Cornelius Lysaght Takes a Look at 2022
A Profitable Year for Opulence
Call yourself Opulence and you are certainly setting the bar high. Yet Opulence Thoroughbreds has lived up to the definition more and more in 2022, as the syndicate enjoyed a rare old time with a strike rate that can only be described as striking, with periods when winners were flowing literally on a daily basis.
It’s the job of a syndicate to get the right amount of horses to ensure ongoing success and interest but within sensible budget limits, and the Opulence management has impressed in the way that it has pulled that off, paying often towards the lower end of the amounts required but achieving enviable results for its clients at a level that can fairly be described as rather higher.
And in no area has this been better illustrated than with the Opulence juveniles which have enjoyed a particularly profitable year.
Falling into the 50,000 or so bracket – true, a lot of money but for a racehorse no longer a fortune – were the Stuart Williams-trained hat-trick star Hubert’s Dream; also Lumacho, skilfully handled by George Boughey to win three as well; and Revenite, which was successful at Ascot and Kempton in September for Roger Varian before being sold for four times his purchase price.
Other success stories cost quite a lot less, including Azure Angel – superb at Kempton in November; Dionysian which is two from two at Kempton; the so far unbeaten (both races at Kempton) Tyndrum Gold; and the Paul and Oliver Cole-trained Yacowlef which ran five times, winning at Goodwood in October and with some excellent beaten form to his name.
As a matter of interest, although Opulence did well geographically, winning races as far apart as Newcastle and Catterick to the north, Great Yarmouth to the east and Chepstow and Salisbury in a more westerly direction, plus one at Ascot, it was the Polytrack at Kempton, with its ever-growing reputation, that proved the most lucrative of hunting grounds with runners also netting the best return to a £1 stake there.
Some horses, of course, came with fancier price tags, but the big bucks paid are hopefully odds-on to prove worthwhile and that would certainly seem to apply to Celtic Champion, which went into plenty of trackers after winning at Salisbury in August, judged by the nice, positive vibes that have come out of Andrew Balding HQ at Kingsclere.
Others may not have hit the heights just yet but give every indication that they will provide a stack of fun in 2023.
Talking of the months ahead, trainers Michael Bell, Ed Walker and George Scott, all known for their fun-loving outlooks as well as their success rates, are joining the Opulence roster, and that is sure to add to everyone’s entertainment as will, with luck, some fine looking yearlings.
And the syndicate’s buying team have not only been casting their beady eyes over younger stock: in an effort to provide an even rounder horseracing experience, two blue-blooded mares have been bought to make a thoroughbred breeding syndicate.
They are Something Enticing, by Fascinating Rock, which was successful for David Elsworth and then Andrew Balding, and Marbling, a daughter of the great Kingman, which has been in training with Andre Fabre and Ger Lyons, and a couple of the superb stallions on offer at Ireland’s renowned Ballylinch Stud are now being lined up for them.
What a lovely thought that their progeny could be high in Opulence minds at Christmas 2025: that’s the thing about breeding, thinking ahead – but back to the present, and here’s to a Happy Christmas and another prosperous year in 2023.