Exciting Pierata colt Coleman stamps his authority at Caulfield

On Saturday, at Caulfield, the Matt Laurie-trained Coleman (Pierata) solidified his standing as a leading G1 Blue Diamond S. contender and arguably the strongest intended Victorian-trained runner in the $1.5 million feature to be run on Saturday, February 24.

Coleman burst onto the scene in October when he became his Yulong-based first-season sire Pierata’s first runner and winner in the Listed Debutant S. at Caulfield. The hype around the colt was strong from the get-go, and the form has stacked up.

Coleman won the Lisited Debutant S., at his first start in October 2023 | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

Finishing behind Coleman that day was the Tony and Calvin McEvoy-trained Arabian Summer (Too Darn Hot {GB}). The filly took out the $250,000 Magic Millions Ballarat 2YO Classic and $150,000 Aquis Gold Pearl before a courageous fifth in the R. Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast.

Matt Laurie elected to put his promising colt away until February when, on Saturday racegoers were treated to Coleman’s return in the G3 Chairman’s S., partnered again by Ben Melham, Coleman cruised around the Caulfield surface and despite the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Counteroffensive (Deep Field) attempting to bring him undone and the presence of the smart filly Eneeza (Exceed And Excel) the colt was peerless in securing the Group 3.

Astute judgement

Coleman’s success is further testament to the judgement and skill of Rhys and Chloe Smith, who operate the boutique, Kulani Park. The colt carries the stud’s brand, and the Smiths have remained in Coleman’s ownership.

In 2021, Rhys Smith purchased Sboog (Redoute’s Choice) for $100,000 from the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in foal to Pierata. It was an astute purchase. Sboog was formerly a $1 million purchase by Gerald Ryan from the 2011 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. Sboog had produced the dual Listed winner, Liwa (Mulaazem), who was also placed in the G2 Karrakatta Plate.

Sboog at the 2021 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

Smith was encouraged by the breeding, telling The Thoroughbred Report, “Sboog was a Redoute’s Choice mare with a good page, and she was in foal to Pierata,” he said.

“Pierata being a son of Pierro, it was that good line cross of Pierro over Redoute’s Choice. That’s been a very successful formula, and we just felt Sboog would be a good buy for us.”

Pierro over Redoute’s Choice mares has produced three Group 1 winners, including the star mare Arcadia Queen, while nine stakes winners have been produced on the cross, creating an 11 per cent strike rate.

Pierata | Standing at Yulong

Coleman was born on September 10 and was his dam’s eighth foal. By all accounts, the son of Pierata was a standout from day dot.

“He was the best horse on the farm,” Smith declared.

“Coleman was very straightforward. He would do whatever you wanted or needed him to do. He wasn’t quite bombproof at that stage, but he had the makings to develop into that type of horse.”

Kulani Park presented Coleman at the 2023 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, where he caught the attention of Matt Laurie Racing and Justin Bahen, who paid $550,000 to secure the son of Pierata.

The price wasn’t a huge shock for Smith, as he felt Coleman was the best representative of his sire at the Bundall complex.

Coleman as a yearling | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

“I thought he would achieve that sort of money ($550,000) because he was the best Pierata on the Gold Coast.”

No stranger to success

Kulani Park is no stranger to Group 1 success and selling elite horses; the boutique farm has sold the likes of the G1 Golden Rose and G1 Coolmore Stud S. victor Zoustar, now a superstar stallion based at Widden Stud. Alongside, the G1 Australian Oaks winner Once Were Wild (Hennesey {USA}) and Black Piranha (Clang), who won the G1 Stradbroke H. twice.

However, with the Smiths still involved in the ownership of Coleman and his dam back in foal to Pierata, it is a proud moment for the brand.

Rhys Smith | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

“We still own a share in Coleman, which is very exciting.

“If he were to win the Blue Diamond, Chloe and I will be very pleased, and it will be an outstanding achievement. It’s great to be involved, and there’s plenty to look forward to.

“Excitingly, Sboog is in foal to Pierata, so we’ve got a full sister or brother coming.”

Laurie loved him!

Despite being the co-purchaser of Coleman, the current market favourite for the G1 Blue Diamond S. Justin Bahen is directing all attention and kudos towards the colt’s trainer, Matt Laurie.

“All the accolades belong to Matt. He was adamant that he was buying this colt at the sale,” Bahen shared with The Thoroughbred Report.

