Five years ago, legendary trainer Bart Cummings told Matthew Sandblom that his 2YO, Salade, was going to win the Golden Slipper. A bold call given that the Snitzel colt was, at that stage, unraced.
Salade duly won the Pago Pago Stakes on debut, but could only manage a midfield, albeit fighting, finish when he stepped up to the Slipper at his next outing.
Roll the clock forward to January 2015 and James Harron is bidding on a Written Tycoon colt at the Gold Coast Magic Millions. Harron believes the colt is outstanding but considers $150,000 is the right mark.
Sure enough, the bidding goes to $160,000 and the agent has decided to move on, but Sandblom suggests he “go one more”, given that he knows how much Harron likes the colt. Sold! … for $165,000.
That colt would go on to race as Capitalist, winning this year’s Golden Slipper and over $3.5 million in stakes from his five starts to date. That doesn’t even take into equation Capitalist’s potential value as a stallion when his racing days are done.
But Sandblom would have already done the sums.
A highly successful businessman, Sandblom’s multi-million dollar publishing empire saw the writing on the board and was quick to move into online education programs, including the incredibly addictive ‘Mathletics’, plus ‘Reading Eggs’, which is designed to assist young children with literacy skills.
And now Sandblom’s turning his attention to helping young horses reach their full potential, not to mention their breeders!
At the Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale last week, Sandblom announced the opening of his Kingstar Farm at Denman, in the Hunter Valley, which would stand a roster of three stallions: the superbly bred Fastnet Rock Group winner, Bull Point, dual Group One winner Monaco Consul and his Group winning 2YO, Salade.
Having bred and raced horses from his NSW South Coast property for a number of years, Sandblom has – in recent times – been heavily involved in both the formation and growth of Newgate Farm, where he is also a shareholder in Horse of the Year, Dissident, and Australian Guineas winner, Wandjina, Deep Field and was also involved in the purchase of this year’s Blue Diamond Stakes winner, Extreme Choice.
So, it beggars the question, why Kingstar?
“I’m a racing and breeding tragic,” Sandblom explains. “I grew up in the Glebe area of Sydney and sold newspapers, race books … always loved being around horses.
“It has certainly been great to be involved at the top end of the breeding game and the continued growth of Newgate Farm – and its roster of stallions – is really something special.
“Henry (Field) is a bright young guy and I enjoy working with people that have a clear idea on where they are heading. I’m sure Newgate is heading in the right direction.
“But I also get a real buzz out of the industry at all levels. I’m just as happy to watch a runner at Armidale or Grafton as in the city.
“And I like being involved in the whole process. I’ve decided to take a punt on a couple of stallions that have good race records and breeding, but might otherwise get lost at a bigger stud.
“I’ll really look forward to racing the progeny of Bull Point, Salade and Monaco Consul and make sure they get every opportunity by supporting them with plenty of my own mares.
“It’s all well and good standing stallions, but they need to be properly resourced and that’s my intention with Kingstar.
“It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to buy the most expensive colts off the track to have the most successful stallions, with the likes of I Am Invincible, Hinchinbrook and Written Tycoon being solid examples.
“Let’s put it this way, you don’t have to start at the top to finish at the top!”
Kingstar’s foundation stallion certainly appears to punch above his weight in terms of fee vs potential.
Standing his first season at $7,700, Bull Point is a real eye-catcher and was the highest priced colt of his year at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale. His full brother was sold for $1.2 million at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale and he is closely related to Criterion who has just been retired to Newgate, the winner of $7.2 million on the track and standing at a fee of $35,750.
Sandblom knows well that breeding is about the numbers and is offering lifetime rights to Bull Point along with other incentives, including a refund of the service fee if the resultant progeny fails to fetch more than $20,000 at a yearling sale.
Kingstar Farm is to be managed by the experienced, Adam Cooke, and will soon boast all state-of-the-art facilities, but if Sandblom’s is daunted by the task, he’s not showing it.
As he showed with Capitalist, Sandblom is prepared to go the extra bid.