Craig Cameron

published: 10 May 2013 in Q&A

Over the last few years the newly founded BC3 Thoroughbreds has become a major player in the Australian bloodstock industry.

Over the last few years the newly founded BC3 Thoroughbreds has become a major player in the Australian bloodstock industry.

The organization hit the headlines in 2011 when it went to $2.6 million for the Redoute’s Choice half-sister – now named Belle Couture - to the  immortal Black Caviar at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

Then this year BC3 stunned the market place by going to $5 million for the colt by Redoute’s Choice from Black Caviar’s dam Helsinge.

In the second of two Q&As with BC3 executives Stallions questioned the group’s chief executive officer Craig Cameron about the group’s formation, the type of investor involved, future plans, the $5 million colt, Belle Couture and other matters.


Q.: When was BC3 formed

A.: BC3 was formed in Australia in 2008 when Bill Vlahos purchased the business from Americans John Brocklebank and Shane Chapman. John remains in the business as our principal horse selector.


Q.: Who are the principals behind the group

A.: Bill Vlahos is chairman of the group and heads the Advisory Board. I am the chief executive officer, Simon Marshall is the Industry Liaison Manager and as mentioned John Brocklebank selects our horses.


Q.: What type of investor is primarily involved

A.: The business has grown and changed over the past couple of years and accordingly the profile of our owners has shifted. We have a range of owners buying smaller holdings to larger owners spending significant amounts. The beauty of our business is that we allow everyday people the opportunity to invest in some of Australia’s best bloodlines, as demonstrated by the ownership break down of the $5 million colt by Redoute’s Choice from Helsinge.


Q.: When did you join BC3

A.: In March of this year.


Q.: What led through to your appointment

A.: I met Bill through a connection at the Richmond Football Club and he asked me to join the Advisory Board soon after. That was about 18 months ago and subsequently Bill started talking to me about the possibility of taking over from him as chief executive officer. It was a pretty big decision to leave Richmond where I held the position of General Manager – Football and had overseen a dramatic rebuild of the club’s football department and playing list. However, it isn’t often in life that one is presented with the opportunity to work in two of your great passions in life. Mine are Australian Rules football and horse racing so I came to the conclusion that the time was right to make the move.


Q.: It is obviously an exciting time for everyone concerned with BC3

A.: It certainly is an exciting time for a number of reasons, not just the purchase of Jimmy as we call him. We have a number of projects in the pipeline. We are re-opening in the United States and we are expanding into the Asian market through Singapore and China.


Q.: Can you say more about those plans

A.: Our re-entry into the U.S. market will be at the Fasif Tipton yearling sales in July and later in the year the Barrett’s yearling sales. We have engaged breakers and trainers in Utah to prepare these horses with the intention of either selling them at the lucrative U.S. ready-to-run two-year-old sales or racing them in BC3 interests.  We have a number of interested owners in Singapore and they are keen for us to find horses for them to race up there. The Magic Millions also has a lucrative race series in Singapore and we will be looking to take advantage of that with some of our purchases. Our new Client Services and Business Development manager Adrian Smith has a good knowledge of the Singapore market, having headed up a number of businesses there. China is a slow-burn strategy for us. We have made connections with some potential partners both here and there. We are monitoring the country’s racing expansion with a full understanding that when the Chinese Government pushes the button we will need to move quickly. We are well placed to act when this occurs.


Q.: Have any plans been formulated for the $5 million colt

A.: Nothing out of the ordinary. Rest and recuperation following the sale, breaking-in and education in what is involved in becoming a racehorse.


Q.: What is the situation with Belle Couture

A.: She is in training in her first preparation with Danny O’Brien. She will soon be headed to his Flemington base to step up the intensity of her work. Then a decision will be made on whether she has one start during the winter months or is put aside for a spring three-year-old campaign.


Q.: Do you have anything specifically in mind for her

A.: She is a very big girl and consequently has been given every opportunity to grow and develop. Ideally she will be aimed at the feature races in the spring for three-year-old fillies.


Q.: What other high profile horses does BC3 have on the books

A.: We have Khalifa about to come back to racing. Whisper Downs is an iron horse, who has been in work since last August. Although Let Go Lenni is recovering from a leg injury we have high hopes that he can build on his Group placing from last spring and Uate has been a consistent black type performer in Sydney. While not all these horses run in our colours any more as we sold them out, they are all BC3 graduates


Q.: Are any of them being targeted for stakes races

A.: Khalifa will look to run in some of the late winter-early spring stakes races and we expect Let Go Lenni and Uate to continue to perform in Group company. Obviously we can’t wait for Belle Couture to step onto the track. Added to that we have a number of nice yearlings that we expect to turn into quality two and three-year-olds in the next couple of seasons.


Q.: Which trainers have you been using

A.: Our horses have been with Mark Kavanagh, David Hayes, Mick Price and Kris Lees while John Hawkes will be handling Jimmy when he goes into training.