David Chester

published: 28 Nov 2014 in Q&A

The burgeoning market in China for Australian thoroughbreds has received a boost following the Free Trade Agreement reached with the federal government.

As a result the import tariffs on racehorses going into China will be totally removed over the next few years.

This is expected to lead to a substantial increase in the movement of thoroughbred bloodstock – 157 have gone so far this year – being sent from Australia to China.

Understandably this is also an important development as far as the Magic Millions and Inglis sales companies are concerned.

With the 2015 round of yearling sales drawing closer Stallions in the first of a two-part piece questioned Magic Millions international sales director David Chester about the impact of the FTA on Chinese involvement, the likely make up of the buying bench and his projection for the yearling sales.


Q.: Will the Free Trade Agreement assist the Australian thoroughbred industry

A.: There is no doubt that the new Free Trade Agreement is a positive for everyone involved. In recent years China has emerged as an important market for Australian-bred horses and the move to eliminate import duties over the next four years is a significant development in fostering business between the two countries. We had been lagging behind New Zealand because of the tax on Australian horses going to China. So on the back of the Free Trade Agreement we are expecting more horses to go to China over the coming years because of that agreement.


Q.: What is your view of the Free Trade Agreement over the longer term

A.: Importantly the agreement means that should the Chinese government one day officially sanction the introduction of horse racing we will be well-placed to provide a large proportion of the horses required.


Q.: Will there be Chinese buyers at your 2015 yearling sales

A.: Yes. We have recently had a visit from a group from China and a party will be coming down from China for the sales in January and we are expecting them to be active.


Q.: It seems a strong northern hemisphere buying bench is now a “given” at the sales

A.: It is and the good news about that buying bench is that they are leaving horses in Australia to be trained and raced so it’s sort of value adding. It is also very beneficial for the Australia industry as this process is continually introducing new buyers into the local racing.


Q.: Are you expecting any new investors at the sales

A.: We are always hoping that will happen. We are working on a few possibilities right now and it is something that we, as a company, focuses on.


Q.: How has vendor support been

A.: Very good. We are finding that as each year goes by we are receiving stronger and stronger support from the leading studs in Australia.  We are also receiving support from New Zealand vendors.


Q.: What is you projection for the sales in January

A.: I think it is looking very good because the successes of our graduates in Australia and overseas has been nothing short of phenomenal. That is very important because, in my experience, buyers tend to return to where they know they can buy good racehorses. Besides the sales in the northern hemisphere have been very strong again, our prize money in Australia is on the improve and Magic Millions has the richest sales series in the world for graduates. On that basis I am quietly confident as we look toward the sales.


Q.: How would you rate the catalogue

A.: Everyone at Magic Millions seems to agree that the catalogue is much better than last year. What we pride ourselves on is that we select on type as much as anything else. That means we can guarantee buyers that if a horse is in the sale he will be very athletic and quite possibly precocious.








It is all systems “go” as the countdown to the annual round of yearling sales in Australia and New Zealand gathers momentum.

The first of these sales, of course, is the Gold Coast Magic Millions, which will run from January 7 to 13.

The yearling sales are now accompanied by a series of social activities beginning on January 2 and continuing through the “Ladies Race Day” on January 3 to the Jeep Magic Millions Race Day a week later.

In the second of a two-part piece Stallions questioned Magic Millions international sales director David Chester about features of the catalogue, the company’s promotions and its highly successful 2014.


Q.: Which stallions will be best represented

A.: The leading sires ranked by representation are Sebring (53 lots), Snitzel (52), Smart Missile (44), More Than Ready (34), I Am Invincible (31), Foxwedge (30), Northern Meteor (28), Fastnet Rock (26), Denman (24), Hinchinbrook (24) and So You Think (23). In all there are 92 individual sires represented in Books 1 and 2 of the auction. The most highly represented first season sires are Smart Missile (44 lots), Sepoy (34), Foxwedge (30) and So You Think (23).


Q.: No doubt many quality mares have yearlings entered

A.: We have a great catalogue in that regard with some 274 lots from stakes performed mares. Group 1-winning mares with quality lots in the sale include Carry on Cutie, Hasna, Kenbelle, Lady Jakeo, Portland Singa, Regimental Gal and Velocitea.


Q.: Can you pinpoint some high profile lots

A.: The stand outs lots could include the Redoute’s Choice-Kidman colt, from Newhaven Park, a Redoute’s Choice colt from Dances on Waves from Mill Park and there are good reports on the Fastnet Rock-Delta girl colt from Coolmore. Another, who is sure to prove popular is Baramul’s More Than Ready full brother to Samaready. We are also looking forward to the first crops of a number of sires. The Sepoy-Florentina colt, the Smart Missile-Negotiate colt and the Foxwedge-Georgette Silk colt spring to mind from this group.


Q.: Where will the sales be most heavily promoted

A.: Naturally our biggest buying bench is made of Australians. On that note we are very pleased about our sponsorship of races at the recent stand-alone Saturday meeting at Ballarat. When we first entered the sponsorship with a provincial club people asked “why would you do that?”.  Now we have our $200,000 Magic Millions Clockwise Classic for two-year-olds and the $100,000 Magic Millions Three-Year-Old Classic on a metropolitan rated Saturday meeting, which received enormous attention right around Australia. We also have the Magic Millions at Wyong in December. While we are concentrating on the domestic market our managing director Vin Cox has just returned from a very successful trip to the United States. Vin is going to Tattersalls and then on to South Africa and I will be doing a tour of Asia. Hong Kong and Singapore are important markets for us so I will be spending time in those countries. Interestingly the Korean Racing Association will be running two Magic Millions races in December, which hasn’t ever been done for any other sales company in the world.


Q.: Everyone at Magic Millions must be looking forward to next year after a very successful 2014

A.: Yes, we’ve had a wonderful year. It has probably been one of the best the company has had in its 30-year history. January, the National sale, our Two-Year-Old in Training sale and the Patinack dispersal were all exceptional. We pride ourselves on our clearance rates, which are very important, and we have achieved outstanding results on that and other indicators. We are looking forward to having a tremendous buying bench in January and also to have more women involved. We have the women’s bonus, which is a relatively new innovation and has been very enthusiastically received over the three years it has been going. Overall there are a lot of things going on, which is great for the company and we are really looking forward to the New Year.