Following on quickly from the Gold Coast Magic Millions the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, to be held at Newmarket on January 20 and 21, is steadily picking up an avid following. Continue reading
Since its foundation in 1986 the Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale has overcome some trials and tribulations to establish an important place on the world thoroughbred stage. Continue reading
Over the last decade or so Andrew Bensley – otherwise known as Hoss – has become the face of racing news. Continue reading
At 4pm today in the Federal Court Justice Robertson delivered his decision in the case brought by Bruce McHugh against the Australian Stud Book and Ors seeking to overturn the current policy that to be eligible to be registered for breeding and racing a thoroughbred must be conceived by natural means, artificial insemination not being allowed.
The application was dismissed on both grounds under which it was sought. The status quo has been maintained keeping Australia in line with all the world’s other major breeding nations.
MUCH HAS BEEN SAID IN RECENT TIMES ABOUT BREEDING STAYERS IN AUSTRALIA. I THINK I AM IN A MINORITY OF ONE IN BELIEVING THAT AUSTRALIA CAN BREED MIDDLE-DISTANCE HORSES, THEY JUST NEED TO BE GIVEN TIME TO DEVELOP.
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That they might not be of the same class as the best European middle-distance performers is a moot point but the salient point to me is the way horses in Australia are prepared through their early years.
American Grade 1 winner Unusual Suspect (Unusual Heat – Penpont, by Crested Wave) won his first race in Australia yesterday when taking out the Werribee Cup (Listed) over 2600m, his seventh stakes win.
Making his 71st start, Unusual Suspect has run in the last two Melbourne Cups and finished third in the Sandown Cup (Listed, 3200m) at his most recent start.
Unusual Suspect is now a nine-year-old by Southern Hemisphere time, so his racing days are numbered. A winner as a two-year-old and from 1200 to 2600 metres, he won a Grade 3 over 1200m as a three-year-old, so he hardly devoid of speed. He is still an entire and surely he deserves a place at stud. Somewhere.
Unfortunately my optimism would appear to be misplaced. The current state of affairs for studs looking to breed the stayers that the chattering classes insist cannot be bred in Australia was starkly highlighted by Gerry Harvey.
Interviewed in the Melbourne Age on Saturday, Harvey said, “They won’t like me saying it but trainers in Australia don’t really know how to prepare a stayer. Perhaps one or two can, but overall we are just a sprinting-driven nation.”
On Americain, Harvey said it was a commercial reality that his operation looked past the 2010 Melbourne Cup winner.
“We looked at Americain as a possible stallion but the harder we looked it seemed that no-one in Australasia would send him a mare so we dropped off him.”
Never one to sit on the fence, Harvey added, “Then we had Galileo come to Australia and what did we do with him? We pushed and pushed his offspring and he was a complete failure and yet a successful sire in Europe. That’s got to be telling you something.”
Ironically, Unusual Suspect carries a USA suffix but his dam is the New Zealand-bred Penpont, a daughter of Crested Wave (Crozier), who was exported to the states where she won over six furlongs.
She has been a regular consort for Unusual Heat with all seven of her winners being by the son of Nureyev and two of them at the highest level, Unusual Suspect winning the Hollywood Turf Cup and the filly Golden Doc A winning the Las Virgenes Stakes.
Unusual Suspect’s granddam Imposing Star (Imposing) won in Sydney and is a half-sister to English Charm.
His third-dam is the high-class Black Willow (Sobig), winner of Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes as a juvenile and rated the Top filly on the 1973/74 New Zealand 2yo Free Handicap.
Black Willow is inbred to three of the most influential mares this century, namely Malva, Selene and Scapa Flow.
Malva appears as the third-dam of Sobig’s sire Summertime (Precipitation) and her son King Salmon (Salmon-Trout) the broodmare sire of Dogger Bank (Fairway), the maternal grandsire of Black Willow.
Selene appears through Hyperion (Gainsborough) and Mossborough (Nearco) and Scapa Flow through the brothers Fairway and Pharos.
Unusual Heat is 22 and has sired 30 stakeswinners from 413 runners. In addition to Unusual Suspect he has the Grade 1 winner Acclamation standing his first-season in 2013 at $20,000 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, his offspring have shown a real aptitude for the turf in North America.
The Daily Racong Form ran an interesting anecdote on the career of Unusual Heat.
Trainer Mike Mitchell was visiting Harris Farms and stopped by Unusual Heat’s paddock. But for the shake of a numbered pill bottle on a June afternoon at Hollywood Park in 1996, Mitchell would have owned Unusual Heat. Another trainer, Barry Abrams, also put in an $80,000 claim and won the shake.
