Bloodstock agent John Foote has been a part of the furniture at most sales complexes throughout Australasia over the years. In fact, he’s also likely to turn up at most of the high profile venues world-wide.
The Queensland-based Foote is not one of those persons to make a big noise about his past acquisitions – and there are many – he instead preferred to make his thoroughbred inspections with a minimum of fuss.
This year has been quite phenomenal for Foote, one that he doubts can be improved upon. You understand why when you read about his racetrack exploits in 2015.
Firstly, however, we will concentrate on his performances last weekend in Melbourne, Brisbane and Hong Kong where five of his racehorse selections have won.
The first of the quintet was last Friday at Moonee Valley, marking a quick turnaround from the Tattersall’s December Sales in Newmarket where he went looking to buy four broodmares but came away with just one.
The Darren Weir-prepared Felicienne won at the night meeting and Foote has a share in the filly who dates back to the very powerful Candide family.
The next afternoon Foote made his way to Doomben to watch the debut run of Nikitas who carries the Sizzling colours and was trained by Kelso Wood, who won at group 1 level with Sizzling.
It was quite the debut for the colt who was knocked down to Foote for $280,000 at the 2015 Magic Millions Sales. Like Sizzling, Nikitas is sired by champion stallion Snitzel who was also selected as a yearling by Foote and retired with earnings of $1.3 million.
“It was a very pleasing result. Kelso has done a great job with the colt and he’s now Magic Millions-bound early next month and Nikitas does look to have a terrific winning chance,” Foote said.
That was two out of two for Foote. His attention then switched to the Sha Tin meeting in Hong Kong on Sunday where three horses he bought for John Size were successful.
Easy Hedge, a $250,000 Medaglia d’Oro yearling at the 2014 Inglis Easter Sales, romped home in the opening race. Then followed Dehere’s The Love, a $85,000 yearling and the hat-trick came up with So Fast, a $150,000 purchase by Commands.
All three were ridden by Joao Moreira who finished with five winners for the day while Size added another win late on the program to come home with four winners.
The relationship between Size and Foote goes back some 30 years when Size was training out of Deagon. He bought a couple of yearlings in New Zealand for Size which were to win at group level. They have been together since.
“John and I always discuss the major sales and he tells me how many yearlings he can buy. I come up with a short list for him and fortunately we have enjoyed quite a deal of success. One of the best buys I have had for John is Luger, a $260,000 buy at the 2012 Inglis Easter Sales who won this year’s Hong Kong Derby,” Foote declared.
“Actually, I have a number of good clients in Hong Kong with trainer David Hall one I have had success with as well as David Price, who is a bloodstock consultant who sells horses to his Asian clients.”
One of Foote’s best buys in Hong Kong would have to be super-sprinter Silent Witness who broke all sprinting records there during his illustrious career.
The wins over the weekend was to put the icing on the cake for Foote in 2015 with Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance another of the bloodstock agent’s selections.
“I got into an association with Darren Weir through one of his best clients John Richards and in 2011 we combined for the first time at the Karaka Yearling Sales in New Zealand,” Foote recalled.
“I bought two yearlings from the sale for John and Darren paying $NZ50,000 for Prince of Penzance and $NZ10,000 for a filly called Atlantis Dream who was to win six of her 18 starts and over $300,000 including a black type success.”
Buying Prince of Penzance has seen his connections amass $4.4 million in earnings and there is more to come one can only presume.
Foote and Weir also had another smart runner during the Melbourne spring carnival with the trainer preparing the very smart two-year-old filly Dalradian who was a $55,000 buy at the Inglis Premier Sales. She has won $190,000 in two wins.
Other Foote-Weir winners are Trust In A Gust and Signoff with the former winning two group 1 races for Weir in 2014 and more than $1m in earnings. Signoff finished fourth in the Melbourne Cup the same year.
Queensland’s leading trainer Tony Gollan is another who has linked up with Foote with some excellent results.
One of Foote’s greatest achievements was, of course, the purchase of the broodmare Tugela in Europe for successful breeder Tony Santic.
For those who aren’t aware of who Tugela is let me advise you she is the mother of Makybe Diva who won three Melbourne Cups among her 15 wins and over $14 million in prize money!
2015 was certainly a halycon year for the quietly spoken Foote who is now gearing up for his next assignment at the Magic Millions sales commencing on January 6 on the Gold Coast.