By HARRY CLARKE
THE hopes of a whole year’s hard work for Queensland stud farmers will lie on the Gold Coast this week, as nearly 1,200 potential track champions go under the hammer at the Magic Millions yearling sales.
The annual mega sale has seen dozens of breeders from the bush canter to the coast to put their stock through the ring before some of the biggest buyers in racing.
As Magic Millions owner Gerry Harvey told the Caller, border closures and lockdown have posed a daily threat to the annual event. At the time of writing only industry folk from greater Sydney were required to undergo quarantine in order to attend.
Thankfully for Queensland horse stud operators, their proximity to the Gold Coast glitter strip has allowed them to bring full contingents of yearlings to the sales with minimal interruption.
Based at Wyreema, south of Toowoomba, Kenmore Lodge owners Cameron and Kellie Bond have a draft of 20 horses up for sale.
Their successful year in 2020 saw the stud produce G1 Stradbroke Handicap winner Tyzone and G3 Sunshine Coast Guineas winner Waptiti, both of which were sold previously at the Magic Millions.
“The Magic Millions is an amazing opportunity for us,” Cameron Bond said.
“We run a breeding, breaking in, pre training and yearling preparation business, so we sort of cover all the bases. We run it over three properties totalling about 600 acres.
“It’s definitely good to see a bit of a better season for rain. The fodder costs make or break us really. Prices have been out of this world until just recently. There’s been a bit of an ease in costs.
“This sale gives us a chance to get ahead. We put a lot of hard work in and hope to get some good results.
“Our Brazen Beau X Show Steeler (Lot 791) colt is probably our stand out.”
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Josh Hitchins manages his family’s stud Element Hill, based at Beaudesert, which has a draft of 20 horses at this year’s Magic Millions.
Group 1 winners Typhoon Tracy and Magicool have been among the champions produced at the stud, which currently stands about 35 broodmares.
“It’s one of our favourite sales, being from Queensland,” Hitchins said.
“You bring them here, it’s the first sale of the year, you hope to get your money here. Everyone’s keen to buy, and to fill their quotas.
“There’s great atmosphere and that’s why we love it here as a vendor.”
He said Lot 583, an I’m Invincible X My Amelia colt, was among Element Hill’s most exciting prospects.