Australia’s most valuable race? The true worth of the Coolmore Stud Stakes
What does it actually mean when a race is called a ‘stallion-maker’? Bren O’Brien examines the economics of the Coolmore Stud Stakes and how success in the three-year-old sprint impacts the long-term value of a colt.
Twelve months on from his emphatic win in the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes, Home Affairs is deep into his first season at stud at the farm which sponsors the race which officially made him as a stallion.
With the highest first-season service fee, AU$110,000 (inc GST) of any Australian-bred stallion in history, there is considerable expectation from the Coolmore team on what he may earn from the breeding barn.
Among the bevvy of elite mares who are already in foal to him are Sunlight and Nechita, winners of the Coolmore Stud Stakes in 2018 and 2012. This breeding season is the first time that winners of the Group 1 Flemington feature have met in the breeding barn, with a sense of kismet that both matings took place on Coolmore’s Jerrys Plains property.
So given he stands for an unprecedented first-season fee for an Australian-bred horse, where does that put Home Affairs value?
First of all, the point is somewhat moot as he was already owned by a Coolmore-led syndicate, who paid $875,000 for him as a yearling. Bred by Torryburn Stud, the son of I Am Invincible and Flying Spur mare Miss Interiors had ‘future stallion’ marked on him as soon as he entered the (virtual) sales ring at the 2020 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.
There is an old rule of thumb that the approximate value of a stallion can be worked out by multiplying their first-season service fee (minus GST) by around 450, that is the amount of mares they will likely service in their first three seasons.
It’s a simplistic, and perhaps outdated formula given Australia’s leading stallions routinely service over 200 mares a year.
It also doesn’t account for the often-complex nature of stallion agreements, partnerships and shareholdings, nor the physical attributes of the stallion and its fertility. Then there is the stud’s willingness to sell breeding rights or enter foal share agreements, which all impact the actual number of people paying full price on the service fee, and therefore how you determine their value.
But it does give those on the outside a ‘dartboard’ to aim for when it comes to working out the comparative value of stallions.
In the case of Home Affairs, this simplistic method puts his value at AU$45 million: $100,000, his ex-GST fee multiplied by 450.
When you consider that he will likely serve 200-plus mares at that $100,000 price tag in his first year, the argument could be made that that valuation is conservative.
So how much of that value can be attributed to his brilliant win in the Coolmore Stud Stakes?