Home » Woppitt Bloodstock Goes to AU$10M for Filly out of Winx

Woppitt Bloodstock Goes to AU$10M for Filly out of Winx

The much-anticipated sale of a yearling filly out of four-time Australian Horse of the Year Winx  lived up to the hype April 8 when she sold for AU$10 million (U.S. $6.6 million) at Inglis’ 2024 Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

Woppitt Bloodstock landed the daughter of Pierro —Winx by Street Cry, who was offered by the Coolmore consignment. The sale price shattered the record for any yearling sold at an Australasian auction.

The room fell silent as the filly entered the ring but it was fireworks for the next three minutes as Woppitt Bloodstock’s Debbie Kepitis and Resolute Racing’s John Stewart traded bids ferociously before Kepitis came out victorious at AU$10 million.

Winx’s filly is officially valued at AU$10 million, but to Kepitis the daughter of Pierro is priceless.

As the weeks and days went by, and the enormity of the impending sale came closer to reality, Kepitis resolved with her husband, Paul, and daughters Alinta, Lara, and Talia that their family racing and breeding business would buy Winx’s only foal thus far.

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Kepitis said she couldn’t bear the thought of not retaining ownership of the filly whose mother took her and her fellow co-owners, Peter Tighe and the late Richard Treweeke, on the ride of a lifetime, winning 37 races, 33 in succession and 25 at group 1 level, including four triumphs in the Cox Plate (G1).

Speaking through tears of joy, Kepitis was relieved that she had been able to buy out her co-owners even if it came with a AU$10 million price tag, twice the previous Australasian sale record of AU$5 million.

“I didn’t come here to buy this horse originally,” Debbie Kepitis said. “We put her up for auction and then, in the last few weeks, all of our family started to miss our daughter, our granddaughter, so we just decided that, as best we could, if we could get her, we would.

“I am privileged to have been able to secure this filly on behalf of my family, to be able to hopefully see if she can get to the racetrack and, if she can’t get to the racetrack, she’ll be an amazing mum.

“She’s Australian forever and she’s going to be just fabulous. Hopefully, she’ll do a Winx, but it doesn’t matter if she doesn’t.”

Photo: Courtesy of Inglis

Debbie Kepitis (middle) is all smiles after landing the filly out of Winx

Not that there was any doubt about who would be tasked with training the filly, but Kepitis emphatically declared that she would be entrusted to Chris Waller, the man who meticulously managed the extraordinary racing career of Winx.

On a remarkable day at Riverside, bidding—which was conducted by long-serving Inglis auctioneer Jonathan D’Arcy—opened at $2 million, called by Inglis Bloodstock’s chief executive, Sebastian Hutch, before the company’s managing director, Mark Webster, acting for the outspoken American investor John Stewart, jumped in at $2.5 million.

Kepitis, seated at her auditorium table surrounded by her family, bid $3 million before Webster called a $5 million bid. Kepitis struck again at $6 million, before Stewart responded with $7.5 million and Woppitt Bloodstock returned serve at $8 million.

Resolute Racing’s Stewart instructed Webster to hit $9 million before Kepitis raised the stakes again to an eye-watering $10 million. With that Stewart conceded defeat, forcing Webster to hang up the phone and gesture to D’Arcy that his client was out, prompting the auctioneer to bring the gavel down and end the historic proceedings.   

With Woppitt Bloodstock officially declared as the buyers, onlookers found it hard to hold their applause as she left the ring.

Stewart, however, didn’t let the disappointment get to him, parting with $3 million later in the day for a Coolmore-sold I Am Invincible  filly out of group 1-winning mare Booker.

Coolmore’s Tom Magnier used the occasion to remember the difficult days Winx endured during her first foaling, which almost claimed the champion mare’s life. Paddy Sheehan, who had been by Winx’s side during that traumatic first foaling at Coolmore’s Jerrys Plains stud, also had the honor of leading the Pierro filly through the Riverside Stables ring in front of a packed auditorium and concourse.

“I knew she was going to make a very high figure because somebody’s buying history—this is a classic, it’s a collector’s item—and there’s only one person who deserved today and that was Debbie and Paul and the family,” Magnier said.

Richard Treweeke’s daughter Elizabeth was also at Riverside Stables to witness history.

For Tighe, who last week expressed his interest in retaining a share in the filly, Monday’s record price tag was “something you couldn’t imagine” and that her sale was “good for racing, good for breeding, good for everyone.

“People want something and they’re prepared to pay for it, and if you can afford it, good luck to you,” Tighe said. “It’s great for Debbie Kepitis, who bought her, and it’s great for the ownership group who benefit from the sale.

“We do it because we love our horses and the sport. It is a funny thing to say, but we didn’t come here today for the money, we came here for a purpose, and I think we’ve achieved that by getting the horse out into the breeding world. We look forward to many more great stories which have all stemmed from Winx.”

Hutch couldn’t help but also be caught up in the moment.

“I think what struck me, and I was very much engaged in the auction…was struck by the gasps when the bid went to $5 million,” he said.

“It was almost like, ‘Wow, we didn’t think this was going to happen’. So, that was quite cool. In any sport, there’s always got to be a champion, and in any given year, there’s going to be a winner of something. Horses like Winx operate on a different planet to the rest of them.

“It felt like an ‘I was there’ moment.”

Lot 391, the Pierro x Winx filly of Coolmore Australia, arrived at Riverside on Monday, April 1, 2024 for the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale
Photo: Courtesy of Inglis

From her April 1 arrival at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale the filly out of Winx proved to be the center of attention

Underbidder Stewart, the MiddleGround Capital founder, later posted on X: “Mission accomplished. I said before that my goal was for the filly to stay in Australia. Congratulations to Debbie Kepitis and everyone in Australia! The Winx filly is right where she belongs.

“I hope I played a small part in discouraging some of the international players out of the auction.” 

Before Monday’s action unfolded, a Redoute’s Choice  half brother to another champion mare in Black Caviar held the yearling record in Australia. He fetched AU$5 million at the 2013 Inglis Easter sale, while a year earlier his sister made AU$2.6 million at the Easter sale, then the highest price for a yearling filly in Australia.

The world all-time yearling auction high was set in the bullish times of 1985, when US$13.1 million was spent on Seattle Dancer, a half brother to Seattle Slew, bought by a consortium of owners including Robert Sangster, John Magnier, and Stavros Niarchos, at the Keeneland July Selected Yearling Sale.

Information from an Inglis press release contributed to this story.