Australia’s Group 1 winners from the past five racing seasons, and what the figures tell us:

A hot topic at every weanling and yearling sale is to what degree a youngster’s date of birth will impact its future racing career. Indeed, when buying an in-foal mare, one of the factors foremost in a buyer’s mind is the date of her last service – with an early service date by far the most desirable. There are those who would never contemplate buying a late foal, those who will judge each individual on its merits as a whole, and those who may be looking for a future Cup horse and so precocity will not be number one on their agenda, etc. To lay speculation to rest, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at all the Group 1 winners in Australia from the past 5 seasons (2006/07 – 2010/11 inclusive). These are my findings:

From 209 individual G1 winners, 7 were Northern Hemisphere bred horses, so to keep things simple, I have excluded this group of 7 from my calculations. Thus from a group of 202 Group 1 winners, their dates of birth (grouped by month of birth) are as follows:

August foals accounted for 22.3% of G1 winners;

September foals accounted for 33.7% of G1 winners;

October foals accounted for 31.2% of G1 winners;

November foals accounted for 11.4% of G1 winners;

December foals accounted for 1% of G1 winners.

In other words, “early” foals, or those born between August and October account for over 87% of G1 winners, while those foals generally categorized as “late” foals, ie November/December foals, accounted for just under 12.5%.

These figures, while telling enough, are still quite a general overview. So I think it is only fair to take a closer look and see what else can be garnered from all this number crunching. With this in mind, I wanted to take a closer look at the 25 horses in the late foal category and see how many of this Group were precocious enough to win at the highest level as juveniles. My findings are as follows:

44% of this group were unraced as 2yr olds;

78.6% of those that raced at 2yrs were winners at 2;

21.4% of those winners won at Listed/Group level at 2yrs;

0% of those winners from this group of late foals won at G1 level at 2yrs;

40% of the late foals looked at, won at G1 level as 3yr olds;

44% won at G1 level as 4yr olds;

32% won at G1 level as 5yr olds or older;

The average distance won over by this group of horses at G1 level is 1,777m.

The 2 December foals (ROAD TO ROCK, born 11/12/’04 and MASTER O’REILLY, born 2/12/’02) were unraced at 2yrs and did not win at G1 level until they were 5yr olds. While, on a whole, the late foals are slow to get off the mark at the highest level, and statistically appear to be at a disadvantage compared to the G1 strike rate of August, September, and October foals, these past five seasons has seen some top class performers such as HARADASUN, SO YOU THINK, WEEKEND HUSSLER, and DANLEIGH show that late foals can hold their own on the big stage as 3yr olds and beyond.

Anthony Cummings has been the most successful purchaser of future G1 winners in recent years, having been responsible for the purchase of 9 yearlings that have gone on to win at G1 level in Australia over the past 5 seasons. Those 9 horses averaged just under $196,000 each as yearlings, with the cheapest being Sacred Choice (Choisir) at $40,000 and the most expensive being Onemorenomore (Red Ransom) at $800,000.

Of the Southern Hemisphere-bred G1 winners that went through the sales ring as yearlings – the cheapest was Sincero (Umatilla), bought by G.Wallace for $8,000. On the other end of the spectrum, Samantha Miss (Redoute’s Choice) was bought for $1,500,000 by K.Lees. The average price as yearlings for this bunch of G1 winners was just shy of $165,000.

Vendors that sold 5 or more G1 winners in Australia these past 5 seasons are:

Waikato Stud (New Zealand) 7.

Widden Stud 7.

Arrowfield Stud 6.

Coolmore Stud 5.

Stallions with 5 or more individual G1 winners in Australia these past 5 seasons are:

Encosta De Lago 11. Averaged $190,000 as yearlings.

Redoute’s Choice 10. Averaged $473,333 as yearlings.

Zabeel 8. Averaged $205,833 as yearlings.

Flying Spur 7. Averaged $322,500 as yearlings.

Commands 5. Averaged $90,000 (only 1 sold at auction as a yearling).

Montjeu 5. Averaged $100,000 (only 1 sold at auction as a yearling).

O’Reilly 5. Averaged $75,000 as yearlings.

Red Ransom 5. Averaged $373,000 as yearlings.

Encosta De Lago, bay 1993, 16.1hh, Fairy King – Shoal Creek, by Star Way. Encosta De Lago, who has led the way in Australian racing in recent years, stands at Coolmore Australia. His 2011 fee is $110,000.

*While I have made every effort to ensure that my figures for this article are correct, we are all human, and mistakes do occur, so please, if you think that I have made any omissions or mistakes with my data then please contact me and I will endeavor to make the necessary corrections. FT