Osblog 24 – France

Osblog 24 – France

28th Aug 2012

Osblog 24 Deauville and French stallions

Whenever an untried horse can be valued in seven figures as at Deauville 2012 it can seem like all is well. In a world turned upside down, this industry is lucky to attract that kind of investment. I was reminiscing with Jocelyn de Moubray about the strength relatively of the market in the early eighties, and when the values are updated to today, the bloodstock market has never soared that high since. Many things have changed – the Maktoums are still the dominant force in the market but their buying behaviour has gone through several transformations. The “big book” era in stallion management changed the supply and demand equation. The industry is more mature in regions which were playing catch-up back then. Comparisons are unreliable.

The specific parameters of the Deauville Sale include the fact that the catalogue had more fillies than colts. It also had a backdrop of unrest not seen in France for thirty years. The strength of the French racing product was not enough to sustain the demand through the four days of the sale so the results were of varied impact for vendors, as ever. The coins were not scattered equally. An interesting side effect of the French premia for breeders is that the dominant players breed to race OR sell and in fact many prefer not to sell since this risks the loss of the animal from the French system and so would deprive the breeder of the premia. So this is a national system which actively discourages exports! The Arqana team have battled against this and manage to attract a very wide buying bench and of course many of the vendors are not French so the premia do not apply to many of the August Sale lots.

The move by the Aga Khan Studs to reverse shuttle Redoute’s Choice to France is a major development. The market in France has not been lucrative for stallions in the past. When Elusive City left us to go to France, I was surprised at the time to discover that he would be among the highest priced stallions in France. Then we saw the strength of the commitment among a group of French breeders when they tried to secure Makfi, though they were outbid by the Qataris and he went to Gloucestershire instead. Stallions are extremely mobile forms of capital and we have seen the beneficial effect of the presence of elite stallions in Ireland over the decades. We better not fall behind our neighbours!

Redoutes Choice is the flagship for John Messara’s Arrowfield and their advance raiding party emulated Black Caviar in denying Invincible Spirit another Group 1 at York. Paul Messara is a graduate of the INS stud management course. Well done to Ortensia and Company.

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