It’s probably not the thing that breeders want to hear, but Cranbourne trainer Kasey Keys admits she had a much bigger budget to purchase a yearling at the 2019 VOBIS Gold Yearling sale.
Kasey, who now trains in partnership with her father Ken, was quite keen on an Unencumbered colt, out of Canhill (Dangerous/Canned Music).
She snapped up the colt for $8000, which was offered by Bucklee Farm at Greta West, and luckily for Kasey the under bidder had reached their limit.
Now named Free To Move, the three-year-old gelding has had five starts for two wins, a second and third.
The gelding picked up a $74,250 cheque for his victory at Moonee Valley last Saturday over 1200m.
And there was also an additional Super VOBIS owner’s bonus of $23,000 and a $7,000 nominator’s bonus.
It was significant that the victory was the first metropolitan win for Kasey and Ken since forming their training partnership.
Ken wasn’t taking any credit for the win, saying it was his daughter who selected the horse and put in place as what he described as the project.
Kasey described Free To Move as a godsend.
“He was only $8000,” she said. “But he was a neat, little package and he just had a beautiful head on him. I just liked him from the moment I saw him and it was good to get him at that price.”
Kasey said he had been so easy to train, pretty much push button.
Kasey said she didn’t mind his pedigree, even though it was an older page.
“If you go to the second dam and further, there was all good form in there and quite a few Group races and those sorts of things,” she said.
“Even though it was an older page, I was then more than happy with him on type as well.
“He was quite sensible for a colt when he was walking around there at the sales and he looked like he was ready to go to the races and he certainly didn’t look like one who was going to take a long time.”
Kasey admits she would have gone a lot higher in the bidding and in her head he was a $20,000 or $30,000 horse.
“I think I was just in the right place at the right time,” she said.
“I definitely would have gone to 20 or 25 thousand. We both (Ken) really liked him so I wasn’t hesitant with it, that’s for sure.
Unencumbered (Testa Rossa/Blizzardly) died in early 2018, and Kasey admits the stable hasn’t had a lot to do with his progeny, but have always taken notice of them.
“I have always liked them if that makes since,” she said.
“Everything I asked him to do, he just did easily and quite naturally and you didn’t have to do it a few times as he pretty much picked it up the first time he galloped or quickened up or went to the barriers.
“It was really easy compared to others that were nearly four to even get to trial stage.”
The only time Free To Move has been out of the placings was on debut when he raced on the Pakenham synthetic track after a meeting was transferred in May.
He finished fourth, beaten two lengths, in the two-year-old maiden and then won his next start 18 days later at Moe.
“When the meeting was transferred to the synthetic I was more excited about getting him to the races, but in hindsight I should have waited for a grass track,” she said.
“He was against some good horses that day and it wasn’t as though it was a terrible field or anything.”
Kasey said she was looking at couple of options for Free To Move, including the Blue Sapphire (1200m) at Caulfield on October 14 or the Australia Stakes (1200m) Cox Plate Day. Both are Group 3 races.
And Kasey said it was good to record the first metropolitan victory with her father and even more pleasing to do it with a horse she’d selected at the sale
“It was definitely pleasing,” she said.
“It was great to have a win at The Valley with a horse that has only had a couple of starts”.
With winnings of $149,220, Free To Move has well and truly paid for himself and it helps that Kasey is also the only owner.
Bucklee Farm’s Leeanne Smith said it was great to watch Free To Move’s victory and she was happy for Kasey.
“I am all for the girls in the industry and the young ones coming up and I’d like to think that I was there doing something, even from afar,” Leeanne said.
Leeanne said she’d always had a soft spot for Unencumbered, who died in early 2018.
“The pedigree read really well and there were crosses and nicks that worked super well and suited the mare and what we would spend on her,” she said.
“The mare has since died – but doesn’t that always happen. Unencumbered is gone and so is the mare. As soon as something dies, something good out of the family pops up.”
The last yearling, out of Canhill, was sold by Leeanne for $4000 at this year’s VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale.
She would have liked Kasey to have bought the yearling by Trust In A Gust.
Leeanne said the filly was about three months old when Canhill died and she was reared by all its aunties in the paddock.
And Leeanne said she can still manage a chuckle after hearing Kasey say in her post race interview at The Valley that she wasn’t going home from the sale without the yearling.
“I wish I had have known that,” she laughed.
“My horses go to the sales and they are for sale and that’s how I’ve operated and it has helped the farm to have a good reputation and that’s what we look for to have a seller’s reputation.”
Leeanne said it was a great Free To Move’s victory was in a VOBIS race.
“God bless VOBIS,” Leeanne said.
“My main reason for screaming at the television on Friday night was that I could see the VOBIS sticker on his bum the day he went into the ring.
“Those are the things you look at when you sell them cheaply when they stay in Victoria.”
Leeanne said she was happy the yearling she sold is still in Victoria, is VOBIS eligible and went to a good stable which are all positive factors to provide the best opportunities for breeders.
Pocketing the $7,000 nominator’s bonus made the win all that more enjoyable.