Kyneton trainer George Osborne can’t exactly remember what he paid for the colt by Shamus Award, of out Miss Bernardini.
Osborne bought the horse in an online auction for one of his major owners, Alex Babauskis, but also took out a little slice of the ownership.
The now four year-old, named Chase Award (NZ), bought up his second win in a class 1 at Ballarat on Sunday, but Osborne believes there are better races ahead for the gelding which has also had one second and two thirds from his seven starts.”
“I race him with Alex,” Osborne said.
“I know this sounds stupid but I can’t remember exactly what I paid for him but it was pretty cheap – $9,000 or $8,000 – something like that.”
Osborne said that when he bought Chase Award as a colt he was surprised at the condition he arrived in but as he turned out he admitted it was just probably “him.”
“I think they just thought he was immature and he certainly appeared that way on type but he is fine,” he said.
“I haven’t had that many Shamus Award’s but I have taken on board what happens and see a few around the places when I go to the races all the time and they are not dissimilar.”
Osborne got Chase Award from an online auction as a late two-year-old that had already been broken in.
He said the intriguing part of what got him interested in the colt was that his dam Miss Bernardini was obviously highly thought of by Chase Award’s breeders – Sean Buckley’s Ultra Thoroughbred Racing.
“They thought enough of the mare to send her to New Zealand to Savabeel and I thought, hang on, what’s going on here, he said.
“They must have thought a fair bit of the mare to do that and I thought it sounded all right.”
At the time Buckley’s farm in New South Wales was under severe drought which eventually led to moving his broodmares and other horses to his Victorian property. A second property was also acquired at Kilmore.
“I think a lot of those horses were moved to Kilmore and they were inundated with horses. I think they just had to get rid of whatever they could online,” Osborne said.
“So it was a combination of those things.”
Osborne said they had purchased Chase Award before Shamus Award’s Mr Quickie started to establish himself as a serious horse, winning four races in succession and then going on to win the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm in May of last year.
“That really ignited Shamus Award,” he said.
Osborne said he mainly concentrates on the sales, rather than breeding, to buy the secondary yearlings.
“But I do have a couple of owners who breed quite heavily,” he said.
“The other one I have by Shamus Award was bought as a weanling and we let her our grow out at Glenfern Park and sent her to James Wardeiner (Ballarat) to break in. He has been breaking horses in for me for a long time, and he put it up with some of the best ones we have had over the years.”
Osborne said if the forensic pencil was put over Chase Award’s runs, he said he’d gone home with an excuse at every race this preparation before his win on the synthetic at Ballarat on Sunday.
“He tries his little heart out,” Osborne said.
“His record is improving all the time. He hasn’t had much luck this preparation but got it at Ballart in a limited field and got the right ride and that made up for a little bit of it.”
“I actually have another one is only a yearling which I bought as a weanling and I love him and he is already showing promise as a young horse and he should be OK.
“The breed themselves are bread and butter and they just turn up and win races every day. They are good horses.
“Little Chase Award will mope around and come race day, and even trial day, he just really lifts his game and gives everything.
“He doesn’t do much on the track at home and doesn’t have to but now that I know where he is at, I don’t really need to see it any way.
“But I have had a few over the years that have been pretty handy horses and they save it all for race day and don’t give you much indication around the place.
“He is a very hard horse to read around the stables whether all is well with him because he mopes around and he doesn’t spell very well. We spelled him during his win at Echuca and this preparation and he certainly didn’t put any condition on and probably ran around too much.”
He said when it comes to buying it’s a case of groundhog days as he and his team go through every catalogue and the first preference is on type, followed by good breeding and then it’s a help if the hype or popular stallions are at a cheaper price as the easiest ones to attract owners.
“It’s as combination of the three, but at the end of the day type wins every time for us because we purchase at the bottom level price wise,” Osborne said.
“VOBIS is absolutely great and all those things gets ticked off and every year we spend two months on the road going everywhere from Perth to Tasmania to Adelaide and that’s what we do to pick up eight or nine or ten and it’s been a successful way to do it for a long time.”
Osborne said he has 60 horses in work at his Kyneton stables and a few at the pre-trainers and normally has about 100 on the books.
After moving from Queensland to Kyneton about 12 years ago, Osborne said it was the best move he’d ever made he gave a glowing endorsement of Victorian racing.
The Cox Plate winning Shamus Award (Snitzel/Sunset Express) now stands at Rosemont Stud.