The Mill Park brand is synonymous with quality and what better place to bring the best of the best than to the 2019 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale (April 9 and 10) at Riverside Stables in Sydney.
The Watson family owned and run Mill Park Stud might be based in South Australia, but their reputation for producing elite thoroughbreds extends right around Australia and beyond.
Top class sprinting mare Booker (above) is the latest Group I winner to add her name to the Mill Park honour roll after capturing the Group I MRC Oakleigh Plate. She confirmed her status as an elite speedster when overcoming a wide draw to score a powerful three-quarter length win in the prestigious 1100 metre sprint.
A $230,000 Inglis Premier purchase from the Mill Park draft at Inglis Premier in 2016, Booker has returned over $800,000 in prizemoney and will be worth even more than that as a broodmare prospect when her racing days are done.
Booker is the latest in a long line of Group I winners raised by Mill Park that includes Southern Speed, Rebel Raider, Serious Speed, Captain Sonador, Go Indy Go , Happy Trails and $3.8 million earner Fawkner, whose half-brother will be offered by Mill Park at Inglis Easter along with five other top class youngsters.
Consigned as Lot 417, the More Than Ready (USA) colt (above) is from Group III winning Danewin mare Dane Belltar, who has the perfect record of seven foals to race all winners highlighted by triple Group I winner Fawkner, $1.1 million earning Group II winner Tanby and Group II placed Viking Star.
Another highlight lot from a stellar producer is Lot 434, a stunning Tavistock filly (below) from blue-blooded Zabeel mare Elegant Eagle(NZ), a sister to the dam of Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed from the family of Golden Slipper winner Ha Ha.
This family has delivered much success for Mill Park and Elegant Eagle has the runs on the board as the dam of Group I ATC Champagne Stakes winner Go Indy Go, Group III winning sprinter Essay Raider and Group III placed Battle Brewing. The female members of this family are all being bred to the best stallions, so this is a pedigree that is only going to keep improving making this girl a real gem for investors looking beyond her racing career.
First into the ring for Mill Park will be Lot 73, a colt (below) by super popular young sire Brazen Beau from Group III winning Exceed and Excel mare Just Discreet, who comes from the iconic 'Discreet' family nurtured by renowned South Australian breeder David Peacock.
Just Discreet is a half-sister to Group I winner Maybe Discreet and closely related to Group II winner Serenely Discreet. This is her second foal and her first, a two year-old filly by Sepoy called Seemingly Discreet, is showing promise with a fourth and third at her first two starts in strong provincial Victorian maidens.
The late Sebring features as the sire of Lot 132, a handsome bay colt (above) from Group II placed Galileo (IRE) mare Miss With Attitude, whose first two foals to race are both winners.
Miss With Attitude is a half-sister to stakes-placed Oui Si Attitude, who is the dam of a very promising three year-old So You Think filly called So We Are, who has won twice this year followed by second in the Listed SAJC Laelia Stakes at Morphettville.
Written Tycoon is the sire of Mill Park's current pin-up girl Booker and he is also the sire of the next two featured lots, both powerhouse chestnut colts, just like their sire.
Lot 308 is a half-brother (above) to Group III placed It's a Myth and is the third foal of winning Redoute's Choice mare The Good Wife, a half-sister to four time Group I winner and $2million earner Divine Madonna and Group III winner Blessum. It's a prolific Black Type family that has also produced Group III winner Angel of Mercy and stakes-winner Maternal.
Lot 326 is a half-brother (above) to stakes-winner Guard Of Honour from good producing General Nediym mare Victory Cry, who has three winners from four to race.
A sibling to stakes-winners Reldas and Victory Chant, Victory Cry comes from the family of Group I winner Serious Speed and Group II winner Majestic Music. This colt's pedigree features a double cross of Golden Slipper winner Marscay as does Written Tycoon's Group I winner Tycoon Tara and his stakes-winner Danger Close.
Mill Park Stud has too many amazing racetrack graduates to list, however, their recent Inglis-catalogued winners include Naafer (Gr.1 placed winner sold at Easter), stakes winner Reldas, and stakes placed Smart Manoeuvre, Cappadocia, Girl Sunday, and Viking Star. The Mill Park paddocks have also produced the likes of Gr1 winners Fawkner, Happy Trails, Go Indy Go, Captain Sonador, Devil Moon, Southern Speed, and Rebel Raider.
Bluebloods spoke to Chris Watson about their upcoming 2019 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale draft of six yearlings, of which five are colts. “Mill Park are pleased with this draft, with all six yearlings having very current and active pedigrees.”
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McEvoy takes shine to Zoustar filly Trainer Tony McEvoy, who bought a filly by Zoustar earlier in the session, believes the similarities between his brilliant filly Sunlight and his latest acquisition by the Widden Stud-based sire is almost uncanny.
Such is his belief in the physique and conformation of the filly he says she is likely to be up and running in the early juvenile races later this year.
“What a powerful, fast filly,” McEvoy said about his eighth purchase of the week.
