Winning Rupert and Territories colts top solid start to Book 2

10 min read
A solid first session of Book 2 of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale was highlighted by colts by Winning Rupert and Territories (Ire) which sold for $180,000 to Michael Costa and Merrick Staunton respectively.

At A Glance

After a quiet start, the session average climbed to $64,707, up from $59,548 in the Sunday session last year.

The aggregate sits at $4,529,500, around $400,000 down on last year, while the median $55,000 ($45,000) was up.

The clearance rate ended at 80 per cent, just shy of last year's session (81 per cent).

The buyers' bench was very evenly spread, with no individual buying more than three lots and Mark Newnham leading the way with $210,000 in total spend.

Baramul Stud leads the vendors on $316,000, while KBL Thoroughbreds, Murrulla Stud and Twin Hills also featured heavily.

Together with Archer Park, Michael Costa re-purchased a Winning Rupert colt for $180,000 that he had purchased as a weanling.

The Territories colt sold by Murrulla Stud late in the session for $180,000 is likely headed to Hong Kong.

Costa pays twice for nice colt

Michael Costa was so keen on Lot 994, the colt by Winning Rupert which brought the equal highest price of the short Day 6 session of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, that he purchased him twice, paying $180,000 from the draft of KBL Thoroughbreds.

Lot 994 - Winning Rupert x Songbird (Arg) (colt) | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

Costa had trained the colt's half-sister Devine Factor (The Factor {USA}), in her short but promising career and was keen on her Winning Rupert half-brother when he was offered by his breeders Grandview through the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale last year.

He paid $32,000 for him on that occasion and resolved with his fellow investors to put him through the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Michael Costa

But so impressed was he with the development of the colt, who is out of imported mare Songbird (Arg) (Easing Along {USA}), that he buttered up to see off several suitors and pay the $180,000 needed to get him into his Gold Coast stables.

"I trained the half-sister and she ran a nice second to Dubious at one stage and was at one stage one of the favourites for the Magic Millions. But unfortunately she went in the wind. And was just never the same dam so I always kept an eye on the family," Costa told TDN AusNZ.

Devine Factor | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

"I actually purchased this guy as a weanling and put some owners in him and put him in the Sale. After I did all my yearling inspections, I thought he was the classiest colt in either book, he was absolutely stunning.

"I told all the owners that I would love to buy him back at the genuine top bid, so I did that and a lot of the owners that are in him are going to retain their shares with a few more owners to jump in."

Costa said he was simply too nice a colt to let go. "I couldn't let him go because I wouldn't forgive myself if he turned up in the race (Magic Millions 2YO Classic) next year and we had given him away," he said.

"I couldn't let him (lot 994) go because I wouldn't forgive myself if he turned up in the race (Magic Millions 2YO Classic) next year and we had given him away." - Michael Costa

"He had a clean bill of health and a great scope. He had a great presence about him, he's big and strong, but not overly heavy, KBL felt he was the best horse in their draft."

The colt will be the first Winning Rupert that Costa will train.

"I haven't had the experience with them. He hadn't had a huge amount of runners, so he has probably been forgotten a bit, but I feel this guy is one of the ones that can be a headliner for him," he said.

Winning Rupert | Standing at Newgate Farm

His dam, Songbird, who is owned by Grandview's Mark Farmer, was unraced and is a half-sister to Argentinian Grade 1 winner Tantos Anos (Arg) (Mutakddim (USA}) and is from the family of Australian Group 1 winner Encounter.

Staunton goes with the Territories

Lot 1032 may have been the penultimate lot to go through the ring on Sunday, but the interest in the Territories (Ire) colt from the Murrulla Stud draft had been high all week and flowed into the ring, with agent Merrick Staunton paying $180,000 for him.

Lot 1032 - Territories (Ire) x Velvet Moon (colt) | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

Tim Nolan of Murrulla Stud said the colt had been in strong demand through the inspection period and it was no surprise to see him secure the fourth highest price ever in Australia for a yearling by the Darley shuttle stallion.

"There was a lot of interest in him all week. People came down and asking us where is the Territories colt they are talking about? So you know that is a good sign when they are talking about them like that," he said.

"He was born at home and he was always a good foal who turned out to a good yearling. He was a good walker, and very compact horse that looks like he should go fast."

"It’s a good result for a little farm like us to get a result like that."

The colt is out of the unraced Bernardini (USA) mare Velvet Moon, a daughter of stakes-placed Native Jester (Rory's Jester) from the family of Group 1 winner Apache King (Waajib {Ire}) and Group 2 winner Flight To Fantasy (Bluebird {USA}).

Velvet Moon, bred by Nick Moraitis, was purchased for just $6000 in 2016 but has not produced a foal since the Territories colt.

Nick Moraitis | Image courtesy of Sportpix

Staunton, who usually buys on behalf of Hong Kong-based clients, was pleased with how the colt was presented.

"He was a really well-presented colt from Murrulla Stud. He looks like a really strong, good style of colt who should be well placed to put through our system. He’s a good size, great walk and really happy to have got him and we thought he was the pick of day one of Book 2," he said,

"He (Lot 1032) looks like a really strong, good style of colt who should be well placed to put through our system. He’s a good size, great walk and really happy to have got him." - Merrick Staunton

"We have actually purchased a Territories previously and we like what we’ve seen from him, so we’re happy to purchase another one.

"He is a different type to the other Territories that we’ve got, the other one is bigger and rangy but this one is bit more neat, compact type of horse. This one is a sprinting type."

