Queensland trainer Liam Birchley guaranteed himself all the hospitality he could ask for after he won an intense bidding war to secure a flashy Showcasing colt from the draft of Haunui Farm today.
Birchley outlaid $160,000 for Lot 854, the colt from Elusive City mare Party Lights, who hails from the family of multiple stakes winner Party Queen and speedy Gr. 3 Concorde Handicap winner Shezhardtocatch.
For the staff at Haunui Farm, it provided a lucrative windfall after stud boss Mark Chitty had instructed that any sale proceeds from the colt would be distributed amongst all permanent staff employed at the operation.
“The benefit is for all my permanent staff,” Chitty said. “From the gardener to the farmer to all the horse staff who have been in employment with me for 18 months or more.
“This was their incentive. We sex-tested the mare and we knew she was having a colt and it has gone from there. It is all shared amongst them with the only one not involved being the boss (me).”
Chitty believed the scheme was an appropriate way to reward his staff for all of the hard work they put in towards their biggest and busiest time of the year.
“It has been a tough sale, so we weren’t building any expectation,” he said. “He is a nice horse, but we were probably thinking he was a $70-$80,000 colt.
“I knew he had had some serious judges on him. Liam has been successful with horses off the farm, and so have been the people who were underneath him.
“Staff do a lot of work and we have had a tough sale with only just over 50 per cent clearance through the ring during Book 1.
“It is a bit demoralising, as it’s not about their effort, as their effort has been fantastic, so this is a dream for them.”
Birchley was happy to secure the colt after drawing on his experience with the progeny of Showcasing that includes a win in the 2015 Karaka Million 2YO with Hardline.
“I’m rapt to get him,” he said. “As you know I’ve had one by the same stallion win it (Karaka Million 2YO) and I’ve had a bit of luck buying out of the Haunui draft.”
Birchley will attempt to syndicate the colt when he returns home and is hoping a pre-sale tour that he undertook with a number of stable clients will assist in that process.
“We’ll try and syndicate him more than likely,” he said. “We had about 50 people come over this year that I took around the studs and the sale here, so I’m hoping that will help.
“He just had a terrific, precocious build and he was a real confident type of horse, so he ticked all the boxes.”