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Horse Racing: Get back up on the horse: £175,000 fee per cover for prized stallion Frankel

By Laura Donnellan, School of Law, University of Limerick, Ireland Juddmonte Farms Group (Juddmonte) announced on 31 October 2017 that nine-year-old stallion Frankel’s nomination fees for 2018 had risen from £125,000 per cover to £175,000 per cover for every special live foal (SLF). A standard stallion nomination contract concluded between the vendor and the purchaser will include a SLF term. If  the mare conceives from the cover the nomination fee is due; however, if she does not conceive or suffers a miscarriage, the purchaser must return the nomination fee (for guidance on such agreements and relevant terms, see the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association,  Stallion Nomination Contract Guide, October 2013, http://www.itba.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Stallion-Nomnation-Contract-Guide-October-2013.pdf). Frankel is the issue of the Irish thoroughbred Galileo, who won, amongst other prestigious races, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2001 and Kind, an Irish bred and British-trained mare, who was sired by Danehill. Danehill was a US born thoroughbred, who spent time at Coolmore Stud in County Tipperary, Ireland and, subsequently, in Australia (see Tony Bourke, “Champion Danehill dies in accident”, 14 May 2003, The Age, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/05/13/1052591796077.html). Frankel resides at Banstead Manor Stud near Newmarket, which is one of the properties owned by Juddmonte, which operates stud farms in the UK, Ireland and the USA, and is owned by Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud of Saudi Arabia (https://www.juddmonte.com/about/default.aspx). Prior to standing at stud, Frankel was undefeated in his fourteen-race career and, following his win at the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October 2013, Frankel retired from racing. Sir Henry Cecil trained Frankel and, amongst his illustrious wins, Frankel won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in 2011, the end of season flat race, which is part of the QIPCO British Champions Day (https://www.ascot.co.uk/raceday-events/qipco-british-champions-day). As a three-year-old colt, Frankel was referred to as the equine equivalent of Usain Bolt and reported to be worth £100 million in 2011 (Louise Boyle, “British horse dubbed ‘Usain Bolt of the racing world’ who has won every time becomes first to be valued at £100 MILLION”, Daily Mail, 7 October 2011, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2046427/British-horse-dubbed-Usain-Bolt-racing-world-won-race-valued-100MILLION.html#ixzz4xCEtTPzN). Frankel began his stud career on 14 February 2013 and, out of 133 covers, 126 were in foal, with seven mares becoming pregnant, however, early foetal death ensued (Martin Stevens, “Frankel: 126 out of 133 covers are in foal”, 6 July 2013, Bloodstock, http://bloodstock.racingpost.com/news/bloodstock/frankel-126-out-of-133-covers-are-scanned-in-foal/1312176/). Out of the 133 covers, Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud owned 24, leaving 109 mares whose owners had to pay the £125,000. While it was not stated whether the Prince owned the seven mares who miscarried, if the successful 109 were owned by third parties, then Frankel could have earned Prince Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud £13.625 million in stud fees in 2013 (“Frankel: 126 out of 133 covers are in foal”). The £50,000 increase in the nomination fee in 2018 can be attributed to the accomplishments of Frankel’s progeny. In 2017 alone, Frankel’s offspring have been successful at a number of top class races including the Group 1 winners: Cracksman (Champion Stakes); and Japanese Oaks winner Soul Stirring. Group 2 winners: Eminent; Finche; and Rostropovich. And Group 3 winners: Cunco; Elarqam; Frankuus; Lady Frankel; Last Kingdom; Monarchs Glen; and Nelson (https://www.juddmonte.com/stallions/frankel/default.aspx). On average, 25 yearlings sired by Frankel were sold for £500,000 each in 2017 (https://www.juddmonte.com/stallions/frankel/default.aspx). Cracksman, ridden by Frankie Dettori,, won the Champion Stakes (part of the QIPCO British Champions Day) at Ascot last month. The Champion Stakes is a middle-distance race (2,012 metres; one mile and two furlongs) for horses aged three years and over with prize money of over £1.3 million. Cracksman won by seven lengths (see Marcus Armytage, “Frankie Dettori steals the show as Cracksman turns Champion Stakes into a procession”, 21 October 2017, The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/racing/2017/10/21/frankie-dettori-steals-show-cracksman-turns-champion-stakes/). With the increased stud fee of £175,000, in 2018, Frankel could make £23 million in stud fees for his owner, if he can replicate his success of 133 covers in his first year standing at stud (Marcus Armytage, “Frankel stallion fee soars to £175,000”, 31 October 2017, The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/racing/2017/10/31/frankel-stallion-fee-soars-175000/). However, this figure is only possible if all 133 covers are for third party purchases, there are no revisits and all covers result in live foals. Frankel does not command the highest cover fee. His father Galileo is reported to earn Coolmore Stud more than £175,000, although, the amount is not publicly available.  The cost of a cover from Dubawi of Darley Stud is £250,000 for an October 1, SLF. (https://www.darleyeurope.com/stallions/our-stallions/dubawi). The October 1 SLF means that, if the mare is certified pregnant by 1 October, then the purchaser must pay the cover fee. However, if after 1 October the mare suffers a miscarriage or fails to produce a live foal, then the vendor must return the nomination fee to the purchaser (see Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, Stallion Nomination Contract Guide as cited above). Given that, Dubawi is fifteen years old and thus his stud life is longer than Frankel and, as a corollary, he has produced more champions, Frankel’s cover fees will arguably increase, as his progeny continue to excel, and he will join the ranks of the mega-rich sporting ‘stars’! Laura Donnellan may be contacted by e-mail at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    
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