Prime Dispatch 24/5/2017

Wednesday 24 May 2017, 11:24am

Congratulations to Kris Lees on winning his 13th Group 1 race on Saturday with Sense Of Occasion. Kris has been Prime Thoroughbreds main trainer for over a decade and is having a stellar season with 121 wins on the board. Kris is a pleasure to deal with and does a great job for us. His efforts over the years with our horses have been exceptional. Some of the better ones we have had with him include Savoureux, Hidden Wonder, Pitt Street, Under Command, Sweet Talkin Woman, Namsarai, Unique, Awasita, Captain Chaos and Raido.

Kris only ever gets about three yearlings a year from us but quickly establishes where a horse is at and is the master at placing them to advantage. Currently we have 12 horses on the books with Kris including two yearlings. These include the multiple listed winning mare Savoureux as well as the highly promising three year olds Isthmian, Munjai and the Wasp. During the past 30 days Kris has the best strike rate of the major trainers in NSW and Victoria with 21 wins from 88 starters for a strike rate of 23%. Darren Weir has the most winners with 39 from Chris Waller with 36. Patrick Payne deserves a mention with 10 wins at 20.4%.

While statistics are not everything they do give an indication of how well a stable is placing its horses. Stuart Gandy also deserves a special mention winning the Tasmanian Sire’s Produce Stakes on Sunday. Stuart has taken over as our Tasmanian trainer due to the retirement of Charlie Goggin and Leuella Meaburn who did such a great job for us over the years. I will be having drinks later in the year to formally thank Charlie and Leuella for the contribution to our business. They were great people to work with.


I have enjoyed attending a few country meetings in Victoria over the past few weeks. I must say I have been surprised at the size of the crowds attending these meetings. When I arrived at Bendigo on Sunday the car park was quite full with a number of buses parked as well. The crowd was good. It was pleasing to see a couple of quite big functions being run by the club later in the month and advertised in the race book. The role of the race clubs in our industry particularly in the country can never be under estimated and I left Bendigo with a positive impression of what was happening at the club.

There was a similar story at Park at Pakenham a couple of weeks ago. The complex at Pakenham is as good as you are likely to find anywhere with plenty in the pipeline. I recommend a visit to Pakenham when the club is racing. The turf track is as good as it gets with the artificial surface serving its purpose during the winter months. It is good to see people attending and enjoying a day at the races. This grass roots support for our industry is vital to its future health and growth. The Casterton Cup meeting was a big winner with 3,500 people in attendance with 45 marquees set up for the day. The racing industry has some superb facilities across the state and it is nice to see them being utilized. I was speaking with Scott Whiteman CEO of Country Racing Victoria who told me the thoroughbred Industry provides 8,300 full time jobs across country Victoria pouring $750 million into the Victorian economy. These are substantial figures. This isn’t surprising with nine of the ten meetings held in Victoria this week run out of the metropolitan area. It will be interesting to see how the actual distribution of stakes money is spread once the increases are implemented in the new season starting from 1 August 2017.


Good luck to both the Queensland and NSW sides as we head towards the first of this year’s State Of Origin matches between NSW and Queensland. These are great contests with the rivalry between the two states unmatched by any other sport in Australia.

I was sad to read that Greg Inglis has been admitted to hospital for treatment for depression. He has provided many great moments for the Rugby League world and is very highly regarded by the people I know that have had dealings with him. I hope he has a quick and full recovery and I’m sure we all want to see him back for the 2018 season displaying his rare talent.


 I’m looking forward to the Magic Millions National Sale on the Gold Coast which commences on 25 May and goes through to 9 June. This is a massive sale. I will be attending the broodmare sale where Awasita, Hijack Hussy and Strike For Victory are catalogued to be sold. These horses will be sold on 30 May and the sale is expected to be very strong.

Hijack Hussy in particular has been very popular and it will be very interesting to see what she fetches through the ring. She is a stakes winning mare by super broodmare sire Hussonet out of a very well related Redoute’s Choice mare. Awasita had a good racing career winning five races and $276,710 in stakes money. She is by Commands out of a ½ sister to Magic Albert which makes her an attractive breeding proposition. Strike For Victory isn’t as well performed on the track but was a fast filly and is now a ¾ sister to the WA Sires Produce winner Debellatio.

It is a good time to sell mares with so many first season sires on the scene and shareholders needing good mares to give their new boys the best possible opportunity at stud. If any of our readers wish to discuss purchasing one of these mares or have a horse they would like inspected feel free to call me on 0433762700.


I was quite pleased with the efforts of our runners during the past week. Husson Boots is as honest as they come but finds it hard to win. She has just recorded the one win from 14 starts but has 10 placings against her name including six seconds. It is amazing what a difference it makes in earnings turning those seconds into wins. Today we have Kissing Game and Zelsignoret running at Kembla Grange and Seymour. These are both nice fillies and did a good job on their debut runs.

Unfortunately both are drawn awkwardly but due to programming we are forced to run them. On the plus side they both will be ridden by very good riders. Munjai is down to run at Canterbury tomorrow but is most likely to be kept for Newcastle on Saturday. The wide draw from the 1580m start at Canterbury is the kiss of death.

Our other runners for the week include Savoureux at Eagle Farm, Black And Tan at Cranbourne with Casa De Lago, Hussey’s Glow and Honolulu Lass to be nominated in a couple of different races. We will continue to have a steady flow of runners through the winter months with the plan being to spell most of our current three year olds in the early part of the season and to have them ready to race in the late autumn and into the summer. I regard the early part of a horse’s four year old year as the most difficult time to place them and get a result. They go from racing mainly in restricted or three year old races to having to take on all comers. By late November and into summer they have matured and are ready to take the step up and you really want them ready to fire when we have the best opportunity of getting a positive result.


Well done to the industry in South Australia for putting on a great carnival. I spoke to Sam Hayes from Cornerstone Stud yesterday and he said that while the final figures were not in the officials from TRSA and SAJC were very happy with the way things were shaping. The quality of racing was outstanding which should have really driven betting turnover.

You can expect more announcements out of Racing NSW regarding further increases in stakes money in NSW. This is great news and along with the positive outcomes announced in Victoria a couple of weeks ago should give the owners great confidence going forward. The increases announced in both states are sustainable with the current board of racing NSW made up of a group of the highest performing leaders of business in the state. Some of the rubbish being written in the Herald Sun regarding the stakes competition between the two big states is not doing the industry any favours. We should be happy that terrific returns are on offer to us as owners.


I am pleased to write this crop of yearlings are the nicest I have ever purchased and I can’t wait to get them to the races. Our horses are running very well and as Kris Lees said to a media personality a few years ago ‘Joe doesn’t need to pay for advertising on television, his horses do it for him’. The last of our yearlings is being broken in and the reports coming from the breakers have been terrific. This is easily the most expensive group of youngsters I have purchased. It is very exciting. I didn’t buy any yearlings at the Scone Sale, nothing really grabbed my attention. Once again as has been the trend this year the sale set new records. The strength of our industry has been extaordinary and to be honest I can’t see it coming back in the near future. Stakes money is up in almost all the states and territories and the demand for tried horses particularly in provincial and country NSW is the strongest I’ve witnessed in my 20 years in the industry.

To view all the Prime Yearlings on offer CLICK HERE

– Joe O'Neill (Prime Thoroughbreds)

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