Beatson ready to run

Racing Desk
10 October 2017

Waikato-based horseman Sam Beatson is currently preparing 29 two-year-olds for the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run sale in November, his third under his Riversley Park banner.

He runs his business from a 50-acre purpose built facility near Ohaupo, having previously operated Beatson Stables with cousin Jamie, who has now established Ohukia Lodge near Karapiro.

Myra Crawford-Smith and Sam Beatson riding track work. Photo: Michael Rist

The nephew of Olympian Maurice Beatson, Sam has come from a sport horse background and represented New Zealand in showjumping, competing in both Australia and India.

“It was a good experience,” he said. “India was an eye opener. It gave me a good grounding in riding horses and general horsemanship. It crosses over a little bit into the thoroughbreds.”

Beatson moved to Waikato 12 years ago to establish a breaking-in business with Jamie after spending the majority of his work life in the agricultural industry.

“I was a shepherd in Hawke’s Bay until I moved up here,” he said. “The business grew and I just never left. My parents’ place is in Dannevirke and I spent a lot of time working in central Hawke’s Bay near Waipukurau.”

Beatson is well-respected within the industry and has broken in some quality horses, including Melbourne Cup-winner Prince of Penzance, six-time Group One winner and now sire Dundeel and the Group One winner Sofia Rosa.

Within the last couple of years he has diversified into preparing and selling stock at the Ready To Run Sale.

“Breaking in had been a big part of the business for a long-time, but now it is crossing over into trading a lot of horses,” Beatson said. “It’s probably 50-50 now, where the core of the business was breaking in.”

He said he sources the majority of his Ready to Run draft from the yearling sales.

“We buy the odd one out of the paddock, but we typically buy out of the yearling sales. We look for nice athletic type of horses with good conformation.

“We break them in in February. I normally do a four-week breaking-in, so I’m not too hard on them because it’s early in the season and then I get them in for a six-week prep somewhere in between there and August.

“On the first Monday of August they come in for their Ready to Run prep, which obviously goes right through to the breeze-ups in October.”

This year Beatson has utilised Te Rapa racecourse to get his two-year-old’s more acquainted with the turf surface.

“Coming in to Te Rapa I thought it might just be a bit easier on the horses to get on grass, where it is really hard to get on at Cambridge because of all the racehorses there,” he said.

“All the big trainers and racehorses obviously get preference rather than the two-year-olds and it’s pretty quiet at Te Rapa so they let us go around on the grass once a week.”

It is a busy time of year for Beatson, who has 40 horses in work in total with five staff members to assist him, including two other riders and three ground staff.

With a reduction in the number of lots for this year’s sale, Beatson believes the clearance rate should benefit.

“I don’t know if the prices will be higher this year,” he said. “Maybe the clearance rate will be higher, but I think the prices will still be reasonably similar to last year.”

Beatson has had mixed results in the two sales he has entered so far, and will be looking to replicate the success he found in his debut sale with Riversley Park.

“Last year was a tough enough sale with too many horses catalogued, but we came out on top,” he said. “We were happy enough, we were on the right side of it in a really tough year.

“The year before was the best sale I have ever had and it would be hard to top.”

The Ready to Run breeze-ups will take place at Te Rapa on October 16 and 17, while the sale will be at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Karaka sales complex on November 22 and 23. – NZ Racing Desk.

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