Week in Rowe-view

Is bigger better?

Magic Millions recently announced it had gone with a larger catalogue of 1,468 horses for next year’s Gold Coast Yearling Sale and, contrary to some participants’ opinions after the 2023 sale, it is understood that New Zealand Bloodstock will also offer a bigger catalogue of horses at its 2024 sale at Karaka.

As always, there will be differing views if both companies have made the right call – and we won’t have the complete answer until the full yearling sale season is complete – but industry veteran Henry Plumptre is not about to second guess the decision by Magic Millions owners Katie Page and Gerry Harvey and their auction house management.

The chief executive of leading New Zealand nursery Cambridge Stud, which will take nine yearlings to the Gold Coast and will have a large draft at the NZB sale, as well as a line-up at the Melbourne Premier sale, while they will offer three the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale through Mike Fleming’s Bhima Thoroughbreds.

“My view is that I wouldn’t presume to tell a sales company how to run their sale. I think, if you look at the way Gerry and Katie run the Harvey Norman business model, it’s about volume and they apply that model to Magic Millions,” Plumptre told this column last week.

“We won’t know until the end of the sale whether it’s a success or not, but all I know is the first cab off the rank in Magic Millions has always proved to be a pretty strong market.

“Even in the downturn, it’s been the market leader in terms of setting the tempo for the year. I think their position in January is a really strong position. They’ll have that buying bench there and whether it’s 1200 horses or 1400 horses, yes, it makes it a long week, but I don’t think it’ll make a difference to the statistics.

“The economics might make a difference to the statistics, but not the volume.”


Good luck to Tony “Tubba” Williams who today rides at the Bong Bong picnics at Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands, close to stud farms Milburn Creek and Silverdale, his first race rides since the late 1970s. 

Tubba’s lost about 36 kilograms to reach this feat, a truly inspirational feat. He is booked for three rides, two of them which he part-owns, Richter and Red Impulse, alongside industry luminaries such as Henry Field, Duncan Grimley, Steve Grant and Ken Lowe and a few other familiar names.

He is also booked for Titled Tycoon in the Bong Bong Cup. Win, lose or draw we know Tubba will be trying – he’s as honest as they come – and let’s hope he gets around safely. A winner would just be a bonus.

All the best, Tubba.


This game is … fun.

Henry Field once told me horses are only worth what they’re worth on the day. Horses’ values fluctuate wildly, and the majority decrease in value, so I am trying to keep the Newgate principal’s wise words front of mind.

But it ain’t that easy!

Last month, as a small shareholder in a breeding syndicate I watched as Trapeze Artist colt Griff won the Caulfield Guineas – a colt we bred and sold in conjunction with Widden. His dam Chateau Griffo was a losing proposition at every turn for our group – and this week I stood, as it happened, near trainer Mark Newnham as he went to $425,000 for a Hellbent gelding out of My Dear Friend, a horse that my family and friends bred. 

We sold him to Kilgravin Lodge’s Eion Kemp for $80,000 at the Classic sale earlier this year. Eion gave us the option to stay in. Alas, we didn’t. The two-year-old market is the hardest game in town and we took our money, grateful to Eion for putting up the cash.

Hopefully he is a star in Hong Kong and, just like Griff, we can live off the glory. You’ve got to love racing and breeding and how could you not?


It’s that time of the year again when stallion farms start reminding breeders about the number of good horses born in November and December.

Think Anamoe (Street Boss) and Lonhro (Octagonal), Merchant Navy (Fastnet Rock) and Nature Strip (Nicconi), Daumier (Epaulette) and Duais (Shamus Award), Pierata (Pierro) and So You Think (High Chaparral), the list goes on. There are a host of high-class horses foaled in the last two months of the breeding season. 

For those umming and ahhing, it’s not too late if you have an empty mare to have her covered rather than leaving her empty for another year.

Widden, for one, will offer heavy discounts on their stallions, as much as 60 per cent, for the rest of the breeding season by officially launching the promotion today and calling it the Black Friday sale.

But I’m sure if you pick up the phone to any of the commercial stallion farms who have the sire of your choice, most would be happy to do a good deal to attract your business. 

In a few years’ time, you might just have another Anamoe on your hands.



Last week, Kiwi breeder, owner and trainer Wayne Larsen made the trip across the Tasman and got on the road to Gundagai.

The breeder and co-owner of the now retired 2018 Craven Plate (Gr 3, 2000m) winner Moss ‘N’ Dale (Castledale) just had to be there when he heard another of his homebred stayers Oceans Of Stanima (Ocean Park) would run in the Hair Of The Dog Cup (1800m) in the southern NSW highway town last Saturday.

He and co-owner Bruce Gibson booked a flight soon after Thursday’s acceptances and arrived in Gundagai just minutes before the Friday day one feature, the Snake Gully Cup (1400m), was run and won by Oceans Of Stanima’s Ben Brisbourne-trained stablemate Superazi (Super One).

The Kiwis got some of their expenses out of the betting ring and were able to play that up again on Saturday when Oceans Of Stanima won the Hair Of The Dog.

Larsen is glad he made the effort and he now knows why the Snake Gully Cup carnival is one of the most iconic meetings in the state.

“I see Gundagai on a Friday night on the second channel of racing when I’m having a beer and a few quinellas and things like that, so I know Gundagai, and as soon as I saw Oceans Of Stanima was nominated for the Hair of the Dog, I did some quick research and I saw there was a Snake Gully Cup and a Tuckerbox [sprint race]. 

“I said, ‘this is going to be fun’. To get here and see it for myself and for a volunteer committee to produce a track in the condition that it’s in and the facilities, the ambience and the hospitality, to me, that is racing. 

“I won a Craven Plate on Everest day, but I wasn’t there for that.”


Just on Gundagai, trainer Danny Williams’ boldness (some labelled it madness) at the 2022 Inglis Easter sale, just after Shelby Sixtysix had done the unthinkable and won The Galaxy, the Goulburn horseman’s first Group 1, could pay off.

The trainer reinvested heavily in that sale, paying $370,000 for an eye-catching Rulership colt out of a Japanese mare. Sure, his price tag was $30,000 under the Easter average of that year, but in most people’s language it’s money that will take you a long way on a bus.

So, when the now three-year-old colt named Kreon won an 1180-metre maiden at Gundagai last Friday by four and a quarter lengths on debut, Williams was relieved. But he is also excited, convinced the colt is already as good as any other horse he has in his stable.

That said, he and the ownership group are remaining patient with the intention of spelling the colt again. The horse has been shinsore three times, but Williams is adamant that there’s a good chance the horse can win his purchase price back.

It’s a long way from an average maiden to metropolitan racing, but Kreon is streets ahead of country grade and every bit a Saturday horse, at least.

Privacy Preference Center


Cookies that are primarily for advertising purposes



These are used to track user interaction and detect potential problems. These help us improve our services by providing analytical data on how users use this site.

_ga, _gid, _hjid, _hjIncludedInSample,