In this game of racing horses, we are all gamblers at heart. Our love of the punt extends from the track to the farm where breeders send mares to unproven young stallions, and yearling buyers chase their progeny. The odds of any horse becoming a star isn’t that great with only one in every seventy foals born earning black type, although prizemoney is so good in Australia that a city class horse will pay the training fees and more with one or two strong performances.

Every year, people take the punt on the next big thing; the first season stallion who they remember racing and now has everything ahead of them in the breeding barn. It’s innocent until proven guilty, but for horses; brilliant until proven otherwise! Most of those stallions will fail to leave a decent horse, but when they are good, they are spectacular and it’s for that reason that people take the gamble on first season sires. It’s the art and thrill of picking the ones who will succeed that keeps the gamblers coming back to take another chance.

The recently crowned 2021/22 Champion Sire I Am Invincible retired to stud in 2010 and his first crop of yearlings yielded seven stakes winners including Gr.1 winners Brazen Beau and Voodoo Lad. Brazen Beau won the Gr.1 Coolmore Stud Stakes and the Gr.1 Newmarket Handicap with earnings over $1.4million and was crowned Champion 3YO Colt in Australia, while Voodoo Lad won the Gr.1 Winterbottom Stakes and over $1.9million. I Am Invincible has since gone on to sire 86 stakes winners and 14 Gr.1 winners, and as a non-Gr.1 winner himself, he was a big punt with his first crop. Brazen Beau cost $70,000 at the 2013 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, while Voodoo Lad was a $36,000 purchase from the Inglis Scone Yearling Sale.

The group of stallions who retired to stud in 2017 (first foals born in 2018, and therefore currently four-year-olds) has been a stand out year with Extreme Choice leading the pack. Winner of the Gr.1 Blue Diamond at two and Gr.1 AJ Moir Stakes at three, Extreme Choice left seven stakes winners in his first crop of only 46 foals (15% stakes winners to foals) including Gr.1 Golden Slipper winner Stay Inside, and has already left Gr.1 Victoria Oaks winner She’s Extreme in his second crop. Gr.1 Golden Slipper winner Capitalist retired to stud in the same year, and his first crop resulted in five stakes winners, including Gr.1 Champagne Stakes winner Captivant. Capitalist now has nine stakes winners across his two, three, and four-year-olds. Gr.1 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Flying Artie left four stakes winners from his 2018 crop including Gr.1 winner Artorius, while both Star Turn and Worthy Cause also left first crop Gr.1 winners.

The stallions who went to stud in 2018 have spring three-year-olds, and already two of them have left Gr.1 winners. Gr.2 winner Gold Standard (Sebring) left Gr.1 Champagne Stakes winner Sheeza Belter in his first crop of only 39 foals, and this crop also includes Listed placed Golden Queen. Buyers had big hopes for Almanzor, paying good money for his first crop, and he’s already delivered with Gr.1 Victoria Derby winner Manzoice among his spring three-year-olds, with two-year-old Listed Karaka Million winner Dynastic also in his first crop.

First season sires are a gamble, but when a buyer gets it right, the punt is worth it.

Further details on all stallions mentioned, and the current group of first season sires, can be found at www.stallions.com.au

From Bluebloods 2022: Issue 6