Day 1 sale-toppers: Hong Kong lead Classic

14 min read
Hong Kong’s purchasing power came to the fore as the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale got off to a solid start at Riverside Stables on Sunday.

Cover image courtesy of Inglis

Lot 199 - Street Boss (USA) x Dance Card (Exceed And Excel), colt, $375,000

The biggest bid during the first of three sessions came from Ricky Yiu as the 2019/20 Hong Kong champion trainer went to $375,000 for Lot 199, the Street Boss (USA) colt out of Dance Card offered by Bhima Thoroughbreds.

The dam, an Exceed And Excel half-sister to the Group 3-winning Kaepernick (Fastnet Rock), has bred two winners at paddocks, with her record headed by the Group 3-placed Rome (Pierro). The trainer said the colt could be pointed toward Hong Kong’s Griffin races as he rises through the ranks.

Lot 199 - Street Boss (USA) x Dance Card (colt) was purchased by Ricky Yiu for $375,000 from Bhima Thoroughbreds | Image courtesy of Inglis

“Street Boss has done quite well in Hong Kong and this is a very nice individual,” said Yiu. “We’ll see what he’s up to, if he’s mature enough I’ll bring him back to run in the Griffin races. Otherwise, normally I leave them here for over a year then bring them back (to Hong Kong). Normally I give them to Muskoka Farm (for race educating and pre-training).

“He’ll grow into a very nice type for Hong Kong in time. I’ve always said that buying a yearling is better value for money, rather than looking at the trial winners. I prefer to start from the bottom when they’re still young.”

“I’ve always said that buying a yearling is better value for money, rather than looking at the trial winners. I prefer to start from the bottom when they’re still young.” - Ricky Yiu

Street Boss’ eight elite winners are headed by the champion Anamoe, who now stands under the Darley banner having won no less than nine Group 1s during a sensational career. In Hong Kong, Street Boss is the sire of talents such as Rapper Dragon, who was crowned the region’s champion middle distance horse for the 2016/17 season.

Lot 138 - Extreme Choice x Brisk (GB) (Nayef {USA}), colt, $320,000

Mick Price knows all about the talent Extreme Choice possessed having saddled the son of Not A Single Doubt to Group 1 successes in the Blue Diamond and Moir S. On Sunday the trainer confessed to love at first sight after giving $320,000 for Lot 138, a son of Extreme Choice offered by the China Horse Club’s operation The Chase.

“I love this horse,” said Price. “Obviously I trained Extreme Choice and I’ve got a bit of faith in The Chase; I think they’re a farm that’s building. I know where it is in the Southern Highlands, it’s magnificent and I reckon they’ll breed good horses out of there. They have some fantastic pedigrees.”

“Obviously I trained Extreme Choice and I’ve got a bit of faith in The Chase; I think they’re a farm that’s building. I know where it is in the Southern Highlands, it’s magnificent and I reckon they’ll breed good horses out of there.” - Mick Price

The six-figure colt is out of Brisk (GB), a Juddmonte Farms-bred daughter of Nayef (USA) who has bred one winner from five runners. That winner is the seven-time scorer Dance To Dubai (Pride Of Dubai), who is trained by Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman. The dam, a half-sister to dual US Grade 2 winner Costume (GB) (Danehill {USA}), was offered at the 2022 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale when this colt was in utero but was passed in at $230,000.

“The mare’s been a bit unlucky, although Moody’s horse, Dance To Dubai, is a flying machine,” continued Price. “China Horse Club have jumped back in for 10 per cent and Upper Bloodstock are going to keep 25 per cent, so he’s selling. He’s beautiful. I don’t like blah blahing all that bloodstock talk, saying he’s the colt of the sale, but he absolutely was for me.

Lot 138 - Extreme Choice x Brisk (GB) (colt) was purchased by Mick Price Racing and Breeding / Upper Bloodstock for $320,000 from The Chase | Image courtesy of Inglis

“He moves, he’s furnished. Sometimes you can be wrong but I’m telling you, if I get a little bit brave I might even keep a share myself. He’s an expensive horse for me, sort of.”

Extreme Choice stands at Newgate Farm, where his fee was $275,000 (inc GST) for the 2023 season. Despite sub-optimal fertility and libido, he has sired some significant talents, not least the Group 1-winning trio Espiona, She's Extreme and Stay Inside.

Sebastian Hutch and Mick Price | Image courtesy of Inglis

Expanding on his association with Extreme Choice, Price said: “I like all my colts who go to stud, and we’ve sent quite a few. I love following them and we usually have a nomination. Extreme Choice hasn’t been very kind to me with that nomination because he’s a bit fussy about which girls he likes! That’s fair enough, though.

