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Not A Single Doubt makes last-crop statement with $1.7 million colt

Maher outlasts stallion syndicates to add top prospect to stable as three further lots pass $1 million barrier

A colt described as a “once in a lifetime” horse and one of the last to be offered to market by Not A Single Doubt (Redoute’s Choice), lit up the second session of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale yesterday as buyers’ thirst for new racing stock reached fever pitch and the stallion funds battled it out for high-end potential sire prospects.

The allure of the $1.7 million Not A Single Doubt colt – the highest priced of the four seven-figure yearlings sold on day two – came as little surprise to anyone who had been associated with the Segenhoe-bred horse, least of all eventual buyer Ciaron Maher, nor the man who has seen him since birth, Peter O’Brien.

One of just 17 colts in Not A Single Doubt’s 15th and final crop, and the first foal out of dual Oaks-placed mare Miss Admiration (Sebring), he also found favour with the likes of the Rosemont Stud-formed Victorian Alliance and underbidder Coolmore. 

The Victorian Alliance, in its second year, did not take long to get over their sales ring disappointment, landing a Zoustar (Northern Meteor) colt out of Pirapala (Sepoy) for $1.3 million later in the session.

Agent James Harron’s long-time group of supporters made their first investment of 2022, the $1.1 million brother to Swettenham Stud’s Group-winning stallion I Am Immortal (I Am Invincible).

Sheamus Mills rounded out the million dollar lots with a $1.55 million filly by I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) out of Najoom (Redoute’s Choice), 24 hours after spending $900,000 on another filly by the Yarraman Park Stud sire out of Harlem River (Fastnet Rock).

Yesterday’s brisk trade, in which all key metrics bettered day one’s big start and has the auction house well-placed to set a new sale record, saw the average increase to $287,004 and the median to $227,500 while the clearance rate also improved to an almost unheard of 94 per cent. 

“We predicted that day two would gain a bit of gusto and it was another deep, solid day’s trade. Obviously, it is always good to work through the (million dollar) glass ceiling and we did that on several occasions,” Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch said.

“It was a good, healthy, diverse market I thought … and the numbers we’ve got now, I’d take them and run away with them; they’re fantastic numbers. 

“But there’s still another 530 horses to offer in Book 1 as well as Book 2, so we’re far from over. We have got to continue the momentum, continue the enthusiasm and ensure that the market is good from Lot 1 all the way through to 1230.”

The glass ceiling was well and truly smashed soon after auctioneer Clint Donovan called for bids on Segenhoe’s Not A Single Doubt colt, catalogued as Lot 261. 

The opening bid of $800,000 had him on the market and $1 million was the second call. His price escalated in $100,000 increments and, just as the major protagonists were battling it out, Maher, his co-trainer David Eustace and their bloodstock manager Will Bourne chose to enter the fray with a two-bid knockout blow.

Maher compared the colt to his former Group-winning sprinter and Magic Millions graduate Dubious (Not A Single Doubt) rather than the yearling’s more stout dam, Miss Admiration, who landed the Colin Stephen Quality (Gr 3, 2400m) in 2018. 

“The (price tag) was what I expected, really, given the price of the Not A Single Doubts. He’s obviously retired, there’s no more of them, and he’s out of a really good racemare and he is a lovely physical. Being by that stallion, I always thought we’d have to bat up for him.

“Generally, Not A Single Doubt sharpens those mares who get over a bit of ground right up.”

Maher linked with Tony Fung, who races the McNeil Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) winner and Coolmore Stud Stakes (registered as Ascot Vale Stakes) (Gr 1, 1200m) placegetter Bruckner (Snitzel) with the stable, to ensure he had the collateral to land the sale’s benchmark horse.

Fellow Bruckner owners Widden Stud, Rifa Mustang and John Simmons as well as Nick Psaltis have committed to racing the horse in partnership.

Breeder Kevin Maloney, the owner of Segenhoe and who raced Miss Admiration in partnership, whom he bought out upon her retirement from the racetrack, has also retained a ten per cent share in the valuable colt.