Cummings circles back on Smart Missile colt

There was no person in the sale ring that knew Lot 993 better than Anthony Cummings and the man who bred the Smart Missile colt from Twin Hills Stud was more than happy to be the man signing the docket on behalf of a stable client.

Lot 993 - Smart Missile x Soffraaj (colt) | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

The colt is a half-brother to Caesars Palace (Casino Prince), who won at Rosehill earlier this month for Cummings, as well as a promising Choisir 2-year-old colt in the trainer's yard.

"I bred him, along with Caesars Palace and the rest of that family. I am always trying to be commercial and get cash flow happening. The other two were sold as older horses. Caesars Palace was sold after his first couple of trials, and the Choisir, the 2-year-old, was sold just recently," he said.

"I thought I'd put him through the ring. I had a client that liked him and I finished up buying him."

"I thought I'd put him (Lot 993) through the ring. I had a client that liked him and I finished up buying him." - Anthony Cummings

Cummings trained both the colt's sire, Smart Missile, as well as his unraced dam, Soffraaj (Iffraaj {GB}). She hails from a staying family which features Group 1 winners Savaria (NZ) (Savabeel), Solveig (NZ) (Imposing (GB}), Gallic (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), Cross Swords (NZ) (Grosvenor {NZ}) and the Cummings-trained Fiveandahalfstar (Hotel Grand).

"I bought the mum as a younger horse. Unfortunately she was injured in the paddock while she was spelling before she even got to the track. She showed a fair bit to us all the way through and she tripped herself over and broke a bone at the back of her knee when they were changing her rug in the paddock," he said.

Fiveandahalfstar | Image courtesy of Sportpix

"Casino Prince looked a good mating, so she went there and likewise we stuck with that Danehill-line with the Choisir and then again with Smart Missile.

"This guy, at this stage of life is the strongest of the three. The Choisir colt coming through has shown us a lot of speed at home. He will make his presence felt when he gets to the track. We are pretty confident of what this colt is likely to do once he gets to the races."

Choisir x Soffraaj (colt) | Image courtesy of Cummings Racing

Cummings said his opinion of the horse was only encouraged by the belief in him by Twin Hills Stud's Olly Tait.

"Most of the Smart Missiles we have had have been easy to deal with. This guy is a really nice horse, Olly (Tait) had a good rap on him from day one, he liked him from the time he was born," he said.

"Most of the Smart Missiles we have had have been easy to deal with. This guy is a really nice horse, Olly (Tait) had a good rap on him from day one, he liked him from the time he was born." - Anthony Cummings

"He thought he was the best Smart Missile to go through the Sale on any of the days. He looks a horse that is a good mover and doesn't do silly things. He's a nice horse with a good future, with the strength that he has and the way he moves."

Trade builds through the day

There were 11 lots in all go for $100,000 or more with Mark Newnham the biggest spender with $210,000 across two lots, while Lee Freedman spent $192,000, including $160,000 on Lot 963, a Nicconi colt from the draft of Lyndhurst Stud Farm.

Lot 963 - Nicconi x Riverset (colt) | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

While the day's trade did not quite live up to the action-packed previous five sessions of Book 1, Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch felt the momentum built through the day.

“Obviously it was a sluggish start. It took a while for the vendors and the buyers to find an equilibrium, set a tone, but once we got into it I thought there was good trade," he said.

Barry Bowditch

"Obviously, it’s a market where there’s a craving for quality and anything that maybe is a little off the pace was found out. In saying that, the gross is nearing what last year’s was for this part of the Sale, the average is up a reasonable number, the median’s up significantly and the clearance rate will only pick up."

Top lots

1032TerritoriesVelvet Moon CMurrulla StudGolden River Investments/All Winners Thoroughbreds$180,000
994Winning Rupert SongbirdCKBL ThoroughbredsMichael Costa Racing/Archer Park$180,000
993Smart Missile Soffraaj CTwin Hills StudAnthony Cummings Racing$170,000
963NicconiRiversetCLyndhurst Stud FarmLee Freedman$160,000
991Star TurnSo Stylish CBaramul StudJohn Symons$150,000

Top buyers

Mark Newnham Bloodstock2$210,000$105,000$125,000
Lee Freedman2$192,000$96,000$160,000
Merrick Staunton1$180,000$180,000$180,000
Michael Costa Racing/Archer Park1$180,000$180,000 $180,000
Anthony Cummings Racing1$170,000$170,000$170,000

Vendors by aggregate

Baramul Stud6$316,000$52,667$150,000
KBL Thoroughbreds2$305,000$152,500$180,000
Twin Hills Stud3$300,000$100,000$170,000
Lyndhurst Stud Farm4$295,000$73,750$160,000
Kenmore Lodge3$275,000$91,667$110,000

Vendors by average (3 or more sold)

Middlebrook Valley Lodge, Scone, NSW4$90,625 $180,000 $362,500
Gleeson Thoroughbred Connections, Chinchilla, Qld4$102,500 $225,000 $410,000
Murrulla Stud, Wingen, NSW4$102,500 $120,000 $410,000
Oaklands Stud, Darling Downs, Qld3$103,333 $150,000 $310,000
Rosari Farm, Warwick, Qld5$120,000 $240,000 $600,000

Sires by aggregate

Better Than Ready3$265,000$88,333$110,000

Sires by average (3 or more sold)

Better Than Ready3$88,333$265,000$110,000
Pride of Dubai3$40,667$122,000$55,000
Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale
Book 2
Michael Costa
Anthony Cummings
Merrick Staunton
KBL Thoroughbreds
Winning Rupert
Smart Missile
Murrulla Stud
Twin Hills Stud