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On the money

The most expensive liquid in the world


“Horse semen is a big business,” says Isobel Thompson in The Fence. With breeders desperate to produce the next champion equine, one sample of the stuff can go for six figures. The ejaculate of Galileo, a stud who was put down last year aged 23, was reportedly worth £40m a gallon, making it “the most expensive liquid in the world”. Each “exertion” of another horse, Dubawi, costs £250,000. Darren Blanton, a Texan once dubbed the “Cowboy Venture Capitalist”, claims to own £16m in frozen semen produced by a single stud.

One firm, the Shropshire-based “semen pioneers” Stallion AI, sells its product around the globe. “Clients thumb a glossy catalogue and choose from rippling stallions with names like Aristo, Cassius III and Je T’aime Flamenco.” Founder Tullis Matson believes the studs “perform best if they’re clear-headed”, so they’re fed specially moistened hay and kept in rooms with relaxing infrared lights. Once the deed is done, the liquid is stored in 0.5ml “straws” in cryogenic freezers, and later dispatched via standard carriers like FedEx. Look up, “and you’ll probably see planes carrying horse semen, crossing each other in the sky”.