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Kym Kearns with Lot 39

Kym Kearns of Isa Lodge with Thephantomtollbooth at the sales.

Back in Cambridge after the Auckland and then Christchurch yearling sales. Tired but happy.

It seems strange not to look out my window and see “the boys” hanging out in the paddock or finding shade under the gum trees. Both our yearlings sold well at the Australasian sale, Karaka.

I hope they are settling in well to their new environments and stable mates, and we look forward to following their progress. I’ve updated the pages for Thephantomtollbooth and Isaputtingonmytophat – but in a nutshell, the former sold for $84,000 and the latter for $42,000. Thanks Milo and Bert!

The day after the Australasian Classic Sale I flew to Christchurch for the two-day Premier Sale, and found that very interesting. In spite of reports, neither sale provided the real boost for breeders that we had hoped for. I feel for many sellers who put very good looking products forward – but took at loss or at least no reward for their investment of time, money and thought. Newer sires were left without a clear steer on their future demand. Some sires are basically “gone”. And even established top sires were picked over.

But there are some positive signs if breeders can hang on in there.

Jamie the auctioneer

Jamie the auctioneer

My experience in Christchurch was as great as I had expected:

  • Best tip from a trainer? “Try the whitebait fritter sandwich.” YUM! Thanks Sean.
  • Best horse in the show? Fell in love with lot 288 Christchurch, the Mister Big colt who sold for $54,000. (More about him later.)
  • Best show in town? Jamie, the spotter/auctioneer who kept us awake as temperatures soared into the high 30s.

Over the next few days I’ll process my observations and photos and share those via some short blogs.

Lot 45 Christchurch, a Sundon colt with a good trotting pedigree and nice looking type goes for just $6000.

Lot 45 Christchurch, a Sundon colt with a good trotting pedigree and nice looking type goes for just $6000.

Congratulations to those who sold well. And commiserations to those who came away with a loss. I’ve been there, down in the $4000 and $7000 range and it is hard. Don’t lose heart. I think these sales were a turning point in many ways. Your passion for breeding horses is something our industry needs to recognise and reward in a wider way and over a longer period than a few moments in the auction ring.

 

 

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The Sale of the Stars catalogue is out for the New Zealand standardbred yearling sales – and online of the PGG website/upcoming sales pages It’s always good to have a look through and pick out some trends and some interesting breeding choices – and I will start my usual run of pre-Sales blogs in early January, featuring lots that catch my eye.

Time to check out how Ray, Sam and I are going with the 2012 yearling sale picks which are 3yos now. We are not making huge progress but we have a few with real potential and an interesting 6 months ahead.

I picked mainly on type (seen at the Karaka sale). Sam pedigree and type. Ray picked on top families matched with top sires.

Further update 9.20pm: I’ve just checked the Auckland Trotting Club fields for their premier day meeting on 31 December and I see that between us we have three picks at that meeting – Destination Moon in the PGG Wrightson Yearling Sales Open Final for 3yos ($250,000) , and Charleston Belle in the Alabar Sires Stakes Fillies Championship for 3yos ($160,000) (both drawn badly at number 8), and then Going To California on the supporting card race 11, a very nice field racing for $15,000.
Charlie Chuckles

Charlie Chuckles at the 2012 yearling parade

Bee’s stable (fillies first)

  • Kamwood Courage (Courage Under Fire-Kamwood Lass) – 1 start for a 2nd in May $1071, and exported to Australia mid year, yet to have a start there.
  • Schleck (Muscle Mass-Merckx) – 6 starts for 2 wins, 2 places – no further starts, also exported to Australia, and I misread the earnings last report, she has actually won $16,489
  • Stolen Secret (Mach Three-Hot Secret) – nothing yet
  • Delia (American Ideal-Merrily Merrily) – nothing yet
  • Charlie Chuckles (Grinfromeartoear-Charioteer) – He got 2nd in his qualifying trial and also 2nd in a workout. One to keep an eye on, I reckon.
  • Derringer (Bettor’s Delight-Bury My Heart) – Name changed to Strawberry Heart, and has had three starts for a formline of 3,4,3 and $1098.
  • Crixus Brogden (Real Desire-Swift Mirage) – Now named Real Impulse – nothing yet
  • Destination Moon (Grinfromeartoear-Zenterfold) – Had an injury spell after his first win and has come back to racing looking stronger. Now 6 starts for 1 win and 2 seconds, $9220, and the trainer likes him a lot.

I think my two Grins will give me some encouragement over summer, and I do like what I see of Strawberry Heart, who races locally with Sean McCaffrey.

