Unpredictable and That’s The Way We Like It
Tara Madgwick - Sunday August 12
Racing is unpredictable by nature which is why the most expensive thoroughbred ever sold at auction in Victoria was beaten when making his debut on Sunday at Cranbourne by a horse whose dam cost $500.

$1.4 million colt Octane was a close second on debutThree year-old I Am Invincible colt Octane was the subject of keen interest in the 1000 metre maiden that opened the card at Cranbourne as he was purchased by his trainer Ciaron Maher for $1.4 million at the 2017 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale from the Gilgai Farm draft.

As a half-brother to Group I VRC Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback and Group II winner Phillippi, Octane is bred to be very good and he did run well, just not well enough to win!

With his head held high throughout the run, Octane will take improvement from the outing, but for the winner Simcha it was a well overdue victory.

A homebred for Victorian owner breeder Peter Brown, the Gary Mallinson trained Simcha had placed at four of his previous five starts, so his long head win over the blue-blooded colt would have been well celebrated by connections.

A five year-old gelding by Strategic, Simcha is the fourth winner and last foal for Happy Henrietta, who died in 2016.

She was the subject of a very popular Breednet foal story back in 2010 when she produced a colt by 1990 Melbourne Cup winner Kingston Rule (USA).

Story from Breednet 2010 - When 10 year-old mare Happy Henrietta made her way to the Newmarket saleyard last year (2009) for the Inglis Winter Thoroughbred it was very nearly a one way ticket to the knackery.

An unraced daughter of Mr Henrysee (USA), Henrietta had been anything but happy in her five seasons at Meringo Stud with two dead foals, a slipped and two unnamed surviving foals by underperforming shuttle sires in E Dubai (USA) and Tobougg (IRE).

Happy Henrietta with her Kingston Rule foal born in 2010Her pedigree page made uninspiring reading to the majority of onlookers, but Melbourne based teacher and bloodstock enthusiast Peter Brown decided to rescue the mare and outbid the 'doggers' to secure her for the princely sum of $500.

"I saw her pedigree in the catalogue and decided to go up to Sydney for the sale and try to buy her," explained Peter Brown.

"Many years ago back in the early seventies when I was working in America there was a mare called Typecast who was an absolute champion.

"She was like a Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, Goldikova sort of horse... all rolled into one and I used to love watching her race.

"I've even got a video that I took of her at Santa Anita one day, so when I saw this mare Happy Henrietta in the sale, who is a grand-daughter of Typecast, I decided to try and buy her."

Mr Brown spoke to the farm manager from Meringo Stud, who detailed her sorry performance as a broodmare also revealing that the two live foals she did produce had bad legs.

"They'd basically given up on her, but I was still keen and thought I'd go to $3,000 or $4,000, but when she came in there was only one bid at $300, which I believe was the knackery and then I put my hand up at $500, so I'm pretty sure I saved her from a sad fate," Brown revealed.

Mr Brown sent Happy Henrietta back to Victoria and then pondered on what to do with his new acquisition.

"I went back through her produce record and thought well none of this has worked, I need to find something completely different with no Northern Dancer in it and then I had the thought that the next best horse in America to come along after Typecast was Secretariat," Brown said.

"I looked for a son of Secretariat in Australia and found Melbourne Cup winner Kingston Rule, but when I rang Tim Johnson at Ealing Park, he told me the horse was retired, although when I persisted, he said he was still fertile... so I said 'why not let an old bloke have a last moment of pleasure?'"

Happy Henrietta was subsequently covered by 23 year-old Kingston Rule (USA) and conceived on the first service delivering this chestnut colt at Ealing Park on August 20.

Long story short, the Kingston Rule foal in the story went on to become a two time winner called Dreidel and his full brother born a year later called Mishnah has also won three races and over $50,000 in prizemoney.

Simcha is the third foal bred from Happy Henrietta by Peter Brown and now he too is a winner, so that $500 spent at the Inglis Winter Thoroughbred Sale in 2009 has certainly proven a good investment!

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