The 96th Easter Yearling Sale has generated more media interest than any other I can recall. Media interviews started at 630am and were constant throughout the day - all the free to air TV networks, ABC radio and publishers were represented on the grounds. Although much of the interest centred around the half sister to Black Caviar being offered by Makybe Stud, the racing and breeding industry has gained enormous exposure, which will hopefully help us to recruit new investors - both owners and breeders in the future. The story of Helsinge selling as a broodmare for $115k and then generating massive returns for her owners is a very positive story. I congratulate and thank Rick Jamieson for giving Inglis the opportunity to sell his filly at auction - in doing so he has helped put racing and breeding on the front page and created wonderful memories for all involved. For those of us lucky enough to be in the sale ring at the time, we will never forget the electric atmosphere as the bidding opened at $1m, jumped to $1.5m within a heartbeat and then climbed in $100k increments to $2.6m in a fierce bidding dual. I congratulate and thank Bill Vlahos and the BC3 team for purchasing the filly, and Satomi Oka and Mr Shirai from Japan for their contributions as underbidders. They have all added a little more colour to history of Inglis - making Easter 2012 one to remember.
Something very unusual happened two hours into the sale yesterday. A chinese family from Hong Kong who had pre-registered for online bidding were sitting in the sale ring enjoying the atmosphere of the sale. The family were keen to buy a horse or two during their visit. As lot 59 came into the ring, an 8 year old boy had control of the family iPad and accidently bid using the online service - securing lot 59 for $50,000. Whether the young lad was enticed to bid by the filly's family, which includes HK Group 1 winner Inspiration and other recent HK Group 2 winner Admiration - or whether the young lad clicked the bid button because he liked what her saw in the ring is unknown. What we do know is that the 8 year old boy loves horses racing, studies pedigrees and has some knowledge of Australian racing. His father is happy to keep the filly, and has followed his son's advice and given her to Peter Moody to train - as the young boy has been impressed with how well Peter has trained Black Caviar. Lets hope she is a star of the track - what a great story.
Thankyou to everyone who has supported the Fools and Horses team to ensure a REAL difference is made to Spinal Cord Injury research, especially those who have donated incredible auction prizes and others who are attending on the evening. Catriona Williams from Catwalk has put so much work into planning this event to raise funds for Spinal Cord Injury research - she is a truely inspiring lady with a big heart and a great love of horses - she deserves our support.
The Catwalk team have put together a very special 500 Each Way Raffle...only 100 tickets @ $500 and 2 amazing prizes (HK trip and jewellery - click on link below for details). ALL the money raised goes directly to SCI Research and is issued with a tax deductible receipt. The link to the raffle page is here http://www.catwalk.org.nz/content/500-each-way It is available to everyone even those unable to join us for the evening. Please support if you can. Inglis has thrown it's support behind this event, and I look forward to attending on Sunday evening.
The decision to be handed down at 10am this Friday by the High Court is of critical importance to the Australian and New Zealand racing and breeding industries, but we will not fall off a cliff if the NSW Race Fields Legislation is not upheld. The NSW government and Racing NSW have been very determined in their fight for what is right for the racing industry and the particpants who put on the events. The basic principal that the owner of a product should be able to charge an appropriate fee for it's product is a basic business principal which was supported by a full bench of the Federal Court, and should be upheld by the High Court. The turnover based model is a simple and fair model, used by other racing jurisdictaions and similar to many other sectors that charge royalties or licence fees based on a % of turnover. If the NSW Race Fields Legislation is upheld the racing and breeding industries will see the benefits almost immediately - with increased confidence amongst particpants especially racehorse owners who effectively bankroll the industry at present. Punters are important of course - but without owners making significant investements in buying horses and paying training bills punters would not have a product to bet on. We all know current prizemoney levels are not sufficient to cover training costs for the majority of racehorses. Racing NSW have already indictated there will be significant increases in prizemoney should we win. So what happens if we lose? It's not the end of the earth and I'd predict the status quo for a few years whilst the industry tries to find new ways of generating income, such as from media rights and pooling with Asian racing jurisdications. Of course there is nothing to stop the NSW government from looking at other ways to make users of the racing product pay - such as copyright royalties from wagering operators. There are plenty of smart people with Racing NSW and in the O'Farrell Government - but it will take some time to get these new revenue streams in place. So my message is, no need to panic. Whichever way it goes, I commend Peter V'Landys from Racing NSW for taking up the fight on behalf of the industry and being so determined to enforce a simple business principal - user pays. I'm sure Phillip Esplin is looking down from above with great interest, he too was a fighter and should be commended for his contribution to protect our industry from opportunists.
As CEO of Inglis I get to visit some interesting places and meet some colourful characters. We also like to think of ourselves as an innovative company, regularly introducing new products and ways of doing business. If you'd like to hear the news first, please follow me on this blog or twitter @markwebsterceo
Two new stakewinning mares coming off the track have been entered for the Easter Broodmare Sale. Night War is a 3YO half sister to the unbeaten slipper favourite Samaready. She was a talented two year old in her own right winning the G2 Karrakatta Plate - and she is now being offered for sale in the supplementary catalogue for Broodmare Sale to be held in Sydney from April 17-19. She has been joined by Jersey Lily, winner of the Wiggle and 2nd in last years G1 Coolmore. Entries for the supplementary catalogue close Monday April 2. Remember - Samantha Miss was a suppo entry and made $3.85m!!