‘It’s not just horses, we sell dreams too’
MAGIC Millions bloodstock sales owner Gerry Harvey says they're not just selling racehorses on the Gold Coast from today: "We're selling a dream."
The annual yearling sale at the Bundall auction yards kicks off this morning from 10am and will see those with big chequebooks mixing it with the hobbyists and syndicates of mates.
Sydney-based couple Glenn and Viva Williams are back prowling the yards and its 1000-plus lots this week, having pulled off one of the single greatest buys at the sale in recent history.
The couple in their 60s shelled out $30,000 at the 2010 sale for a filly by stallion Not a Single Doubt.
Named Karuta Queen, it amassed $1.9 million in prizemoney including winning the Magic Millions feature $2 million race, the Two Year Old Classic, the next year in 2011.
Mr Williams, who had worked most of his life in insurance, told the Bulletin week that at the time they snagged Karuta Queen it was their second Magic Millions and "we were really just newcomers".
He can still remember sitting in the auction auditorium when the "little chestnut filly with the white blaze" was paraded for auction.
"It was a fluke. I hadn't inspected her, we just bought her on spec," Mr Williams conceded, but said he had been impressed by the horse's pedigree.
He hired Neville Layt as trainer who called soon after to report Karuta Queen was a "flying machine beating all the other horses by the length of the straight".
Mrs Williams, who used to work as a tax consultant, said the Magic Millions marquee race win was "a dream come true".
Magic Millions owner Gerry Harvey said the January sales week was all about selling a dream.
"We are selling a dream. That's exactly what it is, it's not just a horse, it's the dream on offer. The dream is the big thing," he said.
"You can't quite get the emotional side of it unless you are in the place of some of these people, it's amazing to see the degree of emotion that comes out. You only have to go to the winning post and see the adrenaline the whole situation can bring out in people."
Bloodstock consultant James Dawson, who helps compile the Magic Millions yearling sales lot book, said the Karuta Queen success elevated the reputation of Not a Single Doubt as a stallion and bloodline.
"To buy a good Not a Single Doubt now you need $250,000 whereas back then you could get them for $30,000 and it shows how your stocks can change in this business," Mr Dawson said.
"The beauty of this game is Glenn and Viva Williams can come along with $30,000 and change the game a wee bit. That's what makes this game so great, everyone has got a chance. "Whereas you look at the English Premier League or Formula One and unless you have got money you will not be competitive.
"Glenn and Viva went from the battlers walking around the sales ring who people might not have known to being instant celebrities.
"That's the sort of thing the Magic Millions can do. The race day can change your address."
The sales week culminates in Saturday's $10 million race day at the Gold Coast Turf Club.