So You Assume ridden by Dean Yendall wins the Ladbrokes Stocks Stakes at Moonee Valley Racecourse on September 24, 2021 in Moonee Ponds, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Lauriston Thoroughbreds’ James O’Brien is full of praise for the mare he bred – So You Assume – which won the Group 2 Stock Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

“It was a great win and she has proven to be an unbelievably tough mare which is absolutely outstanding,” O’Brien said of the Shane Nichols trained mare.

“She led all the way and it was just dominant and to think it was a Group 2 that she won comfortably was very impressive.

“She was a lovely type, just a little bit small at the time. We sold her in session 2 of the Inglis Premier Sale and obviously Shane Nichols is proving himself to be a good judge.”

Lauriston Thoroughbreds sold So You Assume for $40,000 to Nichols and O’Brien admits it was a cheap buy for a mare that has now won five races, including her past three, from 12 starts, for stakes of more than $400,000.

“We always tell the good stories when we get the good results and it’s a bit like the fisherman who always talks about the one he caught,” a philosophical O’Brien said.

“The ones that get away, we don’t tell those stories so often and I think a breeder has a lot of stories about how they didn’t get the results they hoped for.

“But when you are a genuine vendor and are genuinely in business you need to sell your horses to keep your business going.”

O’Brien said “unfortunately” they sold So You Assume’s dam Remlaps Jewel (Choisir x Lady Remlap) as there is a need to keep turning over their mares.

“Similarly we sold Pippie in utero,” he said.

“We had three generations of Pippie’s line and we sold that dam in foal with Pippie and got something like $30,000 for her.”

Pippie (Written Tycoon x Coupe Express) won two Group 1 races – the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Moir Stakes (1200m) – on her way to winning $1.2 million. She was sold for $1.8 million as a broodmare this year.

O’Brien said breeding was a tough caper.

“I think everyone sits back and thinks breeding is easy, but that’s not true. And while sometimes you can get the good results on the racetrack, you might not get the good results in the sales ring,” he said.

O’Brien said it could also be a tough decision on deciding what stallion should cover a mare.

He said So You Think wasn’t all that fashionable at the time when So You Assume went through the sales ring and it wasn’t easy to sell the stallion’s progeny.

“But now a days the stallion has proven himself and he is very popular,” he said

O’Brien said the decisions breeders make now where they send their mares is obviously a big part of a long term result.

“The mares sent to stallions in 2021 won’t foal until 2022, they will turn one in 2023 and as a yearling you will sell them early in 2024,” he said.

Like the fashion industry, it is s a very fickle industry and the market may or may not like that stallion any more. If his progeny haven’t performed, you could have made a bad decision in 2021 to affect 2024 sales results.”

O’Brien said he always appreciated So You Think – a 10-time Group 1 winner – as a racehorse and supported him early in his stud career but says the market was looking for sprinting horses.

He said So You Think wasn’t popular in those early days.

“I think that has changed and everyone would love to have a So You Think,” O’Brien said.

“But his progeny have had to prove themselves on the track and that has taken a bit of time, so not all buyers would have been supportive.”

We purchased Remlaps Jewel in foal to So You Think for $80,000. $40,000 wasn’t an outstanding return on that investment.

Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm took a change of direction – a temporary one – last year when they originally planned to offer their entire 2019 draft as weanlings at the 2020 Great Southern Sale.

But in another change the weanlings were offered at the Australian Weanling Sale in the supplementary part of the catalogue.

“We sold all 10 of them,” O’Brien said.

“We topped the averages and we had the top selling horse. We had a gross of about $700,000 and seven or eight of them were bought by pin hookers and were bought back through the sales ring as yearlings and they sold for a gross of $1.6 million.

“So nine months later the pin hookers have done really well with our horses and obviously they presented well and stood up to the tests of inspections and x-rays and I am really happy with the results for these pin hookers.”

The sale topping weanling by Not A Single Doubt, out of Rhodamine, was bought for $280,000 by Suman Hedge Bloodstock and Grant Bloodstock and then sold to Gai Waterhouse for $750,000 at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Named Pantonario, the two-year-old filly finished third in an 855m trial at Kensington last week and has been nominated to the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) for 2yo fillies at Randwick on Saturday.

In what is a bit of gap year for Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm, they will offer nothing this year but will be back with their yearlings in 2022.

O’Brien said they made a decision to consolidate last year following the passing of his father the farm founder Kevin O’Brien, and the nervousness around the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he admits the market has been stronger than he anticipated.

And O’Brien is hoping that Pantonario can do something special as they have her full brother which will be offered as a yearling next year.