Zenyatta's Halfs: The Aussie Connection
Rick Jamieson of Gilgai Farm in Australia sold a weanling half sister to Zenyatta for $1.5 million during the opening session of the Keeneland November breeding stock auction Nov. 7 in Lexington.
Multiple Eclipse Award-winning breeder and owner Frank Stronach purchased the bay filly.
But Jamieson still owns a yearling half sister to 2010’s Horse of the Year. Both the weanling and the yearling are by Henrythenavigator and they also are half sisters to grade I winner Balance.
“The yearling is at WinStar Farm at the moment getting broken in,” said Dermot Farrington, who is Jamieson’s bloodstock advisor. “We’re going to keep her for sure and we’re looking at trainers. At the moment, we’ve got the trainer of Balance (David Hofmans) on the list and we’ve got the trainer of Zenyatta (John Shirreffs) on the list, which is probably more likely, but we are looking at other trainers, including Simon Callaghan.”
Jamieson acquired Zenyatta’s weanling and yearling half sisters privately through Farrington and was interested in them specifically because they were fillies. According to The Jockey Club, both fillies were bred in Kentucky by Orpendale, Chelston, and Wynatt.
“We look at all the elite families around the world and we try to buy,” Farrington said. “Our mission is to go around, find international pedigrees, and bring them back to Australia.”
Farrington purchased the yearling first and then remembers buying her younger full sister “probably only” two weeks later.
“When I bought the yearling, I decided I needed to see as much of the family as possible,” Farrington said. “Obviously, after seeing Zenyatta and Balance racing, I just decided I needed to get a handle on it. I wanted to see the mare as well. So I looked at the mare and I looked at the foal. When I saw the foal, I really liked her. I said, ‘Maybe we should try to buy her'. ”
Physically, there are some differences between the yearling and the weanling.
“This filly we sold here is very like Balance in body shape and the other girl is very like the big girl (Zenyatta) herself. She’s black,” Farrington said. “They are two full sisters who are physically very good, but they are two different types.”
There was no plan originally to resell either of Zenyatta’s half sisters. Jamieson wanted to race them.
“It was just the way it panned out,” Farrington said. “The way the world is going at the moment and (because of) different issues at home, we just decided we would sell because we had two (with the same pedigree). He (Jamieson) just decided it was a good time.
“We didn’t pick the best one (to sell); we don’t know (which one is the best),” Farrington said. “The only reason we sold her (the weanling instead of the yearling) was the yearling couldn’t go to a yearling sale because it was too late by the time we thought about it.”
Farrington said there was a “realistic” reserve on Zenyatta’s weanling half sister and he and his boss were satisfied with how the selling experience turned out. Select Sales consigned the $1.5 million filly to the Keeneland November auction.
“We were happy with that price,” Farrington said. “She was bought by a guy (Stronach) who is going to enjoy her very much, and he’s been very good to racing around the world. I wish him the best of luck with her.”
Jamieson bred the undefeated Black Caviar, Australia’s most recent Horse of the Year and champion sprinter. He owns approximately 90 mares, including Helsinge, the dam of Black Caviar.
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