Paul Whelan wasn’t at Warwick Farm on Saturday to watch his first starter, Colesberg, go around in the Happy 2017 2YO Handicap (1200m).
Whelan is currently ensconced on the Gold Coast where his Luskin Park Stud is in the throes of grooming and parading a team of youngsters for the Magic Millions Yearling Sale which commences on Wednesday.
As a vendor, it’s hard to drag yourself away from a sale at any time, let alone four days out, but Whelan (and just about everyone else) were entitled to think Colesberg was simply lining up for the experience.
However, Colesberg obviously didn’t get the memo and, after being sent around a rank outsider ($26), he flashed home from last for a resounding victory, defeating the highly favoured, Single Bullet, in a thriller.
“I put something on for the (yearling sale) staff and so they went and celebrated with a good meal and a few drinks on Saturday night,” Whelan points out. “And it looked like they had a pretty good time from the photos they kept sending through to me!
Colesberg also races in the same colours as 2016 Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes winner, Flying Artie: “Wilf (Mula) went down to David Payne’s stables and David said he should have a good look at his Congrats horse,” Whelan adds. “Wilf then rang me to say he’d taken 50% and would I like 10%? I mainly like to buy into fillies but fortunately, on this occasion, I said yes.
“David has got a huge opinion of Colesberg and said early on he thought he’d be a 2000m horse. Now it looks as if he’ll be targeting races like the (Group One) Champagne Stakes (over 1600m) in April.”
It’s been a memorable few months for Whelan with Flying Artie’s spring success followed up by a Listed Canterbury Classic success to Le Cordon Bleu on New Year’s Eve.
“That was very timely given that we (Luskin Park) are selling a full brother to Le Cordon Bleu on Friday. It could turn out to be a very successful week.”
Purchased from the Vinery Stud draft for $130,000 at the 2016 Gold Coast Magic Millions, Colesberg is by the AP Indy stallion, Congrats, who stood at the Hunter Valley stud for four seasons.
“Congrats has been a bit disappointing in this part of the world, although his latest crops have produced some nice horses like Colesberg,” Vinery’s Adam White reveals.
“Colesberg was always a lovely horse. Vinery partner Alan Green and Brian Singer bred him from their very good producing mare Purrpurrlena, from which they also bred Champion South African 2YO Entisaar (by More Than Ready), who was purchased by Angus Gold a few seasons ago.
“David (Payne) has always been a great supporter of ours at the sales and it is great to see the horse win so well on debut and he looks to have a very bright future. The horse was actually passed in at the sale but David quickly came to me and said he would take him as he’s had a bit of success with the Congrats horses and obviously was familiar with Entisaar doing so well in South Africa as well.
“Purrpurrlena looks to be one of those special mares. Her first three to the track are all 2YO winners, including a Champion juvenile in Entisaar, and she is back in foal to More Than Ready.”