by Grant Morgan
I love looking at first season yearlings by new stallions. I’ve been fortunate to have found some outstanding horses this way over the years, headed by BRAZEN BEAU.
The stallion that has really captured my interest this year is DUBIOUS.
The good news for Queensland is that DUBIOUS stands here at Aquis Farm, Canungra.
Queensland has enjoyed the fruits of leading sires SPIRIT OF BOOM and BETTER THAN READY in recent years, but is now in need of some up and coming young sires to bolster the local stallion ranks that will always be dominated and overshadowed by the Hunter Valley.
The first thing I look at with first season sires are the number of mares they get in their third season. This is the biggest ‘tell’ the market place can give you that a first season sire is a big chance.
Off an advertised fee of just $13,200, DUBIOUS covered a strong book of 162 mares in his first season of stud in 2020. The following year he covered another respectable book of 112. In the very tough third year, DUBIOUS enjoyed more strong support with his numbers jumping back up to 143 mares. That was a big vote of confidence from breeders.
Comparatively, I AM INVINCIBLE stood at an advertised fee of $11,000 when he entered stud in 2010, covering a first year book of 133 mares. That followed with 140 more mares in year 2, and then a big show of confidence by breeders with his third year book rising further to 154 mares.
When the first yearling by I AM INVINCIBLE stepped into the yearling sales rings of Australasia in 2013, I was one of the first to secure his progeny. Several in fact over the ensuing years, before they became unaffordable.
When I inspected lot 7 at the 2013 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, I certainly didn’t have to wait in line behind anyone with the surname of Waterhouse, Hayes or Cummings. None of the big players were even vaguely interested in I Am Invincible at that stage. How times have changed.
History shows that yearling I secured for $70,000 turned out to be Champion 3yo and multiple Group 1 winner BRAZEN BEAU. And before you say that wasn’t much to pay, it was double the average price of the sale in 2013. So it was actually an incredible gamble.
I guess one of the lessons for me is that champion stallions don’t have to be Golden Slipper winners or even Group 1 winners.
Neither DUBIOUS or I AM INVINCIBLE won at Group 1 level.
DUBIOUS won the time honoured Gr 3 Breeders Plate, and followed that by a win the Gr 2 Champagne Stakes at Doomben also at 2.
I AM INVINCIBLE won twice at black type level in the Gr 3 DC McKay Stks at Morphetville and the Listed Sir John Monash Stks. Hardly stallion making races. But that hasn’t stopped ‘Vinnie’ who now commands a service fee of $247,500.
One of the things that struck me about I AM INVINCIBLE in those early days was his ability to ‘upgrade mares’. What I mean by that is the yearling standing in front of you, was invariably in those formative years, far more impressive than the catalogue page.
Very few stallions have the ability to ‘upgrade mares’.
This year I have found that DUBIOUS is doing just this.
Queensland pedigrees are often a bit light for black type. That’s been the case for many of the DUBIOUS yearlings out there. But it certainly hasn’t stopped them presenting as outstanding types.
I really like DUBIOUS and as I did with I AM INVINCIBLE, I have put my money where my mouth is and secured two nice first crop yearlings by DUBIOUS. I'll be doing the same again next year.
For those of you who like a bet, don’t be afraid to have something on DUBIOUS in the first season sire markets, particularly in the most winner’s category.