Bobby Zen

Star Bloodstock, the consignment that unearthed talents like Malavath (Ire), A’Ali (Ire) and more, is set to wind down its breeze-up operation and concentrate entirely on producing future top-notchers on the racetrack instead. 

The shift in focus has reaped immediate rewards with the aptly-named Make Haste (GB) (Blue Point {Ire}), a leading Royal Ascot contender after posting a stunning debut success at Naas for trainer and breeze-up consignor Diego Dias, being snapped up by Gainesway and LNJ Foxwoods. 

Bought by Byron Rogers, Star Bloodstock and Dias at the Tattersalls Book 2 session of the October Yearling Sale for 75,000gns, a majority share in Make Haste is understood to have been sold for a multiple of that initial outlay with the speedy juvenile now a general 7-1 chance for the Queen Mary on June 19. 

Matt Eves, who has been with Star Bloodstock since its inception a decade ago, explained how Make Haste remaining with Dias, who is an integral part of the operation, for the reminder of her two-year-old campaign was imperative to getting a deal over the line with potential partners. 

He said, “We could have sold Make Haste five times over and were offered more money to sell one hundred per cent of the horse but we wanted her to stay with Diego for the remainder of her two-year-old career. For that reason, we decided to sell a majority share in the filly to Gainesway and LNJ Foxwoods, who are great partners to have come on board. We set a price and the person who met that price first was Alex Solis, so we shook his hand and made a deal. It’s all very exciting.”

Make Haste couldn’t have been more impressive at Naas. After racing keenly, she travelled best a furlong out before quickening clear of her rivals inside the last to win going away by over three lengths at the line. 

Eves reflected on the performance that caught the attention of some of the biggest buyers in the game, “She was pulling like a train at the start because they weren’t going fast enough for her. We put Gavin on board in a schooling race at Dundalk and he jumped off her straight away and said, ‘yep, she’s a right one.’”

He added, “It’s been similar vibes the whole way through from Diego-he likes her a lot. I remember Diego jumping off Malavath and the feedback he gave us about her. It’s been something similar with Make Haste.”

Star Bloodstock is unique in that the model is driven by data. Dias has the ultimate say as to what he can and cannot train but, by and large, the shortlists are drawn up by Byron Rogers’ system that measures stride length, mechanics and many other important factors when evaluating a young racehorse. So how did Make Haste measure up?

“Basically, we put all the videos of the horses at the yearling sales into the system and that generates a shortlist,” Eves explained. “Diego then goes and looks at the horses that have been shortlisted through the machine learning technology and decides what horses he thinks he can train and which ones will be too hard to train. That’s the system. We paid 75,000gns for Make Haste. It’s interesting because the value comes down to how the horse scores on the system but, with Make Haste, she is by Blue Point so we knew we were going to have to fight off some competition for her.”

Despite the huge success the operation has enjoyed at the breeze-up game, a lack of success in the sales ring over the past three years has been put forward by Eves as the main reason behind the decision for Star Bloodstock to change its focus. And the team is confident that the transition from selling horses in the ring to form horses instead will be a successful one.

He said, “Star Bloodstock was founded in May 2014, so this has been its tenth year in existence. We’ve had great success and, looking back at our track record, we have been hitting at least two or three horses who have achieved ratings in excess of 90 every year. We are fairly confident that, if we go out and buy 10 yearlings every year, that we will get two or three decent animals in that bunch. I don’t think many other consignors would hit that percentage.”

He added, “But the reality of the situation is that we haven’t made any money at the breeze-ups for the past three years. Most of the lads in Star were left wondering why we were doing it any more because we’d burned most of the cash that we put in. But one or two others said we should just try and change the model around because, if you take the strike-rate that we have been having, we could probably do better in the long run by putting these horses in training, like we did with Make Haste. Going forward, we will not be putting any more horses through the breeze-ups. Star Bloodstock won’t be consigning next year.”

Asked what the catalyst for the change was, Eves replied, “Malavath selling for €3.2 million at Arqana. That was the moment I asked myself, ‘why are we the mugs in the middle?’ We’re finding these horses. A’Ali. What was he worth as a stallion? He’s another one we bought as a yearling and sold at the breeze-up sales. Just take those two horses. We literally could have lost on every other horse we’ve ever bought and those two would have paid for the whole thing. I’m not joking. That’s the reality of the situation. When you look at it like that, we’re the ones who produce the horses who go on and deliver on the track, yet we’re getting run over in the ring and not getting paid.

“Instead of doing what we’re doing at the minute, which is running Star to try and make a 15 to 20 per cent margin per year, we’re going to have to accept that there will be two or three years where we blow all of our money by running them on the track. The upside of that is that, when we get the big year where an A’Ali, Malavath or a Make Haste as it turns out to be, who cares? You need a bigger capital and, thankfully, one of our investors has stumped up the cash to allow us to do that.”

With Make Haste, Star Bloodstock and its partners couldn’t’ have wished for a better start to this new chapter and Eves is predicting a bold show from the filly at Ascot. 

He concluded, “The Queen Mary is the obvious race for her at Royal Ascot and we’re going to go there as one of the market leaders. It’s a pretty nice place to be. She will go there without another run–the thing with Diego’s horses is that they seem to be improving for a run so it’s very exciting.”

The post No Longer The ‘Mugs In The Middle’ – Star To Wind Down Breeze-Up Operation appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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