(Above: Booker in the Group III Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. Photo Grant Courtney )

Victorian breeders were busy buying and selling last week at the Chairman’s and the inaugural digital Inglis Australian Broodmare sales.

Michael Christian’s Longwood Thoroughbred Farm in conjunction with bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills, were the most prolific of the Victorian buyers at the Chairman’s sale paying nearly $2 million for four quality broodmares in foal to leading stallions.

Christian said he paid $1.87 million, on behalf of one of his clients for four quality mares which they believe are in foal to the right stallions.

The Longwood mares and prices are:

Samara Dancer (Hinchinbrook/Ennerdale) in foal to Trapeze Artist purchased for $750,000.

Lubiton (Snitzel/Rosa Stellata) in foal to I Am Invincible purchased for $620,000.

Hot Dipped (Written Tycoon/Galvanized) in foal to Trapeze Artist purchased for $270,000.

Fuddle Dee Duddle (Red Ransom/Bella Inez) in foal to Trapeze Artist purchased for $230,000.

Christian said he believed they got the mares for the right prices and hopefully they will develop into great broodmares for Longwood.

“Samara Dancer was a Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude winner and a magnificent looking animal from a good family and Trapeze Artist is a multiple Group 1 winner” he said.

“We are looking forward to them all arriving in the next couple of days and it’s very exciting for the farm.”

Christian said he put together a short list of mares in the sale and along with his client and good friend. He spent three days in the Hunter Valley inspecting farms and looking at all the horses in the Chairman’s Sale to bring back to Victoria.

“When I went to the Hunter last year in August, Trapeze Artist blew me away and was a magnificent animal. The best credentialed of the first season stallions,” Christian said.

“It was also important to get the right mares and as stakes winning mares, we bought really well.”

Christian said his bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills helps him select the mares and assists in valuations and cross referencing. He admits it’s good to have a second opinion when large sums of money are being spent.

Christian has only had the farm for just over a year and they offered their first draft of 10 yearlings at Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale in March.  Their top price was $375,000 for an I Am Invincible x Runaway Jesse which was sold to Hong Kong.

“We are continuing to build up some good clients and anyone looking to foal their mare down, we have some great people working here and have some great facilities.” Christian said.

There is no a shortage of mares that Christian owns in partnership with friends,including five times stakes winner Eloping, three times stakes winner Fuhryk and Group 2 winner Oasis Bloom.

“We also have Bella Orfana who is the three-quarter sister to Hallowell Belle and is a half-sister to Fuddle Dee Duddle and her first foal, Bella Nipotina, is a two-year-old and just got beaten in the Inglis Millennium,” Christian said.

“She hasn’t won a race yet, but she has won $550,000 in prizemoney and is stakes placed.

“We have another mare, Bella Sorellastra that we bought as a weanling and she is Group 2 runner-up, so we have some nice mares.”

Christian said they have 15 broodmares on the 320-acre property at Longwood East which he purchased along with his wife Siobhan Miller, and his brother Brad and his wife Pauline.

The top Victorian lot in the Chairman’s Sale was 2019 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate mare Booker which sold for $1.6 million to Coolmore’s Tom Magnier.

The mare was offered by owners Barry and Midge Griffiths through Yarran Thoroughbreds whose John Doherty just happens to be their next door neighbour.

The Griffiths also raced top mare Heatherly, a Group 2 winner and sold her for $1.6 million through Yarran at the 2018 Magic Millions Broodmare Sale.

Booker was the most expensive yearling by Written Tycoon and sold in the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale when Griffiths paid $260,000 for her.

Doherty said although they expected to achieve seven figures for Booker and rated her in the top three in the catalogue, they weren’t sure about the market leading into the sale due to the coronavirus.

“We were hoping for seven figures and the fact she went to $1.6 million was because there were two very good judges bidding on her, it was a genuine good sale’’ he said.

“Barry is my next-door neighbour and he buys fillies to race but is not a breeder. When they come to the end of their racing careers he sells them and we are just fortunate to have sold Heatherly a couple of years ago and now Booker.”

Doherty said Griffiths was just one of those ‘hugely’ successful owners who so far has had 14 Group 1 winners which he rates as comparable to some of the huge organisations who have raced thousands of horses.

He said Griffiths doesn’t deal in huge numbers but has been successful in personally selecting horses that have gone on to win Group 1 races.

“His normal spend is about $100,000 but he went a lot more for Booker because he really liked her. She was a beauty and at the time Written Tycoon hadn’t kicked yet,” Doherty said.

“But he picked her out as a diamond. In the end at the sale she ticked the three boxes – she was a good looker, had the pedigree and was a Group 1 winner. It’s the hard thing about this business to get them all aligned.”

Japan’s Katsumi Yoshida, who has one of the best broodmare bands in the world, was the under bidder for Booker.

Other highlights for Victorian breeders in the Chairman’s Sale included:

HESKET Bloodstock sold Sword of Light (New Approach/Joyeuse), in foal to Fastnet Rock, for $900,000. They also sold All of Me (Pierro/Princesa), in foal to Dundeel, to Yulong for $260,000.

BAYSTONE Farm at Gnarwarre sold Indrabeel (Savabeel/Lightning Spur) in foal to I Am Invincible for $400,000 and Shapita (Foxwedge/Te Akau Rose) in foal to Zoustar for $300,000.

THREE Bridges sold Lady Cartier (Fastnet Rock/Ten Carat Rock) in foal to Brazen Beau for $400,000.

HIRSCH Racing added to its broodmare band with Romantic Moon (More Than Ready/Tropical Affair) in foal to Shalaa (IRE) for $200,000. They also paid $150,000 for Longport (Casino Prince/Ocean Bridge).

BROMFIELD Park paid $260,000 for Cleanup (Dehere/Feather Duster) in foal to The Autumn Sun

SUN STUD paid $290,000 for Smart Coupe (Smart Missile/Coupe).  The mare has not been to stud.

LENEVA Park purchased Calming Influence (Commands/Calming) in foal to I Am Invincible for $290,000.

However, the bold buying didn’t stop across the weekend for Victorian breeders with Yulong being active buyers in the inaugural edition of the online Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale on Sunday where they were the sale’s leading buyer.

Yulong paid $260,000 for Villa San Michele (Medaglia d’Oro) who is foal to Deep Field.

Villa San Michele is the daughter of Group 3 winning mare Florentina (Redoute’s Choice).

Yulong paid just more than $1 million for 10 mares that are all in foal.

“Villa San Michele is from a very good family, a mare with a pedigree behind her, a lovely mare to have in our ever expanding broodmare band,” Yulong boss Sam Fairgray said after Sunday’s sale.

“Overall we’ve bought some really nice mares by really good stallions in foal to some really appealing young horses and proven stallions.

“It’s great to get mares by Street Boss, Redoute’s Choice, More Than Ready and the like, really desirable mares for the Yulong broodmare band to support our stallions.”

Yulong also paid $260,000 at the Chairman’s Sale for All of Me (Pierro/Princesa) which is in foal to Dundeel (NZ).

The stud recently announced that Alabama Express would stand alongside their other stallion, Grunt. Two-year-old Tagaloa will be the third stallion on the Yulong roster when he retires from racing.