Flying Out From Under the Radar

Sponsored Content - by Tara Madgwick - Sunday September 12

Success in the world of bloodstock investment requires unwavering commitment, a genuine passion for thoroughbreds and an open mind.

Avesta Bloodstock’s Jimmy Unwala is engaged in a lifelong pursuit to build a career in bloodstock that can bring success to himself and his clients and the satisfaction of forging reality out of dreams.

Jimmy Unwala is the bloodstock investment brain behind Avesta Bloodstock.

“For me it is about working smart, enjoying what I do, forming friendships and relations with people, breeding good horses, and knowing that in some small way I have contributed to the thoroughbred industry in Australia,” Unwala said.

“There is no better country in the world if you love this wonderful sport! “

Born in central India, Jimmy Unwala graduated with a Bachelor of Equine Sciences from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA and then progressed through the Darley Flying Start program gaining experience with work placements at William Inglis and Sons, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing, Dubai International Stables, Darley Japan, and Zabeel Racing.

After graduating, he was offered a job as a Nominations Consultant with Darley Australia in 2010 and worked in that role for seven years under Alastair Pulford.

In 2017, Unwala joined the emerging force of Aquis as Head for Nominations and continued in that position until the end of 2020.

“Darley was already established and ran like a well-oiled machine, whereas with Aquis we were growing daily and facing new challenges with my role there encompassing a broad spectrum of duties ranging from the sale of nominations through to marketing and media,” Unwala reflected.

“As I always say to people when they ask me, Darley gave me the grounding and Aquis gave me the facetime in the industry.”

Avesta Bloodstock was born out of a desire to put theory into practice, so Unwala could leverage his years of experience into thoughtful financial investment.

“My good friend Dustin and I bought a yearling filly by High Chaparral who was small, immature and nothing much to look at for $8,000 in 2015,” Unwala recalled.

“She was from the Fanfreluche family. I always believe that certain families regenerate and can skip a generation, so while we knew she was unlikely to handle racing, we had hopes for her as a broodmare.”

She's a Vamp sold for $260,000 at the 2017 Inglis Chairman's Sale.

 

Long story short, She’s a Vamp as she was named quickly had some big improvements to her pedigree as her dam had been well mated by Coolmore and within 18 months she had become a sister to Group III winner Sacred Eye and half-sister to Group I Golden Slipper place-getter and Group II winner Tulip.

 

 

 

“We sold her for $260,000 in the inaugural Chairman Sale in 2017 – I mean it wasn’t enough to buy a house, but that sort of success was very important to me in my early trading years,” Unwala said.

That result gave Jimmy Unwala the confidence to think bigger and was the catalyst for the creation of Avesta Bloodstock.

“I am not a bloodstock agent – nor do I really go and buy horses for other people. I am more a speculator, I go, and I buy what I like, and I feel is undervalued in the market," explained Unwala.

“I have a good but select base of clients and friends who then team up with me and join forces. People see my name as purchaser and call and come in often, I don’t actively try and sell the horses I buy.

“Sometimes I end up with only 10% of what I buy because everyone wants a little piece of it, and occasionally I end up with the whole horse, so it is very flexible.

“In this game, it is very easy to spend someone else’s money, but it is hard to spend your own. I back myself when I buy horses, because it is my pocket at stake, and I think my clients appreciate that.”

 

 

Yearling inspections are a part of the Avesta Bloodstock business.

Avesta Bloodstock has focused largely on broodmares and weanlings although this year has seen a change in strategy as far as yearlings are concerned.

“The yearling market is very hard and saturated I feel, I mean all the smart judges are on the same type of colts,” said Unwala.

“There is no point for me to create a colt’s fund or colts syndicate and try and compete with the big boys for the same product.

“This year I ended up taking small shares in some of the colts I liked across the sales in Australia.

“I plan to do that a bit more going forward as there are plenty of good colts out there picked up by trainers and syndicators that offer real opportunity.”

Assessing yearlings is a part of the Avesta business as well as managing bloodstock portfolios for both established breeders and those starting out on the journey.

“I shortlist yearlings for a few trainers in Sydney, and for a few smaller trainers in Victoria who are always looking for athletic horses who are not necessarily fashionably bred,” Unwala said.

“I have a passion for seeing small mare owners and small breeders have success and grow, and that’s why I like to manage their portfolios and make sure they have long term success.

“Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing a horse I gave mating advice for win a nice race or a mare I recommend buying turning a good profit for a breeder who only has a small number of mares.

“I know in this game small breeders have it tough, so nothing gives me more joy than seeing them succeed.”

The real growth of Avesta Bloodstock has come from 2019 onwards, when a group of like-minded friends joined forces with Unwala to create a breeding group to buy and trade stock.