“I remember the horse so well and he had bullet speed and athleticism. I think the one I bought is a little bit like a bigger version of Extreme Choice. Your brain only goes one way sometimes and I tried to contain my excitement when I saw him coming out of the box, but I absolutely loved that horse.”

Lot 238 - Toronado (Ire) x Eclat (Beneteau), colt, $300,000

Another bound for Hong Kong is Lot 238, Lime Country Thoroughbreds’ Toronado (Ire) colt out of Eclat (Beneteau) who was knocked down at $300,000 to Willie Leung of Magus Equine. The recent G1 Centenary Sprint Cup success of Victor The Winner has only added to Toronado’s reputation in Hong Kong, and Leung said the stallion was a major factor in his purchase.

Lot 238 - Toronado (Ire) x Eclat (colt) was purchased by Magnus Equine for $300,000 from Lime Country Thoroughbreds | Image courtesy of Inglis

“He’s been bought for a Hong Kong client,” he said. “Toronado is a red-hot sire in Hong Kong with a couple of good horses. Last week’s Classic Mile winner (Helios Express) is by Toronado. My client loves the stallion and I hope we can get another good one. He’s the best mover I saw in this sale and I’m sure he’s the most popular yearling on the ground. He moves well, he’s strong. The stallion is the reason I paid extra to buy him.

“He will stay here and it’s likely I’ll send him to Hanover Lodge for breaking and pre-training. We may leave him here to race before going to Hong Kong and he may go for the Inglis series. I always like to buy value but for a horse like him you have to be ready to pay extra. It’s too early to say who the trainer is. We’ll see how he goes first.”

Jo Griffin, Willie Leung, Greg Griffin and Jimmy Ting | Image courtesy of Inglis

The dam, who is one winner from one runner, is a sibling to the Group 2-placed Moreau (Snitzel) and to the dam of the G2 John F. Feehan S. scorer Pinstriped (Street Boss {USA}).

Toronado is currently second only to Deep Field in the Hong Kong sire standings with 18 winners on the board.

Lot 81 - Alabama Express x Anyana (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), colt, $240,000

Another purchaser renewing their association with a stallion they sourced as a yearling was Paul Moroney. The agent unearthed Alabama Express at $280,000 at the Inglis Australian Easter Sale in 2018 before the son of Redoute’s Choice went on to win the G1 C.F. Orr S.

Now standing at Yulong Stud, Alabama Express has created a favourable impression with his early juvenile runners, with four winners on the board from just nine starters. On Sunday, Moroney signed alongside Catheryne Bruggeman and Ballymore Stables for a $240,000 colt from the Vinery Stud draft, and he explained it wasn’t just the top line of Lot 81’s pedigree that he knew well.

“I bought Alabama Express as a yearling and he’s been a revelation as a stallion this year,” said Moroney. “I also bought the mother of this colt in England. She’s a Nathaniel mare and I had a bit to do with the matching of the pedigrees since she was bought by a syndicate. This colt just had a lot of quality but he’s not going to be an early comer. He’s out of a very deep German staying family.”

Moroney paid just 11,000gns (AU$22,400) for the dam, Anyana (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), whose page goes back to high-achievers such as Axxos (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}) and Amorella (Ire) (Nathaniel {Ire}).

“He’s been bought by Ballymore Stables really as a 3-year-old prospect,” continued Moroney. “We loved his quality; he’s got some Galileo coming through there from Nathaniel and he probably has a little more size and scope than a lot of the other Alabama Expresses. He moved well and has a good temperament, which is a hallmark of the stallion to date. We can just see him growing and furnishing into a Derby prospect and later on a Cup horse.

“We loved his (Lot 81) quality; he’s got some Galileo coming through there from Nathaniel and he probably has a little more size and scope than a lot of the other Alabama Expresses. He moved well and has a good temperament, which is a hallmark of the stallion to date.” - Paul Moroney

“We’re always trying to find these horses and he was a standout to us after we did our first round of inspections. Between Catheryne and I, he was one we could go to my brother, Mike, and say he's your type of horse. He’s a scopey horse who’s going to take some time and he’s furnishing into himself but everything’s in the right place, he moves well, he’s got some European quality about him from his dam’s side. We just thought he was a no-brainer, quite honestly.”

Moroney added that he felt the signs were positive for Alabama Express as early as last year’s yearling sales.

Lot 81 - Alabama Express x Anyana (GB) (colt) was purchased by Ballymore Stables, Paul Moroney Bloodstock and Catheryne Bruggeman for $240,000 from Vinery Stud | Image courtesy of Inglis

“As soon as we saw Alabama Express’ first crop of yearlings last year we were quite confident he was going to make it,” he said. “He had a cracking first crop and we tried on several of those. Our favourite filly from his debut crop was one that Ken Kelso bought (Alabama Lass). She won by 9.5 lengths in New Zealand last week.

