A warm welcome to all for 2020.
The Lighthouse has been scratching the ground, ready to go, but has been held back by his trainer in order to be fresh for the Magic Millions carnival, where the hype this year is stratospheric.
YEARLING SALES ECONOMICS
There are many mysteries in the world. For example, how did the Egyptians build the pyramids 5000 years ago, or why does anyone give a toss which “celebrities” have gone into the jungle.
But even bigger than these insoluble conundrums is the mystery of why so many apparently sane people spend squillions at the big yearling sales on young horses whose parents seem well connected but whose abilities are completely unknown.
For example, in 2019, Magic Millions sold 720 yearlings at their main sale, averaging $237K(+GST) per lucky dip ticket.
Digging deeper, analysing the sales data for leading stallion I Am Invincible, a horse whose work is so prized that last spring both Winx and Black Caviar dropped by, I discovered that 56 of his untried offspring sold at the Gold Coast for $24.5m(+GST). Another 25 sold in Sydney for $12.34m.
That is, 81 yearlings from just one crop at just 2 sales set purchasers back twice the $19.6mil amount that his 386 runners earnt globally in 2019. Heavens to Murgatroyd!
And none of his progeny have made it into either Saturday’s $2mil 2yo classic or the 3yo Guineas!
The evidence too is that going top shelf is a consistently dud idea if you want to be collecting the big MM cheques in the years ahead. In 36 editions of the 2yo Classic, just 3 winners were sold for more than $160k, with 2019 winner Exhilarates being easily the peak spend at $600k. Just 3 winners of the Guineas fetched over 170k too, with 2002 victor Ha Ha topping the table at $300k. This year’s red hot Guineas favourite Alligator Blood brought just $55k in 2018.
Tomorrow’s 2yo field collectively cost $6.6mil in 2019, but 4 in the field were found for $50k or less including emergency The Drinks Cart at a pizzling $2k.
Oddly, the nonwinning bluebloods in Saturday’s $250k maiden collectively brought $3.7m, yet the entire open class MM Quality field cost just over $800k, less than the race prizemoney.
So, if you are planning on splurging this week, or in upcoming months you are contacted by trainers or syndicators spruiking their unsold purchases, most of whom are supposedly “being set for the Slipper/Millions” then remember these numbers!
One bloke I’ll confidently wager has never bought a horse at the Coast is Kyneton based picnic trainer David Hill. In fact after speaking to him last week, I’d suggest he’s never paid more for a horse than the equivalent of a dinner and a decent bottle of red at the Palazzo Versace.
David is a farrier by trade and has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry over the years. Now he mixes shoeing with working for the local council and preparing a couple of bargain basement horses for the Victorian picnic circuit.
I rang David after spotting 10yo old mare Miss Harro amongst acceptances for Drouin on Boxing Day. Nothing unusual in a 10yo stepping out at the picnics of course, but what caught my penetrating gaze was that Miss Harro, a daughter of rarely seen Danehill stallion Stanford, was lining up for just her second race start, her first being in 2014.
Why would someone bother? I needed to know.
David told me the mare had been bred by a friend called Rex Harrison (not the British actor!) and in her younger days passed via the Corsten stables to Brian Cox (not the TV scientist!) at Wodonga, before finally debuting at Benalla. Having displayed dash on the track, connections were optimistic, but she hurt herself and was tipped out again to recuperate.
There she stayed and stayed, minding her own business, until one day David was shoeing her and got to talking with Rex. One thing led to another and in 2018 she was put back into work only to have a nasty collision with a fence and reinjure herself. This would have been the last straw for most, but like yearling buyers, David is an optimist rather than an economist and wasn’t giving up.
After further convalescence, Miss Harro returned to work as a 10yo. Her old legs were indicating she retained her speed and David arrived at Drouin’s tiny turning track with a frisson of anticipation.
And with good cause! She led before running a solid second. To top off the day, David’s other horse, Messika, won her race.
Word is that Miss Harro has pulled up splendidly and should be cherry ripe next start. When will that be? Well, David has the unusual problem of trying to find a day when a suitable race coincides with a day off work with the council.
The whisper is there may be a nice target at Balnarring later this month. Watch this space!
Lighthouse Horse of the Year Kemalpasa takes on the Magic Millions Snippets on Saturday. This equine hero has drawn superbly and is an unfathomable $12 in the early Sportsbet markets. Another personal favourite Madam Rouge is a serious threat though. One of the 2 should win.
GROUP 1 ZORADAMUS TIPS
Zoradamus has been flat out examining her New Year Astral charts and suggests these horses will give you some home straight excitement at odds tomorrow.
Big fields, many chances. Include R1 Spaceboy($9.50), Scottish Mist($46); R3 Primitivo($9), A Man To Match($7); R4 Kemalpasa($12), Madam Rouge($5); R5 Irithea($5), Misteed($14); R6 Exhilarates($14); R7 Aim($6); R8 Over Exposure($23), Sambro($12); R9 Outback Barbie($5.50), Chapter And Verse($5)
R2 Rubisaki($2.50); R7 Guizot ($9.50); R9 Absolute($14)
R1 Aquitaine($5); R9 Dabiyr($14), Matowi($14)
R7 Thunder Cloud($10)