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Snitzel colt propels bright start to Magic Millions

14 min read
The Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale has started in robust fashion with a vibrant market driving year-on-year growth and the day's top lot, a colt by Snitzel, fetching $1.9 million to the bid of Coolmore's Tom Magnier.

At A Glance

Coolmore's Tom Magnier secured the day's top lot, winning a spirited bidding dual to secure Lot 115, a colt by Snitzel for $1.9 million.

Widden Stud sold the day's top two lots within minutes of one another, with Lot 113, a filly by I Am Invincible, selling to Bussutin Racing for $950,000. That ensured Widden was also the day's leading vendor.

Waller/Racing and Mulcaster Bloodstock were the leading buyers, spending $3.035 million across eight lots, highlighted by the $800,000 they paid for Lot 7, a colt by I Am Invincible.

Yarraman Park's I Am Invincible had three of the top eight lots and was the leading sire on aggregate (10 lots for $5.405 million), but Arrowfield Stud's Snitzel leads the averages on $628,571.

The Day 1 average was $248,169, up from $239,236, albeit with a longer session last year.

The Day 1 clearance rate reached a very healthy 85.71 per cent, up from 83 per cent after the first session in 2020.

The median price dropped slightly in comparison to last year from $180,000 to $170,000.

Magnier fights hard to get Snitzel colt

It took a bit of determination, and some vintage auctioneering theatre from Steve Davis, but Coolmore's Tom Magnier secured the Snitzel colt he so desired, in Lot 115, for $1.9 million.

The first-born son of stakes-winning mare Bonny O'Reilly (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}), who was purchased by Widden Stud and Redvers Bloodstock for $1.2 million in foal with this colt at the 2019 Magic Millions Broodmare Sale, proved the day's hottest property, with a terrific bidding dual the clear highlight of an electric first day on the Gold Coast.

Magnier looked the party least likely to land the colt as every one of his bids was quickly countered by a rival down the back of the auditorium. Davis' experience in auctioning big lots came to the fore, as he elicited several last second bids from the Coolmore contingent, who with one last throw, decided to jump in a $100,000 increment to see off the determined rival.

The tactic worked a treat and the son of Snitzel is headed to trainer Chris Waller to wear the famous Coolmore navy colours.

"He was a really nice horse. All the top people seemed to be on him. You saw what we had to pay for him, but he was a nice colt and we’ve got a great group of people to race the horse with," Magnier said.

"He was a lovely colt and there are plenty of people here this week that have got good money to pay for colts. So if you are going to get the good ones, you have to pay for them. All the team were very positive on him and he comes from a good farm.

"He was a lovely physical and the whole team were really keen. Chris Waller and everyone."

"He was a lovely physical and the whole team were really keen. Chris Waller and everyone." - Tom Magnier

Magnier is no stranger to paying a significant amount for colts, and is aware that securing him for Coolmore is just the first part of the journey.

"We are going to need some luck, but we are in a great country to do that. It’s just great to be able to go to the Gold Coast and there are just some great horses here. Fair play to the Magic Millions, they've got all the people here. There are a great bunch of horses," he said.

Bonny O'Reilly, who foaled a Zoustar colt last spring before heading to I Am Invincible, won eight of her 16 starts, including a Listed Helen Coughlan S. for her trainer Bjorn Baker. She is a three-quarter sister to Group 2 winner Rare Insight (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}), the dam of Group 1 winner Steps In Time (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), and a half-sister to Listed winner Pretty To See (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}).

Bonny O'Reilly (NZ) when racing

Widden celebrates bumper result

The result was a terrific one for Widden Stud, with principal Antony Thompson genuinely surprised the colt was able to reach such a price.

"We were always hopeful. The feedback was that he was possibly the best colt in the Sale. Under the circumstances, we weren’t sure exactly what that meant. We were a bit anxious on how the market sat," he said.

"He'd been admired by so many of the trainers, agents and stallion groups that had formed. So many of our peers at other stallion farms. We were hopeful he would sell well, but never in your wildest dreams did we think he'd make that."

"We were hopeful he (Lot 115) would sell well, but never in your wildest dreams did we think he'd make that." - Antony Thompson

The tension orchestrated by the auctioneer in the sales ring earned the admiration of the day's leading vendor, who was just grateful to have his star colt under Davis' command in the ring.

"The one and only Steve Davis was at his best. That's why Steve gets the big bucks, Steve is a fantastic auctioneer. He brings so much theatre to the auditorium," Thompson said.

"It was just great for Magic Millions to get Steve out of New Zealand to do the sales series for them and it was great theatre and well sold."

Thompson was also pleased that the colt would get every chance of fulfilling his potential at Coolmore.