Mitchell, who has won some and lost more than a few in the claiming game over the years, has not one whit of loser’s remorse.
“You know what would have happened if I had won the shake?” he said to McGlothlin, Harris farm’s horse manager. “I would have gelded him right away, and that would have been that.”
Unusual Heat was bred by John T. L. Jones who stood Nureyev at his Walmac Farm in Kentucky. His dam is the Danish-bred Rossard (Glacial), herself inbred to Malva and who won the 1983 Danish 1,000 Guineas, Danish Derby, Swedish Derby, Swedish Oaks, Danish Oaks, and Danish St. Leger and then ran in North America with good results, notably winning the Flower Bowl Invitational (Gr 1) when leading virtually all the way.
Like his son Unusual Suspect, Unusual Heat raced on as an older horse and stood his first season at stud in 1998.
His first four crops consisted of only 92 foals, but the first crop of 15 foals, conceived off a $2500 fee, contained 11 winners and the rest, as they say, is history. His fee at Harris Farms, California, in 2012 was $20,000.
There was a disappointing lead-up to the breeding season for Vinery when superstar Big Brown was unable to fulfil his southern hemisphere commitment. Continue reading
Over the eight years since settling in Australia Louis Le Metayer has become a familiar face on the nation’s thoroughbred scene. Continue reading
With the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the breeding season coming to a conclusion this is usually one of the quietist periods in the thoroughbred industry. Continue reading
While Bart Cummings bemoans a perceived drop in the standard of New Zealand in recent years stallions the country has still produced 17 Derby winners since 2010.
Of those six have come through New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready to Run Sale.
Those winners have been Fay Fay (2012 Hong Kong Derby), Mr Ambassador (2012 Perak Derby), Sangster (2011 Victoria Derby), Shootoff (2011 Queensland Derby), Military Move (2010 New Zealand Derby) and Generous Touch (2010 Perak Derby).
As the 2012 RTR Sale at Karaka on November 20 and 21 Stallions, in the first of a two-part series, questioned NZB’s managing director (sales and marketing) Petrea Vela about the entries, the stallion and broodmare representation as well as other matters.
Q.: How do entries compare with previous years
A.: We have 407 two-year-olds catalogued this year which is 53 more than last year. We are very happy with the catalogue being that size. We feel last year was a bit small so this is a better size to provide a wide enough selection to satisfy the sale’s growing international demand. About 360 horses breezed up at the trials and video clips are now available online (and on DVD)
Q.: You must be pleased with the vast array of stallions in the catalogue
A.: This sale has really had its roots as a “type” sale and hasn’t traditionally had the pedigree strength of the top yearling sales, but this is changing as the stallion spread gets stronger and stronger as each year goes by. This year there are 115 individual sires represented, including many of the leading sires in Australasia, which highlights the strength of the 2012 catalogue and the regard that the sale has with vendors who target this market
Q.: Could you name a few of the higher profile mares represented
A.: Some of the highlights include the Sakhee’s Secret colt from the Zabeel mare Winning Spree, dam of last season’s New Zealand Champion Three-Year-Old and Group 1 Derby winner Silent Achiever. He is Lot 399. There is a colt from the Last Tycoon mare Mrs Squillionaire, who is the dam of Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint winner Green Birdie and is from the family of sires Onemorenomore and Casino Prince. He is Lot 215. The Group 1 New Zealand Stakes winner Deebee Belle has a gelding by Pentire in the sale as Lot 80. Added to that we have close relatives to horses like Zennista, Gallic, Rockdale, Mexican Rose and many more
Q.: Lot 85 has a pedigree that should generate interest
A.: Yes, he is a Zabeel gelding from a three-quarter sister to Flying Spur. The Zabeel/Danehill cross has produced some top performers including Vengeance of Rain, Zabrasive and Dizelle and this horse boasts a strong pedigree being from the family of Flying Spur and Encosta de Lago. Besides being one of four Zabeels in the sale he is one of a number of sales entries hailing from leading families. Others include an O’Reilly colt, who is from the same family as the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Solemia. He is Lot 106. There is a Redoute’s Choice colt from a South African stakes winning mare Lady’s Delight, who is a close relative to Group 1 Caulfield Cup winner Diatribe. He is Lot 176. There are colts by Fastnet Rock (Lot 242) and Exceed and Excel (Lot 251) whose American and Irish bred dams are siblings to Group 1 Royal Ascot winners so the sale has a lot of horses that come from very well-regarded international families
Q.: How is the local industry shaping up as the sale nears
A.: Last year New Zealand buyers spent $4 million on 72 horses, the second highest spend at the 2011sale behind Australia so the local support for this sale is usually very good. There are some good signs of positive changes in the New Zealand thoroughbred industry over the next 12 months so hopefully that will provide confidence to the local market come sale time
Q.: Are you anticipating having a strong buying bench from Australia
A.: Almost half the sale’s stakes winners last season came in Australia, with horses like the Victoria Derby winner Sangster plus Folding Gear and Linton. And, with a sale average of around NZ$60,000 its great value for international buyers, which should also be appealing. Last year we were amazed that Australia had the biggest total spend of any country with an outlay of $4.6 million on 50- two-year-olds, so as long as the great results keep flowing we hope that we can keep attracting good Australian support.
