Week in Rowe-view

Weak Aussie dollar provides potential value for overseas buyers

The Australian dollar as of late yesterday was buying just short of US$0.64 (cents), the lowest for 20 years. The average annualised exchange rate between the AUD-US dollar was US$0.65 (cents) in 2003 and US$0.54 (cents) the year before that.

The weak Aussie dollar isn’t ideal for those people involved in importing goods or those who are wanting to go on overseas holidays, but one upshot of the exchange rate is the relative value of the country’s [and New Zealand’s] thoroughbred bloodstock.

With the domestic demand falling back a fraction this year and predicted to fall again next year, it is the international market that Magic Millions and Inglis will be counting on to help offset the likely decline in spending by the locals.

Magic Millions on the Gold Coast in January and Inglis’ Easter sale should be prime targets for those international investors and the currency rate is something the former’s managing director Barry Bowditch is well aware of as he and his team scout the world for buyers.

“For anyone in the northern hemisphere, there’s no better time to be buying in Australia,” Bowditch told us this week. 

“The racing is strong and the currency has rarely been better for them. It’s been a long time since it has been this weak, the Australian dollar, so we’re in a great place to capture more participation than we have in recent years.”

The European and US buyers, in particular, will be on the radar of the auction houses as the well-documented decline of Singapore takes away from the middle market at some of the Australasian yearling sales.

When you go back in history, it is interesting how the internationals’ investment ebbs and flows.

Going back to 2015, South Africa was quite a significant contributor to the Australian market. At the Inglis Premier sale, for example, 21 yearlings were bought by buyers from the country and eight years later, in 2023, there were two officially listed under South Africa and they were signed for by World Wide Bloodstock in conjunction with Australian trainers.

South African racing has its own issues, beyond the currency exchange, but maybe the low Aussie dollar will attract some more overseas buyers to take advantage of the opportunity compared to recent years where domestic buyers have been incredibly strong.


Kiwi Danny Rolston, now working for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, was in awe of his adopted country’s hometown hero Romantic Warrior’s Cox Plate win, but he also holds runner-up Mr Brightside in the highest regard.

The Lindsay Park-trained Mr Brightside, beaten by the barest of margins by Danny Shum’s star, is set to run on Champions Day at Flemington before a maiden trip to Hong Kong where he is likely to lock horns with his Moonee Valley conqueror again.

Rolston believes New Zealand-bred Mr Brightside would thrive at Sha Tin.

“He’s travelled interstate, he’s travelled across the Tasman, he’s a very, very uncomplicated horse and a very high-quality horse, so he is exactly the sort of horse we want to see competing over here,” Rolston said. 

“We’ll get to see just how he looks against the Japanese horses and what we get from Europe. It is sounding very positive he will come and he’s a great addition to the race meeting.”


Speaking of Lindsay Park, this year’s Blue Diamond winner Little Brose (Per Incanto) is heading to Hong Kong to race for his current owner Mr Young.

JD Hayes, in ANZ’s Business Of Bloodstock podcast to be released next week, revealed that the three-year-old colt would be trained in Hong Kong by his father David after four starts this spring, the latest when eighth in the Caulfield Guineas.

This columnist has asked many stupid questions over the years and questioning whether Little Brose would be gelded was one of them.

“You don’t geld Blue Diamond winners,” a bemused JD rightly fired back.

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