Juddmonte Farms


Taken from the Thoroughbred Daily News, 28th December 2018, by John Boyce

Measuring Europe's Elite Sires

In the clamour to find the next hot commercial stallion, it's easy to overlook those that have proven time and again that they can produce what we all really want to see - top flight racehorses.The focus here is on Europe as the 2018 season closes. The 20 sires on our list are those that have so far produced the best elite racehorses from their Northern Hemisphere offspring. Our measure of greatness is how good their best 10 offspring are. After all, this should be the foremost metric that defines a top-class sire. And for good measure we have included a 'pace' figure to cope with the fact that the best 10 runners of any sire is to a large degree a function of how long the sire has been around. So a low top 10 Timeform average is not necessarily a bad thing for a younger sire. The pace figure compares how a stallion is doing compared to the best 10 sires in the past 25 years after year one, year two and so on. To be a top 10 sire after year one, his Timeform average needs to be in excess of 102. At the end of year two it climbs to 115 and is up to 117 by year three. You get the point. Finally we have also included a top 10 average Timeform rating for the past three seasons to highlight those sires with really good recent form.

It's also worth saying that there will be a few young proven sires not on our list simply because they have not been around long enough to generate a high enough top 10 average rating.One thing is clear: Galileo has an astonishing record and one that is unlikely to be matched by any other sire that we currently know about. This year was his 14th with runners and his best 10 horses - headed by the great FRANKEL (147) - have an average Timeform rating of 132.3. Even without FRANKEL, Galileo's score would be 130.5, well clear of his rivals. Moreover, his pace figure of 6.8 is the best of any sire. This means that his top 10 runners are on average 8.9lbs better than the average best 10 of our basket of top-class sires by year 14 of their careers.

Mention of FRANKEL behooves me to say that he is doing just as well as a sire as he did on the racecourse. His 122.9 top 10 average score by the end of year three is outstanding. By some way the youngest sire in our ranking, FRANKEL is 5.5lbs ahead of the elite threshold and he has some quite exceptional crops in the pipeline. The Juddmonte stallion has set new standards in each of his first three years. His 104.3 in year one,118.9 in year two and his 122.9 in year three are all the best ever achieved in the past 25 years. At the close of year three in their careers, Galileo had scored 122.6, Dubawi 122.4 and Sea The Stars 119.8. Another excellent Galileo stallion that often gets overlooked is Teofilo, who was the breakthrough star for his own sire back in 2006. Five years further down the line than FRANKEL, Teofilo - who sired horses as diverse as Melbourne Cup Gr.1 winner Cross Counter and Europe's top-rated female sprinter Tantheem in 2018 - has a best 10 score of 122.6, which places him just inside the elite level. Another son, New Approach, is also showing up well with a score 121.3.Galileo and his sons are clearly moving along nicely, but what about his Cape Cross half-brother Sea The Stars? Currently fourth on our overall ranking with 126.7, he's second only to his older brother with a 5.7 pace figure. The winner of the 2000 Guineas, Derby and Arc enjoyed an excellent 2018, with Sea Of Class, Crystal Ocean, Cloth Of Stars and Stradivarius all running to an exceptional level.

Of course Britain's best-ever sire Dubawi is second on our ranking. His best 10 score is on the move again, following the exploits of the 129-rated Benbatl in Australia, while he's also sire of Too Darn Hot and Quorto, the two highest-rated two-year-old colts in Europe in 2018. Both have the potential to move the 130-rated pair Postponed and Makfi off top spot on his list of top-rated runners. Veteran stallion Invincible Spirit meanwhile must be considered king of the speed sires at 125.9, and he had two new Group 1-winning juveniles in 2018, so his story may not yet be done. Although OASIS DREAM  runs Invincible Spirit close, the immediate future among speed sires ought to be dominated by Dark Angel, who completed his eighth year in 2018. This son of Acclamation will have runners from his best-ever mares running for him in the next few seasons, which ought to change the complexion of his top 10 runners. Mention must also go to Mastercraftsman who may be struggling to keep pace with his old adversary Sea The Stars, just as he'd done on the racecourse. But the sire of the excellent Alpha Centauri is one of only 11 on our list that is still ahead of the elite threshold.​

Date: 03 January 2019