Princess Coup Family to the Fore

Date: 30 May 2021

Princess Coup Family to the Fore


We read the following article on TDN Australia & New Zealand - Princess Coup was purchased by David Ellis from the Gold Coast sale for A$260,000 and won four Group 1 races in her illustrious career.  She was trained by Te Akau's Mark Walker and was desperately unlucky not to win a Group 1 race in Australia - being four times runner up.  She did however win at Group 2 level there.

Champion 3YO of the Year, NZB Filly of the Year, Champion Middle Distance Horse, Champion Stayer of the Year - she won back to back Group 1 Kelt Capital Stakes on the two occasions it carried a stake of $2 million. Princess Coup was sold at the Magic Millions' sale when she retired from racing - for A$3 million.

Enjoy the update on her next chapter ...


Evergreen Stud Farm's Tony Bott has a long relationship with the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, and this week he was reminded of that with the family of Princess Coup (Encosta De Lago), the mare that cost him $3 million at this Sale in 2009, and whose progeny are proving topical.  Along the Pacific Highway in the Lower Hunter district of Heatherbrae, Evergreen Stud Farm is a boutique breeding, agistment and pre-training facility in the hands of Tony Bott. The farm has six mares catalogued at this week's Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, with an eye on buying a few more.

However, after robust trade on Day 1, the seasoned, mild-mannered Bott found things too rich even for his blood.

“I don't know where the money is coming from,” he said. “It's like everyone has discovered an oil well in the backyard.”

Bott has been in the game a long time. At this Sale in 2009, he paid $3 million for the exceptional race mare Princess Coup. She has spent her entire breeding life at Evergreen, the dam of 10 foals with another on the way by Dundeel (NZ).

Bott also paid $2.1 million at this Sale in 2018 for Courgette (Charge Forward), the dam of G1 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain).

But he has rarely seen trade as robust as it is right now.

“It's been very, very strong, and that's good and bad for the industry,” he said. “Someone is getting a return obviously, but you worry that when it's so strong there's too much heat in the kitchen, and a correction's got to come.”

Bott said he'd rather see a steady rise in horse prices, rather than the 20 to 50 per cent explosions he's witnessed this year, and this week in particular.

“I guess it's a bit like the property market at the moment,” he said. “People are finding it hard to put a value to things, so things are getting way above what is perceived as the value or reserve. We had our mind on a couple of horses (on Day 1), but we didn't get involved because if we had a million, they were going for $1.5 million or $2 million. It was too strong for us.”

Bott can remember other periods in bloodstock history when prices went through the ceiling.

There were the years before the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, but also the era when trainers Tommy Smith and Bart Cummings went to war in the sales ring.

“That was a time when Smith and Cummings were forming new partnerships and buying everything,” Bott recalled. “What was a $100,000 yearling in those days is a million dollars today, and it was massive money.”

Mixed bag on Day 2

Evergreen's draft for the National Broodmare Sale was highlighted equally by Lot 859, Light Exceed (Exceed And Excel), and Lot 918, Mistress Oz (Snitzel).

The latter is a 5-year-old daughter of Princess Coup, and was unraced and in foal to Pierro when she went through the ring on Wednesday. She was sold for $220,000 to Paul Willetts Bloodstock, shortly after passing in at $210,000.

Light Exceed fared similarly, a two-time city winner for Bott who features Piccadilly Circus (Royal Academy {USA}), the dam of Fastnet Rock, on the third line. Light Exceed was passed in on Wednesday at $200,000, and also in foal to Pierro.

“Both were very hard to split in terms of popularity during inspections,” Bott said. “Some people preferred Mistress Oz because she had a big page, but they both had their good points.”

It was probably a Sale that came a few days too early for Mistress Oz, because her spicy half-sister Argentia, by super-sire Frankel (GB), will likely debut in the 2YO Mdn Plate at Ballarat on Sunday.

Flip of the coin

Argentia was the result of Princess Coup heading to Frankel on Southern Hemisphere time in 2017. It was the first time the mare had travelled for an overseas cover and, as the dam of the brilliant Hong Kong juvenile Thewizardofoz (Redoute's Choice), she was worthy of it.

On race record alone, Princess Coup was the outstanding mare of her generation.

Her four Group 1 wins included the New Zealand Oaks, Stoney Bridge S. and Kelt Capital S. She also won five further stakes races, and was runner-up in the G1 Australian Cup, G1 Ranvet S. and G1 The BMW in quick succession.

Her purchase price in 2009 of $3 million was a bit salty for Tony Bott at the time.

“It seems like a long time ago,” he said. “It was quite nerve-wracking to pay that sort of money. I wouldn't say it's been a windfall, but it certainly hasn't been a disaster. She's been reasonably successful.”

Argentia was Princess Coup's eighth foal, and the decision to use Frankel was the result of a few years of mulling.

“It was something we had thought about for a long time,” Bott said. “I probably made the mistake in that I should have left her there and gone to him twice. Princess Coup was the blue-hen in our band at the time, so she was the logical choice to send.”

Bott said it wasn't an easy decision, even if it was logical. Things go wrong and travelling can prove an experience exercise, but in this case all was well. Princess Coup got in-foal early and was home within four months.

And the result, Argentia, wasn't a colt, but she was a very decent filly.

“There's been a bit of a boom on that filly for a while now,” Bott said. “We've been waiting for her to be brought out in public, so I hope she runs up to the hype that's been surrounding her.”


“There's been a bit of a boom on that filly (Argentia) for a while now. We've been waiting for her to be brought out in public, so I hope she runs up to the hype that's been surrounding her.” - Tony Bott

Trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman at Mornington, and raced in the colours of John Camilleri's Fairway Thoroughbreds, Argentia will debut on Sunday in the same race as Polyphonic (Deep Impact {Jpn}), the equally well-bred daughter of a half-sister to no less than Pierro.

Argentia was sold by Bott at the COVID-affected 2020 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, where she went to James Harron for $670,000.

“It was a flip of the coin-type of thing to sell her,” Bott said. “We had so much of the family already, so we just thought we had to sell something to keep the wheels turning. We were worried about how strong that Sale would be with COVID, but we weren't going to give her away. If it had been a bad result, like $200,000 or $300,000, we would have passed her in and sold a couple of mares instead.”


Sign up to our newsletter