Maximising buyers' chances of success

Being a leading buyer at a yearling sale takes plenty of hard work as well as money and, naturally enough, sale companies and vendors are generous with their congratulations!

But as every experienced buyer knows, securing the yearlings of your choice is only the start of the job and the real accolades are handed out at the track after Group and Listed Races.

By that much tougher measure China Horse Club, James Harron, Gai Waterhouse, Darby Racing & Scone Bloodstock are among the most successful buyers from recent Magic Millions Gold Coast Sales – and all have bought Group winners from Arrowfield.

China Horse Club was the leading buyer by total spend at the 2016 Magic Millions Sale and the best of their 21 purchases came from the Arrowfield barn. That’s the Michael Pitt-bred Champion 2YO Colt Invader, bought for $475,000 and now worth many times that amount after leading home the Snitzel trifecta in the $1 million ATC Sires’ Produce S. G1. 

James Harron’s eight lots from the same Sale were headed then, and are headed now by the $1 million Arrowfield graduate Dracarys, winner of the ATC Up and Coming S. G3 in August. Both Dracarys and Invader are trained by Peter & Paul Snowden, also in charge of recent Listed winner Pretty Fast, a $650,000 Magic Millions purchase from Arrowfield by Tim Stakemire for Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed al Maktoum.

The third Group-winning colt from Arrowfield’s Magic Millions Class of 2016 is Showtime, successful in September’s MVRC Bill Stutt S. G2. He races for Team Hawkes and a group of owners including his breeders Arrowfield and Katsumi Yoshida who retained a share in the handsome son of Snitzel and Flidais. Agent Dean Hawthorne signed for him at $1.1 million.

A year earlier, at the 2015 Magic Millions auction, Gai Waterhouse and Darby Racing secured two fillies and it didn’t take long for their Arrowfield buy, Scarlet Rain to justify her $100,000 price-tag. Almost exactly a year later, she won on debut at Rosehill, again three weeks later and at her third start landed the ATC Sweet Embrace S. G2. 

Her owners’ original investment was handsomely rewarded with $340,000 prizemoney and Scarlet Rain’s subsequent sale price of $950,000, paid by James Harron at the 2017 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. 

Scone Bloodstock’s John Hutchinson purchased four yearlings at Magic Millions in 2015, including Listed winner Guard of Honour, but his best result was the gorgeous $720,000 Redoute’s Choice filly he and trainer Rick Worthington found in Arrowfield’s consignment. 

Named Honesty Prevails, she won just one race in her short career for owner Trevor Gluck, but she made it count, because it was the ATC Widden S. G3 at her 2YO debut in January 2016. Now a member of the Arrowfield broodmare band, Honesty Prevails is safely in foal to Japan’s multiple Champion Sire Deep Impact. 

All told, Arrowfield has sold 22 stakeswinners from  203 lots offered at the 2011-16 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sales. So what talent awaits discovery by Magic Millions buyers in Arrowfield’s Class of 2018?

Bloodstock Manager Jon Freyer picks out a few lots from the 63-strong consignment that are likely to attract buyers’ early attention:

Lot 24 – Olympic Glory-Lanai filly
“A gorgeous, eye-catching type from a sister to G1 winner Marsh Side. She has balance, strength and scope, and will be the first Olympic Glory yearling offered in Australia.”

Lot 126 – Smart Missile-Negotiate colt  
“Half-brother to Magic Millions graduate & Group 1 winner Secret Agenda, from a tremendous producer who always leaves an athletic type, and this boy is no exception.”

Lot 294 – Not A Single Doubt-She Loves You colt
“A typical, racy Not A Single Doubt type bred on the Gunnison cross, and with a similar physical. He’s the mare’s second foal and a grandson of Group 2 winner She Will Be Loved from a prolific stakes-producing family.” 

Lot 479 – Lord Kanaloa-Adempiano filly     
“A quality sprinting daughter of Japan’s leading first season sire, she’s had size and substance from the start and looks fast and early.”

Lot 573 – Animal Kingdom-Butters colt
“Strongly made, attractive, athletic half-brother to Group 1 winner Foxplay and descended from champion US 2YO filly Eliza.”

Lot 668 – Dundeel-Opportunity colt
“He’s an excellent, fluent mover, typical of what Dundeel leaves, his dam was a very smart 2YO and has produced two stakes performers.”

Lot 731 – Redoute’s Choice-Flavoured filly     
“A lovely, big, strong full sister to Group 3-winning juvenile Honesty Prevails. And the Redoute’s Choice/Hussonet cross is magic: five Group winners from 10 runners.”

Lot 733 – Snitzel-Flidais filly
“The Snitzel-Flidais mating has already produced Showtime and Group 1 winner Sweet Idea, and this is a star filly who reminds us very much of her big sister.” 

Snitzel's stakes double starts the season

There was no warm-up required for Snitzel to make an early impact on the new season. One Saturday in and he’s already notched two new stakeswinners, Thronum in Sydney and Sooboog in Melbourne. 

The quick start is an ominous sign for Snitzel’s rivals. Two years ago he posted his first stakeswinner on 9 August and by season-end he’d added a further 11 winners of 16 stakes races, including three Group 1 winners. 

In testing conditions at Randwick, Sun Stud’s 3YO colt Thronum jumped smartly, took control of the pace and under topweight of 58kg, grittily held off his rivals in the $100,000 ATC The Rosebud 1200m LR. 

Staunch finishes by Mediterranean (a new stakes performer for Smart Missile) and Miss Beneteau (ditto for Beneteau) brought them within a half-length of Thronum, and completed an Arrowfield-sired trifecta.

Watch Thronum win the ATC The Rosebud LR.

