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Not A Single Doubt about Fung and Phoenix’s love affair with Farnan’s sire 

$1.8 and $1 million colts added to growing collection as demand holds strong on day three at Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale 

He might not be signing under the Aquis Farm banner, but Hong Kong owner Tony Fung demonstrated his intent to remain a significant investor in the Australian industry with two seven-figure colts by Not A Single Doubt (Redoute’s Choice) on the third day of the Magic MIllions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

As the demand for blue-blooded youngsters continued at a record pace, putting the auction house on track to break the $200 million barrier across the seven-day run, Fung and Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Dubai-based Amer Abdulaziz Salman went to $1.8 million for an Emirates Park-bred son of Group 2-winning mare One More Honey (Onemorenomore).

The duo earlier went to an even $1 million for a Baramul Stud-bred colt by the same pensioned Arrowfield Stud sire, a day after landing a $1.1 million son of Not A Single Doubt from Torryburn Stud.

So far, Fung and Phoenix have bought six out of the seven colts offered by Not A Single Doubt at this sale for a total of $5.19 million.

The attraction to Not A Single Doubt is more than understandable given their success with Group 2-winning sprinter Dubious and, more recently, Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) hero Farnan, as well as another powerful colt in Anders.

On their highest-priced acquisition to date, Aquis Farm managing director Shane McGrath said: “They are a limited edition, the Not A Single Doubt colts, and he (the $1.8 million colt) comes off a great nursery and is out of a very good racemare.” 

After McGrath successfully bid on Baramul Stud’s Lot 529 from a corner table at the auditorium, bidding for the $1.8 million colt, who was catalogued as Lot 612, was left to Abdulaziz Salman, who was calling the shots online from Dubai.

“Unfortunately, he (Abdulaziz Salman) can’t be here at the sale. Everyone in the industry likes to be part of the atmosphere and likes being part of the process,” McGrath said. 

“We’ve been fortunate that he’s allowed the team to collect the list of horses. We just thought on a horse like this, it was nice for him to do the bidding. 

“Each horse we have discussed, we have talked through what we wanted to spend on them.” 

Emirates Park general manager Bryan Carlson put the colt on the market from the opening $600,000 bid, noting the pre-sale interest had him confident of a big result.

“He was a lovely colt. Even back at the farm, he’s been very popular, I didn’t think he was going to make that much, but I knew he was going to make over a million,” Carlson said.

“He’s been very popular and has been out of his box the whole time. It’s a fantastic result. He’s always been a relaxed, well-moving colt. He does tick every box.”

One More Honey has a Zoustar (Northern Meteor) colt at foot and is in foal to Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice).

The $1 million lot from Gerry Harvey’s Baramul Stud also fitted “all the cliches”, according to McGrath.

“He’s a lovely, fast, sharp two-year-old and we hope he is back here next year,” he said. 

“He fits our profile of what we are trying to do. We’ve got great partners in Phoenix who are willing to back our judgment. The proof will be in the pudding on the racetrack.”

Regarding Not A Single Doubt, who was pensioned in January 2020 and has 44 live foals in his secondlast crop being offered to the market, McGrath added: “He leaves a great type, he’s a phenomenal sire. There are only a handful of colts there, and we are keen to secure them. 

“The market has shown there is a huge appetite for the stallion, and he’s a huge loss.”

The colt is the second foal out of the winning Medaglia D’Oro (El Prado) mare Medaglia Valore, while his second dam is the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) and Group 2 winner Military Rose (General Nediym).

Built in the mould of his sire, a powerful sprinting type, McGrath says there is no reason to stray from a proven formula.

“We have had a lot of success in recent times from purchases out of the Magic Millions sale ring and it’s nice to give a bit of money back to Gerry (Harvey, owner of Magic Millions and Baramul Stud). God knows he needs it,” he joked.

Later, the partners also went to $750,000 for a last-crop son of Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) from the stakes-placed winner Mount Zero (Northern Meteor), making him a three-quarter brother to this season’s talented juvenile Mura Mura (Not A Single Doubt). He was catalogued as Lot 576.  

The Stonestreet Stables-owned, and Peter and Paul Snowden-trained, Mura Mura runs in tomorrow’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic.

Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch, who like most industry participants was beaming over the continued strength experienced at the Gold Coast this week, recognised Fung and Phoenix’s continued investment in the Australian industry.

