I Am The Melbourne Premier

The highest priced yearling to ever go through the ring at Melbourne Premier, Lot 259 I Am Invincible x Soorena colt (Sharon Lee Chapman).


While the opening day of the 2017 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale again attracted huge crowds and solid trade, the Oaklands Junction ring came alight on Monday with the record for the highest priced yearling knocked out of the park.

By the time Lot 259, an I Am Invincible colt from the Encosta de Lago mare Soorena, had departed the scene, a new high of $1.4 million had been established.

Previously, the highest priced Melbourne yearling was $750,000 for an Exceed And Excel colt from the Three Bridges’ draft in 2008, but a determined Robbie Griffiths and equally determined Ciaron Maher soon saw that figure consigned to history’s dustbin.

Griffiths’ enthusiasm was predictable given that he trains the colt’s half brother, 2016 Group One Newmarket Handicap winner, The Quarterback, but Maher was relentless and eventually got the nod.

The colt is also a half brother to four other winners including Group Two ATC Tulloch Stakes winner, Philippi, and stakesplaced, The Rude Warrior.

Rick Jamieson’s Gilgai Farm, which also bred Melbourne graduate, Black Caviar, and, coincidentally, Maher’s Caulfield Cup winning mare, Jameka, had the honour of consigning the record-breaking colt.

“It’s been a tremendous couple of days and to set a new benchmark of $1.4 million was really special,” Inglis’ Victorian Bloodstock Manager, Simon Vivian, enthused.

“I was confident we were in for a strong sale from the time the first lot went through the ring on Sunday. We all know that bums on seats doesn’t necessarily translate to success in the ring, but the clearance rate on day one was 81% and was only likely to climb from there.

“I’ve never seen a crowd at Oaklands Junction like there was on the Sunday. It’s really becoming a ‘must attend’ for not only the established buying bench, but also for those looking to get into racing.

“Gauging sales from year to year is like comparing an apple to a grapefruit, but both vendors and buyers appear happy with their outcomes after the first two sessions.

“The most pleasing aspect for me though was the spread of involvement: we had a lot of buyers from overseas … the top lot in the first session ($620,000) was purchased by Hong Kong, while the domestic buyers also had strong competition from South Africa, the UK, Singapore and New Zealand.”

Victorian based vendor, Millford Thoroughbreds, were extremely happy campers on Sunday night with its three lots offered averaging $310,000 including $620,000 for the Snitzel colt from Mightier, purchased by agent Justin Bahen, on behalf of Little Kwok Hing Hung … outlasting the Hong Kong Jockey Club in an exciting bidding duel.

(Little Kwok Hing Hung also purchased the most expensive lot at the 2016 Melbourne Premier sale: $700,000 for another Snitzel colt that was subsequently named Ducimus and, in timely fashion, won the Listed Talindert Stakes at Flemington a little over a week ago).

“Brilliant! We’re very happy,” Millford’s Jarrod Byers points out. “We’re not only ecstatic for the colt’s breeder, Cressfield Stud who entrusted us with the yearling, but also very happy for the team at Millford … we’ve been bringing horses to Oaklands Junction under the Millford banner for eight years and our top price in 2016 was $190,000. What’s more, we’ve got a half-sister (by Written Tycoon) to our Group One winning homebred, Precious Gem, to put through the ring on Tuesday.”

Yarraman Park’s Harry Mitchell was similarly wrapped with his results: “My boys (resident stallions I Am Invincible and Hinchinbrook) have had a lot of interest and I Am Invincible establishing a new sale record and topping the averages is just fantastic.

“Hinchinbrook has had a fair amount of support too given that he’s the sire of Saturday’s Skyline Stakes winner, Diamond Tathagata, which was bred and sold by the Lamonts of Kooringal Stud at last year’s Premier. The Lamonts are terrific people and it was also great for Mark Newnham to get a Group Two winner.

“There’s a really good vibe about this sale and I’m looking forward to the next couple of days.”


The 2017 Inglis Melbourne Premier continues with a third and final session of its Premier I section from 10am tomorrow and concludes on Wednesday with a 220-lot strong Premier II session.

The Power of Passion