Tyreel basking in successes of extraordinary week

8 min read
If five days can define the future success of a thoroughbred business, Tyreel Stud may just come to reflect on the past week as the most significant since Linda and Laurence Monds took over the farm in 2014.

What any breeding business craves is strong sales results backed up with top performances from its graduates on the track.

Last Wednesday, Tyreel sold an Exceed and Excel (Danehill {USA}) colt for a record $1.7m at the Easter Yearling Sale, while three days later, emerging star Classique Legend (Not A Single Doubt), bred and sold by Tyreel, franked his reputation as one of the most exciting horses in the country with a victory in the $1m G2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint at Randwick.

Then, to add to what has been an unbelievable week, Classique Legend's younger half-brother Aethero (Sebring) bolted in on debut for John Moore at Sha Tin on Sunday.

"It’s unbelievable, that's what you call the stars all aligning," Linda Monds told TDN AusNZ.

"It’s unbelievable, that's what you call the stars all aligning,"- Linda Monds

Hopes had always been high for Classique Legend, who topped the 2017 Classic Yearling Sale at $400,000, when bought by Carmel Size on behalf of Hong Kong-based owner Boniface Ho.

"We’ve been in contact with Carmel Size right through from the moment she purchased him and she's always had such a high opinion of him. I knew that once the time was right for the horse, we were going to be seeing something pretty special," Monds said.

Patience has been key for Size and trainer Les Bridge, who only debuted Classique Legend at a midweek Randwick meeting in late February, before backing him up at the same track two weeks later where he won by six lengths.

Les Bridge and Carmel Size

He was beaten at his first try at stakes company in the Listed Darby Munro S., but improved significantly from the experience to win by 1.3l on Saturday.

"Carmel has managed him so well and it’s been a good outcome, keeping him quiet until he was a little bit older and he's a better horse for it. There are some very exciting times ahead for Mr Ho, Carmel and Les Bridge and us as well," she said.

Ho's Australian-bred and purchased horses inevitably end up in Hong Kong, but Monds would love if Classique Legend was allowed a shot at the better Australian sprint races before he heads overseas.

"I'm very much a colonial girl. I’d love to see him stay here and I guess you get to enjoy the journey a little bit closer to you. I'm sure the owners will make the decision they feel is best for them and obviously that decision needs to be respected," she said.

"But I'd truly love to see him stay in Australia. Carmel has done such a great job as has the whole Les Bridge team. It would be really good for them to have him stay here and just to reach his potential here in Australia before he goes overseas. I think he probably can do both."

Aethero launches career in style

The boom on Aethero was already strong before he stepped out on Sunday, having performed well at two recent trials. He backed that up by giving Zac Purton his 100th winner of the season, sitting on the pace and strolling clear under a hold to win by two lengths.

“He’s the perfect two-year-old that anybody could wish for – he never went shinny has done everything right on the track and eats up when he goes home,” Moore, who paid $575,000 for the colt from Tyreel's 2018 Easter Sale draft, said after the race.

“I was at the Easter sales and he came out of the box and I had a look and just said without even vetting him, the pedigree I knew, so I just said ‘buy him’."

“I said to [son] George ‘this is what Able Friend looked like’. Able Friend was a little bit bigger but this fellow had all the resemblance of Able Friend and wow, he just might be another one.”

Monds said the Moore family had already told them that they felt they had something special on their hands with Aethero,

"We spoke to George Moore quite a few weeks ago about him and he holds that horse in such a high regard. He said, he's phenomenal what we have seen of him so far," she said.

"For Aethero to come out and win yesterday is showing that he's got a massive future ahead of him."

Aethero as a yearling.

Pinocchio providing perfect foundation

Aethero and Classique Legend are both from Pinocchio (Encosta de Lago), the full sister to multiple Group 1 winner Racing To Win, who Monds paid $320,000 for at the 2014 National Broodmare Sale.

She was one of eight foundation mares that Tyreel purchased shortly after the Monds bought the operation in 2014.

Pinocchio is described by Monds as a beautiful mare, who may prove the most valuable on the Agnes Banks-based farm.

"It’s great for the family. We’ve got the 2-year-old and the 3-year-old both winning and the 4-year-old by Foxwedge has done well in Australia, Puppet Master. Unfortunately, the mare slipped the following year, so I didn’t have a yearling this year, but I've got a very, very nice article in the So You Think (NZ) colt on the farm, who is outstanding physically," she said.

"They tell you to buy what has always been said to me as 'blue hen' mares. But you can’t buy them. One, they don’t sell them and two, if they do sell them, you can’t afford them. I would classify her in my eyes as a blue hen mare. She's made her stamp and she's producing time and time again," she said.

Yearling exceeds all expectations

Last week's outstanding sales ring result came via Lot 337, a colt by Exceed And Excel out of Group 3 winner Written Dash (Written Tycoon), a mare who was purchased for $410,000 out of the 2016 National Broodmare Sale.

Monds said she had always rated the colt very highly but couldn't have believed he would have got to the $1.7m that Aquis Farm paid for him on the drop of the hammer.

Exceed and Excel colt out of Written Dash who sold for $1.7m at last week's Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.

"From day dot, he was a phenomenal article. I had to make myself stop looking at him and pretend he was like every other horse," she said.

"He's the best physical horse we have ever presented in the sales ring. I had so many people tell me that he was so much like his dad."

"We all know so many things can go wrong as a horse is growing up, but he was seamless all the way through. He always had the most beautiful temperament and very relaxed, cool nature about him. What we saw of him going through the ring, was exactly the way he has been from day dot."

Monds said as soon as bidding reached seven figures, it all became a blur.

"When we got over the million dollar mark, I heard nothing else, I'm not sure what happened to me, the next thing I heard the hammer go down, and I had to turn to my husband and my beautiful two boys and I had to ask 'how much did he bring?'" she said.

"It’s so much work for everybody and my staff have done the most incredible job. Presenting every yearling, the best possible manner you can present them in."

"I can’t believe that what has happened for Tyreel Stud over the past week, for our family and our stud as a whole.”

Big result in a tough market

Monds admitted outside that one remarkable result at Easter, it had been a tough sales season, with the middle market especially weak.

"This year has been our hardest year in the sales ring. I'm speaking on behalf of a lot of breeders and vendors. While we got that result, it wasn't expected at all. Every other sale, we’ve either hit just on reserve or we've gone well below reserve," she said.

"It has been hard to sell horses. It's a reflection of the market. Nothing to do with the sales companies, they have done their absolute best. They have been brilliant in a market that has turned I believe."

She believes vendors will have to change their yearling sales selection strategies in 2020, while it was becoming harder for a wider range of buyers to get involved at the middle market.

"The trainers have done it tough, the syndicators as well. It’s an economy issue and I think, it’s going to hit everybody," she said. "Whilst we did see big prices, the middle market is suffering and will continue to suffer."

Knowing how tough it can be when things don’t go your way, Monds is determined to mark Tyreel's successes when they come.

"We've got a brilliant result and we've have had a brilliant weekend on the track, it shows that Tyreel not only get a sales result but can breed champions too," she said.

Linda Monds