Balanced roster a key to Darley’s ongoing success

7 min read
Darley Australia’s enviable mix of proven sires and rising stallion stars are enjoying an exceptional season with a haul of race track titles and top end action in the sales ring.

Service fees have now been confirmed for the Darley Australia roster, which is responsible for an outstanding 21 Group 1 winners, including a clean sweep of all three of the 2-year-old features so far contested in the 2018/19 season, and 57 Group winners overall.

“The racetrack results have been spectacular and equally we’ve had a wonderful time at the sales,” Darley Head of Sales Alastair Pulford said.

“It’s been an extraordinary year and across a range of stallions past and present. Obviously, Exceed And Excel and Lonhro have been leading from the top and a few young guns coming along.”

Darley's success lies very much in its planning and ensuring there is balance to the roster.

Lonhro during the 2018 Darley stallion parade

“We certainly try and offer something to everyone. The marketplace predominantly wants speed and precocity, but equally without horses like Street Cry you don’t get a Winx,” Pulford said.

“The market place predominantly wants speed and precocity, but equally without horses like Street Cry you don’t get a Winx.” – Alastair Pulford.

“You can’t rely on one dimension and we try as much as possible to offer more than just one dimension. You have horses like Ribchester or Kermadec, who might be able to throw you a mile or mile and a-quarter horse and hopefully another Winx in the process.”

Darley has also been prepared to think outside of the square when it comes to roster additions.

“We’ve never been scared to go out on a limb with a horse that might be tricky in the market,” Pulford said.

“Street Cry only covered a small book in his first year. He’s a perfect example and he was such a good racehorse you had to keep faith with him and look at the results.”

Street Cry only covered a small book of mares in his first year

Established stallions Exceed And Excel and Lonhro continue to be a free-flowing source of success while newcomer Brazen Beau has made a hugely encouraging start to his career with the Listed Inglis Nursery winner Accession leading the way.

“We’ve never been scared to go out on a limb with a horse that might be tricky in the market.” - Alastair Pulford.

Brazen Beau’s exciting son Tassort was a debut winner and runner-up in the G2 Silver Slipper S. and was the favourite for the G1 Golden Slipper S. before he was ruled out with a bruised foot.

Australia has an unquenchable thirst for precocity and the Darley stallions have been raining down results, siring the winners of the G1 Golden Slipper S., the G1 Blue Diamond S. and the G1 Sires’ Produce S.

In the Slipper, Kiamichi (Sidestep) led home a Darley-sired trifecta with Microphone (Exceed And Excel) runner-up ahead of Lyre (Lonhro).

Watch: The Darley trifecta in the 2019 Golden Slipper

The latter had triumphed in the Blue Diamond at her previous appearance while Microphone subsequently came out and claimed the Sires’ Produce.

Lonhro has sired six individual Group winners in Australia this current season, led by Lyre, VRC Oaks heroine Aristia and the 3-year-old colt Encryption, together with Ranier, Pin Sec and Amercement.

“Pure 2-year-old speed is one thing, and that’s great. We’ve obviously got horses that satisfy that, as witnessed by the 2-year-old races this year with Exceed and Excel and Lonhro, who’s seemingly turned his hand to be a 2-year-old sire later in life,” Pulford said.

“There’s more than one dimension to the sport and we’ve got a lot of bases covered at the moment.” – Alastair Pulford.

“There’s more than one dimension to the sport and we’ve got a lot of bases covered at the moment.

“You’ve got to have a balanced roster that appeals to the market and pretty much every horse we stand does.”

Lonhro, whose United States-bred son Gronkowski went under by a slender margin to Thunder Snow (Helmet) in the G1 Dubai World Cup, will stand the current season at Kelvinside in the Hunter Valley at a service fee of $77,000 (inc GST).


Only four sires in Australia have sired three or more juvenile stakes winners this season and two are Darley stallions – Lonhro and Exceed And Excel.

The latter has produced 13 black type winners in six countries so far this season, including Microphone, Bivouac and McLaren, and at the recent Inglis Sydney Easter Sale his highest-priced ever yearling sold for $1.7 million. Exceed And Excel will stand his 16th season in Australia for $88,000 (inc GST).

Top sale returns

The exciting Brazen Beau has also made a significant impact in the sale ring, topping the Inglis Classic Sale for the past two years and the Inglis Premier in 2019.

