A key component of the introduction of The Golden Eagle is to keep elite-level horses in training in Australia beyond their three-year-old season.
It has become a great frustration for many fans of racing to see the best colts retired to stud after winning an age-restricted Group 1 race at two or three years, or some of the most progressive horses being sold to continue their careers in Asia, principally Hong Kong and Singapore.
The reality is that the market will always dictate – whether a house or a horse – it is hard to turn down a lucrative offer.
A Golden Slipper-winning colt can easily be sold in a stud deal valued at $20 million, a Caulfield Guineas winner can be sold for $40m. If a stud is throwing around that type of money, they want to get a return – and fast.
A race for four-year-olds valued at $7.5m, even with a $5m bonus attached if the one horse can win the treble of Golden Slipper, Rose and Eagle, still pales in comparison to what can be earned at stud. A below-par four-year-old season can lessen the value that the stallion was worth at three. It will always come down to the best economical return.
A champion colt like The Autumn Sun is now worth more off the track than what he can earn on it. One race will not change that.
But a race like The Golden Eagle may impact how often progressive young horses are often sold to race in jurisdictions like Hong Kong and Singapore, that rely on trade versus breeding their own. We could either see more horses remain in Australia or we may see an explosion in value of horses, as wealthy Asian-based clients go to high levels to get the one that they want.