“It is a cliche but Sunlight looked like that. All she wanted to do was run, she is full of fast-twitch fibre and she is going to be a ‘sit and steer’.
“She is a two-year-old, absolutely, and you’ll see her in October. She is a star of the future.”
McEvoy also made comparisons with another stablemate, this season’s BRC B J McLachlan Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) winner Sun City (Zoustar).
“They are not big horses but they are all power and just when she walked, it was all movement, she was like a machine with how everything fitted in,” he said.
“She is also off a beautiful farm in Mill Park, not many people do it better than them, and she is a beauty.”
The underbidder, Yulong Investments, are likely to buy back into the filly, who was the only daughter of Zoustar catalogued at the sale.
Catalogued as Lot 399, the filly is the second foal out of five-time winning mare Ravenous Lass (Stratum), who in turn is a half-sister to the juvenile winner and Group 2 winner San Nicasio (Hard Spun).
Mill Park’s Chris Watson was rewarded in the sales ring after electing to target the Premier Sale with the Zoustar filly rather than send her to sales earlier in the year.
“She is an early, forward style of filly but we thought we would place her in a sale where she would be a real standout,” Watson told ANZ Bloodstock News.
“We hoped it would work out that way and it has.”
Later on in the afternoon, Mill Park Stud also sold an I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) colt for $310,000 to Hong Kong agent Willie Leung of Magus Equine. The colt was Offered as Lot 411.
At the end of the Book 1 Premier Sale, Mill Park Stud sold nine lots for $1,372,000 at an average of $152,444.
Watson reiterated the view shared by many vendors this week in that high-quality yearlings were being well found by buyers and selling for above expectations.
“We couldn’t be happier. The nice horses are well sought after and if you have got them here in 100 per cent fashion they have been really well received.”
Lot 61: Toronado x Bahamas colt, $180,000 - Hermitage Thoroughbreds Pty Ltd
Lot 98: Shooting To Win x Carolina Bella colt, $70,000 - T Ireland
Lot 157: So You Think x Eagles Destiny colt, $155,000 - RM Racing
Lot 182: Foxwedge x Family Portrait filly, Passed In
Lot 245: Dissident x Khandallah colt, $110,000 - LM & PJ Macdonald
Lot 263: All Too Hard x Lassie Mactavish filly, $45,000 - Chris Bieg Racing
Lot 348: Starspangledbanner x Noondie colt, $80,000 - J Yeaman
Lot 399: Zoustar x Ravenous Lass filly, $380,000 - McEvoy Mitchell Racing
Lot 411: I Am Invincible x Resonates colt, $310,000 - R Ngai
Lot 495: Free Eagle x Third Day colt, $42,000 - DJI Bloodstock
A plan to chase black type with Sasso Corbaro is now coming together nicely for the former Australian mare.
The daughter of All Too Hard was originally set to contest the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie last month for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, but the mission was abandoned because of a setback.
However, her owners, China Horse Club Racing, decided to press ahead with a bid to boost her value with black type in New Zealand and sent her to Matamata trainer Jamie Richards, who produced her for an impressive successful New Zealand debut at Otaki last Saturday.
"She came over two or three weeks ago with the idea of chasing black type and on Saturday's run she showed she should be up to it,'' Richards said.
''We're still getting to know her. She's a big mare but she's certainly got a lot of ability."
Richards plans to start Sasso Corbaro next in the Listed Lightning Handicap (1200m) at Trentham on March 16.
Sasso Corbaro won four races and was three times placed in 12 starts for Lees with her most recent Australian win being over 1200m at Caloundra on Boxing Day. She had been taken to Queensland in pursuit of the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares (1300m), in which she finished among the tailenders on January 12.
Her earlier performances included a decisive win at Randwick and two unsuccessful attempts at black type in New South Wales.
''She's the first horse we've had in the stable for China Horse Club and it's a great start with them,'' Richards said.
''It was a really good win, to miss the kick like she did and come right down the outside and beat them hands down. We're not often sent horses like her to try and gain some black type."
Sasso Corbaro was one of three winners for Richards and led into the fifth Group One win for stable star Melody Belle in the Gr.1 Haunui Farm WFA Group One Classic (1600m) at Otaki, while at Matamata the stable provided the quinella in the Gr.3 Waikato Stud Slipper (1200m) with Yourdeel and Aotea Lad.
Richards reports that Melody Belle, who could be in line for a wildcard berth in the A$5 million All Star Mile, has come through her massive effort at Otaki in good order.
"We're working on a couple of options for her,'' he said. ''More than likely she will go out for a spell, but we'll finalise everything in the next few days.''
Yourdeel and Aotea Lad will press on for the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on March 9 and Richards hasn't discounted stablemate Equinox, a debut winner at Trentham, also starting in the feature, despite finishing fifth of six in the Waikato Stud Slipper.
"Equinox is a lot better on good ground and he was tripped up by the ground on Saturday,'' Richards said.
''We'll work him up and see how he goes. He'll need to work really well to press on for the Sistema, but he's still in contention at this stage.''- NZ Racing Desk