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Mega prizemoney shaping future of world racing and breeding industries

J A McGrath

It is hard to get away from the reality that the huge prizemoney on offer for a clutch of new races in Australia and America is establishing a trend that will shape the allied industries of racing and breeding in those countries for generations to come.

Just as the inauguration of the Arlington Million, Japan Cup and Breeders’ Cup in the early 1980s changed forever the aspirations of owners globally, so The Pegasus in Florida, the Everest in Sydney, and the All Star Mile in Melbourne, are set to shape the buying strategy and breeding plans for fresh faces of the future.

Racing’s ‘Johnny Come Latelys’ are having an impact, and while the Magic Millions meeting on Australia’s Gold Coast on Saturday, 12 January, is not based on any concept as radical as the aforementioned races, its influence remains huge — and so is the prizemoney.

Of course, the nine-race card is restricted to horses sold at the Magic Millions Sale, which is conducted during the same week as the big raceday, the feature of which, the Two-Year-Old Classic, over 1200m, has attracted the usual capacity field of 16 juveniles.

Godolphin is represented by the well-regarded Exhilarates, who will start from barrier nine, which the experts believe is the perfect draw to get an early position and avoid the clutter that inevitably occurs on the inside in such a big field.

A change in Godolphin policy left the way clear to purchase fresh blood at public sales to introduce some new lines to the well-established, successful pedigrees built up over many years at Darley farms in Australia.

There is a genuine hope that in the case of Exhilarates, lightning can strike twice for Godolphin.

First, on pedigree — she was bought for A$600,000, arguably a modest price for one by record-breaking stallion Snitzel out of the brilliant Samaready, who won the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield and was placed in the G1 Golden Slipper at Rosehill.

Second, on who rides her — Kerrin McEvoy has had success for Godolphin, stretching back to the days of Dubawi and Shamardal in Europe, but more recently winning the G1 Melbourne Cup on Cross Counter.

Success for Exhilarates would be early vindication of a strategic change in policy that could greatly enrich the already bloodlines of mares and stallions already residing under the Darley banner.