Danny O’Brien inspects Amanpour colt ahead of the Magic Millions sale (Rosemont Stud)

As the sale season is well under way, we look to the role and importance of the Bloodstock Agent in the Thoroughbred industry. We spoke to Simon Vivian from Inglis who gives us an insight of the role from the perspective of the auction house, offering his opinion and advice on the Victorian breeding industry.

Bloodstock works on a cyclical basis in line with the breeding farms. Ultimately, it is working towards the main goal of getting a weanling/yearling to the sales and providing the best possible outcome for breeders.

The research for the auction houses start in the Autumn looking at foals who were born in the Spring. Some of these foals may be weaned already and some still with their mothers. The pedigrees and conformations are assessed noting any special characteristics.

‘You are looking for general structure, part one would be size and part two would be to ensure the horse has sufficient bone. You are making sure that the conformation is good or if there is a fault then it has been recognised by the foals’ owner so corrective measures can
then be taken.’

At this point, recommendations as to which sale the horse should go to are also made. ‘We try and provide as much information as possible to the breeder(s), so they can go into the second half of the year having a plan in place for that foal. We are providing an advisory
service and our opinions as oppose to telling them what to do’.

The next stage is for the auction house to call for entries for the yearling sales. It is at this point that breeders will allocate weanlings to particular sales or, in many cases, a couple of sales per horse. It is then for the auction house to inspect every yearling that has been
entered into the sale to make an assessment which book they should be allocated into.

‘We try and find horses that have excellent saleable conformation. At the same time, we are also doing pedigree assessments so that we can make sure horses have the desired pedigree to fit into a certain sale. We would then make an assessment to see where that horse best
placed in the sales ring’.

According to Simon, there appears to be a shift with the breeding farms in Victoria over the past few decades as farms have become more knowledgeable.

‘The Victorian Breeders are becoming more commercially minded. We are seeing incredibly professional farms. There is a far more sophisticated approach by our breeders and they have a much clearer understanding of where their respected horses are best sold. It is not
always getting your horse to the best sale, it is getting your horse to the right sale where you are going to get the best financial return.’

Victoria has seen a huge amount of recent investment and is showing that it has so much tooffer newcomers to the area. It is become a central breeding hub for the industry and an exciting time to be involved with the Victorian Thoroughbred Industry.

‘We are seeing many Internationals coming in, the development of farms in the recent decade of Woodside Park and Rosemont have been fantastic for investment in the industry. Beyond that we now have Yulong, Aquis, Sun Stud and Spendthrift with the international
money which has been directed towards Victoria is phenomenal. It is one of the most positive signs we have seen for years and years. It is a long time since I can say that Victoria has been in such a positive position and attitude with a positive outlook for the future.’

Victoria has some impressive stallions to the area with the rise of notable pedigrees, but it is clear talking to Simon that above all the conformation of a horse must always come first for purchasers.
‘Our buying bench is very sophisticated and predominantly structured around horse trainers, syndicators and bloodstock agents. Their number one rule when purchasing a horse would be conformation. First and foremost, they have to buying an athlete. Poor confirmation would dramatically bring down a big pedigree versus how a high quality good athletic horse will pull up a lesser pedigree. A horse will outsell its pedigree if a horse is outstanding.’

Simon’s insight has been invaluable and when asked about advice for breeders said;

‘If you are breeding commercially, being conscious of what potential market forces are going to be in place when you go to sell your product. Whilst you cannot predict market forces in two and a half years down the track, you have to be conscious in what potential market forces might be in place. For example, ensuring your broodmare has enough appeal in her pedigree to get her foals into the sale you would want to go to. The question that needs to be asked, what is the likelihood of the chosen stallion being popular in two years’ time and if the answer is maybe then you need to decide if that is the right mating for your mare. Always thinking down the track and not just in the minute.’