The racing industry never ceases to amaze. Many stories revolve around the purchase or breeding of a horse whose owner dreams will become their superstar, and Miracles Of Life is the most recent edition.
At this week's Inglis Melbourne Premier sale another chapter evolved and trainer Les Bridge figured prominently because of a dream by a Japanese client, who paid $360,000 for two yearlings which will enter his Randwick stables.
Bridge said the Japanese owner - a ''Mr Morinaka'' - had more than 100 horses in his home country, but had also raced a handful in Australia many years ago.
"I received a huge surprise when I had a phone call from Mr Morinaka's son - the owner speaks very little English - saying that his father was coming to Australia to buy at the Melbourne sales," Bridge said. "His son told me this was a result of a dream his father had … '' His Australian buy would become a champion and he would take it back to Japan ''to win a group 1 race there".
Inglis' Japanese representative, Satomi Oka, selected a shortlist of yearlings for Morinaka and he was impressed with a Denman filly and a Northern Meteor colt.
Bridge was also asked for his input and was equally impressed. So the stage was set for the owner to enter the sale ring and make his mark.
The first was the Denman filly and Morinaka was always on top of the bidding, having her knocked down for $130,000. The same applied a couple of hours later when the Northern Meteor colt came up and he was able to get him for $230,000.
Bridge was impressed with the New Approaches and went to $230,000 for a colt from Cape Augusta for one of his big clients.
Sale on the rise
The Premier sale was strong. Overseas competition was solid as 62 yearlings left these shores and the introduction of the ''Blue Riband'' session was promising.
South African buyers were out in force and bought 32 lots. Hong Kong's Ricky Yiu was the biggest spender from the former colony, buying seven lots at an average of $125,714, and another eight lots will head there. Singapore buyers took 12 yearlings and the Japanese bought three.
David Hayes' Lindsay Park was the biggest spender, paying $985,000 for seven lots (average $140,714); Peter Moody and Mick Price also signed for seven lots each and Mick Kent spent up on two, outlaying $440,000.
The Triple Crown syndication group has had terrific success from the Melbourne sale ring - Hot Snitzel, Flying Snitzel and Lonace - and has 10 new yearlings on its books.
A year ago Triple Crown spent $532,000 for six lots but this week its 10 yearlings cost $720,000.
Star Thoroughbreds bought two lots for a $250,000 total, while the Gai Waterhouse-James Harron duo bought a lone yearling, one by Exceed And Excel for $220,000.
No surprise to see Fastnet Rock the leading sire again. He had five lots sell for an average of $278,000, including the sales-topper, a colt from Bird Of Fire for $450,000. He was a $270,000 weanling and his pinhookers showed a handy profit.
New Approach (eight at a $162,812 average), Snitzel (eight at $136,875), Not A Single Doubt (nine at $135,000), Trefoil (three at $130,000), Written Tycoon (four at $121,375) and Lonhro (seven at $117,857) were all in demand.
The new Blue Riband concept was a success, says Inglis chief Mark Webster, after a clearance rate of 85 per cent and an average of $116,654.
"It was great to see so much competition on yearlings bred to excel over middle and staying distances,'' he said. ''They were by both proven and young sires and the average was much stronger here than the entire three premier sessions."
No doubt about it
When you're hot, you're hot … and that's exactly how Arrowfield Stud's stallion Not A Single Doubt is as his good form continues after Miracles Of Life's stunning Blue Diamond Stakes win a fortnight ago.
Not A Single Doubt's spree continued at Ellerslie, the scene of his first success, after the fourth win in a row this campaign by Petty Cury in a group 3 race on NZ Derby day.
Two hours later at Flemington and Mick Price's speedster Isabella Snowflake won the listed Bob Hoysted Stakes and Not A Single Doubt's daughter Karuta Queen came third in the same event.
Then at Morphettville soon after My Ex Mate, a $5000 yearling, won the group 3 Lord Reims Stakes, taking his earnings to $230,000 from nine wins in 27 starts.