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|
|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)|
|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.
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.
|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|
|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.
|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|
Sire: I Am Invincible
Dam: Crystal Whip
2 Year Old Bay Colt
Price: 2.5% - $3,446 | 5% - $6,890.50
2 Year Old Bay Colt
Price: 2.5% – $8,099 | 5% - $16,198
Sire: Divine Prophet
Dam: Blue Note
2 Year Old Bay Colt
Price: 2.5% – $1,845 | 5% – $3,690
Sire: Written By
Dam: Monet's Muse
2 Year Old Bay Filly
Price: 2.5% $1,125 | 5% $2,250
Sire: Mikki Isle
Dam: Pure Intentions
2 Year Old Bay or Brown Filly
Price: 2.5% - $665 | 5% - $1,330
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