Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale – Lots to watch
Here, in lot order, is a look at a delicious half dozen sure to whet palettes at next week’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
Bay colt: Wootton Bassett – Tiare by Flying Spur
Foal date: October 27
Offered by Tasmania’s progressive Grenville Stud, this is the fifth and last foal of Tiare, who died last year.
When Grenville bought her in 2021 and put her to Wootton Bassett (Iffraaj) (that November, her second foal was still nine months off a debut. But that first start was a winning one, so too his second, and Think About It (So You Think) has scarcely stopped winning since, taking 11 from 13 including last year’s Eagle Farm’s Kingsford-Smith Cup (Gr 1, 1300m)-Stradbroke Handicap (Gr 1, 1400m) Group 1 sprint double, and The Everest (1200m).
Watching on with the biggest of grins was Grenville Stud, who now have a half-brother to an unqualified sprint sensation for sale, a colt by a stallion who if farm inspections are any guide, is on a shortlist of favourites to emerge with this sale’s first-season sire honours – Wootton Bassett. While a Down Under debutant, the Coolmore shuttler has 40 northern hemisphere stakes-winners, headed by nine at the top level.
“We felt that for his fee in Australia [$71,500 (inc GST)] he was amazing value,” said Grenville’s Bart McCulloch. “What he was doing in the northern hemisphere was very impressive. Having started off lower fees, and lower quality mares, he was clearly upgrading his mares.
“Physically, Tiare was quite a strong mare, so we thought a stallion with a bit of scope and athleticism would suit, and we feel that’s what Wootton Bassett put in. We’ve got a very athletic individual.
“Something similar might have happened with Think About It. You wouldn’t think a son of So You Think would win an Everest, but he has.
“And there’s a fair bit of Think About It in our colt, which is important. When you’ve got a good horse in the family you want to see a bit of resemblance. They’re both on the scopey side, similar colouring, similar head.
“And this is a lovely, athletic colt. He’ll probably get over 1200 metres but he’s got that bit of scope, and moves effortlessly, like a panther. A lot of sprinters have a short step, but this guy’s got a beautiful loose action.”
Given his famous brother, there was much interest in the colt from both major auction houses. And given he was an October 27 foal, the choice of the first sale of the year might look intriguing, on paper.
“It was a hard decision, but we felt he was forward enough and ready enough to go to this sale,” McCulloch said. “A few people have said that while he might be a late October foal, he doesn’t look it, so that doesn’t matter.”
Bay colt: I Am Invincible – Arcadia Queen by Pierro
There won’t be many better credentialed yearlings enter a ring in Australia or elsewhere this year than this first foal of former outstanding Perth mare Arcadia Queen.
Arrowfield Stud backed its judgement in no uncertain fashion in spending $3.2 million to acquire Arcadia Queen, Australia’s champion female sprinter of 2019-20 who nonetheless won her three Group 1s over the 2000 metres LKS Mackinnon Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) and Caulfield Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) and the 1800 metres of Ascot’s Kingston Town Classic (Gr 1, 1800m).
While Arrowfield could have sent the mare anywhere, the fact Arcadia Queen is out of a Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) mare enticed them to look outside their own ranks to I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit), then on his way to his first general sires’ title. The result, according to Arrowfield’s bloodstock manager Jon Freyer, has gone wonderfully according to plan.
“It’s always interesting when you see these mares,” Freyer said. “If they have a cracking first foal, it normally bodes very well for their entire career. And this is as a good a first foal as you’ll get out of any sort of mare.
“He’s got a lot of his mother’s class and athleticism. He’s a great moving horse, and like his mother he’s got beautiful balance, a great shoulder to him and a terrific rein. I think he’ll be one of the better lots at the sale.
“I Am Invincible is a cracking good stallion, and the type of horse we thought would suit her. She’s quite a big rangy type of mare, so you want the right physical for her, and it’s worked very well. The colt combines the best of her and his sire.”
