“He’s officially a grey, but to the eye is brown with spots all over him”

“He’s officially a grey, but to the eye is brown with spots all over him”

 

They say there’s something for everyone at the Inglis Classic sale, but you wouldn’t expect to take home a leopard. That’s what happened, after a fashion, to Perth owner Wally Daly as he came away with a most distinctive member of the animal kingdom yesterday in Lot 645. The $170,000 colt offered by the Esplin family’s Tartan Fields came in particularly distinctive wrapping. He’s officially a grey, but to the eye is brown with spots all over him, which is how he acquired his nickname “the leopard”.
There are old sayings and superstitions about horses, like not buying one with four white socks, but no one ever said anything about spots. “I haven’t seen one like him before, not at this age,” said breeder Michelle Esplin. “Sometimes they’ll look like that as foals, but they’ll usually go one way or the other – grey or brown, but not normally like this at this age. “I’d say he’s going to go grey. But I didn’t expect him to go this colour.” There’s some eye-catching colour in the family. While sire Shooting To Win (Northern Media) is a fairly basic chestnut, dam Ivory Jane (Animal Kingdom) – the one responsible for the Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux) mention – is a grey who was born chestnut.
She contrasts – in name, if not colour – with the third dam, Ebony Jane (ree Legs), who sounded black but was another grey. In between was second dam Pay My Bail (Justice Prevails), a multiple stakes winner who was New Zealand’s champion three-year-old sprinter in 2003-04. “She was grey, but pure white at the end, and had unusual markings,” Esplin said. Pay My Bail achieved fame as a broodmare by throwing one of the Esplin family’s recent stars – Jason Coyle’s triple Group 2-winning ghostly mare White Moss (Mossman), and her half-sister White Stage, by another top Esplinbred in unbeaten dual Group 1 winner Reset (Zabeel). e leopard, who may or may not change his spots, will be going to a winning home, with Daly the former owner of dual Group 1-winning sprinter Vega Magic (Lope De Vega).