Boomer Does The Deel At Magic Millions

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Craig “Boomer” Rounsefell | Sharon Chapman

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GOLD COAST, Australia–The best was saved until very nearly last during the opening session of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale on Wednesday when, eight lots from the end of the session, Craig “Boomer” Rounsefell of Boomer Bloodstock went to A$900,000 to secure Arrowfield Stud's colt by Dundeel (NZ) out of champion and Group 1 producer Miss Finland (Aus) (Redoute's Choice {Aus}). The top-priced filly of the day was a A$700,000 daughter of Tapit bought by Mandalong Stud and trainer Gary Nickson. Eleven lots sold for A$500,000 or more, and those 11 were signed for by 10 different buyers from four countries.

With 24 more lots catalogued than last year, the average rose 4.2% to A$192,016, while the median was unchanged at A$150,000. A total of 187 were sold for a clearance rate of 85%, which also marked an improvement from 80% during the same session last year. The gross was A$35,907,000. Magic Millions Managing Director Vin Cox expressed satisfaction with the figures, especially considering the increase in catalogue size.

“It is a bit stronger than last year,” he noted. “The average and clearance rate tell you that. We've extended the catalogue, so for those two figures to increase is a herculian task. The real positive is there is lots of buying at all levels; it's not all about the six-figure lots. It's a competitive market and the vendors are here to sell and the buyers are stepping up.”

Cox said he would be pleased to maintain the opening session's figures throughout the week.

“If we turn the lights off on Saturday night with that clearance rate and average we'll be tickled pink,” he said.

The Real 'Deel'…

As Australia's season-opening yearling sale, Magic Millions is naturally the place where first-season sires are debuted each year, and former high-profile racehorses like Sepoy (Aus), Pierro (Aus) and All Too Hard (Aus) have seen members of their first crops create fireworks in the sales ring in recent years. The five-time Group 1 winner Dundeel (NZ) (High Chaparral {Ire}) added his name to that list on Wednesday when lot 232, his colt out of 2- and 3-year-old champion and five-time Group 1 winner Miss Finland, was hammered down to Boomer Bloodstock on behalf of Sean Tomlinson and Tony Tighe for A$900,000. Agent Guy Mulcaster was underbidder.

It has been a busy and successful time for Rounsefell on many levels, as he also welcomed his first son last week, and the agent–who enjoyed a banner year last year with GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Obviously (Ire) (Choisir {Aus}) and G1 Railway S. winner Scales Of Justice (Aus) (Not A Single Doubt {Aus}) to his credit–described the Dundeel colt as his “top pick of the whole sale.”

“We've looked at the whole catalogue and we've been through the Hunter Valley and he was our top pick on type of the whole sale,” Rounsefell said. “When you look at the book it's obviously a freshman sire in Dundeel, but the mare is a champion and she's proven to throw a Group 1 winner. I had the clients around me that said to buy him so we went after him strong. He's just an absolute standout; we couldn't find a fault in him physically.”

Rounsefell said the bay would likely go into training with Bjorn Baker, whose father Murray Baker conditioned Dundeel.

“We won't push him too early but we'll go after him as a late 2-year-old,” the agent said. “His 3-year-old year will be his big year based on the breeding. We're just very excited to secure him. I think there's pressure from Bjorn Baker, we've got some horses with him, so I think he's probably first in line to get the horse.”

Miss Finland is a granddaughter of G1 Epsom Oaks winner Moonshell (Ire) (Sadler's Wells). She earned black-type as a producer with her second foal, the stakes-placed Woodbine (Aus) (Hussonet), who was a A$750,000 yearling, and two years later she produced Stay With Me, winner of the G1 Thousand Guineas. Her 2013 colt, Aivan (Aus) (More Than Ready), sold for A$500,000 as a yearling and has been placed in Japan. She was barren in 2016 after being covered again by Dundeel.

Arrowfield's John Messara said after the sale, “He's a great individual and we knew there were a lot of people on him through the x-ray hits and the inspections. He's by a champion out of a champion and a half to a Group 1 winner, so he's got it every which way.”

Six lots later, Rounsefell purchased another colt from Arrowfield, signing for lot 238, a son of Not A Single Doubt (Aus), for A$320,000.

Surace Scores With Tapit Filly…

A champion sire in any country is worth paying attention to, but when that stallion is Tapit, America's champion sire three years running, he can make an entire sales ring on the other side of the world stand at attention.