Pierro (Lonhro) mares have only had three runners by I Am Invincible, but the one winner from the trio is the highly promising I Am Unstoppable, who from six starts has won the Redoute’s Choice Stakes (Listed, 1200m) as a juvenile and been black-type placed four times, most notably when second in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) in November.
And I Am Invincible over Pierro’s sire Lonhro counts as one of the Yarraman titan’s finest nicks, with 19 winners including three at stakes level from 20 runners.
Bay filly: Wootton Bassett – Avantage by Fastnet Rock
Avantage was one of the finest horses seen in Australasia this century: New Zealand’s champion two-year-old of 2017-18, then its leading three-year-old filly, and a mare whose nine Group 1 victories enticed Coolmore into an online world record of NZ$4.1 million when they bought her for breeding on Gavelhouse Plus in 2021.
And now here’s her keenly awaited first progeny, a filly whose vendor calls her “an ideal first foal” and a chip off her famous mum’s block.
Perhaps sending such a credentialed mare to a first-season shuttle sire for her maiden cover might sound a little risky, but this shuttler was different to most. Wootton Bassett had had several seasons of most impressive runs on the board in Europe before being tried at Coolmore Australia, and the stud believes their choice has been emphatically vindicated.
“Avantage was a highly exciting racemare and when we did the mating we thought she’d be an ideal match for Wootton Bassett,” said Coolmore’s racing and bloodstock manager John Kennedy.
“We thought it’d be nice to support him with a high class racemare when he came to Australia, but also, we knew what type of mare she was because she was raised at Coolmore, we knew her mother [the Listed-winning Zabeel mare Asavant] and we just thought from knowing Wootton Bassett, she’d be a nice match for him.
“You don’t really know what you’re getting with the first foal. But often, they can be a mare’s best foal, and certainly we were delighted when we saw this foal. She was everything we hoped for.
“She has a lot of her mum about her. You can see a lot of strength coming through from the Fastnet Rock broodmare influence, which we liked.
“Plus, there’s a lot of quality from the Wootton Bassett mating. He’s not one-dimensional at all; you match him up with everything really, and he seems to go with most lines. And his offspring are two-year-olds, sprinters, middle-distance, fast milers, they train on … he’s a very exciting sire.
“This is a nice athletic filly. Everyone who saw her on the farm seemed to like her a lot. She’s got a good attitude, she’s very well balanced and mature, and we’d expect her to do what her mum did and be a good two-year-old.”
Wootton Bassett has had a little exposure to Fastnet Rock (Danehill) mares from the latter’s former European shuttling days, with three runners, all of them winners, with Anne de Cleves twice stakes placed in France.
Bay colt: Capitalist – Berimbau by Shamardal
Bhima Thoroughbreds has a scintillating stat from this sale: For four years running, they sold a future Group 1 winner there, via Forbidden Love (All Too Hard), Imperatriz (I Am Invincible), Manzoice (Almanzor) and Militarize (Dundeel).
If bloodlines stack up, they’ll have a strong chance of another one here in this colt, a half-brother to the best of that quartet, the all-conquering Imperatriz. The super mare has won eight Group 1s including six last year alone, to sit fourth on Thoroughbred Racing Commentary’s latest global rankings, as the best sprinter on the planet.
The colt, bred by Asia-based Eric Chen before the Inglis Chairman’s Sale $1.8 million sale to Yulong last year of Berimbau, is expected to run early, especially given a strong resemblance to his Golden Slipper-winning sire.
“Capitalist was a good two-year-old himself, and with the emphasis always on early running speed horses in Australia, I’m sure this colt is going to be very well looked at,” said Bhima’s Mike Fleming.
“You would think he’d go early with the mould and the shape and strength of him, he’d certainly be a get-up-and-run sort of horse.
“He’s prepped very well. He’s not a big horse, but he’s a strong, medium-sized Capitalist type, and a good mover with a good attitude. Imperatriz was a lovely yearling but she wasn’t quite there yet. This guy’s a bit more there.”
