What's to Come

The lead up to Easter is always a busy time for the racing industry. For the countries trainers, the Autumn Carnival is at the forefront of their minds. Nine Group 1’s including the Golden Slipper have already run in Sydney this year but climax of the Autumn Carnival is still to come. Inaugurated in 2014, the Championships take place annually at Royal Randwick over the first two weekends in April. Pitched as racings ‘Grand Finals’, the Championships incorporates eight Group 1’s and offers over $20m in prize money.

The Doncaster Mile, the richest mile handicap in racing, is the highlight of the first Saturday while Winx is set to draw the crowds in droves the following week. Winx, who is currently ranked as the best racehorse in the world, will bid to extend her unbeaten run to seventeen in the $4 million dollar Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

However trainers would be naive to allow for all of their attention to be occupied by the racetrack at this time of year. The Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, the climax of the sales season, coincides with the Championships and presents the best opportunity for trainers to find their next flag bearer.

Four-hundred-and-eighty of the finest blue bloods the countries studs have to offer will be offered over three days (4th-6th April) at Inglis’ Newmarket Sales Complex. The sales ring that is nested in the heart of Sydney, just over a mile from Royal Randwick Racecourse, is renowned as an amphitheatre of the horse. However, this is the last year onlookers will be able to witness the drama in its current form as next years sale will shift 45 minutes east to Warwick Farm.

Twenty winners of the Golden Slipper including Miss Finland and Mossfun have been sold to the sound of a falling Inglis hammer and it would be foolhardy to bet the winner of next years races is not hidden within the pages of this years catalogue. Gai is well versed in sorting the wheat from the chaff and finding the yearlings with the best chance of racecourse success.

Gai takes a slightly different approach to many other trainers and bloodstock agents in her selection process. She travels to the stud farms weeks before the sale to inspect the yearlings which gives her an edge on her fellow buyers for three major reasons.

Firstly, she can see how the yearlings progress and develop in the build up to the sale. Thoroughbreds continue to grow and develop right up until they are six or seven years old and therefore yearlings need to be seen as a work in progress.

Mental toughness and ease to train are major contributing factors to a horse’s performance. However these qualities are difficult to judge based on the snapshot you get of a yearling at the sales ground. Inspections at the farm therefore allow Gai to see the yearlings in their natural habitat as well as in the high pressure situation of the sales complex, giving her a better guide to their attitude.

Thirdly, the farm visits allow Gai to develop a short list long before the yearlings arrive for inspections at the sales. This means, that at this hectic time of year, she can continue to give her racehorses the attention they deserve whilst still giving herself the best chance of finding another champion.


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