Are You Paying Attention?

Image: Racing And Sports
Image: Racing And Sports


James Harron’s reputation for finding a fast developing two year old is growing by the day … seven days in fact, as that was the period between winning a Golden Slipper with Capitalist and following it up last Saturday with Attention’s victory in the  Group Three Schweppervescence at Rosehill Gardens.

It has certainly been some ride for the young bloodstock agent, whose other 2015 purchases include Black Opal Stakes winner, Defcon, VRC Sires’ Produce runner-up, Detective and a very exciting prospect in Reinforced.

Harron isn’t resting on any laurels though and will be back doing the rounds at Newmarket for next week’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale (April 5-7) where, among the 580 entries for this year’s chapter, is a three quarter brother to Attention by star stallion, Snitzel.

The intensity of bidding at Easter last year for Attention – a colt by Stratum from the well related Snowland mare, Flamboyance – was somewhat remarkable given that the knockdown price of $620,000 was the most ever paid for a yearling by that sire.

Harron explained: “He (Attention) is a really impressive individual and was clearly handling the pressure of the sale very well. Aside from that his full sister Flamboyant Lass (Group placed at two) was performing nicely for Gai (Waterhouse).

“First and foremost I approach it (bidding on yearlings) based on how they are physically … it’s the reason you’re there in the first place. But if you like something in the family, as was the case with Attention’s sister, it gives you that extra confidence to put in another one or two bids.

“George Moore has had quite a bit of success with the Stratums (Attention became the Widden Stud-based stallion’s 29th stakes winner on Saturday) and was pushing hard but I managed to get the yearling in the end.”

Persistence clearly paid dividends on this occasion as Attention’s residual value as a stallion prospect rose dramatically with the Group success and could increase substantially come Saturday: “I have spoken to (trainers) Peter and Paul Snowden and he has pulled up well from the run and will now line up in Saturday’s (Group One) ATC Inglis Sires’ Produce at Randwick, along with Detective,” Harron adds.

And the likely appearance of Reinforced in the Group One ATC Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes on 16 April could end up giving Harron a genuine chance of sweeping Sydney’s 2YO Triple Crown with three different horses.

For now though, it’s back to the ‘grind’ for Harron as he descends upon the Newmarket sales complex this week and, not surprisingly, he’s looking forward to the challenge: “It’s an outstanding catalogue … I spent two days in the Hunter Valley last week and looked at a  couple of hundred yearlings. There are some lovely types heading down for Easter.

“The market in is great shape.”

One thing is for sure: a lot of buyers at Easter will be paying close attention to the yearlings and to James Harron Bloodstock.

With the prestigious sale just around the corner, another who is set for a busy few weeks is Inglis Managing Director, Mark Webster.

Speaking to Aushorse, Webster was keen to play up the opportunities the sale can offer up – both in the ring and outside it.

“Last year, 50% of the sale turnover can be attributed to international buyers, but one of the great misnomers is that all of those purchases are sent overseas,” Webster explained.

“A great deal of those buys actually stay and race in Australia which means more jobs and greater investment in the local industry.

“But this sale is also a chance for trainers and buyers to network: not all of those international buyers have a trainer in mind. A good example is Bjorn Baker – he was introduced to a Chinese buyer at the sales who subsequently sent him Gold Ambition, one of the contenders for this week’s $2 million Australian Derby.

“Yes, there are plenty of chances to pick up a Flying Artie, who at $50,000 was a real bargain from last year’s Easter and, again, a strong indicator that this sale is for all-comers, but this is also a sale where there are plenty of opportunities to be found both in and outside the ring.”

The Power of Passion