Katrina Price leads around Chicago Cub, the sale-topper on Wednesday at $190,000. Photo: Race Images.
Winton’s John and Katrina Price have dabbled in the yearling sales over the years but they never dreamed they would be selling the top priced lot and shaking hands with Emilio Rosati.
But that is what happened at the Premier Sale in Christchurch on Wednesday when the Prices sold a brother to WA star Chicago Bull for $190,000.
As he had done on Tuesday with the top priced lot at the trotting sale – a $160,000 Love You colt - Rosati did the bidding by phone with the auctioneers rather than disclosing his interest for fear of being ‘run up’.
The Sydney businessman has made a habit of buying top priced lots at yearling sales around Australasia over the past decade or so.
Rosati said the Bettor’s Delight-Chicago Blues colt Chicago Cub was likely to remain in New Zealand although he was yet to sort out a trainer.
“I’ll have to consult the boss (wife Mary) about that first,” said Rosati.
John Price said the best price they’d had for a yearling before was $45,000 for the Christian Cullen colt Nureyev, the first foal they bred from Idancedallnight.
That mare was lost a few years later but the Prices are now also breeding from their good racemare Democrat Party, who won over $250,000 racing out of Barry Purdon’s stable.
That well-bred mare has had her first foal this season in a filly by Bettor’s Delight.
Price bought Chicago Blues, a daughter of Christian Cullen from the Black Watch family, from the 2008 Premier Sale after she had been passed in by Aidan Johnstone.
“She had a lot of speed and was just beaten by Millwood Meg in a two-year-old race at Gore.
“We won three races with her and then sent her to Cran Dalgety but she kept having tie up problems.”
Not far away in the family of the brilliant Pacific Flight is Timeless Perfection, whose Bettor’s Delight filly sold for $90,000 at Karaka on Monday.
Chicago Bull was the first foal from Chicago Blues and the Prices trained him to win twice as a two-year-old.
“He started in the Harness Jewels won by Lazarus and then we sold him to the Gary Hall stable.”
Chicago Bull has so far won 26 races in Australia and over $1.4m, winning a WA Derby and WA Pacing Cup, and recently chased Lazarus home in the Inter Dominion Final in Perth.
The Prices have also bred a three-year-old filly by Rock N Roll Heaven from Chicago Blues called Rockabilly Blues, “but she is 17 hands and is going to take some time”.
Chicago Blues had a dead colt foal by Bettor’s Delight this season and missed getting back in foal.
“Chicago Bull was just a pony and not worth bringing here at the time.
“But Chicago Cub is the best foal on type from the mare so far and looks like being a two-year-old.
“We were confident he would sell well and the reserve was $80,000.
“We’ve offered the odd yearling at the sales over the years if we think they’re good enough, but we put good reserves on them and are happy to take them home again because we train them ourselves.”
With Rosati undecided about where Chicago Cub was heading after the sale, Price offered to take him home as well and “take good care of him”.
But that idea probably wasn’t getting past ‘the boss’.