Segenhoe general manager O’Brien compared the colt to another farm graduate, dual Group 1-winner King’s Legacy (Redoute’s Choice), a $1.4 million Magic Millions graduate who stood his first season at Coolmore Stud in 2021, as well as the champion sire Danehill (Danzig).

“I have been at Segenhoe for seven years and King’s Legacy was the best until this fella. He is a quality, great-moving colt and all the right people were on him,” O’Brien said. 

“He is just one of those special horses that comes around once in a lifetime, so to speak, but with Not A Single Doubt now pensioned, it’s the last chance to get one. 

“He reminded me of a good Danehill. Very laid back with a massive walk and huge hind action. Nothing fazed him and since he was born he’s reminded me of those good Danehills back in the day.”

Maher has bought 21 yearlings, either outright or in partnership, over the two days for a total spend of $9.65 million.

Victorian Alliance off the mark

Buoyed by the success of the Victorian Alliance’s initial foray into the competitive colts market, which has produced Group 3-winning Zoustar (Northern Meteor) colt Brereton, the group was back in action again attempting to hit the bullseye – and they were prepared to part with $1.3 million in the hope of doing so.

The million dollar colt continued the popularity of Zoustar, whose progeny is leading the sale sires’ table with 22 selling for $9.13 million, which is hardly surprising considering his current crop of yearlings were conceived on a $154,000 (inc GST) service fee. 

Buyers also received another reminder of the Widden Stud stallion’s potency courtesy of the James Harron-purchased colt Philosopher, a debut juvenile winner at Caulfield on Saturday who immediately shot into the reckoning for next month’s Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Caulfield.

“We’ve had a bit of luck with the stallion as we bought Brereton here last year for a similar amount of money and we were rapt to hit the scoreboard with him early,” Rosemont’s Ryan McEvoy said yesterday. 

“He won the Maribyrnong Stakes (at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day) and this colt has a very similar profile to Brereton.” 

Bred by the China Horse Club and catalogued as Lot 375, the colt is the second foal out of two-time winning Sepoy (Elusive Quality) mare Pirapala, who is herself a half-sister to last year’s Robert Sangster Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Instant Celebrity (Not A Single Doubt). Being out of a Sepoy mare, the colt is bred on the same cross as Philosopher, which McEvoy said was a big selling point for the Victorian Alliance.  

“I noticed James Harron’s colt who won on Saturday is by Zoustar out of a Sepoy mare also and this colt is from a great speed family,” said McEvoy, who was at Widden Stud when the stallion began his stud career. 

“Pirapala is the profile of mare which Zoustar really enjoys and works best with.”

While Peter Moody handles the campaign of Brereton, the Alliance has sent horses to a number of trainers, including Danny O’Brien, John O’Shea and Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

A decision on who trains the son of Pirapala, who was herself purchased by China Horse Club for $850,000 as yearling at the 2015 edition of the Gold Coast sale, will not be made by the Alliance until the completion of the select yearling sale season.

Suman Hedge and David Redvers’ Bloodstock are part of the syndicate’s buying team and co-signed for the colt.

It was Harron – the man who effectively laid out the pro forma for the colts groups when he went out on his own early last decade and struck gold with Capitalist (Written Tycoon) – who had got the better of the Victorian Alliance earlier when he purchased the $1.1 million brother to Swettenham Stud’s I Am Immortal.

Offered by Yarraman Park as Lot 253, the colt is the fifth foal out of the Group 2 winner Meliora (Ad Valorem) and it was not just the fact that she has already produced I Am Immortal which gave Harron confidence that lightning could, at the very least, strike twice.

“Obviously the mare’s done it with I Am Invincible and I have looked at her stock over the past few years and I felt like he probably was one of the best types she’s thrown,” Harron said. 

“He looked like he had a great attitude right throughout the sale and he is just a very precocious type of horse, which we think can get up and going quite early.”

The colt will remain in Queensland to be broken in at Kolora Lodge. I Am Invincible’s sale average sits at $598,667 with 15 lots sold so far.

