Taking a casual stroll around the paddocks at Bhima while talking to Mike Fleming, one is struck by the successful blending of tradition with progress. On one hand there are memories of the halcyon days of Biscay and his progeny that put Bhima on the bloodstock map and the lovely old homestead that reminds of a time long since passed. On the other there is the success that Mike and Kate have brought to a rejuvenated Bhima over the past few seasons and the excitement of being at the forefront of a revolution in horse marketing.

While the 2018/19 season has been another successful one for the Bhima brand, it is the introduction of the Kick Sales Platform developed by Vicky Leonard that Mike sees as the next exciting step in the stud’s rich history. “We feel we are taking a giant step in buyer relations by moving this terrific platform to our website.

Through the platform we are removing all the barriers to research and making available all the relevant information a buyer will need to purchase with confidence. So, x-ray reports, vet reports, scoping, pedigree updates, the horse’s individual history and that of its family can be accessed with a couple of keystrokes.”

Mike is conscious that events in recent months will have brought an even sharper focus on integrity, but believes Bhima is well placed to meet buyer expectations. “We want to be totally transparent. Traditionally our industry has been reluctant to share information with our clients often to the point where many would rather sweep things under the carpet.

But the reality is, whether it be an issue with a horse, an x-ray or a scope, all of that can be found out. This platform puts all that information in the hands of the prospective buyer, so they don’t have to spend time walking from the barn to the repository and back. We want everyone to be confident that nothing is being held back, they are buying what is in front of them and that they can trust what they are buying.”

Often one of the great unknowns is what and who has “shaped” the horse in its short life up to the sale and again Mike believes the platform has the answers. “We want to make sure buyers know the difference between horses that were born and bred at Bhima and those we have taken on for clients later in the cycle. Through the platform we can tell them with confidence where that horse has been for the eighteen months leading up to sale.

We think it is very important buyers are armed with the complete history of the horse and that they can be comfortable buying the Bhima product.” “Although the Easter catalogue bucks the trend, many sales are expanding meaning buyers are becoming even more time poor with so many horses to look at, so the information needs to be put in front of them.

We think it’s important that the whole industry embraces the technology available to make it easier for buyers to invest. With this platform it is so readily accessible, particularly by smartphone, that all the information is literally at the buyer’s fingertips.” “The positive feedback we’ve received from trainers, agents and buyers, both domestically and internationally, has convinced us it is the way of the future.

It is the brainchild of Vicky Leonard and I can see it will stand alone successfully, but in the meantime, we are very happy to be the guinea pigs for it and benefit from its many advantages.” And while the platform is a great innovation the horses still need to meet market expectations and in line with the overall reduction in size of the Easter catalogue Bhima will present a more select draft in 2019.

Thirteen youngsters will parade under the purple and gold Bhima banner and from discussing each with Mike it is clear that all warrant consideration. Pushed, he came up with three to discuss. At least on paper an obvious choice was Lot 119, a Medaglia d’Oro filly out of Miss Atom Bomb, an Encosta De Lago, year older half-sister to the great Winx.

“She is from an international family with a very deep page and this is blood that, for an Australian breeder, is very hard to obtain as very few from the family go to public auction. Add to that she is by an internationally proven stallion, carries the blood of Encosta De Lago and has a great attitude.

In short, she is the complete package. When finished racing she will grace any broodmare band across the globe. And her dam has begun with a bang as a broodmare as her first foal, Nuclear Blitz (Sepoy) is a winner and black type fourth as a two-year-old.

Just four lots later Bhima will present a Snitzel filly out of another Encosta De Lago mare in Miss Iguacu who hails from the family of Redoute’s Choice, Platinum Scissors, Manhattan Rain et al. Unraced herself, Miss Iguacu’s first foal Iguacu Falls, a three-year-old full sister to the Easter offering, has won her only start to date while their dam is a full sister to the Gr.2 Ajax Stakes winner and sire in New Zealand in Niagara.

“Again, she has what breeders will be looking for to upgrade their stock, a very forward, strong filly from a family that churns out black-type performers. She was bred by a great supporter of Bhima in Glentree Thoroughbreds.” Mike and the team will be very busy on the afternoon of the first day with a run of five lots in quick succession the last of which is 124, a son of Deep Impact the progeny of whom are so rarely available in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Bred by Dato Yap Kin Sam of Raffles Racing, he was born in Japan to Southern Hemisphere time and has been down here since early August. In the time we have had him he has been a great horse to watch mature and grow. Like his sire he isn’t a big horse but is well put together with a lovely head. He is also a great mover who doesn’t look like he will take long to come to hand.”

There is certainly speed to burn on the dam side, his dam Miss Ivanovic being a Captain Rio half-sister to Hong Kong Champion Gold Fun (La Vie De Colori) who won eleven races from 1200 to 1600 metres. As well, Body And Soul, a full sister to Miss Ivanovic, won the Listed Redcar Trophy and the prestigious Weatherbys Super Sprint, historically two highly competitive races for precocious juveniles.

Having glanced through the catalogue it is easy to see why Mike had difficulty pinpointing a potential star from the Bhima draft, but one thing is for certain, any buyer that has taken advantage of the platform can buy with full confidence, armed to the teeth with the complete history of all thirteen.