That is what happened when lot 165, a grey filly who is the first of two by her sire catalogued at Magic Millions this week, strode into the ring. Bred by Ricky Surace and consigned by John Kelly's Newhaven Park, the Sept. 1 foal was hammered down to small-time trainer Gary Nickson for A$700,000. The filly is the first foal out of Leinan (Ready's Image), a stakes winner at Woodbine and Presque Isle Downs and herself a daughter of Golden Mirage (Green Desert), a stakes winner in Ireland and the U.S. who has produced two other stakes winners.

Kelly, who had also sold an I Am Invincible filly for A$500,000 earlier in the session, explained that Surace purchased Leinan privately in the U.S. in foal to Tapit before shipping her to Australia to foal out.

“She's been a very good filly her whole life,” he said. “She's never given us any problem. A few people have told me the Tapits are a bit hot, but we haven't seen that with her at all. She's been lovely and relaxed.”

Leinan remains at Newhaven Park, where she has a Snitzel (Aus) colt at her side and is in foal to that farm's resident Delago Deluxe (Aus).

Nickson, the trainer of a string of 15 at Warwick Farm Racecourse, was acting on behalf of owner Ric Pisaturo, a cattle breeder on Mandalong Stud in Mendooran, New South Wales.

“We only came just to buy the filly,” Nickson noted. “We got here this morning and we are flying back this afternoon.”

He added, “Ric picked the filly out, he knew the sire from America from his trips over there. When he saw her in the sale he said, 'we are going to buy the filly.' It is a 2-year-old pedigree, an early pedigree, she is a nice filly and we had her out three or four times and she came in and out of her stall and she never seem ruffled, she has a beautiful nature.”

Nickson continued, “At the end of the day Ric just liked the way she walked and how she looked. She was well prepared; Newhaven do a great job.”

Nickson and Pisaturo have a history of success together.

“Mandalong Stud support me 110%,” Nickson said. “Ric and I grew up around horses and he was very big in the cattle industry although he has scaled down now, but he loves his racing.”

Early Double For Bahen…

Hong Kong-based agent Justin Bahen got off to a fast start at the sale on behalf of owner Mr. Little Kwok Hing Hung, spending a combined A$1.02-million in the space of about 10 minutes for a pair of yearlings: a colt by Sebring (Aus) (lot 27) for A$600,000, and a filly by Snitzel (Aus) (lot 31) for A$420,000.

The Snitzel colt, consigned by Musk Creek Farm, is the second foal out of Footprint (Aus) (Redoute's Choice {Aus}), a half-sister to a pair of stakes winners including G2 AAMI Vase winner Marching (Aus) (Commands {Aus}).

“It's a scary start,” Bahen laughed after signing for the colt. “It's a bit early but he was one of our favourite colts. We've been over the complex the last seven days and gone back to see him on numerous occasions and he came up an A+ for us, so he was a must buy, but I must admit we went a little higher than we thought we'd have to go; it's a tough market. But I'm lucky I've got a very good owner who is more willing than myself when it comes to the budget.”

Bahen noted the colt would go into training in Australia, with the view to possibly racing in Hong Kong if he displays ability. The agent added that the colt reminded him of Group 2 winner and last season's dual Group 1-placed 3-year-old Seaburge (Aus) (Sebring {Aus}), whom he purchased for A$220,000 at this sale two years ago.

Bahen paused his interview with reporters to jump in on the Snitzel filly at A$400,000 after Hung, seated alongside him, drew his attention back to the ring. The pair had to make just one more bid to secure the bay from Edinburgh Park at A$420,000.

“She nearly lost my attention after we bought the colt; we were chatting away and my client alerted me to the fact that she about to be knocked down,” Bahen said of the daughter of the stakes-placed Fortune Of War (Aus) (General Nediym {Aus}). “She's a lovely, beautiful-moving filly and a full-sister to [stakes-placed 2-year-old] Spoils. She took my eye the minute I saw her. She's a big, powerful girl. She hasn't missed a beat, which is imperative for me, that they have a lot of energy from the day they walk in here to the day they walk in the ring. The conditions [with the heat] have been very trying and for her to stand up to the prep she's had and come here to repeat it, that's what I want to see in a filly.”

Bahen said the bay, whose dam is also a half-sister to G2 Zipping Classic winner Sertorius (Aus) (Galileo {Ire}) and G3 Thoroughbred Breeders S. winner Clifton Red (Aus) (Sebring {Aus}), is a future breeding prospect for Hung. Hung is currently building up a broodmare band and it already includes, according to Bahen, a daughter of Malibu Moon purchased in-foal to Frankel (GB) on a Southern Hemisphere-time cover.

