We have enjoyed an awful lot of success when purchasing very lightly raced horses from big training yards, given they have to sell numerous horses each and every year to make way for the new cohort of yearlings. Just occasionally, lightly raced horses who have shown form on the track, but not quite enough form to convince their current owner and trainer that they could prove able to win big races, slip through the big yard net. Recent examples of our inexpensive, lightly raced horse purchases from big yards are Tawdeea (11,000gns from Hamdan Al Maktoum) who subsequently won 4 races for us and £117,275 including the prestigious Old Newton Cup at Haydock. G Force (25,000gns from Richard Hannon) who won 3 races for us, including the Group 1 Haydock Park Cup and was crowned Champion 3yo Sprinter of 2014 and the wonderful Carlisle Bell winner Waarif (23,000gns from Hamdan Al Maktoum).
David O'Meara has made a career out of training horses, seemingly past their sell by dates at big yards. He trained all three of the horses quoted above as well as Penitent for us, who we purchased for 40,000gns from William Haggas and Cheveley Park, who went on to win two Group 2's and be placed 2nd in the Group 1 Prix de la Forêt, at Longchamp on Arc Day.
We have a rich history of selecting horses wisely from the Horses-in-Training sales and then seeing them perform on the highest of stages, on Saturdays in big races and at festivals around Europe.
There's every reason to believe that we could have unearthed another bargain here in the form of Star Shield. He's only raced 3 times, yet he's already a winner and placed in his other two. He looks a thoroughly genuine horse who physically, still looks open to significant improvement. That could easily unlock a fair few pounds in itself and given he's only a 4yo, he looks to have at least three seasons worth of development for us to eke out. Furthermore, Star Shield is to date, the lesser performer of his dam's three progeny; the other two are black type/Group performers, so genetically there's at least 25 pounds worth of improvement in him too. We couldn't help but be impressed by his running style too; take it from us, there was something special about his run for home when winning his maiden at Redcar in July. His finishing style was mightily impressive to our eye and indeed it was on the numbers too. There's plenty more to come from this previously Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum/Godolphin owned gelding.
Syndicate manager update (25th November): He enjoyed a fabulous first season with us, winning at both Doncaster and Ascot no less. He continues to show improved form, race by race, and at the age of 4yo, he is almost certainly open to further improvement still. He’s up to a career high Timeform rating of 94 and the fact that they’ve afforded him a “plus” means they believe he is capable of achieving a higher rating still. He’s developed into a proper Saturday horse and could end up being one for those HUGE Ascot 7f handicaps, in time.