Nettoyer Ready To Run for Group 1 glory

6 min read
Renowned for her success preparing horses for Ready To Run sales, trainer Wendy Roche is looking to add another achievement to her resume when Nettoyer contests the G1 Ranvet S. on Saturday.

It was jockey Blake Shinn who convinced trainer Wendy Roche to have a 'shot at the stumps' and send her in-form mare Nettoyer (Sebring) to the G1 Ranvet S., but as the 5-year-old's big assignment approaches, Roche's confidence has grown.

Roche, who bought Nettoyer as a slightly backwards yearling for just $20,000, knows how far the mare has come to get to this point and with momentum on her side, thinks she can improve to challenge a field which contains seven Group 1 winners.

"Blake felt that it was a really deep race and I agree. A lot of them are at the top of their marks, in my opinion," Roche told TDN AusNZ.

"I think Nettoyer will run very well and acquit herself very well and could provide an upset." - Trainer Wendy Roche

"I think Nettoyer will run very well and acquit herself very well and could provide an upset. I feel on form, she should run in the first four."

"If she doesn't, it’s amazing to have a horse in a big race on Golden Slipper day. It’s something to look forward to."

Trainer Wendy Roche

The continuing wet weather in Sydney and the likelihood of a rain-affected track certainly play into Nettoyer's hands. As a 3-year-old, at just her third start, she won over this distance in a benchmark race on a heavy track at Randwick by 10 lengths, while her other wet-track run, saw her finish 11th in the G3 Craven Plate in October, a performance Roche attributed to the on-pace bias on that day.

Last time out, she charged home from the back of the field to claim her first stakes win in the G3 Aspiration Quality to get back to her best with her third victory at her 19th start.

It was a performance which changed Roche's mind. Nettoyer was entered in the upcoming Inglis Chairman's Sale, but having hit career-best form, she will continue her career after Saturday.

"Right now, she is worth more as a racing prospect than as a broodmare." - Wendy Roche

"Right now, she is worth more as a racing prospect than as a broodmare," Roche said. "We nominated her in case she didn’t come up."

"After Saturday, she might have a couple of starts in Queensland and then go to the paddock."

A ready-made reputation

Roche and her partner, vet Dr John Crowley, have forged a reputation for buying yearlings to prepare for the Ready To Run Sales through their Chevaux Bloodstock operation based at Mittagong in the NSW Southern Highlands.

Nettoyer was put through that program in 2015, but the expectations of the buyer didn’t meet that of the vendor and she was the filly they retained out of the seven that went to the Inglis sale.

"She got passed in because I always thought she had ability and they never came anywhere near the reserve," Roche said. "She's also a very cantankerous and difficult mare, and she was even worse as a filly."

That 2015 Inglis Ready2Race Sale saw Chevaux sell an I Am Invincible colt for $540,000 just months after he was sold for $260,000 at the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale. While big results like that capture headlines, Roche said the lack of patience with Ready To Run products is the main reason why many of them are unable to live up to expectations on the racetrack.

Nettoyer was a $20,000 yearling however didn't meet her reserve as a Ready To Run prospect

"The Ready To Run sales in Australia are a lot different to Europe and America. The ones in Australia, they want a horse to go as fast as it can for 200m and they will pay big money for them," she said.

"That doesn’t mean they make good racehorses. My Ready To Run horses aren't like that. Even though I topped the sale (with the I Am Invincible colt), I feel he got pushed too early and that's why he never made it."

"You've got to give them a little bit of time and let them be racehorses." - Wendy Roche

"He was a November 22nd foal, and he'd only galloped twice, and yet I sold him for $540,000. If I owned him, I wouldn’t have raced him until later, because he was a November foal which had ability."

"You've got to give them a little bit of time and let them be racehorses. I think the Ready To Run Sales in Australia aren’t as successful as they should be due to people buying speedy types that aren’t going to race on. That's only my opinion," she said.

A sticky market

Roche certainly has more experience than most to comment on the state of the Ready To Run sales. Last year Chevaux Bloodstock took a combined ten horses to both the Inglis Ready 2 Race Sale and the Magic Millions Gold Coast 2YO in Training Sale in what proved a tough market.

They sold just three of those nine, with the Sydney sale proving particularly difficult, with just one of four finding a home.

Watch: Chevaux Bloodstock was unable to find a home for the Fastnet Rock colt out of Quaintly (USA) at the 2018 Inglis Ready To Race Sale

"We bred a horse by Cluster out of Patsy Girl, he went to the sales and no-one was interested in him. That horse did not get one bid. I also had a Fastnet Rock colt, but people weren't interested in him either," she said.

"They just can't see the potential. Whether it is because I'm a trainer and if they were any good, then I would race them myself I'm not sure, but that's not what I am in it for. For me, it’s a good place to turn horses over and we have the skills to do it. We might make some money to pay for the racehorses that you race."

"For me, it’s a good place to turn horses over and we have the skills to do it." - Wendy Roche

The issue, she says, is the buying bench. She feels that the local market doesn’t value the stock at the sale, while the international buyers are too impatient with them.

"From my discussions, Australian trainers feel that Ready To Run horses are pushed too hard and they are broken down before they get them," she said. "But then again, if you want a horse to run under 11 seconds in October, and it’s not a precocious type, what do you expect?"

"I never push my horses, if they run it, great. If they don’t so be it. At the end of the day, they are a sound racing commodity and I've proven that with the success I have had."

"It's a lot of hard work. I go to the sales and buy on type, something that I would want to race myself because in the end if they don’t sell, I've got to race it."

In such a tough market, Roche is happy to stand on her reputation as a good judge of a horse. That reputation will only be increased significantly should she become a Group 1 winning trainer on Saturday.