Sam’s stable (fillies first)

  • Going To California (Art Major-Child In Time) – Nice one, Sam and Ray! You both picked this yearling. Now he’s got 2 wins and 2 thirds from just 6 starts, and $10,333.
  • Code Cracker (Art Major-Cracker Kate) – Nothing yet
  • Petite Royal (Monarchy-Petite Sunset) – 3 starts but 5,9,13 formline, yet went out favourite in the last start and looks like she is now stood down, so perhaps the manners will improve with time because it looks like the ability is there.
  • Digital Art (Art Major-Wave Runner – racing but the formline is 4,7,0,7 and just $472.
  • Romeo Denario (American Ideal-Presidential Sweet) – exp to Australia, and so far 1 start for 6th at Geelong.
  • (My) Mach Scooter – (Mach Three-Gail Devers) – exp to Australia, now 6 starts but no improvement to the 1 win, 1 place $4125 record yet.
  • On The Rantan (Bettor’s Delight-Funontherun) – renamed On The Town. Nothing yet.  Correction, this is is the previous foal renamed Ohoka Cooper and to date 8 starts,  1 wins,  2 seconds,  2 thirds.
  • Rattling Thunder (Santanna Blue Chip-Tammy Franco) – now qualified and showed up very nicely at workouts and trials in Sept/Oct. Worth watching.

Ray’s stable (fillies first)

  • Change Time (Christian Cullen-Changeer) – now 9 starts for 2 places (including YSS Graduette) $13,129
  • Going To California (see Sam’s picks)
  • Charleston Belle (Christian Cullen-Elite Belle) – qualified well in October. Has 5 starts for 1 win and 1 third so far. $8783 and looks like she could do well.
  • Gotta Go Artelect (Art Major-Elect To Live) – yet to qualify, hasn’t raced since her May trial where she went ok but none of them were fast enough to qualify.
  • Nureyev (Christian Cullen-Idancedallnight) – showing up nicely in trails and workouts Nov/Dec and worth keeping an eye out for.
  • The Pacman (Christian Cullen-Black Maire) – more trial starts including a win on 25 November so could be racing over summer?

It shows again how hard it is to get an early return on investment, and that patience is the winner in many cases.
Go to my blog of 25 March 2012 for my original picks and view the Responses/comments for Sam and Ray’s rationales for their picks. You can use the search function on my blog to find all references to the virtual yearling stables concept over the past few years.

Will start a 2014 virtual stable in mid January and welcome your picks at that stage. So start looking at the catalogue!

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Time for a quick catch up on the virtual yearling stable picks – yearlings from the Sales that we pick without having to pay for them, and then track the results.

Briefly my four  2011 stable picks (now 3yos) have been a mixed lot. Sugar Ray Brogden (Grin-Swift Mirage) sold as a hack (palate problem), Outlaw (Bettor’s Delight-Gift Of Grace) going around in Australia for little reward, Eye For A Deal (American Ideal-Illmakemyname) cranking up 6 wins from 22 starts but in the lower staked Australian races,  and that leaves Alto Christiano (Christian Cullen-Right This Time) as the standout performer for me, although he had a major injury setback, came back and won the WA Derby and then got another injury. But he’s won over $240,000 to date, so I am ahead on my initial outlay of $120,000!

Now for the 2012 picks. I invited others to participate and Sam and Ray joined in. From me (4 colts, 4 fillies from the Australasian at Karaka), Sam (4 colts, 4 fillies from the Premier) and Ray (3 colts, 3 fillies across both) – currently 2yos of course so we don’t expect miracles. And some of them may still be racing over the next month or so, so I will update again at the endof the season.

Bee’s stable (fillies first)

  • Kamwood Courage (Courage Under Fire-Kamwood Lass) – 1 start for a 2nd in May $1071
  • Schleck (Muscle Mass-Merckx) – 6 starts for 2 wins, 2 places $4349
  • Stolen Secret (Mach Three-Hot Secret) – nothing yet
  • Delia (American Ideal-Merrily Merrily) – nothing yet
  • Charlie Chuckles (Grinfromeartoear-Charioteer) – nothing yet
  • Derringer (Bettor’s Delight-Bury My Heart) – nothing yet
  • Crixus Brogden (Real Desire-Swift Mirage) – Now named Real Impulse – nothing yet
  • Destination Moon (Grinfromeartoear-Zenterfold) – 4 starts, 1 win, 1 place $8060

So 3 out of 8 starting as 2yos.

