Breeders of crack sprinter Overdose enjoying the ride
WHEN a horse is sold for peanuts and subsequently establishes itself as a superstar, you could forgive its vendor for feeling a little peeved.
The original connections of Overdose, the 2,000gns Tattersalls yearling who blossomed into a crack sprinter and is set to take his chancein Sunday's Prix l'Abbaye, have found themselves in that position, yet they are enjoying following the crack Hungarian sprinter's career just as much as if they owned him.
Of course the fact that they have plenty of close relatives helps sweeten the pill!
Peter Player, whose Whatton Manor Stud consigned the son of Starborough to Newmarket on behalf of his breeders Graham and Di Robinson, can still remember how the yearling showed little sign of what was to come.
"He may have improved since, but to be perfectly frank, he wasn't particularly correct in front," he says. "What he did have, however, was a big backside on him - plus he was charming to deal with."
With a wry smile he recalls the advice he gave the Robinsons. "I said, ‘get rid of this horse whatever happens'- which just goes to show what an inexact science this business is!"
It turned out to be an extremely rare piece of misplaced advice from Player, who has served as chairman of The National Stud, the British Racing School andNewmarket racecourse.
It's likely, however, that the horse would have found himself in the sale ring anyway, as it was the Robinsons' intention from the start to sell colts and retain fillies from their broodmares.
"As a vendor you don't really have any idea exactly what you're selling, but Overdose is the only one we've ever let slip through our fingers like that," he adds. "And it's not all bad news as he has done a wonderful job of advertising the family - we have half a dozen of his close relatives here on the stud."
It is such twists of fate that create champions, and he is magnanimous in his praise of Overdose's new connections.
"The horse is one of those wiry, tough individuals. He must have a brilliant trainer, and they deserve plenty of recognition for keeping him unbeaten after ten races."
The Robinsons are equally warm in their appreciation of Overdose's exploits.
"I'm so pleased for the owners, the trainer, the jockey - the whole team," Graham Robinson says. "We have had several conversations with the owners over the phone with the help of an interpreter. They even asked us for advice on which British courses might suit him.
"In fact it was one of our trainers, Rupert Pritchard-Gordon, who recommended thatthey put Overdose in the Abbaye, and not the Prix de la Foret."
Around ten years ago Robinson sold his "small" engineering company that provided steel for aeroplanes, submarines and Rolls Royce cars.
He modestly refers to himself as a "minnow" in the bloodstock industry - but sending Overdose's dam Our Poppet to Dansili in 2006, when the Juddmonte stallion stood at just £12,500, isn't bad for a minnow.
Not that Robinson would take full credit for that, or any other inspired decision that has led to him sitting pretty with a small but perfectly formed set of bloodstock interests that includes racehorses in the care of Somerset trainer Andy Haynes and Pritchard-Gordon in Chantilly, and two broodmares - Our Poppet and the Listed-placed Lady Lindsay.
Since Overdose, Our Poppet has produced three fillies: a Lomitas two-year-old (now in training with Haynes), the Dansili yearling and a foal by Bertolini. She is currently in-foal to Clodovil.
"Any success is thanks to the whole team - the owner, the breeder, the stud grooms, the trainer, the jockey," he says. "Peter Player and his family have done a wonderful job in caring for the mares - theylook after them as if they were their own. They are always there to helpwith any queries and we love talking over breeding matters with them."
It looks unlikely that the Robinsons will be relinquishing any of their racehorses foras little as 2,000gns again any time in the near future.
Graham Robinson reports that they have received plenty of interest in Overdose's half-sisters - and not just from Central Europe.
But for now they plan to keep hold of the fillies in the hope that they will emulate their famous older brother.