Inglis Premier Yearling Sale Preview: the growing benefits of buying from Musk Creek Farm

The mood for buying horses has shifted. Breeders and vendors across Australasia have reason to be optimistic after the Magic Millions, Karaka and Inglis Classic yearling sales all posted wildly strong results. And Musk Creek Farm manager Scott Williamson has been witnessing it first-hand.

The boutique thoroughbred farm on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula took five yearlings to the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in January. Of the four presented in Book 1, they sold at a price above the overall average, surpassing multiple studs that have borne Group 1 winners. The top-priced Musk Creek Farm lot, a colt by Spirit of Boom out of Personalised, made $575,000 – a record for the Eureka Stud stallion at public auction. Musk Creek Farm are riding the crest of a sudden wave of confidence buying, despite COVID-19’s puncturing of the global economy in 2020.

‘I think the general vibe and feel has been particularly upbeat towards the sales,’ says Williamson. ‘Buyers want to buy horses and they are hungry for more. You hear a lot of people saying that they have been missing out on horses. Even the ones who have bought are saying they want to buy more.

‘It seems incredible, but that is what seems to be happening. There is a buoyant mood around the racing and bloodstock industry.’

All of this sends a big signal for what is expected at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale at the Oaklands complex, starting this Sunday, February 28. Musk Creek Farm are represented by four yearlings – two homebred and two as agent – in other small but quality package of race-ready bloodstock.

‘I certainly think it’s a strong draft that we will present,’ Williamson says. ‘We knew this year was going to see a reduction in numbers across the board. But our focus in the last few years has been on the quality, and we have no doubt that the quality is here.’

LOT 39 | bay or brown filly | Lonhro x Footprint (Redoute’s Choice)
LOT 39 | bay or brown filly | Lonhro x Footprint (Redoute’s Choice)

LOT 39 | bay or brown filly | Lonhro x Footprint (Redoute’s Choice)

The first yearling to sell will be the sixth foal by Footprint, a homebred filly by the former champion sire Lonhro, meaning it is bred on the impeccable Lonhro – Redoute’s Choice cross. Footprint is a half-sister to Marching, a Victoria Derby placegetter and Australian Guineas runner-up, and Gait, who won the Listed Debutant Stakes at Caulfield on his juvenile debut.

The family includes four-time Group 1 winner Trapeze Artist, one of the highest rated sprinters since Black Caviar, and Stradbroke Handicap winner Crawl, one of the more reliable, stalwart milers at turn of the millennium. This is a pedigree entrenched in Darley / Woodlands blueblood.

Footprint also holds the title of producing Musk Creek Farm’s top-priced yearling at public auction when her Sebring colt made $600,000 at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale in 2017. Williamson did not oversee the colt back then but has a strong opinion of the Lonhro filly he offers this time.

‘This filly would rank as high as any of the Footprint foals under my care,’ he said. ‘She is an attractive daughter of Lonhro and probably has more strength some Lonhro fillies would have. She is well put together – lovely and athletic – and has a beautiful walk with a great temperament.

‘Lonhro is a great sire but he is equally as strong if not better being a broodmare sire, so I think this yearling has plenty of residual – particularly considering the family she is from. I certainly find it difficult to fault her.’

LOT 204 | chestnut colt | Zoustar x Mumtaazah (Al Samer)
LOT 204 | chestnut colt | Zoustar x Mumtaazah (Al Samer)

LOT 204 | chestnut colt | Zoustar x Mumtaazah (Al Samer)

This is the third living foal by Mumtaazah by the former leading first-season sire in Zoustar, who continues to attain success through his horses on the track and in the ring. Mumtaazah is a half-sister to Petits Filous, who went unbeaten in her first four starts, including two Stakes races in Melbourne, and started favourite for the Group 1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley.

The pedigree effuses black type value via Mackinnon Stakes winner La Bella Dama, whose broodmare feats included Group 2 winner La Rocket and Voile Rouge – who was fifth in an Orr Stakes behind More Joyous – while Belle of the Turf Stakes winner Tinkermosa further demonstrates how prolific this family has been in city-class races over the years.

