Hats Off For Haatem – Bourke Back In The Big Time With Another Bargain Buy

John Bourke: “I'm going to start stuttering and stammering now!” | Tattersalls


If anyone had been chalking John Bourke's Classic success down to pure fluke, well then they may have been forced to reevaluate the Hyde Park Stud operator's method to breeding high-class horses on a budget after Haatem (Ire) (Phoenix Of Spain {Ire}) stormed to G2 Vintage S. glory at Goodwood on Tuesday. 

Bourke famously bought Poyle Sophie (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}) carrying last year's 1,000 Guineas winner Cachet (Ire) (Aclaim {Ire}) for just 3,000gns at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale in 2018. 

Haatem is the latest triumph for his approach to sourcing mares on a budget, given he shelled out just 11,000gns for Hard Walnut (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}), the dam of the Richard Hannon-trained runner at the same sale in 2020. 

Speaking shortly after the Goodwood win, Bourke said, “It's brilliant. I'm watching the racing at home here and I've watched the replay about five times already! I was very worried when Iberian (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) appeared on the outside but Haatem was very good. 

“He's a tough horse and this was his sixth run. Listen, he's a good solid horse and I have the mare here still. She's in foal to Far Above (Ire) and is a strong, good-looking mare but she lacks a bit of size. Far Above is a fast and scopey horse so the cross should work well. She has an Inns Of Court (Ire) filly at foot as well.”

Haatem was consigned by Sherbourne Lodge at Book 2 at Tattersalls last year. He sold to Peter and Ross Doyle on behalf of Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah for 27,000gns and has gone from strength to strength for the Hannon team. 

Bourke commented, “I sold Haatem as a yearling through Sherbourne Lodge at Book 2. I was buying yearlings at Book 2 and Book 3 so it's very hard to buy and sell at the same time. That's why he went through with Sherbourne Lodge. I just want to thank Sherbourne Lodge, Richard Hannon and Peter and Ross Doyle for everything. They've all done a brilliant job.”

But the real success story here, according to Bourke, is Haatem's sire Phoenix Of Spain. The Irish National Stud resident has had an electric start at stud, on the strength of which Bourke has decided to send him two mares next year, including Hard Walnut. 

Speaking about what attracted him to Hard Walnut in the first place, he recalled, “The match suited because Phoenix Of Spain is a big scopey horse and Hard Walnut isn't the biggest herself. She's a very strong, good-looking mare but she does lack a bit of size. 

“I have to say, I'd be respecting everything that Phoenix Of Spain is doing. Even if I'd nothing to do with Haatem, what Phoenix Of Spain is doing is quite impressive. I've a mare in foal to him on the farm and I am going to send him two mares next year as well.”

Bourke added, “Hard Walnut will go back to him next year, that's if they do me a good deal! Phoenix Of Spain was a very good horse himself but what he is doing now wasn't really scripted because he is more of a horse to produce two-year-olds for the second half of the season. 

“Haatem was unlucky in the Woodcote at Epsom. He was left in the stalls and still managed to finish third. He was fifth in the Coventry and was second to a machine in City Of Troy (Justify) in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket so he deserved his Group 2 win today.”

Bourke may have an uncanny knack when it comes to pulling a rabbit out of the hat at the sales but you won't see him taking any credit for the whirlwind success the farm has enjoyed in recent years. 

Asked to put the past two years into words, he said, “I'm going to start stuttering and stammering now! We all work hard here on the farm and we just like to buy those good-looking, fast and strong mares. For me, just because you spend a hundred grand on a mare doesn't mean you are going to get paid for the foals in year one or two. 

“I like these trading mares if I can use that word. Some people call them second-hand mares but you just have to cover them right and hope for the best. There are some good farms in Westmeath. We have Tally-Ho Stud and Lynn Lodge around here so it's a good area.”

Providing an update on the most famous mare on the farm, Poyle Sophie, he added, “She foaled at the end of April but didn't go back in foal so we left her off for the year. I have a Mehmas (Ire) colt going to Book 1 out of her and she has a Mehmas filly foal on the ground. We'll sell the colt first and then we will see what we do with the filly. We have a nice bunch of mares to cover next season.”


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