The China Horse Club-Newgate Farm and Trilogy Racing Partnership has bought 12 yearlings so far, Gai Waterhouse, Adrian Bott and Kestrel Thoroughbreds’ Bruce Slade have 11, as does Annabel Neasham and Brian McGuire. Tony Fung Investments has ten, one of which is the top-priced lot which he snapped up in partnership with Maher and Eustace.

Mills’ fillies’ focus continues

Fillies are averaging $281,684 so far on the Gold Coast, about $10,000 less than their male counterparts, and agent Sheamus Mills once again successfully scored a high-priced yearling of the fairer sex on day two, another daughter of I Am Invincible, for $1.55 million who was sold by Emirates Park.

“I just keep getting sucked into these Vinnies, don’t I? Every time I get interviewed I say the same thing,” said Mills, who outlasted Coolmore to buy the valuable filly. 

“You go into these as an eight to ten-year project and you hope they’re fast. If they’re not, then you look to get your money back in the sale ring. These families that I Am Invincible has been covering the past few years, they’re the ones everyone wants to buy into hence why they’re making these prices.”

Mills’ fillies-dominated portfolio, which already includes Group 1 winner Odeum (Written Tycoon) and this season’s Ethereal Stakes (Gr 2, 2000m) winner Daisies (Sebring), and yesterday’s acquisition already has residual value, one of the key planks of his business plan, being a sister to the Emirates Park-raced and Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Listed-winning two-year-old Najmaty.

“There’ll be a lot of expensive geldings come out of this sale, but as long as she’s got two ovaries and a uterus, we’ll always have a chance,” said Mills, who believes the third living foal out of dual Group 3 winner Najoom (Northern Meteor) is more forward than the Harlem River (Fastnet Rock) filly he bought on day one.

“I couldn’t split (the Najoom) much with the Harlem River. I thought they were pretty similar. I thought Tuesday’s was a little under (budget) and today’s a little over.”

Chittick delighted with impressive Savabeel colt’s price 

One horse who didn’t crack the million dollar barrier but still left his New Zealand breeder very happy in any case was Waikato Stud’s Mark Chittick who sold the Savabeel (Zabeel) brother to Group 1 winner Noverre for $950,000.

Chittick was delighted and, so too it would appear, was the colt’s recently retired New Zealand 2,000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) winning brother who was watching the action on a television screen from his paddock across the Tasman.

“He was a beautiful looking horse. He’s up there with the best Savabeels we’ve taken to a yearling sale,” Mark Chittick said from Waikato Stud yesterday. 

“He is quite similar to his brother who made $800,000 and is now a Group 1 winner. He is a bit lighter in colour but he is athletic and an outstanding looking horse, quite like his full-brother in Noverre.”

Consigned by Sledmere Stud and offered as Lot 237, the colt is the third foal out of the former Graeme Rogerson-trained Group 3 winner Magic Dancer (Rip Van Winkle) and he was purchased by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, who can lay claim to have prepared Sangster to win the 2011 Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m), Savabeel’s first Group 1 winner.

“I was on course that day when Sangster won the Derby, which was extremely exciting and that’s where the whole story really got going for Savabeel,” Chittick said. 

“They’ve got great support around them and they deserve that support.”

Young predicted that the colt could be more of a sprinter-miler, in the mould of a Probabeel, rather than a staying son of Savabeel.

“Obviously, you don’t normally come to this sale to buy a Savabeel, you normally wait for New Zealand, but he has the pedigree. He just looks like he will be that earlier type of Savabeel,” Young said. 

“You don’t really look at him and think he’ll be a Derby type. I think he’s stronger than that. Savabeel throws all sorts.”

As for Noverre, whose promising seven-start career was curtailed by injury, he will join the Waikato Stud stallion roster.

“Noverre was about six metres away from the TV while we watched his full-brother being sold,” Chittick said. 

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t get to see him race in Australia and I am not the only one. Obviously I am going to say it, but Jamie (Richards), Opie (Bosson), all of those people who have had anything to do with him, certainly had full confidence that he would have measured up to the best over there.

“But then again he would have been a whole lot more expensive for me (if he did).”