Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sires To Watch: Europe's Second Crop Stallions

With the European flat racing season starting shortly, a large group of stallions is entering its second year with runners on the track in Europe. While Zoffany (Dansili) led the charge on the First-Crop sire list last year, he’ll have competition as the 3-year-olds are allowed to stretch out and more stallions get to shine. Here are five stallions other than Zoffany who may be able to make a big impact on the European racing scene in 2016.

Playing a second fiddle of sorts to stablemate Zoffany, Canford Cliffs (Tagula) was another strong first crop stallion for Coolmore in 2015. Canford Cliffs bested that stallion by winners and had only two less stakes winners than him to tie for second in that category. Canford Cliff’s 2-year-olds were led by the Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes winner Painted Cliffs with Most Beautiful also giving him a Group 3 win in the Grangecon Stud Balanchine Stakes. A group stakes winner at two himself, Canford Cliffs ran even better at three and four. He was rated the top 3-year-old miler in England and Ireland after winning three Group 1s including the Abu Dhabi Irish 2,000 Guineas before becoming the champion older miler in Europe the next year when winning two Group 1s including the Queen Anne over Goldikova (Anabaa) indicating that his runners should get better with age. So far this year, Canford Cliffs has three winners according to the Daily Racing Form’s SirePowered Results. He stands for €17,500 (approx. $19,509/£13,514) at Coolmore Ireland, a €5,000 raise from his 2015 fee.

 Video courtesy of Shalakhani

Now standing at the Irish National Stud, Elusive Pimpernel (Elusive Quality) had seven winners from his 18 starters last year for a 38.89 percent strike rate. While he has smaller crops than some of the other stallions he’s competing against in the rankings, the stallion did finish in the top 15 on the European First Crop Sires list last year. He didn’t have any stakes winners but Elusive Janice provided him with a listed stakes placing last year and his daughter Kabaw got 2016 off to a good start with a third place finish in the UAE 1,000 Guineas earlier this month. Elusive Pimpernel is a bargain for breeders, standing for €1,000 (approx. $1,114/£772) with average earnings per runner last year over three times that amount.

The winner of the 2010 Group 1 Sony Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Royal Ascot, Poet’s Voice (Dubawi) had 18 winners from 64 runners in 2015 with those 18 horses winning 30 races between them. Three of Poet’s Voice’s winners went on to visit the winner’s enclosure at the stakes level, tying him with Canford Cliffs for the second most stakes winners of any first crop sire. Winning two of his five starts at three, Poet’s Voice’s 3-year-old season included the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes victory in addition to a Group 2. Poet’s Voice is one of the first Dubawi sons with horses of racing age and stands beside his sire at Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud in England for a fee of £12,000 (approx. $17,321/€15,538), the same price he stood for in 2015.

Courtesy of Darley Stud

Moving to Italy in 2016, Frozen Power (Oasis Dream) did well in 2015 when standing in Ireland with strike race of 30 percent from 70 2-year-olds to race. His 21 winners provided him with 26 wins led by Madrinho, who won or placed in four of his seen starts in 2015 and Rockfield Last, who won two of his six races. A half-brother to Finsceal Beo (Mr. Greeley), Frozen Power was a three-time winner at two and after finishing second in the Group 2 UAE 2,000 Guineas at three won the Group 2 German 2,000 Guineas. The stallion remains at the €4,000 (approx. $4,459/£3,089) fee he stood at in Ireland.

While it seems weird to have a Group 1 Investec Derby Stakes winner who stands at Coolmore as a dark horse, Pour Moi (Montjeu) earns the spot. The stallion had 10 winners in 2015 with only one horse winning or placing in stakes (the listed winner Only Mine) but only 28 of his 2-year-olds started in Europe last year according to Racing Post. With the support of Coolmore behind him and presumably a large group of 3-year-olds left to start, not to mention the 114 2-year-olds Equineline lists for the stallion it shouldn’t be a huge surprise if the stallion makes a big jump in the rankings this year to possibly even challenge fellow Coolmore stallions Zoffany and Canford Cliffs, who had nearly three-times the amount of starters he had last year. Pour Moi stands for €4,000 (approx. $11,147/£7,722)

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