The overwhelming strength of the Inglis Yearling Sale Series continued throughout the second session of the VOBIS Gold Sale at Oaklands Junction on Monday.

The Select Session finished with a record clearance rate of 87% with 202 Lots sold at an average price of $13,231 and median of $10,000.

A Star Witness x Strikeline filly (Lot 313) from Golden Grove topped the Sale at $90,000.  She is the full sister to stakes-winning two-year-old The Barrister.

Equalling the highest price later in the day was the So You Think x Danaupair Starlet colt (Lot 333) from Woodside Park Stud.  He was pin-hooked by New Zealand-based Lyndhurst Farm.

“The strength of the market remained right to the end with well-presented yearlings regularly exceeding expectations,” Inglis Victorian director Peter Heagney said.  “The benefits from the Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold schemes are too good to overlook and this sale gave purchasers an opportunity to participate in those great bonuses.”

Premier Victorian trainer Darren Weir was the leading individual buyer with six yearlings for a total of $150,000.  Other local trainers who were active include Wendy Kelly, Luke Oliver, Shaun Dwyer, Robbie Griffiths, Ciaron Maher, Robbie Laing and Troy Corstens.

The Best Presented draft was awarded to Greta West vendor Bucklee Farm.

The 2015 Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale got off to a solid start on Sunday with 120 Super VOBIS nominated yearlings selling to a vast buying bench.

A total of 88 individual buyers helped the average climb to $13,646 and that was 9% better than last year’s Day 1 figure. The clearance rate was steady at 85%.

“It was great to see many new faces as well as our regular buyers bidding for the great prize money and bonuses in the schemes,” Inglis Melbourne Director Peter Heagney said.  “There hasn’t been a dominant buyer but the Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold incentives are renowned among Victoria’s racing participants.”

A Rothesay – Madam Bubbles colt topped Sunday’s session when sold to Laming Racing for $62,000. He was offered by Silver Ferns Farms of Lang Lang.

Victorian trainers were keen on Three Bridges stallion Stryker who is off to a bright start at stud.  Wendy Kelly went to $47,000 to secure a grey Stryker – Miss Cleopatra filly while Darren Weir and Terry O’Sullivan also signed for his yearlings on Day 1.

Canberra trainer Matthew Dale finished the opening session as the leading individual buyer of three yearlings for $79,000.

Day 2 of the VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale starts at 11:00am on Monday with the remaining Select Session (Lot 161 to 260) followed by the General Session (Lots 261 to 325) then concluding with the Supplementary Session (Lots 326 to 362).

Swettenham Stud shuttler Equiano (Fr) stepped up his sizzling start to the year in Europe with another two juvenile winners on Friday.

First starter Harvard Man was too sharp for a Newbury nursery and his other newcomer Blue Moon saluted at Dundalk’s evening meeting.

Harvard Man (2c Equiano – Fabulously Fast by Deputy Minister) showed plenty of dash to land the Al Basti Equiworld Stakes (1000m).  His acceleration was a decisive factor and there was enough left in reserve to defeat The Queen’s filly Ring Of Truth.

“I think this fellow will go places,” trainer Brian Meehan said.  “All spring he has shown to be a really nice colt.  I took him to Kempton for a school three or four weeks ago and he was very impressive.”

Meehan prepares the colt for successful USA property developer and philanthropist Earle Mack.  A 120,000gns (AUD 230,515) graduate of the 2014 Tattersalls October yearling sale, he is from Group 1 Saratoga Test Stakes winner Fabulously Fast.

“He just took off when asked today and showed a really nice turn of foot,” Meehan added.  “I think he will be better over six furlongs and will have one more run before going to Royal Ascot.”

Equiano colt Tribesman also has a Royal Ascot assignment in the G2 Coventry Stakes.  He opened the juvenile season with a brilliant debut victory in the Scottish Brocklesby Stakes on Good Friday.

In Ireland, Blood Moon surged to the front at the furlong and held on gamely to defeat Coolmore Stud colt Washington D C (Zoffany) in the Irish Stallion Farms Maiden (1000m).  “He’s hardy and has plenty of speed,” trainer Ger Lyons admitted.  “It took a while for the penny to drop and Gary (Carroll) said he was pulling up in front.”

