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A terrific story by Mick Sharkie of G1X about how central Victoria’s Ridgeview Park has come up trumps with a very cheap broodmare buy.

When Junee based abattoir owner Heath Newton approached bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills to take over the management of his thoroughbred portfolio 18 months ago, the pair agreed to treat the stock list with the same ruthless approach as the coach of an underperforming football team.

Newton had too much under performing stock and it was eating into his budget – he needed to cut the has-beens and bring in some new talent.

“It’s certainly not uncommon amongst hobby breeders,” said Mills.

“Heath asked me to help him get things moving the right way again so the first thing I did was have a big clean out. It was about trying to turn a better profit for him long term.”

Under Mills’ management, 11 racehorses were sold unreserved through a tried horse auction, with five broodmares dispatched to the Inglis Easter Broodmare Sale, also unreserved.

The only horse that carried a price at the sales was Secord, an ageing Encosta De Lago mare in foal to I Am Invincible.

It wasn’t that she was any better than the other mares that Mills had sold off, the agent was merely conscious that his client had forked out $27,500 for a service fee and so he didn’t want to torch that investment.

“She was as ordinary as the others, she’d had three foals and none of them had won a race. We put $30,000 on her and she did not get one bid.”

“I tried to flog her to every breeder at the sale but no one wanted a bar of her. I told Heath we’d just take her home and foal her down and see what we had.”

Secord went back to Widden Stud and duly produced a colt, a very good colt in fact.

“He was one of those colts that came out brilliant and just got better and better. We got the mare in foal to Star Witness and sold her, knowing that we had a chance at the sales with the colt.”

The Secord colt was accepted into the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast sale and, according to the Thoroughworks tracking technology, had more inspections than any of the 1000-odd horses on the complex, eventually selling to Shadwell Australia for a whopping $600,000.

“I would have been in the foetal position if we’d sold the mare and someone else took that colt to the sales, but boy, we did everything we could to get rid of her,” said Mills.

“Last Thursday when he went through the ring I just thought, I’m the luckiest bloke in the joint. My client thinks I’m a genius and we’ve just had a huge result, but it was anything but good planning.

“Luck ebbs and flows in racing, we all know that. Heath had had no end of bad luck with his investments but it all turned around with a clean out and a bit of luck. Now he’s got the chance to reload and get back in the game, hopefully it’s the start of a really good run for him.”

So what became of Secord, the mare that no one wanted?

“After she was confirmed in foal to Star Witness we put her on the market and we got – wait for it – $1600. Ridgeview Park in Victoria bought her,” Mills said.

“And how good is that? Heath is not the only winner from the story.

“Star Witness has kicked on, he’s a hot stallion, and Ridgeview Park have paid $1600 for a mare in foal that just produced a $600,000 colt.”

Phil and Fiona Sloane at Ridgeview are absolutely thrilled they managed to pick up such a steal.

‘We attended the Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale last year and we couldn’t believe it when we acquired her for that price, we were pinching ourselves really!” Fiona said.

“Not only did she have a great pedigree she is a city winner amassing over $37,000 in earnings and she was also in foal to Star Witness!

(since the broodmare sale, Star Witness has turned out dual Group 1 winner Global Glamour and Group 2 winner Star Turn)

“The only thing letting her down was that she didn’t have a winner yet.’

‘She settled nicely when back here at Muskerry East and had a beautiful Star Witness filly in September.

“Our plan for the filly is unknown at this stage, whether to sell her as a weanling or wait till the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale next year.”

“Secord is back in foal to Reward For Effort, little does she know how precious she is!” Fiona said.

“It’s a great result for a mare that no one wanted,” Mills commented on the full list of transactions.

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