"The number one stallion operation in the world, their commitment to Australia is well and truly on show here today. It has been for a long time," he said.

"When you look at the commitment of Mick Flanagan and MV Magnier to do quarantine and be here at the Sale, it speaks volumes. MV wanted to be here at the Sale with his brother Tom to really identify the best horses in the Sale and buy them.

"Their commitment to the Australian industry is on show there. I think there is a real sense of gratitude, not only from Widden, but from Magic Millions and the entire industry."

Vinnie filly heads to Victoria

It concluded a big five minutes for Widden, who also sold Lot 113, the filly by I Am Invincible out of Bonaria (Redoute's Choice), for $950,000 to Busuttin Racing.

Bonaria boasts pedigree and race performance, having won a G1 Myer Classic and being a half-sister to Legally Bay (Snippets), the dam of multiple Group 1 winner and stallion Merchant Navy, and Thompson always felt her third foal, and first filly, would find plenty of interest in the market.

"She's blue chip, and she is an absolute queen. She was born good, she's just a wonderful type physically, from probably the best pedigree in the book. Her Mum is a Group 1 winner by Redoute's. It's the family of Merchant Navy. She's a foundation broodmare and Trent and Natalie have put together a syndicate to get this filly," Thompson said.

"While everybody is buying these colts, they have decided to tack when everybody is ticking and I think the syndicate have identified a blue chip filly. You have seen through mares like Sunlight, what they can be worth off the track.

"There's very little downside with a filly like that. She has enormous residual and I'm sure she’ll be something special on the racetrack." - Antony Thompson

"There's very little downside with a filly like that. She has enormous residual and I'm sure she’ll be something special on the racetrack. It was quite a thrill and I know that her breeder Robert Anderson, who raced Bonaria, who couldn't be at the Sale, is so proud of the filly and excited by the fact she sold so well."

Widden leads all vendors after Day 1 with four sales for $3.395 million, clear of Coolmore, which has sold 10 for $2.85 million, and Yarraman Park, which sold six for $2.17 million.

Fillies step it up

While it was expected the colts would dominate the Sale, with several colts' syndicates active on the buying bench, it was the fillies who actually averaged more through the ring on Day 1, at $252,164, compared to $240,065.

The overall average of $248,169 was up on the first session last year, as was the clearance rate, defying the pre-Sale expectation that the buying bench might be diminished by border restrictions and a lack of international participation.

Barry Bowditch

Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch was understandably pleased with how the first day progressed.

“It was a huge day for us with a very solid day’s trade with a clearance rate of over 85 per cent and I must thank the vendors for that, to be honest. They have brought their very best horses here and they’ve met the market with them; they are being very realistic and the buyers have got a lot of confidence to step in and bid on horses at all levels," he said.

“What you are seeing out there is a huge spread of buyers and everyone getting a turn. You suspect there’s plenty of people missing out at this stage. We’ve got a long way to go, but it bodes well for the next few days.

“I think we have got an outstanding group of fillies and I think you’ll see over the next few days, fillies making a lot of money and that’s kudos to our team who have gone out and found these key horses."

Te Akau pounces on Fastnet colt

Three horses were sold for $800,000, including Lot 163, a colt by Fastnet Rock, late in the day to bloodstock agent Andrew Williams, who was bidding on behalf of leviathan New Zealand owner David Ellis of Te Akau Racing.

"He loves Fastnet Rocks and he wanted the get the best Fastnet Rock colt at the Sale. We identified that as being the best Fastnet Rock colt," Williams said.

"We loved him. We have seen him at the farm a couple of times. We saw him pre-Christmas as well. We think he is going to come early and Jamie (Richards) will give him every chance to do that.

The colt, who was offered by Coolmore, boasts a stallion's pedigree, being out Ciarlet (Northern Meteor) a sister to the multiple Group 1 winner and Widden Stud stallion Zoustar.

He was one of three purchases for Ellis, who also secured another of Fastnet Rock's progeny, Lot 109, a filly out of Blue Blue Sky (Lonhro) for $600,000 and a Lot 159, a filly by I Am Invincible for $500,000.

"David has got three lovely horses. The Fastnet Rock is just a lovely filly. The I Am Invincible filly is very, very nice and the colt, as mentioned, is very good.

"They'll go back to Te Akau with Jamie Richards to train and they will given every chance."

Mulcaster, Waller get involved early

Also sold for $800,000 was Lot 7, a colt by I Am Invincible out of Zighy Bay (USA) (Tapit {USA}), offered by Attunga Stud and purchased by Guy Mulcaster and Chris Waller in consort with Coolmore.

