LEE discusses yearling selection

5th February, 2008

P-G: What have been your best purchases and can you remember what it was that made you so bullish when bidding for these future champions?
DLF: The four really good purchases that immediately spring to mind are Naturalism purchased for $30,000, Alinghi for $80,000, Super Impose for $40,000 and Subzero for $100,000. These were all what I would call bargain purchases that were extremely athletic and underpriced by the market. But of course as the market goes up, as it has done exponentially in the last 15 years, the criteria for what I would call good value goes up accordingly. For example Exceedingly Good was purchased for $400,000 as yearling, which sounds expensive, but now as 2 year old with unbeaten record he is worth at least 8-10 times that amount; which makes him good value as well. So in essence, all these horses were really good horses that perhaps had faults that I was willing to accept and were subsequently proven to be good value.

P-G: Is there a common theme that runs throughout all your good purchases in the last 20 years?
DLF: As much as I am looking for well made and balanced individual, I am also looking for athlete. I've got to see them on the move and if they don't walk with a swagger its hard for me to get excited. I know there are alot of people that place a huge emphasise on confirmation, but I like to think that the facilities and the hill at Markdel can overcome these obstacles and I am quite forgiving on conformational problems in a horses front legs. However, the one thing I am not forgiving towards is a badly tempered horse. If it can't mentally handle a yearling parade, how can you expect it to withstand a crowd and the months of training leading up to its race.

P-G: So it is fair to say that you believe that the "nurture" element to rearing future racehorses is as important as the "nature" or breeding of the horse?
DLF: Funnily enough, I don't think horses do so well when given an environment that is specifically tailored to nurturing the horse. As much as green fields and well conditioned horses look great, I honestly feel as though the best horses are reared in a drought. I have no doubt that certain farms rear with better percentage success, but I feel as though that is as much down to intelligent mating programs rather than a superior environment.

P-G: So presumably you do place considerable emphasise on the pedigree page?
DLF: If I like an individual, then I will look down at its pedigree to see if I will accept it. As a commercial trainer, I have to be commercially orientated towards the sire if the horse is to be syndicated. But the bottom line is that certain sire lines thrive in Australia and I am looking for that cross with a proven Broodmare sire. Furthermore, I am not trying to reinvent the wheel, if the yearling's mare is old and has had every chance with good stallions and not fired previously, I am not interested. I suppose the bottom line is that when I look a pedigree page nowadays, I know what the horse should look like as I have invariably trained either its sire or at least something on its page.

P-G: With that in mind, do you hold prejudices against certain sires, families or even something as innocuous as colouring?
DLF: Next Question

P-G: What elements of the breeding industry give you cause for concern?
DLF: Bottom line is that this is a tough question, because the recent sales in New Zealand are a reflection of a very healthy industry that appears detached from present economics. But the issues that I feel strongly about are twofold; Firstly, I think breeding should come into line with racing and the use of steroids for a yearling prep should be banned. Secondly, I don't want to see our industry go down the same road as the European market, with too many poor quality mares being mated for the sake of producing a foal; over production is major cause for concern and horses should be bred to race, rather than bred for the sales ring.

The Freedman Yearling selection team will be present at each and every sales ground in 2008 and will have formed an opinion of every horse that passes under the hammer. So if you would like to be a part of a team that has chosen and then trained many a champion, please contact Sam Pritchard-Gordon on 0430 309 428 to discuss your requirements.

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Results 1 - 5 of 5 documents

Article Date Title
22nd February, 2012 Celebrating 20 years since Schillaci's big autumn
14th October, 2011 Mike Sheahan talks to Lee Freedman
5th September, 2011 The Anthony Freedman interview
13th August, 2009 Badger discusses Breeding
5th February, 2008 LEE discusses yearling selection

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