de Kabat Racing Research

Specialist in statistical research for the Thoroughbred industry



The creativity behind stallion adverts


Plato once said “Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice.” Over the past decade, or so, I must have written hundreds of stallions advertisements. And I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three categories of stallions; each with their own challenge for creating an advertisement.

Expensive horses
These ads write themselves. The horses are expensive because they have superior race records, pedigrees and/or stud records. These are the ads that are a pleasure to write, the words flow easily, and the point of difference for each stallion is readily discernible. Typically these ads can be written quickly, which is of great benefit when the typical payment is by word count, eg 500 words for $x. The key challenge here is that the stud masters demand a high standard given the profile of their horse. It can be tempting to dash off a quick summary, but that attitude leads to problems (a useful analogy for most of life).

Very cheap horses
Every time I look up one of these horses I think “Why on earth is someone bothering to stand this horse at stud?” I have to remind myself that the owner is paying me to find something nice, and more importantly, they believe in this horse and believe the horse has merit. These horses are a brilliant exercise in seeing beyond the basic facts on the page. It takes creativity to take the facts and make them exciting, and it does help to remember that the marketplace for these horses is (obviously) different to the expensive horses. This alone makes the story different, and if my writing can encourage mare owners to consider a horse – and perhaps even send one mare, then my job has been done.

The middle ground
In many ways, these are my favourite horses to write about. There is a challenge in taking a horse that has a perceived reputation and turning that on its head with some facts that counter it, or in finding the balance between merit and value. Often in this category are the emerging sires who are about to get that good horse to make them fly, and these horses have a buzz about them that helps the words flow. Sometimes, you find an older horse or a bread and butter horse who is forgotten, but more than worth consideration at the price in the market.

To read 2017’s stallion advertisements written for Breeding & Racing, click here. Note: some of these were written in house by their stud farms, but the majority were done by me.


2017 Freshman Sires

One only has to glance at the first crops of the world’s greatest stallions to understand the undeniable wow factor of freshman stallions, writes Renée Geelen.


Scientists will tell you that DNA gets less potent as it ages, but that doesn’t fully explain the vibrancy of the first crop for a stallion. Trainers remember the wonderful horses they found, sometimes at bargain prices, from the first crop of a stallion. No wonder they continue to chase after the next one from the same source. Of course, this leads to increased sales for the latest, greatest, newest stallions; an ever-repeating cycle of excitement.

When a great stallion arrives on the scene, they do it with a bang. Case in point: Danehill’s first crop in 1991 – for which breeders paid a fee of only $10,000 – consisted of 49 foals, of which 10 won stakes races including multiple Gr1 winner Danewin, Flight Stakes winner Danarani, Golden Slipper winner Danzero, Stradbroke winner Danasinga, and Queensland Oaks winner Joie Denise.

Read more here:

Asia: A decade ago

This article on the Asian racing markets was published in Breeding & Racing in 2008. It provides a great overview of racing in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau and the emerging markets from 1998 to 2008.

Overview – read it Asia1Overview.

Hong Kong – read it Asia2HK.

Singapore – read it Asia3Sing.

Malaysia – read it Asia4Mal.

Macau – read it Asia5Mac.

Emerging markets (including China) – read it Asia6Developing. Discover how much has changed in the last decade.

Jumps Racing and why it matters

This article about the connection between the Melbourne Cup and Jumps Racing was first published in Bluebloods in September 2015.

Shocking Conformation Pic

Shocking (AUS) at Rich Hill Farm

If we, Australia, want to win our own Cup, we need to support our jumps racing scene. There have been five Melbourne Cup winners since an Australian bred last won it. Prior to that, we won the two previous in succession – Shocking (Street Cry – Maria di Castiglia, by Danehill) and Viewed (Scenic – Lovers Knot, by Khozaam). Rather than succumb to the annual spring journalistic ritual of tearing our hair out in angst that we will “never” see another Australian bred horse win our Cup, let’s perform a little analysis instead. Is there is a way that our Principle Racing Authorities can assist our trainers, owners and breeders in getting closer to a local Melbourne Cup success?

Full article: 201509 Jumps.

Aushorse: Less Risk, More Reward

aushorse ad using my numbersOver the past few weeks, I’ve been putting together numbers for the latest Aushorse advertisement. Given the massive success of the Inglis Easter Sale, I think people were paying attention.  Buy Australian!