Only last week, Brazen Beau broke new ground when his yearling colt from Just Discreet (Exceed And Excel) sold for $1.15 million at the Easter Sale. Brazen Beau will stand at a fee of $44,000 (inc GST) at Northwood Park in Victoria.

Astern’s first-crop weanlings will make their sales debut this season. The highest-rated son of leading sire Medaglia d’Oro (USA) will stand at Kelvinside for a fee of $33,000 (inc GST).

The first yearlings by Teofilo’s (Ire) champion miler Kermadec sold for up to $520,000 at the Inglis Premier sale, while Exosphere recorded a high of NZ$350,000 at Karaka.

Shooting To Win has four winners from his first crop, including the Group 3 performing colt Shotmaker.

Record to savour

Epaulette’s runners have enjoyed their best season yet on the track, led by multiple Group 1 winner Soqrat. He now has six stakes winners from his first crop, equal to Zoustar.

Sepoy’s exceptional filly Alizee won her first Group 1 in open company, and her third overall, in the Futurity Stakes at Caulfield. She is among seven stakes winners for Sepoy this year. The world champion sprinter will stand at Northwood Park in Victoria at a fee of $11,000 (inc GST).

New stallion Harry Angel (Ire) will start his first Australian season at $22,000 (inc GST), with fellow newcomer Kementari standing at a fee of at $33,000 (inc GST).

Gallery: Newcomers to the Darley Stallion roster

“We’re in a very fortunate position with Sheikh Mohammed that he’s got the foresight to invest in stallions when we haven’t had obvious ones of our own to retire,” Pulford said.

“To retire horses like Kementari, who is a home-bred, and then Harry Angel, who he purchased while he was in training is an absolute honour. We’re so grateful for these opportunities, they are the horses of the future alongside horses like Exosphere or Astern or Kermadec.

“To have access to stallions like Exceed And Excel and Lonhro at the price they are is extraordinary.” – Alastair Pulford.

“The Darley stallions are standing the test of time, they’re producing the winners. We think we offer the best stallions in the country.

“To have access to stallions like Exceed And Excel and Lonhro at the price they are is extraordinary.

“We believe we are really priced to meet the market and give everyone the opportunity to make a dollar, like they have for instance, with Brazen Beau.”

2018 Darley Stallion Fees

Harry Angel (IRE)Dark Angel (IRE)Kelvinside$22,000 NEW
KementariLonhroKelvinside$33,000 NEW
Exceed and ExcelDanehillKelvinside$88,000 $82,500
LonhroOctagonalKelvinside$77,000 $55,000
AsternMedaglia d'Oro (USA)Kelvinside$33,000 $33,000
EpauletteCommandsKelvinside$27,500 $27,500
ExosphereLonhroKelvinside$22,000 $22,000
Ribchester (IRE)Iffraaj (GB)Kelvinside$22,000 $24,750
Shooting To WinNorthern MeteorKelvinside$22,000 $22,000
Kermadec (NZ)Teofilo (IRE)Kelvinside$16,500 $16,500
Territories (IRE)Invincible Spirit (IRE)Kelvinside$16,500 $16,500
Hallowed CrownStreet Sense (USA)Kelvinside$11,000 $16,500
Brazen BeauI Am InvincibleNorthwood Park$49,500 $38,500
Frosted (USA)Tapit (USA)Northwood Park$27,500 $33,000
Street Boss (USA)Street Cry (IRE)Northwood Park$27,500 $27,500
ImpendingLonhroNorthwood Park$22,000 $22,000
SepoyElusive Quality (USA)Northwood Park$11,000 $11,000
HollerCommandsNorthwood Park$8,800 $11,000
SidestepExceed and ExcelTelemon Stud $22,000 $7,700
Iffraaj (GB)Zafonic (USA)Hanunui FarmNZ$25,000NZ$25,000
Belardo (IRE)Lope de Vega (IRE)Hanunui FarmNZ$12,000NZ$12,000
Contributer (IRE)High Chaparral (IRE)Mapperley StudNZ$12,500NZ$12,500
ComplacentAuthorized (IRE)Mapperley StudNZ$5,000NZ$5,000
TelperionStreet Cry (IRE)Westbury StudNZ$5,000NZ$5,000