Hooked on Melbourne

Pinhook Bloodstock’s Dave Mee was among a large group of Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA) members running the rule over yearlings at Oaklands this week.

Inglis has catalogued 786 lots over four sessions at the Melbourne Premier commencing on Sunday and Mee, a NZ-bred agent based on the NSW Central Coast, has always liked the Melbourne Sale.

“The general public has a greater awareness of the racing industry in Victoria and, although it’s an old cliché, there really is a yearling for everyone at Oaklands,” he said.  “The Classic Sale is still bedding down but you know what you’re getting at Premier.  Yearlings by I Am Invincible and Zoustar will obviously make good money alongside other stallions that are more affordable.”

Mee has been in tremendous form in Hong Kong with 8 individual winners sourced for his clients since the start of this season.  Over half of them have saluted in the last month at Sha Tin and Happy Valley - Hinyuen Swiftness (Duke Of Marmalade), Otouto (Haradasun), Clear Choice (Rebel Raider), Chung Wah Spirit (Dash For Cash) and Splendour And Gold (Excelebration).

“It’s very satisfying getting runs on the board in Hong Kong.  Obviously, it’s a different environment…they’re cooped up and selecting horses with the right temperament is very important.  But you never know for sure whether they will acclimatise.

“We’ve had a mixture of seasoned campaigners and up-and-coming horses this season.  Chung Wah Spirit always had the talent but took a while to develop and get going while Splendour And Gold was straight out of the blocks winning second-up for Dennis Yip in February.”

Splendour And Gold was trained by Mick Kent to win a Cranbourne trial last year when he was registered as Maximum Plaid.  “Having them prepped by someone like Mick is a big advantage.  He’s had plenty of experience in Asia and knows what’s required.”

With the Asian trade in mind, Mee is generally drawn to proven sires and shuttlers.  “First-season sires can be over-inflated at times,” he reasoned.  “I’m usually happy to let someone else gamble on the new sires.”

Of first-crop sires in 2019, Mee has been impressed by Darley’s Group 1 miler Kermadec (Teofilo).  He had a colt sell to $280,000 at the Inglis Classic and a filly for $240,000 at the Gold Coast Magic Millions.  They were also reasonably priced for buyers mining the middle-market averaging $147,000 (Magic Millions) and $89,364 (Inglis Classic).

Mee and Flying Start Syndicate manager Cameron Bennett bought a Kermadec half-sister to Sydney stakes winner Western Beau at the Inglis Classic and there’s another five colts and four fillies by him at Melbourne Premier.  “The Kermadecs are athletic and have lots of scope with a relaxed temperament,” Mee said while evaluating yearlings outside Stable B on Thursday.  “They will probably need time and won’t be peaking until three.”

Among his Melbourne colts are the half-brother to Singapore stakes winner Holy Empire (Kornong Station), the close relation to South African Group 3 winner Queen’s Command (Millford Thoroughbreds) and the Redoute’s Choice family descendant (Gilgai Farm).

Mee can see Widden Stud’s Outreach (Exceed And Excel) siring early-comers next season.  He was beaten by Vancouver on debut in the LR Canonbury Stakes but was injured in running and retired without another start.

“There was a slight dip at the 2018 Melbourne Premier but personally, I don’t read too much into that,” Mee declared.  “At the end of the day as an agent, I have orders to buy the best horse I can for the budget I’m provided with by the client.  If I’m beaten on a horse by someone with more money, then so be it.  To me, acceptable value is paramount.”

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.