Australia’s leading bloodstock agent, Sheamus Mills was one of the top three buyers at the recently concluded Easter Yearling Sale, when he purchased an I Am Invincible filly for A$1,950,000.
Mills enthused that the filly is from, “my favouritefamily in the studbook,” which is why he went up in price significantly as compared to an I Am Invincible filly he purchased last year at the same sale, for A$450,000.
“It's an incredibly successful family line. There are very few fillies ever offered as few people part with them.”
“She's by a hugely successful stallion who gets unbelievable fillies and, as I say, she's a long-term prospect.”
"You have to put some value on these things because they can breed for you.”
“She's a 10 or 15-year keep. When we are selling foals two, three, four, and five out of her, hopefully, the dollars will make some sense."
Mills bought the filly for Heath Newton and Anthony Roberts who, along with the agent, race this season's Mick Price and Mick Kent Jr.-trained Gr.1 Thousand Guineas winner Odeum. The pair will also train this filly.
Mills went into battle for the filly, with Golden Slipper-winning trainers Michael and Richard Freedman as the underbidders.
"I'm shaking like a leaf, to be honest, but we really, really wanted her," Mills said to Bloodhorse in the aftermath of the enthralling bidding duel.
Given the pedigree line, the filly would have been expected to go down the early 2YO racing route. However, Mills has a slightly different outlook.
“During the purchase and in my research prior I expected her to be a fast 2YO sprinter but after my purchase, the Goldmine pedigree cross hinted she is likely to be better as a 3YO.”
“I also had a call from an Equine Biomechanics’ specialist who said that she would become a better racehorse with age. I found that really interesting.”
“So, I guess we will prepare her as we do with every horseand she will stand up when she’s ready to race.”
Mills who have been involved in bloodstock consulting for over 13 years, has a unique style of research prior to the sale day.
“Usually, I choose a selection of horses from the catalogue, to begin with. Rochelle Adams’ who works with us full time, then researches the pedigree and racetrack performance of siblings etc.”
“Over time, as we get closer to the sale, I go see the horses I’m interested in five to six times. I like to see how they handle the sales week. Eventually, we have a tight list of horses that I will inspect on the sale day.”
“It was a coincidence that I was at Coolmore to look at some horses with my clients when they brought out some yearlings for us to look at.”
“At the time, I liked the filly, but I can’t say I loved her. But as time passed and the shortlist kept getting shorter,she just stayed on the list.”
“Eventually when I saw her at the Easter sale, her composure at the sale tilted the scales in her favour. The composure of a horse on a busy sales day gives us an inkling of how the horse will manage on a raceday. So that’s key for me.”
Mills spent a significant A$2.45 million at last year’s Chairman sale when he bought five quality mares with high residual value in foal to top stallions.
“I plan to spend about a week in Sydney and two weeks at the Gold Coast in May.”
“This year both sales seem to have smaller catalogues with a greater number of mares that have had three or four foals already.”
“I have seen that when the yearling market is strong, vendors prefer to hold on to their younger mares. The broodmare sales will typically feature mares that have produced a few foals already.”
“I’ve not yet had a deeper look at the catalogues to begin my shortlist. Due to the nature of the catalogues, we have still got plenty of research ahead of us to identify the racetrack successes of siblings and half-siblings.”
Mills’ clients prefer recommendations of mares that fill a long-term gap in their portfolio. They also revert to him for recommendations on trimming the portfolio to improve cash flow during challenging years or tricky situation, all with the long-term view of taking their business from strength to strength over the years.
Mills clearly favours the fashionable leading stallion, I Am Invincible who was the leading sire at the Easter Yearling Sale by aggregate, with 41 yearlings changing hands for a total of A$25,235,000. He also had eight million dollar lots sell over the two days, five of them fillies.
“He seems to be the stallion of the sale and on my shortlist of what ended up being about 14 fillies, I think there were about six by I Am Invincible on it."