Factoring In The First Season Sire Stars

The Gold Coast Magic Millions National Weanling Sale, which concluded yesterday, has again provided a spotlight on the depth of quality from first season sires, headed by the likes of Zoustar, The Factor and Dundeel.

It’s always tough when the kids leave home for the first time, but weanling sales like the National are rapidly becoming the ideal showcase for freshmans, or as Magic Millions’ Managing Director, Vin Cox, points out: “a terrific marketing tool for stud masters”.

These sales are, after all, the initial opportunity for many buyers to see the first offerings of much lauded stallions that first went to stud in 2014.

Fortunately, among leading buyers and auctioneers, the class of ’14 is getting the thumbs up.

Reflecting on the two day sale which saw increases in gross, average and clearance, Cox said: “there was a really good cross section of progeny by first season sires as evidenced by the prices they realised in the ring. It’s hard to single out one or two but collectively they have matched expectations.”

Zoustar got the show rolling early with some healthy sales, culminating in two lots bringing $250,000 each, including a colt from Sun Maid which was knocked down to James Bester.

“His (Zoustar’s) credentials speak for themselves. Group One winner, great family. Very impressed with the Zoustars I saw,” Bester points out. “I don’t particularly single out first season sires. If they stand out, they stand out and the Zoustar colt is simply a very nice type.”

Bester was also taken by the The Factor youngsters, going to $220,000 to secure a colt out of Manhattan Angel, early on day one: “I haven’t seen all The Factors but got the feeling this one was ‘best on ground’. Again, there is no particular preference in my buying strategy for first season sires, but I loved this colt and there is a lot of potential upside for The Factor. His first North American two year olds will have raced by the time the Australian-bred The Factor foals are going through the ring as yearlings and people are saying a lot of encouraging things about his breeze up horses in the States.”

Meanwhile, leading bloodstock agent, Seamus Mills, would eventually secure a colt by 6-time Group One winner, Dundeel, for $180,000 but had the weanlings of a number of first season sires that were marked: “I had three colts on the list by Dundeel and was really happy to get this bloke (from Breccia) – he’s neat, strong, masculine with plenty of substance,” Mills enthused. “A really forward, quality type. He is likely to be re-offered either here (Gold Coast) in January or maybe at Easter. There’s quite a number of options for him.

“But as for the other first season sires, I have to say that I was pretty impressed overall – there was also weanlings by Shamus Award, Sizzling and Zoustar on my list … and I saw a particularly cracking type by Epaulette. I thought there were some real shining lights among the first season sires and there was a lot of good talk about them around the sales complex.”

Victoria’s Musk Creek Farm liked the Epaulettes too. And the Zoustars. And the Dundeels …

Aiming to bolster the farm’s yearling ranks for 2017 sales, Musk Creek’s Darren Mackereth would eventually sign for a pair of Zoustars ($160,000 and $100,000), an Epaulette ($110,000) and the highest priced Dundeel at $240,000.

“We are always targeting athletic, good walking types to pinhook and those three sires really caught the eye. The Zoustars were very impressive – that’s why we bought two, the Dundeels were very scopey and we particularly liked the Epaulettes. I think they’ll all come together in a very short period and should do very well at next year’s sales.”

Other first season sires to bring good prices throughout the sale included Sizzling ($110,000), Shamus Award ($80,000) and Fighting Sun ($65,000).

It will be well over 18 months before any of the foals sold this week will be racing as two year olds, but if style and substance is anything to go by, the future is looking promising.

The Power of Passion