Fond memories of a Group One performer bought from Karaka more than a decade ago flooded back for Victorian bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills when he secured another Savabeel filly from the same sale ring on Monday.
Mills went to $650,000 to buy Lot 442 from the draft of Haunui Farm. The brown filly is by Savabeel out of the winning Snitzel mare Stolen Gem, whose only foal to race is the triple Group One placegetter To Catch A Thief.
This was one of the first Savabeel fillies Mills has bought from Karaka since 2011, when he paid $80,000 to buy You’re So Good. That purchase price was turned into more than A$300,000 in prize-money, with You’re So Good winning the Listed Alexandra Stakes (1600m) and placing in the Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m), Gr.2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) and Gr.3 Vanity Stakes (1400m).
“I remember buying You’re So Good here a number of years ago, and I’ve wanted to buy another Savabeel filly ever since, really,” Mills said. “It’s been a while between drinks and I just hadn’t lobbed on the right horse. But when this filly came out, I had an inkling I’d found her.”
It was finally a case of going one better for Mills, who came close to a couple of the blockbuster lots on Sunday’s opening day of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale.
“We were the underbidder on both of those two top-priced fillies yesterday,” Mills said. “You have to have your breaking point, and we reached ours with those two. So it’s been hard to buy, and I think it’s becoming increasingly hard to buy these well-bred fillies. In the last two or three years, the market for those sorts of horses has really strengthened.
“But we were very happy to buy this filly. She’ll go to Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr in Victoria. We have a good relationship with them and have had a great deal of success, so we’ll keep that partnership rolling.”
But Mills is open to the idea of the filly returning to this side of the Tasman.
“I did think about leaving this filly in New Zealand and getting her trained here,” he said. “I said to the owner that I’d love to have her here for the Karaka Millions next year.
“The boost in racing and all the hype around New Zealand racing at the moment is fantastic. It’s something we got swept up in a little bit. When I saw this filly, instead of thinking Blue Diamond (Gr.1, 1200m), I was thinking about bringing her back for the Karaka Millions. That raceday is potentially going to become a destination event for fillies, even trained overseas.”