Latest News

Sparta rewards Yarraman’s gamble in son of I Am Invincible

Yarraman Park was celebrating a swift and shrewd bit of business after King Of Sparta brought their super sire I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) yet another major laurel with yesterday’s $2 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (RL, 1400m).

Bred by Yarraman, the Team Snowden-trained King Of Sparta was a $700,000 yearling purchase here two years ago for the China Horse Club, Newgate Farm and Starlight Racing.

When he was gelded after manners compromised ability in his first preparation, Newgate sold out and a deal was done to ship the horse to Hong Kong. But seeing the potential that King Of Sparta could push his sire’s barrow even further by winning big races in Australia, Yarraman’s Arthur and Harry Mitchell stepped in.

“The horse had been sold to Hong Kong,” Arthur Mitchell told ANZ Bloodstock News. “Newgate had no interest in him since he was no longer a stallion, which you’d expect.

“I don’t know if he’d been vetted yet, but Harry and I put together an idea that we could buy him for similar money and put some new people in. We had faith in the horse, the Snowdens had faith in the horse, and we wanted to do the right thing by our stallion.

“We rang around some friends of ours and they were all keen to take a bit. They just wanted to race a horse and have fun with us, so happily today it’s paid off.”

The decision to geld the horse, not taken lightly, has paid major dividends, with the three-year-old having now won three from 12 and more than $1.3 million in prize-money.

“With expensive yearlings obviously it’s a very hard decision to cut them,” Mitchell continued, “but sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise if they are gelded, because they’re probably not going to have stud performance if they stay stallions anyway.

“Hopefully we and the other owners are going to have a lot more fun with him in the future.”

King Of Sparta is the fourth named foal of the former Michael Moroney-trained dual stakes-winner Octavia (Holy Roman Emperor). Older brother Ljungberg, a Sydney metropolitan winner, and sister Come See fetched $200,000 and $625,000 respectively.

Octavia’s Zoustar (Northern Meteor) filly was withdrawn from the current Gold Coast sale, while she has a colt at foot by I Am Invincible and is in foal to him again.

“Octavia was a pretty good racemare for the Moroneys and we bought her privately,” Mitchell said of the Holy Roman Emperor mare.

“I Am Invincible seems to have a broad base of nicks and crosses. There doesn’t seem to be any set formula for him. He seems to have a broad base of mares that work.”

Yarraman was cheering a huge day for their pin-up stallion, the sale’s top sire by aggregate and second-top on averages. From 44 lots sold in this year’s Magic Millions Book 1 sale, I Am Invincible grossed receipts of $23.83 million, at an average of $541,591.

While Annabel Neasham’s Holyfield (I Am Invincible) was an agonisingly close second in the Magic Millions Cup (LR, 1400m) behind Eleven Eleven (Fastnet Rock), the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Navy Cross ( (I Am Invincible) brought his sire a rare 2400-metre success by leading throughout in the Magic Millions Subzero. Only seven per cent of I Am Invincible’s winners have been at 2000 metres or longer. Furthermore, Navy Cross’ dam Watchful (Danehill) also threw Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) and Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Sepoy (Elusive Quality).

Told of Mitchell’s surprise at I Am Invincible’s staying success, Waterhouse joked: “Tell Arthur that’s why I’m a trainer and he’s a breeder.

“But it was a very gutsy win by the son of a stallion who doesn’t normally throw 2400-metre horses, and out of a mare who threw Sepoy. It was an incredible training feat by Adrian, and an incredible ride by Tim Clark, because he had him under pressure from the moment he jumped until the winning post. It was a tremendous effort by the gelding.”