Yoshida Purchases Champers Elysees

Teruya Yoshida (centre) | Tattersalls


Teruya Yoshida of Shadai Farm has purchased the recent G1 Matron S. winner Champers Elysees (GB) (Elzaam {Aus}) from Dublin-based syndicate Fitzwilliam Racing.

The 3-year-old filly was selected by trainer Johnny Murtagh and Eddie Linehan for €28,000 from the 2018 Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale and was one of 10 yearlings in Fitzwilliam Racing's third intake. She broke her maiden on her fourth start at The Curragh last year and was second in Naas's Birdcatcher H. She has gone unbeaten in four tries this year, winning at handicap and listed levels before taking Gowran's G3 Fairy Bridge S. on Sept. 2 and the Matron on Irish Champions Weekend over 2020 Classic winners Peaceful (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Fancy Blue (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}).

Murtagh tweeted, “We are delighted to welcome Mr. Yoshida of Shadai Farm to Fox Covert Stables. Champers Elysees will now run in his famous colours. Her next intended engagement is the [G1] Sun Chariot S. on Oct 3.”

Yoshida is no stranger to purchasing top-class race mares in Europe; other such buys in recent years have included the G1 Prix de Diane winners Avenir Certain (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) and La Cressonniere (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}), as well as six-time Grade/Group 1 winner Stacelita (Fr) (Monsun {Ger})–who has given him a Japanese champion and Classic winner in Soul Stirring (Jpn) (Frankel {GB})–and the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. winner Danedream (Ger) (Lomitas {GB}), whose fourth foal, a Dubawi (Ire) colt, will be offered by Newsells Park Stud (lot 112) at next month's Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.

Champers Elysees has proven a homerun for Fitzwilliam Racing, which was established by Johnny and Orla Murtagh, Paul McKeon and Mark Flood and is comprised largely of Dublin-based business men and women.

“It is effectively a bunch of guys and girls from Dublin city who are in banking, investment or property, but liked racehorses,” explained Flood, a private equity investor with a family background in the Thoroughbred industry, his father and brother being the owners of Boardsmill Stud. “The first year we got 14 to 16 together and had somewhere north of half a million. We bought nine yearlings the first year, eight the second year and I think it was 10 the third year. From the 17 in the first two years I think there were 12 or 13 winners. Probably the highest rated was a horse called Baba Boom (Ire) (Thewayyouare). The third year there weren't as many winners, but Champers Elysees was in there.”

In addition to Champers Elysees, the Fitzwilliam flagbearers have included the aforementioned Baba Boom, a three-time winner on the flat who was later sold to JP McManus to race over jumps; and Urban Beat (Ire) (Red Jazz), a £20,000 yearling from the first partnership who won a listed race last year at four and is still competitive at that level, having been second in Doncaster's Listed Scarborough S. on Sept. 9.

“There is nobody get paid out of this; there is no management fee, it's not a commercial enterprise in any way, it's just a partnership of like-minded people and it's 100% Johnny and Orla with Paul,” Flood said. “We've had around 30 horses in Fitzwilliam and then some of the people that got in with us have had other horses with Johnny, but they all love Johnny and Orla because they're just so honest and hardworking; it's like a breath of fresh air with everyone you're dealing with. But it wouldn't be alive now without Paul McKeon leading it as chairman.”

Flood added, “It's similar to Highclere in the sense that it's people in the city; there are some that aren't but that's the core profile, city workers who love their racing and they're all passionate about it and they're likely to go again for what's going to be the fourth Fitzwilliam syndicate.”

Johnny Murtagh and Eddie Linehan purchased seven yearlings in partnership at this week's Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale and were also active during the first session of the Goffs Sportsman's Sale in Doncaster on Thursday. Flood confirmed that some of those yearlings would enter the Fitzwilliam syndicate, but that those designations would be made at the end of the sales season.

The Fitzwilliam group has in past years enjoyed days out at Royal Ascot and winners at the Galway Festival. While the celebration of Champers Elysees's Matron win looked different than normal, Flood said the owners didn't let the opportunity pass them by, enjoying a socially distanced barbecue.

“It was just an amazing day and the whole syndicate has been amazing,” Flood said. It's been a great journey and they've all had a ball. People aren't in it to make money, they're in it for the fun and they're getting an honest ride with Johnny, and Johnny and Orla have invested their own money in it as well.”

Selling Champers Elysees is the next chapter in the success story.

“The model was always to get them rated as high as they can, sell and recycle the money in the fund,” Flood said. “It's really David and Goliath stuff. There are probably 1,000 yearling fillies every year, and she comes out on top at €28,000. You couldn't make it up.”

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