Updated: Feb 10
*Article by Racing Post
More attention than usual will be on those horses who have been carrying the royal silks being sold this autumn at various sales, and on Tuesday at Tattersalls agent Johnny McKeever expressed his delight at securing the talented Just Fine for Gai Waterhouse.
The mainstream media seems intent on a song and dance over the Queen's horses going through the ring, and the future of the Royal Studs, but the draft entered for the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale had been selected before Her Majesty's death last month.
Just Fine, a gelded son of Sea The Stars, made a bit of history of his own when providing King Charles III with a first winner in the royal silks. He is now set to compete down under for an icon of Australian racing who has regal connections of her own.
McKeever said of his 300,000gns buy: "It is a while since I have bought one from the Royal Studs, [but] Gai Waterhouse has trained for the late Queen and will be thrilled to be getting a horse that she owned."
The four-year-old, a three-time winner for the Queen and Sir Michael Stoute, held an extra attraction for the leading agent as a son of one of the greatest racehorses of the modern era and a top-notch sire to boot.
"Sea The Stars is one of my all-time favourite racehorses and sires, I rate him up there with all the great ones, and, except for Frankel, he is one of the best staying stallions in the world," added McKeever.
The agent was also confident Just Fine would be a solid fit for racing in Australia, with his last win coming when pulling nearly five lengths clear in a Class 3 handicap at Leicester this month.
He continued: "We are looking for good quality horses, Sir Michael recommended him very strongly, he vetted extremely clean, there were no issues on x-rays.
"I don't know if there have been many Sea The Stars in Australia, but this horse's level of form is pretty good. He is the right sort of horse [to head to Australia] and we have tried on a few others – we were underbidder on Chairman [lot 304A] and this morning on Inverness [lot 468].
"He will head straight down to Australia. He will have some time off and be given some time to acclimatise, and we generally see how good they are only about a year later."
Another of the Queen's horses in the Stoute-trained Theme Park also attracted a frenzy of bidding when going the way of Jamie Piggott and Nigel Tinkler for 200,000gns.
The two-year-old son of Lope De Vega was second to subsequent dual Group 3 winner Silver Knott on his debut at Kempton in August and followed up with a win at the same track the following month, just days before the Queen's passing.
TBB Racing have taken a small interest in Just Fine and we are looking forward to him touching down in Australia and having a light prep in Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott's stables.