The youngster is a half-brother to the G1 South Australian Derby and G2 Angus Armanasco S. winner Qafila (Not A Single Doubt) and an international family that includes the G1 Takamatsunomiya Khan winner Mozu Superflare (USA) (Speightstown {USA}).

Lot 7 - I Am Invincible x Zighy Bay (USA) (colt) | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

“He’s a lovely, nice-moving horse by a great sire and the mare has done a good job. The other won (Qafila) out of the mare was a winner from 1000 to 2500 metres so very versatile,” Mulcaster said.

“This colt will tell us in time where he ends up and he will go to Chris Waller. We are very happy with the group we bought last year and we’ve only had two or three step out and there’s some nice ones to come in the next few weeks.

“We go around looking for good types and he fitted into what we wanted and we’re lucky enough to get him. We take each horse on type and if the pedigree matches we have a go at them.”

“We go around looking for good types and he fitted into what we wanted and we’re lucky enough to get him." - Guy Mulcaster

Mulcaster, who together with Waller was the leading buyer on Day 1, didn’t necessarily believe such a major sale so early in the auction would be a forerunner of things to come at the Gold Coast.

“It’s just the way they draw, there are good ones scattered all through the catalogue and be some bargains for other people,” he said.

Guy Mulcaster

Zighy Bay was a US$225,000 (AU$292,500) Keeneland September Sale graduate.

“We purchased the mare as a yearling a long time ago in America and she was bought by my good friend Hubert Guy,” Woodpark Manager Jean Dubois said.

“She was just okay as a racemare, but the purpose was to have her as a broodmare as the stallion Tapit is so good.

“She’s already got a Group 1 winner so all the best for Coolmore. He will be trained by the best of the best and he will get every chance to be a good horse.”

Maher goes strong to get Vinnie filly

The third lot to go for $800,000 was Lot 100, a filly by I Am Invincible out of Bidii Babe (Not A Single Doubt), offered by Yarraman Park and sold to Ciaron Maher Bloodstock.

The filly is the first foal of Bidii Babe, who won a Listed Bright Shadow S.

"She's by a hot sire out of a Not A Single Doubt mare. We have had a lot of success with those. Obviously I have got a very high opinion of her and she just looks sharp and early and should hopefully hit the track as a 2-year-old," Maher said.

"Yarraman are great breeders. They keep producing horses year after year. This filly, I saw her on the farm three months ago, and I felt she was one of the fillies of the Sale and while it was a little more than I expect, when you buy quality like that, you always have to go a bit higher.

"I felt she was one of the fillies of the Sale and while it was a little more than I expect, when you buy quality like that, you always have to go a bit higher." - Ciaron Maher

"She's got a enough strength and size and muscle. Hopefully, she can come back here and we can turn that $800,000 into $2 million."

Maher purchased 10 horses either under his own name or in partnership, spending $2.74 million, including another I Am Invincible filly, Lot 144, from Tyreel Stud for $620,000 in partnership with Mathiesen Racing.

Tony Fung Investments and Phoenix Investments combined to spend $2.245 million across four lots, including Lot 161, by Written Tycoon out of Choux Diva (NZ) (Thorn Park), the sister to multiple Group 1 winner Jimmy Choux (NZ).

James Bester Bloodstock and Coolmore paid $625,000 for another Written Tycoon colt, Lot 27 from Silverdale Farm.

Consigned by Silverdale Farm, Bester likened him to R. Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic and G1 Golden Slipper S. winner Capitalist and believes he will be up and running for those races this time next year.

“He’s a fast looking colt in the mould of Capitalist, those Written Tycoons that win the Golden Slippers and Magic Millions 2YO Classics, with a pedigree too. His half-brother by Shooting To Win was second in the Group 1 Atkins and probably should have won it. He’s just an early, precocious, fast looking animal we thought.”

The colt was bred by Two Bays Farm and is the fourth foal out of placed mare Alcatraz (Fastnet Rock), who is also responsible for Kubrick (Shooting To Win), and she is a half-sister to Listed winner Chic Choice (Redoute’s Choice).

