By Grant Morgan
Each year we try predict which first season sire will make it. This year the sire at the top of our list is Epaulette.
I was thrilled to purchase lot 870 a bay filly by Epaulette consigned with new racing and breeding empire Aquis Farm. She was knocked down to me on day 5 of the sale for $140,000.
I must say I thought I’d get her for a lot less than that. But there were plenty who spotted her. I know Warwick Farm trainer Matthew Smith was underbidder, whilst up and coming Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie was also on this filly.
This filly is very much a two year-old prospect. She is strong and well balanced with very clean knees and joints. She looks built to run early. She will head to the Warwick Farm stable of Bjorn Baker who knows how to train a two year-old having already won the Magic Millions Two Year-Old Classic with Unencumbered.
This filly was sold as a weanling by her breeder Tony Williams to Aquis Farm for $55,000 at the Magic Millions National weanling sale last June. Tony is a legend in the racing and breeding world and now heads up the famous Goffs auction house in the UK having formerly worked with Newgate Farm, Hong Kong Jockey Club and Magic Millions to name but a few.
Tony also bred Group 1 winner Peggy Jean. He sold her as a weanling as he did with our filly, before she was syndicated as a yearling the following year. Earning not far short of $1m on the track, Peggy Jean went on to be sold as a broodmare for $1m.
I love buying yearlings that have gone through a weanling sale and there are plenty of great examples like Peggy Jean. I think it makes them mentally more mature than other yearlings that haven’t. This filly reminded me a great deal of Diamond Glow, a filly I purchase from the same sale a few years ago. Diamond Glow was sold as a weanling and re-offered as a yearling. She looked forward and we broke her in early like we will do with this filly. Diamond Glow won on debut at Caulfield in a $150,000 2yo race in January of her 2yo year. She went on to be runner up at her next start in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview behind the brilliant Miracles Of Life.
Epaulette is just a stunning individual. Every time I see the stallions at Godolphin he is the one who always gets my eye. Breeders seem to agree having sent 170 mares in season 1, followed by 134 in season 2 and 116 in the tough season 3.
A brilliant racehorse, Epaulette won twice at Group 1 level in the Golden Rose & Doomben 10,000. He was out and going early as a two year-old winning twice including the Black Opal Stakes. He was also runner up in two of our very best races in the Caulfield Guineas and T J Smith Stakes.