Suman Hedge will never forget the frenetic atmosphere of the first Inglis Sale he attended as a wide-eyed novice in the 1990s.
“I was only 13 and I was hooked straightaway,” the Group 1-winning bloodstock agent recalled. “It’s been like that ever since.”
Born in Hobart, Suman moved to Sydney’s south-west when his father relocated his medical practice in 1979. Growing up near Warwick Farm racecourse sparked his initial interest in racing and backing At Talaq to win the Melbourne Cup was another step towards a fulfilling career in the industry.
The latest milestone in that journey came at the Gold Coast during the Magic Millions National Sale when he was accepted as a member of Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA).
“Earning the respect of the industry and your peers is very important to me,” he said. “So is the accreditation with Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia. It’s a privilege and the safeguards FBAA has in place ensures a better environment within a competitive market.”
Hedge started his working life doing the hard yards with hard taskmaster John O’Shea who had made his way down from Cairns to Randwick. Rising to racing manager, Suman was part of a tight-knit team as O’Shea made his way up the training ranks with breakthrough Group 1 winners like Shot Of Thunder and Private Steer.
“I was eager to learn and it was a perfect intro into racing. I absorbed a lot watching John and then I was lucky enough to get a start with Sheriff Iskander. He was just like an older brother and I owe him for where I am today.”
Iskander Racing & Breeding was launched with the main objective of sourcing stallion prospects and then managing them in conjunction with stud farms. That’s when Suman began making an impact within the industry.
Ill-fated flyer Lion Hunter was one of the first buys and was placed with Neville Stewart at Oaklands Stud. A rare grey by Danehill, he died after just six books but his progeny won a record-breaking 243 races in Australia during 2006-07.
Later that year, Iskander Racing & Breeding hit the jackpot with G2 Todman Stakes winner Written Tycoon. Starting off at an $8,250 service fee, his success at Eliza Park and Woodside Park had catapulted the asking price to $110,000 by 2018.
“We identified Written Tycoon as a racehorse of enormous speed, precocity and physical presence. He was an instant success and when Eliza Park closed we struck a private deal with Woodside.”
Written Tycoon hasn’t looked back with over 450 individual winners at a sky-high 73% strike-rate. His better yearlings at the majors are now the target of ‘colts syndicates’ in the hope of following Group 1 winners Capitalist (Golden Slipper) and Written By (Blue Diamond).
After leaving Iskander, Hedge worked at Eliza Park and Woodside Park before moving on to manage Champion Thoroughbreds and Matchem Genetics where he met his wife Natalia Murashova.
“I had also helped broker the stud deal for Zoustar and by that stage I was looking to branch out with my own agency,” he said. “It’s been full-on since I established Suman Hedge Bloodstock and the Magic Millions National Sale was the busiest with lots of orders from clients.”
His shopping cart at the Foal Sale was topped by a So You Think colt ($250,000) and American Pharoah filly ($200,000) for Milburn Creek owners John and Trish Muir. “The So You Think is a stunning colt and I thought he was the stand-out of the sale,” Hedge explained. “He’s a three-quarter brother to Rosehill Guineas winner D’Argento.”
He also spent over $2 million at the Broodmare Sale on behalf of Woodside Park owner Mark Rowsthorn. The most expensive among 8 buys were Sexy Eyes (Written Tycoon) for $650,000 and Lucky Can Be (Nadeem) for $640,000.
“Sexy Eyes is a queen and she was the one we were all talking about. I’m familiar with the pedigree being by Written Tycoon and she is going to Zoustar. Lucky Can Be is in foal to Zoustar.”
Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA) was formed in 1988 to maintain, improve and develop the standards, status and services of bloodstock agents throughout Australia. Its members operate with the utmost integrity and professionalism and are bound by the strict Industry Code of Conduct.
The list of FBAA members can be viewed at: www.bloodstockagents.com.au