Newgate boss Henry Field building a racing dynasty the smart way

Chris Roots: Sydney Morning Herald

It says a lot about the Newgate Farm operation that it didn’t have its own racing colours until a couple of weeks ago.

“We actually just registered a set of silks because my PA said to me, ‘This is ridiculous, we have so many horses but no colours’,” Newgate boss Henry Field said. “We still haven’t used them yet” “It is not about that, it is about getting the best horses.”

Newgate has quickly built a reputation as a powerhouse of Australian racing in just half a dozen years.  It has already raced a horse-of-the-year in Dissident with partners, and that horse now stands at its farm in the Hunter.

And others are set to join him. Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, Blue Diamond and Moir Stakes victor Extreme Choice and the unbeaten Russian Revolution meet in the talent-laden Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, and all have homes at Newgate in the future.

“When you look at it, we have $50 million in colts going to the race, which is worth $500,000, on Saturday,” Field said. “But it is a stallion-making race and if one can win it will take them to another level.

“This is what you dream about but it is hard work to get there.”

Big return: Coolmore Stud Stakes favourite Extreme Choice wins the Moir Stakes.
Big return: Coolmore Stud Stakes favourite Extreme Choice wins the Moir Stakes. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

 Field, who graduated from the Darley Flying Start program, has taken Newgate from a leased property in 2010 to his own farm in 2013 by identifying the best bloodstock in the country.

He has the knack of finding the right horse at the right price, which in racing can quickly amount to millions of dollars. Each of his Coolmore runners has a different story, showing Newgate and Field are no one-trick ponies.

“Associate with the best to be the best,” Field said. “It is about the team around us and everyone does their job. We have had to take risks and when you’re doing that you can’t afford to get it wrong too many times.

“These horses have all come along at the same time, which is amazing.”

A new player in the breeding pond, Field knows it is not easy to get the horses you want and need. He took the approach of trying to buy them before they are made as stallions.

It is risk and reward. Get it right and you have cash flow for years to come; wrong and the business can quickly disappear.

“I have been around horses all my life, I was working in Gai Waterhouse’s stable at 14,” the 33-year-old said. “I think my strength is being able to identify horses but you don’t always get it right.

“That is what I concentrate on and I have partners that make the business work.”

With Extreme Choice, Field made a bold move to secure him early in his two-year-old season and a deal valuing the colt at $20 million was completed before the Golden Slipper, his only defeat.

“He was very athletic in the mould of the very good Not A Single Doubt and we bought into him after he won a group 3 at his second start and then more of him following the Blue Diamond win,” Field said.

“He has come out and beaten the older horses in the Moir Stakes and on our numbers he is going to be better at 1200m on the weekend.

“He is just a natural speed horse that works well in Australia.”

Field has teamed with the China Horse Club successfully with Extreme Choice and Dissident but found Russian Revolution with the club’s bloodstock agent Michael Wallace at the Inglis Easter sale for $320,000.

“He has dynamic genetics,” Field said. “He was a horse that when you look back in his pedigree, he has the best families in the stud book. He is a Snitzel, which has Redoute’s Choice and the family of Encosta De Lago in his first four generations.

“It is no surprise he is where he is, because Peter Snowden identified him very early but decided to let him mature rather than push him towards the Golden Slipper.

“This is probably the race that we were thinking about with him, if he lived up to his potential, and he gets there unbeaten and still a little underrated.”

Russian Revolution already has a victory over Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, another that Field has a share in, and the breeding tyro remembers his purchase at Magic Millions.

“We actually picked Capitalist on type, he was just a beautiful type, which is probably the most important attribute a young horse can have,” Field said. “He is a Slipper winner and gets his chance to prove himself against the best of his generation again.”

The Coolmore shapes as the race of the Flemington carnival: along with Field’s Golden Slipper and Blue Diamond winners, there is the Golden Rose winner Astern for Godolphin and powerful sprinters Star Turn and Flying Artie.

“In 20 years’ time we are going to look back on this race and say it was a breed shaper,” Field said. “It is for bragging rights to say you’re the best of an outstanding generation.”