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Bluebloods : Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Preview 2011
Sebring now stands at the historic Widden Stud horses most of our lives but we didn't have the expertise about what makes a good racehorse, so again it was a case of getting someone who was a lot smarter at it than we were." The Hendersons were soon in business, and between them bought a 10% share of a yearling. The brothers were realistic about the racing business, but nothing could have prepared them for the early cards they were dealt. "Our first purchase was in 2001 and the first horse we bought died of colic within about three months of us buying it, then the next one had a bone density issue and never got to the racetrack, and the third one was about to have a start and got gangrene. So we had a pretty poor start and it was just fortunate that we had been around racing through the family. We knew that racing was never going to be an easy thing to get a winner, and I guess our expectations were correct from the beginning, so we knew that we just had to keep turning the horses over and at some stage you would get the right one," Luke recalled. Luckily for the Henderson boys the "right one" was about to come along in the shape of a More Than Ready (USA) colt offered at the 2006 Magic Millions Premier Session on the Gold Coast. Denise Martin paid just $130,000 for the colt out of the Flying Spur mare Purespeed, and the Hendersons became part of the syndicate who raced the handsome chestnut. The colt raced as Sebring from Gai Waterhouse's yard and became Australia's Champion Two Year Old in the 2007-08 season, racing just six times for five wins and a second and earning $2.5m. His wins included the STC Golden Slipper Stakes-Gr.1, AJC Sires Produce-Gr.1 and he was second in the AJC Champagne Stakes-Gr.1. After his halcyon race performances at two Sebring was sold for $30m to Widden Stud in New South Wales and the Henderson Boys were in full flight. They joined in several more Waterhouse winners before taking a major slice of a tried horse bought by the stable out of New Zealand. The horse was Descarado, a son of High Chaparral (IRE) who took his earnings to $2.2m with his win in the 2010 Caulfield Cup. Luke Henderson is adamant that turning over horses has been the key to the success enjoyed by the brothers and their immediate family: "Put in an amount of money that is reasonable and that you can afford. When you start, buy a small share - that's a good way - and seek out people who have the expertise. Syndication is a good answer because you can either deal with a bloodstock consultant or through a trainer you identify with. You meet new people and you don't have to know anything about the horse, but you might pick something that attracts you - it might be the breeding, or you might have been steered that way by information that others have given to you. "I think you have got to be prepared to turn over your horses. If you get too attached and say 'I paid this money and I just want to have this horse until the end of its racing career', you will end up spending a lot of money on the training fees. You can get to a stage where the horse might have found its level and the better trainers come with better training bills, so if you can't get a horse to Saturday class you move it on and then you get capital back to go to the next sale, and you never know what might come your way. "If you put all your eggs in one basket you might find your horse, through no fault of anyone, might not be the right horse. It might break down or might not have ability, whereas if you keep trading at a level you can afford you buy shares at this level and keep in there," Luke said. The success the Henderson brothers have achieved from graduates of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale means they'll be alongside Gai Waterhouse buying when the 2011 sale takes place. "I think it's near enough to our number one priority. Gai has always said to us to buy a horse that suits the particular sale, so if you are out there looking for a jump and run two year-old, especially a sprinter type, then the Magic Millions is the best sale. "If you want to get to a Magic Millions or the Slipper or anything really with a two year-old and why wouldn't you, because if you are investing money you get the return a lot quicker, that's the sale to buy at. Plus the good thing is Magic Millions is quite a relaxed environment, it's a lot of fun and it is very well set up in regards to the food, plus the sale moves quickly and you have some quality horses going through that main sale. Like I said why wouldn't you want to be involved? "We have had a lot of success there because Sebring was a Magic Millions graduate and it's only recently that we have started consider the other sales as we began to look for a stayer, but the majority of our purchases come out of the Magic Millions. The good thing is that it's the first sale, so hopefully for the Magic Millions team we will have spent all our money by the time we are finished there." While their racing interests have been a huge amount of fun for the Hendersons, they have also found success on the racetrack invaluable when it comes to their real estate business. "Just recently the Gold Coast Bulletin put my brother and I in the 50 most influential business people on the Gold Coast, and alotofthe reasons for that come from racing. We sponsor racing programs on radio and we also sponsor quite heavily in the greyhound industry, and the feedback from that has been good because we have done well out of horse racing, so we have got good profile and now whenever we see anyone they ask how the horses are doing. "I think Australians love a punt and it's a great industry to be associated with because it's fun, and a day at the races is great and nothing beats it no matter what age you are," Luke said. While the Hendersons are basically interested in racing, the sale of Sebring as a stallion naturally led them into the breeding side of the business. "With Sebring they split him up into 70 shares which gives you two stallion services per year. I sold my first two shares in the first year, and the second year I did foal shares where the breeder provides the mare and I provide the service, so that we half-own the progeny. I have done that in 2010 and more than likely we will go out and buy some broodmares this year. "If we don't, it's likely we will go down the foal share arrangement again. I think it's just another element of fun because we got most of our money for racing out of Sebring, so it's now just the thrill of being a small shareholder and being part of the whole deal. We do have one broodmare who was our first winner going back years ago and we breed from her, but it's more from the heart than the head that we breed from her each year. She has just had a Not A Single Doubt colt at Widden Stud and we sent her to Big Brown." While the Hendersons will be back buying at the 2011 Magic Millions Sale, they are resigned to not having a runner from their 2010 purchases in the big race this summer: "I'd say at this stage that the Magic Millions is unlikely and hopefully, because you never know your luck, there would be something for the Golden Slipper. We had some that looked likely to show form early but went to the early Sydney trials on a bad track and both pulled up sore afterwards. One qualified for the Breeders' Plate but couldn't go on after the trial, and I hope we might have something come April, but it's a tough road. We know more than anyone it's not easy," Luke said. 35 www.magicmillions.com.au SEE THE MAGIC - LIVE THE DREAM
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