Kingman comes up Trumps

John Boyce analyses how last year’s pinhooked yearlings fared at the 2022 breeze up sales

There is no question that breeze-up sales in Europe are gaining greater traction among potential buyers looking for both high quality racehorses and a substantial return on their investment. Gone are the days that an early two-year-old is all you could find at the breeze-ups. Just witness last year’s Middle Park-Dewhurst Group 1 double by Perfect Power and Native Trail, both of whom have since added to their Group1 laurels, and then there was Cachet’s success in the 1,000 Guineas.

As demand has grown, so too has the need to fill breeze-up catalogues with a superior product. This, in turn, has led to ever more yearlings being recruited by pinhookers and, if 2022’s breeze-up returns are anything to go by, with plenty of success too. 

By my calculations there were 670 horses in Europe that were purchased as yearlings and resold as a two-year-old in training this spring and early summer. The average yearling cost of this cohort was £30,831 and they produced an average two-year-old price of £59,667. That’s a massive gross profit margin of 94 per cent. Moreover, 492 or 73 per cent covered their yearling price, while 52 per cent of the group made in excess of £10,000 above their yearling price. That’s how strong the yearling-to-two-year-old market was this year.

Predictably, as is the case with yearlings, traders prefer a risk-free environment. And to that end, it was predominately horses by fashionable first-season sires, plus dependable proven sires that made up the bulk of what was on offer this spring. 

Now that there is significant yearling-to-two-year-old trade, it’s worth assessing how individual stallions fared. Overall, 46 stallions had five or more pinhooked yearlings resold at the breeze-ups. Remarkably, all but one of this group of 46 posted an improved two-year-old average from their yearling average, again a sure sign of a buoyant market.

Most pinhookers who bought Kingman’s yearlings were amply rewarded for their investments

Most pinhookers who bought Kingman’s yearlings were amply rewarded for their investments

Several brave pinhookers took it upon themselves to pay five-figure sums for Kingman yearlings, but most were rewarded, with one making a gross profit of over £200,000 while two more cleared their yearling prices by £100,000 and another by £80,000. None of the five Kingmans pinhooked has troubled the judge so far, but we really ought to be waiting until next year before passing judgment.

The Timeform 100-rated Kinta, second to Lezoo in the Group 3 Princess Margaret, is the best of the 12 by Sioux Nation bought at the yearling sales. Seven of the 12 are as yet unraced, including the €50,000-to-380,000gns Spartan Arrow. 

The son and father team of Sea The Moon and Sea The Stars were next best by average gross profit. Lanwades’ Sea The Moon provided a very good return on seven of his nine pinhooked years, the star of the show being his colt out of Enjoy The Life, who converted a €92,000 Baden-Baden yearling tag into a €350,000 bonanza at Arqana. Meanwhile, Sea The Stars, also a go-to sire for the foal-to-yearling traders, secured excellent six-figure margins on two of his, a €50,000-to-€220,000 colt out of Sea Of Wonders, and his €40,000-to-140,000gns filly out of Simple Elegance.

Lord Uhtred, a 200,000-guinea Tattersalls Book 2 yearling who made €520,000 when reoffered at Arqana in May, was the best of the seven Siyouni yearlings resold at the breeze-ups. Several more made tidy profits to push the son of Pivotal to sixth place on our list.

Darley’s Harry Angel was another whose youngsters were in demand in the spring, his seven averaging £67,474, way in advance of the £16,714 they cost as yearlings. Like Sioux Nation, the Dalham Hall stallion was also responsible for a huge mark up, some 304 per cent to be precise. And like Zoustar, Harry Angel’s most gifted juvenile to date, the Timeform 112 rated Marshman – the highest rated horse by a first-season sire so far this year – was a pinhooked juvenile, costing 5,000gns at Tattersalls October Book 3 and selling for £38,000 as a two-year-old at Doncaster.

Zoustar’s daughter, Lezoo has won three of her four races, including the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes

Zoustar’s daughter, Lezoo has won three of her four races, including the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes

Next best was the Tweenhills-based Zoustar whose yearling average of £63,875 ballooned to an impressive £110,750. One of the major proven sires in his native Australia, it was easy to understand why demand for Zoustar two-year-olds was strong. Five of his eight sold made a profit for their vendors. The best of the bunch is undoubtedly his marquee two-year-old Lezoo, who has won three of her four races so far, including the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes, and she was also runner-up to Mawj in the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge at Newmarket.

With such a buoyant breeze-up market, pinhookers are bound to be on the hunt again this autumn. But just remember it doesn’t work out for everybody. One sobering stat is that only 14 of 23 £100,000-plus yearlings made money and among the losers were four that lost in excess of £100,000.

(Top 25 by Difference in £)

 Sire   Sold  2YO Average £ Yearling Average £ Difference £  % Difference 
 Kingman          5    214,438   134,878 79,560          59
 Sioux Nation        12      95,643     26,254 69,389        264
 Sea the Moon          9    104,144     41,140 63,005        153
 Sea the Stars          6    132,227     69,701 62,526          90
 Siyouni          7    130,437     76,991 53,446          69
 Harry Angel          7      67,474     16,714 50,760        304
 Zoustar          8    110,750     63,875 46,875          73
 U S Navy Flag          6      75,277     29,297 45,980        157
 Exceed and Excel        12      87,815     41,897 45,918        110
 Havana Grey        14      60,411     14,972 45,439        303
 Oasis Dream        11    104,174     62,168 42,006          68
 Mehmas        11      78,647     39,975 38,672          97
 Acclamation        10      77,868     39,999 37,869          95
 Time Test          6      61,332     23,875 37,457        157
 Ardad          5      90,029     53,570 36,459          68
 Gleneagles          5      44,116       8,835 35,281        399
 Awtaad          5      42,925       8,038 34,887        434
 Invincible Spirit        11      89,606     55,304 34,302          62
 Havana Gold          9      42,599     16,680 25,919        155
 Tasleet        18      53,770     30,012 23,758          79
 Starspangledbanner        10      57,013     35,012 22,001          63
 Olympic Glory          5      33,344     11,355 21,989        194
 Seahenge          7      31,367     11,724 19,642        168
 Kodi Bear          7      27,586       9,821 17,765        181
 Prince of Lir          5      26,870       9,228 17,642        191

About the author

John Boyce

John Boyce grew up on a stud farm and is a bloodstock journalist and former editor of Pacemaker and of The Thoroughbred Breeder. He was part of the Darley/Godolphin team from 2001 to 2022 as Group Marketing Head and then Group Head of Research. He is currently a partner in a data analytics company based in London.

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