Kelly Back For More Magic

GOLD COAST, Australia–Five years ago, American owner Jon Kelly went to A$1-million to take home the sale-topping colt at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. He had to pay exactly double that to accomplish the same feat on Thursday, signing at A$2-million for Yarraman Park Stud’s I Am Invincible (Aus) colt out of the young stakes winner Tai Tai Tess (Aus) (Magic Albert {Aus}) (lot 373). The colt is the highest-priced public auction purchase for I Am Invincible, whose three Group 1 winners include this year’s first-crop yearling sire Brazen Beau (Aus), and the highest-priced yearling sold at this since 2008.

Figures continued their upward on Thursday, the average climbing 10.2% to A$226,848, and the median 12.5% to A$180,000. The cumulative gross for 395 yearlings sold is A$89,605,000, compared to 383 sold for A$78,792,000 at this stage last year. The clearance rate after two days sits at 86.4%, down slightly from 88% at this point 12 months ago.

Jon Kelly has been a passionate shopper at this sale in the past, but he emptied his small but select Australian racing stable in June when selling four fillies at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. Kelly’s stable will be at least two strong next season, however, as he also purchased a filly by I Am Invincible on Wednesday.

“That’s a special colt,” Kelly said. “When you’re looking for a potential stallion prospect the odds are terribly against you. Occasionally you spot a horse you have to have and this is one of them. I didn’t plan on bidding that much but I got a little carried away.”

“You couldn’t find any fault with him,” Kelly added. “He has a great walk, he vets out, the breeders have done a wonderful job and you can see it all throughout him that he’s a quality horse. There’s a lot of other good horses here but in our estimation he was the best.”

Kelly’s wife, Sarah, is a part-owner of It’s All About The Girls’s dual Group 1 winner Global Glamour (Aus) (Star Witness {Aus}), who runs in Saturday’s Magic Millions Plate.

“We’ve had very good luck down here,” Kelly said. “Global Glamour is just unbelievable. Our luck in Australia has been good all my life. I really appreciate the enthusiasm of the Australian people for racing; it’s very meaningful to me. The other thing that’s very meaningful to me is the absence of drugs.”

Kelly admitted he went higher than expected to secure his prized colt.

“We were on budget until now,” he said. “I’ve only got so many years left and horse racing is very important to me. This is the thrill of a lifetime and it keeps me young. I’m only 81, so I’m just getting started.”

Waterhouse and Bott will be training at least one other I Am Invincible colt sold on Thursday. The training duo signed at A$700,000 for lot 435, Aquis Farm’s half-brother to champion and G1 Golden Slipper and G1 Blue Diamond S. winner Sepoy (Aus) (Elusive Quality) and Group 2 winner Mulaazem (Aus) (Dubai Destination). Aquis was selling the colt on behalf of Emirates Park, which purchased the dam, Watchful (Aus) (Danehill), for A$85,730 from Darley in 2009, just months before Sepoy turned two. The colt was one of three to sell for A$700,000 on Thursday.

Snitzel Colt Sizzles…

The listed-placed Admirelle (Aus) (General Nediym {Aus}) has been a gem for John Muir’s Milburn Creek. The mare’s first live foal was the Group 1-winning sprinter Sizzling (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), who currently has his first 2-year-olds on the track. A full-brother to Sizzling sold for A$2-2-million at the 2015 Inglis Easter sale, and last year’s I Am Invincible (Aus) colt fetched A$900,000 from trainer Tony McEvoy. Another Snitzel colt from the mare (lot 480) was one of the stars of the Magic Millions show on Thursday when hammered down to the partnership of Aquis Farm, Yulong Investments, Phoenix Thoroughbreds and trainer Ciaron Maher for A$1.6-million. He became the second millionaire of the day and of the sale.

