IN THE NEWS: Darley's Microphone makes strong early impression

Written by Trent Masenhelder | TDN Australia & New Zealand

Just as he did on the track, where he won four of his first six starts, Microphone is off to a flyer as a sire. After averaging in excess of $200,000 at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, it’s doubtless his yearlings at the 2023 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale (Book 1) will be popular.

Darley’s freshman Microphone was one of several first-season sires to make a splash on debut at the 2023 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. The Champion 2-Year-Old of 2018/19 had 13 yearlings gross $3,030,000 at an average of $233,077.

The top-selling Microphone yearling at Bundall was Lot 409 – a colt from the Stakes winner South Of France (USA) (Quality Road {USA}), who was consigned by Newhaven Park and was knocked down to China Horse Club, Newgate, Sir Owen Glenn's Go Bloodstock and Trilogy for $750,000.

The highest-priced Microphone yearling filly was Lot 646, offered by B2B Thoroughbreds and was bought by BK Racing for $375,000. She is out of the winning Symboli Kris S (USA) mare Beetobee (Jpn).

According to Brett Howard, the proprietor and manager of Randwick Bloodstock Agency (FBAA) – the results come as no surprise.

A highly respected and experienced bloodstock agent, Howard told TDN AusNZ Microphone has made a great start to his new career, leaving lovely physicals.

“As a group of horses, I thought they were really nice individuals,” Howard said.

“He’s a highly credentialled stallion prospect. He was a Champion 2-year-old colt in a very good crop and you can’t really knock him.

“I did like the physicals and we (Denise Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds and I) were happy to purchase a couple on the Gold Coast.”

Those yearlings are Lot 211 - a filly from the Rosari Farm draft, which cost $210,000, and Lot 572 – a filly offered by Eureka Stud that fetched $330,000.

The former is from the stakes performer Oxford Heart (Lion Heart), while the latter is out of the four-time winner Zoom By (Red Dazzler), who is a half-sister to the stakes winner Firenza (Kenny’s Best Pal) – the dam of the stakes Group 3 victress Tuscan Sling (Danehill Dancer {Ire}).

Zoom By is also a half-sister to Beauty World (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), who has produced the stakes winners Hi World, Lite’n in My Veins (Henrythenavigator {USA}), Ducimus, Loveyamadly (Bel Esprit) and Written Beauty (Written Tycoon).

“The two we bought… there’s some similarities to Microphone. They all look like they're sprinters. With some stallions, you can get a major variation, but there seems to be a real consistency amongst them,” Howard explained. “They look genuine, strong, sprinting types to me.

“The two fillies which Star bought… the one that made $330,000, she looks like a real early 2-year-old type. Hopefully, she can come to hand fairly quickly and maybe be a candidate to run in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic next year.

“The other filly… I don’t think we will be waiting and wondering too long for her either; she looks like she’s capable of being a 2-year-old as well. Her family has got 2-year-old form there.”

Howard added he and Denise Martin had hoped to come away from Bundall with a third Microphone yearling.

“We really liked the colt from South Of France that made $750,000. We knew he was pretty popular and he sold accordingly, he sold very well. We would have loved to have been able to buy him, but that’s out of our price bracket,” Howard said.


A ‘lovely big colt’ set to shine at Karaka

Microphone has five yearlings catalogued for the 2023 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale (Book 1), which commences on January 29, all from different vendors.

Lot 37 is a filly from the Carlaw Park draft and she is from Arabian Gift (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}).

Lot 45 is a colt out of the 1600-metre winner Astardia (Starcraft {NZ}), making him a half-brother to the Listed victress Star Of Bombay (NZ) (Atlante). He will be offered by Mapperley Stud.

Beaufort Downs will present Lot 134 – a colt from the winning Lonhro mare Dazzling Lady (NZ).

Lot 399 is a filly from the Wentwood Grange draft and she is out of the Group 2 winner Our Abbadean (NZ) (Lookin' At Lucky {USA}).

And Lot 453 – a colt - will be offered by Gus and Bianca Wigley’s Inglewood Stud. He is from Raven Darkholme (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) – a winner at 1400 metres and a half-sister to the Listed winner Replique (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}) and the stakes performers Mystery Shot (Shooting To Win) and Mystique Falcon (NZ) (Pride Of Dubai).

Gus Wigley told TDN AusNZ their Microphone colt is a cracker.

“He’s a lovely big colt, he’s out of a granddaughter out of our really good mare Seamist, which was raced by my grandmother,” he said.

“This is her second foal; her first foal made $380,000 last year at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale – a Harry Angel colt – and this guy is every bit as good.

“He’s a big imposing colt with plenty of leg, a great shoulder, and he’s just got the most beautiful, mature head on him.

“He’s a very forward, precocious-looking horse, which comes as no surprise, given Microphone was a Champion 2-Year-Old.

“He’s got a great brain on him, he’s got a great temperament and a very good brain, so, yeah, I’m pretty excited to get him up there and show him off.”

A recipe for success

Wigley said he wasn’t at all surprised to see Microphone’s first yearlings prove so popular and he is buoyed by the strong results from the Gold Coast.

“He was a Champion 2-Year-Old in a very good crop of 2-year-olds, so I think they sold accordingly,” he said. “He’s the type of horse the Aussies love to buy, particularly at the Magic Millions Sale. I was expecting him to be popular and he was.

“We saw a couple of nice ones at the weanling sales last year and they sold very well. The results flowed through to the first yearling sale and hopefully, they flow through to Karaka, as well.”

Wigley revealed he had little hesitation selecting Microphone for Raven Darkholme.

“We picked him out as a stallion we wanted to support,” said Wigley.

“It’s a really good, old New Zealand family that we’ve developed over a number of years, and I suppose sending her to a precocious type of horse like Microphone and one the Australian market would like adds a bit of interest to the pedigree page; it updates that older family a little bit.

“It’s a nice mating on type and the resultant foal is exactly what we wanted to get.”