The 2022-2023 Australian racing season has just kicked off and having touched on some notable changes and events to look forward to this year in last week’s edition, I would now like to relive and pinpoint some of the highlights from last season.

Top Sale results

The Thoroughbred sales market was in unprecedented waters after the Covid-19 pandemic. The first premier sale of the year got underway in early January at Magic Millions at its Gold Coast headquarters. Thestrength of the market soon became apparent as a record-breaking 19 lots sold for A$1 million or more. Newgate Farm consigned Lot 585, a son of Yarraman Park’s I Am Invincible, who was knocked down to Coolmore’s Tom Magnier for the top lot price of A$1.9 million. 

Less than 1 month later, the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale saw Lot 313 pass through the sale ring and become its most expensive graduate to date. The Extreme Choice colt was purchased by China Horse Club from vendor Mane Lodge for A$825,000. 

Inglis’ premier yearling sale of the year, the Australian Easter Yearling Sale, recorded the highest markers in the company’s 117-year history. The sale had an average of A$406,788; a median of A$300,000 with 14 lots sold for A$1 million or more. Lot 434, a full brother to Champion Australian 3yo Sunlight, was the star of the sale and was purchased by Tom Magnier (Coolmore) for a decade-high price of A$3 million.  

Lot 434 at the Inglis Australian Easter Sale, consigned by Widden Stud and purchased by Coolmore for A$3 million. 
Image Source: Inglis

Influencers of the Stallion Barn

This season we have seen an influx of new stallions shaping the breeding landscape. One is starting to make his mark quite early in his career, Gold Standard. In his first season he covered a humble book of 26 mares and stood for a service fee of $5500. With Spendthrift ceasing operations in Australia, it was announced on the 27th May 2022 that Gold Standard’s new home would be Widden Victoria and his stallion fee would increase to $8800. The very next day he sired the Group 2 Sire Produce winner Sheeza Belter.  Two weeks later Sheeza Belter backed up her impressive performance when winning the Group 1 JJ Adkins. Due to the notable success of his first racing crop, Widden has since announced Gold Standard’s service fee will now be $17,600 with his book being capped at 150 mares. He is currently second on the first season sires table boasting a strike rate of 25% of winners to runners. 

Last season we saw Australia’s breeding scene sadly lose some stallion greats and their industry influence will be heavily missed in our future progeny. Arrowfield’s Not A Single Doubt was laid to rest with a grand total of 79 stakes winners to his name. As well as Little Avondale’s Nadeem, Melbourne Cup winner Americain (USA) and Aquis Farm’s young stallion Spieth (NZ). In the northern hemisphere, Cheveley Park Stud lost its home bred and exceptional broodmare sire Pivitol (GB). As the new season dawns, we wait in anticipation of the next sire that will write their own legacy. 

Stallion Gold Standard
who was recently purchased by Widden Stud for the 2022-23 breeding season and will stand for a fee of A$8,800.
Image Source Widden Stud

Partnership and Premierships

Michael and Richard Freedman ceased their training partnership after two years and Richard will commence the new season in collaboration with his son Will at their Rosehill complex in Sydney. Will previously trained individually in Scone and enjoyed 44 winners in his first season. 

Chris Waller reigned in the 2021-2022 Australian Trainer Premiership with 352 winners and just under A$50 million in prize money in Australia. Ciaron Maher and David Eustace came second in the overall premiership title but dominated the Victorian Trainer Premiership with 276 winners, closing out with 149 more wins than the second placed Mick Price and Michael Kent (Jnr) respectively. The Maher and Eustace duo enjoyed 321 winners overall with nearly A$29 million in prizemoney earned.

The extra funding granted to country races for the 2022-2023 season, as explained in last week’s blog, will hopefully help smaller trainers have a greater influence in future Trainer Premierships. 

The Jockey Premiership was won by William Pike who rode 189 winners and earned A$13.5 million in prize money for connections. 

Ciaron Maher inspecting yearlings at the Inglis Yearling Sale.
Image Source: Rorison Media