The comparative value of global stallions

8 min read
With the 2022 stallion fees for the upcoming Northern Hemisphere breeding season now released, TDN AusNZ has examined the comparative value of the world's leading sires in North America, Europe and Australia.

Darley superstar Dubawi (Ire) will be the highest-priced advertised stallion in the world in 2022 when he serves his 16th book of mares at Dalham Hall Stud.

It will be his seventh season at his current fee of £250,000 (AU$460,000), and with a career-high tally of 38 stakes winners in 2021, including a recent treble of Breeders' Cup winners in Space Blues (Ire), Yibir (GB) and Modern Games (Ire), his progeny have never been hotter on the racetrack.

Dubawi (Ire) | Standing at Darley's Dalham Hall Stud

Frankel's (GB) fee at Juddmonte's Banstead Manor jumped from £175,000 (AU$325,000) to £200,000 (AU$371,000) in 2022, off the back of a 2021 where he has had 26 stakes winners, including eight at Group 1 level. That list includes Australian-bred pair Hungry Heart and Converge as well as the winners of both the Epsom and Irish Derbies. He is now the second most expensive sire in the world.

Spendthrift's Into Mischief (USA) is the highest-priced North American sire with his 2022 fee up to US$250,000 (AU$342,000), having backed up his brilliant 2020 with another 26 stakes winners in 2021, highlighted by multiple Grade 1 winner Gamine (USA) and G1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Life Is Good (USA).

Kingman (GB), who stands at Banstead Manor alongside Frankel, is fourth on the price list at £150,000 (AU$276,000), a price he has stood at for the past three years. He has had 18 global stakes winners in 2021 highlighted by triple Group 1 winner Palace Pier (GB).

Kingman (GB) | Standing at Juddmonte's Banstead Manor Stud

Legendary Gainesway stallion Tapit (USA) rounds out the top five globally at US$185,000 (AU$253,000), remaining at his 2021 fee. He stood at US$300,000 (AU$413,000) in his pomp, but is still a prolific producer of stakes winners, with 13 in 2021, including G1 Belmont S. winner Essential Quality (USA), who begins his own stallion career at Jonabell Farm in 2022 at US$75,000 (AU$104,000).

As a matter of comparison, in the 2021 season. I Am Invincible was the highest-priced Australian stallion at $200,000 (ex GST), with Snitzel, Fastnet Rock and Written Tycoon all at $150,000 (ex GST).

Australian prices are quoted without GST as a means of standardising as overseas stallions are not typically advertised with tax included.

DubawiDalham Hall StudGreat Britain$459,635
FrankelBanstead Manor StudGreat Britain$367,708
Into MischiefSpendthrift FarmUnited States$342,138
KingmanBanstead Manor StudGreat Britain$275,781
TapitGaineswayUnited States$253,182
CurlinHill 'N' Dale FarmUnited States$239,496
Sea The StarsGilltown StudIreland$233,812
Wootton BassettCoolmore StudIreland$233,812
Uncle MoAshford StudUnited States$218,968
SiyouniHaras De BonnevalFrance$217,996
Quality RoadLane's EndUnited States$205,283

Table: Highest global services fees in Australian dollars

Stallion fees by region

One method of judging the relative fees for stallions in various jurisdictions is by looking at the average and median price of stallions in each jurisdiction.

For the sake of this article, Ireland and Europe have been grouped together as they operate in euro. We did not assess Japanese stallions, as the article's intention is to look at comparisons between Australasia with the United States, Great Britain and Europe/Ireland.

In the United States, the average service fee across those ranked top 10 on price is AU$196,000, with a median price of around AU$188,000.

In Great Britain, across the top 10 stallions, the average price is AU$159,000 and the median is AU$83,000, while average is almost identical in Ireland and Europe (AU$159,000) but with a much higher median of AU$154,000.

In Australia, the average price (ex-GST) of the top 10 stallions on service fee is AU$127,000, while the median is AU$130,000.

Top 10 service fees by average

The money spinners

Comparing prizemoney across various jurisdictions can be fraught, but as things stand, Into Mischief (USA) is the top earning active stallion across the above jurisdictions in 2021 on global progeny earnings of around AU$31.6 million.

Dubawi is second on that list. Allowing for various currency conversions, his progeny have earned AU$26.6 million, while Ghostzapper (USA), Make Believe (GB) (through the deeds of his Saudi Cup-winning son Mishriff (USA) and Frankel have all earned in the AU$20 million range, along with the Australian stallion with the highest earnings so far this calendar year, Snitzel.

Snitzel | Standing at Arrowfield Stud

I Am Invincible's 2021 progeny earnings stand sat just over AU$18.5 million, just ahead of Waikato Stud powerhouse Savabeel, who had AU$17.7 million and Widden Stud's Nicconi with AU$17.6 million.

Outside the jurisdictions mentioned, and as a means of comparison, of the Japanese stallions, the late Deep Impact (Jpn) leads the world in 2021 with progeny earnings in the vicinity of AU$83 million, while Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) is the leading active stallion with around AU$45.6 million.

While Dubawi has been the leading global producer of stakes winners in 2021, with 38, Into Mischief is the leading winner-getter with 237 ahead of Lord Kanaloa on 232 while I Am Invincible has 202.

