23 November 2021
Thinking Big about another Melbourne Cup
10 March 2021
When Good Idea (So You Think) outstayed his rivals in Monday’s Adelaide Cup (Gr 2, 3200m) carrying the colours of the late Dato’ Tan Chin Nam, great racing memories came flooding back for many. The win reminded us of Melbourne Cups (Gr 1, 3200m) and Cox Plates (Gr 1, 2040m) gone by when the famous chess board silks became iconic through the deeds of horses such as Saintly (Sky Chase) and So You Think (High Chaparral).
Good Idea, a home bred out of Group 1-winning mare Faint Perfume (Shamardal), races for the Estate of the late Dato’ Tan Chin Nam and continues the huge legacy of the Malaysian businessman who died in 2018 aged 93.
Duncan Ramage, the long time racing manager for Chin Nam, still takes care of the family’s bloodstock interests in Australia today, and says the performance of Good Idea at Morphettville justifies a tilt at this year’s Melbourne Cup.
“I think even if the favourite (Tralee Rose) got a better run in transit it would not have beaten him.
“The performance was probably above my expectations but Phillip (Stokes) was confident. He had put the ground work into this horse. It was a great training performance to get him up to two miles in such a short time,” said Ramage.
Good Idea could run in the upcoming Sydney Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) or instead be reserved for the Andrew Ramsden Stakes (Listed, 2800m) at Flemington on May 15, which provides the winner with automatic entry into the Melbourne Cup.
“We will leave it up to Phillip to determine how he’s recovered from a rushed campaign into the Adelaide Cup and whether a Sydney Cup is viable.
“Phillip deserves the chance to get him into the Melbourne Cup and see what happens. He’s passed the first ballot clause and may get high up enough in the rankings to force a passage into it.”
And should Good Idea make the cut, he might not be the only horse sporting Dato’ Chin Nam’s colours in the race this year.
The Estate that represents his three children, Tan Boon Seng, Tan Boon Lee and Tan Lei Cheng, also owns the winner of last November’s Sandown Cup (Listed, 3200m), Carif (So You Think), who has been earmarked as a potential contender.
“We are delighted with the Adelaide Cup and Sandown Cup but we just have to improve what cup it is now,” joked Ramage.
Like Good Idea, Carif is a home bred son of So You Think. He’s out of Group 1-winning mare Norzita (Thorn Park) who the family raced, and eventually sold to Arrowfield Stud for $1.7 million at the 2019 Inglis Chairman’s sale in foal to Snitzel (Redoute’s Choice). The resultant yearling filly is entered for next month’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling sale as lot 455.
“Fingers crossed we will have two horses in the Cup which are both home breds by a stallion and two mares that we raced.
“These horses both stem from some of our original yearling acquisitions that have bred on. There would not be too many people breeding major winners by sires and dams they raced themselves. All of these horses were multiple Group 1 winners in their own right and have now combined to win stakes races themselves.”
Whilst Think Big Stud’s breeding interests and stud operations have been wound up, the recent racetrack success has unquestionably inspired Dato’ Chin Nam’s children to show a deeper commitment to investing in Australian racing.
“They are delighted. They have got keen on seeing their colours win and they talk about ‘dad’s’ colours.
So far this year they have bought into a total of eight yearlings – at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale (five) and the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale (three).
“We are not the major owner in every horse now but they are keen and want to make sure every horse we are in is carrying their colours.”
The Estate of the late Dato’ Tan Chin Nam now has horses positioned with Anthony Cummings, Snowden Racing, Mick Price and Mick Kent Jnr, John O’Shea, Chris Anderson John Sargent and John Thompson.
Carif and Good Idea will be amongst the last of their home-bred horses to race in Australia.
“Think Big’s breeding will come to an end because that’s not what the family wants to do so they will be the last of the true homebreds.
“Unless you are breeding in big numbers you are better off buying them. The cost of running a stud properly is very expensive.”
Ramage explained that their racing interests nowadays are funded solely from revenue generated by horse activities.
“We are running off revenue. Prize-money and service fees are providing upkeep and investment for future acquisitions.
“It’s not a rich man’s toy with money injected as needed, it’s run as a company and there wouldn’t be too many racing outfits that are running off revenue. Although a bit of extra working capital would be marvellous, nothing that a Melbourne Cup win wouldn’t assist. ” he said.
Story by ANZ News