Vinery Gets Choice Filly…

Over the last three years, Vinery has struck for a select group of fillies at public auction to race and later add to its broodmare band, and Vinery's Peter Orton on Wednesday afternoon signed for what he described as “the best filly in the sale” when he purchased lot 80, a daughter of Vinery resident More Than Ready, for A$600,000. Consigned by Kia-Ora Stud, the chestnut is out of dual Grade III winner Heart Ashley (Lion Heart), who was bought by Kia-Ora for A$500,000 at Keeneland November in 2010. Heart Ashley, a half-sister to GII West Virginia Derby winner Cupid (Tapit), GIII Railbird S. winner Ashley's Kitty (Tale of the Cat) and stakes winner Indianapolis (Medaglia d'Oro), has produced one to race–the three-time winner Ameristralia (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}).

Orton said the filly would be raced by Vinery in partnership with Kia-Ora owner Ananda Krishnan.

“We try to buy about half a dozen fillies a year with a view that they will be broodmares down the track,” he explained. “We always want to buy a bit of pedigree, a bit of upside, and one of the genuine ones that fit into our broodmare band. We've been doing this for three years now and we've got a beautiful group of fillies coming through. We buy the odd colt to race as well.”

Vinery stands More Than Ready during the Southern Hemisphere breeding season, and Orton said of the sire, “He's the most underrated stallion in the country. He does such a great job, and to have a broodmare by him is a great outcross down the track a little bit. Especially after she's won the Golden Slipper, it'll be very handy,” he quipped.

Stonestreet, Aquis Team For Filly…

Leading local buyers teaming with international visitors has been a common trend at Australian yearlings sales in recent years, and that again proved the case on Wednesday when America's Stonestreet Stables and Peter Leidel joined forces with the Fung Family's Aquis Farm to secure lot 38, a daughter of I Am Invincible (Aus), for A$500,000. Consigned by Mill Park Stud, the Oct. 1 foal is the third foal out of the stakes-placed Furline (Aus) (Tale of the Cat), and therefore a half-sister to G3 Sires' Produce S. second Smart Manoeuvre (Aus) (Smart Missile {Aus}).

This wasn't the first time Stonestreet and Aquis have partnered; they signed for a Kitten's Joy colt at last year's Keeneland September sale which will remain in the U.S. to race.

“We're excited about the partnership,” said Stonestreet agent John Moynihan. “Peter Leidel–who of course owns Lady Aurelia with us–this is his first Australian purchase, so we're excited about that. This is a filly we really liked, we thought she'd be an early prospect for next year and potentially have a shot at running in [the Magic Millions 2YO Classic].”

Moynihan noted Stonestreet's bloodstock holdings in Australia currently numbers three mares and their foals, along with three horses in training–one owned outright and the others in partnership. Kangarilla Joy (Aus) (Lonhro {Aus}), one of Stonestreet's initial Australian purchases and a dual winner and Group 2-placed, has been retired and will be bred this year, likely to I Am Invincible, while popular Group 1 winner Miracles Of Life (Aus) (Not A Single Doubt {Aus}) will be bred back to Medaglia d'Oro this year after producing a filly last year by the same sire.

While those fillies have remained in Australia for the time being, Moynihan said Stonestreet likes to purchase fillies with the potential to produce in both hemispheres. He noted that Group 1 winner Bounding (Aus) (Lonhro {Aus}), bought by Stonestreet for A$1.9-million at last June's Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, has been sent to the U.S.

“Bounding is back in Kentucky now and is going to be bred to Curlin, but we could have very well left her down here,” he explained. “Of course the dam of Miracles of Life, Dazzling Gazelle, is by More Than Ready, and we have Kauai Katie who is a multiple graded stakes winner at home who is a More Than Ready mare, so most of the things we've bought, if we want to move them back and forth, we can do that.”

Moynihan said he likes the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale because he can buy similar types to what works for Stonestreet in America.

“There are some really nice horses here,” he said. “Vin and his crew do a great job of getting the kind of horses that we have a lot of success buying in America–the kind that usually run at Saratoga, the 2-year-olds. It's really similar to what we do at home, which is why I like it.”

