In the thoroughbred business around the world, every successful stud farm, trainer, jockey and bloodstock agent can tell you the one special horse that propelled their career trajectory forward, helping their brand break through the glass ceiling.
For me it was Obviously (USA) (Choisir) in America, who won nine Group races including three at Grade 1 level highlighted by the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, while in Australia it was Scales Of Justice. The imposing bay gelding won seven Group races including two Group 1s, earning over $2.3 million.
I remember the first time I saw Scales Of Justice in 2014, known then as Lot 69 in the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
Physically he was not the common mould of his sire Not A Single Doubt, being quite scopey. He had a presence about him when he came out of his box that was quite incredible. Each time I looked at him, I got the same gut feeling that there was something special about this horse.
This particular sale was also one of the first that I teamed up with trainer Lindsey Smith to do the ground work and shortlist horses for him. Lindsey told me his ambitions of winning the big races in the West and having horses good enough to come back to Melbourne. Aided by his biggest owner Chris Wells, who was also in attendance at the Sale, Lindsey was on the hunt to find a horse that would help realise his dreams.
I showed Lindsey and Wellsy a few horses and the last one was Lot 69, I called him our “game changer”. They both agreed that he was the one they wanted and after a nervous bidding dual with Robbie Laing he was ours for $180,000. One of my clients, who had supported me since I started out on my own, Bill Andrews, was also at the Sale and took the advice and a share in the bay colt that would soon be known as Scales Of Justice.
He was quickly dubbed ‘Chopper’ at the stable and Lindsey would describe how this horse was different to the vast majority he had been involved with throughout his career. He would say how intelligent he was and he quickly became part of the Smith family, eating his trainer out of house and home with the huge volume of carrots he would devour.
Scales Of Justice touched so many people’s lives through his career both on and off the track throughout his life.
He brought my family and I such joy when he would run, giving everything he had, every time. I will think of him often and I will forever be grateful for the door he opened and the opportunities I have been afforded because of his efforts.
Rest in peace Chopper.