Fillies in favour for syndicators

6 min read
TDN AusNZ spoke to syndicators Australian Bloodstock, Triple Crown Syndications and Spicer Thoroughbreds to take stock of Magic Millions and also look forward to the rest of sales season.

Bullish buying from the colts funds at Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale drove spending to record levels, but syndicators found value in both the fillies as well as looking broader than the most sought-after stallions.

Nine of the top $1million-plus yearlings at the sale, and 13 of the top 15 lots, were colts, as the likes of Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Aquis Farm, Newgate and China Horse Club, and Yulong Investments bid furiously on the blue chip yearlings.

It drove prices to a record high and put a premium on star stallions, specifically I Am Invincible, who topped averages at the sale at $440,089 and had seven colts make $800,000 or more.

Lots by I Am Invincible sold for an average of $440,089

Add to that a favourable exchange rate for Asian buyers and it was clear that to buy a son of a fashionable sire you would need to have some serious backing.

Unable to compete for the top lots, syndicators still found a niche and were thrilled with what was on offer, often striking well below the sales average of $237,740.

Jamie Lovett and the Australian Bloodstock team identified early at Magic Millions that trying to buy an I Am Invincible or Zoustar colt on a budget wouldn’t be possible and instead directed their energy elsewhere.

“The day before the sale we noticed there were a lot of guys around trying to pool resources to buy colts." - Australian Bloodstock's Jamie Lovett

“The day before the sale we noticed there were a lot of guys around trying to pool resources to buy colts,” Lovett said. “As a result of that, around 15 per cent of our final list were colts.”

Come sale end and five of Australian Bloodstock’s six Book 1 purchases were fillies, among them Lot 240 by Redoute’s Choice from Tracy’s Image (Encosta De Lago), the daughter of Tracy's Element (Last Tycoon {Ire}), for $320,000 and $240,000 for Lot 240 by Exceed And Excel.

“At our end of the market we were able to snap up some value, particularly fillies,” Lovett said, an observation backed by end-of-sale stats.

Colts v fillies

On average a colt cost 16.5% more at this year’s Magic Millions, compared to a 10.6% differential at the 2017 sale, while last year the girls actually outstripped the boys in Book 1.

“I realised early that the better colts were going to be un-buyable." - Jamie Lovett

“I realised early that the better colts were going to be un-buyable,” Lovett said “Those big priced-lots have a knock-on effect down to the $250,000 to $400,000 colts. The trainers that had money for those ones couldn’t buy the big ones and it just flows through the sale.”

Four of Triple Crown’s seven Magic Millions purchases across Book 1 and Book 2 were fillies priced between $100,000 and $240,000, including Lot 993, by Dissident out of Harlem Shuffle (Oratorio {Ire}) and from the same family as In Her Time (Time Thief).

“With the prizemoney increases and the international buyers in those different partnerships, plus the currency conversion right now, they just drove up those upper echelon colts,” Triple Crown’s Chris Ward said.

“We were particularly rapt with the quality of the horses we were able to buy and I think it helped that there was a large book of horses. We were fortunate to come away with a lot of yearlings that were out of well-performed mares and consistent families.”

Triple Crown's Chris and Michael Ward at the Magic Millions sale

Type beats fashion

The other common observation from syndicators was that value could be found by focusing on type ahead of fashionable stallions.

Brad Spicer from Spicer Thoroughbreds scooped on six lots from six different sires in Book 1 at an average of $175,000 including Lot 679, a filly by Press Statement for $340,000.

“She was my favourite filly at the sale so we went about $100,000 over to get her, but we bought some other nice lots at affordable prices,” he said.

Watch: Lot 679 Press Statement x Incredulous

Those lots included colts by Dissident (Lot 414, $80,000), Olympic Glory (Lot 865, $60,000) and Dundeel (Lot 535, $140,000).

“They are worth a punt at those prices.” - Syndicator, Brad Spicer

“We are thrilled with them all on type, if you come away from the trendy sires and you just come to the unproven sires you can find value,” Spicer said. “They are worth a punt at those prices.”

Lovett was also able to secure lots he thought would go for more, and not all of them from unproven sires.

“When it came to the Zoustars and the I Am Invincibles, we didn’t even vet them if they were good types because we knew we wouldn’t be able to afford them,” he said.

“We targeted the fillies, and Redoute’s Choice has phenomenal stats with fillies, so we got one. And what has Exceed And Excel done wrong? The $240,000 Exceed And Excel filly would have been $600,000 when he was a bit more fashionable. I think if you find the lots by sires just below that top group of sexy stallions you can always find value.”

"I think if you find the lots by sires just below that top group of sexy stallions you can always find value.” - Brad Spicer

Where to from here?

So what next after the big spend on the Gold Coast? The consensus was that the colts funds will likely cool their heels somewhat through Karaka, Inglis Classic and Inglis Premier, but the current prizemoney war should still ensure a strong, if more balanced, market.

The other flow-on factor predicted, after Magic Millions massive book of 1100-plus lots, was that agents, now facing another 1000-plus lots at Inglis Classic next month, had a lot of hard work ahead of them.

“I think there will be nice buying at Inglis Classic,” Spicer said. “The sales are getting so big that you can’t go around and see every horse anymore. You used to be able to get around and see every horse in the book. With nearly 1200 at Magic Millions and more than 1000 now at Classic, you have to be a lot more selective with your viewing time."

Brad Spicer believes with the number of Lots catalogued for sale buyers need to be more selective with their viewing time

"Even if the guys chasing the colts aren’t as active there, I still wouldn’t bother shortlisting a top Snitzel or I Am Invincible, because they are beyond our budget, I would rather focus on what we can look at.”

Ward agreed that there will be opportunities for those buying on a budget at Classic early next month, especially if they are willing to do the footwork on inspection days.

“Just based on sheer numbers, it will be very difficult for people there that have just come out of Magic Millions to get through all of their inspections. There will be opportunities there for people who have down their homework,” he said.