THE HOARSE WHISPERER, By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 30 September 2008, Wednesday
Overseas Horse Traders Visit
As thoroughbred breeders seek to upgrade their bloodstock in pursuit of the ever-elusive quintessential Philippine champion, representatives of the major international horse vendors came to Manila to entice them to procure the lineages that could help them reach their goal.
First to arrive in town was Magic Millions of Australia managing director David Chester who appeared at Santa Ana Park last Saturday to present the awards for three MM-sponsored races.
Chester has been to Manila many times over the past several years, and, in cooperation with the local arm of the Australian Trade Commission, arranges “meet and greet” functions where he can connect personally with local buyers and give them copies of the latest sales catalogues.
Last Thursday, Chester accompanied Philippine Racing Commission chairman lawyer Jose Ferdinand M. Rojas II, other commissioners, and staff on its inspection of the newly-established ACS Farm in Batangas.
The spacious paddocks anticipate the doubling of the farm’s population by next year.
ACS Farm trainer Andoy Florentino points to one of their newly-purchased yearlings as David Chester stands by.
Spread over 90 hectares, the fledgling facility has a population of over fifty, with one stallion and fifteen broodmares (seven of whom are in foal). The rest are weanlings, yearlings, and runners on spell.
Chester inspected the lone stallion, Jazz Club (Dixieland Band-Hidden Garden out of Mr. Prospector), purchased last year from the Maryland Stallion Station. He also observed the Philracom veterinarians install identity microchips into some of the yearlings as grooms expertly handled them.
Jazz Club is shy.
Philracom vet Dr. Bong Escalante inserts a tiny fiber microchip in a yearling’s neck using a syringe.
This prompted him to comment, “Filipinos are the best horsemen in Asia – the owners, jockeys, grooms, farriers, vets, everyone.” David then revealed plans to create a training program for local jockeys, vets, and farriers to be held in Australia. Those who do well in their training, he said, could even apply to work on Australia’s many vast ranches and equine facilities.
On Sunday, Santa Ana Park welcomed Keeneland Associates’ sales director Geoffrey Russell and marketing director Chauncey Morris. They arrived upon the invitation of local horseman and breeder par excellence Leonardo “Sandy” M. Javier Jr. to sponsor the Keeneland Stakes.
Morris, Russell, Rojas, Javier, and Philippine Racing Club manager Dan Valmonte
The race, open to horses with Keeneland lineage, was won by 2007 PCSO Presidential Gold Cup champion Shining Fame (Royal Premiere-Harry’s District), lately on a winning streak. Russell and Morris presented owner Tony Tan with a sterling silver mint julep cup engraved with the race name, date, and venue. This trophy is what Keeneland traditionally awards to winners of races that they have sponsored, its design a replica of a cup created by a Kentucky silversmith in 1795.
The cup comes with its own pouch.
The bottom of the piece is marked with the silversmith’s name and location, and the initials of the sitting president of the US.
Keeneland, located in Kentucky, is the foremost thoroughbred sales agent in the world, sending horses to 48 out of the 65 horseracing nations. They count among their clients Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, buying for his world-renowned Godolphin racing stable; his wife Princess Haya, a horsewoman in her own right; and the UAE’s Darley and Shadwell stables.
Sales at Keeneland can feature up to 11,000 horses, listed in as many as seven thick catalogues, while other thoroughbred sales groups publish three or four. With this many horses, Morris assured buyers, “Horses are available at every level,” with price points covering all ranges.
He added, “We are appreciative of the support from Filipino buyers,” and invited everyone to attend their sale on November 3-17. The online catalogue will be uploaded to ww2. keeneland.com today. Buyers may use the website to search for particular lineages and print out only the pages they need.
Morris also pointed out that Keeneland Stakes winner Shining Fame’s sire, Royal Premiere (Sadlers Wells-Loss or Gain), is from Keeneland, saying, “We are very lucky that our horses have done well here.”
Shining Fame, with jockey Jesse B. Guce and groom, at the saddling paddock just before the running of the Keeneland Stakes.
Said Philracom chairman Rojas, who gave the Keeneland representatives a tour of the Commisson office on Monday morning, “We welcome all our visitors and encourage them to develop linkages with the local breeders and owners, for the further development of the industry.”
Meanwhile, Javier, who is also chairman of the Metropolitan Association of Race Horse Owners, said that he is inviting local horsemen to visit Keeneland, among them the connections of ACS Farm, which is looking to acquire proven pedigrees for the 2009 breeding season. *** (Web: http://jennyo.net)