The business of being
a bloodstock agent frequently focuses on particular phases in the life of a
thoroughbred and few agents are lucky enough to participate in all of them for
the one horse.
Some agents specialize in the selection and purchase of yearlings, others are more involved in breeding through the sourcing of mares and sale of stallion nominations, while others still are all about tried bloodstock and racehorse management.
There is a world of opportunity out there for those who are motivated and one such agent, who has grabbed the bit in recent years is Northern Irish born James Harron.
Frequently seen at the yearling sales earlier this year at the side of champion trainer Gai Waterhouse, Harron was involved in the selection and purchase of all of the yearlings for Tulloch Lodge and Star Thoroughbreds this year, a move that has given his public profile a considerable boost.
"It was a great opportunity and we bought some lovely horses, so it will be really interesting to watch them progress this season. The feeling out of the stable so far is very positive so fingers crossed," Harron said.
Harron is no newcomer to the bloodstock scene having done the hard yards, firstly as an assistant in the Waterhouse sales team under the tutelage of legendary horseman George Smith, then at Coolmore Australia and later for international bloodstock agency De Burgh Equine.
Establishing his own agency last year, the newly formed James Harron Bloodstock has now become a well-known name due in no small part to the efforts of one outstanding colt in Foxwedge.
A stunning son of Fastnet Rock, Foxwedge (James Harron and Dr Bateman are pictured here moments after their purchase) was purchased on the advice of Harron for Dr Edmund and Mrs Belinda Bateman for $925,000 at the 2010 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
"Foxwedge is the horse everyone would like to find at a sale," Harron said.
"Gorgeous colt that runs up to his looks, wins the big Group One for his trainer John O'Shea and goes on to a lucrative stud career. It doesn't get any better than that.
"I've been lucky to have an ongoing involvement in managing his racing career and the Bateman's still have a 25% share in him, so my job is not done yet."
Foxwedge is the foundation sire for Newgate Farm and will cover a full book of mares at a fee of $33,000.
Sourcing mares for the fledgling sire has proven an interesting exercise with a couple of high profile acquisitions for the Bateman's in Rose of Cimmaron and Astrophysical Jet (GB) guaranteed to give Foxwedge a flying start.
"Rose of Cimmaron was an obvious one for us to chase," revealed Harron.
"Her first foal, a Fastnet Rock colt(pictured) , made $960,000 to top the Magic MillionsYearling Sale this year and in my opinion he was the best colt by the sire this year.
"If there is one thing we've learned about Fastnet Rock so far it's that his expensive colts are often worth the money. You think of horses like Foxwedge, Wanted and Rock 'n' Pop, all Group I winners.
"Rose of Cimmaron comes from a very progressive family and has only one other foal which is a cracking colt by Medaglia D'Oro, so she'll go to Foxwedge and hopefully produce a three-quarter sibling to that sale-topping colt."
When travelling in the Northern Hemisphere earlier this year, Harron saw the opportunity to purchase the young Dubawi mare Astrophysical Jet, a dual Group III winning sprinter from the family of imported Australian Group I winner My Kingdom of Fife (GB).
"It's a fantastic pedigree with horses like Highclere, Deep Impact and Elegant Fashion all featuring within three generations and her half-sister Coral Wave is also very exciting and will race in America this season," Harron said.
"In a family of stayers she's a serious sprinter. She would be the fastest horse in that family for many years and for that reason I think she's perfect to bring out here for Foxwedge."
Imported mares have played a huge role in the development of the Australian thoroughbred and in particular those from the US, whose descendants include the likes of champion sires Redoute's Choice, Encosta de Lago, Flying Spur and Exceed and Excel.
"I have the greatest respect for these American mares when you see them in a pedigree," Harron said.
"Foxwedge is an obvious recent example, but there are plenty of others such asQueensland Oaks winner Quintessential and stakes winners Flying Snitzel, Soft Sand, Nobby Snip, More Strawberries, etc."
Harron will be heading to Kentucky later in the spring for the Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sales looking to source and secure fresh blood for his clients.
"It's a big market in America, but if you know what you want there are great opportunities and I'm looking forward to it," Harron said
In the more immediate future, Harron is hoping for a good showing this weekend from talented stakes winner Satin Shoes, (pictured) Harron's only other yearling purchase that year outside of Foxwedge for the Bateman family.
She too is proving to be a great investment as a Group II winner of more than $600,000 in prize money.
"Satin Shoes will run in the Group III Concorde Stakes and while it's shaping as a hot field, we'd be hoping she can run well," he said.
Another Bateman owned colt seeking a big win this season is the John O'Shea trained Ashokan, the son of More Than Ready (USA) finishing just behind the place-getters in the Group III ATC Run to the Rose last Saturday.
"There was plenty of improvement in his condition first up and he is a horse that performs at his best when racing in blinkers which John wanted to keep up his sleeve for the Golden Rose. He'll head to Rosehill in two weeks' time with the blinkers back on, which might just give him the edge he needs to find," Harron added.
Harron's experiences over the last few years involving the management of bloodstock have fuelled the integrity of a new initiative launched only last week by James Harron Bloodstock in Portfolio Management. Click here to find out more.
For advice on all bloodstock matters contact James Harron on 0416 620 386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the new website at www.jamesharronbloodstock.com.au