The Minstrel continued: panning for gold

Following the lengthy van ride, the son of Fleur and Northern Dancer and the other Windfields youngsters had settled into their stalls in the stable area just north of the Keeneland Sales Pavilion.

Rivers of Gold

Among the prospective buyers wandering up and down the aisles was a group of Irish horse traders led by Vincent O’Brien.  The troupe following behind the Irish trainer that muggy July day included O’Brien’s son-in-law, John Magnier, and British betting pools heir, Robert Sangster.

When Nijinsky was retired from racing Irish and English syndicates set out to raise money to have the horse stand at stud on their side of the Atlantic.  Nijinsky’s owner, Charles Englehard, dismissed their efforts.  He wanted Nijinsky in the US.  For the Irish, who have reigned as the world’s most eminent horse traders since God was a boy, Nijinsky was perfection.

Because Nijinsky had been purchased at the Canadian horse auction, they reasoned there had to be more horses of his scope and caliber.  Before long they had hatched a plan to mine North American auctions for colts with the potential to be the next Nijinsky.

Contrary to Eddie Taylor’s philosophy (he generally only bought fillies at auction), they had no interest in anything but colts.  Where Taylor was in the game for the long term in breeding great horses, it would appear that the Irish prospectors were more interested in immediate return on investment

With Sangster’s money and O’Brien’s shrewd eye, they would buy these ‘baby stallions’ before the horses began racing.  Should they excel, as in the case of Nijinsky, their syndicate would profit greatly.  Optimistically, Magnier began building Coolmore, the farm of his dreams, and Sangster was dispatched to raise the necessary millions to fuel their expedition….”  to be continued

from “Rivers of Gold

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