Better's second crop ready to rumble on Gold Coast

7 min read
While the success of Spirit of Boom propelled a record 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale, this year it is the progeny of Better Than Ready who are expected to shine.

The boom on Lyndhurst Stud's Better Than Ready is expected to have a significant impact on this week's 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale, with 49 of his second crop catalogued for the sale.

Coming off a 'once in a lifetime' March Yearling Sale last year, where demand for the progeny of Spirit of Boom saw new records set across the board, the expectations are a little tempered this year from Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch, despite an amazing start for Better Than Ready's progeny on the track.

"Last year was an unbelievable sale. It was an unprecedented and a once in a lifetime event we thought, the magnitude of what Spirit of Boom did. We are not expecting anything near that," he told TDN AusNZ.

"I think we went from an aggregate of $8.5m in 2017 to $13.8m in 2018, We are looking at somewhere in between, somewhere on the lower side of the middle of that."

"Last year was an unbelievable sale. It was an unprecedented and a once in a lifetime event we thought." - Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch

Yarramalong Park's Richard Foster, a key shareholder in Better Than Ready and one of the driving forces behind him standing at Lyndhurst, agrees that while the market for the Better Than Readys and Spirit of Booms, which make up 79 of the 392 in the catalogue, will be strong, a repeat of 2018 is not realistic.

"It was extraordinary, and I wouldn’t expect that to happen again. Those prices were supersonic," he said.

The comparisons between Better Than Ready and Spirit of Boom are inevitable, with the Lyndhurst stallion on track to match what the Eureka Stud resident did in his first season.

Spirit of Boom's first crop featured 18 2-year-old winners and five stakes winners, while Better Than Ready has 13 winners from his first crop, including two at black-type level and it’s only midway through March.

The Odyssey (Better Than Ready x Jessica's Hope) won Saturday's Aquis QTIS 2YO Jewel

Market Better prepared

Yarramalong is presenting nine of them at the March sale and Foster said it is already clear the market intertest is high, especially after The Odyssey won Saturday's $500,000 Aquis QTIS 2YO Jewel at the Gold Coast and Ready to Roam ran third.

"There are a lot of inspections going on right now. They are lining up pretty thick here this morning after yesterday's race," he said.

"They are lining up pretty thick here this morning after yesterday's race." - Yarramalong's Richard Foster

"There's a broad market for them, there is no doubt about that. There are trainers here from other states as well as the locals and the northerners. There will be something for everybody in them."

"They can’t all make ridiculous money. They’ll make fair money across the board and there will be some good value buying for people that take the time to look at them."

While interest in the stallion is at a high, until now, the market has not had a lot of opportunities to buy his progeny this season, with just eight sold at the yearling sales, including four at an average of $85,000 in Book 2 at the recent Melbourne Premier Sale.

Better Than Ready

Bowditch has been impressed with what he has seen of the significant amount of his progeny on offer this week.

"I think we have got a great lot of Better Than Readys here. He throws a very sound yearling. He throws a particular horse and as a rule they all look a lot like himself. They are good, strong running types of horses," he said.

"It does bode well for the sale considering he has had some 13 winners, two stakes winners and had the good winner here yesterday."

Picks of the draft

Of Yarramalong's draft, Foster said Lot 338, a filly out of Licenced To Chill (Choisir), had been particularly popular in parades and was a 'magnificent filly'.

She is a half-sister to seven winners, and her dam is out of Listed winner The Big Chill (O'Reilly {NZ}). That's the same family as Lot 337, another Better Than Ready filly gathering plenty of interest.

Foster said the interest was being generated on both type and pedigree.

"None of them have got January pedigrees, or they would have been there but they stem from good families I think in that particular sale, if you have got families that are stemming from good families, it might be one or two generations back, but as long as they have got them there, there is every chance that Better Than Ready will upgrade them again, which is what we are seeing on the track," he said.

Lot 338 Better Than Ready x Licensed To Chill

Lot 280, out of Ghoom (Tiger Hill {Ire}) and Lot 156 out of Zaripova (Testa Rossa) are two other fillies Foster expects to do well.

Yarramalong offers two colts by Better Than Ready, Lot 198 out of Blessed Anna (General Nediym), the half-sister to Listed winner Zebulon, and Lot 131, out of Umajet (Jet Spur). Both have attracted admirers.

"We've only got two colts and seven fillies. We had a lot of fillies that year but we also took some colts to Melbourne to sell. We sold some weanlings way back, so we are light on for colts," Foster said.

"With the QTIS bonus favouring fillies it shouldn't be too much of a disadvantage."

Yarramalong also presents three other lots in its draft of 12, including a Super One colt, Lot 390 out of Mydalea (Myboycharlie {Ire}).

"He's a little runner. He's a later foal, but he's a typical (grandsire) I Am Invincible. The buyers are seeing that in him, because I know he's made a couple of lists. That's good," he said.

"We've got a nice Sizzling filly as well and a little The Factor (USA) filly, who is a really good mover. I thought she might be hard to find friends for but as it turns out, there are people who really like her."

Lot 390 Super One x Mydalea

Sale expected to follow broader trend

Foster's overall expectations of the sale are that it will follow the season trend of being strong at the top end, with less support at the middle and lower end.

However, he does think the clearance rate will be higher than in was in the recent sale at Adelaide (79.1 per cent) with more buyers interested in the lower end.

Bowditch agrees that the challenge is not at the top of the market, but in the willingness of buyers to bid for less popular stock.

"If you've got the right product, you are going to hit it out of the park." - Barry Bowditch

"For good product, there is a huge appetite but tolerance levels for anything off the pace, it’s not easy to sell those horses. We’ve found that at all our sales this year. Middle to lower and, it’s trying times," he said.

"If you've got the right product, you are going to hit it out of the park. If you haven’t, you have to tread cautiously and be realistic. It doesn’t mean they won’t go onto win races, but they are not easy to sell in the sales ring."

"Our expectations are that we have got a good sound catalogue. We’ve got plenty of horses there that buyers still want to buy and the results on the racetrack have been fantastic out of the sales."

"From last year we have had 22 winners, more than any other besides the main January Gold Coast Sale."

Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch