Yarraman Park Stud’s recent advertising campaign for I Am Invincible practically wrote itself as Australia geared itself up for the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, the first major yearling auction of the season.
For several days, their advertising revolved around a single slogan, ‘31 winners in 30 days’ – a pretty powerful line that alluded to a remarkably productive November.
Having said that, it’s what the industry in Australia has come to expect from I Am Invincible, who has churned out winners, many high-profile, with great regularity since his first crop hit the track during the 2013-14 season.
They include two Group 1 winners in Brazen Beau, now a shuttler to Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, and I Am A Star, and perhaps they will be joined in due course by the exciting juvenile Houtzen, who maintained her unbeaten record in Saturday’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast.
All were bred during their sire’s years at A$11,000 (£6,707/€7,757), which rose to A$27,500 (£16,769/€19,395) in 2014 the season after he was crowned Australia’s leading first-crop sire.
That crop are currently yearlings, and waiting in the pipeline are a group of foals sired at A$55,000 (£33,540/€38,780), the same figure he commanded during the past southern hemisphere season.
I Am Invincible’s opening fee was reflective of a solid race record that lacked a Group 1 win. He was from the first southern hemisphere crop of Invincible Spirit, who shuttled for four years to Chatswood Stud in Victoria, and proved a useful early Australian representative, running Group 3-placed in two starts at two for Toby Edmonds before switching to Peter Morgan, for whom he won the Group 3 McKay Stakes over 5½ furlongs as a four-year-old.
That season was by far his most productive of four years of racing and also included a runner-up effort to Takeover Target in the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap.
Breeders obviously liked what they saw from I Am Invincible’s early foals as his crop size grew year on year during those first few seasons. And those who took a chance were on the money.
His first stakes winner arrived in December 2013 when Bassillique, fittingly bred by Yarraman Park Stud and trained by Toby Edmonds, landed the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes at Doomben. By the end of that first season, five of those 89 first-crop foals had won stakes races, among them Brazen Beau, who had struck in the Group 2 Bollinger Champagne Classic and run second in the Group 1 J J Atkins Stakes.
I Am Invincible ended the 2013-14 season as the dominant leading first-crop sire over the likes of Manhattan Rain and Medaglia d’Oro, both of whom had stood for in excess of A$45,000 (£27,346/€31,721). He went on to finish second on the following season’s Australian second-crop sires’ list to Medaglia D’Oro, sire of that year’s Golden Slipper winner Vancouver, before returning to the head of his generation as Australia’s leading third-crop sire of 2015-16.
With four crops of racing age on the ground, he boasts 17 stakes winners and another 14 stakes horses. As is typical of the Green Desert/Invincible Spirit sire line, the majority of his progeny are fast – 124 of his runners have scored over five/six furlongs compared to 19 over seven furlongs and beyond – and plenty come to hand early. Brazen Beau, who went on to capture the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes and Group 1 Newmarket Handicap and run second in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at three, remains his best performer.
However, another Group 1 winner came his way in October when the aptly named I Am A Star won the Group 1 Myer Classic at Flemington. Crucially in light of the importance of the export market in Australia, he has also made a bright start in Hong Kong, where he is the sire of six winners from ten runners, and Singapore, where champion two-year-old Super One is the highlight of ten winners.
As effective as Yarraman’s advertising may have been in the run up to Christmas, they had far stronger angles to market once the Magic Millions festival on the Gold Coast was done and dusted.
On the track, there was the victory of Houtzen, another trained by Toby Edmonds, in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic to celebrate.
The impressive winner of her preceding two starts at Doomben and the Gold Coast, she made light of her outside draw to control the pace before holding off the late run of Chauffeur. In the process, she added A$1.2 million (£731,447/€845,893) to I Am Invincible’s seasonal earnings; between them, his runners have earned over A$6.5 million (£3,962,009/€4,581,667) this season, enough to topple Winx’s sire Street Cry at the head of the Australian champion sires’ table, for the time being at least.
I Am Invincible’s surge through the stallion ranks has understandably been warmly received in the sale ring, especially given his ability to throw fast, precocious performers. Those that took a chance when he stood for A$27,500 in 2014 were amply rewarded at Book One of the Gold Coast Yearling Sale last week when his yearlings averaged a whopping A$318,215 (£193,988/€224,237).
No fewer than eight of the 39 on offer realised A$500,000 (£304,893/€352,470) or more, led by a half-brother to Group 1 winner Sizzling from Milburn Creek that made A$900,000 (£548,738/€634,446) to McEvoy Mitchell Racing.
Three colts were also knocked down to Shadwell Australia, Jadeskye Racing/ BK Racing/Gerald Ryan and Vinery for A$600,000 (£365,825/€422,949) apiece while I Am Invincible also later accounted for the top two lots at Book Two of the Gold Coast Sale.
Were I Am Invincible ever to shuttle to Europe, he has many of the credentials to be popular. But European breeders already have access to Brazen Beau, who is standing his second season in Newmarket for £10,000.
One of two sons at stud in Australia by their sire alongside Super One, who stands for A$11,000 at Newgate Farm, Brazen Beau is out of Sansadee, a Group 3-placed daughter of the Danzig stallion Snaadee. He is thus inbred to Danzig, a pattern which can also be found in the backgrounds belonging to five other stakes winners by I Am Invincible.
Brazen Beau is also inbred 3x4 to champion Australian sire Bletchingly, whose sire Biscay also features twice in the backgrounds of his Group 2 winner The Justice League and Group 3 winners Invincible Star and Voodoo Lad as well as Houtzen.
Another successful autumn campaign by Winx will most likely hand her sire Street Cry a second consecutive Australian sires’ championship. But it wouldn’t be too fanciful to think that a first championship will come the way of I Am Invincible sooner rather than later.
Regardless, he has already done much to establish the health of the Invincible Spirit