With a cold January ahead, I was fortunate enough to get out of the chilly climes of Lexington and make my way down to Australia to work alongside the team at Champion Thoroughbreds and also Aquanita Racing for the Magic Millions, Inglis Classic and NZB Karaka Yearling Sales. I will say this, there is nothing that can prepare you to go from -1 degrees Celsius, to 32 degrees Celsius and high humidity (and throw in a little jet lag)….not a single thing, so to see David Ingordo in his trademark puffer jacket and jeans in that heat was both inspiring and concerning at the same time.
Both of the operations that I worked with at the sales bought well. They have different requirements for what they are looking for and different budgets to fit, but overall they did very well in what was a hyper-competitive market. Yearling Sales worldwide seem to have fallen into the same routine, all the horses are well inspected and well vetted and the obvious horses make significant “overs”, while “value” if such a term exists, can be found in those willing to forgive and not look for the perfect horse. Its a buyers market for those that do their homework. I will also say that in the past years that I have been down to Australia they seem to be moving away from the “strip,screw and wire” mentality that abounds in Kentucky and be more about presenting a forward and robust yearling and letting the legs fall where they may. Danehill may have taught a few lessons there.
The new season sires in Australia were also interesting to see, if just to look at the different types of foals that are being thrown out of Australian mares, especially by stallions that are well known in North America. One of the more interesting colts was the one pictured above that was purchased by Champion Thoroughbreds. He was a great sort by Medaglia d’Oro out of the Dubai Destination mare Queenofthefaeries. A quick look at his five cross (here) and you can see why he was a colt of interest for me at least. Medaglia d’Oro has been devastating with Mr Prospector line mares and this colt is by a son of Kingmambo, thus getting Sadler’s Wells/Nureyev combined. What is more intriguing from a pedigree standpoint is that his next dam is by Nijinsky II out of a Raise a Cup mare with Raise a Cup being very similarly bred to Mr Prospector (and a very good Raise a Cup mare at that – Here is his pedigree). This horse had all that you would like to see in a Medaglia d’Oro colt. If there is one criticism of his colts is that they can tend to be a little effeminate but the better ones, such as Violence and Warrior’s Reward are all about substance – as is this colt. Racing in Australia is on the up and up (they are just about to announce a A$24m Breeders’ Cup series) and if you want any more information about the colt you can find it here.
At the end of the tour I did manage to get to New Zealand for the Karaka yearling sales for the first time in a while. Last time I was there I bought Alberton Park, a stakes winning mare by Thorn Park and thankfully since then not a lot has changed, the Kiwi’s are still raising and selling good racehorses. I had a hand in buying a very nice colt by Savabeel, a son of Zabeel who looks set to take over his mantle in New Zealand as he is now retired from breeding. This colt was out of a Cape Cross mare out of a three quarter sister to the very good brothers Sovereign Red and Gurner’s Lane. He’s going to take some time to come together but I think he is a Derby colt. Here is his pedigree.
It’s going to take a while for me to get over jet lag, it is always bad going back from long warm days into short cold ones, but the trip was thoroughly worth it (maybe time will be the judge of that).