty accurately as the progeny of this cohort of first season sires finished its second year on the track. Rather than repeat everything, including how the chart is put together and to understand it, I recommend that you go to the appropriate tab. Having said that, the second year of this 1st crop confirmed that No Nay Never does look like being an extraordinary sire even, dare I say it, relatively better than Frankel considering the quality of mares he covered which are around 17lbs inferior to the mighty one. He also did confirm in this crop's 2nd year his extraordinary promise shown in its 1st year and did have a significant fee increase from €100,000 to €175,000 for 2020. Kingman did continue to perform very well and was only outshone by No Nay Never based upon the fact that the latter achieved similar results from a group of mares some 14lbs inferior. Sea The Moon's 1st crop did improve significantly (some 7lbs) in its 2nd year and the progeny run rate did improve markedly to 70% from a low 1st year turn out. On the disappointing side of my predictions, Mukhadram's lot did not progress as well as I thought. 

            Specifically sire by sire:-

No Nay Never & Kingman - No Nay Never's progeny have a slightly higher average rating than Kingman's but from a group of mares 14lbs inferior. We will never know, but the likelihood is that No Nay Never would have done even better with Kingman's quality of mare. 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 (including mine!) that perhaps 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  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 (2nd crop) as well as Group 2 winners Mystery Power (2nd crop) and Land Force. Not to be outdone by Kingman, both Ten Sovereigns and Land Force have joined Calyx in the stallion ranks in 2020. 

            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 €175,000 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.


Sea The Moon, Australia & Mukhadram - 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. 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. 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. 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.

            A more relevant comparison is to look at Sea The Moon's 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. Clearly Sea The Moon has outperformed the other two sires with his 1st crop and, with Australia being three times the cover fee, that is a very significant start. 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. Two from his 2nd crop who could help combat these headwinds in 2020 are German Group 3 three year old Wonderful Moon as well as Irish Group 2 winner Alpine Star.

            Australia's 1st crop improved some 6 to 7lbs in its 2nd year as expected and he has got 7 stakes winners (5 placed) vs Sea The Moon's 6 (9 placed) from this 1st crop. However, the Group 1 eluded him as his best performers have been 2yo Group 2 winner Beyond Reason and 3yo Group 3 winners Bangkok, Broome, Buckhurst and Sir Ron Priestley. He was close to a couple of Group 1's as Sir Ron Priestley was 2nd in the St Leger and Broome a close up 4th in the English Derby. Mukhadram's progeny surprisingly did not progress which is surprising as he himself, a big unit, did not run at 2yo although he showed his best form at 4 and 5yo so perhaps we just have to be patient!

            Of these three middle distance horses I am clearly in Sea The Moon's camp and think he could push on even more in 2020 as his 2nd crop look very promising

 Charm Spirit, Toronado & Olympic Glory  Charm Spirit's progeny only improved 1-2lbs in their 2nd year. 71% of his progeny turned out at 2yo and that number rose to 86% at 3yo which was the highest of the whole cohort of 2018 sires. Perhaps that fact is somewhat linked to the modest improvement in year 2 as they had already been pretty exposed as juveniles. His 2yo stakes winner Yourtimeisnow did nothing after her Group 3 juvenile triumph and although his other promising 2yo Kick On did pick up a Group 3 at 3yo he was a tad disappointing. Whilst he has 4 Group 2/3 winners in his Southern Hemisphere crops, Charm Spirit needs a few top performers in his Northern Hemisphere crops to establish himself as a successful sire and perhaps it was no surprise to see his cover fee drop although more than I expected. 

            Toronado did pick up four black type winners in year 2 although all of them were at listed level and none in the UK or Ireland which would not help his profile. On the plus side, his progeny improved on average about 4lbs and finish around 2lbs higher than fellow French resident Olympic Glory managed to achieve from a very similar level of mare. The latter had one very good offspring in Watch Me who won the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot but apart from a couple of listed winners in France did not shine much more than that.

            I am not convinced that any of these sires will cause a major stir although I would not give up any of them entirely just yet and they are priced at sensible levels although I am not sure I would agree with Olympic Glory being put up €2,000 to €10,000 (probably on the back of Watch Me's performances) and for me Toronado is better value at €8,000 especially considering how their 2nd crops started.

Other sires - difficult to see any of the other sires making a significant impact as sires except for the odd progeny. Garswood did not do too badly with his 1st crop as two of them won Group 3's (Little Kim & Cala Tarida) in France and his 2nd crop from a lower level group of mares has done better, but I think it is a struggle for any sire who receives mares rated on average lower than 80 and so no surprise to see him moved on from Cheveley Park to a stud in France for 2020. Bungle Inthejungle was no better than average with his 1st crop despite producing Group 3 winner Rumble Inthejungle and although he has produced a Group 2 winner in Living In The Past from his 2nd crop, which looks to be set to do better than his 1st crop, I still think he has been over-priced at €12,000. In their 2nd crops, Coach House has produced listed winner Summer Sands whilst Slade Power has come up with Group 2 winner and twice Group 1 2nd Raffle Prize but I fail to see these achievements as being more than isolated cases of success. Gregorian may be the best of the rest but I do not think any of them will be future shapers of the thoroughbred breed.

            In summary, this looks like a strong class of first season sires at the top end with perhaps three of them (No Nay Never, Kingman and Sea The Moon) having significant futures and we may still see better from Australia, Charm Spirit and Toronado.


Jim Atkinson

James Ortega Bloodstock Ltd

29th January 2020