How stud supremo built empire on ‘risk and reward’
Newgate Farm supremo Henry Field's "risk and reward" strategy is something of a family trait that has irrevocably changed the course of Australian racing and breeding.
Field and his backers used the tactic again earlier this week to secure a majority share in the promising two-year-old colt Profiteer, who races for his new syndicate of owners in the $2 million Inglis Millennium (1100m) at Royal Randwick.
"This is one of those deals that if Profiteer wins, then it's exciting times for us,'' Field said.
"But he could get rolled and if he does that is the game we are playing, we will have a stiff drink and move on.
"It's all about risk and reward. If we do three of these deals and get one of them right, that is a good outcome for us.''
Profiteer's purchase price remains confidential but it is rumoured to be well in excess of $1 million.
"We paid the equivalent for what a top yearling colt would make at a sale,'' Field revealed. "Then we will pay a bonus if the colt wins a Group 1 race.''
Profiteer, trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Junior, goes into the rich Inglis Millennium as a hot favourite at $1.80 with TAB Fixed Odds after a brilliant debut win at Flemington and an ideal barrier draw (six).
Field, 37, said he was convinced to buy Profiteer once the youngster followed his easy Flemington win with an impressive barrier trial effort at Rosehill.
"Profiteer was born at Newgate so we had some insider knowledge about him,'' Field said.
"But we also work very closely with (ratings expert) Daniel O'Sullivan and he had Profiteer rating through the roof at his debut.
"Daniel sent me a note to say this colt could be something special and when he trialled so well at Rosehill, we decided it was time to 'attack'.''
The Profiteer purchase is similar to the deal Field negotiated for Extreme Choice before the colt won the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes five years ago. O'Sullivan had also identified Extreme Choice's potential and recommended the colt to Field.
"We have had some luck buying into these colts but it is rare for Daniel to tell us this is a colt we should go after,'' Field said.
This is a story that really has its genesis 70 years ago when Field's great-grandfather, Reg Moses, joined forces with Stanley Wootton and Alf Ellison and adopted their own "risk and reward strategy" by purchasing English sprinter Star Kingdom to stand at stud in Australia.
Star Kingdom became the most influential stallion of all-time, the ultimate "breed-shaper", winning five national sires premierships and seven leading juvenile sire titles.
He sired many outstanding racehorses including the freakish Todman and his full brother Noholme, Biscay, Citius, the brothers Sky High and Skyline, Star Affair, Kingster, Mighty Kingdom, Fine And Dandy, Time And Tide, Reveille, Kaoru Star (sire of Luskin Star) and Sunset Hue (sire of Gunsynd).
Star Kingdom was also champion broodmare sire three times and his daughter, Dark Jewel, is recognised as one of the greatest producers of all-time.
Dark Jewel had nine foals to race, all were winners, including champion Baguette, Cabochon, Heirloom, Birthright and Betelgeuse.
Profiteer, who is by Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, is the link between the past and the present as the colt is a direct descendant of Dark Jewel. He is out of the Snitzel mare Athena's Lass and his dam side includes Group 1 winner Danglissa.
On a similar theme, if Field had not inherited his family's willingness to gamble on the thoroughbred, there would be no Newgate Farm.
It was 2010 when Field, then only 27, was dreaming big when he leased a property and founded the breeding operation with just a handful of broodmares. Just over a decade later, Newgate is recognised as one of the nation's most successful studs.
Field was born into the racing industry and his destiny was determined at a very young age. He started work at Gai Waterhouse's Randwick stables when he was 14, later graduated from the Darley Flying Start program then spent five years working with Coolmore before he felt ready to launch Newgate.
"I had saved up some money to get me going but it took a lot of hard work,'' Field said.
"Then three years later I was joined by my business partners Gavin Murphy and Matthew Sandblom and that's when the business went into turbo drive.
"I had a couple of the best business brains around, if you have smart guys around you it helps you to make less mistakes, and the business has really grown exponentially.''
Field secured brilliant Group 1-winning sprinter Foxwedge as the first stallion to stand at Newgate in 2012. Although the sire was relocated to Victoria two years ago, he remains close to Field's heart.
"Foxwedge gave us the opportunity to syndicate him at stud. He was fantastic for Newgate and is still an important part of my life,'' Field said.
"Without Foxwedge there wouldn't be Newgate so he is one of those horses I will always remember.''
Newgate now boasts one of the most outstanding stallion rosters of any breeding operation - Extreme Choice, Capitalist, Brutal, Cosmic Force, Deep Field, Dissident, Flying Artie, Menari, Russian Revolution, Super One, Tassort, Wandjina and Winning Rupert.
They are a youthful group of sires with a very deliberate concentration on pure equine speed.
"We have been working extremely hard to target the top sprinter-milers every season in recent years,'' Field said.
"At this stage of the game that is what Australian racing and breeding is best at and we are playing to our strengths.
"I believe our stallion roster is a world-class product as I don't think there is a group of faster horses anywhere in the world.''
Newgate's stallions are well represented in the Inglis Millennium with Capitalist also the sire of Mandalong Cash and Mystic Gem, Extreme Choice has Chameleon Choice, Flying Artie has Harlem Groove and Winning Rupert's filly Hi Hi Hi.
It could be a big day at Randwick for Field's Newgate as the breeding operation also has an interest in boom three-year-old colt North Pacific, the $2.30 favourite for the Group 3 $160,000 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m), emerging Rule Of Law ($26) in the $1 million Inglis 3yo Sprint (1200m) and unraced two-year-old colt Conglomerate ($8) in the Listed $140,000 Lonhro Plate (1000m).
Field will also be keeping a close eye on the Newgate-owned juvenile Construct ($10) who resumes in the Group 3 $200,000 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield.
But after Newgate's investment in Profiteer earlier this week, there is a lot at stake for Field when the colt lines up in the Inglis Millennium.
"I love Profiteer's profile and his natural speed,'' Field said.
"It's a long way from where he is now to the Newgate stallion barn but he is bred to be doing what he does and if he can win then it's great for our business.''
Originally published as How stud supremo built empire on 'risk and reward'