Any gathering of the International Thoroughbred Breeders Association is bound to embrace an array of searching (not to mention controversial) topics, yet the one that caught everyone's imagination earlier this month in Dublin, was the matter of genetics.
I once asked John Oxx if he could explain why horses in Australia seemed to be capable of winning over such a wide variety of distances. "Perhaps they have better trainers there," he offered, but I'm sure neither of us believed that. There are just different philosophies, and trainers here rarely feel the need to switch a horse proven at one distance to have a shot at another. - Tony Morris
While you wouldn't want to compare it with the scarcity of the police-escorted arrival of American Pharoah at Coolmore's Ashford division in Lexington Kentucky on Tuesday, our "out-of-the-blue" happening involved the delivery of a man we've had our eyes on for a while as a young stallion prospect of the future.
In a power-packed day of selling which featured six seven figure weanlings, it was champion Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway) who delivered the biggest punch when selling for $6 million to John Sikura's Hill 'n' Equine during Tuesday's second session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.
While it's by no means restricted to racing journalism, blogging and the internet have wreaked carnage on the art of good writing, and while there are many who'll find solace in the fact that what they read on the internet and even in newspapers these days, is closer to the language they speak, you have to ask yourself where the written medium is heading if its spiral remains tilted towards mediocrity.
In recessionary times, buyers are quick to retreat from their characteristic sense of enterprise, falling back on the tried-and-tested. Even then, they’re as fussy as all hell, discriminating rigidly between what’s hot and what’s not among the proven horses, with the likes of Visionaire in big demand, while old stalwarts like Kahal are stashed on the afterburner.
The bare numbers from Sunday’s Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sale were a mirror image of the state of the local economy, with a strong upper end, a muddled middle, and a tough lower end. Like racehorse sales the world over, the wealthy are impervious to the vagaries of financial meltdowns, and our old adage of “one rich man doing what he has to do to beat another” was in excellent health yesterday.
It always helps to have a couple of updates on the eve of a sale, and yesterday's five-and-a-quarter length romp by the Visionaire second-timer Heaps Of Fun for Nchakha Moloi and Sean Tarry was especially gratifying. There are several who saw her victory, who believe she'll win at least three on-the-trot before she breaks a sweat, as good a start as a debutant owner like Nchakha could wish for.
When O'Brien first got the job at Ballydoyle in 1996, he could have turned out to be far less the trainer we know now, even though it was possible to form a strong, prior belief in his capabilities from his former exploits. But, as the sample-size has expanded, it has become less and less likely that we have been fooled by randomness or been guilty of not separating his skills from the lavish context of Ballydoyle and its Coolmore-driven equine resources.