The Big Punt

The question I am asked regularly is ‘Gai… do you punt?’ Well the answer is no. I once did; in fact I can remember betting much more than I could afford on Kingston Town in the 1980 Sydney Cup. The striking black gelding was bred to be a sprinter, but on pure talent he still managed to win the two mile Sydney Cup. At the time Kingston Town was a three-year-old and he was coming off three consecutive Group 1 wins - the Rosehill Guineas, the BMW and AJC Derby. I thought the bag men would give me even money at best, and I was pleasantly surprised when he came up at well and truly in the black. I won enough to buy a new bike!

But that was a long time ago and I have scarcely had a bet since. Why you may ask? Well I do my betting in the sales ring. I choose the horses I want as yearlings or as tried horses in New Zealand and I put my money where my mouth is and purchased what I believe to be the best of the best. My latest two New Zealand buys Dee I Cee and Broadside are both backing up my record as we speak. I believe my record in this area is quite sound and as I do my best work on a loose rein, I am rarely constricted in what I am trying to achieve.

The sales ring is a very exciting place. It always has been. I often say that I ignore the pedigree page when I am inspecting the yearlings, and this is true. However when it comes to sales time, the pedigree is very important as it dictates price. Should a yearling tick all the boxes I lay out for it, then I will take an interest. Then in the sales ring it is simple commerce; supply and demand. With six Golden Slipper winners and over 130 Group 1 wins, I must be doing something right.

The Breeders’ Plate is almost upon us, and this is the race were a precocious type will generally beat a more talented rival. However if a horse is both precocious and has exceptional talent, then they will be very hard to beat. By my count, nine winners of the Breeders’ Plate since the turn of the millennium are currently standing at stud. It is Wednesday 5am as I type and acceptances for the 2016 Breeders’ Plate have to be in soon. Hold onto your corn flakes and stay tuned! Gai


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