At Book 1 of the 2013 Tattersalls October Sale we sold four yearlings that we’d pinhooked as foals. The first job of a pinhooker is to sell well and we were delighted with the results when the quartet we’d bought as foals for 330,000gns sold for a total of 700,000gns.
Of course sales results are important for anyone in the bloodstock industry to stay in business but where it really matters is on the racecourse, so ultimately my job isn’t just about making profit for the people we buy and sell the horses for, it’s about identifying the potential in a very young horse and buying an athlete.
The only way owners will commission me to buy horses for them is if I’ve shown I can buy winners and, equally, for buyers to come back to our drafts at the sales and have the confidence to buy a yearling from us that we’ve selected as a foal, we have to continue to offer horses who prove their worth on the track.
That’s why it was extra pleasing to see the final one of those four yearlings of 2013 become a winner on the track today. Musaaid (seen here as a yearling) made his debut for Classic-winning owners Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar on Greenham Stakes day at Newbury and built on that experience to win on his second start in a competitive Newmarket maiden over seven furlongs.
He’s a powerfully built son of Lawman and his excellent trainer Roger Varian has taken a wisely patient approach with him, waiting for him to make his debut at three rather than pushing him on at two. He made all to win by a length and a quarter from the 5/4 favourite Holland Park and it looks like there will be plenty more to come from him.
Of the other three, our Exceed And Excel filly Exceed Limits was bought by leading owner-breeder Katsumi Yoshida and won for him at two in Japan. The Equiano colt out of Mail The Desert is now named Desert Force and has won for Richard Hannon and Malih Al Basti at two and three, while Karar, a colt by Invincible Spirit out of In The Light, was another not to race until this season but has been a star, winning easily on debut then finishing runner-up in the G3 Prix de Fontainebleau and fourth in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains.
He’s not the only exciting son of Invincible Spirit to have come through our hands as last season’s draft of pinhooked yearlings included Shalaa, who was bought by Al Shaqab Racing and won on his second start for John Gosden at Newmarket. He was the subject of an upbeat gallops report in today’s Racing Post and we’re hoping to see him running in Group company during Newmarket’s July meeting. Shalaa was bred by our friends Aisling Kinane and Mark Gittins and it was great to catch up with them at our picnic at Royal Ascot last week. I still haven’t forgiven myself for accidentally spraying Champagne over Aisling’s dad, the legendary jockey Mick Kinane, but he didn’t seem too bothered and a good time was had by all, even if William managed to sleep through most of lunch.
As I’ve always loved buying foals, the pinhooking side of my agency work is something I really enjoy but equally rewarding is buying yearlings for owners to race. Of course Dancing Rain is the most famous of those to date but another horse I’ve taken great pride in is Hors De Combat, who runs in Saturday’s Group 3 Criterion Stakes at Newmarket. He won at Newmarket last May and went on to be placed at Group 2 and Group 3 level last season. His trainer James Fanshawe is one of the best there is and I’m sure it won't be long before this horse is also a Group winner.
It doesn’t matter to me where I’m asked to buy. I’ve said before how much I enjoy going to the French sales and I’ve bought some lovely horses there over the years, including Group 3 winner Leaupartie. I find there’s always value to be had in France and this year I’ll also be heading to the Baden-Baden Sale in Germany in early September as well as all the usual haunts. Last season I bought yearlings from €5,000 up and National Hunt store horses for €3,000 up. No order is too small – the main thing is finding the right horse for that order and ensuring the best value for each individual client.