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Isotope's success black and white for Siemsen

7 min read
R. Listed Magic Millions 3YO Guineas favourite Isotope's (Deep Field) appearance in Saturday's $2 million feature will be the culmination of three years of planning for Black Soil Bloodstock founder and principal Brian Siemsen.

The former NRL player has enjoyed considerable success as founder of Claim Central Queensland and came together with good mates Tony Gollan and Harry McAlpine to form Black Soil Bloodstock, having previously combined with the pair through his involvement with thoroughbred ownership in horses such as Group 1 winners Temple Of Boom (Piccolo {GB}) and now Eureka Stud stallion Spirit Of Boom.

The trio shared a background growing up on the Darling Downs, the rich soils of which their enterprise drew its name, and the start of their racing operation under Gollan's eye has been spectacularly successful.

Isotope, a dual stakes winner and victorious in four of her seven starts, may be the darling of Black Soil's collection of race fillies, but the iconic black and white colours have also saluted with horses such as Listed winners Niedorp (Not A Single Doubt) and The Actuary (Sebring).

Cognisant of the importance of Magic Millions to Queensland, Siemsen, Gollan and McAlpine made getting representatives in the $10 million raceday a priority, and do so on Saturday with Isotope in the Guineas and Niedorp in the $1 million Magic Millions Fillies' and Mares.

"When we sat down three years ago and put the plan together, we set ourselves a target in the first three years to be represented pretty well on Magic Millions Day. I think between (bloodstock advisor) John Foote, Tony Gollan and Harry McAlpine, they have done an excellent job to put us in this position," he said.

"When we sat down three years ago and put the plan together, we set ourselves a target in the first three years to be represented pretty well on Magic Millions Day." - Brian Siemsen

"My role in it is more in the commercial and business side and these guys are all around selecting the right type of product that can get us to days like this," he said.

"The ownership groups who go into them, they are having an absolute ball, with a lot of these folks in for the first time. So the product is there."

There are 18 parties in the ownership of Isotope, including a number of syndicates, and her rise to prominence, which started with a 10l maiden win at Doomben last April, has been well celebrated.

Watch: Isotope win on debut

An early flagbearer

Getting a marquee filly so early in the journey has been a huge fillip for Black Soil, which together with Foote and Gollan, paid $170,000 for the daughter of Deep Field at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

"Tony has had a big opinion of her since day one and she came out and won that race by 10l, and horse's just don't do that unless they are pretty special," Siemsen said.

"She raced up against some good ones, like Rothfire, and was then tipped out at the top of her prep at that 1400 metres at Group 1 level."

That run in the G1 JJ Atkins S. was the only time Isotope has been unplaced in her seven-start career, and the only time she has been beyond 1200 metres. But Siemsen is confident that having drawn well in barrier seven for Saturday's race, this time around will be very different.

"I think you'll see a different 1400 run from her on the weekend, especially with all that speed around her now. That speed has drawn early barriers and I think they will come around her, she will get a chance to get a sit and I think she'll be right in there in the last 300 to 400 metres," he said.

"She (Isotope) will get a chance to get a sit and I think she'll be right in there in the last 300 to 400 metres." - Brian Siemsen

"She will have the weight of Queensland on her shoulders but like Queensland, we like being the underdog. Even if we are the favourite, we always call ourselves the underdog.

"She's no sure thing, she has to race some bloody good horses on Saturday. But Tony has got her in tip-top condition. She's as fit and as well as she has ever been. She's drawn a good barrier. It comes down to raceday."

Standing out in black and white

Niedorp will also carry the black and white colours, which were specifically designed to both reflect the background of the three major players on the operation and stand out to their followers on the racetrack in the Queensland sun.

"The black soil of the Darling Downs is where we all grew up, Harry, Tony and myself, and where our horses have grown up. When we looked at Black Soil, we wanted to put a brand together which made a lot of sense," Siemsen said.

"We wanted something quite distinctive, and black and white stood out. The upside down A, is a horse's head, and that was something everyone is talking about.

"Tony has since done an exceptional job promoting the brand through racetrack success. I think we have something like a 40 per cent winners-to-runners strike rate in the past 12 months, which is crazy. He's done a great job in helping promote the brand as well."

Tony Gollan, Brian Siemsen, John Foote and Harry McAlpine | Image courtesy of Black Soil Bloodstock

The next generation

This week has seen Black Soil again active buying yearlings at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, and in conjunction with John Foote Bloodstock and Gollan Racing, it purchased Lot 357, Isotope's half-brother by Sebring from Daandine Stud for $450,000. It also secured another colt, Lot 216, by Merchant Navy out of Dee Nine Elle (Duporth), who Gollan trained and is the half-sister to Yes Yes Yes.

On Day 1, it picked up Lot 127, a filly by Capitalist offered by Willow Park Stud. She is a half-sister to stakes-placed Princess Pierro (Pierro) out of the extended family of Group 1 winner Atomic Force (Danehill Dancer {Ire}).

"The guys have done an exceptional job condensing 1200 (yearlings) into 300, and we've got that down to 30-35 really high-class fillies. In that 35, we hope there is another Niedorp or Isotope or The Actuary among them," Siemsen said.

Black Soil is usually focussed on fillies in the yearling market.

"We’ve been involved in colts' packages in the past. We have really great people select high-quality elite-pedigree fillies and the ability they have shown, of our first four, three of them are black type. They roll into the broodmare barns, or they go through the broodmare sales and everyone gets something back in their pocket," Siemsen said.

"That was our model to not make it an expensive way of bringing folks in. We funded it in the first couple of years and made sure we proved the model worked and the last 12 months, we have opened it up to people who want to come racing with Black Soil Bloodstock."

Lot 127 - Capitalist x Caesar's Princess (filly)

Boom times await

Also of special interest to Siemsen and the team will be how the progeny of Spirit Of Boom perform through the ring. The current yearling crop was conceived off a much higher service fee, and he feels the quality of stock reflects that.

"It’s been so good to see the Spirit Of Boom stock, really show itself in the Sale," he said. "We were only talking yesterday about comparing Vinnie (I Am Invincible) and Spirit Of Boom at this stage of their career."

The statistics back-up that comparison, with Spirit Of Boom only just trailing I Am Invincible on winners at the same stage, 170 to 184, and behind him on stakes winners 17 to 12. His progeny has earned $17.8 million to date, just shy of what I Am Invincible had at this point in 2017.

"It took a long time to get Spirit Of Boom to the starting line. You look at the next two to three years, with the mares that he has got. It’s just going to be so good to see them come through, there is some unbelievable quality there at this Sale. It’s something I have never seen before," Siemsen said.

Spirit Of Boom | Standing at Eureka Stud