Lean Mean Machine heads to the barriers before victory in the Gr.2 The Run To The Rose (Lisa Grimm)
The $1 million Golden Rose Stakes is a relatively new Group One on the Australian turf calendar and was only allocated elite status for the first time in 2009.
However, the Golden Rose has rapidly become the gateway to vast fortunes for successful colts, with seven of the last nine winners currently at stud, while 2017 hero, Trapeze Artist is destined also for a busy life after racing: perhaps adding a $13 million The Everest before he gets to the breeding shed.
Another shining example is the Widden-based Northern Meteor stallion, Zoustar, who is standing this season at a fee of $60,500 after getting his stud career off to a flyer via the likes of 2018 Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Group Two Silver Slipper winner, Sunlight and Group Two winner, Zousain.
Zoustar’s victory in 2013 was the first Golden Rose winner for Chris Waller and the Randwick trainer is likely to have a strong hand in the 2018 renewal following the outstanding performance of Zoustar colt, Lean Mean Machine, in Saturday’s Group Two The Run To The Rose at Rosehill Gardens.
It was some performance as Lean Mean Machine unleashed a devastating burst over the final stages to haul in race favourite and previously unbeaten colt, Graff.
A winner on debut at Warwick Farm in March, Lean Mean Machine was Group placed in his following two starts before capturing the Group Two QTC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Doomben in May, defeating stablemate and likely Golden Rose contender, Zousain.
All up, Lean Mean Machine has raced on six occasions for three wins and two thirds, with his only miss an 11th of 14 in the Group One JJ Atkins on a heavy Doomben track in June.
Perhaps even more importantly, Lean Mean Machine not only plays the part, he looks the part.
“He’s well named and is a pretty sexy colt,” Waller enthused. “He’s obviously a very good horse and as we saw with Zoustar, he came back as a 3YO and went to a whole new level. It looks like this boy has done the same.”
Blue Sky Bloodstock’s Julian Blaxland, who purchased Lean Mean Machine for $250,000 at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale – in tandem with Raffles Racing and Aquis Farm – said it’s difficult to put a dollar value on the colt’s residual following Saturday’s win.
“He’s a Group Two winning 2YO by a rising star in the stallion ranks and has a terrific family, so even if he never raced again, he’d be quite a valuable prospect,” Blaxland points out. “However, taking a line through previous Golden Rose winners and the fact that this bloke is such an outstanding type, you would have to think he would be in the vicinity of $20 to $30 million if he manages to secure the Group One.
“It speaks volumes for the Australian thoroughbred industry when you can buy a colt for $250,000 and potentially increase his value one hundred fold in less than two years.”
For Blaxland though, the attachment with Lean Mean Machine runs much deeper than obvious stallion worth.
“I purchased Lean Mean Machine’s dam, She’s Meaner, for $300,000 from the 2007 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale,” Blaxland recalls. “She was a very good racehorse and I bought her in the second year of operation under the Blue Sky banner and ended up running a lip second in the 2008 Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
“After coming so close to winning the 2YO Classic early on, I then had to wait 10 years before Sunlight won the race this year!”
(Blaxland, along with Aquis Farm and McEvoy/Mitchell Racing, purchased Zoustar filly Sunlight for $300,000 at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale and she has since won $2,280,200 in stakes).
Bred and presented for sale by Glenlogan Park Stud, Lean Mean Machine was first inspected by Blaxland around six weeks prior to the Magic Millions.
“He looked a little bit behind when I first saw him, but Glenlogan’s Steve Morley explained that the colt had been a bit sick earlier in his prep, but you could tell that he had a lot of style about him. By the time he got to the sales he looked fantastic and really hasn’t taken a backward step since,” Blaxland adds. “I wasn’t all that confident leading into the Run To The Rose as I thought he was probably more of a miler, but (jockey) Tye Angland told me that the colt has a really good turn of foot and didn’t want to be on anything else. Turns out he was right and hopefully he’ll be right again in a fortnight!”