The success of Prize over a marathon 3000m journey at Moonee Valley last Friday isn't your conventional bloodstock agent coup but perfectly illustrates the comprehensive service Pinhook Bloodstock International (FBAA) is providing for its growing band of clients.
First launched a decade ago, the company's latest success story involves a 7yo gelding bought for its new connections after 66 starts.
Pinhook Bloodstock International is the trading name of David Mee, an expat Kiwi agent making steady inroads in Australia and Asia.
Now, however, he can lay claim to acquiring a seasoned performer for a regional stable headed by a formidable father and son team with quite possibly its finest feats still waiting ahead.
As Mee explained earlier this week: "I've had an association with Symon and Bill Wilde for many years. Just before Christmas, Symon called to ask if I could find some good quality stayers that might develop in to jumpers for some good clients of the stable. The ultimate aim being to win the Warrnambool Grand Annual.
"So I got to work and over the course of a few months made a lot of approaches, primarily on horses in New Zealand but also as far afield as Europe. Unfortunately, as in a great deal of cases with private transactions, you find yourself running in to dead-ends.
"As luck would have it, I had another client with a horse he was hoping to move on. The 7-year-old Reset gelding Prize. He was running around the Gold Coast and the Northern Rivers of NSW and although his class was an obvious query, he was a trier and had a very nice staying pedigree"
Mee confesses that he needed just as much convincing as the Wildes and their client about Prize's potential conversion in to a jumper.
"The big plus was that the further he went, the better he seemed to perform. He'd scored several wins over 2200m and beyond, and he was doing his best work late when runner-up over 2900m at Grafton.
"The program in and around South-East Queensland is not great for horses like Prize that require 2400m-plus, so the long and the short of it all is that I did the deal and he changed hands for $6000. At the price, he was worth a throw at the stumps with a view to setting him for a maiden hurdle at Oakbank or the Oakbank stayer's flat race, and then to take it from there."
Aside from Oakbank and the possibility of a 2017 Grand Annual start, Mee says that Prize's connections are now considering the new Jericho Cup to be run over 4600m at Warrnambool in November.
The event is to carry $300,000 in prizemoney and is to be staged to commemorate a race run in 1918 on the desert sands of Palestine, just outside of Jericho, between Australian and New Zealand troops during World War I.
The successful acquisition of Prize is the latest development in a chain of events in the rapidly changing world of Mee. In very recent weeks, Mee's bloodstock trading company has undergone a subtle name change and a slightly more acute overhaul to better reflect the wider range of services it now provides.
"Until more recently, I've been trading as Pinhook Bloodstock with Asia Racehorse Sales as the parent company. I'm now operating as Pinhook Bloodstock International. My company has a strong background in international sales, primarily Asia, but there have been excellent advancements made through sales ring activity in the past few years. So, I thought I'd rebrand and bring some clarity to the services I offer."
Citing two recent examples, Mee disclosed that a Sebring yearling bought for a client for $120,000 was subsequently sold for $400,000, and that a Starcraft colt acquired at the 2016 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale for $42,5000 fetched $110,000 as a ready-to-run 2-year-old later in the same year.
As Mee points out: "Everyone is aware of the growing Asian influence and increasing demand for Australian bloodstock and associated services, both in the inbound and outbound sense. The point of difference maybe competitive advantage? What I offer is that I already have a proven track record built up over a good period of time through very successful dealings with that part of the world."
Never one to leave a stone unturned, Mee is presently in the thick of things at this weekend's Inglis Classic Yearling Sale in Sydney before heading off to Melbourne, Adelaide, the Gold Coast and then back to Sydney for Easter.
"I've been inspecting a stack of yearlings for the Classic [and a few for Melbourne] on the farms over the past few weeks and aim to have inspected almost every horse on the sales grounds at Newmarket before the weekend. I'll do the same at the upcoming block of sales so that I'm fully prepared should a client, existing or otherwise, shows any level of interest.
"There's rarely been a better time to get involved, especially in NSW and Victoria where there is record prizemoney and world-class racing. Overall, it's a very healthy industry to be involved in at present. And with just about any class of horse — as Prize's win at Moonee Valley showed."
Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA) was formed in 1988 to maintain, improve and develop the standards, status and services of bloodstock agents throughout Australia. Its members operate with the utmost integrity and professionalism and are bound by the strict Industry Code of Conduct.
The list of FBAA members can be found here.