Top lots

115Snitzel Bonny O'Reilly (NZ)CWidden Stud, Widden Valley, NSW (As Agent)Tom MagnierNSW$1,900,000
113I Am Invincible Bonaria FWidden Stud, Widden Valley, NSW (As Agent)Busuttin RacingVIC$975,000
163Fastnet Rock Ciarlet CCoolmore Stud, Jerry's Plains, NSW (As Agent)David Ellis/Andrew Williams BloodstockNEW ZEALAND$825,000
7I Am Invincible Zighy Bay (USA)CAttunga Stud, Scone, NSW (As Agent)Waller Racing/Mulcaster BloodstockNEW ZEALAND$800,000
100I Am Invincible Bidii Babe FYarraman Park Stud, Scone, NSW (As Agent)Ciaron Maher BloodstockVIC$800,000
161Written Tycoon Choux Diva CTyreel Stud, Agnes Banks, NSW (As Agent)Tony Fung Investments/Phoenix ThoroughbredsQLD$650,000
27Written Tycoon Alcatraz CSilverdale Farm, Avoca, NSW (As Agent)James Bester Bloodstock/CoolmoreNSW$625,000
144I Am Invincible Catalonia FTyreel Stud, Agnes Banks, NSW (As Agent)Ciaron Maher Bloodstock/Mathiesen RacingVIC$620,000
109Fastnet Rock Blue Blue Sky FCoolmore Stud, Jerry's Plains, NSW (As Agent)David Ellis/Andrew Williams BloodstockNEW ZEALAND$600,000
148Exceed And Excel Cerberus Gal FYulong Investments, Nagambie, Vic (As Agent)All Winners ThoroughbredQLD$600,000

Top buyers

Waller Racing/Mulcaster Bloodstock8$3,035,000$379,375$800,000
Tony Fung Investments/Phoenix Thoroughbreds4$2,245,000$561,250$650,000
Tom Magnier2$2,220,000$1,110,000$1,900,000
Ciaron Maher Bloodstock9$2,120,000$235,556$800,000
David Ellis/Andrew Williams Bloodstock3$1,925,000$641,667$825,000
Busuttin Racing2$1,375,000$687,500$975,000
Danny O'Brien Racing8$1,260,000$157,500$190,000
Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott/Kestrel Thoroughbreds3$1,040,000$346,667$450,000
Magic Bloodstock & Associates3$900,000$300,000$350,000
Mick Price Racing4$730,000$182,500$300,000

Top vendors by aggregate

Widden Stud, Widden Valley, NSW4$3,395,000$848,750$1,900,000
Coolmore Stud, Jerry's Plains, NSW10$2,825,000$282,500$825,000
Yarraman Park Stud, Scone, NSW6$2,170,000$361,667$800,000
Bhima Thoroughbreds, Scone, NSW6$1,970,000$328,333$550,000
Newgate Farm, Aberdeen, NSW7$1,885,000$269,286$550,000
Arrowfield Stud, Scone, NSW7$1,675,000$239,286$425,000
Yulong Investments, Nagambie, Vic5$1,315,000$263,000$600,000
Tyreel Stud, Agnes Banks, NSW2$1,270,000$635,000$650,000
Kia Ora Stud, Scone, NSW3$1,140,000$380,000$520,000
Edinburgh Park, Wingham, NSW5$1,130,000$226,000$340,000

Top vendors by average (3 or more sold)

Widden Stud, Widden Valley, NSW4$848,750$3,395,000$1,900,000
Kia Ora Stud, Scone, NSW3$380,000$1,140,000$520,000
Mill Park Stud, Meningie, SA3$363,333$1,090,000$500,000
Yarraman Park Stud, Scone, NSW6$361,667$2,170,000$800,000
Bhima Thoroughbreds, Scone, NSW6$328,333$1,970,000$550,000
Twin Hills Stud, Cootamundra, NSW3$303,333$910,000$520,000
Coolmore Stud, Jerry's Plains, NSW10$282,500$2,825,000$825,000
Newgate Farm, Aberdeen, NSW7$269,286$1,885,000$550,000
Yulong Investments, Nagambie, Vic5$263,000$1,315,000$600,000
Segenhoe Stud, Scone, NSW3$253,333$760,000$340,000

Top sires by aggregate

I Am Invincible 10$5,405,000$540,500$975,000
Snitzel 7$4,400,000$628,571$1,900,000
Written Tycoon6$2,810,000$468,333$650,000
Fastnet Rock6$2,750,000$458,333$825,000
Capitalist10$1,920,000$192,000$375,000
Zoustar8$1,765,000$220,625$520,000
Pierro5$1,095,000$219,000$520,000
Sebring3$960,000$320,000$400,000
Hellbent5$860,000$172,000$240,000
Merchant Navy2$840,000$420,000$500,000

Top sires by average (3 or more sold)

Snitzel7$628,571$4,400,000$1,900,000
I Am Invincible 10$540,500$5,405,000$975,000
Written Tycoon 6$468,333$2,810,000$650,000
Fastnet Rock 6$458,333$2,750,000$825,000
Sebring 3$320,000$960,000$400,000
Zoustar 8$220,625$1,765,000$520,000
Pierro 5$219,000$1,095,000$520,000
Savabeel 4$198,750$795,000$250,000
Capitalist 10$192,000$1,920,000$375,000
Lonhro 3$183,333$550,000$200,000