Balius Farm’s co-owner Jacqui Sushames is hopeful the performance of the two yearlings they sent to the Magic Millions will help put their boutique family-run operation well and truly on the map.
Sushames, who operates the Gippsland property in conjunction with her husband Tam Dieu, was “over the moon” after selling Lots 663 (Toronado x Big Spirit) and 759 (Extreme Choice x Crimson Arow) for a combined $650,000 on day four at the Gold Coast.
As with many of the Toronado progeny, their handsome colt will be heading to Hong Kong after he was purchased for $150,000 by the HKJC’s Vicky Tang, whilst Shamus Mills snapped up the Extreme Choice filly for $500,000.
“It’s been a great day, and we couldn’t be any happier,” said Sushames.
“For a fairly small farm to sell two yearlings for over $600,000 is obviously huge for us, and it means so much for our horses to go to good homes and get a great opportunity to prove themselves.
“To get a result like that gives everyone a real boost, and if the yearlings can perform on the racetrack then it obviously increases the residual value of the mares’ progeny at future sales.
“The colt is from the same cross that produced Masked Crusader, so if he’s half as good as him then we’ll be very happy! The Toronados have been going really well in Hong Kong and this colt is a lovely mover, so we’re really hopeful he’ll make his mark over there.”
Having put a reserve price of $200,000 on the Extreme Choice filly, $500,000 went well above and beyond their expectations and will ensure the husband-and-wife team fly back to Melbourne with a spring in their step.
“We thought she would definitely fetch her reserve price, but we probably didn’t expect the bidding to go quite as high as it did,” said Sushames.
“Extreme Choice is obviously a big upgrade for this mare from her previous matches, and the filly has a really good temperament. Shamus had been really impressed with her during the inspections, and he knows a thing or two about fillies so we were delighted when he showed an interest.”
For his part, Mills was very happy with the purchase price paid, saying: “As a filly buyer who wants to look for broodmare prospects when they’re finished racing, you need to like what you see physically given you are going to breed with them in the hope they produce something like themselves down the track.
“I’ve been looking for a long time to find a type by this stallion that looks as good as she does, so I’m delighted.”
For Sushames and Dieu, it’s back to the day job tomorrow when they return to the farm to prepare for the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.
But before then, the pair can relax and toast their success with a well-earned glass of champagne (or two!).