Darley Well Represented at Magic Millions
The first yearling to be offered at Australia’s first yearling sale of 2018 will enter the Magic Millions ring on the Queensland Gold Coast on Wednesday morning and is part of an Australian breeding and racing industry that is stronger, healthier and potentially more rewarding than almost any other
Brazen Beau, the Champion sprinter, Hallowed Crown, the star miler, Shooting To Win, the Guineas Champion and Sidestep, the star two-year-old of his year, will feature alongside the established Darley line-up that includes Exceed And Excel, Lonhro, Sepoy, Epaulette, Helmet and Medaglia d’Oro.
In the words of respected American commentator Bill Oppenheim: “The Australian model is streets ahead of those that have evolved in what are traditionally the best racing countries.”
Oppenheim lists world-beating prize money growth, exceptional clearance rates at the sales and the world’s highest concentration of horse ownership – more than 40 times that of the US – among the attractions of the Australian racing and breeding industry.
In short, Australia offers a unique combination of proven international bloodlines, quality horses and simple economics.
The attraction of Australia has long been recognised by organisations such as Godolphin and Shadwell and their founders Sheikh Mohammed and his brother Sheikh Hamdan, who for decades have been breeding and racing the winners of Australia’s biggest races.
The rest of the world is now catching on.
The 5500-odd yearlings that will be offered at auction in Australia this year will no doubt be knocked down to buyers from across the globe. In addition to local investors at Australian sales, there has been a growing band from China, Hong Kong, the Middle East and South Africa.
More recently, names more familiar in American racing circles have joined them.
Breeders and owners such as Spendthrift Farm, Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Farm, Merriebelle Stables and WinStar Farm have not only been buying horses in Australia, but farms as well.
The attraction is the same for them all – good horses at good prices who can race for good money. Another major incentive is the opportunity to purchase a potential stallion for a realistic price.
For Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey it was an opportunity his organisation couldn’t resist.
“Australia has the hottest market in the world for proven stallion prospects, but one of the great things is that over here you can buy a yearling with the potential to become a stallion,” Toffey says.
”It’s hard to do that in America, the breeders tend to hold on to their best colts.”
Stonestreet’s John Moynihan is another to acknowledge the opportunities that are available in Australia.
“You get a shot at buying what is considered the best down there, and that was very appealing to us,” Moynihan says.
The willingness of Australian breeders to send their top colts to the sales is evident at both Magic Millions and Australia’s other major auction house, William Inglis and Sons.
The Magic Millions Gold Coast sale alone has offered as yearlings future outstanding stallions such as Snippets, Snitzel, Not a Single Doubt, General Nediym, Testa Rossa, Savabeel, Written Tycoon, Sebring and Pierro.
Inglis sales have seen the likes of Darley freshman sire Brazen Beau and all-conquering, dual-hemisphere stallion Exceed And Excel go through their ring.
Brazen Beau was a A$70,000 yearling at the Inglis Classic Sale in 2013 and Exceed And Excel fetched a comparatively modest A$375,000 at the Inglis Sydney Easter sale of 2002.
Other Inglis graduates to make the big time as stallions include Fastnet Rock, Foxwedge, Flying Spur, Luskin Star, Rory’s Jester and All Too Hard, to mention only a few.
But before they become stallions or broodmares, they will become racehorses and surely none have been more successful than outstanding Champion Winx.
A A$230,000 yearling purchase at the Gold Coast in 2013, the daughter of Street Cry has won 26 races, including incredible her last 22 in succession -15 of them at G1 level – and A$15.6 million in prize money.
While no such promises can possibly be made about this year’s yearling crop, Magic Millions points out that during the most recently completed Australian racing season, 112 of its sale graduates won 165 Stakes races in Australia alone.
And as their first Australian yearlings are presented to the world in 2018, they are ready to show that the second stage of their careers will be as dynamic as the first.
A world of opportunity awaits on the Gold Coast this week.