Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Cartier awards, sign for the future or condemnation?

I must apologise for this blog’s dormant state following the end of the traditional flat season. However, with the new season fast approaching get ready for some fresh content on the horizon!

Once again, at the turn of the year immature 2 year olds fill their frames overnight and develop into considerably stronger 3 year olds…well that’s what we see on TV! Having read that Spacious had been the subject of a massive bet for the 1000 Guineas (a filly I wrote about here), I started thinking; how many of the outstanding 2 year olds went on to become outstanding 3 year olds? In order to answer this I took a look at the history of the Cartier awards (1991-2007).

The immediate stat to hit me was that only the brilliant George Washington and Divine proportions received the colt and filly of the year awards at 2 and then 3. However, while this is logical, as many 2 year olds have restricted campaigns, what is surprising is the number of colts and fillies that fail to live up to the standard set by their outstanding 2 year old careers.

Only 5 of the 17 fillies to win the 2-year-old award went onto win another group 1 race at 3 or older. Shockingly, 8 of the 17 filly winners failed to win another group race. As for the colts, 7 of the 17 award winners did not win another race after their 2-year-old careers. Why? Some were already well developed and did little growing over the winter? Some were excessively campaigned as 2 year olds with 8 or 9 races taking their toll?

Have New Approach and Natagora been condemned to mediocrity or are the latest Cartier award winners bound for glory?

Friday, 12 October 2007

Unfashionable challenge...

Firstly, apologies for the lack of posts over the last few weeks; I've had no internet connection and been busy ruining my liver while accomodating freshers at uni...

Moving on! Last night I was challenged by a friend to name 3 horses of unfashionable or unproven sires, that I thought would make up into group class runners over the 2008 season. In an attempt to keep this blog as diverse and engaging as possible I thought I would share the list with my readers. You are welcome to take up the challenge too, just drop a comment on the post!

I have been taken by quite a few of the Nayef progeny that have met the track. So it's logical that I have one of his daughters in Spacious on the list. Already a Group 2 winner and unbeaten to date it seems logical she's going to make an even better 3 year old. Furthermore, all the information I have seen or heard suggests that the filly wants more time and is far from the finished article. However, a quote of 14/1 for the 1000 Guineas looks short on what she has beaten and I am inclined to think she might fall between two stalls when it comes to the distance of the English classics.

Next on the list is a filly whom I expected to at least win a pattern race this season. Shorthand comes from a family which tend to show their best form with ease in the ground. She is relatively lightly raced and a full sister to group winner Shortskirt. Hopefully she will stay in training and mature, as even after the 6 starts she still shows signs of being green.

Provincial is the last of the trio. A son of the promising first season sire Aldebaran, the colt was very impressive in winning his maiden. On pedigree he looks to want a mile or further as a 3 year old.

Think you can pick out a better 3 for the 2008 flat season?

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Moving property

I am moving house tomorrow and will be without an internet connection for a week, possibly 2. Consequently, I will most likely be unable to update content over this period. In the meantime, here is some food for thought:


I am sure many of you are aware of the 'rasmussen factor'. This article takes an evaluative approach to its use. I was planning on doing a Keeneland round up, but that will have to wait till I have my connection up and running!

Back in a few weeks!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Echelon giving the right signals!

25,000 Euros proved money well spent when supplementing Echelon for the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron Stakes. The Cheveley Park mare has now won that elusive Group 1 and is expected to lock horns with Darjina in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

The daughter of Danehill has a similar profile to her half-sister Chic, also trained by Sir Michael Stoute. Both appear to have benefited from his gentle approach, graduating out of listed company at 3, before moving up into Group races at 4 and 5. You could also argue that both sisters come from a slow developing family, which mature with age. From the talented broodmare Exclusive, who was arguably better with age herself, hailing from Polar Falcon. It’s worth recognising that Polar Falcon is the sire of Pivotal whose progeny are renowned for often needing time.

I’m not usually one to jump on the bandwagon that Sir Michael Stoute can keep improving a horse year after year, but in this case it’s conceivable that there’s more in the locker.


Sunday, 9 September 2007

Lawman retired

The French Derby winner Lawman has been retired to stud. This follows news that an infection forced the Invincible Spirit colt to miss his intended Arc engagement.

Watching the colt make all in the French Derby as his competitors desperately tried to peg him back was thrilling viewing. However, since 2004 when the French Derby was made a 10 and a half-furlong affair the race has failed to throw up a winner than can stay a truly run 12 furlong Group 1 race. So the question has to be, was Lawman really going to mix it with the best in the Arc? He is clearly a class act, over 8 and 10 and a half, but did he have the stamina to last 12 furlongs? The cynic inside me screams a definitely maybe is worth more than a definitely not.

