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How Highclere zeroed in on the Zoustar ex Pleats filly at the Magic Millions

21st January, 2019

Gold Coast, January.

The sun is shining and there is excitement in the air, abuzz with buyers eager to secure racing’s next star.

It can mean only one thing: the Magic Millions, the flagship annual yearling sale.

Thousands of yearlings go under the hammer at the prestigious auction, which produces the most stakes winners Australia-wide including the fabled Winx.

Highclere made the yearly pilgrimage to the Gold Coast in early January to cast an eye over a record number of lots, described as “unprecedented” by Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch.

“Again in 2019 the breeders have stepped up to the plate, the support for the sale is unprecedented,” he said.

“The depth and quality of this catalogue will present buyers with a selection of Australasia’s best yearlings like no other sale.”

From it, Highclere was able to acquire the exciting Zoustar ex Pleats filly for $150,000 alongside Aquis Farm.

The filly will form part of the Pleats syndicate, with 10 shares available at a cost of $14,708 each.

But how did Highclere zero in on this latest stable addition with so many to choose from? It was all part of an extensive, meticulous process of elimination undertaken every year, overseen by the eagle-eyed horseman and buyer John Warren.

In fact, the buying process starts long before the Magic Millions sales period, in November, when Racing Manager Dane Robinson visits the Hunter Valley studs for inspection.

Thereafter, Dane will trim a shortlist of horses down to 60. Enter the masterful judgement of John Warren, whose record of horse-buying has earned him worldwide acclaim with Highclere’s seven champions and recognised even by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II whom he manages her bloodstock.

Once John has run the rule over the remaining crop, the baton is then passed onto Highclere vets, who conduct examinations head to tail, mind to hoof through x-rays and physiological tests.

Poet William Langland once wrote that patience is a virtue, and the same can be applied to the buying process. With eyes on the finest of the fine, Highclere is primed to secure the desired target or targets for a fair price; one that will provide future share owners with the greatest value for money.

The Zoustar ex Pleats filly will form part of Highclere trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s portfolio, two exciting and highly capable young trainers.

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