By Christian Nicolussi (Daily Telegraph)
This is the man responsible for sparking Australian racing's latest love affair with European stayers.
Guy Mulcaster is the bloodstock agent who flew to England with trainer Chris Waller and vet Tim Roberts back in 2006 to take part in the famous Horses In Training sale at Newmarket.
They bought two horses, including Big Al Hazim, who won three races and measured up in stakes company.
Mulcaster and Roberts have returned every year since, and brought home the likes of dual Group 1 winner Foreteller and Melbourne Cup hope Kelinni for Waller.
Australian trainers have quickly caught on to the trend, and are looking to Europe to recruit tough stayers.
Gai Waterhouse won Saturday’s Dato’ Tan Chin Name Stakes with former Englishman Fiorente, while David Vandyke’s lightly-raced French entire Prince Cheri won the Kingston Town Stakes at Rosehill.
For the first time this year, more than 50 per cent of the Melbourne Cup nominations were bred in the northern hemisphere.
Lloyd Williams has been dabbling in European horses for years, but Mulcaster, Roberts and Waller have helped make the international approach go mainstream.
“We’ve got plenty of good sprinters in Australia, so we decided to target the 1600m-plus horses,” Mulcaster said.
“They don’t take as long to (prepare) as yearlings, and the horses we bought last October were all racing by Easter. We had five winners before Easter this year, including Fulgur and Index Linked.
“Chris and I do a lot of work on form, we identify a very wide amount of horses in the catalogue, we’ll inspect one after another and then form a short-list. Then Tim Roberts goes through and tells us
which ones stand up, and to his credit most of them have stood up.
“We’re not necessarily looking for the next Melbourne Cup winner. We want horses who will re-coup their purchase price for their owners and give them an enjoyable time.”
Mulcaster spends a month in July inspecting horses in Germany _ where he bought Eigelstein and Secessio privately _ France, Ireland and England, before returning for the Newmarket sale in October.
While Foreteller and Kelinni cost around $150,000, Hawk Island cost next to nothing, with Mulcaster admitting the cost of travelling him to Australia was more expensive. Hawk Island won 10 races and featured in the Sydney and Melbourne Cups.
Waller, who gave a huge rap to top vet Roberts and Mulcaster, said buyers rarely had the patience to wait three or four years for a stayer to mature.
While Australia bred plenty of class sprinters, Europe was the place to be if you wanted a decent stayer.
“What they’ve got is depth in the staying ranks,” Waller said.
“People here don’t want to wait three or four years for a stayer to mature. We can go to England and have a horse racing in three to six months.”
Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune was bred in Ireland and raced in France.
Last Saturday week, more than half the Chelmsford Stakes field was made up of foreigners.
Some of Guy’s imports:
Hawk Island (England)
Stand To Gain (France)