Sam’s stable (fillies first)

  • Going To California (Art Major-Child In Time) – qualified and 1 start in Young Guns heat for 6th
  • Code Cracker (Art Major-Cracker Kate) – Nothing yet
  • Petite Royal (Monarchy-Petite Sunset) – 2 starts for 5th and 9th but showing up at trials
  • Digital Art (Art Major-Wave Runner – been to the trials once for a 5th
  • Romeo Denario (American Ideal-Presidential Sweet) – exp to Australia, no starts yet
  • (My) Mach Scooter – (Mach Three-Gail Devers) – exp to Australia, 4 starts 1 win, 2 places $4125
  • On The Rantan (Bettor’s Delight-Funontherun) – renamed On The Town. Nothing yet.
  • Rattling Thunder (Santanna Blue Chip-Tammy Franco) – Nothing yet

Sam also has 3 out of 8 actually making it to the races.

Ray’s stable (fillies first)

  • Change Time (Christian Cullen-Changeer) – 6 starts, 1 place (YSS Graduette) $12,143
  • Going To California (see Sam’s picks) – 1 start
  • Charleston Belle (Christian Cullen-Elite Belle) – nothing yet
  • Gotta Go Artelect (Art Major-Elect To Live) – 4th in a trial 28 May 2013
  • Nureyev (Christian Cullen-Idancedallnight) – nothing yet
  • The Pacman (Christian Cullen-Black Maire) – 2 starts at trials for a 2nd and 5th

So Ray gets 2 out of 6 to the races as 2yos, and a couple of trialists.

Overall we are tracking okay. Go to my blog of 25 March 2012 for my original picks and view the Responses/comments for Sam and Ray’s rationales for their picks. You can use the search function on my blog to find all references to the virtual yearling stables concept.

For the virtual stable for 2013 I’m joined again by Sam and Ray and also Ken Mackay (of Premier Pedigrees)  and his daughter Alana. (see blogof 21 February 2013)

 

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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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60 lots in the catalogue (18 in the Australasian, 18 on Premier Day 1 and 24 on Premier Day 2).

There were 17 trotting sires represented – a huge range – but that meant the numbers for individual sires was often very low, and it is hard to draw conclusions.

There is a much smaller buying market for trotters in New Zealand than for pacers, and the buying bench from Australia was not a significant factor for the trotters, perhaps less so than in previous years? However in the top range, the offerings were good types and sold well.

The passed in rate was high, and although many were close to their Reserve price and may well have sold in subsequent private negotiations, a few were well short of their Reserve.

Averages are really meaningless in this scenario.

Top price was for Lot 33 Angus Hall x Landora’s Special colt who was bought for $127,500.

Look at prices for Angus Hall yearlings and Majestic Son (son of Angus Hall) yearlings:
Angus Hall: $127,500, $42,000, $24,000
Majestic Son: $32,500, $26,000, $20,000, $20,000, $15,000 (plus only one passed in at $12,000)

Pegasus Spur (7 lots) had a very mixed sale, with 4 passed in lots at Karaka in the $6-12,000 range , but a good $50,000 sale on Premier Day 1 for the full sister to Paramount Geegee.

Monarchy (8 lots) got two sales at $26,000 plus one at $15,000 and another passed in at $16,000 but the others were  in the $8-10,000 range.

Other trotting sires were represented by 5 or less yearlings across the 3 days of sales, and so it is really hard to pick any trends regarding those sires. The Pres had 5 lots on offer – selling one for $18,000 at the Australasian, plus one passed in at $10,000, and two selling for $10,000, one for $7,000 at Premier Day 2.

Skyvalley also had 5 lots – selling at $20,000 and $4,500, with lots passed in at $24,000, $7,000 and $12,000. The last of these was a filly out of the Last Lord mare Princess Della and therefore a half sister to Kyvalley Mac and Dealornodeal, and the McRaes had a $37,000 Reserve on her which I think was a good move considering her future breeding potential. See my blog on Princess Della.

Sundon had just 4 lots – selling for $18,000, $22,000, $5000 and passed in at $20,000 (Reserve $40,000).

Summary of trotting sales

Australasian – 18 lots offered, 9 sold on the day (3 to Australian buyers)

Premier Day 1 – 18 lots offered, 12 sold (2 to Australia)

Premier Day 2 – 22 lots offered, 18 sold (2 to Australia)

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How are the results shaping up?

The Australasian sale at Karaka was very mixed – highs and lows in prices, a smaller bench of NZ buyers and some good support from Australian buyers. As noted in other publications, a high “passed in” rate which may be vendors adjusting to the new Reserve system or just not willing to let well bred fillies (in particular) be devalued because of the current market. Many of those passed in will translate into private sales of course, but it was very noticeable during the auction itself.

