Archive for March, 2013

As many of you know early in the year I proposed a new concept for a breeding syndicate, which might draw new people to breeding or at least retain some disillusioned but keen ones who were battling with costs and poor outcomes. I advertised through my blogsite, in the NZ Harness Weekly and most importantly in Breeding Matters.

The response level was really low, with most coming from Australia and several who were already breeding successfully so not really meeting my criteria. There were a couple of people who were exactly what I was looking for. But I needed at least 15 people to make the concept work.

I have made the call not to proceed with the syndicate.

Thanks to everyone who showed interest – the concept itself got a lot of favourable comments.

I like to think outside the square, and I like to be positive. It was worth floating the idea, regardless of the outcome.

It’s something I’d look at trying again perhaps in the future, with some tweaks and more support from established organisations.






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The main difficulty for newer sires is to get enough representation at this level to make an impact. Elsewhere I’ve said a new sire (i.e. unproven one starting a career) really needs to have 10+ progeny across the sales, preferably 20+. See my blog of 13 January on this topic.

So which sires made that mark, and how did they fare?

I’ll look at Changeover (37), Justa Tiger (12), Stonebridge Regal (11),  Art Official (10) and Santanna Blue Chip (10).

Changeover’s yearlings

Changeover had 37 yearlings offered and overall a very pleasing result.  Talking to Peter O’Rourke (it so happened to be on his last day in his role at Nevele R Stud), he remarked that Changeover has had good books of mares and positive sales results, but now will need to prove himself on the track. Of  his sales yearlings, Peter said: “They looked good and breeders were not prepared to give them away.”  He said he knew of several passed in lots (there were 7) that had converted to sales soon afterwards.

To my mind, his pricing at $4,000 service fee, his solid pedigree and perhaps most of all the respect trainers had for him as a racehorse makes him attractive. Will the Changeovers be 2yo types? The yearlings I saw were attractive but quite rangey, with good height and a longish bodies. Perhaps more 3yo types, but look how well some of the Mach Threes have done as younger horses. Changeover himself won 2 races as a 2yo and $140,000 and simply got stronger and better with age. So there’s plenty of potential there – fingers crossed for the great horse to make it.

Changeover’s Results:
Australasian (Karaka) Sale – 4 lots offered, all sold. Range $10,000 – $35,000. Average $21,750
Premier (Christchurch) Day 1 – 13 lots offered, 8 sold. Range $13,000 – $23,000. Average $17,250. (Note: One of lots on Day 1 was passed in at $40,000 with a reserve of $49,000, a filly from Sly Shard).
Premier Day 2 – 20 lots offered, 18 sold. Range $2,500 – $23,000. Average $8,422.

Justa Tiger

I blogged about Highview’s Dave and Allan Clarke’s decision to back their sire and put his yearlings into the Premier sale. I still believe it is a courageous move – but it didn’t pay off financially. To be honest, they had a sale from hell. 6 of the 11 lots offered (including the sole lot that made it into Day 1) were passed in, 3 of them without a bid. And of the 5 that sold, 3 of them were for less than $3000. The best sale on the day was Lot 301 called Tiger Minx from a very solid family, second dam having left 7 winners. That colt sold for $10,000.

I spoke to Allan Clarke recently and he said there just wasn’t a middle market at the sales, and those yearlings that didn’t get the attention of the buyers were sold very, very cheaply. However Highview have managed to place most of the ones that didn’t sell to local trainers, and it will be fingers crossed that Justa Tiger has something eyecatching at the races soon.  My pick will be the colt Rosewood Tiger, a half brother to the talented Johnny Fox. Allan Clarke says he will be taking a break and looking for a new direction – his own yearling from the very good mare Baptism Of Fire sold at the other extreme, the full brother to Highview Tommy going for $122,000.

