Matchem Racing bloodstock advisor Byron Rogers bought a Congrats colt for $140,000 on Day 2 of the Magic Millions after the youngster passed several key tests with flying colours.
Rogers is based in Kentucky after starting his working life in the Hunter Valley and, apart from his own expertise, the criteria for yearlings includes heart-scores, DNA testing of hair samples and the experienced eye of Group 1 trainer Robert Smerdon.
The new-age selection process struck gold first-up last year with flying youngster Fontiton. The Smerdon trained filly won the $250,000 Inglis Banner by 6 lengths at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day and is the pre-post favourite for the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes next month.
“Fontiton and the Congrats colt are similar in many ways besides having the genetic and physical characteristics to become elite performers,” Rogers said on Thursday. “She should stretch out to a mile and the colt will eventually get over even more ground.”
Congrats shuttles to Vinery and Matchem Racing’s latest acquisition is a member of his second southern crop. The colt was bred by Vinery partner Alan Green from NZ stakes winner Kalamata and is a half-brother to Adelaide Group 3 winner Stirling Grove (Mossman).
Rogers is a Congrats fan after watching him capture the freshman title in North American. The son of A P Indy has now sired 220 winners at a strike-rate of 65% with 17 stakes winners and a further 31 stakes-placed performers.
“His better ones up there – like Turbulent Descent – are terrific-bodied horses and very strong physically – the type that will thrive in Australia.
“Our Congrats was a standout in our early tests at Vinery. And he was an obvious choice when we had him inspected independently before the Magic Millions. He’s a lovely walker and uses himself very well. That’s typical of the good ones in the States.
“He’s a value buy at $140,000 and looks an exciting addition for Matchem Racing.”