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‘Incredible’ $1.9 million I Am Invincible colt to feel right at home at Coolmore

Magnier shows his might with three million-dollar purchases during remarkable day of trade at Magic Millions

Coolmore does not need to prove its strength in the marketplace, the global giant has done that many times, but its Australian principal Tom Magnier yesterday made his presence felt at the Magic Millions by signing for three colts, all worth more than $1 million, led by the sales-topping I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) half-brother to Group 2 winner Dubious (Not A Single Doubt) at a jaw-dropping $1.9 million.

With 2020 Inglis Easter sale purchase Home Affairs (I Am Invincible) – a Group 2-winning juvenile who claimed the Coolmore Stud Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Flemington last October to send his value soaring – assured of being the farm’s big-name first season sire later this year, Magnier was happy to leverage Coolmore’s clout in the hope of landing its next sire prospect.

And that he did, spending a combined $4.1 million on the three colts on day three of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

The son of I Am Invincible was the most expensive of the eight million-dollar lots sold yesterday, taking the auction’s tally to 12 seven-figure yearlings, and continued the surging demand for bloodstock underpinned by record numbers across all sale metrics. 

The average and median were at $298,668 – a sale record – and $230,000 respectively, while the aggregate, fuelled by a sensational clearance rate that has maintained at 94 per cent, was $154,112,500, up almost $20 million on the same stage last year, statistics which almost certainly ensure the 2022 Magic Millions sale will set another auction house benchmark when the last horse walks through the ring on Monday.

Magnier was as confident as one can be that the standout I Am Invincible colt has the credentials to replicate, or better, the deeds of Home Affairs.

“I think he was one of the talking horses during the week. We have a great team here looking at the horses and they all landed on this horse, they liked him a lot,” Magnier said. 

“It’s a pedigree we all understand. With Dubious, it’s fast, and Chris Waller really liked the horse, and so that makes our job a lot easier.”

Born and raised at Newgate Farm, and marking the stud’s highest-priced yearling ever sold, he is the third living foal out of the French stakes-placed mare Suspicieuse (Elusive Quality), who was purchased privately by James Harron in 2020 carrying the resultant sale-topping colt. Harron negotiated the deal on behalf of clients including Belinda Bateman and Love Racing and the colt’s price puts them well in front.

Harron, normally one of the main players jostling to buy a prized colt such as the I Am Invincible, described yesterday’s result as “an amazing thrill”.

“He was very forward, very masculine and has great substance, but one thing that’s been quite incredible with this horse is his wonderful attitude all the way through,” Harron said. 

“He’s got a real sense of confidence about him, he handles himself brilliantly, he doesn’t panic, just a very cool customer. He is quite unique in how he handled the sale.”

Newgate founder Henry Field said: “He’s one of those rare articles. I tell you what, when you’re in the horse breeding business, they’re very, very hard to breed. So, all the best to Coolmore, and I really hope he’s in their stallion barn in two years’ time.”

Suspicieuse, identified by agent Sheamus Mills at the 2013 Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale when purchased for €55,000, has a filly at foot by the Harron colts partnership-raced Arrowfield Stud stallion Pariah (Redoute’s Choice) and she is currently not in foal.

Midshipman influence captures Coolmore’s attention

The first of Coolmore’s purchases, after swinging and missing on Wednesday, was a $1.1 million Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) colt bred and sold by Emirates Park.

By the four-time champion Arrowfield Stud sire, which requires little explanation as to the yearling’s appeal, Magnier and his syndicate of partners, including trainer Chris Waller, were also attracted by the fact he is out of Red Lodge (Midshipman), a US stakes winner who won twice as a juvenile for American trainer Wesley Ward.

As Magnier pointed out, Ward also trains the Coolmore-owned Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Gr 1, 5f) winner Golden Pal (Uncle Mo), a horse they are considering campaigning in Australia.