The Fung family’s Aquis Farm has not been afraid to team with some of the industry’s biggest powerhouses in its short life, and Justin Fung said, “We’ve worked with Ciaron and Yulong. Phoenix is an emerging force in the Australian market and we’re excited about potentially working with them in the future as well. You start talking to friends and you find out they’re thinking the same thing so you figure maybe you can put something together.”

“When you get this many people in a room together and you have so many people saying how special this horse is, there are some things that are just obvious,” Fung added. “You look at him and he’s just beautiful. We were really excited about this horse.”

Admirelle this year produced a filly foal by I Am Invincible.

The Snitzel colt was preceded through the ring on Thursday by the first of Arrowfield Stud’s two Lord Kanaloa fillies to sell at Magic Millions, and the initial impression appears to be very good indeed, with lot 479 having fetched A$800,000 from trainer Paul Perry. The grey is out of Adempiamo (Jpn) (Agnes Tachyon {Jpn}), an unraced half-sister to stakes winner Peer Gynt (Jpn) (Sunday Silence). The third dam is the GIII Comely S. winner Devil’s Bride (Caro).

New Frontier For Godolphin…

Unlike it’s counterparts in Europe and America, Godolphin Australia has not bought yearlings at public auction in a number of years. It was expected that would change this week at Magic Millions and that hypothesis has materialized. After spending A$200,000 on a son of Not A Single Doubt (Aus) on day one, Sheikh Mohammed’s team, including Bloodstock Manager Jason Walsh and private trainer James Cummings, signed for a Snitzel (Aus) filly out of Group 1 winner Samaready (Aus) (More Than Ready) (lot 269) for A$600,000 early during Thursday’s session.

“We have a plan and a strategy [for the yearling sales] and we’re delighted Sheikh Mohammed has supported it for the week and for the year,” Walsh said. “We intend to be involved throughout the Australian yearling sale season.”

Of the daughter of Samaready, he added, “She’s a lovely filly out of a top-class race filly. We’re here to source top-class racing prospects and we thought she was one of them. We’re very excited about her joining our racing division and ultimately our broodmare band.”

The bay filly was consigned by Vinery, which raced Samaready, and she is the second foal out of the G1 Blue Diamond and G1 Moir S. winner. Samaready is herself a half-sister to the dual group winner Night War (Aus) (General Nediym {Aus}).

Godolphin was seven lots later the underbidder on a A$600,000 daughter of Not A Single Doubt.

“It’s very strong and it’s hard to buy the horses you like but it’s a very exciting sale,” Walsh said. “We’re delighted to be back involved and there’s a long way to go.”

Godolphin later in the session signed for a Dawn Approach (Ire) colt (lot 420) for A$450,000. Dawn Approach’s first Australian crop is two, and he sits third on the first season sire’s table with two winners.

The aforementioned Not A Single Doubt filly from Attunga Stud (lot 276) will go into training in New South Wales for an undisclosed partnership after Louis Le Metayer of Astute Bloodstock signed the ticket. The bay is out of the stakes-placed Scenes (Aus) (Scenic {Ire}), who has produced two winners from two to race including the stakes-placed Lake Jackson (Aus) (Sebring {Aus}).

“She’s one of the fillies I identified in the sale as a really superior athlete,” said Le Metayer. “It’s an extremely competitive market and we’re only interested in the top horses that we think are going to be fast, early 2-year-olds. She was one of three fillies we rated the highest in the whole sale and thanks to a couple of motivated owners and a bit of spirited bidding we managed to get the filly.”

“Not A Single Doubt crosses very well with Scenic and Sadler’s Wells, that’s a very interesting cross, and she just looks like a bomb-proof filly,” Le Metayer said. “Every time she parades she has this effortless movement, great action and a great attitude and she looks very much like Not A Single Doubt. He’s a very good stallion and one of those stallions that improves horses, because he started at A$10,000 and now he’s at A$80,000.”

The filly was Le Metayer’s first purchase of the sale, and he noted he was underbidder on Wednesday’s A$675,000 Deep Field colt.

