$20 kickstart keeps giving for Sullivan

3 min read

By Michael Cox

The windfall from a $20 punting plan has been transformed into a successful breeding business for popular former racing official Julian Sullivan as his broodmare band continues to hit the boards at the major sales.

When an I Am Invincible colt (Lot 518) made $900,000 on Day 3 of the Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale it capped not only a remarkable recent run of success for Sullivan and his wife Julie but provided a connection to the mare that started it all.

"When we first got married, we had a large mortgage and I used to put $20 aside for betting and I built up a little bank. I built it up to nearly $20,000 and I bought Vital Curves (McGinty {NZ}) at a Ready To Run sale in New Zealand," Sullivan said. "That's what started it all and it has certainly paid its way."

Lot 518 I Am Invincible x Devoirs

Vital Curves won four races for the Sullivans and then produced six winners as a broodmare including Velasco (Flying Spur), another super broodmare that left five winners.

One of those winners was stakes winner Devoirs (Dehere {USA}), the dam of the $900,000 colt, who caught a significant pedigree update with the sensational recent win by full sister Jedastar at Flemington on January 1.

On Day 1 of the sale the Sullivans sold an $800,000 filly by Hinchinbrook (Lot 215) and a $200,000 filly (Lot 138) by I Am Invincible in partnership with Yarraman Park.

"The success has been beyond our expectations." - Julian Sullivan

"Ecstatic is the word to describe it," Sullivan said. "The success has been beyond our expectations."

The Magic Millions sales follows a recent run of sales success that should set the couple's "self-funded" breeding interests up for years to come.

Lot 215 Hinchinbrook x Tetsuko

A half-brother to Lot 215 by Snitzel sold for $1.4m at last year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale in partnership with Yarraman Park, and Sullivan said the breeding and racing interests had now gone beyond being a hobby.

"We run it like a business," said Sullivan, who was with Victoria Racing Club for 37 years, culminating in the CEO position, and also boss at the Western Australian Turf Club. "We are delighted with these results and it's fantastic because it enables us to re-invest and pursue our interest in the sport. "

Julian Sullivan

"We are delighted with these results and it's fantastic because it enables us to re-invest and pursue our interest in the sport. " - Julian Sullivan

At the heart of the Sullivans breeding operation is their long-standing partnership with Yarraman Park's Arthur and Harry Mitchell.

"It's all down to Yarraman Park," Sullivan said. "Arthur and Harry are highly respected in the industry. They are incredible horsemen but even more importantly they have great integrity. They treat their clients' horses as if they are their own. That's what stands out to me."

"They treat their clients' horses as if they are their own." - Julian Sullivan

"We have six mares at the farm and every decision I make I run through Arthur and Harry, and they guide Julie and myself along. We have total trust in them, and our success is based entirely on dealing with Yarraman Park for a long period of time."