Revealing his Invincibility

4 min read
While Snitzel is the current king of the Australian sire ranks, John Boyce looks into the sire most likely to be an impending threat to the title - I Am Invincible.

It’s always good to witness the emergence of the next generation of super sires. And while Danehill’s sons Redoute’s Choice, Fastnet Rock and Exceed And Excel still have plenty more to say, it’s very likely that we have seen their very best runners by now.

Snitzel is now the king of the castle and may remain so for the foreseeable future. Even though this is his 10th season with runners, it’s only recently that he’s enjoyed the very best of patronage. And boy, how he has delivered!

Our top 10 active sires by percentage of stakes winners to runners also features a sire that has risen from obscurity and looks at this early stage to be a worthy challenger to Arrowfield’s Snitzel.

Leading Australian Sires by stakeswinners to runners, including stakes winners from mares by other sires (MOR)

The challenger

I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit {IRE}) was far from the most gifted of racehorses. His best form came in two consecutive starts in South Australia as a 5-year-old, winning a Group 3 over 1100 metres before running second in the G1 Goodwood. Every time he took on group company in either Sydney or Melbourne he failed to make the first three. Timeform awarded him a rating of 112 which, when compared to that of his best son Brazen Beau (126), gives us a pretty fair indication of where he stood as a racehorse.

He was also the only group-winning colt from his sire’s four Southern Hemisphere crops, which were headed by the 119-rated filly Yosei, Invincible Spirit’s only Group 1 winner bred in the Southern Hemisphere.

Starting out at a fee of $11,000 at Yarraman Park, I Am Invincible did very well to attract 116 mares in his first season. In fact, his numbers of mares rose gradually over the next three seasons to 134, 152 and 173.

"By my reckoning only 62 mares from his first four books could be described as elite mares." John Boyce

However, the number of quality mares among them predictably stayed quite low. By my reckoning only 62 mares from his first four books could be described as elite mares, a fact borne out by the relatively low percentage of stakes winners (2.6%) produced by his mares’ foals by other stallions.

I Am Invincible at Yarraman Park

Changing perceptions

But after his first-crop superstar Brazen Beau arrived on the scene, breeders took a completely different view of the Yarraman Park sire. In 2014, among his 207-strong book were 74 elite mares, more than in his first four books put together.

Moreover, he’s attracted 387 elite mares from 2014 to 2017 which compares favourably with the very best in the land – Snitzel covered 474 in the same period. It is now up to I Am Invincible to cash in on the quality he’s been entrusted with.

The early signs are very encouraging. From a small group of elite mares in his early crops, he’s sired a remarkable 38% stakeswinners to runners. Of course, he will not keep that rate up, but it isn’t too hard to imagine that he’ll improve greatly on his current overall output of 7.5% stakes winners to runners.

"From a small group of elite mares in his early crops, he’s sired a remarkable 38% stakes winners to runners." John Boyce

Brazen Beau

Dual Group 1 winner Brazen Beau was the star of his first crop, becoming Australian champion sprinter at three. Significantly, Brazen Beau is also the best sprinter descending from Green Desert in either hemisphere, with the exception of the top-class Oasis Dream. I Am Invincible sired two Group 1 winners from his second crop, including William Reid hero Hellbent. From his third came three Group 1 fillies, including Myer Classic heroine I Am A Star, and his fourth and fifth crops already feature four group winners in each.

An interesting aspect about the stock of I Am Invincible is that 31 of his 32 stakes winners were offered for sale as weanlings or yearlings. His four Group 1 winners to date sold for $70,000, $95,000, $40,000 and $40,000 as yearlings.

That has all changed now – he has had 11 million-dollar yearling sold in the past two years, so expectations have moved to new heights for the son of Invincible Spirit.

To be the best from the Green Desert line in the Southern Hemisphere, I Am Invincible will need to surpass Volksraad’s 62 stakes winners. And he’ll need to get well over a hundred to be the best worldwide. Currently, his sire Invincible Spirit, Cape Cross and Oasis Dream are locked on 114 stakes winners apiece.

Such is the quality of raw material already in the pipeline, you wouldn’t bet against I Am Invincible at this stage.