Justify paddock shot

Record breaking mare Sunlight to Justify

Sunlight set the National Broodmare Sale alight when she hit the ring at around 4:40pm AEST on Monday, and in the end, it was Coolmore getting the triple Group 1 winner for a sale record of $4.2 million.

A one-time $300,000 yearling through the same Gold Coast ring, she was offered again by Widden Stud and had all the qualities to be the mare who would break records given she boasts a brilliant race record, and is impeccable both from a pedigree and a physical perspective.

Exactly what level the bidding would get to was a source of much speculation, particularly considering the current economic times, but fit to be a star of any broodmare band globally, she garnered enormous interest which drove the best result in the long history of Magic Millions.

The bidding began at $1 million and shot through the roof at $200,000 intervals with several bidders having a shot at securing the star of the Sale. It came down to a battle of two as the bidding slowed as it rounded the $4 million mark.

It was Magnier who prevailed, yet again, for one of the best-credentialed race fillies ever offered for sale in Australia.

"We are very lucky to have gotten her. She is a lovely looking mare and she was unbelievable on the racetrack. Not only did she beat her own age, she beat the boys. She is a filly of a generation and we are very lucky to have got her," he said.

"We really wanted to have her. She is so good looking and we are trying to build a really serious broodmare band at Coolmore and if you are serious about that, you have to have mares like that in it."

Magnier confirmed Sunlight will begin her breeding career by heading to Justify.

"There were a lot of good people involved in her and there were a lot of people around the world who had their eyes on her, so to take her back to Coolmore in the Hunter Valley is exciting and she will visit Justify," he said.

"We are committed to Justify - he is the horse of a generation as well. He won the Triple Crown in America and retired unbeaten. We have spent the last year, year and half to try and find the best mares to go to Justify and we will support him in the breeding barn, in the sales ring and on the racetrack.

"His foals in America have been outstanding and hopefully next week we will have the first Justify foals on the ground in Australia. If we can follow through with more exciting progeny next year, it will be very exciting."

Widden Stud principal Antony Thompson said it was a terrific result for all involved, and he had every confidence Sunlight would reach her right price despite the uncertainties in the market.

"We always thought she would make something like that and it was great to see her go to Coolmore and stay here in Australia," he said. "For the ladies who raced her and enjoyed such a wonderful ride with her, they will get to see her at Coolmore and follow her in this part of the world."

"We always thought she would make something like that and it was great to see her go to Coolmore and stay here in Australia." - Antony Thompson

Sunlight was raced by a women's only syndicate which included Loretta Fung, the wife of Aquis chief Tony Fung, as well as Thompson's wife Katie. Thompson said the mare had created huge interest ahead of the Sale and while some were surprised with the price, he knew the depth of attention was there to generate a big result.

"Not only is she an incredible race filly, but certainly as a physical, she was just a stunning, stunning type. She really just blew everyone away here on the ground with what an amazing physical she is. Everyone who looked at her could tell why she was so good and she was much admired by everyone who saw her," he said.

Thompson is delighted that Sunlight will get the chance to make her mark as a broodmare with one of the world's best breeding operations.

"Coolmore's commitment to Justify is well known and it's been very evident in the quality of mares they have bought for him and have continued to buy for him," he said.

"She's the sort of mare that can be mated to so many stallions. Justify this season, but she could go to Galileo or any of their other top stallions in the future. They have got a lovely blank canvas to work with and I am sure they will breed some very nice horses out of her."

Cuddles for Justify

The third $2 million result of the sale came when Coolmore again prevailed in the battle to get the multiple Group winning mare Champagne Cuddles (Not A Single Doubt).

The fact that Turangga Farm had to sell the mare in absentia due to border restrictions, had no impact on the market and the Group 2 winner and Group 1 placegetter, a daughter of Group 1-winning mare Sky Cuddle (Snippets), will join the slew of Coolmore purchases headed to Justify.

“It’s very satisfying and it’s good to see the Magnier family buy her because we’ve had a good association for a long time," Turangga's Stuart Ramsey said.

“It’s very satisfying and it’s good to see the Magnier family buy her because we’ve had a good association for a long time." - Stuart Ramsey

“We’ve got a lot of kids and grandkids and she’s worth so much to us and more to other people. The girls and my wife aren’t very happy, but you’ve got to make these decisions and they’re not easy. It’s very emotional to lose her.”

Ramsey was always confident Champagne Cuddles would reach her $1.5 million reserve.

“The big players were on her and the thing was, although she hadn’t won a Group 1, Sunlight into third by an inch. She went past Merchant Navy, who’s gone to stud, in the Golden Rose as though he was stuck to the wall. She’s had a little bit of bad luck in big races, but she’s honest. She’s been good,” he said.

Invincibella joins Justify band

Earlier, Coolmore secured another Group 1-winning mare for Justify when Magnier went to $1.3 million for Invincibella (I Am Invincible).

A winner of a G1 Tatts Tiara as well as multiple other Group races and the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares race on three occasions, she always shaped as a seven-figure prospect, but it was a cautious bidding battle, with the patience of the auctioneer, David Chester, getting the desired result on behalf of vendor Glenesk Throughbreds, who were selling for the mare's owners Star Thoroughbreds.

James Bester, representing Coolmore, said on type and on performance, Invincibella was an opportunity not to be missed.

“She won $3 million on the track, so her race record speaks for itself as a Group 1 winner, but beyond that, she is such a great individual. She has a great head, so typical of the I Am Invincibles with a great hindquarter on her, a wonderful shoulder and girth and she is truly a queen," Bester said.

“With that awesome outlook, she always stops and looks out into the distance. More importantly, she’s also out of a Galileo mare and a good Galileo mare who produced a Listed winner by Sizzling.

“As far as we’re concerned she’s the perfect mix of pedigree, physique and race performance. What more could you want?"

“As far as we’re concerned she’s the perfect mix of pedigree, physique and race performance. What more could you want?" - James Bester

It was a day of mixed emotions for Star Thoroughbreds' Denise Martin, as Invincibella begins the next stage of her career.

"I'm delighted that Coolmore bought her and that she will go to their property. I think the owners who are here and I feel quite emotional today because she has been a wonderful horse for us. She performed at the highest level of racing for a number of years and did a great job," she said.

"Whilst we understand horses have to go elsewhere to retire or go to the breeding barn, Invincibella has been a special horse for us.

"She’ll get every chance as a broodmare now and I think it’s wonderful."

Courtesy of TDN AusNZ, July 27th