Kingman the early kingpin in Deauville but long way to go
Chris McGrath reviews the first yearling sale returns for rookie sires
The market already makes up its mind about stallions with ridiculous haste, so the last thing anyone needs is some sweeping extrapolation from the first yearling sales credited to a dozen European freshmen at Deauville over the weekend. This was not so much the opening aria as a bell ringing in the foyer. At the same time, dividends achieved at Arqana's August Sale for now provide the only measure of how the nomination teams' patter might stand up in the marketplace.
Of course, many big studs view investment in yearlings as part of the budget committed to launching any young stallion. And just as an apparent "winner" on the numbers will sometimes have had a helping hand, so individual circumstances - a knock that hasn't quite healed, say - might explain why a small draft could condemn another sire as a "loser". The bottom line is that simply getting a yearling into a boutique catalogue is a legitimate achievement, and nearly all the rookies had a sale that multiplied his opening fee.
Expectations were arguably highest for Kingman: a Guineas winner by a sire of sires, out of a Classic-winning half-sister to Oasis Dream. He duly started on the highest fee of those represented here, while 280 mares covered in his first two crops included over 70 per cent black-type performers or producers. High stakes, then, but he matched that billing: while the accompanying table is ranked by average, he would also have come out top by median or aggregate.
The solid median is particularly pertinent, as he had enjoyed something of a windfall in being chosen as a partner for Ysoldina when her son by Pour Moi was being prepared for this sale in 2015. His subsequent Derby success boosted Ysoldina's Kingman filly to €750,000 on Sunday. But Kingman was no one-trick pony, laying down a lovely marker in the second lot of the sale, a colt from Ballylinch sold to Hong Kong for €360,000.
HOW FRESHMAN SIRES FARED AT ARQANA
Sire (2015 fee) Offered Sold Average Median Aggregate
Kingman (£55,000) 10 9* €274,444 €240,000 €2,470,000
Charm Spirit (£25,000) 6 5 €192,000 €120,000 €960,000
No Nay Never (€20,000) 7 7* €167,714 €75,000 €1,174,000
Anodin (€7,500) 3 1 €150,000 €150,000 €150,000
Australia (€50,000) 8 8* €132,857 €130,000 €1,030,000
Toronado(£15,000) 6 5 €105,400 €90,000 €527,000
Ruler Of The World (€15,000) 2 2* €85,000 €85,000 €170,000
Olympic Glory (€15,000) 11 9 €69,667 €55,000 €627,000
War Command (€15,000) 6 4 €66,750 €48,500 €267,000
Sea The Moon (£15,000) 2 1 €60,000 €60,000 €60,000
Verrazano ($22,500) 1 1* €30,000 €30,000 €30,000
Mukhadram (£7,000) 1 1 €20,000 €20,000 €20,000
*includes private sales; date does not include V2 sale
Charm Spirit, another son of Invincible Spirit, secured second place in the averages thanks largely to the half-brother to Qemah, sold to Shadwell for €500,000. But only one of his other five hit the buffers, the others realising six-figure returns to measure against a £25,000 covering fee.
If there was a much less even profile to seven lots by No Nay Never, a couple of knockouts – €480,000 and €400,000 – suggested some potential as an heir to his much mourned sire.
His Coolmore studmate Australia pitches to a different market, of course, as an Epsom Classic-winning son of two Epsom Classic winners. If he didn’t exactly hit the ball out of the ground, he certainly played with a much straighter bat: eight lots changing hands, all between €200,000 and €90,000.
Stallion sons of Galileo have been on a real roll of late, the elder of them now with a son of his own starting well at stud in Havana Gold. But there are plenty of them around, all needing outcross mares, and it remains to be seen who will get lasting support both from breeders and their own farms. For instance, the myopic treatment of his half-brother Duke Of Marmalade must be a concern for the other Derby winner just starting out for Coolmore. Fair play to Ruler Of The World, then, for making a strong return on his fee in a small Arqana draft.
The folly of reading too much into these skirmishes is measured by Anodin, a brother to Goldikova with every right to prove himself very good value at €7,500. No less a judge than Jean-Claude Rouget paid €150,000 for one of his sons, but his two others were led out forlornly unsold at €42,000 and €30,000.
What is true of Anodin's unreadable little sample is true of the whole rookie class. One swallow does not a summer make - and that cuts both ways. There is everything still to play for.