With racing being held behind closed doors and travel restrictions making it difficult for owners and other racing connections to welcome their horses into the winner's circle, the Bloodstock industry looks very different right now. But for Matthew Coleman, the second partner in Stroud Coleman Bloodstock, originally formed by Anthony Stroud; the former racing manager to HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, it's business as usual. Finding quality horses for owners that want to win is an art and science well perfected by Coleman.
Here, Ten Furlongs caught up with the international bloodstock agent extraordinaire to discuss Midnight Sands and his upcoming Gr.2 Godolphin Mile run, the state of English racing and more.
Q: Please tell us the story of how you ended up finding Midnight Sands for Peter Swann and the Cool Silk Partnership?
A: We bought Midnight Sands at Arqana’s Breeze Up Sale. Johnny Collins from Brown Island Stables had bought him (Midnight Sands) as a yearling in America. He said he believed that the horse is very good and he breezed very well in the breeze up at the sale. But he was a little bit lame after the breeze up. I thought he would be okay and would make lots of money. But all the vets rejected him and with a Euro 100,000 reserve no one bid for him. He was let out unsold at Euro 90,000, so I jumped in.
I called Peter and explained that the Speightstown colt that breezed very well had not reached his reserve. I ran up to Johnny Collins and asked, ‘what will it take?’ and he said, ‘make me an offer.’
So, I called Peter (Swann) to suggest that and he said let's offer Euros 80,000. Johnny Collins agreed and we bought him.
Peter sent him to an English trainer called James Given who gave him a little bit of time. He came to sound very quickly. I bought him in May, and he ran in June.
He had three starts in the UK, but they were on grass including one at Royal Ascot. As he’s the son of Speightstown, he was always going to be suited to dirt racing. So, Peter came up with the idea of sending him out to Dubai, and we contacted Doug Watson. Doug Watson was very happy to take the horse. He was a big scopey horse and he was always going to improve as he got older. Doug Watson has done a wonderful job with him.
Q: What happened to him in America?
A: I don't really know why America didn't work out. It's a different style of racing in America than it is in Dubai and he also suffered some bad luck in two of his races. I also think he particularly likes the surface at Meydan and Doug Watson’s training regime.
Q: What do you think is next for him after World Cup night?
A: It's up to Doug and Peter to decide what he does next after the Dubai World Cup night but I think they will definitely be thinking about aiming for the big races in the Middle East next season.
Q: Did you have any concerns about him coming in from America and going to Super Saturday?
A: He settled back in quickly to the training that Doug (Watson) put together for him. He freshened up beautifully. In the past few weeks, Doug sounded very confident about him (Midnight Sands). He said ‘the horse looks great, he's a stronger horse now and he's been moving very well.
Q: As a bloodstock agent, have you been receiving any requests from trainers for the sorts of horses to target races in the Middle East? Has there been an uptick in such requests?
A: I think with the kind of prizemoney on offer in the Middle East, more and more people will start to look at racing in the Middle East. Also, people from the Middle East are looking for these top-class dirt horses. You see them or their representatives at the sales, more and more. Since he won on Super Saturday, I have had phone calls from people over there about Midnight (Sands). There is plenty of prize money and we are slowly seeing interest from people to race their best horses there in the winter.
Q: Finally, does The Cool Partnership have any other horses that you think could have a future in Dubai?
A: There is a horse that Peter has just sent over called Barbaroma. He’s a horse we bought at the 2YO sales last year. He had a similar profile to Midnight Sands. He had three runs in the UK. He ran well and showed some potential on the All-Weather over here and has some American (dirt) in his pedigree. He went over to Doug (Watson). He will probably race next season in Dubai.
Peter also has a three-year-old filly named Faora. She’s by Hard Spun. She won her only race as a 2YO last year. She is staying in England for now, but she obviously has the American pedigree and so there is a chance that she might come out there (to Dubai) next winter but we will see what she does on the grass over here first.