Nurse Kitchen commands top price at National Broodmare Sale
Martin Stevens reports from the opening session
Peter Moody, who oversaw the unbeaten career of legendary Australian sprinter Black Caviar, might be in self-imposed exile from training after his spat with Racing Victoria over the cobalt saga, but that has not stopped him hitting the big time with horses once again.
Moody bred the three-year-old filly Nurse Kitchen, who was trained by close associate David Brideoake for Moody's wife Sarah to win the Group 2 PW Glass Fillies Classic at Moonee Valley in October, and to finish a close second in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill in March.
And, on Tuesday, Moody was present at the first session of the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast in Australia to witness Nurse Kitchen command the top price of A$1.7 million (£980,000/€1.14m) to a bid from Michael Wallace on behalf of China Horse Club.
Asked if he was pleased with the price, Moody joked: “Well I'd still rather be a racehorse trainer.”
He added: “She's a filly who Sarah and I bred, and Sarah ultimately raced with David Brideoake, and they did a great job with her. We've got mum and a weanling full-sister to her at home, so it was time to cash in and move on. Let's hope the sister can do a similar job for us.”
Nurse Kitchen is a daughter of New Zealand champion sire Savabeel out of the winning Montjeu mare Flying Monty, a half-sister to Hong Kong highweight Helene Vitality (who is by Zabeel, the sire of Savabeel).
Wallace said the filly, consigned by Bhima Thoroughbreds, would race on.
“She's a filly we believe has some great racing upside as we head into the next 12 months with her,” he said.
“We think she's capable of winning Group 1 races if everything goes her way. But she's already a Group 2 winner and Group 1-placed filly by Savabeel, so she has a high level of value regardless.”
China Horse Club bought a total of seven mares in the opening session, also digging deep for Inspired Estelle, a winning half-sister to former joint-world champion sprinter Lankan Rupee. The daughter of Manhattan Rain cost A$925,000 (£535,000/€615,000).
Quality over quantity for Zhang
Chinese investor Zhang Yuesheng, whose YuLong Investments bought in bulk at the sales in Europe last year, put quality above quantity at Magic Millions on Tuesday.
Yuesheng, whose silks are carried by the Mick Halford-trained Listed winner Yulong Baobei, was underbidder on Nurse Kitchen but would not be denied when another classy daughter of Savabeel came under the hammer later, giving A$1.15m (£667,000/€767,000) for Soriano.
Soriano's racing achievements took up a good few inches of her page in the catalogue as the former champion middle-distance horse in New Zealand won nine races, two at the highest level, and had another 14 Pattern race placings to her credit for trainer Graeme Rogerson.
Soriano also has a fair pedigree, as she is out of the Listed-winning Just A Dancer mare Call Me Lily, a relation to Group 2 scorer Kiss. Her first offspring is a filly foal by Pins and she was sold with a Tavistock foal in-utero.
Sheamus Mills, agent for YuLong Investments, said: “Mr Zhang was underbidder on the top lot and he's trying to establish a name for quality. He brought some quality lots here to sell, and is buying quality horses as well.
“He's been synonymous with volume so far, as he's keen to get racing going in China and get a stud book started there, but he wants to establish a select band of mares in Australia.”
Asked if Zhang was likely to frequent the sales in Europe again this year, Mills gave a definite maybe.
“We bought some really nice mares up there and put them in foal to proper stallions, so we need to see how they are met by the Australian market,” he said.
“But Mr Zhang is very keen to introduce different bloodlines and is a big fan of international sires like Tapit and Frankel, so we'll see how that goes.”
Harron hits the high notes
Agent James Harron also struck for a pair of big-priced lots on behalf of client Belinda Bateman, giving A$1.15m (£667,000/€767,000) for Petits Filous, a Group 3 winner by Street Boss, and A$950,000 (£550,000/€634,000) for Group 2 Sweet Embrace Stakes scorer Scarlet Rain, a daughter of Manhattan Rain.
“She's a gorgeous filly, was very talented and had a lot of speed,” said Harron of Petits Filous. “She can be bred to any stallion, which was a big attraction.”
Belinda Bateman raced Group 1 winners-turned-stallions Foxwedge and Wandjina with her late husband Edmund. They also had a share in champion two-year-old Vancouver, who stands at Coolmore's bases in Australia and the US.
Harron said Bateman had interests in seven stallions and would start off her new acquisitions with proven sires before supporting younger names.
He added that Foxwedge, who formerly shuttled to Whitsbury Manor Stud and left the classy fillies Hertford Dancer and Urban Fox in Europe, was “really gaining traction” as a stallion and is fully booked at Newgate Farm, his home in Australia.
Leading North American breeding and racing operation Stonestreet Farm made a splash at the National Broodmare Sale last year, by paying A$1.9m for New Zealand champion sprinter Bounding, and it was back for more 12 months later.
Stonestreet agent John Moynihan signed for two lots at A$950,000 (£550,000/€634,000) and A$800,000 (£464,000/€535,000).
The more expensive acquisition was Catch A Fire, winner of the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes at Caulfield last year. She has a fine pedigree, as a Sebring sister to VRC Sires' Produce Stakes-winning and twice Group 1-placed colt Seaburge.
The other was Thyme For Roses, a three-year-old filly consigned by Arrowfield Stud as a dispersal for US owner Jon Kelly. The daughter of Redoute's Choice and Group 3 winner Augusta Proud won the Group 3 Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott last year.
Record session turnover
Strong competition throughout the market meant the session achieved record turnover for any day at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale – A$44,916,500 (around £26m/€30m) – passing even the mark set when ten lots broke the seven-figure barrier in one session that included the Teeley dispersal in 2014.
The average price was A$176,143 (£102,000/€118,000) and the median clocked in at A$95,000 (£55,000/€63,000).
Magic Millions managing director Vin Cox said: “What really stood out was the strong competition, and a clearance rate of 85 per cent was just fantastic.
“We have turnover of just under A$45m, which is a record for a session, and we're delighted with the quality of competition from all parts of the globe.”
The sale continues on Wednesday.