Widden

There is history in the making, Inglis and Widden celebrating 150 years in business and the last Easter sale at the fabled Newmarket complex. As usual, one of the biggest and finest drafts will be presented by Widden Stud, run by Antony Thompson, the seventh generation head of this famous thoroughbred nursery.

Widden and Inglis go back 150 years together, but at Easter 2017 they will both be looking to the future, looking to sell more champions of the Australian Turf.

How would you summarise your Easter Yearling Sale draft this year? and can you give us one lot to look out for (and why)?
We couldn’t be more excited with the group we have assembled for Easter this year. It’s an outstanding draft of types that have the pedigrees to match such as the likes of:

  • Sebring colt 1/2 to dual Group 1 winner, Champion 2 and 3yo and now successful sire STAR WITNESS.
  • Fastnet Rock filly 1/2 to Group 1 winning sprinter SHAMAL WIND.
  • Star Witness filly 3/4 sister to exciting Group 1 3yo sprinter STAR TURN.
  • Zoustar colt 1/2 to 3 individual stakes winners PERON, GAI’S CHOICE and ATMOSPHERICAL.
  • Snitzel 3/4 brother to Group 1 winner SWEET IDEA.
  • So You Think 1/2 to Group 1 winner VANBRUGH
  • Sebring filly ex Exceed and Excel daughter of Champion Encosta mare ELEGANT FASHION.

It’s a draft that has a nice blend of in-form stallions such as SEBRING, I AM INVINCIBLE, REDOUTE’S CHOICE, SNITZEL, STAR WITNESS and FASTNET ROCK as well as exciting young sires ZOUSTAR, ALL TOO HARD, PIERRO and SO YOU THINK. It’s that age old adage….. there will be something for everyone!

This will be the last Inglis sale at historic Newmarket. What is your favourite memory there?
Both Inglis and Widden share a history going back 150 years. The collective memories of generations of the Thompsons at Widden would make interesting reading. As participants in the inaugural William Inglis sale in 1867, we’re thrilled to celebrate together with Inglis our 150th year in 2017.

Easter is a sale that provides many great memories for a number of reasons but to witness the rewards our clients have received over the years, whether they be buying or selling, is what we do it for. The sale delivers this great sense of hope and optimism; from the vendors anticipating a profitable sale to the buyers imagining the potential of their purchases on the racetrack. It makes for an exciting week.

ZOUSTAR was the name on everyone’s lips on the Gold Coast. You must have been thrilled to see the market reception for his first crop yearlings?
Zoustar was unquestionably the ëtalk’ horse of the recent MM sales and consequently sold through the roof, snapped up by many a great judge. It was particularly pleasing to hear so many judges reference the words ëmovers’, ëattitudes’, ëscope’ and ëpower’ – views that we have shared regarding his progeny for some time.

On the Coast, He had 32 yearlings sell (94% clearance) at an average of over $265k generating a whopping $8.4 million in turnover.

In terms of aggregate sales, only Snitzel and I Am Invincible were ahead of Zoustar, so we were clearly thrilled with his performance.

Only the two stallions mentioned above had more yearlings sell for $250k or more (Snitzel-25, I Am Invincible-21, Zoustar-17). Given his yearlings have found their way into the leading stables in Australia, Zoustar profiles as one of the country’s most exciting young sires.

The highest rated son of Australia’s hottest stallion SNITZEL, his yearlings were also hotly received on the Gold Coast with a top lot of $400,000 and an average of just over $170,000.

He also fits a profile of a successful Australian stallion. A multiple stakes performer at Two and one of the highest rated juvenile colts of his generation – he returned at Three to win the WFA Championship, the W.S Cox Plate and became the first 3yo in history to return in the autumn and win the Australian Guineas Gr1. He was, in every sense of the word, a freakish racehorse, one that could sustain his speed for a unique length of time in a race.

I urge anyone to find a stallion at stud (particularly one by the leading sire) with multiple stakes performances as a pre-Christmas 2yo combined with multiple Group 1 victories at Three. He was a rare racehorse.

What have been your racing and breeding highlights over the past year?
In the 2014/15 racing season 10% of Australia’s Group One races were won by horses born and raised at Widden including Australian Horse of the Year DISSIDENT. Last racing season Widden Stud was again the nation’s leading vendor of Group 1 winners – YANKEE ROSE, PRIZED ICON, STRATUM STAR and VANBRUGH all saluting at the highest level. To see the likes of STRATUM STAR and TAKEDOWN, two horses born and raised at Widden finish 2016 off by winning $1m Group1 races was a huge thrill and arguably what we get the most satisfaction from.

Results like those in the last couple of season are simply no coincidence. I believe it’s a testament to the systems and practices we have in place here. We are certainly conscious of the sale ring when raising horses here but ultimately, stick to a clear and strategic focus on producing an athlete that will handle the harsh and tough environment of the racetrack.

Star Witness is a young stallion that has become airborne these last 6 months. Where do you see him postioned in the next 5 years?
He is the nation’s Leading Third Season Sire with over $3.6m in earnings in addition to being a Top 3 3yo sire (just his 2nd crop).

STAR TURN is a brilliant sprinter who easily defeated the older Group 1 sprinters in the WFA Group 2 Schillaci Stakes yet it was the emergence of his fillies GLOBAL GLAMOUR (Group 1 Flight Stakes and Group 1 Thousand Guineas) and the Melbourne filly FUHRYK (Group 2 Armanasco Stakes) that have highlighted Star Witness’s versatility and quality.

An incredibly good looking, fertile stallion who appears to be working   exceptionally with Danehill line mares – with large numbers coming through, we have no doubt Star Witness will be vying for Champion titles in the future.

Bluebloods disagrees with Winx being rated third best horse in the world. We think she is clearly the best. What is your opinion?
She’s an incredible athlete that we do know is a fact. I thought given her catalogue of performances over the last 2 and half years (remaining unbeaten, against high profile international opposition, performing on all surfaces) this would have given her the #1 title but ratings and awards are of course clearly subjective. The US 3yo Arrogate looks like a phenomenon however he will need to show that he can endure like Winx can over a number of seasons before I believe you’re truly entitled to that higher accolade.

Is there some place that you haven’t yet visited, but would love to?
I’ve only scratched the surface of Africa (Tanzania) but it’s a magical place which I fell in love with. Would love to go back to see more of its landscape, people and wildlife.

What sports do you like to watch on tv?
Pretty much anything competitive….Cricket, AFL, Rugby, Tennis, Soccer you name it…

And, of course, become an expert on each sport within 5 minutes of watching it!

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