Thronum is the first winner and the first stakeswinner for the new training partnership of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

Bott said after the race, “We were confident coming here today when we saw the rain throughout the week. The long range plan has always been the Golden Rose.

“He’s a colt that keeps improving. We’ll just see how he comes through the race. He’s done enough to get in so we’ll just take it from there.”

The last three winners of The Rosebud, Sebring Sun, Scissor Kick & Eurozone, all went on to Group 1 form during the Spring.

Thronum is the second foal of the US-bred mare Helena’s Secret (by Five Star Day), from the family of champion sire Street Cry and Shamardal. Bred by Ron & Deb Gilbert’s Highgrove Stud, Robert Anderson and Widden Stud, he was purchased for $300,000 by James Harron from Highgrove’s draft at the 2015 Inglis Easter Sale. 

An hour later at Flemington Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s colt Sooboog decisively won the $150,000 VRC Aurie’s Star H. 1200m G3 by almost two lengths from Dibayani and Tashbeeh. 

Watch Sooboog win the VRC Aurie’s Star H. G3.

Sooboog’s first black type success was one of five wins on the card for champion Melbourne trainer Darren Weir who said, “He’s a really good galloper – he’s shown us that at home and we knew that the day he got things fall his way he’d be winning a good race.

“He’s a Group 3 winner which is important for him as a stallion. We’ll look at targeting another good race with him in the Spring, I can’t see any reason why he can’t get a strong 1400 either.”

Sooboog, Arrowfield’s $1.5 million draft-topper from the 2014 Inglis Easter Sale, is the second of Snitzel’s nine million-dollar yearlings to achieve Group-winning status, after Australian Guineas winner Wandjina. (Five of those nine are just-turned 2YOs.)

Sooboog and his Group 1-winning older sister Snitzerland are the best of seven winners out of Arrowfield gem Monte Rosa (by Fraar), who has a yearling filly by Snitzel and is due to foal to him again this Spring. 

Thronum and Sooboog take Snitzel’s tally of stakeswinners to 40 and his record of same-day stakes race doubles to seven. Expect plenty more of that kind of performance from the son of Redoute’s Choice: his 175-strong Class of 2014, conceived on a fee of $49,500, comes on stream this season, with 171 yearlings right behind them.

New record price for Not A Single Doubt

It’s tempting to say that Not A Single Doubt’s new status as a boom sire has been conferred belatedly, because he’s been one of our most valuable and consistent sires for several seasons. 

That said, he was initially something of a “slow burn” and, for a stallion renowned for getting precocious, readymade athletes, he was surprisingly tardy to post his first stakeswinners. His first-crop representative Doubtful Jack was almost four when he won the VRC Winter Championship Final LR in July 2010 and a month later 3YO Squamosa became his first Group winner.

Then his brilliant third-crop daughter Karuta Queen appeared, to waltz away with the 2011 Magic Millions 2YO Classic (R) LR and launch her $1.8 million career. It was as if the cork had popped out of the bottle, and Not A Single Doubt’s winners and stakeswinners have been flowing ever since.

He was 18th on the 2011 General Sires’ Premiership table, 13th two years later and last season cracked the top 10 with prizemoney of $7,014,757. This season he’s lengthened stride again and is already on $5.1 million, little more than $400,000 behind the deceased Street Cry and almost the same margin ahead of champion sire Fastnet Rock.

On the winners & wins list, Not A Single Doubt holds a clear lead with 91 winners of 125 races, ahead of Fastnet Rock, Written Tycoon, Lonhro & Choisir. He hit top gear in the Carnival period of October & November with 46 winners of 53 races including five new stakeswinners: Good Project (WATC Railway S. G1) & Let It Slip in Perth, and Secret Agenda, Don’t Doubt Mamma & his 11th juvenile stakeswinner, Jackson, all in Melbourne.

Not bad for a stallion that stood his first six seasons at a fee of $13,750 inc. GST! He is also mastering the sometimes difficult trick of lifting his game with the commerically appealing mares a higher fee usually commands. Not A Single Doubt’s two crops conceived on a fee of $24,750 inc. GST are now two and three and they have already thrown up 49 winners, six stakeswinners & six other stakes performers. 

His fee was raised again, to $33,000 inc. GST in 2013. but on the evidence of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, breeders who have used Not A Single Doubt at that level have nothing to worry about.

He had twenty-six lots sold in Books 1 & 2 for an average of $191,730 and Arrowfield’s stunning filly from Miss Sharapova smashed his previous sale record of $380,000 when she was knocked down to Tim Stakemire for $650,000. A few hours later, Twin Palms sold their filly out of Street ‘Em Sheila for $400,000 to Boomer Bloodstock.

In all, Not A Single Doubt had 10 lots sell for $200,000 or more and posted a median price of $160,000. Buyers included trainers Gai Waterhouse, Gerald Ryan, Tony Gollan, Mick Price, Robbie Griffiths, Lee & Anthony Freedman and Nick Olive; agents Blue Sky Bloodstock & Belmont Bloodstock; and international owners Shadwell Australasia, Sun Bloodstock, David Ellis & the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Not A Single Doubt’s 30 stakeswinners, headed by Miracles Of Life & Good Project, another 20 stakes performers and his 67% winners/runners strike rate all signal that he’s a fixed star, not a fleeting comet among Australian sires. As he hunts the coveted No. 1 spot on the General premiership, it’s also clear that his own constellation is far from completed yet.

Not A Single Doubt has six lots catalogued for next month’s Inglis Classic Sale, including Arrowfield’s grand-daughter of Group 1 winner Macedon Lady. Arrowfield will also offer a full brother to stakes-placed Perth winner Make Your Move and Hong Kong winner Winning Novel among Not A Single Doubt’s 7 lots for the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.