Drilling for Gold at Gingin

By any benchmark, the 2012 Perth Magic Millions was a superb sale for industry newcomer Gold Front Thoroughbreds.

Owners Alan and Sue Olive presented 14 yearlings at the Belmont sales complex and only two of them, a Lonhro filly and a Commands filly, failed to reach their reserve.

Gold Front’s aggregate of $1.042 million was just $5,000 shy of top vendor Mungrup Stud.  And its average of $74,428 was right up there in third place on the leader-board behind Oakland Park and Geisel Park.

“We were very happy with the returns out of the Magic Millions,” Alan Olive said.  “It was a good result for our first year and we have another outstanding crop for next year’s yearling sales.”

The Olives are investing millions in capital works and bloodstock to develop Gold Front into a state-of-the-art operation after selling Connector Drilling for more than $30 million.  Their family company was acquired by Ausdrill Group founder Ron Sayers who also owns Yarradale Stud.

“I was born in Kalgoorlie and when I was still a youngster we moved to the Pilbara were my old man managed stations on the DeGrey River,” Olive recalled.  “Then when I was in primary school we moved to Marble Bar.”

Gold Front’s Gingin property is managed by former trainer Peter Bamford and the Olives implement advice from leading agent Malcolm Ayoub.  Their bloodstock portfolio received a kick-start last year with the acquisition of mares owned by NSW based Yashraj Breeding.

The most productive of those buys going forward to the 2012 Perth Magic Millions was Convictions.  Her Fastnet Rock colt made $170,000 to the bid of Dion Luciani.

The Woodman mare hails from a black-type family developed by Newhaven Stud over several generations.  Her dam Arrest (Marauding) was G2 placed in the 1995 Black Opal Stakes and second dam Shackle (Luskin Star) was a G3 winner of the 1987 Tranquil Star Stakes at Caulfield.

Convictions has a filly foal by Dane Shadow and she was covered by Choisir last October.  “We move the mares and their yearlings around the country,” Olive said.  “Besides Western Australia, we have them based in the Hunter Valley and Victoria.

“It’s a mix and match process.  The yearlings have to be sold in the appropriate markets.”

NZ bred mare Rose of Latakia (Conquistarose) is another mare typical of the Gold Front collection.  Her More Than Ready colt was purchased by Victorian agent Cameron Cooke for $165,000 at this year’s Magic Millions.

Rose of Latakia had already foaled G1 AJC Champagne Stakes winner Carry On Cutie to More Than Ready and she has another colt by Vinery’s champion stallion to be catalogued for the 2013 majors.  The mare stayed at home last year to be served by Blackfriars at nearby Durham Lodge.

On the other side of the coin, the Olives paid $130,000 for a Bernadini – Rock on Bye filly at the 2012 Gold Coast Magic Millions.  A half-sister to Brisbane stakes winner Zero Rock (Danzero), she is on the books with Peter Moody and has been named Diamond Dini.

The Lonhro – Southern Jazz filly they took home from the Perth Magic Millions will go into work with a local trainer.  She is stoutly bred on the dam’s side with Kiwi-bred stakes winning stayers Ebury (Grosvenor) and Hippo Valour (Sound Reason) in her immediate family.

“We thought she was worth $80,000 but the bidding came up short,” Olive said.  “I reckon she will make the grade.”

The Olives spread their stock around with Dan Morton, Trevor Andrews, Justine Erkelens and Dave Casey among their preferred trainers in Perth.  “We’ve always had an interest in horses but never raced any before selling the company,” Alan explained.  “I’m too young to retire and there’s no better way to stay active than getting involved in racing and breeding.”