Stallion Update

Welcome to the latest Stallion Update for the 2017/2018 season which provides the final results for the season. There were very few significant changes since our last update in May, with Snitzel basically winning, and in most cases, dominating, every category in which he had runners.

He won the general sires premiership by earnings with record prizemoney $29.2 million. This was remarkably almost $14 million clear of runner-up I Am Invincible, with Fastnet Rock, High Chaparral, Street Cry, Not A Single Doubt and Sebring being the next six stallions home and also the only ones that accumulated more than $10 million in prizemoney earnings. Pierro finished tenth in the overall sires premiership, which is a remarkable effort considering he had only two crops racing.

By winners Snitzel (173) beat I Am Invincible (158), Written Tycoon (153), Sebring (147), and Fastnet Rock (136). Star Witness, in which we own a Laurel Oak share, was the eighteenth and last horse to crack the 100 winner mark for the season.

Snitzel (26) was the leading sire of stakes winners, followed by I Am Invincible (19), Fastnet Rock (18), Not A Single Doubt (16), with Sebring (13). They were the only stallions to have sired ten or more individual stakes winners for the season.

Snitzel also comfortably won the 3yo sires by earnings premiership from Fastnet Rock, Pierro, High Chaparral, I Am Invincible and Sebring. Similarly by 3yo winners, Snitzel (73) won from All Too Hard (62), Fastnet Rock and Sebring (both 58), Pierro (57) and I Am Invincible (55).

As we keep saying, one of the best predictors for the future premier stallions is the leading second-season sire table, and this year should be no exception. Pierro won comfortably from All Too Hard, with another big gap to Your Song, Ocean Park, Animal Kingdom and Reliable Man.

In the second-season sires premiership by winners, All Too Hard (75) beat Pierro (64) followed by Your Song (50), Ocean Park (27) and Delago Deluxe (25).

In the first-season sires premiership by earnings, Zoustar won with record first-season sire earnings of $3.2 million from Spirit Of Boom, who was well clear of Sizzling, Epaulette and Fighting Sun.

Spirit Of Boom (18) comfortably won the first-season sires premiership by winners, from Zoustar (10), Sizzling (9), and Epaulette and Shamus Award (both 6).

So what does all this mean when planning for the future at Laurel Oak? Part of the reason I do this regular update is to ensure that I keep perspective of the current and emerging patterns of success amongst the stallion ranks.

Looking into the future, Snitzel was so dominant this year that he should continue to dominate the sires premierships. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go and buy them now, because they are so expensive, but with the runners he has out there now, both in terms of quality and number, he should comfortably win the 2018/2019 general sires premiership along with most if not all the other premierships for which he is eligible. By way of example, if you took his highest earner out of his season earnings, The Everest winner, Redzel, then Snitzel would still have won the sires premiership by prizemoney by $7 million instead of $14 million. That is incredibly dominant.

By contrast, Street Cry, who came sixth, is the sire of Winx, and if you took her season earnings out of Street Cry’s prizemoney, he would have finished fourteenth on the premiership instead of fifth.

The three most dominant races on the calendar that singlehandedly can influence premierships are The Everest, the Melbourne Cup and the Golden Slipper. Subject to the influence of these races, next year’s likely top 5 will be Snitzel from I Am Invincible (who is having outstanding across-the-board success without one individual superstar), Fastnet Rock, Not A Single Doubt and Sebring, with Pierro the one with the potential to join them as he will have three crops racing rather than just two. Each of those stallions is still at stud covering big books, so they will have plenty of runners coming through.

Perhaps if Snitzel is vulnerable in one of the premierships that he has just won, it will be the leading sire by winners premiership, as runner-up I Am Invincible was only fifteen wins behind him, and is a prolific sire of short-course horses, which suit this particular premiership.

Traditionally the sire of the Melbourne Cup winner does not figure in the final premiership count because in most years it is a stallion that does not have a lot of runners in Australia. However in 2017 Rekindling won the Cup as a 3yo, and his sire, High Chaparral stood in Australia until he died in 2014, consequently High Chaparral was able to hold down fourth spot in both the general sires premiership and the 3yo sires premiership. Unless he has another “big three” winner, he will likely slip off the leader board, as his number of runners in Australia gradually decreases. For the same reason, once Winx retires the same will happen with Street Cry, who also died in 2014, so his youngest runners are now 4yos as he has no 3yos or 2yos coming through. [High Chaparral actually died in December 2014 at the end of the covering season, so he still has a 3yo crop coming through.]

Of the second-season sires All Too Hard should survive commercially as he was a clear second to Pierro by earnings, and won comfortably by winners in the second-season sires premiership. His consistency was further supported by the fact that he was second to Snitzel from amongst all stallions in the 3yo sires premiership by winners.

Of the other second-season sires, Your Song may start to teeter commercially unless he gets a surge of quality performers, while Ocean Park and Reliable Man will likely hang in commercially because they stand in New Zealand and therefore have fewer runners here plus they are producers of later-maturing horses so they would not be expected to be featuring high up on local sires premierships.

Of the first-season sires, the dominance of Zoustar (by prizemoney) and Spirit Of Boom (by winners) should ensure that they will have long-term commercial success but they do need to consolidate their positions on the upcoming second-season sires premiership to prove that their 3yos can repeat what their 2yos have achieved. Of the other second-season sires it will be interesting if any new young stallions emerge simply because their 3yos are superior to their 2yos. The best candidate for that later-maturity type emergence is Dundeel, while Sizzling and Epaulette appear to be the best other chances to survive commercially.

Trying to predict who will be the best of the new season first-season sires is a trickier scenario. The betting agencies have the new stallions in the following order for first-season sire honours by winners, which is what they bet on each year – Rubick, Deep Field, Brazen Beau, Dissident, Shooting To Win and Wandjina. They are the stallions in the market, with the others at long odds. I am happy to predict that the stallions that we have invested in with yearlings this year, Deep Field, Dissident and Wandjina, and in the case of Dissident with a share as well when he retired to stud, will be the premiership winners. My optimism is enhanced by the very encouraging early reports on each of the yearlings by those stallions.

All will be revealed in the coming months!

Also of interest at the end of the season is the fact that Encosta De Lago again won the broodmare sires by earnings premiership from Redoute’s Choice, Zabeel, Flying Spur and Danehill. Traditionally the broodmare sires premiership is dominated by the champion stallions of the past because they were at stud longer and covering the best mares, so in turn their broodmare daughters tend to be more successful producers.

In time the older stallions will die out of this list as they don’t have any younger broodmares coming through, and so it will be with Zabeel and Danehill (both born in 1986), who are the oldest stallions in the top 5 above, and they were previously the two dominant broodmare sires before a younger Encosta De Lago (born 1993) took over the lead as the Zabeel and Danehill daughter numbers started to decrease.

The heir apparent to the broodmare sire title is Redoute’s Choice, as he is three years younger than Encosta De Lago and still at stud so his numbers will increase as Encosta De Lago’s start to taper in time.