After a season like no other, we march into 2020-21 hoping to finally quash the COVID-19 specter and see owners return to the racetrack.
The coronavirus threatened to derail the second half of the 2019-20 season but participants’ adherence to strict protocols ensured the show rolled on, albeit in a very unfamiliar capacity.
Prizemoney was cut and raceday attendances restricted but Proven Thoroughbreds still finished the term on 42 winners and $2,133,210 in prizemoney.
GOTTA KISS – She was the first 2YO winner of the season in QLD and ended the season as the state’s most accomplished 2YO filly with 3 wins and 4 placings from 8 starts, highlighted by her runner-up finish behind ROTHFIRE in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1400m). Trainer Steve O’Dea has sensibly decided to bypass the spring after a taxing 2YO campaign and will look to target the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas in January. Proven is also fortunate to have purchased the half-sister by I AM INVINCIBLE, who is going through her early education stylishly.
SCALLOPINI – This horse has been a perfect example of “going through the grades”. Since breaking his maiden at his second start, he has done nothing but improve. With nine wins and 10 placings from only 23 starts, the son of SNITZEL now has a lofty benchmark rating of 102. This season saw him claim two stakes races – the Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m) and Hinkler Handicap (1110m) and placed in three other black type events.
ONES TO WATCH
STOCKMAN – You don’t often see horses progress like this one has. After breaking his maiden over 1300m at Goulburn, he then won three of his next four, including two metropolitan scalps up to 2150m. He has natural stamina and looks a serious stayer in the making. Experience has told us not to get too carried away with promising horses, but we are very excited about this bloke’s future, particularly next autumn with races like the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
PRIVATE EYE – This gelding has only raced once but looks to have his fair share of ability. He was unplaced on debut but really caught the eye late, clocking the second fastest last 600m in a strong 1000m maiden at Wyong. He’s a big horse who will be much better suited over a touch further on a bigger track. Keep an eye out for him.
Hoofnote: PRIVATE EYE has since won impressively at Kembla Grange.
VANCOUVER x SRETAN colt – The VANCOUVER breed are on an upward trajectory and we are hoping this colt can take his sire to the next level. Trainer Steve O’Dea has been bullish about this horse from day one, so it was no surprise to see him win a jump-out last week. He is still only a baby so has plenty of time to develop and mature over the coming months, but he’s shaping up as one of our better 2yos for next season. He may well turn out to be an even better horse as a 3YO.
SIRES ON FIRE
As mentioned, VANCOUVER is one of the more exciting sires heading into the new season. We believe he’s very much in the mould of now elite sire PIERRO, in that he was a Golden Slipper winner despite not necessarily being bred to run as a two-year-old. One common attribute seen in top class horses is an ability to defy their pedigree, i.e. performing on innate talent rather than genetic predisposition. VANCOUVER’s progeny are starting hit their straps as late season 2YOs and look to set to blossom as 3YOs.
As a means of comparison with PIERRO take a look at the table below:
VANCOUVER first season
|C/B= 35.5%||D/B= 22.6%||E/B= 3.2%||F/B= 12.9%|
PIERRO first season
|C/B= 24.3%||D/B= 24.3%||E/B= 2.7%||F/B= 2.7%|
Another sire we believe is in for a big season is ZOUSTAR. From his first 3 crops he’s produced an impressive 14 stakes winners and an elite winners/runners strike rate of 61.6%. But even beyond the traditional parameters of measuring a sire’s success, ZOUSTAR stands out.
For example, 22% of his winners banked more than $100,000 in prizemoney this season. Compare that figure to 21.4% for SNITZEL and 21.1% for I AM INVINCIBLE. He also has the highest average prizemoney of that trio.
THE SEASON AHEAD
As we tread carefully through the uncertainty of COVID-19, racing has thankfully been one of the few sports to continue uninterrupted. Fortunately, all our horses are based away from the hardest-hit state Victoria. Furthermore, prizemoney in Queensland will return to normal levels from August 1, following in the footsteps of New South Wales.
This year Proven Thoroughbreds outlaid more than $3 million in the yearling market – by far our biggest financial commitment in a season. We believe this strategy is a necessary one, not only for the growth of the business, but also to combat the ever-increasing competition of the Australian racing industry.
Proven Thoroughbreds would like to take this opportunity to thank the ongoing support of our clients, many of whom have been with us for the best part of two decades.
We also have to thank our trainers Steve O’Dea, Joe Pride and John Bateman as well as Kolora Lodge, DPR Breaking, Redbank North, Taormina Lodge, Kenmore Lodge, Guntawang Stud, Manx Park and Emeran Park for providing the very best of care for our horses when they are not racing.
The great thing about this sport is that you are always looking forward and we have some exciting announcements coming next season so stay tuned!