Picture : Jockey Flavien Prat rides Flightline to win the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (Reuters)
Owen Goulding (The Irish Sun)
Flightline has earned a staggering £24million in his first year at stud as he bids to become a breeding superstar like his British equal Frankel.
The John Sadler-trained superstar won all six of his races, including four Grade 1 contests.
He flew onto the radar with his 19-length demolition job in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on his penultimate start and was sent off 4-9 for his final start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Flavien Prat was so confident that at the three-furlong pole, he was looking around for dangers as he tanked up alongside Life Is Good.
That rival had set a suicidal pace and faded badly out of contention, but Flightline was doing cartwheels as he sauntered to an eight-length win.
Longines named him the world’s best horse in 2022 following his on-track exploits and he was rated just a few pounds off Frankel by Timeform.
The comparisons to Britain’s greatest ever horse Frankel have been constant and that battle is set to continue as Flightline enters his stud career.
Flightline has just completed his first season at stud and covered 152 mares, all of whom were carefully chosen.
The likes of 2019 Canadian champion juvenile filly Curlin’s Voyage, Breeders’ Cup winners Belvoir Bay, Bar Of Gold and Unrivaled Belle have all visited Flightline in his first year.
And at £158,000 ($200,000) a pop, Flightline has earned an eyewatering £24m in his first year of retirement.
His on-track earnings of £3.3m pale in comparison and it’s unsurprising that connections opted to retire him while he’s happy and healthy.
In Flat racing, the real money is in the bloodstock industry, with Dubawi being a prime example.
He won three Group 1 races in a two-year career that saw him earn £700,000.
Dubawi covered 165 mares in 2022 at £250,000 a time, meaning he earned a staggering £41m.
He was offered for just £25,000 in 2006, but after all his success, you’ll need £350,000 this year to command his services.
Although there’s a solid debate for Flightline being Frankel’s equal on the track, he has some way to go to match him off it, as that trend is already happening for Frankel.
Frankel has already sired nine Group 1 winners in his stud career to date, with his most expensive horse bought for £3.1m.
On average, his horses are bought for £300,000 and his stud fee grew to £275,000 in 2023.
Having started out at £125,000 in 2013, it was upped again in 2018 to £175,000 and then £200,000 in 2022 as his progeny continued to thrive.
Flightline’s progeny will be put under the microscope in a few years time and if his first crop prove to be anything like him, his stud fee is likely to continue growing.