By Tim Rowe

Entrepreneur Matthew Sandblom’s bold investment in unheralded stallions to stand under his Kingstar Farm banner received a boost yesterday when a first crop two-year-old colt by the high-priced Group 3 winner Bull Point (Fastnet Rock) won a barrier trial in New Zealand. The unnamed Jamie Richards-trained colt was successful in heat seven over 630 metres at Te Teko, the opening session of juvenile barrier trials for the new season, with plans already being put in place for the juvenile to be aimed at next year’s Karaka Million (RL, 1200m) at Ellerslie.

A NZ$100,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale purchase by Chris Rutten from the Brighthill Farm draft, the Sandblom and Neven Botica-bred colt was one of three Richards-trained juvenile winners on the day, completing a two-year-old cleansweep for Te Akau Racing. Kingstar Farm manager Adam Cook described the trial win as “good a start as a stallion is going to get”.

“I spoke to Matthew first thing this morning and we are super excited,” Cook told ANZ Bloodstock News. “For anyone who owns stallions or manages studs, for a two-year-old to come out in the first week of August [and win a trial] is just incredible.” Early indications about the now two-year-old Bull Points had those involved with the stallion optimistic about the season ahead, but the manner in which the strongly-built colt finished off his short course barrier trial exceeded Cook’s expectations. “There were reports there that he was going very well. I heard about four weeks ago that he was going to trial [at Te Teko],” he said. “Coming into this morning we were hoping the reports were right and he trialled sensationally. He was a good-looking horse – he sold for $100,000 over in New Zealand.”

Richards predicted there was plenty of improvement to come from the youngster, who would now be spelled after his eyecatching start. “I thought he trialled well. He’s a bit of an immature horse, he lacks concentration, but I think once he puts it all together he could hopefully turn into a Karaka Million horse,” said the trainer. “We’ll give him a little bit of time, probably a couple of weeks, to freshen up now. He’s going to be a nice two-year-old for later in the season.” Richards said the Bull Point colt could go some way to replacing last season’s dual Group 1-winning two-year-old Yourdeel (Dundeel) who was also owned by Rutten. Yourdeel, who won the Sistema Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) and the Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m), was recently sold to Hong Kong. “Chris has got a knack of picking them out at the sale,” he said. “It’s a real privilege to have a horse in the stable for him, especially after we’ve had to say goodbye to Yourdeel, so hopefully this horse can fill the void.”

Sandblom, who is also a partner in nearby Newgate Farm, has Bull Point as well as Lord Of The Sky (Danerich) and Salade (Snitzel) standing at his Denman property, all for under $10,000. A brother to Aquis Farm’s Group 3-winning, Group 1-placed first season stallion Siege Of Quebec, Bull Point was a sale-topping $960,000 purchase by Demi O’Byrne and James Bester at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. “The majority of the Bull Points are extremely good-looking, hence we are sending 30-plus mares to him this year just on the back of some information we’ve got from breakers and trainers who’ve had them in the system,” Cook said.

“We believe he is going to be a very good stallion and obviously on today’s result, they’re looking early as well.” Bull Point, who was third in the Golden Rose Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) to Zoustar (Northern Meteor) and Dissident (Sebring), is the highestpriced of the Kingstar Farm trio of stallions this year at $7700 (inc GST). “Bull Point has an outstanding pedigree and if anyone wants to go and have a look at the replay of the Golden Rose, he was ten lengths off the second last horse and got beaten by a length and three quarters by Zoustar and Dissident,” he said. “That race had Criterion, Thermal Current and other good horses. He was a serious racehorse.

He’s a very intelligent stallion and I’m just not sure if he was ‘too intelligent’ [when racing].” He added: “[Sandblom] wants to breed good horses like this with a stallion that he has taken a punt on. We’re trying to make a stallion – the stallions we’ve got aren’t five-time Group 1 winners that breeders come flocking to immediately. “Matthew is passionate about making these stallions work; he has put the money into it and has the mares behind these stallions to make them work. “Today is a little light showing that if someone puts the work into them, they can start off like this.” Meanwhile, Richards also won heat six at Te Teko – in a dead heat – with More Than Ready (Southern Halo) colt Ready For This, who is out of a half-sister to Members Joy (Hussonet), herself the dam of high-class filly Pure Elation (I Am Invincible). “Usually at Te Teko over 600m when they jump and rail they’re very hard to run down and I thought he did a really good job from back in the field to make good steady ground,” the Te Akau Racing trainer said. “When he got on the right leg halfway down he really attacked the line strongly.

He’s a beautiful horse, he looks like a ready-made two-year-old – small to medium size with plenty of strength. “We’ll just see how he comes through, but he might have a couple of weeks to freshen up a little bit as well and then get ready for later in the season.” Savabeel (Zabeel) colt Cool Aza Beel rounded out the juvenile session in winning heat eight over 630 metres for Richards. Cool Aza Beel is the first foal out of three-time winning Australian sprinter Cool ‘N’ Sassy (Testa Rossa). “The way he trialled there today, he really followed the rail and quickened in well,” said Richardson. “He looks like a nice prospect, he reminds me a lot of [Group 2 winner] Aotea Lad, so hopefully he can live up to something like what he did as a two-year-old.”