The 2019 Magic Millions Yearling Sales are here and thousands of buyers from around the world have made the trip to the Gold Coast to find the next champion of the turf.
Sadly, selecting the next Winx, Buffering, Lucky Hussler, Stratum Star or Boban is much easier said than done and the majority of the horses purchased this week will go as close to winning a Group 1 as I will of playing cricket for Australia.
This reality will not stop those with too much money throwing down the big bucks on yearlings and there is every chance a million dollar yearling will join our list of high-priced Magic Millions Sale flops.
Spoiler Warning – We are not the biggest fans of Nathan Tinkler.
Magic Millions Flops
Foxtrot Oscar (Redoute’s Choice from Gypsy Dancer)
Buyer: Patinack Farm
Racing Record: 0-0:0:0
Nathan Tinkler is now the butt of jokes and a failed miner, but at one stage he was one of the biggest horse racing owners in the world and his Patinack Farm racing operation made breeders in Australia and around the world a massive amount of money.
Tinkler did have some success – All Too Hard went alright before he was forced to sell – but the majority of Tinkler’s yearlings ended up like Foxtrot Oscar.
Poor old Foxtrot Oscar went for $2.2 million at the 2008 Magic Millions Yearling Sale, but he never even made it to the races – making him one of the most expensive ponies in history.
Royal Battalion (Surrealist from Encosta De Lago)
Buyer: Gai Waterhouse
Racing Record: 1-0:0:0
Gai Waterhouse is one of the greatest trainers in history and she has a good an eye as anybody when it comes to selecting a quality yearling, but she does have some big misfires to her name.
Gai paid $2 million for a colt out of Surrealist from Encosta De Lago at the 2009 Magic Millions Yearling Sale. He was a full brother to Racing To Win who was bought for $40,000 as a yearling. The grey went on to win over $3.7 million in prize money.
Royal Battalion? Well, he had one start at Gatton and ran 11th of 12.
Standing Ovation (Sadler’s Wells from Ha Ha)
Buyer: Wadham Park Bloodstock
Racing Record: 9-1:0:0
The only people giving this horse a standing ovation were the breeders that managed to sell him for $1.3 million.
Standing Ovation did manage to record one race win, but it was at a maiden at Geelong that was worth $9000 – significantly short of his sale price.
He battled around at places like Kyneton, Yarra Valley, Tatura and Benalla before his owners finally gave up hope in 2010.
Seventh Reason (Sadler’s Wells from Sunday Joy)
Buyer: Gai Waterhouse
Racing Record: 15-2:3:0
When you purchase a horse for $2 million it is fair to say that you don’t picture him finishing his racing career in a class two event at Ipswich, but that was exactly the case with Seventh Reason.
Gai clearly had early issues with Seventh Reason as he was given seven barrier trials before he was seen at the races and he finished his uninspiring racing career with just two race wins – at Canterbury and Kembla Grange.
Metallurgical (Redoute’s Choice from Lady Capel)
Buyer: Patinack Farm
Racing Record: 56-6:7:5
Metallurgical is easily the best horse in this part of the list, but he earns his place due to the fact that he is still going around in races at Broome and Cairns in races that are worth 1/100th of what he was purchased for as a yearling.
Metallurgical was another $2 million purchase of Tinkler and he did run, without success, at Group 1 level, but that did not save him from a number of years of battling around dusty racetracks in Western Australia.
Magic Millions Bargains
While the majority of the horses purchased this week will be about as fast as Nathan Tinkler himself, there are sure to be some lucky bastards that will walk away with a horse that could change their lives.
Throughout racing history there are countless examples of champions that went for pennies on the dollar as younger horses – Takeover Target, Kingston Town and Manikato all spring to mind – and the Magic Millions sale has produced a number of these fairy-tale stories in recent years.
Winx (Street Cry from Vegas Showgirl)
Buyer: Magic Bloodstock Racing, R G Treweeke & D N Kepitis
Racing Record: 39-33:3:0
Although $230,000 is not loose change, Winx simply must be included in this list of bargain buys. The more wins she accumulates the less people you can find that will argue that she is not the best race horse the country has ever seen.
Over $23 Million in prize money is not bad for what they paid and that isn’t considering the amount she will make as a broodmare post racing.
Buffering (Mossman from Action Annie)
Buyer: Paul Wiletts
Racing Record: 50-18:9:8
Buffering is easily the most popular horse in Queensland and he has fans around the country due to his brave front-running style.
The star sprinter was trapped in the shadows of Black Caviar and Hay List at the start of his career and it took him what felt like an eternity to win his first Group 1, but he has now got six wins at the highest level of racing to his name and he is set to take on the world in Dubai and Hong Kong in 2016.
Shoot Out (High Chaparral from Pentamerous)
Buyer: Linda Huddy
Racing Record: 37-10:5:6
The Huddy family are the opposite of Nathan Tinkler – they are extremely nice people and every horse that they touch seems to turn into a genuine superstar.
Shoot Out started his career under the care of John Wallace and he took out the Royal Randwick Guineas and Australian Derby, but he went to another level as a member of the Waller stable and he took out the Chipping Norton Stakes in back-to-back years as well as the George Main Stakes, while he ran a stack of quality races at the highest level.
Happy Trails (Good Journey from Madame Flurry)
Buyer: Paul Beshara
Racing Record: 57-7:10:7
Paul Beshara always says that Happy Trails is his best friend and it is very easy to see why.
Happy Trails went for just over $10,000 at the Adelaide Magic Millions Yearling Sale in 2009, but he has now accumulated over $3 million in prizemoney for connections and taken out the Emirates Stakes, Turnbull Stakes and Mackinnon Stakes.
The Cleaner (Savoire Vivre from Dash Of Scotch)
Buyer: Mick Burles
Racing Record: 54-19:12:4
The Cleaner fairy-tale has taken a sour turn in recent months after the owners made the controversial decision to take him off trainer Mick Burles, but it still remains one of the best stories in modern racing history.
This gutsy horse from Tasmania and his grumpy trainer have taken the Spring Racing Carnival by storm in recent years and although he narrowly missed out on a maiden Group 1 win in the Underwood Stakes, he has still been far from disgraced against the best horses in the country.
Captain Sondaor (Shamardal from Pushing Daisies)
Buyer: Greg Wagner
Racing Record: 31-6:3:5
Captain Sonador made a slow start to his racing career and he required 11 starts to breakthrough for a maiden race win, but he eventually developed into one of the best horses in Queensland.
He recorded just his third race win in the Epsom Handicap and he was retired to stud as an extremely exciting stallion prospect, but he never got to show what he was capable of as a sire after he tragically died in a paddock accident.
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