Three days after the TBA Awards ceremony at the Jockey Club Rooms, one of the most interesting two-year-olds of the season, whose existence is closely linked to two of the recipients, emerged on the July Course.
Good Old Boy Lukey is a member of the penultimate crop of former Lanwades stalwart Selkirk – who was owned and bred by the winner of the Andrew Devonshire Bronze, George Strawbridge – and if he continues in this eye-catchingly progressive manner he has every chance of giving his much missed sire a posthumous last hurrah.
In the bottom line of his pedigree sits a name redolent of success. Reprocolor, arguably the most noted of the four broodmares to have got the fledgling Meon Valley Stud off the ground following her purchase as a yearling in 1977 for Egon and Elizabeth Weinfeld, appears as the fourth dam of Good Old Boy Lukey, whose grandam Spinning The Yarn is a three-parts-sister to Kayf Tara and Opera House. Kayf Tara was also honoured at the TBA Awards, named as the leading British-based National Hunt sire for the fourth time in 2012/13.
We have to rely on that wonderful euphemism ‘coltish’ to describe his behaviour when pacing Newmarket’s shaded pre-parade ring
Now unbeaten in three races, Good Old Boy Lukey has already defied expectations to a certain extent. That’s not to say he doesn’t have the pedigree to be absolutely top-drawer but it is one, along with his physique, which would have suggested he would make a later appearance on the racecourse. As it is, he started his career over five furlongs at Hamilton in May.
We have to rely on that wonderful euphemism ‘coltish’ to describe his behaviour when pacing Newmarket’s shaded pre-parade ring prior to his success in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes. Tally, leggy, chestnut and flashy – a description which could be applied to so many of his sire’s offspring – his appearance led me to wonder if the fast ground would suit the late April-foaled swayback colt with so much growing up still to do. Not for the first time, I was wrong.
The resolve shown when taking on the eventual runner-up Somewhat and outbattling him to the line was impressive indeed. His trainer Richard Fahey, one of the best handlers of juveniles in the business, admitted that he is not overdoing the horse at home and is learning about him with every race. There’s clearly plenty more for Good Old Boy Lukey to learn, too. I doubt we’ve seen the best of him yet.
Good Old Boy Lukey’s breeder, Sarah Hamilton, purchased his dam Pivotting as an unraced three-year-old for 35,000gns at Tattersalls’ July Sale of 2009. Her first foal, the twice-raced daughter of Oratorio named Hadeeya, went through the same sale last month and was very shrewdly bought back by her breeder through Kirtlington Stud at 5,000gns just three days before her half-brother became a Group 2 winner.
“I had an inkling that Good Old Boy Lukey was going to be decent so I thought it was a good idea to get her back,” said Hamilton, who lives in Monmouthshire but boards Pivotting and Hadeeya at Kirtlington along with three other mares owned in partnership with Chris Budgett.
“Pivotting broke her pelvis which was why she didn’t race and probably why I was able to afford to buy her. It’s a family I’ve always loved – you can’t beat these old families, something good always comes out of them.
“Pivotting has a Sir Percy filly going to the October Sale at Tattersalls but she didn’t get in foal last year which meant she could be covered early this year by Dutch Art.”
Good Old Boy Lukey is Hamilton’s first Group winner but he is not the only successful juvenile for her this season as she also bred One Penny Piece, who became the first British winner for freshman Archipenko in June and won again in July.
She says: “Sadly I couldn’t get to Newmarket on the day Good Old Boy Lukey ran but I watched him on TV and cried!”
And so to the next crop
While we’re yet to see many of the yearling graduates of 2012 appear on the racecourse, the focus of much of the bloodstock industry is now firmly on this season’s yearling sales, as our previews of auctions held during August in the following pages will testify.
Of the two winning juveniles mentioned above, Good Old Boy Lukey failed to find a buyer in the ring at 12,000gns while One Penny Piece was bought by her trainer Charlie McBride for 2,000gns, emphasising how hard it still is for many breeders, despite a boost in trade at recent sales. Of course the success of these two will increase the value of their dams and forthcoming relatives but it’s understandable that many smaller breeders have felt the need to scale down or, in some cases, leave the industry altogether.
Looking at it from another perspective, for those prepared to buy horses that appeal to them on type rather than following the latest craze for the most fashionable stallions, there is certainly value to be found in the market. This year’s sales will doubtless exhibit the same level of polarisation as regards ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ sires and to a certain extent it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as perfectly good stallions are shunned often for little reason other than a pack mentality at the sales grounds. Potential owners can reap rewards if they are lucky enough to find a bloodstock agent or a trainer who is prepared to take an independent view.