Two Year Old Pool – The Shallow End?

Tara Madgwick - Wednesday November 10

The running of the $1million ATC Golden Gift last weekend and the announcement of an increase in prizemoney for the Group I ATC Golden Slipper to $5million in 2022 got us thinking about two year-old racing and how small a percentage of the horse population is actually capable of contesting these races.

The table below shows the number of commercially bred yearlings that were offered at dedicated yearling sales each year (no online), and how many of them had raced up to the weekend after the Cup, Dec 31 and Feb 28.
 

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Year

Yearlings

To Wk2 Nov

To Dec 31

To Feb 28

To Jul 30

2021

6600

153 (2.3%)

 

 

 

2020

6725

163 (2.4)

339 (5.0%)

685 (10.2%)

1781 (26.5%)

2019

6881

114 (1.7)

319 (4.6)

635 (9.2)

1794 (26.1)

2018

6769

118 (1.7)

323 (4.8)

629 (9.3)

1793 (26.5)

2017

6532

158 (2.4)

365 (5.6)

654 (10.0)

1693 (25.9)

2016

6636

172 (2.6)

396 (6.0)

684 (10.3)

1681 (25.3)

2015

6704

178 (2.7)

400 (6.0)

710 (10.6)

1734 (25.9)

2014

6801

132 (1.9)

360 (5.3)

653 (9.6)

1657 (24.4)

2013

6699

159 (2.4)

359 (5.4)

631 (9.4)

1592 (23.8)

2012

6927

158 (2.3)

383 (5.5)

704 (10.2)

1749 (25.2)


The figures in the table above show that by the time the Magic Millions 2YO Classic is run and the field for the Golden Slipper is assembled we have seen only 10% of the yearlings offered for sale on the racetrack.

And by the end of the season we’ve seen about a quarter of them with the vast majority still awaiting maturity to show their potential.

By the end of their three year-old season the tide has turned and the vast majority of horses have shown their hand with up to 85% of them having raced.
 

Year

Yearlings

To Jul 30 (2YO)

To Next July 30 (3YO)

2021

6600

 

 

2020

6725

1781 (26.5%)

 

2019

6881

1794 (26.1)

5893 (85.6%)

2018

6769

1793 (26.5)

5751 (85.0)

2017

6532

1693 (25.9)

5527 (84.6)

2016

6636

1681 (25.3)

5396 (81.3)

2015

6704

1734 (25.9)

5474 (81.7)

2014

6801

1657 (24.4)

5353 (78.7)

2013

6699

1592 (23.8)

5206 (77.7)

2012

6927

1749 (25.2)

5546 (80.0)



This explains why certain stallions that consistently produce early maturing stock find favour in the marketplace as breeders and yearling buyers try to shorten their odds of jagging that rare creature – the natural two year-old runner.

Capitalist won the Breeders Plate, Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Golden Slipper - great example of a natural 2YO talent and now a leading sire.

They are out there… we’ve all seen them and they invariably stand out from the crowd as soon as they are broken in.

They are the horses that adapt well to change, thrive on work and have the size, strength and toughness to withstand early training.

They are physically and mentally mature beyond their actual age and while their peers invariably catch up to them and frequently run straight past them at three, they have the unique opportunity to run for huge prizemoney against a very small pool of adversaries.

Horses contesting races such as The Everest, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup might be able to return year after year for a crack at the same prize, but they also have to face the very best opposition, often sourced from all over the world, making these races much harder to win.

There is a justified place for two year-old racing and two year-old sires in our vibrant and successful Australian breeding and racing industry, but let’s not ever lose sight of the fact that it is a small, but integral part of a far bigger picture.
 
The introduction of a race like the soon to be $8million ATC Golden Eagle (1500m) for four year-olds is a ground breaking race where we can actually expect to see the very best horses from a generation, barring those that have already been packed off to stud following Group I success at either two or three.

Below is a table of the top Southern Hemisphere bred money earners in Australia this season and the month in which they made their debut.

 

Horse

Sire

MoneyWon

Debut

Foaling

Debut Age

Nature Strip

Nicconi

8129100

2017-10-10

2014

Oct 3yo

Verry Elleegant

Zed

5699000

2018-07-07

2015

Jul 2yo

Incentivise

Shamus Award

5454200

2020-08-19

2016

Aug 4yo

I'm Thunderstruck

Shocking

4792750

2021-01-13

2017

Jan 3yo

Masked Crusader

Toronado (IRE)

2732000

2019-11-28

2016

Nov 3yo

Eduardo

Host (Chi)

2270000

2018-06-18

2013

Jun 4yo

Anamoe

Street Boss (USA)

2264850

2020-10-10

2018

Oct 2yo

Superstorm

Sebring

1737100

2019-08-31

2016

Aug 3yo

Think It Over

So You Think

1690250

2018-12-08

2015

Dec 3yo

Count De Rupee

Real Impact (Jpn)

1610750

2020-08-06

2017

Aug 3yo

Home Affairs

I Am Invincible

1444100

2021-01-30

2018

Jan 2yo

Icebath

Sacred Falls

1407250

2019-02-16

2016

Feb 2yo

Hitotsu

Maurice (Jpn)

1268750

2021-02-06

2018

Feb 2yo

Nonconformist

Rebel Raider

1229250

2019-11-28

2016

Nov 3yo

Lost And Running

Per Incanto (USA)

1217250

2020-05-15

2016

May 3yo



Below is a table of the top Southern Hemisphere bred money earners in Australia last season and the month in which they made their debut.
 

Horse

Sire

MoneyWon

Debut

Foaling

Debut Age

Classique Legend

Not A Single Doubt

7132000

2019-02-20

2015

Feb 3yo

Verry Elleegant

Zed

5462050

2018-07-07

2015

Jul 2yo

Colette

Hallowed Crown

4457575

2019-12-08

2016

Dec 3yo

Bivouac

Exceed And Excel

3452600

2018-10-20

2016

Oct 2yo

Nature Strip

Nicconi

2882650

2017-10-10

2014

Oct 3yo

Icebath

Sacred Falls

2242600

2019-02-16

2016

Feb 2yo

Eduardo

Host (Chi)

2242350

2018-06-18

2013

Jun 4yo

Stay Inside

Extreme Choice

2237350

2021-01-23

2018

Jan 2yo

Arcadia Queen

Pierro

2206250

2018-09-19

2015

Sep 3yo

Gytrash

Lope De Vega (IRE)

2005225

2018-02-17

2015

Feb 2yo

Ole Kirk

Written Tycoon

1989050

2020-02-15

2017

Feb 2yo

Tofane

Ocean Park

1800750

2019-03-19

2015

Mar 3yo

Explosive Jack

Jakkalberry (IRE)

1789730

2020-11-25

2017

Nov 3yo

Anamoe

Street Boss (USA)

1737075

2020-10-10

2018

Oct 2yo

 
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