Week in Rowe-view

‘This is my 49th straight sale. I should have seen a psychiatrist a long time ago’

John Andrew won’t mind me calling him a veteran of the Western Australian racing and breeding industry. 

After all, the Alwyn Park Stud principal has been attending and selling horses at the Perth sale, now run by Magic Millions, for 49 consecutive years.

He’s bred, raised and sold plenty of good horses over the years – last year’s Railway Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) winner Trix Of The Trade (Trade Fair) as well as last month’s Perth Cup (Gr 2, 2400m) winner Buster Bash (Trade Fair) are just two recent examples – but Andrew has also had his resilience tested, riding the inevitable ups and downs of the thoroughbred business.

Over the past three years, Andrew has been a beneficiary of a resurgent WA racing industry, selling multiple six-figure yearlings and the results have made a difference to his outlook – and bank balance. 

“Truth be known, this is my 49th straight sale, so I should have seen a psychiatrist a long time ago,” Andrew joked ahead of yesterday’s sale. 

“The other thing that I reckon has happened for me is over the past three years I have got good prices for my yearlings. It’s the first time in 40-odd years that I’ve been able to pay all my bills. 

“When you get $130,000 for one and $140,000 for another, it makes a big difference, and when that happened [auctioneer] Steve Davis was nearly crying and I was crying.”

Andrew offered nine Book 1 yearlings yesterday, selling all nine for an aggregate of $803,000.



On Wednesday night, on the eve of the Perth sale, Magic Millions put on quite the party at Optus Stadium and the star of show evening was undoubtedly one of the company’s own in Charlotte Geoghegan.

One of the many talents the effervescent Magic Millions WA administrator possesses is her ability to play the fiddle. 

A regular on the Perth music scene, Geoghegan is no stranger to playing in public and she didn’t let onlookers down with her performance as the sun went down on the outdoor deck at Optus Stadium and neither did her boss, Magic Millions WA manager David Houston, who sported a striking pink jacket, nor Barry Bowditch who wore matching pink pants.

Golden Slipper-winning trainer Gary Portelli, a regular at the Perth sale over the years, and I were disappointed we missed the memo about the dress code.  


It’s been a busy week on the sales merry-go-round with Magic Millions hosting the Tasmanian Yearling Sale on Monday and ending the week with the two-day Perth sale.

Tassie’s time in the sun exceeded expectations, defying predictions of a 30 per cent slump as local owners and trainers mixed it with agents from the mainland. 

The state’s two biggest vendors Grenville and Armidale Studs, led by Bart McCulloch and Dave Whishaw respectively, two men capable of leading the local industry for the next few decades, demonstrated that there is cause for optimism and that considered investment can take the industry forward.

A little family shout out, too, to my cousin Jimmy Green who managed the Armidale Stud draft of yearlings for the first time under Whishaw’s tutelage. It’s not a bad effort for a podiatrist from Devonport, who also spent time growing cucumbers in northern NSW before turning horses.

Alas, Whishaw hasn’t granted Jimmy permission to return to the mainland for the Adelaide sale, an environment with his genetics in which he’d thrive.