“They have had a huge fill-up out of this sale. When you think about it, they bought Dubious, three years ago and two years ago they’ve taken home Farnan, Anders and Prague, so It works, doesn’t it?” Bowditch said. 

“They have bought some huge horses out of this sale which have been great on the racetrack, but they have also sold them well to stud. The recipe obviously works.” 

At the current rate of trade, Magic Millions is on track to break the $200 million barrier and another record sale, a possibility almost unthinkable only months ago.

There have been eight million-dollar lots across the three sessions so far at an average of $257,471, up more than $5,000 compared to the same stage last year.

The $180,000 median is holding steady, but the most stunning feature of the sale so far is the clearance rate of 88 per cent, a statistic that was forecast to drop year-on-year.

“The market’s truly set now. It’s buoyant, it’s confident and it’s real. The vendors are putting them on the market and buyers are having a proper go at all levels,” Bowditch said.

“When you’re selling a horse well at $80,000; selling a horse well at $500,000, through to the big numbers, it just gives buyers confidence to buy at all levels and that’s what Magic Millions is all about.”

Bowditch continued: “This is the best catalogue ever produced by us. The horses are solid all the way through – there’s not a weak day, there’s not a strong day.

“Will we have another million-dollar horse? I suspect so and I am confident that we will, but could I tell you which one right now? I’m not 100 per cent sure. 

“I am just thrilled that under the circumstances of getting this sale through all the restrictions and all the trepidation that the buyers have shown up here in droves and supported this industry like it deserves to be supported.”

Loving Gaby’s sister joins Maher-Eustace stable

It took some intense and rapid negotiations but eventually the sister to dual Group 1-winning mare Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible) was sold to her trainer Ciaron Maher and Nxt Level Syndication for $1.2 million.

As the filly’s price stalled at $1.2 million, auctioneer Clint Donovan attempted to entice another bid from the buying bench but no one stepped forward, leaving her to be passed in and setting in motion the quick-fire response from vendor Kia Ora Stud and Maher.

Soon after, it was announced that the filly would join the stable of Maher and his co-trainer David Eustace. 

“It wasn’t straightforward – it was a bit awkward at the end there, but we’re rapt to be able to get her. She’s very much like her (Loving Gaby) and maybe a little bit stronger,” Maher said. 

“I didn’t have much more left in me, maybe another five ($50,000). Hopefully she can be as good as her sister.”

Coolmore, who paid $2.25 million for Maastricht (Mastercraftsman) carrying the million-dollar youngster at the 2019 Inglis Chairman’s Sale, will remain in the ownership of the filly.

She is the third foal out of the Group 2-placed Maastricht, herself a half-sister to stakes winners Velocitea (Volksraad) and Weaponry (Declaration Of War), and was catalogued as Lot 500. 

Maher would not rule out the filly being able to reach the racetrack sooner than her big frame suggests.

“Gaby was very big and raw and this horse has maybe got a little bit more quality, a little bit more strength, and the same sort of physical. She is quite tall,” he said.

“Gaby came to hand pretty early for a big filly and this horse is well structured. If they have plenty of ability they can normally get there earlier than what you think.”

Kia Ora Stud’s Shane Wright acknowledged that the selling of the blue-chip filly did not go as smoothly as expected.

“It’s hard to speculate what these big horses are going to make. We thought that was a fair price. We were just testing the market,” Wright said. 

“The sale has been so hot this week. It’s been amazing and congratulations to Magics for putting on such a show.

“Ciaron is the hottest trainer of two-year-olds in the country. She looks like a genuine two-year-old type. 

“By this time next year, hopefully he will have built her own reputation and hopefully she won’t be living off Loving Gaby’s reputation any more. I reckon that will be the case.”

Maastricht had an early November-born Justify (Scat Daddy) colt last year.

Victorian Alliance strikes again

The numerous colts syndicates attempting to land the next jackpot stallion prospect again dominated the marketplace and that was the case with the Rosemont Stud-backed Victorian Alliance.

On Wednesday, the group made its mark with a $1 million Zoustar colt and it did not stop yesterday, buying a son of I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) for $950,000 from Coolmore.

The Alliance also signed for another colt by I Am Invincible for $400,000 from Yarraman Park Stud, as well as an Edinburgh Park-consigned son of Written Tycoon (Iglesia) for $300,000 on day three.

