It's yearling sales season and our founder Tim Palin talks about our Bloodstock strategy

Fri 20 Sep 2019

It's yearling sales season, so we caught up with our founder Tim Palin, to hear his thoughts on our buying strategies and look at the successes we have had - thanks to the horses we have previously purchased as yearlings.

Tim says: “It’s widely acknowledged within racing, that racehorse ownership should never be classed as an 'investment.' There are no guarantees when you place your hard-earned cash into the stock market and bloodstock purchasing is the same. Our sport offers those lucky enough to become an owner; fun, excitement, endless adrenalin bursts as your horse leaves the starting stalls and the cachet of being 'in the paddock.' Anything else on top of that - be it a winner or a lucrative sell on - is a bonus!

We like to think that our 24 years as being a racehorse syndication company has brought plenty of smiles to our owners' faces as their horse passes the line first (all 1,074 of them!) However, the work that goes into supplying those winners for our syndicates starts early on at the yearling sales...

Days of studying catalogues of pedigree pages even before we arrive at the sale and then inspecting yearlings, is all made worthwhile when within a year, the 'chosen' horse has won, wearing our blue and orange silks. During a discussion about syndicates during Racing TV’s 'Luck On Sunday' programme recently, Harry Bentley was kind enough to say "Middleham Park buy the right horses” after his fellow panellist Dave Yates had remarked that "we were a very good syndicate" and that was just lovely to hear."

Tim - What would you say is the MPR buying strategy at the upcoming yearling sales?

"We will be looking to increase our offering and look for further opportunities abroad. We will be heading first to the Arqana Yearling sale and then to all the Premier sales listed below, in our search for next year’s 2-year old's."

What do you look for in an unraced horse?

"NATIONAL HUNT - I tend to leave that to our National Hunt Manager Tom and the Highflyer team; they seem to be doing a pretty good job, with all three of our recent ‘Store horse’ purchases winning their bumpers on debut! In essence it's a nice sized horse with plenty of scope, a decent sire and a decent page.

FLAT - We try and buy the best possible page we can afford, but a nice, well put together individual which moves well - this is important too. A good pedigree page alone does not make a good racehorse. What makes a good racehorse is a good page but ultimately the right conformation and for us, our eyes do the hard work before the horse enters the sales ring." Value has to be on the agenda too says Tim "There is no rhyme or reason behind where and when we stop bidding on any given horse other than what we value the horse at. One thing is for sure we will NEVER pay in excess of what we believe this true valuation to be. When purchasing, we have two rationales in mind; firstly, racecourse achievement is paramount - we are purchasing racehorses on behalf of our owners and only by purchasing the right individual will success ensue. Secondly, resale value, which means we can offer our owners the opportunity to sell MPR bloodstock at vastly increased prices over their initial purchases.

We have successfully delivered on this score time after time. This time last year our bloodstock team bought Ventura Rebel at the Tattersalls Ascot Yearling Sale for £28,000 and he has gone on to be 2nd in the Norfolk Stakes, after his ‘high six figure’ private sale. By Pastoral Pursuits, some may have passed him by at the sale as he isn’t by a top sire, but a top sire is, once again, no guarantee of racing success! Ventura Rebel won his first two starts at Thirsk and then in a Conditions race at Ascot; beating the hot favourite Lady Pauline. Then the offers came in and his owners voted to accept an exceptional sum for him – very wisely I might add!"

The sale of VENTURA REBEL followed in the hoof steps of previous high return six and seven figure sales successes.  Since 2016, our 'Top 10' bloodstock sales, bought by our current bloodstock team, cost £499,000 between them and were sold for a magnificent total of £4,130,500 for their owners. Yes over £4 million pounds! These include: Group 1, Group 3 and Listed winner Ventura Storm, Listed winner and placed Clem Fandango, Group 3 and Listed winner Great Page, as well as Listed winner Viren's Army.

What do you look for when purchasing a horse for MPR?

"The answer is simple. Potential. Potential to be a very good, high class racehorse, not just 'a' racehorse. To try and quantify that, we are offered horses all the time and we see thousands of horses at the sales; however, unless we believe a horse can earn a rating of at least 90 or 100 on the Flat or 140 or above over hurdles we will likely pass over the horse. The rationale being, horses of those kind of ratings can earn their keep, as well as compete in Saturday and Festival type races where you associate the larger prize money pots, whereas horses at a lower level rarely do. It's about trying to give owners a fair chance of a return on their monthly/annual fees and better days to go racing: The type of owner badges, you'd wish to add to a framed collection!

Yes of course many of our horses will operate very successfully for us with ratings below 90 or 140 but there's a difference between knowingly purchasing one and maximising what you in due course have." 

With Tom Dascombe now training for us for the first time this year, do you have any new trainers you plan to add to our roster for the 2020 flat season?

"We will be looking to add young, up and coming trainers to our roster this yearling and horses-in-training sales season. We remain firmly committed to having yearlings with our existing Newmarket based trainers, with whom we have formed winning relationships. We also envisage increasing the number of horses we have in training in Ireland."

How do you think MPR is doing? 

"Pretty well, we are constantly approached by businesses wanting to be associated with us and media outlets wanting us to appear on their pages. We have recently partnered with Racing Breaks and are proud to be an official Charity Partner to the superb Racing Welfare and do what we can to support their phenomenal work and help to raise funds.

As one company said “we came to your first, as you are the syndicate leaders” This is very humbling when I hear comments like that. I feel the package we now offer can safely be said to be exactly that. We are not the cheapest syndication company but I feel our prices offer the very best value for money experience any owner could wish to receive. We put a lot of hours into the race placement and management of our horses for their owners. We like to think that our record shows that we kind of know what we are doing!

In my opinion, we're at the top of our profession and we are firmly committed to remaining there, courtesy of the fabulous team of staff we have, owners we have, trainers and horses we have. To still have owners with us who have been there from the beginning is wonderful and I would like to thank everyone who has supported us down the years and all those who are and have been in one of our syndicates.

The work goes on to strive to be the very best we can and we look forward to the next 25 exciting years and have thoroughly enjoyed our first and formative almost 25 years of existence. Of course, it's not all about winners, it's also about an owner's experience and enjoyment and that’s what we will continue to provide today, tomorrow and next year."

Here are some of our stars that we have previously purchased from these sales as yearlings:

Arqana Deauville - *RAYMOND TUSK and CLEM FANDANGO*

Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale - *TOORMORE and KOOL KOMPANY*

Osarus Yearling Sale - *TIGRE DU TERRE and BOITRON*

Tattersalls Ascot Yearling Sale - *VENTURA REBEL and WEDDING DATE*

Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale - *MARIE'S DIAMOND and VIREN'S ARMY*

Tattersalls - *VENTURA STORM (breeze-up) and TIMOSHENKO*


If you would like to be the first to know about any of our upcoming yearling purchases, please add your email address to our mailing list here and we will keep you informed.

Please don't hesitate to contact Sarah if you have any questions or would like to know more about becoming an owner with MPR:

Here's to another successful sales season where we can unearth a future star or two and we hope you will be joining us as an owner to race next year.


August House
Appleyard Drive
North Lincolnshire
DN18 5TD


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