As a highly successful businessman, Lindsay Maxsted is renowned for his forward thinking.
It’s probably fair to say though when he stood next to John Hawkes, bidding on a Redoute’s Choice filly at the 2009 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, he didn’t realise eight years later he’d be just down the road at Royal Randwick: cheering on the filly’s first foal.
But that’s exactly what happened on Saturday when Inference came down the outside fence to carve his name in the Group One Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (1600m) honour roll, edging out Invincible Gem in a thriller.
The So You Think colt had clearly been saving his best for a rainy day and will now attempt Sydney’s highly lucrative 3YO Triple Crown – Randwick Guineas, $600,000 Rosehill Guineas (18 March) and $2 million Australian Derby (1 April).
“It was a tremendous thrill winning the Randwick Guineas and hopefully he can now win the next two. It’s a nice dream anyway,” Maxsted enthused.
The Chairman of Westpac and Transurban Group and a board member of BHP Billiton, Maxsted has owned “around 80 to 90 horses” since he first got involved in racing in the late 1980s and also paid the feed bills for another Group One winner in Align (1999 AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes), but he has a particular soft spot for the filly he purchased with Hawkes in 2009 which was named Pontiana.
“She was a very good filly and I raced her, among others, with Greg Ingham,” Maxsted adds. “Pontiana has a nice black type pedigree and enhanced it somewhat with a Group Two third in the Dane Ripper in Brisbane plus stakes placings at Randwick, Flemington and in the Dark Jewel Classic at Scone.
“Pontiana was purchased out of the Coolmore draft at Easter and So You Think seemed a natural fit for her first mating. It’s certainly proving to be a good decision at this stage.”
“I’ve actually got four of my eight mares at Coolmore, while the others are with Brian Nutt at Attunga Stud, so I’ve always had a fairly close association with Coolmore. It got even closer after Saturday!”
Maxsted also co-owns a Pierro 2YO filly – Ponterro – who is in work with Team Hawkes, while Pontiana has a yearling full sister to Inference.
For the giant-killing, globe-trotting, So You Think, Inference’s Group One was a huge stride in the right direction.
With his oldest Australian-bred progeny now 3YOs, So You Think has been represented of late by Gai Waterhouse’s 3-time stakes winner, Northwest Passage, and the Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas winner, La Diosa.
“It’s an awesome achievement for a young stallion to have two Guineas winners in his first crop,” Coolmore Australia’s Paddy Oman points out. “Inference was always a beautiful young horse on the farm and the guys at Coolmore who broke him in as a yearling just loved him, while we’ve known that the Hawkes team has been very bullish about his prospects since he was an early 2YO.
“The feeling was that it was only a matter of time before he won a very good race, but for him to win a Randwick Guineas is something really special, particularly given the support the owners have shown to the stallion and team at Coolmore.
“We were always optimistic So You Think had the capacity to develop into a top sire, but what he has achieved to date has exceeded even our own expectations. They just want to be racehorses.
“So You Think is developing into what we always hoped he would: a Danehill-free stallion with the ability to consistently sire top-class gallopers.”