Pedigree Analysis

On paper he was unlikely to stay the trip. His sire, invincible spirit was a 6-furlong specialist, himself by Green Desert (top sprinter) and Rafha, was a group winner over middle distances.

His dam Laramie, was unplaced in 2 starts over 7 furlongs and as such her optimum trip is a mystery. However, she comes from a high-class family of champion sprinter Gulch and Group 2 middle distance runner Light the lights. She has also been a huge success as a broodmare, with 2 other group performers over 7 and 10 and a half furlongs.

In reading Lawman’s pedigree it has to be judged that 12 furlongs would be out of reach. His group winning half-brother and sister are arguably better bred for a shot at 12 furlongs, than Lawman. Indeed, half-sister Latice tried it on 2 occasions and failed to place. So why would Lawman, a speedier bred do any better? A question I find hard to fathom.

So it seems highly unlikely he would have been competitive over the Arc trip. His stallion prospects however, are very good. From a family steeped in black-type and as a group winner over 8 – 10 and a half furlongs on both good and ground with ease, he should make a versatile sire with what’s bound to be a good book of mares.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Brilliant racehorse, brilliant sire?

Motivator, Hurricane run, Scorpion, Authorized…all sons of the brilliant Montjeu and all Group 1 winners of classics over middle distance trips. Montjeu must be a brilliant sire, right? He’s just sired another Derby winner, which in itself makes him a success at stud? Well, that depends on how you judge success.

In order to evaluate Montjeu’s stud performance I analysed a sample of his progeny, specifically those that met the track during the 2004 and 2005 flat seasons.
The stats
2004 - 43 runners in total; 23 colts and geldings and 20 fillies
2005 - 69 runners in total; 46 colts and geldings and 23 fillies

Based on his 2004 and 2005 runners, Montjeu covered 41 mares with existing group or listed class progeny to other stallions. He produced 27 group or listed class individuals from these mares. Of the remaining 71 mares he covered, 13 had no other known offspring.

So what does this mean? Using those mares with offspring to other stallions as the sample (71 in total) we can derive that; 58.57% of the Montjeu progeny to run in 2004 and 2005 on the flat came from dams with existing group or listed class progeny to other stallions. Montjeu produced 27 individuals of similar ability from these mares. This equates to 38.02% of the sample.

I feel this is a most suitable (and efficient) method of evaluating stud performance, as performance on the track does not always correlate to breeding. I.e. a great racehorse does not always make a great sire or dam.

Now we all know samples can be biased, so I took a look at the overall picture.

As of 30th August 2007, Montjeu has sired 30 individual black type winners from a total of 242 individual runners. Represented as a percentage this is 12.39%. Now, that’s a pretty good percentage, but how does it translate to earnings? His progeny have earned a total of £11,212,652. That averages to £46,333 per horse (to meet the track that is). Again, a pretty healthy looking statistic. Now look at the median earnings of his progeny.

Median earnings £5,269

Spilt your coffee? Swore out loud? That is the ‘typical’ earnings of a son of Montjeu. The ‘median’ or typical sales lot goes for a fraction under £60,000 (based on 2003 – 2006 global sales data). However, you must realise that a proportion of his progeny have not run enough to contribute much, if any earnings. So lets look at the average and median earnings of his progeny to have 4 or more runs.

Average earnings of £72,434

But more importantly, median earnings of £10,638.

The skewed distribution below illustrates this:

Click image to enlarge.

So it appears that Montjeu either sires the brilliant middle distance runner like Authorized and Hurricane run or the considerably worse, struggling to win a claimer at Southwell type, and not much in between.


It’s worth noting I only took his progeny to meet the track in the sample, not those foals (however many there may or may not be) that did not make it. It’s also worth noting I used ‘group or listed class’ and not winners. Those that fit into this group showed a minimum of strong form in group races (if they had not placed or won black type). You will have to trust my interpretation of the formbook!

A detailed report regarding Montjeu as a stallion will be available discussing what types of mare he does best with, analysing his most successful earners and their commonalities and more. I’m back to University in a week or two, but should have it rustled up by then! Contact me if you want a peek.


Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Spend spend spend!

Baron G Von Ullmann, Mrs J S Bolger, WinStar Farm and Padua Stables all have one thing in common…a certain Mr Ferguson of Darley has been knocking on their respective doors with a very deep pot of gold.

That’s right, Any Given Saturday, New Approach and Manduro are the latest new recruits to the Darley operation. It’s important to recognise that New Approach (ante post favourite for the Derby) is from Galileo, a Coolmore stallion. That makes him the 3rd purchase of Sadlers Wells ancestry to join Darley's breeding operation this summer, along with the brilliant Teofilo and Authorized.

Dare I say they would have been cheaper at the sales. Oh the irony...