From Pinhook to Superstar
Tara Madgwick - Tuesday, 22 November 2011

It's not every day you successfully pinhook a Group I winner.

It took a considerable time for the stewards to announce correct weight and a final result following the Group I $1million WATC Railway Stakes in Perth last Saturday, but when they did, the connections of Luckygray (pictured courtesy www.perthracing.com.au) were understandably over the moon and so too was Karen Irwin, principal of Riverslea Farm, who pinhooked Luckygray as a weanling.

"It was such a thrilling result," was the initial reaction from Irwin.

"This was a horse I had loved all the way through."

It was more than 10 years ago that Riverslea spearheaded a change in the approach to pin-hooking in Australia, chasing quality weanlings in volume then meeting the market when they were re-offered as yearlings.

Luckygray was selected by Riverslea as a weanling from the Inglis Select Weanling Sale, secured for $31,000 before being grown out and resold as part of a larger consignment at the 2009 Magic Millions Perth Yearling sale for $46,000.

Perth was chosen as the destination for the entire draft that year as, with the anticipated effects of the GFC, it was seen as a more stable market due to the resources sector being so strong in Western Australia.

The draft, which had a 100% clearance, has done exceptionally well with 92% getting to the track and over 60% winners already led by Luckygray (pictured as a yearling) , who has won $876,125 in prizemoney.

It has been a strong year for Riverslea in 2011 at the sales with an Excellent Art (GB) colt making $280,000 (20 x service fee of that year), maintaining the farm's long tradition of superior sale ring results.

"It is such an important balancing act with either home bred or pin-hooked yearlings," Irwin explained.

"To have them forward enough to maximise return while still giving them every opportunity to reach their full potential on the track takes a lot of time and effort and I am very pleased with the routine I have in place for them.

"Ultimately results speak for themselves."

Riverslea runs smaller numbers on quality Hunter Valley country and with a superior feeding program and an attention to detail that is second to none, each horse gets every opportunity to reach its own personal best.

Riverslea Farm will present a quality draft of seven youngsters for the 2012 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale in January including a colt by red hot sire Fastnet Rock.

Click here to see the Riverslea draft for 2012 Inglis Classic.

Stud Open days, great suite accommodation in the middle of it all.

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