New Plymouth trainer Warren Bolton has never had a large team in work, but the astute horseman generally has some promising gallopers within his select stable. Bolton, who has produced and traded a number of quality gallopers since taking out a trainers’ license some 25 years ago, is looking forward to having his cake and eating it too with promising filly Blaze Seven.
The two-year-old daughter of Sacred Falls finished second in her only start for Bolton on her home track at New Plymouth in March, closing well late behind three-year-old Palm Springs in a maiden contest over 1200m. The filly will transfer to in-form Sydney trainer John O’Shea after owner-trainer Bolton decided to sell the majority of the filly.
“I bought her at the Ready to Run’s in November from New Zealand Bloodstock after seeing her run up,” Bolton said. “She’s always shown outstanding ability right from day one. She went massive in her first start against the older horses after walking out of the gates. “Then I got a call from Danny Rolston from New Zealand Bloodstock on behalf of John O’Shea in Sydney and he was interested in the horse. “We initially said no to the offers, but what sealed the deal after a couple of weeks was that he let Claire and I and the kids stay in for ten percent. We wanted to keep a share in her. He said in the beginning that the owner wanted to race the horse on his own but then he let us in. “That’s what sealed the deal really.”
Bolton purchased a Dissident colt out of a Savabeel mare from an online auction and is looking forward to having a project to work with after selling Blaze Seven. “It’s the first time I’ve ever bought a horse unseen and purchased him online, but he looks a big actioned colt and once Danny confirmed the sale of Blaze Seven, I ended up buying that colt to replace her,” Bolton said.
While Bolton said Dissident had yet to set the world on fire as a stallion, he has history to draw upon when it comes to progeny of unheralded sires. Bolton was a farmer before 1980, when he built and operated the Saddle and Sulky Motel, adjacent to the back straight of New Plymouth racecourse. Bolton was the co-owner of champion galloper Poetic Prince, a son of the stakes winning Nijinsky sire Yeats, who enjoyed modest success as a stallion in Australia.
Bought for $14,000, Poetic Prince won four Group 1s for New Plymouth trainer John Wheeler including the Cox Plate (2040m) and amassed close to $3.45 million in stakes. “I had a good friend who said to me ‘how the hell could dirty rotten Yeats leave a horse like that?’,” Bolton said. “It’s pretty hard for studmasters. Trainers are pretty quick to judge the progeny of a stallion.”
Bolton has unearthed some quality horses throughout his training journey, but has also been astute enough to trade and has often enhanced the residual value of fillies. Amongst the black-type horses trained and traded by Bolton are Victoire, Penny Florence, Neena Rock and Zeta Black, while he also produced talented fillies I Am Poppy and Anna Bek. “Traditionally colts have always been far too dear,” Bolton said. “You can buy a nice filly for half the price of what the Asian and International buyers pay for a colt.” “We don’t breed, I just buy predominantly fillies. You can get them up and stakes performed and move them on.”
An owner-trainer with four boxes, the septuagenarian has strong views as to where racing needs to spend and he is pleased to see some of the lesser tracks being closed. “I know the blame game is going on at the moment for the wasting of money down in Wellington, but that has happened so now it’s time to stop the blame game and move on,” Bolton said. “We’re very grateful for the government help but we’ve also got to help ourselves.
“In New Zealand we have this stupid model where the head man is the CEO and the second-in-charge is the accountant. But in America the main man is the marketing manager.” Bolton believes New Zealand racing needs to invest more into promoting the product to the layperson as opposed to the converted. “We need a marketing fund of up to $5 million and to fund it, I’d levy five percent of all service fees, charge a $1,000 export fee on every horse, add $100 to nominate for a race and levy one percent from bloodstock sales.” “Then you’re introducing the product to the young generation. At the moment the only ones who know anything about racing are the old hacks like me.”