Winx no match for a Slipper-winning colt
IF you had the choice of being given any horse racing at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, the decision would be obvious to most: Winx.
But if you had to make the decision purely from a business point of view, well, believe it or not, there are several horses racing Saturday that could be worth many times what Winx is.
It's a moot point because Winx's part-owner Peter Tighe says the great mare will never see the inside of another sales ring.
"As her stature and phenomenon have grown, there's no way I could possibly sell her," he said. "People would throw pies at me if I did that - it would be like selling Bambi."
Jonathan D'Arcy, general manager of bloodstock at leading auction house Inglis, estimated Winx would be worth $10 million, give or take, if she was offered for sale.
By contrast, a Golden Slipper-winning colt is worth an instant $20m.
Coolmore Stud this week inked a deal to buy Slipper aspirant Aylmerton in a mooted $6m deal, which becomes worth $20m if he wins on Saturday.
"The thing with broodmares is their commercial return is one foal a year, but not necessarily every year," D'Arcy said. "If Winx lives to a healthy age, you might get 10 or 11 foals out of her. For a colt, the Slipper is pretty much a $20 million race for them."
The last two Slipper-winning colts underline just how much a valuable colt can earn.
Capitalist covered 229 mares last season at Newgate Farm off a fee of $55,000. Coolmore Stud's Vancouver covered 200 mares in his first year off the same fee and another 161 last year at $49,500. He also did a stint in the United States in between.
You do the maths.
Even emerging Queensland stallion Spirit Of Boom, who was secured for stud duties for about $1m, is a more valuable thoroughbred than Winx on the current market.
"The next 12 months will be very important for his career," D'Arcy said. "He's started better than any stallion I can remember in my time. But you do have to have the follow through. He's probably a $30 million horse at the moment."
While the economics might make the colts more valuable, it's impossible to put a price on the joy Winx has brought to her connections, not to mention the $16m she has already banked on the track.
While she will never be for sale, Tighe said it's highly probable her progeny will go to sale at some stage. "I think that makes sense," he said. "Doing that opens up the door for the breeding industry. If her first foal happened to be a colt, it's possible he could be worth more than she is."