Inglis Melbourne Yearlings 2017

The Melbourne Premier sale starts this weekend. Here is the latest issue of Bluebloods that includes vendor interviews written by Renee.

Click here.

Hunter Valley Breeders win again

TBA Press Release

TBA Welcomes PAC Decision 


Thoroughbred Breeders Australia welcomes the decision of the NSW Planning Assessment Commission to reject the Drayton South mine application.

The decision demonstrates that the commissioners understand the importance of the Hunter Valley as a world centre of excellence in the thoroughbred industry, as well as the vital role that Coolmore and Godolphin, the two farms that would have been directly impacted by the mine, play in the region.

“All breeders should welcome the PAC’s decision as it recognises that the Hunter is one of the most important thoroughbred regions in the world,” said Basil Nolan, President of TBA.

“If the mine had been given the go-ahead it would have damaged the reputation of the region and the Australian industry as a whole.”

Had the project been approved an open-cut mine would have been developed less than a kilometre from Coolmore and Godolphin.

TBA now calls on the state government to place clear protection zones around the key thoroughbred farms to protect the breeding industry and provide certainty to all land businesses.

Thursday’s decision is the fourth time the PAC has rejected a mine proposal for Drayton South by Anglo-American.

Tom Reilly, chief executive of TBA, said: “This saga has gone on for six years and has been incredibly divisive. For the future of all businesses in the region the state government should step in and create clear boundaries for different land use.”

He added: “Until they do that there remains the possibility that another application could be made for Drayton South, causing further uncertainty to breeders and all land users.

“While this process has dragged on, a number of overseas operations have set up in Australia, though none have chosen to base themselves in the Hunter Valley. We hope the PAC’s decision, combined with clarification from the state government around future land use, will see the thoroughbred industry in the Hunter grow.”

TBA would also like to congratulate the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association who have fought so hard against the mine proposal.

For more information contact Tom Reilly on 0423 146 334.

Inglis Classic 2017


Australia’s fastest growing sale of 2016 finds itself in an early to mid February 2017 slot that looks timed to perfection. Boasting 2YO graduates the likes of household juveniles Extreme Choice and Yankee Rose certainly doesn’t go astray with the buying bench either, however the coup de grace might just be the inaugural Gold Riband session that comes with some exceptional built in incentives. To get the full picture of a sale that’s firmly in the spotlight, with direct access to the 600 Lots on offer between February 11-13 inclusive, simply click on this link.

Farm previews written by Renée Geelen.

Million dollar yearlings

The results for the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling sale are only just starting, with day 2 finishing with three million dollar yearlings.

MM Gold Coast Day-2: Top Sellers

Friday, 13th January 2017 (data from Breeding & Racing Daily News)
  • $1.3 million – More Than Ready x Purespeed colt (Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Racing/Aquis Farm/Blue Sky B’stock/Dermot Farrington)
  • $1.1 million – Snitzel x Sabanci colt (Waller Racing/Mulcaster B’stock)
  • $1 million – Medaglia d’Oro x Sangfroid colt (Little Kwok Hing Hung/Bahen B’stock

But what happens when the buzz fades? Are they worth the cost?


Aquis Farm sold this colt by Medaglia d’Oro for $1million to Little Kwok Hing Hung and Bahen Bloodstock. (Photo thanks to Magic Millions and Aquis Farm).

This article was written in December 2015 for Bluebloods magazine. You can read it in pdf form here: millionaire-yearlings; or read the introduction below.

The sales season is nearly upon us again, and once again there will be a few yearlings that sell for astronomical money.  Consider this – in June, 2015, the median house price across Sydney hit $1million.  Not the central city suburb of Sydney, but the whole Sydney basin.  There is some risk when you buy real estate, but compared to other investments, the risk is fairly low.  For the same money as the median house in Sydney, you can buy a top-line yearling – an ‘investment’ that comes with fairly substantial risk.

Not everyone who buys a yearling does it for the long term investment.  The purchase of a million dollar yearling is, in most cases, part of a long term investment strategy.  The risks in buying a horse are obvious to anyone who has been in racing for a while.  Alongside risk comes reward.  What are the potential rewards for someone buying a million dollar yearling?

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