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The Tale of the Select Sales Topper

It was really no surprise that Lot 1155 by Tale of the Cat from the Redoute's Choice mare Eye's Light Up topped the Select sale, as he was a magnificent individual, and was tipped by several good judges as the horse to buy.

Select Sale toppper, Lot 1155 by Tale of the Cat
Photo: NZB Website

The fact that he was prepared by Hallmark Stud only added to the equation as they have consistently produced outstanding individuals over all three sales sessions over the past few years, and they knew they had a top colt.

The surprise perhaps was the buyer, Perth trainer Lindsey Smith, who paid $205,000 for a colt he had not even laid eyes on until the horse was in the outside parade ring, and the colt is staying in New Zealand to race in the Karaka Million next January. A first time visitor to Karaka, Smith was advised by bloodstock agent Robert Dawe, whom he had literally just met, that this was the smartest colt on the entire complex!

"He was an outstanding colt and was always going to make his money.
I knew he was easily going to be in the top 5% of the Select Sale," said an obviously delighted Mark Baker from Hallmark Stud

"He was the type of colt who ticked all the boxes - he had temperament, physical presence, a lovely walk, just all in all a lovely horse. I was impressed with him from the time I saw him in a paddock last July at Neville's property in Maungatapere and from the time he arrived in early November he has just kept improving."

Neville being Neville Child the breeder of this colt and the owner of the mare Eye's Light Up, a sheep and cattle breeder who raises his horses on a property in Maungatapere just north of Whangarei.

"I have been associated with the Bakers now for about four or five years. I like the Bakers - they are good people, and great stockman, When it comes to raising stock they think like I do," said an equally delighted Neville Child.

"It was an awesome result, he was a lovely colt with a lovely temperament just like his mother who is a nice mare with a lovely nature."

In 2006 Child went to the Inglis Broodmare sale in Sydney with the two good mates that really got him involved in this industry - Terry Archer and the late Bob Tait - with the specific purpose of buying a commercial mare. Archer and Tait had taken a lot of trips with Child but probably none as expensive as this one, where he spent A$100,000 and purchased the unraced mare Eye's Light Up by Redoute's Choice out of Rising Above.

A daughter of Kaapstad, Rising Above won five races in Australia and left one winner. She in turn was a half sister to the stakes winners, Dopff, Rizon, Ready to Lift, and the stakes placed Whitford Hill. Her half-sister Ascendo left the stakes winners Sir Clive and Ascending while another Hi Queen left the Tasmanian Derby winner Currigee. Her dam, On the Rise, was a winning half sister to the stakes winners Kharmacruz and Snow Chief , out of the stakes winning mare Lavender Hill, herself a half sister to Rosie's Girl. This is the family made famous by the Chitty family from Haunui Farm.

"I was sick of selling in festival and wanted to sell in Premier. I bought this mare in foal to Charge Forward and sent her to Amarina Farm in the Hunter Valley to foal.
From there she went over to Coolmore and was served by Tale of the Cat - once again I had consulted with Terry and Bob and Terry had previously sent a mare to that stallion.

"Besides I am not into line breeding as such. As a breeder of cattle and sheep you just don't do it. So with over 150 sire sons of Danehill in Australasia it rather restricts where you can go with a Redoute's Choice mare, it's either the Storm Cat line, Red Ransom, or Mr Prospector" he concluded.

The mare returned to New Zealand with the Charge Forward filly at foot and went to Cambridge Stud to foal, with a view of going to Stravinsky. The EI outbreak thwarted those plans and Eye's Light Up missed to Zabeel. She is now safely in foal to another Storm Cat line stallion One Cool Cat and Child is hoping for a similar result to the Tale of the Cat mating.

Child has one other mare he is breeding from having sacked those that were only Festival quality and is planning to reinvest some of his sales earnings in another commercial mare.

Harking back to the surprise buyer Lindsey Smith, therein lays another tale.
Smith is amongst the leading trainers in Perth with a team of about 30 horses. He trains from a purpose built property about 30 minutes south of Perth which features its own track, walker, swimming pool and several large three to four acre lush green paddocks where he grazes his horses for a few hours each day. He is also about 10 minutes from the beach and his team are regular visitors there as well.

Smith is perhaps best known as a trainer of middle distance and staying horses and as the trainer of the 2004 VRC Derby winner Plastered and the Australasian Cup winner Old Comrade. He has trained the winners of most of the black type races in Western Australia.

Local bloodstock agent Robert Dawe had previously done some leg work for Smith but the pair had only communicated by telephone or email, and Dawe only introduced himself to Smith when he spotted him leaning on the rail, around 15 minutes before the Tale of the Cat yearling went through the ring.

During the conversation Smith asked Dawe if he had seen anything he liked, and when he told him about Lot 1155, the pair then moved to the outside parade ring to view him. Dawe then went to bid on the horse for his own client and was most surprised when it was knocked down to Smith.

Smith had already bought the two fillies he had orders for, coincidently both by the Tale of the Cat sire Falkirk so was only speculating when buying this colt. It was his first visit to Karaka and he was on site with a group of owners and his Administration Manager, former kiwi Diane Stampalia (nee Kettlewell) who takes up the story.

"Lindsey was keen to visit New Zealand and promote the virtues of racing in Western Australia with its good stake money, and great climate to potential owners and breeders. He trains a Galileo gelding bred by John Bromley who was keen for us to come to New Zealand to see his stock as well. I didn't take much persuading as I enjoy coming home and after growing up in Trentham have fond memories of the good times had at the sales," she said.

"It's turned out to be a great trip. We took our owners down to the Auret's property in Wanganui where the Bromley horses are and were so impressed with the facilities that all three have gone there from the sales. The Tale of the Cat colt will be broken in and Fraser will train him with a view to racing him in the Karaka Million next January. That still leaves plenty of time for him to return to Perth to race in the $500,000 Group II Karrakatta Plate which is the big two-year-old race in Perth. We plan to syndicate him amongst some of our owners.

"The owner of the two fillies we bought ,Emile Panoisson, was so impressed with Fraser and Nigel Auret that as a sign of good faith he has left the fillies there to be broken in and have their first preparation before being sent to us in Perth. Lindsey is planning to come back in July to see the horses and who knows he may find some other horses to take back with him," she added.

So the tale of the Select Sales topper started with the old comradeship of some Northland mates who enjoyed having fun in an industry they love, and has spread to encompass new friendships, new business and networking opportunities and will continue to do so with the racing of this magnificent colt Lot 1155, the top priced yearling at the New Zealand Bloodstock 83rd National Yearling Series Select Sale.


- Michelle Saba