Vinery Stud’s General Manager for over two decades, Peter Orton is a staunch pillar of the Australian Thoroughbred industry. His work brings him in regular contact with the young & elite athletes of tomorrow and leading stallions of today including More Than Ready (who has sired more than 1795 winners), All Too Hard, Exceedance, Star Turn, Casino Prince, Press Statement and Headwater.
Ahead of the Magic Millions’ Gold Coast Yearling Sales the industry leader and overseer of one of the biggest breeding-racing conglomerates in Australia shares his highlight picks for Vinery’s spectacular draft, his plans for the rest of the yearling sales season and much more:
Q: Your Gold Coast Yearling Sale draft consists of some amazing horses. Could you please share your pick of the top five headline horses and tell us more about why they are special?
It’s always difficult to single out preferred picks especially when you have such a consistent group of horses in the draft that will suit most criteria.
Nevertheless, there are a few that, on paper, that is of great interest and back it up physically.
Q: Please tell us about your sale-toppers for this sale (in 2020) and your top-performing graduates from this sale historically?
A: I would expect the group above to be our better sellers due to their individual commercial appeal and are all above average types.
We have had a great history selling at the Magic Million sales over the years. Horses such as this year's Golden Slipper winner Farnan and last year’s Magic Million winner Exhilarates. In previous years horses such as Commanding Jewel, Atlantic Jewel, Rubick, Begood Toya Mother, Outrageous, and many more.
Now we are hoping to add Hipster, from Star Turn’s first crop to race to take out this year’s race.
Q: Which sires do you expect to see do well in the 2021 edition of the MM GC Yearling Sale?
A: I Am Invincible and Snitzel as consistent leading stallions will again dominate the better seller’s lists. However, Written Tycoon through the success of his runners this year will see him very active at the top end of the market also.
Q: Given the resilience shown by the industry in this very difficult year, could you tell us what buying trends you are expecting in 2021 and how that has shaped your draft?
A: The industry has come through the constraints caused by the pandemic very well thanks to the outstanding efforts our racing administrators. I look to the market with a level of cautious optimism believing it will be as active as ever to a level. Taking this into consideration we have a good middle level of the market which will be well placed to provide great value to buyers looking to get into the better quality yearlings.
Q: What are the other sales you will be attending over the next few months and could you tell us about the highlights of your 2021 combined drafts?
A: We have a similar number attending the Inglis Classic Sale, 15 for the Melbourne Premier sale and a further 18 for the Easter yearling Sale. We like to position yearlings in sales where they are best suited and therefore well sort after as genuine prospects.
Q: Please tell us about your top-performing graduates and what makes them special.
A: Whist you can’t always pick the top potential racehorses, you can deliver a product that has been given every chance to live up to the pedigree and physique they have. Special racehorses often have an attitude and presence to them. It’s not always a guarantee but it does improve the odds and is something we look for in assessing prospective racehorse.
Q: What would you say has been your most successful personal and professional achievement this year?
A: For the past few years we have worked hard to assemble a young affordable group of stallions that well suited to Australian conditions and the market in general. All Too Hard is doing a sensational job, he has so many runners every day, a high percentage of them as winners and he gets more than his share of Group 1 level horses.
Headwater and Press Statement’s first crops are now 3yos, both stallions proving to be above average sires going forward. Star Turn’s early 2Yos are showing us plenty to be excited about and Exceedance we raced to win the Coolmore Sud Stakes has just completed ha very successful first season at stud.
I think on a personal level to have selected and raced such an exciting colt as Exceedance, who as a racehorse had such an X-factor about him and then to go on and win the Coolmore was very special.