Juddmonte Farms

WORTH WAITING FOR BATED BREATH

Bloodstock Agent James Ortega summarises why BATED BREATH is a potential leading sire at his level of the market.

Taken from www.jamesortegabloodstock.com, 27th February 2019

Stallions do not have a great deal of time to prove themselves in today's highly charged and demanding world and if they do not produce enough stakes winners and high class two-year-olds in their first couple of crops they could soon be out of favour and away to lesser climes in racing industry terms.BATED BREATH is a 12 year old stallion with three crops having raced and, whilst he has had some success most notably with Gr.2 Railway Stakes winner Beckford, he is still to get a truly top class horse to shout out for him. He is stabled with rising superstar sires FRANKEL and KINGMAN whilst OASIS DREAM has been there, done it and sent us all a postcard many times. Shining against that company is a challenge to say the least and it would be understandable if his owners, Juddmonte, felt they had enough to focus on especially considering new boy on the block EXPERT EYE has joined in 2019. However, Juddmonte is a patient outfit that continues to support BATED BREATH and here I take a look at what he has achieved to date, how 2019 is likely to be a key year in his stallion career and why it makes sense to persevere with him as a potential leading sire amongst those who do not cost a fortune.

Frankly, his first crop overall did not shine although around 50% of runners have won and he has got four stakes placed horses in Unabated, Sibilance, Take a Deep Breath and Al Johrah with the latter chasing home Lady Aurelia in that Royal Ascot Queen Mary demolition job and later running a close fourth to the same filly in the Gr.1 Prix Morny. Three of these four have been effective at sprint distances gaining their black type at two years old over 5 and 6f with the exception being Sibilance who attained her listed placed at three over 1m. These performances reflected the speed that BATED BREATH himself demonstrated on the racetrack and was a further positive in that he never ran at two years old yet three of his first crop achieved stakes places as juveniles. Recent impressive Meydan winner Ekhtiyaar showed promise as a two-year-old winning once from two starts and getting a rating of 85 and then stepped up to win a couple more races at three and a rating of 100. Whilst he somewhat disappointed at four, resulting in a gelding, he has improved again at five and reached a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 116 (top RPR to date for a BATED BREATH runner) when trouncing a field with nine black type performers behind him over 6f by over five lengths. He is now likely to go for a Gr.3 race on "Super Saturday" and his first crack at a stakes race. He just could turn out to be a very smart sprinter in 2019 and certainly proove to be the best of the class of BATED BREATH's 2014 born offspring.

BATED BREATH's second crop, which again has had around 50% of runners as winners, saw the sire gain his first stakes winners with Beckford, Worth Waiting and Vik The Billy winning Gr.2, Gr.3 and Listed races respectively. Whilst the latter did not really kick on from his Listed win in Italy as a two year old, the former won the Gr.2 Railway Stakes then twice finished second in Gr.1 events before he went to the USA and finished a creditable fifth in the Juvenile Breeders' Cup Mile and a rating of 113. He has won a race as a three year old whilst remaining over the pond but he has not run much due to injury. However, he has now recovered and has been transferred back to Ireland from where he will launch his four year old campaign in 2019. Beckford is another BATED BREATH offspring who could just prove himself to be at the top end of the sprinting tree in 2019. Worth Waiting is possibly the horse with most promise as she is lightly raced turning out once late in her two year old career before improving steadily at three winning Listed and Gr.3 events before finishing a respectable fourth in the Gr.1 Prix Vermeille reaching a rating of 105. Unlike the other offspring mentioned so far, Worth Waiting is showing her best form at 12f being out of a Sadler's Wells mare who showed her best form at around two miles. This is important for BATED BREATH as it demonstrates that he is not one dimensional distance terms and is capable of producing stakes horses at all distances from 5f to 12f. Neither Worth Waiting's sire nor dam raced at two, and it is likely that she will improve at four with trainer David Lanigan already talking of Gr.1 races as being the objective for 2019. There are four other stakes placed horses in the second crop whilst Kaanoon, like Ekhtiyaar bred by James Ortega Bloodstock, won three of his six races at three over 8 to 9f having been unraced at two. He reached a top rating of 98 and is currently out in Dubai where he is expected to make his seasonal debut this Saturday over 8f on turf. Kaanoon is out of a Barathea mare who won over 12f and should be capable of getting at least 10f putting him in a similar, if slightly less exalted, bracket to Worth Waiting considering what he has achieved so far as well as the Sadler's Wells influence on distance. Whilst his dam did run a couple of races down the field in October of her two year old career, Kaanoon was not seen until reaching three and, given his imposing physique, he has potential to improve and join Worth Waiting as a stakes horse in the mid distance group of BATED BREATH progeny.

The third BATED BREATH crop is again showing a solid performance with four stakes placed horses so far in Viadera, Space Traveller, Breath Of Air and Feel Glorious. Added to that promising list can be Could Be King, who twice finished fourth in Group races reaching a rating of 103 as he is likely to be stakes placed in 2019 if he steps forward even marginally. French runners L'Ecriture and Hold True are two others who could join the black type club after both being beaten into fourth by only two lengths or less in Group 3 events. The third James Ortega Bloodstock BATED BREATH offspring, Kokocha, who is trained by Simone Brogi in France, has just made her debut as a three year old at Cagnes Sur Mer finishing a reasonable 6th in a decent maiden after blowing the start. She is out of a Pivotal mare, has some size and scope about her, and will probably not be fully strengthened up until she reaches four years old. 

In summary, we must remember that BATED BREATH himself, whilst of average height, is a well built powerful unit and did not run as a two year old, was decent at three but showed his best form at four and five. It is likely his crops need relatively more time than those of other primarily sprint sires to reach their potential. His first and second crops are now five and four years old respectively and we may see two or three that have developed over time become Group level winners with maybe one winning that elusive Gr.1. I would suggest that Worth Waiting, Beckford and Ekhtiyaar are the ones that have the best chance to do that but there are quite a few darker horses from his second and third crops who may surprise us and provide that confirmation that BATED BREATH can produce top horses capable of winning some of racing's best prizes. Despite the fact he did not run at two, he has shown us that he is capable of getting smart two year old sprinters which is key for any stallion in today's market. Having said that, there are also signs that he can produce horses capable of winning in the mile to 12f bracket, is not "just a sprint sire" and that breeders of longer distance horses could use him with confidence. BATED BREATH has already done well as a stallion, is excellent value amongst those at £10,000 or less and 2019 could be the year that he proves he is truly worth waiting for.

Date: 01 March 2019