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Covid no barrier for Badgers Bloodstock after securing three Easter fillies

ALEX WILTSHIRE | @ANZ_NEWS The absence of international buyers has been a noticeable, yet predictable, feature of the 2021 yearling sales in Australasia, as the restrictions on overseas travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic thwarted many from engaging in the auctions which, in the main, have been fuelled by domestic demand.

However, from the confines of their UK base and armed with a meticulous selection formula, an inability to conduct their business on the Riverside sales ground has been no impediment for the Pritchard-Gordon-owned Badgers Bloodstock, who struck for ‘three of the top ten fillies’ from the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale this week.

“My son, Tom, had done an enormous amount of research on the catalogue beforehand, sorting data on 30,000 yearlings sold through the ring in the last 15 years in Australia,” said Grant Pritchard-Gordon, co-owner, along with his son, Tom, of Badgers Bloodstock.

“He highlighted various lots that we should target. We then inspected them in videos and also my son, Sam (bloodstock and nominations manager at Cornerstone Stud), who is down there, he inspected them himself and we cross referenced. We ended up buying three of the top ten on our ratings, so we were absolutely thrilled. It’s not every time that it all falls into place, but it did so this week. It was three weeks of very hard work but we think our research is the foundation to our success.”

And it’s success that’s worth taking note of. The agents, who purchased Miss Finland (Redoute’s Choice) out of the 2005 Inglis Easter yearling sale, are operating at a 27 per cent strike-rate of stakes performers to yearling purchases in Australia. At this year’s Easter sale, Badgers Bloodstock went to $900,000 to secure lot 146, the Not A Single Doubt (Redoute’s Choice) half-sister to Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Tagaloa (Lord Kanaloa), while the pair secured a Lonhro (Octagonal) filly and a Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice) half-sister to Champion South African two-year-old Soqrat (Epaulette) on Wednesday. The Not A Single Doubt filly will be trained by Hawkes Racing at Rosehill.

“Not A Single Doubt is probably the most underrated stallion there’s been. Poor old fella, he has retired a little bit early, but he did it the hard way,” said Pritchard-Gordon.

“He really has done well and he’s become an outstanding stallion and we were thrilled to get the filly. It’s a very international pedigree. Not only have you got the Japanese dam, by Heart’s Cry, who’s an outstanding broodmare sire already, but then you’ve got Penkenna Princess who’s there as her second dam, by Pivotal and the mare’s already produced a winner of the Blue Diamond.”

The Arrowfield-consigned filly, and the Lonhro filly from Cressfield’s draft on day two, were both secured for Glentree Thoroughbreds, owned by close friend of Pritchard-Gordon, Bruce Wilson. “It was nice to go back to Cressfield as Bruce Neill is a very good client of ours anyway, but (he) described this filly as the best he’s had in a long time. Lonhro is an outstanding broodmare sire and Lilliburlero was very tough. It’s probably more of a racing prospect, but we’d love to have a Lonhro filly at Glentree so we were very happy with that.”

The proliferation of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought its own complications, not least when it comes to purchasing horseflesh overseas, but Pritchard-Gordon was keen to praise the detailed footage and information available, which transmitted the confidence for him to engage in the market.

“There is a silver lining to Covid and, although videos did exist beforehand, the quality of video and the availability of video has increased dramatically and the information that the vendors are prepared to give you, over and above the videos, is extensive,” he said.

“So we feel a lot more comfortable viewing online in the initial instance. To do that ten years ago would have been impossible.

Although proficient operators in the yearling market, notable recent success has come via their purchases of broodmares from Europe which have then been imported to Australia.

Such purchases include unraced mare Doulmera (Mr Greeley), the dam of this year’s Sweet Embrace Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Four Moves Ahead (Snitzel), who ran fourth in last month’s Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m). She was a €180,000 buy from the 2014 Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale, while the dams of spring Group 1 winners Personal (Fastnet Rock) and Inspirational Girl (Reliable Man) are also Badgers Bloodstock buys.

“Those were just in November!” said Pritchard-Gordon of Coolmore-raced Personal, whose dam Personify (Galileo) was a $1,025,000 buy in 2007, and Inspirational Girl.

“We bought Doulmera for Jonathan Munz,” he added. “Her first foal was a Sebring filly who was a Group 3 winner and then her second was Four Moves Ahead.”

Five yearlings were sold at public auction this year from dams purchased by Badgers Bloodstock, which in total grossed $2.5 million at an average of $500,000, with the mares purchased for under £1.3 million (Approx. $2.3 million).


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