WITH impeccable breeding and a combined value in excess of $2 billion, these five males have made a fortune out of selling sex.
While the feats of super mare Winx rightly grab the attention of punters and sports fans, it is the super stallions that earn the serous money.
These horses are shuttled around the world to ‘service’ — a polite term for shagging — the finest female horseflesh in the world earning their owners tens of millions of dollars as they go.
HOW DOES IT WORK
For those completely new to the racing game here’s what it means when you read that a stallion stands at a stud:
* a stallion is a horse that still has its testicles (horses are often gelded as the reduced testosterone level makes the horse easier to control)
* ‘standing’ is a euphemism for being available to shag in a certain location, and
* a stud is a horse breeding operation. Studs typically own both stallions and mares but will make their stallions available to any owner of a mare willing to pay the price and will mate their mares with any stallion they believe will produce a quality foal.
BREEDING COUP: PHAROAH COMING TO AUSTRALIA
A mare’s owner will book a visit to a stallion and pay upfront for the privilege. As discussed below, stallion fees can be eye-wateringly high, with Galileo, the world’s most expensive stallion, like an expensive house — price on application — and if you have to ask you can’t afford it.
When breeding season rolls around all mares to be covered at a stud will be hosted at a boarding stud. When a mare is found to be ovulating by a vet she will be transferred to the stallion’s shed.
Here, any notion of romance is thrown out the door. The mare is covered in a heavy leather blanket, to prevent her being bitten by the stallion, and has large protective boots fitted to her hind hoofs, to prevent any potential damage to the stallion’s valuable ‘assets’.
A ‘teaser’ stallion, either infertile or equipped with a heavy duty equine condom, is employed to see if the mare is receptive and fully in season.
Provided the mare is good to go, as it were, the teaser is pulled away and the stallion is put in place.
The stallion will mount the mare and, hopefully, for the humans involved anyway, impregnate her.
A stallion can cover between three and four mares a day, provided he is given a few hours rest in between each ‘effort.’
While studs are unwilling to ‘overwork’ the horse, in no small part as exclusivity maintains the high price they can charge, a stallion can comfortably cover 100-150 mares per breeding season and many will shuttle between seasons in Australia, Europe and the USA allowing them to cover 300-500 mares per year.
THE FIVE MOST VALUABLE ANIMALS ON EARTH
Coolmore Stud, the world’s largest horse breeding operation, will not publicly disclose the service fee for Galileo, however, it is estimated to be well north of $500,000.
Those who fork out the big bucks, will be buying themselves a genetic share in Britain’s seven time champion sire who has produced over 60 Group One winners and whose foals regularly sell for over $1 million dollars. Galileo has been hard at work (sorry couldn’t resist that one) for over a decade and, with luck, he should be able to maintain the gruelling schedule for another 8-10 years. Coolmore would never sell him, but if you wanted to try you would need to part with well over $500 million.
Rated by Timeform as the greatest racehorse to have ever lived, Frankel won nine consecutive Group One races and boasts a pretty good pedigree with a sire of Galileo and dam sire of Danehill. After returning from racing in 2012, Frankel covered his first mares in February 2013. His opening fee was set at $200,000 and with 126 successful covers he earned his owner Saudi Prince Khalid Abdullah $25 million.
While some of those listed below command higher stud fees at the moment there is little doubt Frankel’s cost will rise as his offspring prove his worth as a sire. Saudi Princes are not known for selling their playthings but it’s a fair bet you’d have to offer the prince $500 million to even think about parting way with the great horse.
America’s most expensive stallion, Tapit, never won a major race yet the striking grey commands a stud fee a smidgen under $400,000 (US$300,000). Initially available at a bargain stud fee of ‘just’ $20,000, the success of his progeny have forced his price up to the extent that he is the second most expensive cover in the world. Tapit’s offspring won $26.27 million in prizemoney in 2016 and yearlings topped $2.6 million at sales. Valued at $185 million in 2014 he is no doubt worth considerably more nowadays as his service fee has doubled since that valuation.
The lead sire for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley stable, Dubawi was an outstanding two-year-old and a good but not great three-year-old. His sire, Dubai Millennium, one of the best horses of his time and rated the equal ninth best of all time, died after siring a small number of horses enhancing Dubawi’s value. Originally listed with a stud fee of $200,000, the success of his progeny has seen that price rise to the point where he is the third most expensive sire in the world at $365,000 a time. With annual earnings in excess of $40 million a year and 15 years worth of siring ahead of him, Dubawi’s value has been conservatively placed at $400 million.
Has been Japan’s top breeding sire for four years running, and thanks to the big purses on offer there he topped the 2015 worldwide list with a staggering $80 million earned by his progeny. Prospective customers will only get a few yen change from $350,000 in 2017 and if he can cover the same number of mares this year as he did last (230) then he will earn north of $80 million in 2017. With a good 10-12 years of breeding duties still in him, Deep Impact is another north comfortably valued in excess of $400 million.