The Impact Interview
The racing world is full of consultants and bloodstock agencies. In fact some would say that there are just too many of them and it is as difficult to select a good consultant that you can trust. For many years, the Badgers Bloodstock consultants have been at the forefront of bloodstock consulting. One look at their resume and you will be convinced that these are the guys for the job.
Tom Pritchard-Gordon, one of the primary consultants at Badgers is nothing short of a prodigy. Over the years he has acquired immense knowledge on the job. However, on the job knowledge is backed by a solid degree in the Equine Science and Thoroughbred management from Oxford Brookes. Tom has been the driving force behind many high profile purchases across the globe. This year is no different for him. This man refuses to stop. Period. In an exclusive interview with The Impact, Pritchard-Gordon speaks about his purchases at the Easter Yearling Sale.
Q: The first and most obvious question what was your process of purchasing the horses as you are based in the UK? How did you overcome key challenges of note being able to inspect the horses yourself and travel restrictions? Did you have a colleague inspecting the horses instead?
A: As with all bloodstock sales, a vast amount of work on the catalogues takes place a long time prior to the sale. We pride ourselves on the research we undertake for each sale we attend and have recently introduced the analysis of “Big Data” into our selection process. Therefore, since the turn of the year, we have been evaluating the pedigree of each lot in the sale and slowly whittling it down to the lots that come out on top after the number crunching.
In normal times, we would still inspect every yearling at the sales ground, as we believe it is important to have an overview of how each stallion/mares/vendors stock look in comparison to one another. However, obviously COVID-19 turned everything on its head and we had to think outside the box. Luckily, we had a number of eyes on the ground to inspect the yearlings on our behalf. Between a number of trainers, vets and other agents we had a full picture of each lot we were interested in. Furthermore, the videos and photos provided helped cement our opinions on the yearlings. While it is no substitute for inspecting the horse yourself, it was the best of an unprecedented situation.
Q: What was your experience of the digital bidding process?
A: The version of the digital platform used by Inglis for the "virtual" Easter Yearling sale was only a halfway house to their tried and tested on-line auctions. It appeared that the majority of bidding was done via telephone rather than a computer. However, the online system worked incredibly well and the slight video lag (2-3 seconds) was not an issue when it came to bidding. Inglis did an outstanding job in such a short time frame and they must are applauded for providing such a platform for both vendors and buyers alike.
Q: What was special about the two horses by American Pharoah and Pierro?
A: The American Pharoah filly is by one of the most exciting young sires the world. Even taking into the account the quality of mare American Pharoah covered, few would have imagined the impact he has already made with his first crop in the Northern Hemisphere. To have 15 stakes, performers, from his first crop to date is not to be sniffed out. Furthermore, she is the first foal out of a truly outstanding race filly in Lake Geneva, who ran third to Pride of Dubai in the Gr.1 Blue Diamond and filled the same position behind Vancouver in the Gr.1 Golden Slipper. It’s a family we know well, having bought the dam of stakes winner WEATHERLY (under the 3rd dam) many moons ago!
Fastnet Rock has made an exceptional start as a broodmare sire, with the likes of Gr.1 winners Santa Ana Lane, Tivaci and Gaytrash and appears to work best with complete Danehill outcross stallions...
The Pierro filly was exceptional value, considering she is by the current leading sire in Australia. The family is incredibly live and the two best horses on the page Spright and Kaepernick are both very recent. What's more, her half-sister Zanzidance (Deep Field) looked exciting, running 2nd on debut and her full sister (foal) is reportedly outstanding. Mum is in foal to Justify, so the pedigree could just blossom in the next couple of years. Her breeder, GSA Bloodstock, has built up the most phenomenal broodmare band and their stats over the past couple of seasons have been without peer.
Q: How are you, your family & team doing at this time? Has anyone you know been affected by the dreaded virus?
A: There are a number of friends who have had a mild form of the virus and recovered, so touch wood we have been incredibly lucky to date. Like everybody else, we are hoping and praying that a return to some sort of normality isn’t too far away. We are incredibly fortunate to be doing what we love for a living, so this is
no time to have any self-pity. While obviously there a far more important issues around at present, a return to some sort of racing in Europe would be a great distraction for a lot of people cooped up at home with little to do.
Q: I'm sure in your life as a bloodstock agent you have faced a long list of problems. But how did you face and can you detail how you and your team is working during a time with the lockdown in place and what do you plan to do when the British racing season opens?
A: Obviously the Inglis Easter Sale took a large proportion of our time up until its conclusion last week. We are fortunate in the fact that we both worked from our respective homes prior to the lockdown in the UK. Therefore there was little disruption to day to day logistics. The Inglis Chairman Sale is only three weeks away, so we are heavily researching that catalogue at present. The lack of racing in Europe has obviously restricted any tried horse purchases. However, when the season finally commences, we will be looking to source a number of horses for Australia, USA and the Far East.
Q: At a time like this, what message would you like to give you fellow Thoroughbred industry professionals?
A: Stay safe! This nightmare will eventually pass and we need to see everyone on the other side.