Of all four categories for which Thoroughbred Racing Commentary provides rankings, that for Sires is the most volatile. We are forced to make projections for stallions at all different stages of their careers, taking into account the quality of a stallion’s results but also the uncertainty that they will be reproduced.
Here are nine sires whose performance intrigues us, and who we will be tracking closely into 2019 and beyond.
LORD KANALOA 10yo bay by King Kamehameha standing at Shadai Stallion Station, Japan
Even if you have never seen Lord Kanaloa’s amazing win the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint of 2013, you are probably familiar with him now. He is the sire of the top-notch G1 Japan Cup winner Almond Eye. But, aside from his brilliant racing career and his superstar daughter, Lord Kanaloa has a lot more to recommend him.
The son of former world #6 King Kamehameha, Lord Kanaloa had his first runner in a Group race only last July, since when he has notched a triple slash of 5/2/4 in G1/G2/G3 from only 54 runners (20.3% win rate). He currently sits at #32, having gained 16pts and 19 places in the last three weeks. Last week’s Sire of the Week is also responsible for G1 Mile Championship hero Stelvio.
Lord Kanaloa is the highest-ranked second-season sire in the world.
PIERRO 9yo bay by Lonhro standing at Coolmore, Australia
The top-notch sprinter-miler formerly trained by Gai Waterhouse has made a terrific start to his career at stud. He already sits at #30 – two places ahead of Lord Kanaloa – with 12 winners from his first Group 107 runners and lots of placed horses besides.
On Saturday, Magic Millions-Kingston Town Classic heroine Arcadia Queen became his third G1 winner, after Australian Derby winner Levendi at Randwick and Kennedy Oaks winner Pinot at Flemington. Last weekend’s success helps Pierro to a 5pt gain week on week.
After two full seasons, Pierro currently sits seventh among sires with ‘Australia’ as their modal country. It will be interesting to see how his horses develop; in 2018, for instance, they went only 69-111-1 (38%) in head-to-heads against the other top Australian sires, but it is still a small sample in that regard. (Compare this with I Am Invincible’s 206-154-1 (57%), for instance.)
Nevertheless, Pierro, the highest-ranked stallion in the Southern Hemisphere, is a popular, progressive and potent sire. It will be fun to track his progress.
ZOUSTAR 8yo bay by Northern Meteor standing at Tweenhills Farm & Stud, Great Britain
We are big fans of the former Chris Waller-trained Zoustar, winner of the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on Victoria Derby Day at Flemington, 2014. He could fly on the racecourse and is showing similar speed to climb our stallion rankings. He occupies the #55 slot this week.
The son of former world #16 Northern Meteor (a son of Encosta De Lago), Zoustar has a great bloodline to pass on and is an intriguing prospect who will likely have plenty of good runners in both Australia and Europe in the years to come. Zoustar’s crowning moment so far is a 1-2-3 in the 2018 Coolmore Stud Stakes – proving already that he can get sprinters of the highest order.
ADMIRE MOON 15yo bay by End Sweep standing at Darley Japan
The son of smart dirt sprinter End Sweep offers an intriguing profile of speed and stamina, being a top-notch middle-distance runner himself who stepped back in trip to win the 2007 G1 Dubai Duty Free at Nad Al Sheba. He is a slower-burner than many on this list, but his trajectory is upward-looking and he looks a good bet to improve on a #76 ranking slot in the next few years.
Best known as the sire of Japan’s current best sprinter, Fine Needle, Admire Moon had his first Group runner as far back as November 2015, and has sired just nine winners since. But he is now making steady progress up the rankings thanks to other Group winners Seiun Kosei, Moonquake and Black Moon in 2018.
SHANGHAI BOBBY 8yo brown by Harlan’s Holiday standing at Arrow Stud, Japan
Second-season sire Shanghai Bobby is a stallion with really interesting prospects. He has already made it to #79 with six winners from his first 37 runners (16%), including Royal Ascot’s G2 Norfolk Stakes winner Shang Shang Shang. His other five Group winners have come in Brazil, but he has smart U.S. runners like Gotta Go and Kazan in his resume.
As a measure of his progress, Shanghai Bobby was still #193 in June. The 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner has shot up the rankings as a result of his South American exploits, where he was shuttling from Coolmore’s Ashford Stud initially. News comes that he has been sold to Japan – a very interesting development.
INTELLO 8yo bay by Galileo standing at Cheveley Park Stud, Great Britain
By Galileo out of a Danehill mare – the same cross as Frankel – Intello is doing well at stud already and making good progress in the rankings. He has just reached world #90, having entered the rankings only in May at #294. Sure to benefit from expert handling at the home of world #26 owners Cheveley Park, Intello should get horses who are better with age, just like his own brilliant sire does.
Five of Intello’s six winners to date have come at G3 level. The exception came at Deauville in July, when Intellogent won the G1 Prix Jean Prat. An interesting runner of his to watch in staying races in 2019 is Young Rascal, trained in Newmarket by William Haggas and already rated 120+ by Racing Post Ratings.
UNION RAGS 9yo bay by Dixie Union standing at Lane’s End Farm, USA
Union Rags was a top-class and versatile racehorse. He won the 2012 Belmont Stakes, but he was a lot faster than that implies, as his earlier four-length win in the G2 Fountain of Youth showed – not to mention a seven-length win in the G2 Saratoga Special in the August of his 2-year-old year. That’s an impressive combination of credentials.
A leading third-season sire in 2018, Union Rags is currently ranked #64. He has made stealthy headway up the rankings, without showing the big leap we have expected for a while. Three different winners have represented him so far this year: G2 scorers Union Strike and Catalina Cruiser (2) and G3 winner No Dozing. All his winners were dirt runners in the USA. There is better to come.
CAMELOT 9yo bay by Montjeu standing at Coolmore Stud, Ireland
A top-notch racehorse who won the 2,000 Guineas and Derby in 2012 for Aidan O’Brien, Camelot is going great guns at stud. As a son of Montjeu, it is highly encouraging he has been able to get off to such a good start, and we rate his future prospects highly.
As a second-season sire with his stout pedigree, that he has reached #44 with a triple-slash line in G1/G2/G3 of 3/1/4 is strong, but what is notable is that he has had 80 runners in Group races already. That speaks of strength in depth.
Camelot’s most notable winner so far is the G1 Irish Derby winner Latrobe, trained by Aidan’s son Joseph. He has had some good results with 2-year-olds also, most recently when Wonderment won the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France.
BLAME12yo bay by Arch standing at Claiborne Farm, Kentucky, USA
Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame has made good headway in the rankings of late thanks to his last two runners winning Graded stakes two weeks ago. First, Blamed won the G3 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct then, significantly, Marley’s Freedom landed the G3 Go For Wand at the New York venue. As a result, Blame rose nine spots with a 4pt gain, and he now sits alongside Camelot at #44.
Blame is slightly further down the tracks than one or two of these and he is priced at under $15k at stud, so we don’t expect him to emerge as a rival to Dubawi and Galileo. Nevertheless, he has gone a creditable 16-130 (12%) in races which count for our rankings. Keep an eye on his progress.