The running of the $1million ATC Golden Gift last weekend and the announcement of an increase in prizemoney for the Group I ATC Golden Slipper to $5million in 2022 got us thinking about two year-old racing and how small a percentage of the horse population is actually capable of contesting these races.

The table below shows the number of commercially bred yearlings that were offered at dedicated yearling sales each year (no online), and how many of them had raced up to the weekend after the Cup, Dec 31 and Feb 28.

 

Year Yearlings To Wk2 Nov To Dec 31 To Feb 28 To Jul 30
2021 6600 153 (2.3%)      
2020 6725 163 (2.4) 339 (5.0%) 685 (10.2%) 1781 (26.5%)
2019 6881 114 (1.7) 319 (4.6) 635 (9.2) 1794 (26.1)
2018 6769 118 (1.7) 323 (4.8) 629 (9.3) 1793 (26.5)
2017 6532 158 (2.4) 365 (5.6) 654 (10.0) 1693 (25.9)
2016 6636 172 (2.6) 396 (6.0) 684 (10.3) 1681 (25.3)
2015 6704 178 (2.7) 400 (6.0) 710 (10.6) 1734 (25.9)
2014 6801 132 (1.9) 360 (5.3) 653 (9.6) 1657 (24.4)
2013 6699 159 (2.4) 359 (5.4) 631 (9.4) 1592 (23.8)
2012 6927 158 (2.3) 383 (5.5) 704 (10.2) 1749 (25.2)

 

The figures in the table above show that by the time the Magic Millions 2YO Classic is run and the field for the Golden Slipper is assembled we have seen only 10% of the yearlings offered for sale on the racetrack.

And by the end of the season we’ve seen about a quarter of them with the vast majority still awaiting maturity to show their potential.

By the end of their three year-old season the tide has turned and the vast majority of horses have shown their hand with up to 85% of them having raced.

 

Year Yearlings To Jul 30 (2YO) To Next July 30 (3YO)
2021 6600    
2020 6725 1781 (26.5%)  
2019 6881 1794 (26.1) 5893 (85.6%)
2018 6769 1793 (26.5) 5751 (85.0)
2017 6532 1693 (25.9) 5527 (84.6)
2016 6636 1681 (25.3) 5396 (81.3)
2015 6704 1734 (25.9) 5474 (81.7)
2014 6801 1657 (24.4) 5353 (78.7)
2013 6699 1592 (23.8) 5206 (77.7)
2012 6927 1749 (25.2) 5546 (80.0)

 

This explains why certain stallions that consistently produce early maturing stock find favour in the marketplace as breeders and yearling buyers try to shorten their odds of jagging that rare creature – the natural two year-old runner.

 

Capitalist won the Breeders Plate, Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Golden Slipper - great example of a natural 2YO talent and now a leading sire.
Capitalist won the Breeders Plate, Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Golden Slipper – great example of a natural 2YO talent and now a leading sire.

 

They are out there… we’ve all seen them and they invariably stand out from the crowd as soon as they are broken in.

They are the horses that adapt well to change, thrive on work and have the size, strength and toughness to withstand early training.

They are physically and mentally mature beyond their actual age and while their peers invariably catch up to them and frequently run straight past them at three, they have the unique opportunity to run for huge prizemoney against a very small pool of adversaries.

Horses contesting races such as The Everest, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup might be able to return year after year for a crack at the same prize, but they also have to face the very best opposition, often sourced from all over the world, making these races much harder to win.

There is a justified place for two year-old racing and two year-old sires in our vibrant and successful Australian breeding and racing industry, but let’s not ever lose sight of the fact that it is a small, but integral part of a far bigger picture.

The introduction of a race like the soon to be $8million ATC Golden Eagle (1500m) for four year-olds is a ground breaking race where we can actually expect to see the very best horses from a generation, barring those that have already been packed off to stud following Group I success at either two or three.

Below is a table of the top Southern Hemisphere bred money earners in Australia this season and the month in which they made their debut.

 

Horse Sire MoneyWon Debut Foaling Debut Age
Nature Strip Nicconi 8129100 2017-10-10 2014 Oct 3yo
Verry Elleegant Zed 5699000 2018-07-07 2015 Jul 2yo
Incentivise Shamus Award 5454200 2020-08-19 2016 Aug 4yo
I’m Thunderstruck Shocking 4792750 2021-01-13 2017 Jan 3yo
Masked Crusader Toronado (IRE) 2732000 2019-11-28 2016 Nov 3yo
Eduardo Host (Chi) 2270000 2018-06-18 2013 Jun 4yo
Anamoe Street Boss (USA) 2264850 2020-10-10 2018 Oct 2yo
Superstorm Sebring 1737100 2019-08-31 2016 Aug 3yo
Think It Over So You Think 1690250 2018-12-08 2015 Dec 3yo
Count De Rupee Real Impact (Jpn) 1610750 2020-08-06 2017 Aug 3yo
Home Affairs I Am Invincible 1444100 2021-01-30 2018 Jan 2yo
Icebath Sacred Falls 1407250 2019-02-16 2016 Feb 2yo
Hitotsu Maurice (Jpn) 1268750 2021-02-06 2018 Feb 2yo
Nonconformist Rebel Raider 1229250 2019-11-28 2016 Nov 3yo
Lost And Running Per Incanto (USA) 1217250 2020-05-15 2016 May 3yo

 

Below is a table of the top Southern Hemisphere bred money earners in Australia last season and the month in which they made their debut.

 

Horse Sire MoneyWon Debut Foaling Debut Age
Classique Legend Not A Single Doubt 7132000 2019-02-20 2015 Feb 3yo
Verry Elleegant Zed 5462050 2018-07-07 2015 Jul 2yo
Colette Hallowed Crown 4457575 2019-12-08 2016 Dec 3yo
Bivouac Exceed And Excel 3452600 2018-10-20 2016 Oct 2yo
Nature Strip Nicconi 2882650 2017-10-10 2014 Oct 3yo
Icebath Sacred Falls 2242600 2019-02-16 2016 Feb 2yo
Eduardo Host (Chi) 2242350 2018-06-18 2013 Jun 4yo
Stay Inside Extreme Choice 2237350 2021-01-23 2018 Jan 2yo
Arcadia Queen Pierro 2206250 2018-09-19 2015 Sep 3yo
Gytrash Lope De Vega (IRE) 2005225 2018-02-17 2015 Feb 2yo
Ole Kirk Written Tycoon 1989050 2020-02-15 2017 Feb 2yo
Tofane Ocean Park 1800750 2019-03-19 2015 Mar 3yo
Explosive Jack Jakkalberry (IRE) 1789730 2020-11-25 2017 Nov 3yo
Anamoe Street Boss (USA) 1737075 2020-10-10 2018 Oct 2yo

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