Huge money for Shamrocker yearling colt

Former-owner Jeff Dimery was keeping an eye on the Japan Racing Horse Association Select Sale in Tokyo on Monday.

A colt by Japanese legend Deep Impact out of his former multiple Group 1 winner Shamrocker was going through the sales ring with much expectation.

This was the horse he raced with Singapore-based Raffles Racing, bought by Danny O’Brien for just $60,000 “Kiwi” as he recalled, returning them near on $2m “Aussie’ in stakes before Japan’s Northern Farm, in a partnership deal with Phil Sly, came knocking.

They knocked hard enough and Shamrocker was sold to them for well over $1m, the first step in an association between Sly and Kasumi Yoshida to breed Australia’s best race mares to Deep impact. Off went Sly’s Mosheen, AJC Oaks winner Absolutely and New Zealand Group 1 winner King’s Rose, who would win multiple group 2 races for Peter Moody in Melbourne.

The select sale is Japan’s premier selling session and Hip – as they are called there, while we say Lot – 19 was the yearling, and the knockout bid went to Japanese gaming executive Hajime Satomi for ¥170,000,000 (US $1.7 million) or approximately $2.25m Aussie.

“Out of my league,” Dimery told

“Good luck to them, if my circumstances were different at the time, I’d have loved to have raced a foal out of her. But she gave us a great ride.”

Shamrocker was Dimery’s second horse as an owner – his first, Nun Faster won one race from three starts and $8,000 before succumbing to injury.

Dimery was working at AGL Energy at the time and convinced some trading mates to take small percentages in the O’Reilly filly bought by Danny O’Brien, while he and Dato Yap (Raffles Racing) kept the majority.

She’d win the Sires produce as a two-year-old, then won the Australian Guineas at long odds as a three-year-old.

“We got 100-1 in the early betting; it was a great result,” he said.

To top that off, she’d win the ATC Australian Derby (beating the boys, pictured) before one more spring campaign at four, culminating in a down-the-line effort in Dunaden’s Melbourne Cup of 2011.

“We put her on the market, debating what sort of price we wanted or buying each other out, when Yoshida’s men came and offered us way above what we were thinking. It wasn’t hard to take their offer but you still feel a bit attached to them,” Dimery said.

Owning Shamrocker has led to Dimery’s expansion from an owner into a breeder and now farm-owner of Uluru Stud.

“We celebrated the Guineas win with a lunch with Danny O’Brien, where he tried to sell me a share in an O’Reilly colt. I only wanted to race fillies but by the time we finished lunch, I’d bought a share and paid for lunch as well,” Dimery recalled.

That horse was the $120,000 purchase that races as Shamexpress, winning a Newmarket and $1.15m in stakes.

Shamexpress now stands at Windsor Park stud in New Zealand and is supported by some of Dimery’s mares.

The Sham prefix name is also carried on through the lightly race Shampion, another O’Reilly filly, lightly raced and a last starter winner at Geelong.

“The Sham comes from a mate of mine who was in Shamrocker (out of Bohemian Blues). Unfortunately he died of cancer and we kept the name alive and didn't mess with the luck,” Dimery said.

He has high hopes for a two-year-old O’Reilly colt called Sacred Sham – Sacred the preferred name of partner Raffles Racing.

He also has a three-quarter sister to Buffering called Another Bullseye, having fortuitously bought Buffering’s “aunty” Never Miss before it won a Group 1 race. She is now back in foal to Buffering’s sire Mossman.

As for Shamrocker, she has since been served by 2011 Japanese Triple Crown winner and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up Orfevre, and Dimery will keep an eye from afar again when it is sold next year.

Story by Bruce Clark, to view Group 1 X story click here

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli