'The bonus must go some way to helping allay the fears of those vendors'
Sam Hoskins answers our questions about the Tattersalls Book 1 Bonus
The Tattersalls Book 1 Bonus, which provides a £20,000 windfall to eligible graduates when they win their first novice race, recently had its 250th winner. Sam Hoskins, who sources horses for his Hot To Trot Racing and Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds syndicates, talks through its attraction as well as looking ahead to the domestic autumn sales.
1) How much of a difference does the Book 1 Bonus make, first to buyers, and second to those offering the yearlings?
I think it's a great scheme for both purchasers and vendors alike. The odds stack up as a purchaser and it provides a valuable incentive to those with lower budgets to shop this sale hard.
I can only aspire to being a vendor at Book 1 – as a breeder, I swim around at the bottom of the pond – but I imagine their biggest concern would be for those horses who just miss the lists of the big purchasers and therefore might be a bit lonely in the five-figure bracket. The bonus must go some way to helping allay the fears of those vendors.
2) With the Book 1 Bonus and GBB Bonus available, do you think there is more demand for fillies now?
Yes, definitely. If you buy a GBB filly from Book 1 then you could win £40,000 in one go, which is more than most Group 3 races.
3) Which first-season sires have impressed you so far and which of the older brigade do you have a soft spot for?
There are a number of promising first-season sires around, many of whom are probably only getting started if their race records are anything to go by. Galileo Gold and Time Test have both caught my eye, while I'm thrilled for the team at Overbury that Ardad has started so well.
The quality of mares he covered would not have been strong and indeed his top-priced yearling last autumn was only £55,000 – a colt we bought called Regal Envoy, who is worth following next season – so his success deserves marking up.
4) What qualities do you value most when you're assessing a yearling?
From a physical perspective: athleticism, good limbs and an honest eye. The last point is so crucial as a horse can have all the talent you like but if it doesn’t have that desire or toughness, it will underachieve.
We have a filly called Roman Mist, who is owned by Hot To Trot Racing and recently won her fourth race this season. She's made of iron – it really makes a difference.
From a pedigree perspective, I would prefer to sacrifice some sire power for a good mare who consistently produces highly rated horses.
5) Following Arqana, Goffs UK and BBAG, are you optimistic about trade at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale?
I wasn’t present at Deauville but Doncaster was very strong. There appears plenty of optimism around and a great appetite to have some fun in life, something owning a racehorse can offer.
I have certainly felt that with the syndicates I manage in the past 12 months, during which time people have been amazingly resilient, despite not being able to attend events and racing for poor prize-money. I think they have really appreciated the distraction of racing and ownership during some bleak times.
6) What would you like to see change in the industry?
It’s not original, but a radical shake-up in the way racing is funded. We need firm commitments on media rights from all racecourses and reform of the levy so that it's based on turnover instead of profit. It would also be great to see all parties work more closely together to promote racing to a wide audience and to maximise betting revenue.