New Zealand Bloodstock’s annual Ready to Run Sale always proves particularly popular for Asian buyers, with good reason.
A host of high class performers in Asia have come out of the sale including this year’s Hong Kong Derby winner Fay Fay and Perak Derby winner Mr Ambassador as well as 2010 Perak Derby hero Generous Tycoon.
The sale has also produced three other recent Derby winners in Sangster (Victoria), Shootoff (Queensland) and Military Move (New Zealand).
As NZB’s 2012 RTR Sale at Karaka on November 20 and 21 nears Stallions, in the second of a two-part series, asked the company’s managing director (sales and marketing) Petrea Vela about promotion, likely Asian buying interest, the International Buyer Reward Scheme and other matters.
Q.: Has New Zealand Bloodstock been promoting the sale in Asia
A.: Asia has been a staple market for the Ready to Run Sale for many years and it has an excellent record throughout the region. The concept of having a wide selection of young horses that are well-prepared and educated is definitely a plus The fact that the sale graduates are ready to race virtually as soon as they get home holds huge appeal to those buyers so we try to make sure they know what’s coming up in November. Mike Kneebone, our director of bloodstock and sales in Asia, is based in Singapore and does a great job throughout the year of reminding owners and trainers how many RTR graduates are winning there!
Q.: Which Asian countries are expected to be most active among buyers
A.: Hong Kong and Singapore are the biggest buyers from Asia. The sale has enjoyed having a lot of much success in both countries over a number of seasons. Most recently horses like the 2012 Hong Kong Derby winner Fay Fay and this season’s Singapore stakes winner Flying Fulton have kept the flag flying which has helped to keep the interest high
Q.: Is the International Buyer Scheme having the desired impact
A.: Our Buyer Reward Scheme is designed so that every international buyer who attends the sale, buys a horse and meets the conditions will get a credit against their purchase or purchases. Hopefully this is a useful contribution towards overseas buyers’ travel costs to New Zealand
Q.: What percentage of entries are eligible for the Karaka Million and the Karaka Three-Year-Old Mile
A.: This year we have 28 horses in the catalogue eligible for the 2013 Karaka Million and the 2014 Karaka Three-Year-Old Mile. That number is up on last year which is great but I still wish we had more! We encouraged buyers who pinhooked yearlings from Karaka 2012 for this sale to sign up their horses for the series as it is a great boost for their two-year-old come sale time, so hopefully this representation will keep growing. We also have a huge number of horses that are eligible for BOBS, Super VOBIS, QTIS and/or the Golden Slipper Stakes
Q.: Can you pinpoint any particular reason RTR sales graduates have been so successful
A.: It’s probably a combination of factors but ultimately it has to come down to the quality of horses that are consistently being presented and that’s down to the vendors. We are lucky to have a very skilled and professional group of consignors here in New Zealand who specialise in this market. They see this sale as a genuine and viable trading opportunity and work extremely hard to identify the right horses for the sale. They then prepare them to the very highest level. As the results flow, this stimulates buyer interest and in turn it provides vendors with confidence to step up their investment each year. There is no doubt the quality of catalogue is getting better and better each year which is vitally important in ensuring the sale’s continuing success
Q.: How are preparations for the 2013 yearling sales series progressing
A.: Yearling sale planning is in full swing. We are in the final stages of putting the catalogues together for the Premier, Select and Festival Sales and we will have them available by December 1. We received more entries than last year which is a positive sign and we are looking forward to presenting a good line-up in January 2013.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival is by far-and-away the most important race week on the Australian calendar. Continue reading