They eat while you sleep

They eat while you sleep

Colin Gordon: As a younger man besotted with the sport of horseracing I remember the advice received every time I expressed my desire to own a racehorse: “Never, ever, buy anything that eats while you sleep!”

Sage advice you may well be thinking and 20 odd years on from my first share in a racehorse I confess that there have been times when I felt I should have heeded it. Recent events have, however, reminded me of a wonderful counter argument to this statement, albeit not as catchy a phrase.

Whilst you sleep and they eat, they can appreciate wildly (and not by your efforts). Now that’s something I can get involved in!

If at this stage I have lost you, I’m talking about how a filly/mare you own can suddenly appreciate in value through the efforts of her siblings.

Let me illustrate: You own a reasonable filly who has won a race or two but if you are honest isn’t heading for Hollywood or in this case Champions Day. Whilst eating her hay one Saturday afternoon, her big brother wins the Grade 1 at Kenilworth. All of a sudden, while she’s literally eating, her value has gone from R20k to R300,000. This is simply because her paddock value has increased and, even though you may not be planning to breed with her, an astute breeder out there will have noticed.

In the breeding industry and with stallions especially this happens all the time. This past weekend when we were entertained by some top class racing in the UK, Roaring Lion picked up his third successive Group 1 with a roaring performance in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes, as he came from way back to run down Saxon Warrior. It stamped him as a class act.

Talking about performances, across the pond and within a few hours Oscar Performance, another son of Kitten’s Joy, won the Ricoh Grade 1 Woodbine, thereby upping the largely undervalued stock of Kitten’s Joy.

Now the cynics may well argue that the converse also applies. And with stallions, especially the new boys on the block, that is very true. A few runners in for a new sire and everyone is already forming an opinion and, whether or not the stallion was a 2000m horse and beyond, we are already start writing the obituary.

But the good news for those who believe judgments have been made prematurely is that there will be value in the sales ring until such time as the progeny proves otherwise.

Whilst I understand thoroughbred racehorse ownership and breeding is in every investment sense considered high risk, let’s remember there can also be a glorious upside, even if sometimes it is not earned through our own blood, sweat and tears.

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