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. Waarif (23,000gns from Hamdan Al Maktoum) who, purchased rated 82 is now 100, having won 5 races including the famous Carlisle Bell and £91,061 in prize money. He's still going strong and looks a listed performer in the making for 2019.
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.
Almost every colt benefits, performance wise on the track from being gelded and that's the first thing we have done with him. Given his form, his genes and his trainer, you'd struggle to be more excited about any of our recent purchases, so we very much look forward to seeing him don the light blue and orange silks in 2019.