Zoustar pinhook another gift for Hedge

7 min read
The latest chapter of the remarkable connection between Suman Hedge and Zoustar has seen the bloodstock agent cash in by selling a $1m pinhooked colt by the rising Widden Stud stallion.

Suman Hedge describes Zoustar as the gift that keeps on giving and having made the bloodstock agent's reputation as a yearling selector, the Widden Stud stallion has now played a significant role in what he believes to be a record pinhook result at this week's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

Hedge put together a 'pinhooking group' about 12 months ago as he started up his new business and purchased five horses out of the weanling sales, including a Zoustar colt, who he paid $200,000 for.

On Tuesday, Orbis Bloodstock paid $1m for that colt, offered by Milburn Creek on Suman Hedge Bloodstock's behalf, sealing a stunning return for Hedge and his clients in the course of just ten months.

"We obviously really liked the horse when we purchased him and we paid $200,000 for him at the Magic Millions National Sale. He was a popular weanling and well liked, but it was still a lot of money at the time," Hedge told TDN AusNZ.

Suman Hedge (centre)

"I certainly remember after I bought him, I got some funny looks and people saying gee, you've gone pretty hard there. Typically with weanlings, people tend to pay under a $100,000 to get some margin."

"But we really liked him and had a lot of confidence in the stallion. We just felt there was a good opportunity there."

"He was a popular weanling and well liked, but it was still a lot of money at the time." - Suman Hedge

But even this week, the expectations for Lot 106 were for maybe a $400,000 return, with a little more confidence once Hedge had an opportunity to assess the strength of the market.

"You don't know. You have some sort of idea, but it then comes down to how far the interested parties are willing to go," he said.

It's the next chapter of the remarkable association with Zoustar, who himself was a pinhook who Hedge picked out on behalf of Iskander Racing for $140,000 at the 2012 Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast.

"He's a once in a lifetime horse." - Suman Hedge

"He's the gift that keeps on giving that horse. I can't explain how much I love him. He's almost like a family member now," he said.

"He's been a life-changer for me in terms of not just the financial benefits, but just what he has done for my career. He's a once in a lifetime horse."

Cool hand Suman

But while he gushes emotion about his favourite horse, Hedge says the key to successful pin-hooking is remaining calm and rational about prospective purchases.

"It's a combination of factors, certainly your purchase price is a really critical thing. A lot of the time, it’s really easy to get excited at the weanling sales, but you have to be disciplined about how you price them out," he said.

"It’s really easy to get excited at the weanling sales, but you have to be disciplined." - Suman Hedge

"I guess you need to have that feel of the market, about which stallions you think will be in demand eight or ten months later. There are variables that you can control and there are things you can't control."

The Zoustar x Madamesta colt as a weanling

Good help

Hedge has used Milburn Creek and Rushton Park to prepare his pinhooked yearlings this year. Rushton Park presented a Deep Field filly at the Melbourne Premier Sale, which was sold for $200,000 after being purchased for $85,000 as well as a Written Tycoon filly on the Gold Coast, which went for $170,000 after being bought for $65,000 last year.

"They are both terrific farms and they have really good processes in place and that gives you a big advantage," he said.

"We do a lot of analytics on the market as well. We look at the stallions and the numbers that are likely to be in the marketplace. They are your competition, so we are looking at things like that as well."

"You can do all those things and be unlucky." - Suman Hedge

"The luck factor is how they grow out, how x-rays might go, they are things you can’t control. You can do all those things and be unlucky."

Everything went to plan for Lot 106, Zoustar x Madamesta

The Zoustar boom

Three of the top pinhook results at the Easter Sale were by Zoustar. Experienced pinhookers Redwall Bloodstock sold a filly, Lot 281, for $650,000 off a $230,000 purchase price, while Orchid Racing paid $40,000 for a Zoustar colt last year and he sold for $500,000 as Lot 217 in Sydney.

Hedge said he feels it was the right time to purchase Zoustar weanlings last year with the value of the stallion rocketing in the past few months off the back of his first crop headed by triple Group 1 winning filly Sunlight.

"I didn’t know that he would go that well, but we felt that he was a good one to target." - Suman Hedge

"I’d love to say it’s just him, but I would say it’s just timing. He's going from that horse that was a nice prospect that everyone thought was promising and then he's delivered with his first crop and off the back of that now, he's going from a $40,000 stallion to probably a $100,000-plus stallion," he said.

"I didn’t know that he would go that well, but we felt that he was a good one to target with a bit of aggression at the weanling sales. Fortunately for us the timing worked out really well."

Buying as well as selling

One of the other advantages of being involved with weanling sales is that Hedge has been able to get a read on prospective yearling purchases ahead of time.

Lot 109 this week, a Pierro colt, had been on his radar since last year and he snapped him up with Ciaron Maher for $410,000.

"He's a really athletic horse. He's a great moving colt. He was a nice weanling and he was a horse that was on our list last year. Because we knew that, we know he has been a nice horse all the way through," he said.

"He was a nice weanling and he was a horse that was on our list last year." - Suman Hedge

"He presented really well. He's just a big walking colt, with good angles on him, even though he's a later foaled horse, he looks like he’ll come to hand reasonably early."

Hedge and Maher also came together to purchase a Rubick colt at Karaka earlier this year as part of what he expects to be a growing relationship with the Caulfield-based trainer and his partner David Eustace.

"We’ve got similar taste in the horses we like," he said. "We look for big athletes that can move well and have got big actions and are sound. When you have that alignment, it’s a lot easier and we both like the horse so we decided to do it together."

Up goes the roller coaster

This week has been a huge upswing in what has been a rollercoaster 2019 for Hedge, who lost his promising import Schabau (Ger) (Pastroious {Ger}) for at least a year to a tendon injury last month.

"It’s a rollercoaster and you have to ride the waves." - Suman Hedge

"A month ago we had the Melbourne Cup favourite, which I've never dreamt of having. Then a week later, he injured a tendon and we were just distraught. Then we had a yearling I selected, Mystery Love (Eurozone), come out and win a stakes race and now this good sales result," he said.

"It’s a rollercoaster and you have to ride the waves. You have to enjoy the good times, because there are plenty of bad ones. It makes it satisfying, when you have those good days, because you know how hard it is."

Schabau was ruled out of this year's Melbourne Cup after suffering a tendon injury