Sign up to the TDN daily edition

Enter your details below to subscribe to the TDN Australia & NZ daily edition.

Big Hearted bonus for McMaster's Selection

5 min read

By Bren O'Brien

The victory of Big Hearted (Hallowed Crown) in Saturday's Listed (SIN-G1) Singapore Gold Cup provided breeder Lisa McMaster a first significant repayment for the faith she has shown in his dam, Secret Selection (Redoute's Choice).

McMaster admits she took a huge leap of faith, perhaps too big, when privately purchasing Secret Selection for $200,000 four years ago, shortly before the mare foaled Big Hearted, as Lisa and her husband Gavin looked to improve the quality of their broodmare band at their Briarwood Farm, south-east of Melbourne.

"I was looking for a Redoute's mare and I saw her on Bloodstock.com.au. I loved the pedigree and I thought she could be a really good foundation mare for us," McMaster told TDN AusNZ.

"The ad I saw was actually an old one and I ended up tracking down the owner myself and rang him direct and asked if he was interested in selling her.

"He said he didn’t want to sell her and he then had a think about it and got back to me and he said, he would only sell her for $200,000, which was a hell of a lot of money. I had never really contemplated paying that sort of money for a horse. But I just had a strong gut feeling about her pedigree and how it mixed up and her mother was such a good race mare."

The unraced Secret Selection is out of G1 Railway S. winner Covertly (Metal Storm {Fr}), who produced four winners including the Listed winner Bombay Blitz (Snitzel). McMaster' said her instinct drove her to do the deal.

"I had inherited some money from my father and I felt compelled to do it. I ended up paying the $200,000, which at the time was a bit nuts really, but I wanted to do what my gut told me to," she said.

Keen to offset some of her initial investment, McMaster sent the resultant foal, a colt from the first crop of Hallowed Crown, through the 2018 Inglis Premier Sale, where he realised $120,000 to Krit Chittaseni and Waterford Bloodstock.

Big Hearted as a yearling

"I put him through the Sale to see if we could get some money back. It was a good result going through Blue Gum, who we always sell our horses through. He went to New Zealand and did his grounding up to trial level and then headed to Singapore," she said.

Joining the Michael Clements stable in Singapore, Big Hearted made rapid progress winning his first two races. He has now built his record to six wins from 12 starts, highlighted by Saturday's narrow success in the Gold Cup, where he charged home from back in the field.

The first piece

McMaster has been a keen follower of his career and was understandably delighted with the result.

"That's the first piece of the puzzle to fall into place. I had a huge amount of belief in the mare from the start, but it is got to actually happen. Now that she has a Group 1 winner in Singapore that puts value on her and her progeny and you can start to build a real career for the mare," she said.

McMaster has kept all of Secret Selection's progeny since selling Big Hearted. She has leased the Dissident filly Dark And Twisted, who is nearing a debut, to Charlotte Littlefield, while she has the 2-year-old colt by Pierro, named Northern King, in work with Peter Moody, who she used to do a lot of spelling and agistment work for.

"He's had a preparation there, and Peter was very happy with him and so he's in the paddock at the moment and will come back in to work in a couple of weeks," she said.

Trainer Peter Moody

Northern King's pedigree collates very closely with the Group 1 winners Arcadia Queen (Pierro) and Regal Power (Pierro), both of whom were bred by Bob Peters.

"Northern King is seven eighths the same pedigree as Arcadia Queen and Regal Power. Secret Selection is by Redoute's out of a Metal Storm mare, which is the same as their dams," McMaster said.

"Bob Peters is an absolute genius and I follow everything that he does and follow his horses really closely."

"Bob Peters is an absolute genius and I follow everything that he does and follow his horses really closely." - Lisa McMaster

Sandra and Bob Peters

She would love for Secret Selection to return to Pierro and hopes if Northern King or some of the other members of the family can get some prizemoney on the track, she can finance a trip back to the popular Coolmore stallion, who stands for $137,500 (inc GST).

Pierro | Standing at Coolmore Australia

McMaster has also retained a yearling colt by Fiorente (Ire), who she described as a 'big strapping fella' and Secret Selection recently foaled a full brother to Big Hearted, by Twin Hills' Hallowed Crown.

"He's very similar to look at in the head in particularly, but he's bigger than Big Hearted. He's more leggy and she's a big mare and tends to throw some size into them," she said.

Secret Selection and her 2020 colt foal by Hallowed Crown

"She’ll have a year off this year. It was a hard foaling and it is late, so we will give her a year off.

"I'm just trying to curate this mare's career as a broodmare and you can better do that if you keep them and control what trainers they go to. I value this mare a lot and just want to control her career."