Magic Millions stalwart knows the game inside out

6 min read
Newhaven Park’s John Kelly has been part of the Magic Millions Sale scene for more than three decades so few know the formula for favourable selling results there better.

The New South Wales breeding operation has been the provider of numerous success stories and none more so in recent times than with graduate Unencumbered (Testa Rossa).

A son of the Listed Keith McKay H. winner and Group performer Blizzardly (More Than Ready {USA}), he was purchased out of Newhaven’s 2014 Gold Coast consignment for $70,000 by Sydney trainer Bjorn Baker.

Unencumbered was a dashing and hardy youngster, who capped off his juvenile preparation with victory in the Magic Millions Classic. That was his fourth consecutive win.

“We’ve had a lot of success here and in the last few years Unencumbered was a great result for us,” Kelly said.

“We’ve had a lot of success here and in the last few years Unencumbered was a great result for us.” - John Kelly.

“We all like to think we’re selling a horse that can win a Magic Millions and he did.”

Kelly said there was no intricate master plan to presenting the type of horse Gold Coast buyers are chasing.

“We’ve been here from the beginning, 1983 I think, and the sale hasn’t changed that much apart from the money.

“It’s pretty much a self-selecting sale and all breeders bring precocious types and early foals.” – John Kelly.

“It’s pretty much a self-selecting sale and all breeders bring precocious types and early foals. If you don’t bring them you can be behind the eight ball.

“In saying that, horses that might need a bit of time can still sell well. The market has matured and it’s a premier horse sale with the benefits of an amazing race series.

“There will be $10 million on offer on Saturday week and a horse we sold, Cadogan, will run in a $1 million 1400 metre handicap.”

Prepared by Toby Edmonds on the Gold Coast, the son of Smart Missile was a $280,000 sale graduate who has won six times, the last three in succession.

Cadogan was a $280,000 Newhaven Park graduate

Quality colts and fillies

Newhaven will present a sizeable draft at the Gold Coast Sale and Kelly settled on a pair of colts and two fillies as their leading lights.

“We’ve got a really nice draft of horses by proven sires and a few by the younger ones,” he said. “There’s a lot of quality here from what I’ve seen so it’s going to be very competitive.

“We’ve got a lovely Redoute’s Choice colt out of Aware, a Tale Of The Cat mare, and a Written Tycoon colt out of Doubtfilly, who was a very good sprinting filly and ran fourth in the Golden Slipper.”

Lot 374 Redoute's Choice x Aware

Lot 374 is the son of Redoute’s Choice, whose second dam Media (Gilded Time {USA}) won the G2 San Domenico S. and placed in the G1 Golden Slipper S., the G1 Galaxy H. and the G1 Robert Sangster S.

International pedigree

The Written Tycoon colt, Lot 530, has an international flavour to his pedigree with his third dam Andromaque (USA) (Woodman {USA}) the winner of the G2 Longchamp Prix de l’Opera.

“There’s also a beautiful Snitzel filly out of Shibboleth and she’s closely related to English,” Kelly said.

Lot 129’s dam is a three-quarter sister to English (Encosta de Lago), who carried the Newhaven silks to victories in the G1 All Aged S. and the G1 Doomben 10,000. It is also the family of the G1 Dewhurst S. and G1 St James’ Palace S. winner and sire Grand Lodge (USA) (Chief’s Crown {USA}).

“Then there’s another lovely Sebring filly out of Cadazzle and a half-sister to Cadogan,” Kelly said.

Lot 129 Snitzel x Shibboleth

Lot 431 is a grand-daughter of the North American stakes winner Key To The Cat (USA) (Tale Of The Cat {USA}) and the family of the Group 3 winners For Pete’s Sake (USA) (Clever Trick {USA}), Shiny Key (CAN) (Key To The Moon {CAN}) and Paradise Dancer (USA) (Langfuhr {CAN}).

“It’s a lovely draft and ourselves and our clients are continually upgrading our broodmare bands and buying good, young stakes winning mares and that’s what you see here.” - John Kelly.

“It’s a lovely draft and ourselves and our clients are continually upgrading our broodmare bands and buying good, young stakes winning mares and that’s what you see here,” Kelly said.

Lot 431 Sebring x Cadazzle (USA)

Off the track, Newhaven were again delighted in the spring with the response from breeders to their resident stallion Xtravagant (NZ) (Pentire {GB}), who has now completed two serving seasons.

“We are really excited about him and think he’s a special horse,” Kelly said. “I bought him because I’m not the biggest fan of double Danehill and he’s free of it.

“We’re really happy with his foals, very excited, and I really think he’s a great chance. He’s had outstanding books of mares.

“I think he’s providing wonderful opportunities and we sent 30 of our best mares to him.” – John Kelly.

“We went out and found a syndicate of breeders to take shares and they’ve all given him great support. I think he’s providing wonderful opportunities and we sent 30 of our best mares to him.”

Watch: Xtravagant's first foals

Purchased out of Rich Hill Stud’s Karaka draft for NZ$375,000 by Te Akau supremo David Ellis, Xtravagant won six of his 12 starts, including a runaway victory in the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas.

“You just don’t see horses win Group 1s by eight lengths,” Kelly said. “You used to, but it doesn’t happen these days.

“I can’t really work out how New Zealand let him go. He’s been very well supported in Australia and he’s got all that great Zabeel and Centaine blood in him.”