With the assistance of its retained agents Suman Hedge and the UK-based David Redvers, the partnership involving some high-profile Victorian breeders bought the first foal out of the stakes-placed mare Petition (Foxwedge), herself a daughter of New Zealand Group 1 winner The Party Stand (Thorn Park). 

The colt went through in the closing minutes of the session as Lot 636.

“He was a horse we identified very early at the top of our list of colts to try and secure for our Victorian Alliance,” Hedge said. 

“He’s by a champion stallion, out of a stakes-placed mare, a daughter of a Group 1 winner and he’s a lovely physical. 

“He looks like an early-running horse and that’s the profile that us and a lot of the other colt buyers here are looking for.”

The extreme demand is being fuelled by competition for colts who could be sold for over $40 million as stallion prospects should they achieve the desired level of racetrack performance. 

“It is a very crowded market for colts. I think there’s six or seven different syndicates trying to secure them and they’re all looking for similar qualities in those horses,” Hedge said. 

“Everybody’s landing on them and everyone’s got money. It’s the start of the year and it’s a pretty buoyant sale here, so you have to be very aggressive on the ones that you want and put yourself out there if you want to get them.

“Fortunately, we have been able to pick up a couple of other horses which were under our projected budget and that probably smoothed over a couple of our other aggressive purchases out of the total that we’ve been able to get.”

The prominent James Harron Bloodstock colts syndicate also continued its haul for 2021 yesterday by buying a Zoustar colt for $800,000. 

Offered by Widden Stud as Lot 483, he is out of the unraced Lone (Sepoy), a half-sister to stakes winners Atmospherical (Northern Meteor), Gai’s Choice (General Nediym) and Peron (Husson).

Harron also outlaid $800,000 for the Snitzel three-quarter sister to sprinting colt Anders and a sister to the stakes-placed Battleground. She was sold by Arrowfield Stud as Lot 503.

Almanzor colt with Russian Camelot similarities makes $800,000

Meanwhile, a Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) owner-trainer combination will reunite after a colt by Cambridge Stud’s European champion shuttler Almanzor (Wootton Bassett), the surprise-packet of the first season sires, sold for $800,000.

Danny O’Brien, who compared the colt on type to that of Russian Camelot (Camelot) as a yearling and prepared Cox Plate winner Shamus Award (Snitzel) for Sean Buckley, will train the horse after Baystone Farm’s Dean Harvey identified and signed for him.

Harvey confirmed that Ultra Thoroughbreds’ Buckley would have O’Brien take care of the horse during his racing career.

“He was faultless on type; Alamanzor was a champion racehorse of Europe and the types I have seen by him this week have been fantastic,” Harvey said. 

“I think they are going to be versatile horses and he was one of the colts of the sale. We had to chase hard to buy him but eventually we won out.

“There was plenty of competition on him and that’s what happens with nice horses – they sell like that.”

Bred by Murray and Marg Hardy along with Mills Reef Winery founder Paddy Preston under their Sunlight Trust banner, the colt is the third foal out of the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) runner-up Lazumba (Sebring). She has a Written Tycoon colt at foot and is back in foal to the same sire. The yearling was catalogued as Lot 470.

Former long-time Cambridge Stud employee Marcus Corban recommended Lazumba be mated with Almanzor in 2018.

“The colt was a beautiful, athletic type and that’s what everyone wants to see,” Cambridge Stud chief executive Henry Plumptre said. 

“People have been talking about Almanzor’s foals and yearlings here and doing the same in the northern hemisphere. It is very encouraging and we can only hope it continues at Karaka.”

The reception to the stock by Almanzor from the Australian buyers was a welcome one for Plumptre.

“It is very easy to fall into the trap with first-season sires and believe you’ve got the next Northern Dancer or Zabeel or whatever, because ultimately the proof is in the pudding and whether they can run or not,” he said.

“But it is fantastic exposure for Almanzor in Australia before Karaka starts next week. We can only hope these horses go on and perform to the level these people have paid for them.

“It is very exciting to see the buzz about the stallion and the buyers reacting in such a positive way.

“It is a big nod of approval to Brendan and Jo (Lindsay, Cambridge Stud owners) going out and buying Almanzor in the first place. It was a bit of a leap of faith at that time and then Coolmore buying Wootton Bassett nailed the stallion line.”

Day four of selling starts at 10am local time today.