Do I think the Justa Tigers were poor types of yearlings? No, but I do think Justa Tiger has an uphill battle because he was one of several tough, honest, talented racehorses getting results in very good races and yet just lacking that ‘wow’ factor to translate into commerical appeal. Also trainers are short of “try it and see” money – because as Allan rightly said, in the current climate there is less funding for trainers to make speculative purchases and then find owners afterwards. It’s about risk. Trainers were buying fewer horses, and by sires that potential owners will know and feel are proven. In that climate, a poorer type by Bettor’s Delight will be preferred over a nice type by Justa Tiger.

Stonebridge Regal

This is a sire that has, for me, flown under the radar as his yearling lots were exclusively in the Premier Sales in Christchurch. 8 of his 11 lots offered were on Day 2 and all but 1 sold, with the top price being $14,000. On Day 1 he had just 3 lots and they all sold, with the top price of $28,000 being paid by Tony Herlihy for a colt out of a Christian Cullen mare.

His foals born in 2011 are really his only significant crop here in New Zealand – 100 served and 82 live foals, with Wai Eyre standing him at around $4000; he had a smaller number of mares his next season and then was shipped to Victoria I believe mid 2012. He’s a sire that would not have been a “name” downunder, as he didn’t really win any of the top races in North American but accumulated “legs” and divisions of them. However his progeny are doing alright over there and some going early. But he may not be available again here regardless. He looked a handsome horse himself, and perhaps his yearlings have sold more on type? Didn’t see them, so cannot really comment.

Stonebridge Regal’s results
Premier Day 1 – 3 lots offered, all sold – $15,000, $18,000, $28,000
Day 2 – 8 lots offered, 7 sold. Range $2,750 – $14,000
Overall average across 3 days – $10,840

Art Official

Art Official had 10 lots offered, from his first crop of just 39 live foals.  He had a considerably bigger book of mares in his second season so a decent result from these sales was important in terms of marking him as a truly commercial sire and giving confidence to those breeders who have supported him, because his number slid a bit in his third season last year.

Overall, I think Alabar would have been pleased; it was a strong showing from small numbers.

Art Official’s results:
Australasian sale – 4 lots offered, 2 sold – $22,000 and $11,000.
Premier Day 1 – 2 lots offered, 1 sold – a filly for $23,000, and the passed in lot had a reserve of $20,000.
Day 2 – 4 offered, 3 sold – $12,000, $15,000 and $38,000 (which was the top lot of the day)
Average across the three days = $20,333.

Santanna Blue Chip

The Santanna Blue Chip foals and yearlings that I’ve seen are very athletic, strong and attractive types. It is his second yearling sale here in NZ, but he only 2 lots at the Australasian , 5 in Premier Day 1, and 3 in the Day 2 sale. Mind you, only 2 were passed in, and there were 2 that sold for $20,000 plus. However his average overall was $13,625. This was only the second time his yearlings had been offered at the sale, and it is interesting to see that he served over 114 in his latest season, considerably up on his previous 3 seasons. The two SBC yearlings I saw ‘in the flesh’ at Karaka were eyecatchers,  the filly (Lot 153 and a half to Cyamach) made a good $22,000. The colt at that sale was passed in for $9,000 but is being advertised post sale for $10,000 I believe, and I recall it was a nice long barrelled type.

What he needs at this stage is a couple of very nice 2 or 3yos to pop up on the track so that breeders who have kept the faith will feel like his reputation will be tracking up by the time their foals are born. He stood at $4000 for these 2013 yearlings.

Santanna Blue Chip’s results:
Australasian sale – 2 lots offered, 1 sold for $22,000.
Premier Day 1 – 5 lots offered, 4 sold – $8,000, $10,000, $11,000, $25,000
Day 2 – 3 lots offered, all sold – $8,000, $10,000, $15,000

Average across 3 days = $13,625

Other sires? Just too few yearlings to make fair assessment.

(As always, stats are not underpinned by ruthless technically enhanced accuracy, and more likely to be supported by a glass of light wine. Cheers!)

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