Noorilim Park Thoroughbreds owner Peter Carrick believes that I Am Invincible colt Garza Blanca is the real deal after the three-year-old colt set a new course record over 1200m on Cranbourne Cup Day.
Garza Blanca is one of six colts purchased by Mark Player and Rob Roulston for their PR Funds in another search to unearth a valuable stallion for a group of studs and individuals.
Noorilim Park is the manager of Garza Blanca and other Victorian studs in the ownership include Limerick Lane and Musk Creek Farm, as well as Rifa Bloodstock, Werrett Bloodstock, Ben Cooper, Melbourne Cup winning owners Kevin and Colleen Bamford and Player and Roulston.
Carrick said they always thought the colt was the real deal and believes trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace were probably struggling to get to the bottom of the horse simply because of timing.
“We needed to give him that time but we were all pushing through the wet season and pushing through to get to the Spring,” he said
“Even though it was Murtoa where he first won, he did sort of show some ability and then it all went wrong on the wet tracks.
“All of our colts have struggled through the wet to be honest.”
Garza Blanca spaced his stablemate, the odds-on favourite and impeccably bred filly Greece (I Am Invincible x Maastricht) by three-lengths.
And there is plenty to like about Garza Blanca’s pedigree. He is also by I Am Invincible and is the first foal out of Fastnet Rock mare Mousai which is out of Gold Anthem, making her a half-sister to four-time G1 winning stallion Starspangledbanner and a three-quarter-sister to Group 1 Thousand Guineas winner, Amicus (Fastnet Rock).
Carrick described the colt’s turn of foot as sensational and believes the trainers will set him for the Newmarket Handicap where he believes the 1200m would be ideal.
“His turn of foot was electrifying as long as he just balances up in the run,” he said.
“The Newmarket is like a 1300 or 1400m.”
Both of Garza Blanca’s wins have been by big margins, having won his Mortua 1200m maiden by 4.25-lengths and then had a three-length, track record victory at Cranbourne over the same distance.
Before the Cranbourne win, the colt finished nine of ten in the Listed Gothic Stakes (1400m) on a soft track at Caulfield.
The colt was purchased for $700,000 at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale and Cranbourne win was exciting for Victorian breeders Mark Pilkington and Darren Thomas of Seymour Bloodstock who bred Garza Blanca in partnership.
Seymour Bloodstock also own Garza Blanca’s dam Mousai in partnership with Neil Werrett and Steve McCann.
“We sold him for $700,000 at Magic Millions and I know Mark Player identified him from his early inspections. He phoned up and said he was a nice colt and he and Rob Roulston were thrilled to get him for their syndicate,” Pilkington said.
“Gai (Waterhouse) and Adrian (Bott) were the under bidders on him, so he was well found and made plenty of money. We are thrilled for the local Victorians that are in him.
“He has obviously got such a big page with Starspangledbanner and co.”
Clearly on the radar of Hong Kong, Pilkington admits he put in an enquiry for clients and was politely told no.
Coolmore paid $700,000 for Mousai as a yearling and then Seymour Bloodstock took half of her.
“We raced her on and she won on debut and Lindsay Park trained her and then she was offered in the fillies and mares part of the Magic Millions Sale and Darren Thomas decided that her loved that pedigree and he said if possible we’d like to buy out the other partners, so we did.
“It was a lot of money ($870,000) but we took the long term view that we could breed some really nice horses out of the page.”
Pilkington said it was great to get the good money for the first colt out of Mousai which has since had a colt and a filly by Dundeel, followed by a Lonhro filly born this year.
Trainer Andrew Noblett paid $300,000 for the Dundeel colt at Sydney Easter last year and the filly is expected to be offered at the same sale.
Pilkington said he hopes to convince his partners to send the mare to Leneva Park’s Fierce Impact who has produced some nice first crop foals out of Fastnet Rock mares.
Pilkington said they used the proceeds from Garza Blanca’s sale to buy English Riviera (Deep Field x Second Time Lucky), in partnership, for $260,000 at last year’s Easter Yearling Sale.
The three-year-old filly is already a Group 3 winner after taking out the Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield last month.
“Garza Blanca is the gift that keeps on giving,” Pilkington quipped.
Garrick is also hoping for some gifts with the colts he has invested in. He is also a member of the Victorian Alliance which is headed by Rosemont and also comprises other studs and interested individuals who formed a syndicate to identify and buy colts as future stallion prospects.
Overall Carrick bought into 20 colts as potential stallions.
“I didn’t buy any colts this year and bought five fillies in the PR Fund but purely because of my farm and my breeding and the like,” he said.
“The horse was definitely bought as a stallion proposition and all of them are all in that line but we’ve had to cut a few.
“I think we cut something like five of them. But they are not all ever going to be two-years-old.”
Asked whether he’d contemplate selling Garza Blanca, Garrick said: “Everything is for sale as far as I’m concerned. I have been in the game for that long and I ignored selling horses in the early days and it was the worst mistake I’d ever made.
“I have been involved in buying forty million dollars’ worth of horses.
“Mark and Rob are realists and I think we will probably be wanting to keep this one through autumn and if not the following Spring.
“If we get the big offer, you never know.”
Garrick said the owners in the colt, all have equal owner percentages.
Carrick is hoping that as well as Garza Blanca, there might be another one in the 20 colts that he invested in that might make the grade.
“In that year I bought 12 with Vic Alliance, six with the PR Plan and then another two with Ciaron Maher,” he said.
“You would think 18 would have been enough.”
Carrick said they still had a lot of good colts and he wouldn’t under estimate a few of the others, including Victorian Alliance colt Doull (Snitzel x Bulbula) – $1.2m yearling purchase – which is trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman.
And he said another Victorian Alliance purchase Millane (Zoustar x Fireworks) was also a very nice colt.
“We have still got a few horses to rise to the surface,” he said.
Carrick said that of the PR Plan’s colts, the one they thought was going to be their was best Foujita San (Maurice x Belle Giselle) – but he can’t perform on a wet track.
With one win and two seconds, including in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes at the Valley in September, the colt has had five of his seven starts on rain affected tracks.
“Forget that he has gone around on a wet track,” Carrick said.
“The whole family needs a good 3 or 4. He is a horse that hopefully Hawkesy (trainer) can bring him back in the autumn and we can see the best of him.”
Despite dabbling in potential stallions, Carrick said he is more of a supporter of broodmare and fillies.
“Up until the middle of October we had foaled down 100 on our farm but then we got flooded terribly when I had 220 horses here,” he said.
“I never lost any but had another 70 to foal down but had to move them on. It was devastation.
“We didn’t lose any animals. I have 360 head of Black Angus and I don’t know how we saved them all but we were terribly flooded.”
Carrick said that while the water had subsided they still had big lake areas on the property which comprises 1700-acres.
“I am always big noting myself that we have 15 km of river frontage, but you wouldn’t even want it after your saw the floods,” he said.
Carrick doesn’t believe his farm will ever encounter such a devastating flood which he described as a one in a thousand year event he puts down to being man-made through the default of management in weirs.
Carrick has 15 broodmares and says they don’t need any more as they’ve been breeding to top end stallions.
“We’ll have 30 at Melbourne Premier and have decided not to take them to the Magic Millions and to just strengthen up Victoria with 30 going through which is going to be a strong hand.”