The Bopper brains them in Inglis Challenge
15th May 2020
Each year annually since 1969, bloodstock agent Kieran Moore has been attending the Scone Yearling Sale at White Park.
Since the inception of the Inglis 2YO Challenge in the year 2000, Moore, whose name is associated with the purchase with many top-class horses over the years, has bought one horse per year at the sale with one goal – to win the Inglis Challenge the following year.
Today his persistence finally paid dividends when The Bopper (Nicconi x Chicago) announced himself a star on the rise with a dominant four length win in the juvenile feature on Day 1 of the carnival.
Sent around the shortest-priced favourite in the race’s history at $1.40 despite jumping from barrier 15, The Bopper gave his connections and his backers little to worry about.
Jockey Samantha Clenton jumped the Kris Less-trained gelding straight to the front and never looked in any danger, easing down for the most comprehensive of wins.
The Bopper defeated Miss Kojiki (Real Impact) and Sea Boss (Sebring).
The time of 1:02.38 for the 1100m journey was 0.7secs outside the track record.
Moore explained how he and his son Tom came to purchase The Bopper 12 months ago.
“We were sitting at home in Scone the day of the sale and we were having lunch and I said to Tom ‘let’s go down and see if we can find one’,’’ Moore said.
“We had a look at a few walking around out the back at White Park and we spotted this horse from Widden going back into his box that we both thought he walked alright so we followed him down, got him back out of his box for a parade and said ‘he’s the one’.
“I’ve been trying to win this race since it started. I’ve had plenty get beat, some that have gone on to win Stakes races but to finally win it is great.
“We’ve known the Lees family a long time, I was great mates with Max so for Kris’s mum Vicky and my wife Deb to be in the ownership, it’s really fantastic.’’
Kris Lees – who will consider sending The Bopper to Queensland for the G1 JJ Atkins Stakes on the June long weekend - described him as “an impressive horse’’ after the win.
“I didn’t think he’d show that gate speed, he’s been slow away in both trials and at his only race start but Sammy [Clenton] summed it up, she was on the best horse and took that initiative straight away. It was really pleasing to see,’’ the trainer said.
“I thought he’d be midfield if he jumped OK but he showed good gate speed and it was pretty comfortable to watch in the end.’’
Lees also received a pair of Swarovski Optik binoculars for being the winning trainer of an Inglis Race Series event.
Moore purchased The Bopper for $30,000 from the Widden Stud draft at last year’s Scone Yearling Sale.
The Bopper was bred by Widden’s relief night watch Jeannie Harris and her husband Mike, who will also offer his Outreach half brother at this year’s Scone Yearling Sale.
“He was super impressive, a really nice horse by the looks of him,’’ Widden’s Antony Thompson said.
“Mike and Jeanie like selling at Scone, they’ve been doing it for years so it’s great for them to have a success like this too.
“The Outreach colt coming to the Scone sale in July, he’s a very nice colt and one everybody will want to look at now especially, and rightly so.’’
Yearlings from the Highway Session from this year’s Classic Yearling Sale – plus all Inglis Digital yearling purchases – are eligible for the 2021 Inglis Challenge at Scone, as well as all yearlings purchased at the upcoming Scone Sale in July.
Owners of an eligible yearling yet to pay up for the lucrative Inglis Race Series can contact a member of the Inglis staff to do so.