“We like this horse a lot, but the thing that stood out for us was the Midshipman. Obviously, we have Golden Pal, probably the fastest horse in America, who is out of a Midshipman mare,” Magnier said. 

“Wesley Ward has been onto us all week because he trained the mother and it is a very, very fast family.”

Red Lodge, who was purchased by Emirates Park for US$500,000 out of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in 2018 when in foal to Kitten’s Joy (El Prado), produced a filly by Emirates Park’s stallion and Newgate resident Tassort (Brazen Beau) last year, before being covered by I Am Invincible.

Just eight lots later, Magnier went to the same price of $1.1 million for the Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm-bred Not A Single Doubt (Redoute’s Choice) brother to this season’s ATC Gimcrack Stakes (Gr 3, 1000m) placegetter Pantonario and Kindergarten Stakes (Gr 3, 1100m) placegetter Legend Of Condor.

From Not A Single Doubt’s final crop – as was Wednesday’s $1.7 million colt sold by Segenhoe – he had the endorsement of fellow Coolmore syndicate team members, Waller and agents Guy Mulcaster and James Bester. 

“He was such a lovely horse with the strength, power and the width. He looks precocious and early,” Magnier suggested.

The continued upswing of the yearling market, which has gone into overdrive since the pandemic, is not a shock to Magnier.

“As healthy as the industry is in Australia, when you look at the prize-money and the way things are going in this country, we’ve known for a while it’s going from strength to strength,” he said. 

Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch admitted he’d have got people’s “head read” if they had suggested the figures being achieved so far at the sale.

“A gross of $154 million is a huge sale and the momentum we got over the first two days was evident today,” Bowditch said last night. 

“There was bullish bidding; from the bottom to the top it was strong and I am speechless, to be honest, it’s an outstanding sale … and it’s exactly what we’re striving to do. 

“When I say that, it is (our job) to find buyers at all numbers and add depth. It’s not just about finding buyers for the big horses. 

“There’s work in them, but there’s just as much work in the lower end of the market and it’s just as vital for our vendors who support the sale at all levels.”

Pierro-Redoute’s Choice cross has buyers clamouring for colt

Meanwhile, Ciaron Maher and co-trainer David Eustace continued their spending spree yesterday, adding a son of Pierro (Lonhro) for $1.5 million early in the third session, the partnership’s second million dollar acquisition of the sale after yesterday’s session-topper. 

Catalogued as Lot 419, he is the second foal of the Kia Ora-raced ATC Sheraco Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) winner Ravi (Redoute’s Choice), providing the colt with Pierro’s most successful cross. 

The Pierro-Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) nick is responsible for nine of the Coolmore sire’s 27 stakes winners – a 20 per cent stakes-winners-to-runners ratio – headed by Group 1 winners Arcadia Queen, Regal Power, Levendi and the now Hong Kong-based Group 2 winner Furore.

“Ravi, being a Redoute’s mare with her quality, (the colt) was always going to make his money,” reasoned Maher, who bought a Not A Single Doubt colt for $1.7 million on Wednesday.

“The Pierros are reasonably adaptable. There are a lot of them that have a bit of scope, but you would think that with mum that there’d be a bit of speed there. He’s a good type with good depth and good range.”

The colt is the equal highest-priced yearling sold by Pierro, matching a colt who made $1.5 million at the 2016 Gold Coast sale and added to the depth of the dual-stable Ciaron Maher Racing operation. 

“We love the colt and expected him to sell well but you can never foresee a result like that,” Kia Ora’s Shane Wright said.

“He’s been very popular all week and has taken everything in his stride the whole way through the sale and never put a foot out of place. This kind of temperament, along with his physical attributes, made him a sought after colt and one of the busiest horses I’ve ever had the pleasure of selling at Magics.”

So far, Maher and Eustace have purchased 30 yearlings, including five with partners, for a total spend of $14.065 million.