In the ring

With the major yearling sales mostly completed on either side of the world, we can assess which are the most commercially successful stallions among those jurisdiction's mentioned above.

On an aggregate basis, the honour belongs to Australia's own I Am Invincible, who across his 104 yearlings sold in 2021 grossed $55.3 million. Among that list has been 11 $1 million-plus lots, or over 10 per cent of those offered.

I Am Invincible | Standing at Yarraman Park Stud

In fact, three of the top five spots on that list are filled by Australian sires, with Snitzel third on $41.5 million across his 90 sales, and Zoustar fifth, with $38.7 million in aggregate yearling sales in both hemispheres.

With his first crop available in the Northern Hemisphere this year. Zoustar had 185 sales through global rings in 2021, which on the data we have seen, puts him on top of any global list as to most number of yearlings sold.

Into Mischief (USA), the Northern Hemisphere-based stallion with the highest aggregate yearling sales, is second globally in what converts to AU$50.5 million, while Justify (USA) grossed AU$40.3 million with his first American crop to sit fourth. He's the one likely to make the major move in 2022, with his first Australian yearlings to sell in the New Year giving him twice the commercial power.

Into Mischief (USA) | Standing at Spendthrift Farm

The top European sire on aggregate sales is Kingman (GB), who has AU$31.2 million worth of yearlings sell, while Lope De Vega (Ire), who grossed AU$29.6 million, leads the Irish/European sires.

I Am InvincibleYarraman ParkAustralia$55,325,000
Into MischiefSpendthrift FarmUnited States$50,870,838
SnitzelArrowfield StudAustralia$41,541,262
JustifyAshford StudUnited States$40,308,678
ZoustarWidden Stud/Tweenhills StudAustralia/Great Britain$38,692,457

Table: Leading sires on aggregate yearling sales

A compilation of the top five stallions in each of the regions when it comes to aggregate yearling sales points to the health of the commercial Australian stallion industry, particularly at the high end.

Australia's top five active stallions grossed a total of $180 million, around $30 million more than the stallions based in the United States, while Ireland/Europe's top five grossed a combined $116 million and Great Britain, $95 million.

That is impacted by the volume of stock made available from those stallions, with 587 yearlings globally sold from Australia's top five grossing stallions. That compares to 427 in Ireland/Europe, 407 in the United States and just 265 in Great Britain.

The law of averages

The low number of offered yearlings by elite stallions in Great Britain reflects the nature of an industry which simply doesn't sell the same volume of horses in the top end. A lot of the stock of these stallions is privately held in major breeding operations.

What that means for a stallion like Dubawi (Ire), who has had just 23 yearlings go through the ring in 2021, is that they dominate when it comes to average selling price.

The average price of those 23 Dubawi yearlings, when converted to Australian currency for comparison purposes is $989,000.

Quality Road (USA) | Standing at Lane's End

That puts him top of the list across the four regions, ahead of Quality Road (USA), who has averaged the equivalent of $631,000 and Curlin (USA), who has averaged $560,000.

I Am Invincible is fourth and the leading Australian stallion by average on $532,000, just ahead of Into Mischief (USA) ($530,000) and Frankel (GB) ($519,000). Then follows Justify (USA) ($498,000), Tapit ($466,000) and Kingman (GB) ($466,000), with Snitzel ($461,000) rounding out the top ten.

DubawiDalham Hall StudGreat Britain$969,577
Quality RoadLane's EndUnited States$631,049
CurlinHill 'N' Dale FarmUnited States$560,091
I Am InvincibleYarraman ParkAustralia$531,971
Into MischiefSpendthrift FarmUnited States$529,904
FrankelBanstead Manor StudGreat Britain$518,714
JustifyAshford StudUnited States$497,638
TapitGaineswayUnited States$466,439
KingmanBanstead Manor StudGreat Britain$465,768
SnitzelArrowfield StudAustralia$460,569

Table: Leading sires on average yearling prices

The final point of comparison worth making is the relative affordability of these stallions based on their average yearling price as a percentage of their current service fee.

It is worth noting at this point, that for the purpose of this exercise, we are using their 2021 service fee, not the price when their 2021 yearlings were conceived, so it is not meant as a basis of measure commercial return from specific crops. It is useful, however, in determining the relative value of current stallion fees which tend to be influenced by the yearling market.

Among the stallions we included, which are the top 20 on service fee in each of the four jurisdictions, the stallion with highest ratio is Lane's End City Of Light (USA), whose average yearling price in 2021 ($437,000) is 5.3 times what his 2022 service fee is ($82,118).

City Of Light (USA) | Standing at Lane's End

Second in that regard is Juddmonte's Oasis Dream (GB), whose yearling average of $151,000 is 4.1 times his 2022 service fee, while Darley's Harry Angel (Ire) is third, with a ratio of 3.7.

The top Australian stallion on that list is Snitzel, who is 10th on the list. His 2021 yearling average of $461,000 is 3.07 times his 2021 service fee at Arrowfield of $150,000. I Am Invincible is 16th at 2.66 and Lonhro 18th on 2.62.

* All data sourced from Arion

Global stallion fees
Into Mischief
I Am Invincible
City Of Light