Tarcoola Stud broodmare Hold Me Closer (Danehill Dancer x Intertwined) provided a couple of significant results in less than two days which has left owner Ken Williams contemplating the sale of his good producing mare.
The action started at The Valley on Friday night and continued the following day at Sandown Hillside.
Hold Me Closer’s Thought Of That (So You Think) won the last race of the day at Sandown with nearly an all the victory in the 1800m event for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.
The five-year-old couldn’t have been any more impressive, winning by 4.5 lengths.
On the Friday night at The Valley, Thought Of That’s three-year-old half-brother Daily Bugle finished third, beaten less than half a length, in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) for trainers Robbie Griffiths and Mathew De Kock.
Tarcoola Stud’s Williams has had some interesting observations in recent months on Thought Of That which he bred and took to the 2018 Easter Yearling Sale where he expected the colt to fetch $200,000-plus.
He walked away with $100,000 but nevertheless was disappointed.
When the horse was again offered for sale earlier this year, Williams went to $100,000 but was outbid by trainer Ciaron Maher who bought Thought Of That, along with a partner, for $140,000.
Williams was again a little disappointed when Maher, who trained the gelding to the 2019 Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m), rejected his offer to buy a share in the horse.
“When he came up for sale I thought I’d buy him back,” Williams said.
“I wanted buy a bit of him. Ciaron has owned him for two starts and he has won nearly $100,000 in those two wins.
“You have to laugh don’t you.
“I still reckon he is a good horse and certainly a Group horse.”
Thought of That and Daily Bugle are the only two horses Hold Me Closer has had to the races.
Inspiring Woman, a four-year-old full sister to Thought Of That, never made it to the races. She was sold online in July as a breeding proposition for $40,000.
“I have two beautiful fillies out of Hold Me Closer which we will race ourselves,” Williams said.
“We have a Spirit Of Boom filly which we will race and I have got another full sister to Thought Of That who is yearling at the moment and is absolutely magnificent, absolutely magnificent. It is a stunning horse.”
Williams said the Spirit Of Boom filly will probably be broken in soon and they were thinking that with two fillies, maybe they should sell Hold me Closer.
“Do well sell the mare – it might sound a bit stupid,” he said.
“The mare is going on 12 and she is hopefully going to be in foal to Brazen Beau and the way prices are at the moment, and we have got two fillies, so what will do is race them and have a bit of fun with those and then breed from them and sell the mare.
“They are obviously halves and fulls to Group horses and maybe we grab our money of the mare. Look, I’m not sure but it’s an option.”
With a lot of fillies that Williams would like to keep and races, he said Tarcoola Stud doesn’t have an abundance of horses to take to the sales so the economics become a big factor.
“It becomes a bit tricky,” he said.
“As a breeder and owner of a horse stud, not a big one but we employ three people, it’s fun and games just trying to break even all the time.
“But it’s a lifestyle and it’s a bonus if you do it without going broke.”
Hold Me Closer was late going to Brazen Beau last year but didn’t get into foal, but Williams said they’ll know probably know next week whether the recent return mating has been successful.
He said it didn’t hurt the mare to have a season off.
“The mare herself is a magnificent horse and has a bit of history that will make you laugh,” Williams said.
“She was a foal share with us and Coolmore to Danehill Dancer because he was $130,000 or something and we took her to Queensland to sell and for whatever reason she wasn’t that popular which was crazy.
“She was a good looking filly but at that stage her legs were a little bit not quite perfect but are now and Coolmore and us bid on her but the Coolmore boys bought her,” Williams said.
“They bought me out and raced her and she wasn’t a bad racehorse and probably should have won more than she did but won in Sydney.
“And then Colm Santry (Coolmore) rang me up and said do you want to buy her back for breeding, but I won’t tell you what I paid for her but it wasn’t a lot.”
Shane McGrath paid $30,000 for Hold Me Closer at the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale and she was sold soon after to Coolmore man, Colm Santry, for $45,000.
And after Thought Of That won the Caulfield Classic, Williams was offered $400,000 for the mare.
He said the Coolmore boys always laugh when they see him.
But Williams said he would expect to still get a big dollar for Hold Me Closer, whose dam Intertwined (Sir Tristram x Twining) produced the 2002 Golden Slipper winner, How Funny.
He predicts the mare still has the capabilities to produce at least three or four more foals and believes the family will keep improving.
“We will wait and see what we do with the mare and it depends on how the sales go,” Williams said.
“I couldn’t be happier with the mare and those two horses.
“We didn’t do too well with the So You Think when he only made $100,000 but should have made $250,000.
“But that second one to raise Daily Bugle made $230,000 which was pretty good for a Press Statement so can imagine what sort of type he is, really nice.”
Hold Me Closer’s first foal, also by So You Think, died three weeks after being born.
After being guilty of selling multiple Group winners rather than retaining them to race, Williams said that was a major reason for deciding to keep Hold Me Closer’s two fillies.
Williams has nine of his own broodmares his breeding from, and has a similar number of outside mares on the farm.
Stakes mare Tarcoola Spirit has dropped a Brazen Beau filly and Vivacious Spirit is in foal to Impending as part of the stud’s DNA breeding.
“Black Caviar has got a double cross of Vain in the female side so we look at things like that. I have got a guy in England who helps me out with all that stuff,” he said.
“We have got a Merchant Navy out of a mare, Explosive Cross, that is throwing some very nice horses. She is a Bernardini mare that has come from nowhere and the first foal out of her was a thing called Tarcoola Diva and Gemma Rielly had her and she is a beautiful, beautiful mare and is back in work now and we are hoping she is a stakes horse.”
Tarcoola Diva, who Williams also races, is yet to have a start for her new trainer Gavin Bedggood at Cranbourne.
The third foal out of Explosive Cross, which Williams also bred and raced, was sold at this year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale to Griffiths and De Kock racing for $260,000. The colt is by So You Think.
After Thought of That’s win on Saturday, winning trainer Maher said:
“He’s a really enigmatic horse. He’s got a lot of talent. It is taken a little bit of time to find the key, but just changing things up, you’ve got to keep the horse guessing.
“Credit to Josh (jockey Josh Richards). He was pretty forthright which is unlike him. It was a really good ride.
“We won last time and he’s only going to gain confidence again from
that. He’s a very likeable horse at home, a kind soul but he leaves a bit for himself occasionally. ”
After a disappointing performance in the 2019 Derby when he started at $4.80, Thought Of That had remained winless since his 2019 Caulfield Classic win until his victory at Sale in August and then made it two in a row with last Saturday’s Sandown triumph.