Racing: Further windfall likely after Ruakaka success

By James Graham

Photo / Getty Images
Photo / Getty Images

Buckland Boy's midwinter bonus windfall at Ruakaka on Saturday did a lot more than top up the bank accounts of his Pukekohe owners and trainers.

His gutsy win in the $20,000 final of the Westbury Stud Triple Crown series was further evidence for trainers Matthew Rogers and sons Matthew and Michael that their radical new business plan is working.

The Rogers had reached a career crossroads at the start of this racing season.

It was either refocus their training operation or find another way to make a living.

Renowned for getting the best out of older handicappers, for the first time in their long careers the father-sons operation is putting all its attention into preparing juveniles for sale overseas.

They ones they can't unload after eye-catching trial performances they race themselves, such as Buckland Boy, until their raceday results put the horses on the agents' radar.

"We hadn't even raced a 2-year-old until the start of his year," said Michael Rogers, 46.

"But we decided that if we were going to make money they were the best way to go forward."

So far, so good for the trio best known until now for preparing Georgie Boy, a group one winner across the Tasman in the 2000 Queen Elizabeth at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.

Of the six 2-year-olds they started with this season, five have won trials, and two of them have gone on to raceday success.

Aside from Buckland Boy, the other is recent Ellerslie success story Bachelor's Dream, a narrow but impressive winner on debut last month.

Michael Rogers said the giant juvenile was now vetted and poised to cross the Tasman for an undisclosed six-figure sum.

"He shouldn't even be racing at 2 - he's already 16.1 hands and going to be a real nice staying 3-year-old.

"But you have to sell to keep the others going."

Rogers said Buckland Boy was also on the market - "the 'for sale' sign is on them all" - but until he started winning, buyers were deterred by his leg action.

"He does turn out on one leg - that's why we're racing him," said Rogers.

"But now there is a Hong Kong trainer coming to look at him so we'll see what happens."

If a six-figure sale eventuates, it will be another healthy profit margin for the Rogers.

They bred the Sandtrap gelding from their Deputy Governor mare Manchuria, whom Michael Rogers recalls paying no more than $1500 for.

Buckland Boy is her third foal and all have been winners, although none have come close to showing the same black-type ability.

If there is a dry spell of weather this month, the Ryder Stakes is a next-up possibility. Failing that, Rogers says there is also a $20,000 3-year-old race on the first day of the Hawkes Bay carnival, or even the Hawkes Bay Guineas to consider.

"Even though he started racing in May he hasn't been up the wholetime.

"He's been in and out of work so was still pretty fresh before Ruakaka.

"He's also not the sort of horse who's going to mature and develop if we put him aside so we may as well keep him going."

- NZ Herald

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