Storm CatStorm CatWhile this may not be music to the ears of those of our stallion masters whose horses stand in the R200 000 – R250 000 bracket in the local market, the most expensive stallion in the world, Storm Cat, who has stood for a fee of $500 000 (just short of R3.5 million) since the 2002 season, has had his fee reduced to $300 000 for the forthcoming season, following a significant drop in the average price paid for his yearlings this year. Just a year ago, Storm Cat’s yearlings averaged $1,250,400, and this year, though they were conceived off a half million dollar stud fee, they averaged just $545,038, a drop of more than $700 000 a head.

The reality about seriously high stud fees, particularly in a limited market like ours, is that eventually, they hurt the people that paid them, and until the market is big enough and strong enough to sustain fees at current levels, the truth is, they’re simply not sustainable.

The next result from a drop in fees in the case of a horse like Storm Cat, is that the “backlash” continues to haunt his connections for the foreseeable future, with buyers of services inclined to support those horses whose fees are within reach.

His principal competition, A.P.Indy and Kingmambo, will continue to stand at $300 000, which means the three of them will share top spot in the market. Both A.P.Indy and Kingmambo stand at Will Farrish’s Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Lexington, where the current leader on the American Sires log, Smart Strike, also stands. Smart Strike’s fee was recently elevated to $150 000, putting him in the top six or seven sires in the United States, and representing a doubling up on his fee of $75 000 earlier this year.