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Bloodstock world views

The book sizes of Champs Elysees fluctuated dramatically at Banstead Manor Stud

roughly the time it takes for the success of one crop to be translated into another. The 2009 Irish 2,000 Guineas winner made a fast start at stud with a first crop numbering 135 foals. Mastercraftsman duly became 2013’s leading first-crop sire, thanks to the Group successes of Kingston Hill (Racing Post Trophy), Amazing Maria and Craftsman. This first crop did even better at three in 2014, when The Grey Gatsby won the Dante Stakes and Prix du Jockey Club and Kingston Hill finished second in the Derby before going on to St Leger glory. There was also an Italian Classic success, when the filly Vague Nouvelle took the Premio Regina Elena. These results presented Mastercraftsman with every chance of shining again with his 2015 and 2016 crops, the former sired at an increased fee of €35,000 and the latter at €40,000. Mastercraftsman’s 2015 crop was not only his most expensive up to that point but also his largest at 174 and his 2016 crop numbers 130. In addition to Alpha Centauri, the 2015 crop includes Wind Chimes, an unbeaten two-year-old who was a close third in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches. However, there were a few comparatively fallow years in between those Classic-winning seasons in 2014 and 2018. With his second and third crops both being smaller than the first, at 114 and 98 foals, neither has come close to matching the first crop’s excellent totals of ten Group winners headed by three Group 1 winners. There were just two

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Group winners in his 2012 crop, five in the 2013 crop (but no Group 1 winners) and just one Group winner so far in his large 2014 crop (which was sired at a reduced fee of €12,500). A second downturn in Mastercraftsman’s career may already have been set in motion, as his 2016 and 2017 books stood at 104 and 108 mares and his fee was back down to €25,000 by 2017.

American switch

It will also be interesting to see how the career of Declaration Of War develops. Although he has the Poule d’Essai des Poulains winner Olmedo in his first crop, the picture has been somewhat clouded by the decision to move the son of War Front to the US, after just one season in Ireland. The move was motivated by the fact that Declaration Of War finished a close third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt after the decision had been made to base this winner of the Queen Anne Stakes and the Juddmonte International in Ireland. Young American-based stallions frequently find support steadily ebbing away from them over their first four seasons and Declaration Of War’s first three years at Ashford Stud have seen him cover 192, 154 and 128 mares. While a book of 128 mares is more than enough to help a stallion prove himself, it is still only two-thirds as big as Declaration Of War’s first American book. In other words, that third American crop may one day pale in comparison with the first, simply because

not enough attention is paid to crop size and percentages. The last Classic stallion on a rollercoaster ride is New Approach, who represents the bridge between Galileo and Masar in this impressive trio of Derby winners. Needless to say, New Approach began his stallion career in a blaze of glory, with the future 2,000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach among his three juvenile stakes winners at the 2012 Royal Ascot meeting. Bearing in mind that that first crop also produced the Oaks winner Talent and the Derby runner-up Libertarian, New Approach could hardly have made a better start and this first crop ultimately produced eight Group winners, including three at Group 1 level. As the champion colt of his generation at both two and three, New Approach appeared to be perfectly placed to follow in the footsteps of his sire Galileo. His fee quickly rose, to £50,000 in 2013 and to £80,000 in 2014 and 2015, which seemed likely to guarantee him even better mares. However, the fact that his fee was back down to £30,000 by 2017 tells its own story. Although there were two Group 1 winners among the four Group winners in his second crop, these two – Potemkin and Elliptique – didn’t gain that status until they were five in 2016. Crops number three and four have produced just three Group winners between them, none at Group 1 level, but they can be partially excused because they were sired at a reduced fee of £22,500. The £50,000 2014 crop has also fallen below expected standards, its only Group winner so far being the Group 2-winning filly Strathspey. However, we have another example here of Classic success being repeated five years down the line, with Masar emerging from New Approach’s first £80,000 crop to win the Derby. As his progeny have now won the 2,000 Guineas, Oaks and Derby, New Approach has clearly earned further firstrate opportunities but his crop size has been falling – no doubt partly because he is a rig who needs careful management during the breeding season. All in all, these stories appear to add up to one of success breeding further success. Spare a thought, though, for these stallions when things aren’t going so well – a sire can’t be a good stallion one year and not worthy of support the next. Commercially it could pay not to join the rush to pay top dollar to access the in-vogue stallions, but to support him a year or two later, so that your youngster arrives at the sales at a time when the stallion’s progeny are again excelling on the racecourse.


28/06/2018 09:15

Profile for Thoroughbred Owner Breeder

Thoroughbred Owner Breeder  

Incorporating Pacemaker - July 2018 July's issue features a fascinating interview with Chasemore Farm's Andrew Black who is making his mark...

Thoroughbred Owner Breeder  

Incorporating Pacemaker - July 2018 July's issue features a fascinating interview with Chasemore Farm's Andrew Black who is making his mark...