Millionaire mare a coup for Cavanagh

The meteoric rise of I Am Invincible reached a crescendo at the Gold Coast Magic Millions with a colt that brought a record-breaking $2 million from Reg Inglis.

Yarraman Park’s star stallion had 37 yearlings average $478,650 and that’s commensurate for a sire who has climbed into third place on the Australian sires’ premiership despite giving four crops away to Snitzel and six to second-placed High Chaparral.

That’s a massive increase compared to the 2014 Magic Millions when I Am Invincible had 15 lots catalogued on the Gold Coast.  Vendors found new owners for 14 of them at a $134,000 average which was a great return off an $11,000 service fee.

But one sale stood out from the rest.

Melbourne agent Tony Cavanagh (FBAA) stunned the sale-ring with a call of $440,000 for a filly from proven producer Zelady (Zedative) on behalf of Melbourne businessman Rod Menzies.  “She’s an outstanding filly and we knew she would sell well,” Yarraman’s Harry Mitchell said.  “But we had no idea that she would make that much money.”

A month later, Brazen Beau won his maiden on debut at Canterbury and the floodgates opened for I Am Invincible with another 6 stakes winners from that first-crop. 

But why did Cavanagh pay 2018 prices for the Zelady filly back in 2014?

 ROD MENZIES & TONY CAVANAGH

ROD MENZIES & TONY CAVANAGH

“I inspected every one of the I Am Invincible yearlings on the Gold Coast with Rod and Phillip Stokes and we agreed she was the standout,” Cavanagh recalled.  “I had been involved with the Mitchell family going back 30 years to when we syndicated County as a stallion.

“We believed I Am Invincible was a tremendous stallion prospect.  He hadn’t had many runners at that stage but our bid changed the perception of him within the industry.

“That day was great theatre at the Magic Millions.  It was towards the end of the first session and all the good judges were on her including Gerald Ryan who was the underbidder.

“And it was lovely to see the reaction of her breeder Julie Henderson who worked as a secretary at Yarraman.  She was overcome with emotion.”

Menzies named the filly Comprende and Stokes trained her to win twice at Morphettville as well as earning black-type in the G3 Auraria Stakes and LR Laelia Stakes.

“Phillip thought she would be good for another campaign but Rod decided to sell her as a broodmare prospect,” Cavanagh continued.  “I drew up a short-list of stallions for 2016 and recommended we send her to Snitzel.

“She was booked in during July and ended up being the last nomination available before Arrowfield closed his book!  I asked Glen Burrows at Willow Park to prep her for the last year’s Magic Millions National Sale and then the stars aligned when Snitzel and I Am Invincible took off as the two boom sires in Australia.”

Comprende was even more popular the second time around on the Gold Coast.  The good-looking mare drew competition from all parts of the sale-ring before Widden Stud blew the competition away with a final call of $1,050,000.

That made Cavanagh’s initial bid look an absolute bargain and so was his only other yearling buy at the 2014 Magic Millions.

“I rated Denman a good chance of becoming a successful stallion and bought one of his colts for $140,000.  Rod raced him as Caro Kann and Phillip got him going to win two year-old races at Gawler and Caulfield.  He was also fourth in the Adelaide Magic Millions and third in the South Australian Sires’ Produce Stakes.

“He was then sold to another of my clients Alf Gauci and renamed Ozi Choice before transferring to Darren Weir.”

Ozi Choice completed a hat-trick of victories at Morphettville, Caulfield and Sandown prior to a midfield finish in the Magic Millions Cup won by Care To Think.  “He’s got a great racing style and gave them something to chase on the Gold Coast,” Weir said.  “He’s won more than $300,000 in prizemoney and is just so tough.”

Exciting Perth filly Agent Pippa is the latest acquisition for Menzies.  She created a big impression when winning on debut at Ascot in October prompting Cavanagh to negotiate a half-share from local owner Wes Martin.

She is a daughter of WA-based sire Demerit and, like Denman, he is a stakes-winning son of Lonhro.  “We brought Agent Pippa across for the Maribyrnong Plate but she pulled up shin-sore after arriving in Melbourne,” Cavanagh said.  “She’s back in work in Perth and will be set for the (G2) Karrakatta Plate in April.”

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.