When analyzing the potential of young sires it is often informative to know about the farm where they stand and who owns the stallion. The reason for this is because some farms/owners have expansive broodmare bands with which to support their own stallions. Other farms may have great clientele who will support a stallion or may offer incentives to attract outside mares.
I mention this because this week Juddmonte Farms released a list of some of their major breeding plans for 2019. You can read more about them here. For most racing fans the green and pink silks of Prince Khalid Abdullah are quite familiar having been carried by greats like Frankel, Dancing Brave and Enable to name just three of their European runners. American’s likely recognize the silks of Arrogate, Empire Maker and Honest Lady.
Juddmonte is generally a breed to race operation. They occasionally make outside purchases (like Arrogate) and they do cull much of their stock but often after those horses have been disappointing on the track. They have farms in both England and Kentucky where they stand their own stallions and keep their own mares. Of course all of their stallions are open to outside breeders at the right price but Juddmonte does its best to support new stallions with their own mares.
In the article linked above there are breakdowns of what mares are going to each of Juddmonte’s stallions standing at their Banstead Manor Stud in England. Those sires are Oasis Dream, Frankel, Bated Breath, Kingman and Expert Eye. Oasis Dream and Frankel are both established sires who will attract a great deal of interest from outside breeders (but hey if you owned Frankel you’d be sending mares to him too!). The way the three younger stallions are being managed is more interesting.
Bated Breath began his stud career first, in 2013. He was a crack sprinter who set a track record in the Temple Stakes (G2). By Dansili out of the Juddmonte homebred mare Tantina who also produced group one winner Cityscape and was a half sister to Champion Xaar. Bated Breath never won at the top level but finished second in four grade/group ones including once by a scant nose. Of course his sire Dansili famously never won at the top level but performed outstandingly otherwise and rose to the top of the stallion ranks in spite of it. Bated Breath has consistently been supported by well bred house mares by stallions like Gone West, Galileo and Beat Hollow and Juddmonte has been rewarded with several black type horses. The article mentions four well-bred mares heading to Bated Breath this year but his popularity has been solidified with outside breeders.
Kingman lists thirteen of Juddmonte’s mares set to be mated with him. The young stallion’s oldest foals just turned three and Juddmonte has already been well rewarded by their support for this four time Group One winner by Invincible Spirit. They bred and own Kingman’s phenomenal star Calyx who dominated a field at last year’s Royal Ascot meet. Kingman retired with stronger credentials than Bated Breath but the farm still sent a number of well-bred mares to him in his first season and in subsequent years. Calyx is out of the Observatory mare Helleborine, a group three winner and group one placed race mare who is a full sister to group one winner and black type producer African Rose. Juddmonte also sent mares by Dansili and Empire Maker to Kingman, to name just a few. As they have supported him through subsequent crops it is likely that Kingman will not suffer the third and fourth crop downturns that many young sires see. These two crops are usually difficult for young sires to fill as they are not the ‘hot new thing’ and when those foals are bred the sire’s first crop will have been judged as yearlings and two year olds.
That brings us to Expert Eye. American readers may remember him for his dramatic victory in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Mile. Europeans may need a reminder too. He was a multiple group winner in England but had never won at the top level prior to the Breeders’ Cup, after which he was retired. Expert Eye comes from a stellar Juddmonte female family that has produced American stars Sightseek and Tates Creek as well as European champion Special Duty. Expert Eye’s dam Exemplify was sent to an outside stallion, Acclamation to produce him. (Incidentally Exemplify was sent to Kingman the year after she produced Expert Eye.) Acclamation is an important sire in Europe, not just because he is a very good sire but because he is one of the very few (if not the only) major sires who does not carry a strain of Northern Dancer while surrounded by a large mare pool saturated with that sire. Exemplify is a daughter of Dansili but still opens Expert Eye’s book to Sadler’s Wells line mares and other Danzg-line mares. Juddmonte is sending twelve mares to him this season, giving him a good foundation to make the best start to his career as possible.
Juddmonte has done very well developing stallions (particularly in Europe) due in large part to their fantastic mare band and their commitment to their home-bred males. So how does this help the average sim player? Part of that question resides in that unknown factor – how does Mike rate young stallions. Does he take into account the type of book a stallion is likely to get based on where they stand? I would like to think he might, even if that advantage is only weighted slightly. Expert Eye has been coming up in the current sire sale fairly regularly. That slight advantage makes me more likely to pick him up than stallions who lack that extra commitment who are also dropping into that under 175 price range.