Liston and learn: Three Bridges' strongest ever Millions draft

6 min read
With its strongest-ever Magic Millions draft and at least two of its graduates from 2018 qualified for the 2YO Classic, Three Bridges Thoroughbreds' Toby Liston is hoping for big things on the Gold Coast next month.

Liston admits he has learned a lot about the market in his ten years of taking yearlings to the Gold Coast sale and feels he has got the right mix in their draft of 11 for January.

"I suppose it’s pretty simple to us, when we first started, 11 years ago. we didn’t have one good enough to go to Magic Millions, so it’s always been our target," he said.

"After 11 years, I think we have now got two qualified in the race and we only sold eight last year, that's a good sign,"

"We have now got two qualified in the race and we only sold eight last year, that's a good sign." - Three Bridges' Toby Liston

While the on-track results of the 2018 draft have already been good with Courseshewill (Unencumbered) to be joined by March sale graduate Oh Five Glory (Unencumbered) and possibly two others sold through Three Bridges in the 2019 2YO Classic - Liston admitted last year was a reality check for he and his team at the sales.

"Last year we went to the market and didn’t have the proven product and we got caned. This year we've adjusted and we have what I think the market wants. I guess time will tell. The sales ring can be the biggest leveller," he said.

The eight from its own draft in 2018 were all from first-season sires, but in 2019, it has just one from that category with lots from Australia's top stallions such as Snitzel, I Am Invincible, More Than Ready (USA), Written Tycoon and Sebring.

"It’s the best draft we’ve taken to the Magic Millions in ten years. If the buyers are there, I think we’ll have a good time and I know that Magics will be working hard to get them there," he said.

Toby Liston

Unencumbered's legacy builds

The loss of Three Bridges' young stallion Unencumbered after surgery complications last March was a significant blow to the Liston family. They had given him significant support, and as is often the case, it is only after he died that his progeny have taken off on the track.

"It took us six months to get a 2-year old winner and this year it has been five already." - Toby Liston

"It took us six months to get a 2-year old winner and this year it has been five already, it’s one of those things that always seems to happen when you lose a stallion," he said.

The ill-fated Unencumbered

"I think there is only Better Than Ready and I Am Invincible who have more 2-year old winners than him."

Three Bridges is offering two of his progeny at Millions, Lot 53, a filly out of Recurring (NZ) (Pentire {GB}) and Lot 277, a colt out of Voltdanze (Danzero).

The colt is a half to G2 Brisbane Cup winning mare, Sedanzer (Sebring), a family that also includes stakes-placed So Detached (One Cool Cat).

"Like Sedanzer, he's going to get over 1600-2000m, but he's a jump-and-run colt that won't be expensive. He will be a good opportunity for somebody to buy a nice horse," he said.

Meanwhile, Recurring, a winner of the G1 Railway S in New Zealand, has also produced two stakes-performed horses in Time After Time (Danehill Dancer) and Coming Back (High Chaparral {Ire}).

"Neither of them will be dear, but they are two lovely animals that will find a good homes, I think there are only three in the sale and only Zoustar is beating him on the second season sires list," Liston said.

"There's not a lot on offer, the ones I have are quality and they will find a nice home. Somebody will get rewarded for sticking their hand up."

Flying out of the blocks

It will be a fast start to the sale for Three Bridges, which has five of its 11 lots set down for the opening day on January 9.

Lot 46, a filly by Coolmore's first-season stallion Vancouver out of stakes-winner Raid (NZ}, gets things underway.

"She's a lovely filly and her sister last year made $210,000 by Shooting To Win. This one is probably a step up again. She's by Vancouver and we don’t know how the market will take to them, but she's a ripping filly and I think she’ll find a nice home," he said.

"She's probably a miler. She's out of a small Pins mare and Vancouver can leave you a big horse, so I think it's probably the right mix. I wouldn’t expect her to be an early 2-year old, but she is a class filly."

Lot 46 is by Coolmore stallion, Vancouver

Snitzel filly from a Millions family

There is a strong Magic Millions pedigree to the Lot 511, filly by Snitzel out of Denarii (Dehere {USA}), making her a close relative to 2006 2YO Classic winner Mirror Mirror (Dehere) as well as the runners-up in the 2012 and 2017 races No Looking Back (Redoute's Choice) and Chauffeur (Snitzel).

People will look at her and think she could be in the race next year and that's what you want to sell at Magics." - Toby Liston

"I did a foal share with Damion Flower, and her three quarter brother was Magic Millions runner-up Chauffeur. We own half each. She's a jump-and-run 2-year-old, and people will look at her and think she could be in the race next year and that's what you want to sell at Magics," Liston said.


Saving the best for last

The highlight of Three Bridges' draft, according to Liston, will be their final offering, Lot 861, which will sell on the Saturday night.

"The Brazen Beau is pretty special. She's the perfect horse for this sale. She out of a General Nediym mare called Nixon," he said.

That makes her closely related to Tasmanian I'm Wesley (I Am Invincible), who recently collected his fourth stakes win. Liston is expecting a strong response to the second crop of Darley's Brazen Beau at the sales.

"Brazen Beau will probably be the hottest second season sire at the sales, a bit like the Zoustars were last year." he said.

"He's got the favourite for the Slipper and had another good winner recently so you’d expect him to be very popular."

Toby Liston is expecting Brazen Beau to be one of the hottest second season sires at the sale