The 200 Club

The Australian Studbook released covering statistics earlier this month for the 2018 breeding season revealing some 13 stallions covered books of 200 or more mares which was more than double the number from last year, so we thought we’d take a closer look at just why these guys were popular.

Stallions that cover super size books are those who are physically capable of doing it (and that’s not all stallions) and those that the market believes are priced right.

Some farms will cap a stallion’s book at a certain number, but faced with high demand from broodmare owners they frequently go with the flow as a popular stallion one year is not necessarily as popular the next so you make hay while the sun shines.

Below is the 200 Club for 2018:

Rubick 263 $17,600 Coolmore NSW
Merchant Navy 246 $55,000 Coolmore NSW
Deep Field 246 $22,000 Newgate NSW
Zoustar 243 $60,500 Widden NSW
Better Than Ready 236 $9,900 Lyndhurst QLD
Capitalist 232 $55,000 Newgate NSW
Pierro 228 $88,000 Coolmore NSW
Russian Revolution 226 $55,000 Newgate NSW
So You Think 225 $44,000 Coolmore NSW
I Am Invincible 223 $192,500 Yarraman Park NSW
Smart Missile 222 $13,200 Twin Hills NSW
Dissident 217 $33,000 Newgate NSW
Spirit Of Boom 216 $55,000 Eureka QLD


Top of the list is Rubick (Coolmore), which is probably a surprise to plenty of people, but highlights a horse that hits the mark in being seen as value with the potential of upside. A fast son of Encosta de Lago from the family of Redoute’s Choice, Rubick ticks a lot of boxes and had good results at the yearling sales last year.

His first progeny are now two year-olds and he has four winners, all of them metropolitan, plus three stakes horses putting him in third place on the first season sires table by earnings. Rubick hasn’t smashed it out of the park yet, but you can’t knock anything he’s done so far.

Royal Ascot hero Merchant Navy (Coolmore) is next and he’s no surprise at all given his race record and pedigree. The most popular first season sire, he’s a high profile son of Fastnet Rock, who has the runs on the board as a sire of sires through the likes of Hinchinbrook, Smart Missile and Foxwedge. All things considered he should be at least as good as them and more than likely a lot better, given he was a far superior racehorse to all three of them.

Deep Field (Newgate) covered 200 plus books in his first two seasons and then dropped back to 156 mares in 2017, but breeders were back on the bandwagon again last year. Like Rubick, he had good sales last year and his first crop of two year-olds are showing promise with three winners including Group placed Hawker Hurricane and Cosmic Force, who was second in the Group II ATC Skyline Stakes last Saturday. Is he going well? The answer to that is he’s going OK, although you probably need to factor in that Deep Field did not race until he was a late season three year-old and it may be unrealistic to expect his progeny to be out and winning all over the place at two. Doesn’t mean this son of Northern Meteor won’t ultimately be a very good stallion though and given the numbers he has to run for him, Deep Field could easily be a big mover among his peers as we work towards the back end of the season.

Zoustar (Widden) is next on the list and we all know why he’s popular as he has smashed it out of the park. The Champion First Season Sire and now setting the pace as a second season sire, Zoustar got the Group I trifecta in the VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes and that’s about as good as it gets. He is showing all the hallmarks of being a genuinely elite stallion and by the end of last spring his fee of $60,500 was looking cheap.

Better Than Ready (Lyndhurst Stud) has been a real surprise packet with 10 winners on the board from his first crop including two stakes-winners. He is a good looking fast sprinter by More Than Ready and got good support covering 138 mares in his first season, but at a $9,900 fee those mares were hardly top class so he’s doing a great job. He may or may not follow the same upward trajectory as that other Queensland sensation Spirit of Boom, but he is definitely looking down the barrel of a fee increase in 2019 after covering 236 mares to be the busiest sire in Queensland last year.

Golden Slipper winner Capitalist (Newgate) led the pack in 2017 covering 229 mares and has actually covered a few more in 2018 in his second season which is not easy to do. That speaks well of his first foals that must have pleased their owners to warrant such strong support in his second year at the same fee of $55,000. The Written Tycoon sireline is one that has the potential to flourish as an alternate source of precocious juvenile speed and Capitalist is the obvious front runner for that possible future sire dynasty.

Another Golden Slipper winner in Pierro (Coolmore) was next covering 228 mares which was the most mares he has ever covered in a season. This is particularly interesting as his fee shot up from $49,500 to $88,000 in 2018 and breeders obviously thought he was worth it. The big increase came off the back of impressive racetrack stats through Group I stars Levendi and Pinot and his status as a Danehill free outcross that works. Pierro is one of those stallions people really want to see succeed as he takes the old Sir Tristram sireline forward through the Zabeel, Octagonal, Lonhro branch that is revered and regarded with such affection by punters, racing fans and breeders alike.

There were four high profile sons of Snitzel retired to stud last year and Russian Revolution (Newgate) was the most expensive at a fee of $55,000 and also the busiest covering 226 mares. A very attractive horse with speed to burn, Russian Revolution had a real presence about him as a racehorse and his electric nature that could work against him at times on the track may be an asset as a sire that needs to inject some pure spark into a slow mare. He is a nice sized horse, not too big and not too small, which should make him compatible with most mares so I’m looking forward to his foals this year.

Snitzel has had a number of sons go to stud now and is yet to hit the jackpot in a big way as a sire of sires, but if you throw enough darts, you will hit the target eventually and he’s way too good a sire to take lightly on what we’ve seen so far.

So You Think (Coolmore) had a fee decrease last year dropping from $60,500 to $44,000 (his lowest fee ever) and that seemed to strike a chord with breeders, who suddenly saw him as particularly good value and a proven outcross with a real affinity for the Danehill blood. He’s always been popular, but 225 is a new benchmark for him and with Nakeeta Jane shaping as a superstar, his stocks are looking strong.

If So You Think’s stocks are strong, then I Am Invincible (Yarraman Park) must be supersonic. He had a fee increase in 2018 from $110,000 up to $192,500 and covered his biggest book of 223 mares, that tells the story really. For the past five seasons since he moved up from his initial $11,000 fee, I Am Invincible has covered close to or over 200 mares and the demand for this freakishly good sire is showing no signs of waning. The influence of the better mares he has covered in those last five years is starting to be felt with his stakes-winner to runner ratio now tracking at 8.4%, which is getting close to that of his archrival Snitzel on 9.1%.

Smart Missile (Twin Hills Stud) is a fascinating horse in the group and the least expensive bar Better Than Ready in the 200 Club having stood for $13,200 in his first year out of the Hunter Valley dropping from $22,000. His change of location and fee coincided with the arrival of a raft of winners and two star fillies in Group I winner Maid of Heaven and Group II winner Smart Melody. Smart Missile might have been hard to market in the Hunter covering just 63 mares in 2017, but timing is everything and Olly Tait has reaped the rewards with a book of 222 mares.

Australian Horse of the Year Dissident (Newgate) has been really popular averaging over 200 mares in each of his first four seasons at stud with breeders happy to stick with him again in season four. Dissident is by a Golden Slipper winner in Sebring and did win a stakes race at two, but you would have to say on the whole he’s a horse that did better at three and four, so there’s no point in judging him hastily at this point in time.

Spirit of Boom (Eureka Stud) has done an I Am Invincible in Queensland jumping in fee from $11,000 to $55,000 and getting more mares at the same time with his book of 216 his best so far.  The quality of mares he covered last year is at a whole new level and promises to give him this son of Sequalo the opportunity to build on his formidable early success.


Story courtesy of Breednet