As per yesterday’s Justracing story, research by Miller’s Guide showed that you can spend $2,500,000 on a yearling – call it Killy – and yet the horse never once sported the owner’s colours in a race. Or you could spend a bit more – $3,000,000 – and buy a yearling, call it Mount Olympus, then you can pay a trainer somewhere between $5,000 to $10,000 a month to have it trained, and you can watch your hopeful champion head off to the barriers 17 times to have him earn the princely sum of just $19,215. What an insult that must be to the original purchaser – meaning in reality all that slowcoach Mount Olympus ever achieved was paying a few months of his training bill.

The other option is to spend a lousy $1,200 and you could in fact come up with a champion like the Queensland “lawn mower” from Goondiwindi – Gunsynd. He won 29 races from 54 starts and won $280,455 back in the days when you could buy a nice house in Brisbane for $40,000, meaning $280,455 was a lot of money.

So what’s the correct process in buying a yearling? The answer is there isn’t one. People say Gai Waterhouse knows how to pick a yearling and all this allied garbage that “they” go on with. Next week we’ll see if it’s fact or fiction that whatever a high profile trainer like say Gai Waterhouse buys millions of dollars worth of yearlings at a sale if they can be proven to subsequently run. Let me tell you the results will shock readers, but reading that article might save you a fortune.

So you can take it from me that it’s simply “more good luck than good management” if a buyer pays a fortune for a yearling and it can actually run.

There is one thing that yearling buyers can do to help themselves however – and that is they can quite easily arm themselves with some knowledge. As a speculative financial investor, you wouldn’t go out and buy two million dollars worth of Rio Tinto or BHP shares without having some sort of educated knowledge as to 1) what was the core purpose of their business, 2) what the long term potential of their business was, 3) are they a reputable business or are they fly-by-nighters, 4) does past history suggest they know what they are doing – and so forth and so on.

So let’s use those four aforesaid criteria when buying a yearling. In consideration of number 1) above there’s only really Magic Millions and Inglis to buy a yearling from in Australia, so it’s a no brainer that they’ll both trumpet the fact that they sell many Group 1 winners. After all, where else would they come from? Nowhere that I can see.

In respect of 2) above – do you want to buy a male or a female yearling? You can buy a male with the thought that he might one day have a huge residual value as a stallion if he’s a good racetrack performer. The problem with that idea is that he’s going to be full of grain, as toey as a roman sandal and he will, on the balance of probability, want to mount every filly or mare within cooee of him, so he’ll have to get females out of his mind if he’s going to be successful in his racetrack career. Being left as a colt means he’ll possibly get a big neck and so on, so he’ll be no good for racing, as he’ll be all out of proportion skeletally, the point being many potential stallions have to be gelded as 2YO’s just to see if they’ll make a racehorse. So a male thoroughbred needs to be a racehorse first, as he has no commercial potential at stud unless he’s raced. In fact the unraced Noble Bijou is, to the best of my knowledge, the sole unraced stallion that ever made it at stud in the last 40 years of thoroughbred breeding in Australasia.

Number three on the hit parade is are you considering doing business with a trainer or syndicate entity that is reputable? You’ll hear about their successes, but what about their failures? You may “assume” a trainer, or syndicate group, are reputable, but what are the negatives? From a syndicate company perspective is it ethical to buy a yearling for $100,000 at a yearling sale then have a syndicate company syndicate the yearling for $150,000 a few weeks later?

In my opinion, number four above, “does past history suggest they know what they are doing”, is the most important one of the group. So whether the trainer or syndicate company is reputable is at the end of the day for you to decide. But one thing is for sure and that is that the stallion whose progeny you are considering buying will have left a paper trail a mile long if he has progeny that are 3YO’s or older, so by simply looking at his statistics you’ll get a fair idea if he’s worth supporting. Obviously the higher the service fee of the stallion the better the quality of mares that stallion will get. I mean it’s just commonsense that if you had a multiple Group 1 winning mare you wouldn’t be remotely interested in sending her to a $3,300 service fee stallion to maximise the commercial worth of your foal. Big studs will be courting you with all sorts of offers to get your mare. Those “all sorts of offers” will range from 1) a dramatically reduced service fee to 2) a foal share arrangement, whereby they let your mare be covered by their say $200,000 service fee stallion and you don’t pay the stud for the service fee but they get half the money when it’s sold at a yearling sale and so on and so forth. There are a thousand “deals” done annually in the country between different studs and broodmare owners.

History has shown that thoroughbred racing – and the racing industry in general – has a plethora of cheats, thieves and liars in its ranks, so if you take the approach that “someone is out to touch me when I’m getting involved in buying a yearling”, you can take it from me that you’ll be pretty close to the mark. As I say though, in all the variables involved in buying a yearling there’s just one that you can educate yourself on long before the sale even starts – and that’s individual stallion statistics. Tomorrow on this website I’ll pull numerous stallions performances apart for readers.

Monday night at Gallopers saw a good size crowd gather at the end of the Nudgee golf day to bid on a host of auction items that went under the hammer, with all the proceeds going to 3YO leukaemia sufferer Charlie Pratt, who incidentally turned four yesterday. Justracing was the only media outlet that attended the Gallopers function and here is a list of what the high profile memorabilia lots sold for:




Black Caviar print


Signed jockey saddle


Makybe Diva numbered print


Makybe Diva painting


Viewed signed colours


So You Think signed saddle cloth


Michael Rodd saddle


Titans jersey


Mid Summer Musicprint


Michael Clarke print and stump


Michael Schumacher print



Many of the items were sold to phone bidders, but there’s a photo up in the big montage of photos up on the website today of the surprise buyers of the highest priced lot, the $8,000 Black Caviar signed print of her win at Royal Ascot.


Glen Prentice who was one of the four committee persons that helped organize the day, advised Justracing late yesterday that the final figure raised all up for Charlie on the day is estimated at “around $31,000 to $32,000”, which is a tremendous result.


Today on as alluded to above, there’s a big montage of photos from both the Charlie Pratt fundraiser and Eagle Farm last Saturday. On Brian Russell noted Snippets mother appears twice in the breeding of Inglis Classic winner Marseille Roulette. Then on Matt Nicholls continues his top 12 countdown, today recognizing Black Caviar at Royal Ascot.

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