 

Gary Diamond of G1G Racing and Breeding has been instrumental in the success of Avesta Bloodstock.

“This would not have been possible without the help and guidance of successful horse owner Gary Diamond of G1G Racing and Breeding,” said Unwala.
 
“We were lucky and feel privileged that we could get into colts like Profiteer, who won the Millenium in Sydney and was the Slipper favourite and Blue Diamond winner Artorius, because of Bruce Slade and Henry Field, both of whom I have great respect and admiration.”

Avesta Bloodstock has invested over $5 million in public and private bloodstock sales in the last few years. They are expecting 65 foals to be born this season and over a 100 mares will be walking out to get covered, these are significant numbers for any bloodstock portfolio.

Unwala has surprisingly managed to keep it under the radar.

"I have been asked this question a lot recently, look I don't own a farm nor do I have my own sales consignment, so maybe that's why people don't realise the size of Avesta. Also, the horses are spread over various farms across all the states, I am very happy to partner up with farms and letting them sell the horses, that's their forte.

"In any business or industry, it is very important to know your niche, and I feel I know mine," Unwala revealed.     


Avesta Bloodstock has various set ups and operating structures with farms that agist their stock, which may be somewhat unconventional, but Unwala is happy to break traditional moulds.

My grandfather did it this way, so did my father and so will I – I feel that mentality restricts progress. I believe in thinking how I can do it better. I am more a work smarter not harder sort of person,” Unwala said.

“Also, I feel my strength is reading the market emotion when it comes to sales and trading stock. ‘If you can see the invisible – you can achieve the impossible’.“

Avesta Bloodstock is the realization of a lifelong dream and Jimmy Unwala is thankful to all those who have helped to make it happen.

“All the credit goes firstly to my family, Mom, Dad, and my godfather, without their support and blessings nothing would be possible,” he said.

“I am also very grateful to HH Sheikh Mohammed and Tony Fung who gave me the opportunities to work for them and Scott Irwin, who I consider my mentor.”

 

Advertisment
More Reading...
So You Think HK Stakes-Winner
Six year-old So You Think gelding Buddies had not been in the winner’s list in Hong Kong since November last year, but he burst back to top form on Sunday with a bold front running win in the Group III Celebration Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin.
Breed to Race – You Can Compete with the Best!
The Listed MRC Heatherlie Stakes (1700m) at Caufield on Saturday was deep in quality with runners including Melbourne Cup winner Vow and Declare, Australian Derby winner Angel of Truth, VRC Oaks winner Miami Bound, G1 Metrop winner Mirage Dancer and expensive import English King (GB), bought for a whopping 925,000 guineas from the 2020 Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale, but victory went to a mar
Breed to Race - You Can Afford to Go to a Cox Plate Winner
The Coolmore roster might be priced out of reach for a lot of smaller breeders, but they do stand Cox Plate winner Adelaide (IRE) at a breed to race fee of $5,500 and he produced a progressive winner at Rosehill on Saturday.
Future Bright for Extreme Choice Colt
This Extreme Choice colt didn’t win a stakes race at Sandown on Saturday, but there is every reason to think he will do this spring as a half-brother to Group I winner Invincibella and classy stayer Secret Blaze, who won the Group III MVRC JRA Cup on Friday night.
Breed to Race – Can You Breed to a Proven G1 Producing Sire for Less than $10,000?
Breeding for commercial gain in the sale ring and breeding in order to produce a winner for yourself and your friends to race are two very different things and the latter can be done with good effect for a lot less money, even in the premium breeding states of NSW and Victoria.
One to Watch – Swan Hill
This expensive Capitalist colt contested four stakes races in his juvenile season, so found a maiden event at Swan Hill on a Monday an easy assignment.
Winning Debut for Sale-Topping Deep Impact Colt
Trial watchers have been eagerly awaiting the race day debut of expensive Deep Impact colt Profondo and he duly delivered on potential at Randwick on Wednesday with a determined head win that has seen his price cut to $9 for the Group I ATC Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
More Exciting Prospects for Turn Me Loose
The exciting progeny of champion galloper Turn Me Loose (Iffraaj) continue to impress on the racetracks of Australasia, last Saturday being no exception when he sired two very smart horses on debut.
First Group Winner for Little Avondale Stud's Time Test
Little Avondale Stud shuttle stallion Time Test (GB) recorded his first Group victory as a sire on Wednesday when Rocchigiani won the Group III Renate und Albrecht Woeste Zukunftsrennen (1400m) at Baden Baden.
Elephant Trainer Hoping to be Home for Christmas
Like more than 26,000 other overseas Kiwis, trainer David Browne is hoping to be home by Christmas.