“We stepped up to the plate and bought a couple of expensive colts that Mike has got. They’re out of Dubawi mares and are going to be more autumn 2-year-olds and Guineas types as 3-year-olds. He’s not just going to be a stallion who gets them early like he is at the moment. That has surprised us a little bit, but that means he’s injecting a lot of ability into stock. Long may it continue.”

Lot 193 - Star Turn x Crystal Rock (Fastnet Rock), colt, $240,000

An affiliation with a star-crossed sibling encouraged Dream Thoroughbreds and Bluegrass Bloodstock to go to $240,000 for Lustre Lodge’s Star Turn colt out of Crystal Rock (Fastnet Rock). Lot 193 is a half-brother to Big Parade (Deep Field), winner of the G3 Sydney S. and runner-up to Shelby Sixtysix (Toronado {Ire})in the G1 Galaxy S. However, it was another sibling that Bluegrass Bloodstock’s Leonard Russo pointed to as inspiring this purchase.

“We actually raced the half-sister called Dunamite, by Duporth, who was with Ciaron Maher,” said Russo. “She had a lot of ability and won her trial by 10 lengths and then went to Moonee Valley as an odds-on favourite for her first start. She had a heart attack straight after the race and passed away. We’ve been very interested in this family and we love Big Parade as a yearling but didn’t have the money for him.

“We saw this Star Turn colt and just loved him. Obviously, there’s an affinity with the family, he’s quite an athletic son of Star Turn, so we were pretty keen to secure him going off what the half-sister was like. We thought he was a $200,000 to $250,000 colt so the price was about where we thought.”

The colt is due to head into training with Joe Pride.

Lot 243 - Capitalist x Embroidered Silk (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), colt, $240,000

John Hutchinson got among the buyers late in the session when the Scone Bloodstock man went to $240,000 for Bhima Thoroughbreds’ well-related Capitalist colt. Lot 243’s page has undergone some notable enhancements in recent times as the youngster is a half-brother to Franz Josef (Snitzel), who has not only debuted since the catalogue was published but won two races.

“I had an order from Hong Kong for a good budget,” said Hutchinson “He was probably the horse that the client and I had on top of our list and he came in under budget, which is even better. He’s a lovely horse and Capitalist does very well in Hong Kong. He does very well down here as well. The colt’s half-brother is called Franz Josef, he’s trained by Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou and he’s had two starts in Sydney for two wins. He’s a very promising horse so that gave us confidence. He’s out of a Galileo mare from a lovely European family so there’s a lot to like about him.”

Lot 243 - Capitalist x Embroidered Silk (Ire) (colt) was purchased by Scone Bloodstock Services for $240,000 from Bhima Thoroughbreds | Image courtesy of Inglis

The colt is out of Embroidered Silk (Galileo {Ire}), an unraced half-sister to the Italian champions Willie Cazals (Ire) (Aussie Rules {USA}) and Joanna (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire}), the former of whom also won the G1 Livamol Classic in New Zealand. Joanna, meanwhile, is the grandam of Shadwell’s 2020 Group 1 Prix Saint Alary scorer Tawkeel (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}).

Reflecting on the market conditions in western Sydney, Hutchinson said: “It’s patchy. There’s a lot of horses making good money and there’s a lot that are hard to sell. There’s a lot of expectation from the vendors that I thought could’ve been a bit lower. I had a client sell two horses today and they sold well, so it’s been a pretty good day for us.”

Lot 250 - Wootton Bassett (GB) x Escape Artist (Exceed And Excel), filly, $240,000

The fourth and final lot to fetch $240,000 on the day was knocked down to Jamie Walter of Proven Thoroughbreds. Lot 250 is from the first Southern Hemisphere crop of Coolmore shuttler Wootton Bassett (GB) and is set to head into training with Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted.

“She’s a very attractive type and Wootton Bassett’s stock have impressed me at the three sales I’ve been to so far this year,” said Walter. “And indeed impressed my trainers, particularly Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted from Queensland, who’ll be training this filly. She’s from a great farm in Kia Ora and we just thought, based on prices this year, she’s pretty good value.”

Walter also offered a syndicator’s perspective on the market, saying: “Every sale you go to, the nice ones are hard to buy. Very, very occasionally something you’re absolutely in love with slips under the radar really cheaply, but you’re sort of reconciled to paying a decent price for an attractive horse. Particularly as a sale like this, with no disrespect to Classic, is a lower standard of horse generally than Magic Millions and New Zealand. We’ve had a lot of luck at this sale though and it’s a great sale for finding good quality gallopers.”

Inglis Classic Yearling Sale
Day 1
Ricky Yiu
Mick Price
Willie Leung
Paul Moroney
Leonard Russo
Jamie Walter
John Hutchinson