Wright was the latest to laud the depth of the buying bench assembled at the Gold Coast.

“Ciaron and David have bought a magnificent group of horses this week and we couldn’t be happier. He joins their stable, he gets every chance and we wish them the best of luck with him,” he said.

“It’s been an amazing market this week; the clearance is over 90 per cent, which is unheard of, and Barry and the team should be commended on putting it all together.”

Another prominent training partnership who have been a tower of strength on the buying bench at this week’s sale is Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, who stumped up for their first million-dollar lot of the auction: an I Am Invincible colt from the family of champion four-time Group 1 winner Criterion (Sebring).

It did not take Waterhouse and Bott much time to convince Go Bloodstock’s Sir Owen Glenn, who raced Criterion, to buy into the $1 million Yarraman Park Stud-bred and sold colt. 

A half-brother to South African Grade 3 winner Muwaary (O’Reilly), the colt is the ninth foal out of Australian Listed winner Silently (Anabaa), a half-sister to Criterion, Sir Owen’s Doomben Cup (Gr 1, 2000m) winner Comin’ Through (Fastnet Rock) and Group 2 winner Varenna Miss (Redoute’s Choice).

Waterhouse and Bott, with the assistance of Kestrel Thoroughbreds’ Bruce Slade, have bought 23 lots, including two with partners, for $10.205 million.

Annabel Neasham, considered by some observers to be the heir apparent to trail blazer Waterhouse, also bolstered her growing stable’s stocks by five yesterday, led by a Segenhoe Stud-sold Snitzel colt for $1.1 million.

From the US Listed winner Street Secret (Street Cry), making him a half-brother to Listed winner and Vinery Stud Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) runner-up Frankely Awesome (Frankel), Neasham and her bloodstock manager Brian McGuire won the battle for the colt.

“We’re over the moon. We never thought he’d make that sort of money. He was bred by Sir Owen Glenn, who’s a great friend and client of the farm,” Segenhoe general manager Peter O’Brien said.

“We were thinking he’d maybe go for $600,000 or no more than $800,000.”

In total, Neasham has bought 18 yearlings so far for a combined $6.44 million, which includes three yearlings with new partner Lizzie Jelfs, whose purchases were led by a $450,000 daughter of Snitzel, as well as a filly by Maurice (Screen Hero) and a Nicconi (Bianconi) colt. 

Alliance to the fore

The Victorian Alliance operation also added another seven-figure colt by Zoustar (Northern Meteor) in year two of its stallion fund, going to $1.25 million for the second foal out of Group 2 winner Summer Sham (Not A Single Doubt).

Having gone to $1.3 million for a colt by the Widden Stud sire out of Pirapala (Sepoy) on Wednesday, the group’s advisers, Rosemont Stud, Suman Hedge and David Redvers Bloodstock’s Hannah Wall, stumped up again yesterday for the Widden Stud-sold colt.

The colt is the second foal out of three-time winner and Group 2 scorer Summer Sham (Not A Single Doubt) who Redvers purchased for $650,000 at the 2019 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in foal to Star Witness (Starcraft). That first foal was bought last year by James Harron for $250,000.

Further back in the pedigree is fourth dam Shantha’s Choice (Canny Lad), dam to the famed family of Redoute’s Choice, Platinum Scissors (Danehill) and Rubick (Encosta De Lago). 

“Clearly our interest is to buy colts that we hope can ultimately end up in the stallion barn at Rosemont and, again, he is a horse that fits that profile,” Rosemont general manager of bloodstock Ryan McEvoy said.

“There’s a lot of lovely horses here and it’s credit to the whole team at Magic Millions. Hopefully we can land a blow later in the sale, but it is certainly strong and there wasn’t a lot left in the kitty bag to get him.”

The Alliance also paid $250,000 for a Capitalist (Written Tycoon) colt out of Rare Fragrance (Show A Heart) with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott from the Element Hill draft yesterday.