“When you’re underbidder a couple times on those sorts of horses you’re even more motivated,” he said. “The market is very strong. These are the types of horses you could buy for A$400,000 a few years ago but the market has gone up, prizemoney has gone up and more people want to participate, so the horses are more valuable.”

Not A Single Doubt featured again about an hour later when Michael Wallace went to A$700,000 to add lot 294, a colt from Arrowfield, to the China Horse Club/Newgate/WinStar stable. That same team bought last year’s G1 Sires’ Produce S. winner Invader (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}) out of this sale two years ago, and its haul last year included Saturday’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic contender Bondi (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}).

Lot 294 is the second foal out the unraced Husson mare She Loves You (Aus), herself a daughter of Group 2 winner She Will Be Loved (Aus) (Strategic {Aus}). Further down the page is the Group 1-winning filly Lucia Valentina (NZ) (Savabeel {NZ}).

The China Horse Club/Newgate/WinStar triumvirate was busy on Thursday, its purchases also including a A$625,000 son of Written Tycoon (Aus) (lot 306); a A$380,000 son of Exceed and Excel (Aus) (lot 285) and a A$375,000 colt by More Than Ready (lot 284). China Horse Club also purchased a A$650,000 filly (lot 305) from the first crop of Deep Field (Aus) with owner Alan Bell, who raced the Group 2-winning sprinter in partnership with Kia Ora Stud. Consigned by Cressfield, the filly is out of the stakes-winning Shoboard (Aus) (Show A Heart {Aus}). Bell had two lots earlier signed on his own for lot 303, a colt by Deep Field, for A$160,000.

More Sunlight For McEvoy…

Trainer Tony McEvoy sends out Sunlight (Aus) (Zoustar {Aus}) as the favourite for Saturday’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic, and the trainer said he hopes lightning will strike twice after signing for the unbeaten filly’s full-sister (lot 330) for A$600,000 on Thursday. That price was fully double what McEvoy spent on Sunlight last year, but that is already looking like money well spent and McEvoy said he hopes the younger sister will race for the same ladies’ partnership. McEvoy signed the ticket in conjunction with David Redvers, whose assistant Hannah Wall is a part-owner in Sunlight.

“We’ve all discussed it, everyone is pretty keen, so we’ll figure all that out when the dust settles, but I would love to do it in a similar vein as Sunlight,” McEvoy said. The trainer described lot 330 as a “smaller model” than her full-sister at the same time last year, but said, “everything else was there.”

“She had the same fast-twitch fibres the sister had last year here at the sale,” he said. “Sunlight last year was a grosser filly, but they change so quickly. This filly had the same feisty nature, which I like, the same honesty in her eyes. She had a beautiful honesty and she’ll be fast. She’ll be a stakes winner in her first preparation.”

Sunlight was an eye-catching winner on debut at the Gold Coast on Dec. 23 and remained unbeaten in similarly impressive fashion over the same course last weekend. McEvoy described the past week with the filly as “just beautiful.”

“We’ve had a tremendous week with her,” he said. “I went up this morning and looked at her. Normally when you’re backing a horse up in seven days you can see the effects of last week’s run in the lines on their body. Not on her. If someone said to me she ran last Saturday and broke a class record I wouldn’t believe them.”

Redvers was busy at this sale last year buying up a handful of Zoustar yearlings for Sheikh Fahad, who owns half the stallion, and the team continued in that vein on Thursday, its purchases with McEvoy also including a A$525,000 Zoustar colt from Attunga Stud (lot 260). Zoustar, who has alternated between Widden Stud and Woodside Park Stud, enjoyed a good day on Thursday, with another filly having sold to Cameron Cooke and Busuttin Racing for A$525,000.

McEvoy’s list of purchases on day two also included a A$700,000 Fastnet Rock (Aus) colt (lot 318) in partnership with Tim Stakemire, racing manager for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum. Consigned by Coolmore, the colt is the third foal out of stakes winner Sister Havana (NZ) (General Nediym {Aus}).