A Rare Buy For Moore…

Agent George Moore and his father, champion trainer John Moore, are familiar faces at the Australasian yearling sales signing for colts to race in Hong Kong, but it was an usual sight to see the pair bidding on a filly at Magic Millions on Wednesday. They eventually secured lot 117, a daughter of I Am Invincible, for A$575,000, and the younger Moore confirmed it is the first filly they have ever bought.

“Dad wanted to race one over here and we've got a couple services we want to use up, so dad said he might ask John Hawkes to train her,” George Moore explained.

Consigned by Yarraman Park Stud, which stands I Am Invincible, the Aug. 4 foal is out of the Group 3-winning Is Amazing (Aus) (Laranto {Aus}). The G1 Victoria Derby winner Preferment (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) appears under the third dam.

“She's a really good moving filly,” Moore added. “I Am Invincible is doing really well and he's doing really well in Hong Kong also. We're not going to bring her to Hong Kong, but we really like the stallion and couldn't ask for too much more.”

Dual Role For China Horse Club…

The China Horse Club, a perennial leading buyer at this sale, enjoyed a productive day in sphere, and also as a seller. Its purchases included a pair of A$500,000-plus transactions: lot 55, a Not A Single Doubt (Aus) colt out of Golden Edict (Empire Maker) hammered down to China Horse Club, Newgate Farm and WinStar Farm for A$525,000; and lot 133, a Sebring (Aus) filly bought by China Horse Club on its own for A$500,000.

The Not A Single Doubt colt was sold by Aquis Farm on behalf of Emirates Park Stud and is the fourth foal out of the three-time winner Golden Edict, a half-sister to Grade I-placed El Prado Rob (El Prado) from the family of G1 Doncaster H. winner Secret Savings (Seeking The Gold) and three-time Grade I-winning mare Dispute (Danzig). The Sebring filly is the second foal out of Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Group 3 winner Karuta Queen (Aus) (Not A Single Doubt {Aus}), and was sold by Strawberry Hill Stud.

China Horse Club filled the role of seller when lot 61, a Fastnet Rock (Aus) filly bred in partnership with and sold by Coolmore Stud, was knocked down to agent Guy Mulcaster and trainer Chris Waller for A$400,000. She is the second foal out of Magic Millions 3YO Guineas winner and Group 3 winner Graceful Anna (Aus) (Canny Lad {Aus}).

All Too Hard Easy Choice for Hawkeses…

The first-crop yearlings by four-time Group 1 winner All Too Hard were highly sought-after at last year's Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. The Vinery resident–and half-brother to unbeaten world champion sprinter Black Caviar (Aus) (Bel Esprit {Aus})–is Australia's leading first-season sire after the first half of the racing season, his 15 runners having accumulated A$148,410 despite not yet posting a win (he has eight placed runners). All Too Hard was trained by the training team of John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes, and that trio struck early during the opening session of the sale for lot 17, a colt by All Too Hard from Vinery, for A$460,000.

Wayne Hawkes explained that while the bay reminded him of the sire, he stood out on his own merits.

“He looked a lot like the old man so that was half the inkling to buy him,” he said. “One thing you don't do is you don't get emotional at a yearling sale; we didn't like him just because he was by All Too Hard–we wouldn't have bought him just for that reason. He's a lovely horse and we're very happy to secure him.”

Team Hawkes has “about 15” progeny of All Too Hard under its care.

“We're loving them,” Hawkes noted. “He hasn't had a winner yet but all that means is he'll just be cheaper at this sale. By the time we get to the next sale they might be a bit more expensive.”

Lot 17 is out of Fit And Ready (Aus) (More Than Ready), a half-sister to G1 Golden Slipper winner Catbird (Aus) (Danehill) and G2 Newmarket H. winner Danbird (Aus) (Danehill).

Dundeel Leads First-Season Sires…

Dundeel finished the session as the leading first-season sire by average, with six sold from seven offered at an average of A$291,667. Widden Stud's Zoustar (Aus) came next, with nine sold of 15 offered at an average of A$225,556 and a top price of A$400,000. Newgate's Sizzling (Aus) had four of five sell at an average of A$165,000, and Coolmore's Camelot was two for two, those averaging A$155,000. Spirit Of Boom (Aus) had just one of two sell, but that one made A$110,000. The Factor had five yearlings (from six offered) average A$110,000, while Epaulette (Aus), the half-brother to Helmet (Aus), had six (from 10 offered) average A$103,333. The G1 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente (Ire) had just one sell, that one fetching A$110,000.

 

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