THERE are few better people at sourcing bargains in the sale ring than trainer Andy Oliver. Perhaps it is a skill that he learned in the company of his one-time boss Mark Johnston, both men having the advantage of being veterinary surgeons.
The latest in a long list of bargain buys by the Co Tyrone-based Oliver is Glory Daze, a three-year-old son, and 46th individual winner, of Cotai Glory (Exceed And Excel). This £3,000 (€3,450) purchase at the 2020 Goffs Sportsman’s Sale won the TRI Equestrian Irish EBF Maiden over 10 furlongs at the Curragh on Sunday, beating a lot of highly-regarded and blue-blooded opponents, a dozen of them in all.
Glory Daze started at 9/2, so he was obviously well-regarded by the stable. Bred by Noel O’Callaghan’s Mountarmstrong Stud, it is scarcely believable that he could have traded for just £3,000. From the first crop of his Tally-Ho Stud sire Cotai Glory, a Group 3 winning juvenile and by a stallion with an exceptional record for getting juveniles, Glory Daze is now the second winner for his dam, Pioneer Alexander.
Sold for 140,000gns as a foal, Pioneer Alexander was the joint top-priced foal sold from the first crop of Rip Van Winkle (Galileo). Purchased by O’Callaghan, she was sent to be trained by Jim Bolger but showed no ability really in three starts as a juvenile. Connections did not persist with a racing career and she was covered at three by Kodiac (Danehill). This liaison resulted in a filly, Rita Levi.
Gaelic Bloodstock paid €90,000 for Rita Levi as a yearling, she won for Ger Lyons at three, and she sold on for €8,500 to John McConnell who won twice with her at Dundalk towards the end of last year.
Pioneer Alexander, who has since died, only produced four foals, one of which was never named. The remaining one is Play The Crowd (Gutaifan), he is a year older than Glory Daze, and he too was trained by Andy Oliver. The trainer paid only €1,800 for him and he placed second once from five outings. However, he must have shown enough for Oliver to take a chance on his sibling.
When Pioneer Alexander sold as a foal, an additional attraction was the fact the she had seven winning half-sisters and brothers, two of them at stakes level. The Australian-bred Moulin Lady (Reset) was a listed winner down under, while Bannock (Bertolini) won the Listed Rockingham Stakes at York at two and was runner-up to Harbour Watch in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes.
Glory Daze’s third dam was stakes-placed in Canada and her 10 winners are headed by the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes winner Never Retreat (Smart Strike).