Cover image courtesy of Inglis
Racing is a game where being relevant is always vital, but especially in the breeding game, where a well-timed run of form can launch the progeny of a stallion to strong prices at subsequent yearling sales.
Now just past the halfway mark of the 2023/24 racing season in the Southern Hemisphere, younger stallions are starting to make their cases on the racetracks as to why trainers and syndicators should be clamouring for their next crop.
Ahead of the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, The Thoroughbred Report takes a look at some of the young stallions who have found a groove that holds interest in the coming days of selling.
Pierata putting best hoof forward
One of the best sprinters of his generation on the racetrack, it has been a strong early start for Pierata, who has quickly established himself amongst the better first-season sires of the current class.
One doesn’t need to look further back than Saturday to see the quality of his progeny, with Coleman an arrogant winner of the G3 Chairman’s S. at Caulfield, and now looks to be a leading force in the G1 Blue Diamond S. on February 17.
While Coleman may be his only winner on the board to date, there looks to be a pool of quality emerging, with seven of his 13 runners recording placings, including the James Harron Colt Syndicate-owned Fearless.
Claudia McDougall, the nominations, sales and marketing executive at Yulong Stud, told The Thoroughbred Report there is a lot more to come from their resident emerging stallion.
“He's made a fantastic start,” she said on Thursday. “He's had Coleman, who not only won the Listed (Debutant S.) first time out, but then went on to win a Group race (the G3 Chairman’s S.) just last week.
“Then also last week, he had two Group 3-placed horses (Fearless and Wave Breaker) as well, which is just fantastic. So he's sitting there, just lurking underneath Alabama Express at the moment. It's quite exciting to have two (stallions) that are potentially in contention with taking the lead in the first-season sires’ title this year.
“He's been a popular horse all the way through. The first-crop yield has sold particularly well, he had the filly out of Loving Gaby, that's with Ciaron (Maher).
“He's (Pierata) been a popular horse all the way through. The first-crop yield has sold particularly well, he had the filly out of Loving Gaby, that's with Ciaron (Maher).” - Claudia McDougall
“We certainly sold a nice type at Magic Millions again last year. So people are actively seeking him with the results he's having now, he's proven that there possibly is some value to be had with this second crop coming through. I'd imagine they will be only going up in price for him now, particularly if we have a Blue Diamond (winner) in a couple of weeks.”
An even dozen of Pierata’s second crop are set to go through the ring in the coming days, with a perfect split of six colts and six fillies.
Exceedance exceeds early expectations
Himself not a 2-year-old winner until July of his 2-year-old year, there was intrigue leading into the current racing season as to how Exceedance would perform with his first crop, a question he has answered emphatically.
From just eight foals to race, he has produced three individual winners, headlined by the G3 Maribyrnong Plate winner Dublin Down. Vinery Stud’s Bloodstock Manager, Adam White, told The Thoroughbred Report on Thursday that there is plenty more still in the locker for the emerging son of Exceed And Excel.
“It's been really positive, and as it should be, the horse has started extremely well. He's got a Group-winner already and other winners (too), which is great,” he said.
“I think it just gives the buying bench a lot more confidence when they're looking around the complex, and, you know, they come across one. They can certainly go in with a bit of confidence now.
“It's very important to get a Group winner pre-Christmas and multiple winners is (important as well).
“They've got to start well, but the most exciting thing for him is that he didn't really get going until July of his 2-year old-year. So what he's doing now is just a bit of a bonus, and we know there's others (2-year-olds) that have been in and out of preparations and and not far away now.
“Even that filly Flyer that won yesterday (at Sandown), she's a classic example of that. She's sort of been in and out a few times and then won extremely well yesterday, and heads to a Blue Diamond now.
“It's good to get an early start, but there's more to come, which is even more exciting.
“It's good to get an early start (with Exceedance's runners), but there's more to come, which is even more exciting.” - Adam White
“There's some nice colts and fillies. He fits probably a few markets now, he's obviously a bit of a trainer's horse. Trainers can go in and buy one and probably syndicate it easily enough.
“Syndicators can go in with a bit of confidence now because of his success. The shares are easy enough to sell and even your Ready To Run pinhookers, they're going to come into play with his stock as well. He fits a few markets now, which is really good.”
History is often Written By the victors
The most experienced stallion featured here, but one that cannot be overlooked when talking about young stallions, Written By is well-represented at Classic, with a proven ability to turn out both juveniles and 3-year-olds.
Most closely associated with Ripcord, who has set Western Australian racing into overdrive with his sizzling rivalry with Oscar’s Fortune (Rich Enuff), which saw him come out on top of a titanic struggle in the Listed Placid Ark S., he’s proven himself to be a capable sire of early running types.
His first stakes winner, The Novelist, hasn’t been seen since taking out the G3 BJ McLachlan S. in December 2022, but his obvious talent proved an early preview into what type of stock the stallion could produce.
There has been talent evident in his second crop as well, highlighted by Straight Charge, who is part of a formidable Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott 2-year-old tsunami.
Overall, from 62 winners, he has so far sired 23 winners, across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, a testament to his ability to produce adaptable, but fast horses.
Written By will have nine of his third crop offered at Classic in the coming days, with plenty of inspections keeping handlers of his yearlings busy.
Harry sure to command attention
Another stallion who has quickly demonstrated his ability to get early types up and running is Harry Angel (Ire), the son of Dark Angel (Ire) who has made an impression as a dual-hemisphere stallion.
Because of his prevalence as a shuttle stallion, he has more runs on the board than any other sire covered here, with 108 winners from 199 runners, striking at a very impressive 54.3 per cent.
Drilling down on his Southern Hemisphere produce, he has had 59 runners for 26 winners, with three stakes winners (coupled with a further six in the Northern Hemisphere). His top-level success locally is easily recognisable, and diverse, with elite staying prospect and G1 Spring Champion S. winner Tom Kitten alongside the G2 Danehill S. victress Stretan Angel, a testament to the versatility he displays.
The early success has set him up for strong results in his third crop, which was evident last month at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, where all five of his Book 1 offerings were sold, at a handy average of $176,000.
He’s prevalent at Classic, with 13 individual lots currently slated to be offered between Sunday and Tuesday, with a varied band of vendors chancing their arm on continued success for some of his earlier offerings.
Who else is rolling along?
Not every in-form young stallion has the numbers to match their current form, with some emerging talents only having a small handful of their 2022 produce offered at Classic.
One stallion to quietly establish himself as being a sire worth keeping a close eye on is Calyx (GB), but buyers aren’t exactly spoiled for a choice at Riverside, with just one of his second-crop available to be bought. The interest in this sole lot will undoubtedly be bolstered by the strength of the performance of his first Southern Hemisphere winner, Getafix.
Gallery: Stallions of interest with a smaller offering at the 2024 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale
D’Argento, who was a horse that got better as a 3-year-old, has already notched a winner in the first half of the 2-year-old season, and has four lots set to be offered in the coming days.
As for Alabama Express, who has taken the juvenile ranks by storm so far this season, his progeny are also in short supply, with just two currently set to be knocked down.