Farhh on the Radar

In My Opinion with Bill Oppenheim

For European sires who went to stud between 2012-14 with first foals that are 5-, 4-, and 3-year-olds of 2018, their proximity to Frankel on the racetrack figured to be an important gauge to their prospects as sires, and so it has proved true.

Coolmore's Zoffany, a son of Dansili who possibly gave Frankel the biggest scare of his career in the 2011 St. James's Palace Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot as a 3-year-old, was the first of those who was in relatively close proximity to Frankel to go to stud, and he had his first foals in 2013 (now 5-year-olds). He was comfortably the leading European freshman sire of 2015, and is now a solidly established mid-range sire standing for €25,000 ($29,250).

Frankel, who retired to Juddmonte Farms' Banstead Manor Stud, had his first foals in 2014, as did old adversaries Nathaniel, at Newsells Park, and Excelebration, at Coolmore.

Frankel's results have been nothing short of sensational. The next day the 4-year-old Mozu Ascot won the Yasuda Kinen (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse to become Frankel's 25th black-type winner from his first two crops, his 18th group winner (that's 8.2% of his named foals in those two crops, about the same percentage as Galileo himself), and his third group 1 winner—interestingly, his second in Japan.

Though he trails Darley's Helmet (sire of Thunder Snow, winner of $6 million in the group 1 Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline) and Nathaniel (sire of Enable, winner of €2,857,000 in last year's group 1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe) by cumulative progeny earnings (keeping in mind BloodHorse adjusts Japanese earnings to a "par" with North American earnings), the black-type figures tell the story here. Frankel has 25 black-type winners; Nathaniel is second among European third-crop sires with nine. Frankel has 18 group winners; Nathaniel is second with four. And Frankel has three group 1 winners; Helmet, Nathaniel, Rajsaman, and Excelebration have one each.

The one horse who was most under the radar of Frankel's top-class opponents, all of whom were group 1 winners themselves, was Godolphin's Farhh, who is by Pivotal out of the dual German group 1 winner Gonbarda, by Lando.

Farhh only ran 10 times—once at 2, once late in his 3-year-old season, then six times at 4 in 2012, and two times at 5 in 2013. He won his start at 2 and his start at 3, and his first start at 4—a maiden and two handicaps—then trainer Saeed bin Suroor fired him into group 1 company.

He was third to So You Think in the Prince of Wales's Stakes (G1), then finished second in four consecutive group 1 races: to Nathaniel in the Coral Eclipse Stakes (G1); to Frankel (six lengths) in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes (G1) at a mile; to Frankel again (seven lengths) in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1); and to the champion race mare Moonlight Cloud in the Qatar Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (G1).

As a 5-year-old in 2013, Farhh finally won his first stakes race—the JLT Lockinge Stakes (G1) over a mile at Newbury in May. He didn't run again until October, when he won the Champion Stakes Sponsored by QIPCO (G1) on Champions Day at Ascot. Total: 10 starts; five wins, four seconds, one third; all five placings in group 1 races. He ran Racing Post Rating's of 126 or 127 five times.

Farhh was undoubtedly a for-real group 1 horse, but he was still under the radar, with only 33 named foals in his first crop, foals of 2015 that are now 3-year-olds. He maybe surprised a few people by appearing on the freshman sire lists by virtue of siring Wells Farhh Go, a surprise winner of the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes (G3) at York in August, for Northern trainer Tim Easterby; and Dee Ex Bee, who placed in two listed races at 2 for another Northern trainer, Mark Johnston.

Going into last weekend Farhh ranked just 20th by cumulative progeny earnings for European second-crop sires, but Dee Ex Bee, who had placed in two more black-type races this term, placed in his fifth black-type race June 2. This one just happened to be the Investec Derby (G1) at Epsom, and Dee Ex Bee's second-place effort earned him £322,500 ($430,538).

That wasn't too far off what all Farhh's runners had earned up until then, and it vaulted the stallion from 20th to sixth among European second-crop sires, now with cumulative progeny earnings totaling $783,115. Hopefully this is the last of Farhh's time under the radar. 

After Farhh moved into sixth, three of the top five European second-crop sires had significant results June 3, which was Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, G1) day at Chantilly. Intello, who was fifth on the list of European second-crop sires, had the third and fourth in the French Derby, which propelled him into fourth, ahead of Havana Gold.

Dabirsim had the French Derby fifth and solidified his hold on the third spot; and Camelot got his third group winner when his filly Pollara won the Prix de Royaumont (G3), moving him to within $50,000 of Society Rock for top spot among European second-crop sires. Camelot has 13 black-type horses so far this year; Society Rock has three. The writing is very much on the wall in that contest.

Among North American third-crop sires (first foals 2014, 4-year-olds of 2018), WinStar's Bodemeister  retains the top spot, with cumulative progeny earnings of more than $8 million. Union Rags  edges past Dialed In  for second, and fourth-ranked Creative Cause  tops the $7 million mark in cumulative progeny earnings. Creative Cause also edged past Dialed In by 2018 earnings, with Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Monomoy Girl's sire, Tapizar , third by 2018 earnings, and Bodemeister fourth. The Factor , currently in Japan, is fifth by both 2018 and cumulative progeny earnings.

No change at all among the top 10 North American second-crop sires by cumulative progeny earnings: Take Charge Indy holds the top spot, ahead of Violence  and leading 2017 freshman sire Overanalyze .