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...


Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Is Myboycharlie a true Guineas prospect?

You couldn’t help but be impressed by Myboycharlie’s comfortable 2-length victory in the Darley Prix Morny. He settled the race in a matter of strides from what looks a very promising filly at middle distances, Natagora. But does this make him a viable 2000 Guineas 2nd favourite at 10/1?





Cockney rebel



George Washington









Refuse to bend



Rock of Gibraltar






Kings best



Islands sands



King of kings





10 year average




The answer lies in the above table. Now before someone tells me the limitations of Dosage theory, I am acutely aware of its pros and cons! The above table shows Guineas winners back to 1997 and each individual’s dosage index. Now take myboycharlie’s 2.56. No winner in the last 10 years has gone in above 2.33 and the vast majority have had figures considerably lower than 2.

If you are unaware of Dosage indexing, in short it is a standardised method of evaluating a horse’s family tree in order to categorise which trip the horse will be most effective at. (For further reading please visit

So solely based on dosage figures, Myboycharlie should find the Guineas a furlong or 2 too far. What about those that believe dosage theory is futile? What do the statistics say about his chances? Myboycharlie’s sire, Danetime, has never had a black type winner over further than a sprint trip. His dam offers little encouragement. She has predominantly been bred to middle distance types bar 'Petong' in 1996, who has a stouter pedigree than Danetime, yet the offspring 'Niamh´s Pet' failed to stay the mile.

On paper its seems pretty conclusive that Myboycharlie is going to struggle to stay the straight mile at Newmarket, but that doesn’t mean he can’t cap a brilliant 2 year-old season with another group win in the Middle park or Mill reef stakes. Either way, an unbeaten 2 year-old season in the company he has held is sure to make him a highly sought after stallion.

For those interested in conformation and the fundamentals of why one horse stays 8 furlongs and another only 6, you may find the following article regarding paddock review interesting:

Monday, 3 September 2007

Strategic Prince; strategic indeed

It was with a wry smile I met the news that Coolmore had acquired the breeding rights to Strategic Prince. Only the day before had I argued that he did indeed train on and that we were yet to see the best of this good looking, double group 2 winning son of Dansili.

Outpaced over 5 furlongs in the Norfolk stakes at Royal Ascot, the Prince soon notched up back to back group 2 wins, beating the arguably green Duke of Marmalade over 7 at Goodwood. A third in the G1 Dewhurst to the brilliant Teofilo capped off a very respectable 2 year-old season.

On the contrary, his 3 year-old season promised so much yet proved so little. The guineas was (according to all sources) a prep for the Derby and whilst finishing a 4 and a half lengths 8th was disappointing, it did at least serve the purpose of unequivocally proving he had trained on and was not simply a well developed 2 year-old. Before retirement to stud, his Derby run proved he did not stay 12 furlongs and his 7 furlongs Jersey stakes can be scratched all together. Evidently, more questions were asked than answered.

The Prince's new career at stud raises further questions. What was his ideal trip and what will his progeny's be? 8-10 furlongs I would argue based soley on the formbook (or lack of). What's his prospects as a stallion? Very good. The Coolmore boys know how to promote a stallion and based on pedigree we can expect him to be a versatile sire of speedy 2 year-olds through to top class middle distance runners at 3 plus. The damline of his pedigree is steeped in stamina (and black type). His dam Ausherra, won the Lingfield Oaks trial and is a full brother to the Champion Kris. Furthermore, her dam Princess Of Man won the G3 Musidora stakes. Yet, despite this Strategic Prince showed phenomenal pace at 2; undoubtedly inherited from his sire, Dansili.

Strategic Prince will be the first son of Dansili to stand at Coolmore and adds further diversity to their stallion portfolio. We've already seen Teofilo and Holy Roman Emperor retired to stud and 'What if's?" raised, while Strategic Prince does not quite fit in that category, this looks to be a very shrewd acquisition. Afterall, purely on a financial basis; if he had won black type at 3 would he now be residing in Ireland?