Star Thoroughbreds Denise Martin and champion trainer Chris Waller have been a formidable force of late and the depth of their yearling division was on show at Riverside Stables last weekend.
Martin and Waller teamed up in 2014 and Star’s purple and white colours have played an important part in his rise to the top of our training ranks. They hit the ground running this year with $1 million winners Invincibella (Magic Millions Fillies & Mares) in January and Fiesta (Inglis Sprint) in February.
The seven-figure daughters of I Am Invincible helped Martin assemble 9 yearlings for the latest Star Collection at Riverside Stables. “There were some sensational young ones on parade on Sunday morning,” compere Caroline Searcy said. “And it was great to hear from Saturday’s three-time Group 1 winning trainer Chris Waller.”
Brett Howard of Randwick Bloodstock Agency (FBAA) joined the team at the yearling sales this year and has so far bid a total of $3.34 million on behalf of Star. The numbers will increase again during the Inglis Easter Sale on April 9 and 10.
“I had been doing some work for Denise in the broodmare market and it developed from there,” Howard said. “Denise is part and parcel of the racing scene. She’s a people person and is the ultimate professional.
“We targeted I Am Invincible at the Inglis Classic Sale and bought two of his fillies for $330,000 and $300,000.”
Martin was also responsible for the quote of the Classic Sale. “I didn’t think I would be able to buy both of them,” she admitted. “But winning million-dollar races makes you braver.”
Originally from Tasmania, Martin made a career change from hospitality to managing racing syndicates some 25 years ago with Gai Waterhouse and among her bloodstock advisors included the late Steve Brem and Henry Plumptre.
The Tasmania connection continues to pay dividends with money-spinners like Eastender (Tickets). He was undefeated in four starts during the summer carnival that climaxed with a Group 3 double in the Hobart and Launceston Cups.
“I bought Eastender for $22,000 at the 2015 Tasmanian Magic Millions and he always looked a year behind growing up,” Martin recalled. “But I told the owners to be patient because he was a proper horse and he’s developed into a wonderful stayer.”
Howard has a Tassie link of his own through Needs Further who is hot property after siring Mystic Journey to wins in the G1 Australian Guineas and $5 million All Star Mile at Flemington.
“Gooree Park’s Andrew Baddock asked if I could find a stud for Needs Further,” Howard recalled. “He rated the horse and so did I.”
A long-standing member of Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA), Howard is based at Glenesk Thoroughbreds, Mount Vincent, in the lower Hunter Valley and he drove up to Gooree to inspect Needs Further at Mudgee.
Needs Further (Encosta de Lago) is a half-brother to G1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) winner Hallowed Crown and he had completed a hat-trick in the G3 Carbine Club Stakes over the same track and trip for Gooree owner Eduardo Cojuangco.
“I liked the look of him and thought there would be sufficient interest to place him,” Howard told Aushorse earlier this month. “I believed in the horse as a stallion prospect and put together a partnership to buy him with our Victorian clients Joe Panzera, Eddie and Carlo Deluise.
“The Whishaw family which own and operate Armidale Stud in Tasmania could also see what we could see, and David and Robyn had no hesitation buying 50% when they flew up to inspect him.
“Now the horse is off to a flyer with just three crops racing and Mystic Journey has taken that to the next level this year.
“We’ve been receiving lots of calls from mainland studmasters attempting to acquire Needs Further for their farms. The Whishaws are wonderful people and we will be guided by them. Needs Further might end up on the mainland but the price will have gone up a touch!”
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.