Will punt on stallion prospect pay off?

Every punter knows the best racing stories involve three key ingredients: a long range punt, a carefully orchestrated plan and a thrilling victory.

Rosemont Stud proprietor Anthony Mithen knows this too, which is why he’s happily nervous that he might become part of racing folklore if Nostradamus wins Saturday’s G1 Goodwood at Morphettville; victory would make this particular punt worth millions.

In the last 12 months, Rosemont has bid farewell to two important stallions from its roster, the evergreen Danzero was retired from duties and a rejuvenated Starspangledbanner rejoined Coolmore Stud’s team in the Hunter Valley.

Mithen went out on a recruiting mission for his next young buck.

“Nostradamus was a horse that half the world followed I reckon, he cost half a million as a yearling and was a half-brother to emerging stallion Star Witness,” Mithen said. “He was hot property.

“I approached (owner) Eric Koundouris to buy him going into spring last year but he valued the horse at more than I was able to afford, and rightly so given his talent and pedigree. I had to sit and wait.”

Without the foresight of the horse’s namesake, Mithen could only watch on to see if Nostradamus would live up to its owner’s expectations; sadly for Koundouris the horse flopped in a short two-run preparation. Mithen pounced.

“Those two runs created an opportunity for me to get back into the game. The asking price came back within reach and we (Mithen and brother-in-law and business partner Nigel Austin) jumped at it, that was last November.”

Phase one of the racing fable was complete, Mithen’s punt to secure the stallion prospect had succeeded, now to set Nostradamus for a glorious Group 1 win.

“Nigel and I immediately thought of the Goodwood even though it was six months away. I didn’t know (trainer) Phil Stokes but for a few words to him at sales time when he’d inspect our draft, but I called him and explained the plan and asked if he’d be a part of it.”

Stokes was won over immediately and agreed that the Goodwood was to be Nostradamus’ sole aim. The horse’s dynamic win in the G3 Irwin Stakes proved that the team was on the right track.

Phase two complete.

Should phase three come to fruition in Saturday’s Goodwood or the G1 Stradbroke Handicap in Queensland in June, Mithen, Austin, and the group of Victorian breeders that purchased lifetime breeding rights in Nostradamus will reap rewards far more significant than their mere involvement in a promising first season stallion; overnight, their small investment will be worth a small fortune.

“If he doesn’t win we still have a fantastic stallion prospect that the investment group has great faith in. If he wins, we’ve got one of the hottest first season stallions in the country,” said Mithen.

“It’s the magic of racing, and it’ll be bloody exciting finding out.”

Copy - Mick Sharkie, G1X Racing

Image: Nostradamus, Terry Hann and Atkins Photography
 

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