Justin Bahen | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

“Matt Laurie and a client of mine, Rob Cummings, is the main shareholder in Coleman. I got dragged along to the Magic Millions because I buy for Rob, and he is good mates with Matt.

“To be honest, I liked the horse, but Matt loved him; he just loved Coleman at the sales. Matt deserves all the credit for Coleman. It’s hard to buy a good colt anywhere, and he looks to have landed on a genuine one.

“Obviously, he was a good type and a likeable colt for many people given we had to pay $550,000 to secure. There was a risk attached, being by a first-season sire in Pierata, but the mum (Sboog) had left a decent enough horse earlier (Liwa).

“The second dam (Schiaparelli) had left a good racehorse in Rothesay, who at stud had produced Rothfire. So, there was a lot to like; he was a good type and had a pedigree. Matt was adamant he was taking him home.

“So that’s where we started and where we finish, who knows. But all kudos to Matt for sourcing him and picking him out. I was in agreement with Matt, but he was adamant and the driving force behind securing Coleman.”

Price expected?

With Coleman being by a first-season sire in Pierata, the question was posed to Bahen: did he feel they would have to stretch out to that figure to purchase the horse?

“When it comes to Magic Millions it is the first sale of the year, and we were sort of exiting the COVID-19 pandemic, people were up and about and pretty excited to be able to get around and spend money.

“So, it was never in doubt that attractive, forward-going, early 2-year-old running types are always very well-received in January at the Magic Millions, as are the first-season sires.

“It happens year in, year out. Unproven to proven, people still lean towards wanting to support the first-season stallions heavily. A lot of people are anti-first-season sires, but a lot of people participate in buying their progeny.

“Overall, I would have to say Coleman was never going to be stolen or slip through the cracks to be fair to the horse.”

Diamond dreaming

Bahen is looking towards the G1 Blue Diamond and is hopeful Coleman can salute for Laurie, as well as his good client Cummings and the Smiths of Kulani Park, all of whom he has tremendous respect for.

“Coleman looks to be the top seed. I watch a lot of races daily, and he relaxed yesterday (Saturday). He got around the bend and had to straighten himself up and get going, which you do in those short-course races.

“He then accelerated and got past the Snowden’s’ horse (Counteroffensive), and then was dominant through the line and past the line, he was even stronger. All that bodes well for three weeks over 1200 metres.

Coleman, winner of the G3 Chairman’s S. at Caulfield on Saturday | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

“If Coleman were to draw a gate and get a good run in transit, you’d think he’s the one to beat on what I’ve seen to this point. To be fair, Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman’s horse Eneeza was good from behind. She ran through the line well and looked to have upside. However, I’d be pretty comfortable saying it’s probably the form line you want to stick to.

“Things change pretty quickly with 2-year-olds, but to my eye, I was very taken by the performance on Saturday.

“It’s a good game, and when you get it right, you deserve a pat on the back, and when somebody gets it really right, which Matt has in this instance, to this point, he should be getting the pat on the back.

Matt Laurie | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

“I’m happy to be along for the ride and delighted for Rob Cummings; he’s a good mate of mine and has landed on a fast one, which is very deserved because he’s put a lot of money into racing.

“Rob’s been a very good supporter over the last five years with Matt, and I’ve worked with Rob and Matt over that period. However, Matt is his own man, and I’m my own man, but Matt’s a regular visitor to the yearling sales and a good judge.

“Matt has trained for Rob over the last four or five years, and they’ve had bits and pieces of luck, but Coleman is by a good stretch the standout; he looks like a pretty darn good colt.”

Connections of Coleman celebrate the victory in the G3 Chairman’s S. at Caulfield on Saturday | Image courtesy of The Image Is Everything

“I’m happy for Rhys and Chloe Smith. Coleman comes from a very successful farm in Kulani Park. Rhys and Chloe do a super job with their horses. They continue to take horses from pinhookers and breeding their own to the sales ring that go on to have racetrack success.

“So, they’re an all-round, very classy, good operation. That’s an understatement; they know what they’re doing and deserve a special mention.

“I played a very minimal part in the purchase, and I’m more than happy to give the accolades to Matt and recognise the success of Rob and Kulani Park to get a good horse, and hopefully, he brings his best in three weeks.”

This article was written by Keely Mckitterick for TTR AusNZ.