The Bettor’s Delights held up well although there were still 11 out of the 42 sold going for under $20,000 – although often you could see why. I don’t mean to sound critical saying that, but buyers in this economic climate will always be picky about families and type, and the smaller Bettor’s Delights found little interest if they were a finer type or from families that had little black type or current eye-catching performers. Lesson? You can try to upgrade families by going to excellent sires, but any positive results may appear later on the racetrack rather than earlier in the auction ring. So you have to be ready for a patient and expensive process.

Art Major had a flat sale, with many not meeting their Reserve price. Enough NZ buyers and trainers are still holding back from all-out endorsement of this sire to pose questions for breeders – is the market going to change for next time? Will Art Major’s results on the track next two seasons convert everyone into fans? And are the rumours about “leg issues” based on anything or just a few isolated horses and a lot of gossip? And the talk about” “some just don’t want to be there” – well, isn’t that horses? Even 50% (approx) of Christian Cullen’s progeny were not winners.

Mach Three had a great sale, and congratulations to breeders who have stuck with him. His 2yo stock started to show up again at just the right time. He’s got some older showy runners performing well right now. Overall, the Mach Three yearlings looked decent sized, athletic types with longer barrels and a real presence about many of them.

The trotters were up and down – with only very few representatives it is best to wait for the results from Christchurch before doing the stats on them and the newer pacing sires.

Personally?
Isa Lodge had a very pleasing result with Kym’s Angus Hall colt (lot 69) selling to Lincoln Farms for $42,000.

All the results of the Australasian sales are now posted on PGG Wrightson’s Sale of the Stars website
Christchurch results are being posted as they happen.

Keep in mind a general idea of breeding costs. Of course that depends on how much you can carry yourself and how much you have to pay commercial rates for various breeding expenses or carry overheads on a property etc. However let’s take a figure of $10-15,000 for foal to yearling sales costs, to which the sire’s service fee (which might be discounted or not) needs to be added. So in very general terms, a vendor really needs $20-25,000+ to cover costs/fees and get a return on such a risky investment. Those able to do much of the foaling, raising and preparing work themselves on their own property will have a lower point of breaking even and starting to get a profit, and those selling larger numbers can spread the risk across their draft. But $20,000 is a “ballpark figure” for those paying commercial costs and going to ‘sales type’ sires.

Just a few observations and some quickly calculated stats. Remember that averages hide a wide range – delighted vendors doubling their money, many just covering costs, and some gutted and selling at a significant loss.

Overall NZ trends will only become apparent after today and tomorrow’s Premier Sale days in Christchurch.

Bettor’s Delight

51 lots offered.

42 sold (82%)
Buyers total spend on the day: $1,690,000
Price range $3,000-$210,00
Average price: $40,238
Average price without top lot: $36,794
Average price without top 3 lots ($100,000+): $31,794
Number of lots <$20,000 = 11 (26% of lots sold by auction)

Art Major

22 lots offered.

13 sold (59%)
Buyers total spend on the day: $312,500
Price range $11,000-$50,000
Average price: $24,000
Number of lots <$20,000 = 7 (53% of lots sold by auction)

American Ideal

13 lots offered.

8 sold (61%)
Buyers total spend on the day: $177,000
Price range: $5,500-$82,500
Average price: $22,000
Average price without top lot: $13,500
Number of lots <$20,000 = 6 (75% of lots sold by auction)

Mach Three

15 lots offered

13 sold (86%)
Buyers total spend on the day: $475,000
Price range: $8,500-$120,000
Average price: $36,576
Average price without top lot: $29,583
Number of lots <$20,000 = 3 (23%)

Christian Cullen

16 lots offered

11 sold (68%)
Buyers total spend on the day: $242,000
Price range: $7,000-$65,000 (but one passed in for $97,500 with reserve of $100,000)
Average price: $22,000
Number of lots <$20,000 = 7 (63%)

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Angus Fogg Lot 69 is on his way to Karaka sales complex.

Here are some photos of Kym Kearns giving him a wash before loading him on the float for the 2-hour trip from Cambridge to Auckland.

He’s grown into a lovely strong type, and will end up being a bit bigger than we initially thought. A really handsome fella with a lovely personality. He’s keen to get started!

I’d like to wish all breeders and vendors a really good sale. It is a nervous time, and takes less than 5 minutes in the ring to bring a result for many months of hard work and tender loving care.

Isa Lodge proudly presents Angus Fogg (Angus Hall x Sun Isa), half brother to Flying Isa.

Angus Fogg yearling

Shower time!

Angus Fogg yearling

Aren’t I handsome!

Angus Fogg yearling

On his way to a towel down.

Angus Fogg yearling

Smart new jacket

Angus Fogg yearling

Loaded and ready to go.
See you at the Sales!

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