Glenesk returns with confidence and star power

A year on from breaking through the million-dollar mark for the second time, Glenesk Thoroughbreds returns to the National Broodmare Sale with a quality 15-strong draft and confidence in the health of the market.

Brett and Rachael Howard have a well-earned reputation for offering premier mares and fillies, many of them off the track and it was Invincibella (I Am Invincible), the G1 Tatt’s Tiara winner who raced with such success for Star Thoroughbreds, which gave them their first seven-figure result as a vendor when she sold to Tom Magnier for $1.3 million at the National Broodmare Sale in 2020.

View draft HERE.

In 2019, another Star Thoroughbreds-raced mare, Noire (Foxwedge), secured a $800,000 price tag under the Glenesk banner at the Inglis Chairman’s Sale, while at the same Sale in 2018, French Emotion (Snitzel) secure”We’ve been really pleased with the response so far,” Brett Howard told TDN AusNZ.

“We’ve got a tremendous draft of mares. We’ve got 15 mares and 13 of them sell on Tuesday in the racehorse fillies and mares’ section, and of those 13 mares, every single one of them is either a metropolitan winner, a Group winner or a Group placegetter. There are no holes in our draft.

“It’s been the owners’ decision to put these horses in the Sale. It’s always a great Sale and we’ve had a lot of success selling horses previously. You always look forward to showing the buyers a nice group of mares and this year we are fortunate enough to have a great group again.”

Bella of the ball

Bella Vella, who was a $100,000 purchase from the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale as a yearling, famously became the first Australian Group 1 winner sourced from a Digital Sale, having cost John Kelton $22,500 from the Inglis Digital platform in April 2019.

At that stage, she had already been tried as a broodmare prospect in 2018, when she was sent to Criterion (NZ), who proved to be sub-fertile. She missed to him and was put back in to work.

For new trainer Will Clarken, she would stage an amazing career revival, and just over 12 months after she was purchased by Kelton, she broke through for a stakes win in the Hills Railway S. and then led all the way for an upset victory in the G1 The Goodwood H.d an $850,000 when consigned by Glenesk.

The previous biggest price for a mare sold by Glenesk prior to Invincibella was at the 2017 National Broodmare Sale where Inspired Estelle (Manhattan Rain) was sold for $925,000.

Whether the 2021 draft, which contains 13 race fillies/mares and two established broodmares, can set a new mark is yet to be seen, but there are two mares, Group 1 winner Bella Vella (Commands) and multiple Group winner Fiesta (I Am Invincible), which very much fit the profile of attracting a level of attention to necessitate a big result for their ownership groups.

Bella Vella proved that result no fluke, returning as a 6-year-old to win the G2 McEwen S. and then place in the G1 Moir S. As recently as March, she ran third in the G2 Challenge S. behind multiple Group 1 winners Eduardo (Host {Chi}) and Nature Strip (Nicconi).

In a 34-start career, she won on 10 occasions and claimed $901,110 in prizemoney.

“She was a mare that ran very strong times. She was one of those rare horses that could set a fast pace and accelerate off that pace, not many horses can do that. She had that ability.” – Brett Howard

“Everyone that has seen her has said what a lovely and beautiful mare she is, and how outstanding she is physically. There hasn’t been a person that has got her out of the box that hasn’t said something complimentary.”

Bella Vella’s dam, Forget The Weather (USA) (Stormy Atlantic {USA}) was twice a winner over 1000 metres in the United States, and is a half-sister to stakes-winning trio Wedlock (USA) (Maria’s Mon {USA}), Ever After (USA) (Kris S. {USA}), and Extrovert (USA) (Wild Again {USA}).

“She embodies the best of both worlds. She’s out of a fast American family, but she’s also got the Danehill-line, so she has the best of Australian bloodlines and American bloodlines as well. Those speed bloodlines have become very popular,” he said.

Fiesta’s time to shine

Fiesta, catalogued as Lot 726, has been a winner of four Group races, including the G2 Silver Shadow S., while she also won the R. Listed Inglis Sprint, helping her to nearly $1.6 million in career prizemoney.

She has been a terrific money-spinner for her connections at Star Thoroughbreds, considering he was purchased for $150,000 at the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale in 2017.

“She placed in the Gimcrack S. at her first start. She was just a natural, early 2-year-old. She then returned to win the G3 Widden S. in the autumn, she ran a huge race in the Golden Slipper, and was one of the best 2-year-old fillies of her year,” Howard said.

“She came back as a 3-year-old, won the Silver Shadow and then placed in the Furious and the Tea Rose, and she was beaten half a-head in the (G1) Flight by Oohood.”

Because she won the Darley Princess Series in 2018, she is offered with a free service to a Darley stallion for this coming year. That’s an extra feather in her cap when it comes to inspections this week.

“She’s been out a lot. She’s been well-received. A lot of people like her. We hope she sells well for Star Thoroughbreds and the owners.”

An Invincible repeat?

There is a slight sense of déjà vu in Glenesk offering a mare by I Am Invincible who had so much success in the purple with white stars of Star Thoroughbreds. While Fiesta doesn’t have that Group 1 stamp to her name like Invincibella, she does boast a superior 2-year-old record to that mare.

“The difference with her is that she was such a sharp 2-year-old and we know how much the market loves those horses. They are hard to buy, those horses that are sharp at two,” Howard said.

I Am Invincible mares averaged an impressive $424,923 across 13 sales at the National Broodmare Sale in 2020, and Howard expects demand to be strong again for the 20 mares on offer across the three days of the Sale, which starts on Tuesday.

“If he (I Am Invincible) doesn’t make a good broodmare sire, I’ll give up. He’s destined to became a champion broodmare sire in the next five to 10 years.” – Brett Howard

On the female side of Fiesta’s pedigree, her dam Now Now (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) was a five-time winner over sprint distances and comes from family a which features horses such as Group 3 winner Charm Scene Land (Brocco {USA}), Listed winner and multiple Group 1 placegetter Kingsgate (Danzero), and Group 3 winner Stick Around (Twig Moss {Fr}).

Her half-brother, Out Now (Outreach), recently broke his maiden, while her half-brother by Justify (USA) sold for $300,000 earlier this month for her breeders Fairhill Farm at the Inglis Australian Weanling Sale in Sydney.

Success built on trust

Howard has faith in the depth of his entire draft and he and the Glenesk team are very much focussed on meeting the expectations of both those they are selling the horses for and those who are looking to buy them.

“Rachael and myself take the job very seriously. We are honoured that people entrust these horses with us. When people trust you, you don’t want to let them down,” he said.

“We do our best to make sure that the horses come here looking their best, Rachael and the staff do such a great job getting these horses ready for the Sale.

“We are all about trying to give the buying bench confidence. That if they come to us, and ask a question, we will give them a straight answer. We are always looking for repeat business, so if people are happy with what they bought off us in the past, they will come back and buy off us again.”

“We are always looking for repeat business, so if people are happy with what they bought off us in the past, they will come back and buy off us again.” – Brett Howard

The volume of foot traffic on the grounds on Sunday, plus the hot market at both the yearling and weanling level in 2021, as well the results at the recent Inglis mare sales in Sydney point to a strong week of trade, with Howard confident in the health of the broodmare market.

“I don’t know that the market will be as strong as the Weanling Sale, that was an extraordinarily strong market, but there is no reason to suggest it won’t be a healthy Sale,” he said.

“I just hope the buyers and the vendors are all happy. We want people to get something that they like, and be happy with what they pay for it. We want that win-win situation, with both of those things.”

Copy: Bren O’Brien, Thoroughbred Daily News Aus/NZ

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