Defcon (pic. Getty)
Victorian breeder, Kevan Wacey, was reasonably confident his Choisir colt would sell well at the 2015 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
“I thought he’d make around $150,000, but I’ve been around this game for a while now and you know not to get your hopes up too much,” Wacey recalls. “But then once inspections got under way, no-one could get over the amount of times he was in and out of his box. I think the final tally was around 184 inspections which is a phenomenal number for Melbourne.
“Anyway, he ended up making $340,000 – more than twice the reserve – so, when the buyer, James Harron, came up to me later and asked if I’d like to keep a share, I quickly said yes.
“There were a lot of very good judges on that colt and I thought there could only be upside by keeping a leg.”
Wacey thought right. On Saturday, the Choisir colt – Defcon – produced a barnstorming finish to capture the Group Three HDF McNeil Stakes at Caulfield, which ties in nicely with his victory in the Group Three Canberra Black Opal in March and takes his earnings, somewhat fittingly, past the original asking price.
Second behind Tessera on debut in the Listed Canonbury Stakes at Rosehill in January and then second to Astern (winner of Saturday’s Group Two Run To The Rose) in the Group Two Silver Slipper, Defcon followed his last-to-first win in the Black Opal with an unplaced effort in the Group One Golden Slipper before being tipped out for a spell.
The McNeil was Defcon’s first run in five months, but it didn’t take him long to shake off the rust.
“(Trainer) Peter Snowden told me he’d be tickled pink if Defcon ran in the first four on Saturday and was a good each way chance,” Wacey adds. “So for him to win like that it’s very encouraging.
“He’s now likely to head to the Group Two Danehill Stakes at Flemington in a fortnight (10 September) and possibly the (Group One) Manikato later in the spring.”
Wacey also raced Defcon’s dam, Nuclear Force, under his Gleneagles Stud banner, with the Encosta de Lago mare winning six and some $150,000 in stakes before retiring to stud in 2011.
“I really liked Choisir and thought the cross with Encosta de Lago would work well,” Wacey explains. “Since Nuclear Force was retired, Japonisme came out and won the Coolmore, Frespanol won a stakes race and Proisir and his full brother Divine Prophet are both Group winners … all are by Choisir out of Encosta mares. I think I read somewhere that the cross has produced 63% winners to runners.
“Unfortunately the first foal from Nuclear Force died, but then she came up with Defcon.
“This year I sold an Excelebration filly out of the mare to Dynamic Syndications for $100,000 and she’ll be off to Gai Waterhouse.
“Last year Nuclear Force produced a cracking Wanted filly and is now in foal to Foxwedge, but has been booked back to Choisir for this spring.”
A long-time owner and a breeder “for around 25 years”, Wacey has 10 broodmares on his 130 acre property in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.
“I was always happy to potter along but decided to change the style of the business in recent years and have made a concerted effort to upgrade my broodmares and, hence, send around half of them to the Hunter Valley each year,” Wacey adds.
“(Group Two winner) Toast of the Coast will be covered by Dissident, Avionics (eight wins and over $420,000) is heading back to Pierro, while (multiple stakes placed) Nadeem Lass is heading to Criterion this spring – another Black Opal winner!
“It’s actually been a very big year or two for the farm with our home-bred Wordsmith (Group Three winner at Flemington) now the leading sire in Tasmania.
“And with the way Defcon is going, he’s likely to have his turn at stud as well. Hopefully after a few more wins!”
Coolmore Australia Bloodstock Sales Manager, Shane McGrath, was also very happy to see Defcon salute, both on a professional and personal level: “I’ve known Kevan Wacey through mutual friend, Shane Nichols, for many years, so I’m delighted to see his support of Coolmore rewarded with a horse as good as Defcon.
“He was a stunning yearling and has developed into a very talented racehorse. Choisir is enjoying a sensational run of success and given he’s already produced one high-class sire son in Starspangledbanner, Choisir colts have never been more sought after.
“Choisir’s arguably the best value stallion in Australia at present.”