Clarke Bloodstock news

Storm Boy Stallion Deal

ANZ Bloodstock News
February 7, 2024
Written by Tim Rowe and published in ANZ Bloodstock News

Coolmore holds off three challengers for stake in Golden Slipper favourite

The owners of $50 million colt Storm Boy (Justify), the unbeaten Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) winner, knew they had a serious juvenile on their hands before he’d even raced.

So, too, did a number of studmasters who made unsuccessful initial overtures about buying into the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained juvenile following the colt’s two impressive Sydney barrier trial victories at Rosehill and Warwick Farm on October 27 and November 8 respectively.

But with three subsequent summer wins on the board – posted at Rosehill on December 2, in the BJ McLachlan Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) in Brisbane on December 23 and his recent blistering Magic Millions performance at the Gold Coast three weeks later – the skyrocketing offers continued to flow befitting a colt capable of completing a rare Sydney autumn two-year-old clean sweep.

It prompted Storm Boy’s connections, headed by the Cunningham family of the Hunter Valley nursery Ridgmont Farm, to reevaluate their position and decide to sell down a controlling interest in the valuable stallion prospect at least two months ahead of what was initially planned if he continued to live up to the racecourse hype.

After weeks of speculation that Storm Boy had been sold, Coolmore confirmed on Wednesday it had finalised a massive deal to secure the ruling Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m) favourite, with the last piece of the puzzle coming when the horse passed an extensive veterinary examination.

Bott appointed bloodstock agent Jim Clarke to handle negotiations with the four stud farms who had made an offer for Storm Boy on behalf of the colt’s owners.

Clarke is also closely aligned with the Cunninghams, helping advise and manage Gary and Loralie and their children’s bloodstock interests.

Coolmore and Yulong tabled the most compelling and lucrative offers for Storm Boy, offers that would value him at more than $50 million if he was to win a suite of races including the Slipper, the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) and the Champagne Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m).

Significant kicker payments, on top of an eight-figure sum paid upfront, would also be due if Storm Boy can win any signature races at three, such as the Coolmore Stud Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) or The Everest (1200m).

It is believed the Newgate Farm-China Horse Club partnership was not one of the four parties to make an offer for the two-year-old.

In a breakthrough deal for Clarke, the young Brisbane-based agent considered the respective studs’ offers at Tulloch Lodge stables at Randwick on Monday, January 22, prior to making a recommendation to Bott and the colt’s syndicate to side with Coolmore for Storm Boy whose currency was enhanced due to the fact he was a son of a growing international sire influence in Justify (Scat Daddy).

The meeting lasted for more than eight hours as the various components of each deal and how to extract the most value from their hulking two-year-old was debated.

“The reality with this horse is with his physique, his pedigree and his performance, it puts him in very rare air,” Clarke told ANZ Bloodstock News.

“He was in very high demand and I think the fact that he was so popular and that there were so many farms keen to buy him, to some degree that made the whole process quite straightforward.

“It was a matter of extracting the best deal we could from the people interested in him on behalf of the ownership group.”

A Godolphin Flying Start graduate, Clarke was exposed to some stallion deals through Sheikh Mohammed’s global racing and breeding empire but the Storm Boy contract was a major milestone.

“We wanted a deal that was going to allow the original ownership group to get the benefit of the horse’s performances should he go on and become champion two-year-old, winning the Golden Slipper and/or the Triple Crown and/or any of the major three-year-old races,” he said.

“For the deal to be struck it had to be structured in a way where the ownership group could benefit in any significant increase in the horse’s stud value based on his racing performance.

“I’ve been involved to a certain degree in the past when I was working with Godolphin, but we negotiated what will potentially be the highest and most valuable deal in Australian history should he win the Golden Slipper.”


Read the story on ANZ Bloodstock News here

ANZ Bloodstock News
ANZ Bloodstock News is a daily online publication focussing on news, events and insights in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry.
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