Champions Make Champion Sires
Tara Madgwick - Tuesday May 7
The classic season brings out the best in some horses so a look at the leading sires of three year-olds list often sheds light on some of the very best stallions and the horse setting the pace this year will stand this season as the fourth most expensive sire in the country.

ZoustarThat horse is Zoustar and with his oldest progeny just three year-olds, he's burst clear of his second crop rivals and thrown down the gauntlet to his elders in siring 54 winners of $5.9 million, which is quite a margin in advance of his maternal grand-sire Redoute's Choice who is next best with earnings of $4.7 million.

His tally of five three year-old stakes-winners is equalled only by I Am Invincible and among those stakes-winners is his game-changer Sunlight.

Winner of the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and placed in the Golden Slipper, Sunlight has been a revelation this season, thumping the colts and the older horses to win three Group I events – VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes, Newmarket Handicap and MVRC William Reid Stakes.

What sets the truly elite stallions apart from the very good ones is their ability to sire champions and in Sunlight, Zoustar undoubtedly has a champion.

Currently in the UK serving his first Northern Hemisphere season at Tweenhills, Zoustar has had a fee increase this season at Widden from $60,500 up to $154,000 putting him behind only I Am Invincible ($247,500 Yarraman), Snitzel ($220,000 Arrowfield) and Fastnet Rock ($165,000 Coolmore).

Interestingly, two of those three are the next active sires on the 3YO Sires List (All sires of 3YO's with earnings in excess of $3million, click here to the interactive list with fees).

Probably the most intriguing sire on the list is Armidale Stud's Needs Further, the Tasmanian based son of Encosta de Lago earning his place largely through the deeds of his amazingly good daughter Mystic Journey, the winner of 10 of her 13 starts earning $3.2 million.

Mystic Journey has put her sire Needs Further in the spotlightThe scope of her achievements can't be underestimated and she would be a legitimate contender to be Champion 3YO Filly giving Sunlight a run for her money.

She won the Group I VRC Australian Guineas becoming only the fifth filly to do it joining an elite group – Triscay, Miss Finland, Shamrocker and Mosheen – and then won the inaugural $5million All Star Mile, a weight-for-age contest beating serious Group I horses Hartnell, Alizee and Le Romain.

Standing at a fee of $12,500 this spring, Needs Further is a well bred stallion (he comes from the family of Zabeel) that has produced an exceptional horse from relatively limited opportunity, so budget conscious breeders thinking outside the box might do well to consider his credentials at the price.

Zoustar in upcoming sales: