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Monday, April 27, 2009

Triple Crown Down Under

While our Triple Crown kicks off with Saturday’s G1 Kentucky Derby, the Australian Triple Crown wrapped up this past weekend with no winner.

Unlike the US version which features three-year-olds racing over the course of five weeks going 10f (Derby), 9.5f (Preakness), and 12f (Belmont), the Australians run two-year-olds 6f (Golden Slipper), 7f (AJC Sires Produce) and 1 mile (Champagne) over a three-week period. Most unusual for Americans, the Aussie Triple Crown races often feature colts, geldings and fillies run against one another.

Last year, the colt Sebring took the first two legs, only to be upset by the filly Samantha Miss in the Champagne. Unfortunately, both are now retired from racing—Sebring sold for A$28 million and stands at Widden Stud, while Samantha Miss set a record recently when she sold for A$3.85 million as a broodmare to Strawberry Hill Stud where plans are to breed her to Sebring’s sire More Than Ready.

The last Aussie Triple Crown winner was Gai Waterhouse’s gelding Dance Hero, in 2003; before that, it was the filly Burst in 1992 and the colt Tierce in 1991. (As a side note, Friesan Fire’s 2nd dam Bint Marscay won the Golden Slipper in 1993, as did her sire Marscay in 1982).

This year, a gelding Phelan Ready won the Golden Slipper, to which a prominent auctioneer ever-so-bluntly noted: “With Phelan Ready all he's worth is what he can win on a racetrack. These colts in the race…will be very valuable with a group 1 to their name, but with a gelding, if they break down they are worth nothing. I would say Phelan Ready's market value now would be somewhere between two to three million if someone was looking to take him to Asia to race.”

Third in the Golden Slipper, Manhattan Rain already had a regal bloodline, being a half-brother to champion sire Redoute’s Choice. Still, coming back to win the AJC Sires Produce added several zeros to his value. Going into the Champagne, he looked unbeatable...but we know there’s no such thing in racing. He finished third, as the winner Onemorenomore earned the first G1 victory for trainer Jason Coyle and Patinack Farm, the racing stable and stud farm founded in 2007 by Nathan Tinkler.

Tinkler has spent by most accounts nearly $200 million in the past year and a half to buy horses and farm land for his new enterprise, listed as part of the portfolio of Tinkler Group, a private investment company: “The company's growing portfolio consists of interests in mining and property development as well as thoroughbred racing and breeding.” Patinack broke abruptly with respected trainer Anthony Cummings last December, and now has its sizable stable in the hands of Jason Coyle, a previously little-known trainer who had apprenticed with trainers Gai Waterhouse and David Payne.

An $800k yearling purchase, Onemorenomore looks to be the first of many Patinack group winners, as Tinkler appears adapt at spending beaucoup bucks for quality horse flesh. Sort of reminds one of another investment/hedge fund firm, except for one thing—at least IEAH hasn’t adopted a female Olympic swimmer to be its brand ambassador.


Ken said...

A top report and comment Valerie.
Why your interest in Australian racing??

Valerie said...

Ken, I've always been a night owl, and thanks to the internet, I can now view on and bet horse racing on the other side of the world. Plus, I love turf racing, and the Aussies offer big fields, mixed gender racing, and good payouts. I'm definately hooked :)