Mumtaazah has sold two yearlings for $50,000 and $70,000 respectively, and Scott Williamson suspects the Zoustar presence will make this colt a hot prospect for keen buyers at Oaklands.

‘I would certainly expect an increase in price from [Mumtaazah’s] previous offerings at sale. It is warranted given the product she has given us this time around,’ he exclaims.

‘Zoustar is an outstanding sire and all of his yearlings would warrant inspection. Our boy would be right up there with the best of them, in my opinion.

‘You can see both power and presence, great temperament, and a huge hip on him. He is a willing colt – he wants to get on with the job and would run through a brick wall for you. He has impressed us through the entire sales prep, and I think he looks like a ready-made two-year-old.

Williamson is hoping that the colt’s physical and pedigree will encourage some ‘spritely bidding’ when he enters the ring.

‘I think he will appeal not only to those colt syndicates looking for stallion potential, but also trainers that like horses with the right attitude and movement. Buyers from Hong Kong should be interested as well. I think he should appeal to a wide range of markets.’

LOT 292 | chestnut colt | Churchill (IRE) x Rock Princess (Elvstroem)
LOT 292 | chestnut colt | Churchill (IRE) x Rock Princess (Elvstroem)

LOT 292 | chestnut colt | Churchill (IRE) x Rock Princess (Elvstroem)

Musk Creek Farm presents their first offering on behalf of a client in the colt by first-season sire Churchill – champion two-year-old in Europe and the 2,000 Guineas winner at 3. Churchill sold 33 colt yearlings across the British Isles last year at an average of approx. AUD$150,000. The dam, meanwhile, sold a Written Tycoon colt for $200,000 in 2017; named Rock Tycoon, he has won 7 races total.

Rock Princess is out of Boo Ticket, dam of the Thousand Guineas winner Macedon Lady – herself a producer of multiple winners. This large spread of success across the family gives buyers confidence when taking a chance on an import freshman sire at the sale.

‘I think this colt will appeal to an Australian market, and I also think he will appeal to the Asian market as well.’ Williamson says. ‘He is a lovely, big, attractive colt with a great mind. It is the first Churchill colt I’ve ever had anything to do with, and I have been very impressed.

‘He probably throws more to the Storm Cat line (damsire of Churchill) and isn’t a typical Galileo-looking colt. He has lovely size and is correct and athletic. It is a recipe for a successful racehorse and minimises the risk when people buy horses.’

LOT 768 | chestnut filly | Magnus x Bianslick (Bianconi {USA})
LOT 768 | chestnut filly | Magnus x Bianslick (Bianconi {USA})

LOT 768 | chestnut filly | Magnus x Bianslick (Bianconi {USA})

The only lot entered in the Showcase Session received a boost when La Rocque streaked away to win a two-year-old fillies maiden at Pakenham earlier this month. It gave Bianslick a perfect three-for-three record for two-year-old winners, which includes Ray’s Dream, a winner of over $170,000 in prizemoney. Scott Williamson feels she could be one of the better value yearlings in the book.

‘I would be surprised if there’s a better type and better credentialled horse in the Showcase Session,’ he said. ‘She has a lot of upside and is from a stallion who gets winner after winner – not just in the country or midweek, but on Saturdays and in Stakes races. Ray’s Dream is a big-time earner and La Rocque looks destined for a Stakes race.

‘There will be a lot of residual with this filly, I feel. She is from a great family, including Cliff’s Edge. She is a quality type with a tough attitude, which is a signature trait of the top-class fillies – they must have it. She is also correct, with good size, and when she works, she works. She just gets on with the job.

‘That appears to be what the rest of the family is like. They enjoy work and will keep responding until they stop. They are a very tough family. They enjoy the work, and they enjoy racing. And this filly shows every indication of being the same.’

If Magic Millions was any indication, Musk Creek Farm can expect their draft to be fancied by a range of buyers at Inglis this weekend. In 2020, their draft caught the eye of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, John Foote, Danny O’Brien and Louis Le Metayer. It was a good affirmation of the quality of their stock back then. And despite the restrictions on farm inspections due to the pandemic, it is unlikely to cause buyers to waver on K-brand stock now. The momentum is firmly with them to sell strong.

For further information, or to arrange an inspection, contact Scott Williamson on +61 438 398 679