Sheamus Mills is a very well-known name in the Southern Hemisphere for his keen eye and sharp business sense. Last year Mills was one of the top buyers at the Great Southern Sale.
With the 2019 edition of the same sale being just around the corner, The Impact spoke to mills about the sale catalogue, pin hooking and much more.
Q: Would you say confirmation of the horse is the biggest factor when pin hooking? What other criteria do you use to Pin hook horses?
A: Yes. The sales these days are so much about type whether you are talking weanlings, yearlings or broodmares. Trainers and agents spend a huge amount of time looking for types they like and I believe it’s got to a stage where type outsells pedigree every time in Australia. Of course, if you have both then even better. The only other criteria I use is to have enough pedigree to make the sale that I think that horse is best suited as a yearling.
Q: In percentage terms, what kind of ROI can one expect from pin hooking?
A: You can expect 20-100% on some and minus 20-100% on others! It really is a very volatile form of investment.
If a horse develops a wind issue or comes up with high-risk X-rays you can kiss your money good-bye but the flip side is
the occasional big win that covers all hiccups along the way. It's certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Q: How did you get into this business?
A: I just decided to put my money where my mouth is a few years ago. I had done some pin-hooking with reasonable
success for clients etc and still do but also wanted to have some skin in the game myself. I would be wary of a stockbroker
who doesn't invest his money in shares so it felt right for me to get involved with my clients.
Q: There is quite a selection of weanlings, broodmares, racehorses, and yearlings on offer. What are you looking to buy?
A: I will be going there with an open mind and looking through the catalogue for all opportunities. I don't rule anything out though and have a saying - there is no such thing as a good or bad horse, just a cheap or expensive one. All horses in the market are of interest to me if I think I can provide a return to clients.
Q: What are the kinds of sires you search for in such a sale?
A: I guess I'm attracted to all the successful sires like everyone else. Obviously, if it's a weanling Pin hook I want it by a current star stallion or one I feel has a strong upside. If it’s a broodmare I'm obviously looking for a leading broodmare sire. I will look left field of that if the pedigree provides a buyer with another reason to buy the horse (half brother or sister etc) but generally play a fairly straight bat in that department.
Q: What are your past successes?
A: Been lucky enough to have a few over the years - some with mares and some with weanlings. Below are some of the good
ones but I've had my fair shares of wipeouts too. A few I can remember on the plus side;
- Surf Poet A$25,000 to A$700,000
- Snitzel x Les Ry Leigh A$75,000 to A$350,000
- Myboycharlie x Repenting A$15,000 to A$165,000
- Testa Rossa x Involve A$60,000 to A$185,000
- Valentines Reward and subsequent foal A$115,000 to A$365,000
Q: Last year you bought the maximum number of horses at this sale. Do you feel that you will be breaking records this year again?
A: No, not really. I think the market has taken a sharp turn towards quality in the past 12 months so I will be buying less but hopefully towards the quality end of the market. The catalogue determines how many you buy anyway as for me they need to be the right horses at the right money. I will have a good look through them on type; shortlist and price them and let the market decide.
Q: How would you define a horse a perfect horse? What are the criteria you look for in terms of physical or other attributes?
A: I'm not sure there is anything that qualifies as the perfect horse as everyone has different credentials and preferences. For me, though I like a horse with good length, a deep girth and fluent walk that uses all the muscles across their back. On top of that, I like quality about them and a confident attitude.
Published In The Impact 13 Issue, 2 Vol
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