The colt, who has Vain (Wilkes) and Mr. Prospector (Raise A Native) on both sides of his pedigree, also has nicking stats on his side, with Capitalist (Written Tycoon) over Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway) yielding four winners from as many runners.
“Shamardal’s a great broodmare sire who crosses well with anything,” Fleming said. “These good mares who throw these good horses, you can just about send them to anything. But Capitalist is doing a great job at stud, he’s a proven horse, so there wasn’t a lot of guesswork involved.”
Bay filly: I Am Invincible – Eloping by Choisir
Five-time stakes-winner Eloping went to a couple of other stallions after her 2018 cover from I Am Invincible, but has been back to him in each of the past three seasons. For when you’re on a good thing, stick to it.
It’s because that first meeting with the unstoppable Vinnie produced In Secret, the $900,000 Magic Millions yearling who’s won Godolphin two sprinting Group 1s and $4.8 million.
And now here’s her next sibling, who’ll likely have seven figures all over her next week.
Bred by the same partnership that produced In Secret, Longwood Thoroughbred Farm and Segenhoe Stud, and offered through the draft of the latter, the filly already has echoes of her famous sister.
“We put their yearling photos next to each other and it’s incredible how alike they are, right down to their markings,” said Longwood’s Michael Christian.
“She’s looking great, we’re very happy with her, and she’s got many of the same attributes as In Secret. She’s a bit taller than In Secret was, but she’s beautifully put together, beautifully balanced, athletic with plenty of strength, and is a lovely-moving Vinnie filly.
“Peter O’Brien and the team at Segenhoe do an amazing job, and we’re really excited to put her through the ring.”
Not much more proof is needed about the dual champion sire I Am Invincible, or the nick that’s produced In Secret. But the Yarraman stallion over Choisir mares has brought a perfect 13 winners from as many runners, three of them in black-type, also including the five-time stakes-winner and Group 1-placed Eckstein.
Chestnut colt: Extreme Choice – Euroboss by Street Boss
This colt combines much of what has made Newgate Farm the formidable breeding force it is: a fast American mare from a strong family, and the sensational Extreme Choice (Not A Single Doubt).
Euroboss became one of many US sprinting mares bought by Newgate when they paid US$350,000 for her at Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale of 2019. With her fourth dam the great Canadian racehorse and broodmare Fanfreluche (Northern Dancer), Euroboss had 11 starts for two wins over 1100 metres, one at 1400 metres, and a Grade 3 third.
After birthing her second foal, High Class (Into Mischief), in her homeland, the now 12-year-old was imported and put to Extreme Choice to bear one of the dynamic but subfertile stallion’s 42 live foals of 2022.
The result is a ball-of-muscle yearling presenting the rich chestnut colouring of both his parents, and with a key 4m x 5m, 5m triplication of the uber-influential Mr Prospector. With Extreme Choice tracking at 13.75 percent stakes-winners to runners in Australia, and with half-sister High Class showing superb timing by winning an 1100-metre Listed race in Arkansas last Saturday, this colt appears certain to be in hot demand.
“He’s a spectacular individual – one of the best Extreme Choices we’ve produced off the farm, and out of a fast Street Boss mare who was stakes placed,” Newgate’s Henry Field said.
“He’s a real star colt, medium-sized, a great mover, very athletic and mature with great muscle tone. Most importantly he’s a ready-made racehorse; he’s by a Blue Diamond winner – the best stallion in the country statistically – out of a very fast mare, so he should be an early goer.
“His pedigree has a lot of black-type up top, a lot of depth down below, deriving from the famous Fanfreluche. And there’s nothing better than a recent stakes-winning update on the pedigree from what appears to be a brilliantly fast filly in America, for what’s a magnificent-looking Extreme Choice colt.”
While nicking exposure is limited in the first couple of generations, Extreme Choice’s sire Not A Single Doubt (Redoute’s Choice) over Street Boss’s sire Street Cry (Machiavellian) has produced three winners, from just five runners. They include two stakes-winners, one being Golden Slipper hero Farnan.