Home' Breeding and Racing : Issue 115 March-April Contents 20 FOR DAILY INDUSTRY NEWS UPDATES VISIT WWW.BREEDINGRACING.COM
Imported gallopers are now as much a feature of Australian racing as any local
runner bought through the yearling sales ring or specifically bred-to-race.
Peter Falconer covers one of the biggest developments of our time and one that
shows no sign of relenting.
Champion racehorse trainer Chris
Waller has a lot to answer for.
In the process of establishing
his prolific stable as one of the
most successful of our time, the expatriate
Kiwi hatched an innocent plan that has
inadvertently changed the face of Australian
horse racing as we once knew it.
Initially inhibited by a restricted number
of clients willing to back his then fledgling
operation in the local yearling sale ring, Waller
looked to the other side of the world to spend
his limited resources. Buying inexpensive
European stayers to race Down Under was
his innovative scheme, one that involved
modest purchases possessed of attributes
not normally found in the vast majority of
performers competing on Australian tracks.
What resulted was a remarkable sequence
of results that has literally ignited a
Little could Waller have imagined that
his simple strategy would be adopted by so
many of his counterparts and developed on
the scale it is today. Watch just about any
significant metropolitan program in Sydney
or Melbourne these days and seasoned
campaigners carrying an overseas suffix are
winning one valuable event after another.
Virtually every distance race staged from
restricted company up to the Melbourne Cup
is now dominated by foreign acquisitions
sourced from all parts of the planet. More
and more and more and more are heading
to Australia and being landed at some
Seven-figure sums are now believed
to be the norm for high-class European
campaigners readily secured by local
enterprises for their well-heeled clients.
However, this was never necessarily the
intention of Waller when he first set out to put
his idea in to practice.
In the beginning, Waller's overseas
purchases were tried European horses with
mediocre records and pretty modest price-
tags. A horse such as Hawk Island (Ire) is a
"This one cost '9000 guineas' and arrived
in Australia a maiden with just on $43,000
in the bank," claimed Waller after one of
the import's earliest feature race victories
for the stable. "Yesterday's $42,000 took his
prizemoney haul to $254,747," the satisfied
By the time the same horse had run its last
race in May 2010, Hawk Island had won 10
races - including three at Listed level - and
amassed over $830,000 in earnings.
Hawk Island was by no means to prove an
isolated case. The likes of Bright Mind (55,000
gns), Hartmann (3500 gns), Future's Dream
(20,000 gns), Natmana (26,000 gns), Shadow
Cabinet (46,000 gns) and Strike One (28,000
gns) were all purchased by Waller at the 2007
renewal of Tattersalls' Autumn Horses-in-
Training Sale. Each and every one went on
to become a multiple Sydney metropolitan
winner for the three-time champion trainer.
The success of these gallopers almost
inevitably stimulated unprecedented interest
in Tattersalls' Autumn Horses-in-Training
Sale. Not only has ANZAC competition for
Lots since increased appreciably, the asking
price is also substantially higher too.
At the 2013 renewal last October, Chris
Waller Racing was responsible for at least
four six-figure purchases, including two at
145,000 guineas apiece. Shopping in the same
range were more recent European tried stock
converts such as Gai Waterhouse, OTI Racing
and Paul Moroney, as well as the likes of Paul
Perry and Laming Racing.
Serving as a clear indication of just how
far the exercise has come since Waller's first
sojourns half-a -dozen years ago is the fact that
close enough to one-third of all horses that
changed hands for 100,000 guineas or more
were sold to the aforementioned contingent
for a gross of more than 1,500,000 guineas.
The Tattersalls' Autumn Horses-in-Training
Sale is only part of what has become a
burgeoning trade. Private purchases, or part
thereof, are now at least as significant if not
substantially larger again.
Of course, the past two Melbourne Cup
winners, Green Moon (Ire) and Fiorente (Ire),
began their respective racing career in England
before embarking on Australian campaigns
that landed the Holy Grail. There's also a
plethora of recent Gr1 winners - including
Foreteller (GB), Beaten Up (GB), Seville (Ger),
Reliable Man (GB), Manighar (Fr), Glass
Harmonium (Ire) and Speed Gifted (GB) -
that were acquired for their lucky connections
through private negotiation.
Such has been the success of these gallopers
it would seem that by far and way the best
means to achieve an Australian black-type
victory is to head overseas with this proven
formula and a proverbial open cheque book.
German Gr1 winner Seismos is one of
the latest proven European performers
purchased for Australian interests with
Melbourne's major 2014 spring Cups the
firm target. Winner of the Grosser Preis von
Bayern last August, the 6-year-old son of
Dalakhani was secured on behalf of Australian
Thoroughbred Bloodstock by Newmarket-
based bloodstock agent Chris Blomeley.
A young Victorian who learned his trade
during spells with Swettenham Stud, Inglis
Bloodstock and a diverse section of local
industry concerns, Blomeley became a member
of the British-based McKeever Bloodstock team
two years ago. It was about the same time that
he also successfully negotiated the purchase
of Jakkalberry before that import's 2012
Melbourne Cup placing behind Green Moon
and Fiorente for Seismos' new connections.
Blomeley has since become intimately
familiar with the tried horse scene. In fact much
of his time is now spent identifying potential
“Virtually every distance
race is now dominated
by foreign acquisitions
sourced from all parts of
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