O’Brien celebrates

Article published on 9th Jul 2020 at Inglis

Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm’s James O’Brien has had a week like no other, but today it ended in the best way possible as a Not A Single Doubt filly he offered topped the Australian Weanling Sale.

The worsening COVID-19 situation in Victoria the past seven days has led to chaos for many Victorians, including O’Brien, who admits his stress levels this week have “gone to unchartered territory – and that’s saying something for me’’.

But today, as he offered Lauriston’s entire 2019 foal crop as supplementary entries in the Australian Weanling Sale, his stresses turned to jubilation as lot 343 (ex Rhodamine) sold to Suman Hedge Bloodstock on behalf of Grant Bloodstock and Myrrh Australia for $280,000, a sale-topping price.

Not only did Lauriston provide the sale-topper, it also ended as leading vendor by average (for three or more sold) at $69,900, selling all 10 lots offered.

“I’m ecstatic, over the moon, emotional, very proud of the achievements of today. What a day,’’ a relieved O’Brien said.

“It’s been hugely stressful. We were jumping in a car Friday to sell up there in Sydney but we got blocked on Wednesday so everything changed. We had to find staff, organise travel, accommodation, who could offload the horses once they got to Sydney, all the logistics while trying to let Victorians know they had one day basically to do on-farm inspections here in Victoria before the horses left and everything else.

“Karis Clarkson ran our team for us at Riverside and she did an outstanding job, as did all the staff, who had never seen these weanlings before until the weekend.

“It really took my stress to a new level. The foals are born on your farm, you raise them, get them ready for auction and come to the grand final it’s like we’ve pulled a hamstring three days out and can’t play. It really was distressing.

“But to come out the other side as leading vendor, all credit goes to my team here on the farm, they put a lot of effort in and the feedback I was getting daily from Karis and her crew at Riverside was exceptional, so thank you to everyone who helped us achieve these great results.’’

The Not A Single Doubt filly (pictured) which topped the sale was always a special filly, according to O’Brien.

“She’s an outstanding type and was from the outset,’’ he said.

“We’ve always felt she’d be popular come sale time so all credit to Suman and Steve and the team, I’m confident they’ll get a great result if they on sell or keep her to race.’’

Like O’Brien, Victorian-based Hedge was unable to attend Riverside but took the advice of people he trusted who recommended the Not A Single Doubt filly.

“Rob Petith, farm manager of Silverdale and Scott Holcombe (Milburn Creek farm manager), they are two confidants and friends and they did the inspections on our behalf and they particularly liked this filly,’’ Hedge said.

“She rated the best physical at the sale. I didn’t see her but I had really strong confidence to get involved because I trust the people I was using to help me.

“This filly has the pedigree, she’s by a champion stallion and the mare is a running mare who’s already produced a talented full relative (Legend Of Condor) so all of those factors gave us a lot of confidence to get involved heavily.

“That said, $280k was really on our limit. We had nothing left.

“There was good, strong competition on her and others and I didn’t feel there was much difference between this sale and other sales from a buying perspective. The catalogue was strong and the results reflected that.’’

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