Colm Santry was in two minds about the High Chaparral colt he purchased at the 2015 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
Race him or ‘on sell’ him into the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale?
Coolmore Australia’s Sales & Nominations Manager opted for the latter and the youngster – from the stakes winning Arena mare, My Lady’s Chamber – was knocked down for $90,000 to Paul Moroney Bloodstock: a ‘profit’ of $10,000.
On Saturday, the now 3YO High Chaparral – Highlad – captured the Listed Wanganui Guineas in memorable fashion and is shaping as a real contender for the Group One VRC Derby next month.
“I actually lost on the deal when you look at it in pure money terms,” Santry muses, “but it’s great for the new owners … a good horse, is a good horse.
“Ironically, I did exactly the same thing a couple of years earlier with the Encosta de Lago filly, Costa Viva. I purchased her from the Inglis Melbourne Premier for $90,000 and sold her a couple of months later on the Gold Coast for $100,000.
“She went on to become New Zealand Filly of the Year after winning the (Group One) Thousand Guineas over there.
(Costa Viva was one of two horses Santry purchased from Ken Williams’ Tarcoola Stud in Melbourne – the other was Choisir’s dual Group One winner, Sacred Choice).
“You can look at it two ways I suppose: the first is to beat yourself up over not racing them yourself, but the alternative is to understand the business you’re in and back your judgement as a yearling selector. As someone said to me the other day, at least you’re buying the right horses and winning stakes races!
“And from everything I’m hearing about Highlad he certainly appears to be the ‘right’ horse. (Trainer) Murray Baker has been excited about Highlad for some time and that win in the Wanganui Guineas really was something else.
“The horse he defeated – another Australian-bred in Manhattan Street – was previously unbeaten and is no slouch by any means. It’s interesting to note that Murray brought across Mongolian Khan, another horse bred and sold in Australia, to win the Australian Derby and he appears to have another genuine contender in Highlad.”
Baker’s co-trainer, Andrew Forsman, was full of praise for Highlad and, while not specifically outlining a campaign for his charge, he indicated a promising future for the lightly raced youngster: “From his (Wanganui Guineas) draw he got caught out in no-man’s land and he had to do a power of work. The best-performed horse in the race (Manhattan Street) had things go his way in front. It was going to be hard for our horse to do it, but he’s obviously pretty good.
“He’s a very nice horse with plenty of ability. The Guineas distance was short of his best and he’s still very immature mentally, but the race will have brought him on. It’s exciting.”
Santry has also had a close association with Highlad’s sire, High Chaparral, both under his own banner of Colm Santry Bloodstock and in his role at Coolmore Australia over the last 30 years.
“What a super sire he has been for Coolmore,” Santry adds. “So You Think, Dundeel, Shoot Out, Monaco Consul … Highlad was his 84th individual stakes winner.
“When he passed away in late 2014, it was a terrible loss for both Coolmore and the Australian breeding industry.
“I’m proud to say that I actually purchased – at the Easter sale – High Chaparral’s first Group One winning filly in Fenway (Vinery Stud Stakes).
“Who knows, with Highlad I might have purchased his next one as well!”