Profile of a Bloodstock Agent - Julian Blaxland

Managing Director of Blue Sky Bloodstock, bloodstock agent Julian Blaxland first got into the racing industry when attending sales as a teenager. He sat down with us to tell us how he got interested in the sport and the path he took to start his own company and find stars such as Group 1 winners Prompt Response, Sunlight, and Super Easy.

My first experience with horse racing was probably attending the Sydney Easter Sales when I was 16 or 17. I was just fascinated by the whole process. These beautiful animals were making lots of money and it was interesting seeing who was buying them and who was selling them.

On my father’s advice, I moved to Queensland and pursued a degree in Agribusiness at Gatton University just outside Brisbane. I failed three of my first four subjects while I was there, so also on the advice of my dad, he suggested I should get a job so was lucky enough to get a job up in Toowoomba working for Oaklands Stud for the Stewart family.

I worked on the farm for three years while I was at uni then from that I was lucky enough to get a junior position at Magic Millions. I always wanted to be a cowboy growing up, family and friends weren’t that excited about this idea but I continued rodeoing while working at Magic Millions. Later on as the demands of my job and racing took over I had to give the bronc riding up but it was a fun part of my life.

I started out on very little money so I asked David Chester, who was the boss of Magic Millions at the time how I could make a bit more. He suggested auctioneering, so I started auctioneering on the side as well. It was just a great way to meet everyone, to learn about how the market works, to learn what horses are commercial and what horses aren’t, it’s like doing a second university degree.

I continued auctioneering for Magic Millions but I thought that was a good time to start Blue Sky Bloodstock, my own agency since I love the whole game of picking a good horse. When you start, you’re begging people to use your services and you’re still learning. I’m still learning now and I’ve bought thousands of horses over the last 12 years. Some of them have been good, some have been slow.

Starting Blue Sky was tough, it was hard. In about Year Two or Three, we got the support of John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud to do a colt fund and that led to coming across Beneteau as a stallion. He got our little company’s name up in lights for a short period and kind of put us up on the map. The people who give you the opportunities along the way mean a lot to you and you never forget them.

The hardest thing is that 99 times out of 100 you’re going to go home a loser from the racecourse so you’ve got to be quite resilient.  Alan Bell said it very well when he said that racing’s not a game for sooks. You need a tenacity and determination. It’s shown me what’s required to succeed, which is generally pretty hard.

Since starting Blue Sky, I’ve bought some good horses but Beneteau’s daughter Prompt Response is my favourite horse. We’ve watched her go through, she’s now a Group 1 winner and she’s got a load of ability. She tries so hard, she never puts in a bad race and I just adore her.

Young people are the future of racing and if you told me I’d end up having my own company for 12 years 15 or 20 years ago I would have laughed at you. There are so many opportunities in racing and I think there are two sides to the Thoroughbred industry.

Firstly, the animal, and we’re all in love with the animal. The part I didn’t realise which would be so important is now the camaraderie and the people that you meet. I’ve  met people from all walks of life, we all want a good horse and it’s my job to try and find one for those people. Just to see the joy on their faces when their horse wins a maiden, that’s what you can’t replicate.

There are so many opportunities in racing, it’s a wonderful industry. You can make good money, you can make great friends. It doesn’t matter where you came from. Whether you’re from a racing background or not, there are loads of opportunities. I wouldn’t change it for quids, it’s a fabulous industry to be involved in and we’re very lucky.