Spirited start a help for sires

Unheralded stallion taking the Australian sales by storm

Our Australian correspondent Danny Power this month highlights the extraordinary success of Eureka Stud’s Spirit Of Boom, who is currently dominating the freshman sires’ table in Australia by number of winners. At the time of writing, the son of Sequalo and great grandson of Thatching had ten winners to his name – six ahead of his nearest pursuer, Zoustar, who heads the table by prize-money thanks to his Magic Millions 2YO Classic-winning daughter Sunlight, who is co-owned by Tweenhills Stud’s Hannah Wall.

Spirit Of Boom’s ebutants have made such an impression that the demand for his stock at the recent Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale has seen his average rise to A$167,500

In a land where so much emphasis is placed on two-year-old racing, it has always seemed odd that there are relatively few juvenile contests. It’s not unusual for a stallion to be leading freshman in Australia without breaking into double figures for winners.

Spirit Of Boom’s racing debutants have made such an impression that the demand for his stock at the recent edition of the Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale has seen his average rise to A$167,500 (for 37 sold) from last year’s A$28,767 (for 30).

That’s the kind of explosive start of which every stallion master dreams when their charges’ first offspring hit the track. By the time this issue is published, the first European juvenile contests will have been run. With Doncaster’s Town Moor just about shrugging off the snow in time to embrace the new turf season, the Brocklesby will get the two-year-old ball rolling in Britain, and we can but hope to see a horse of the calibre of the 2016 winner The Last Lion.

Odds for the first-season sires’ championship are now available and it’s encouraging to see two Classic winners – Kingman and Australia – heading the market. With 114 and 123 first-crop foals respectively, each of them should be well represented later this season.

Among their counterparts who also have numbers on their side are Alhebayeb (128), Toronado (126), War Command (110), Sea The Moon (109), Charm Spirit (107) and Morpheus (106).

It’s not always just about having a numerical advantage, however. No Nay Never was not one of those with a three-figure first crop (he had 89 foals, still a decent amount) but even so seems likely to make a significant impact as his yearlings last autumn generally created a very good impression. It may well also be worth keeping an eye on Heeraat’s runners. He had 71 foals in his first crop but they too generally looked like well-made individuals who could be out fairly early. Considering he’s by Dark Angel out of a Green Desert mare, it seems likely that his offspring should favour shorter distances.

The breeze-up sales get under way later this month and provide an extra pointer to the currently unknown quantities among the sire ranks.

Phoenix Thoroughbreds made a splash at last year’s breeze-ups and the outfit’s eyecatching spending, through agent Kerri Radcliffe, has been rewarded with decent success already.

Dream Tree, selected at at Fasig-Tipton’s Gulfstream Sale for $750,000, is now a Grade 1 winner in the USA for Bob Baffert. Gronkowski, a 300,000gns purchase from the Craven Breeze-up, has won his last three starts, including a ‘win and you’re in’ qualifier for the Kentucky Derby at Kempton.

The third-most expensive lot at the Goffs UK Breeze-up, Gotti, has been runner-up in the UAE 2,000 Guineas, while the €1.4 million Arqana graduate Walk In The Sun is unbeaten in two starts and has Classic entries.

Phoenix Thoroughbreds will be without the services of Radcliffe this season but its representatives have already signed for the $875,000 top lot at the OBS March Sale in Florida.

With more than 100 extra juveniles catalogued for the first three breeze-up sales in Britain alone compared to last year, it will be no surprise to find that clearance rates fall in that ultra-selective tier of the market.

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