By Jordan Gerrans
From the prized colt’s first breath until he was eventually put under the hammer, Townsville’s Donald and Judy Kelly were there every step of the way.
The Kellys were smiling from ear to ear on Wednesday morning at the 2021 Australian Easter Yearling Sale as their I Am Invincible colt was sold for $1.4 million to Coolmore.
The north Queenslanders have been in the breeding game for years but never have they sold a lot for such a price, with Wednesday’s result far surpassing their previous highest sale of $460,000.
Donald and Judy Kelly have lived all their lives in the north of the state, spending time in Townsville and the Burdekin region, living on a farm just outside of Ayr in years gone by while now residing in an apartment on Townsville’s The Strand these days.
The $1.4 million price tag was much more than they could have ever dreamed of after putting a reserve price of $600,000 on the colt.
“It is hard to guide but I was thinking $600,000 to $800,000 and once he got to there and kept going, we were pretty happy,” Donald said.
“He is an exceptional type and mover when he is walking or cantering – they are his greatest assets.
“He looks like a runner and obviously people thought so as well.”
Whilst the the Kellys are NQ-based, they house their horses at Scone with Kia Ora Stud.
Kia Ora Stud’s Shane Wright believes Coolmore, who is likely to give the colt to champion trainer Chris Waller to train, will have a lot of fun with him.
“It was a very good sale, Coolmore bought him so he is going to the best home there is,” Wright said.
“They are the best judge of colts in the world.
“He is a beautiful colt and has a huge pedigree.
“He has the physical side of it, he has such a presence and quality – he has the constitution of a champion, he just eats and loves his work.”
Donald joked that he will now need to take Judy on a shopping spree through Sydney this week with the extra cash in their pockets.
The Kellys have been in the breeding game for about a decade with this the third foal from Group 1-winning mare Cosmic Endeavour.
“I was at the stud and saw this colt take his first breathe at 2am on one cold morning,” Donald recalled.
“We are involved in as many facets of it as we can be.
“It is the interest thing too, my grandfather was a horse breeder and he would have got a buzz out of me continuing on doing the same thing.”
Cosmic Endeavour won seven from 22 for $1,447,280 in career earnings, including a Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm in 2014.
The Kellys bought mare Cosmic Endeavour at the Australian Easter Yearling Sale as a yearling in 2012 for $230,000.
“I was more than pleased with this result, we bought the mare 10 years ago and raced her with great success,” Kelly said.
“Now we have the full cycle and back, breeding and then selling the progeny.”
Of the three foals Cosmic Endeavour has produced, this colt has sold for $1.4 million, another went for $460,000 while the Kellys kept another.
The Kellys use their breeding ventures as a semi-retirement project following careers in the cattle, cane farming and horticulture industries on their farm.
Donald was in racehorses in his youth before focusing his interests on business and is back loving being involved in the racing industry with more time on his hands.
They may look to purchase a few more racehorses now with an influx of cash this week.
Donald has offered to purchase a small share - maybe 5% - of the I Am Invincible colt from Coolmore, if they are willing to give that much up.
“It would be nice to keep an interest in him,” Donald said.
Also at the Sale this week, Queensland’s Glenlogan Park sold an I Am Invincible filly for $1,200,00 to Rosemont Stud in Victoria.
Brisbane’s premier trainer Tony Gollan was also busy, making three purchases.