Blood Moon (2g Equiano – First Eclipse by Fayruz) was a 28,000 pounds (AUD 49,840) buy for owner Sean Jones at the 2014 Doncaster Bloodstock yearling sale.  He’s a younger half-brother to minor winners by Pastoral Pursuits and Amadeus Wolf.

Equiano weighed in with a third winner overnight when his first-crop colt Desert Force claimed the Full Of Surprises Hcp (1400m) at Newbury.  Bouncing straight to the front from the stalls, he had enough in the locker to repel the late burst of Godolphin colt Strong Chemistry (Oasis Dream).

The Richard Hannon trained colt had won his maiden at Newbury in September before going for a winter spell.  “He was a lovely yearling but we had a few problems with him last year,” Hannon explained.  “He’s a big horse and has matured – he could be one for the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot.”

Desert Force (2c Equiano – Mail The Desert by Desert Prince) cost Dubai based owner Malih Lahej Al Basti 140,000 guineas (AUD 250,480) at the 2013 Tattersalls October Sale.  His dam Mail The Desert was a Group 1 winner of the 2002 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.

Swettenham Stud has four of the five Equiano yearlings on offer at the VOBIS Gold yearling sale starting on Sunday.  Lauriston Thoroughbreds also has a half-brother to recent Ballarat maiden winner Rock Of Glory (Lot 342).

Artie Schiller has sired his 26th stakes winner courtesy of Daytona Grey’s clear-cut victory in the G3 R N Irwin Stakes (1100m) at Morphettville.

Daytona Grey booked a berth in the G1 Goodwood Hcp next month after storming home to score by more than two lengths.  “The wet track helped,” trainer Leon Macdonald said on Saturday.  “His form had been ordinary but he’s been working the house down.”

A $65,000 buy at the 2011 Adelaide Magic Millions for a syndicate headed by Harry Perks, he has won 9 times in 31 starts for over $368,000 in prizemoney.

Artie Schiller (USA) stands at Emirates Park Victoria and his latest stakes winner is one of five winners from Southern Rose (Unbridled’s Song).  She has 2yo colt named Mail It In (Reset), a yearling filly by Wanted and is back in foal to Rebel Raider who is based at Wyndholm Park Stud.

Rebel Raider won the Group 1 Victoria Derby – South Australian Derby double in 2008-09 for Macdonald and Perks.

Daytona Grey is bred on the same Artie Schiller – Mr Prospector cross that’s produced North American Group 1 winner We Miss Artie (ex Fusaichi Pegasus mare) and the USA stakes winners Slip And Drive, Dorsett and Miss Machiavelli who have either Carson City or Machiavellian as their maternal grandsire.

VOBIS Gold gallopers carved up a combined $920,000 while launching their latest Group 1 campaigns at the Victorian Owners & Breeders Raceday on Saturday.

Fontein Ruby will be set for the G1 Australasian Oaks at Morphettville on May 2 after a crowd-pleasing victory in the VOBIS Gold Reef at Caulfield.  And Trust In A Gust lost no admirers after a game first-up effort in the VOBIS Gold Sprint.

Trust In A Gust is in his final campaign before being retired to stand at Swettenham Stud and he will head to Brisbane for the G1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 9.

Fontein Ruby / TBV VOBIS Gold Reef (1600m)
Fontein Ruby sparked jubilant scenes when she forged away to the cheers of a large syndicate at Caulfield.

“She was going for the Auraria Stakes in Adelaide but I decided to stay home,” local trainer Robert Smerdon said after the front-running victory.  “You can’t ignore the VOBIS money – it’s a tremendous incentive.”

Fontein Ruby is by Blue Gum Farm stallion Turffontein and the Euroa stud sold her for $50,000 at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier.  The VOBIS Gold pay-day increased her earnings to $1.05 million.

Fleur Fatale / VOBIS Gold Ingot (1200m)
TBV committee member Cathy Hains unveiled a filly for the future in the VOBIS Gold Ingot (1200m).

Her father David Hains bred Fleur Fatale and the Commands – Rose Ceremony filly races in the famous Kingston Town colours.  Rose Ceremony won the G3 Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes before retiring to Burnewang North Pastoral – the 970ha nursery Cathy operates on the Campaspe River near Rochester.

“Fleur Fatale has got untapped ability,” trainer Brent Stanley said.  “She’s in the paddock this week before coming back for the Thousand Guineas and Victoria Oaks.”

Red Bomber / VOBIS Gold Sprint (1200m)
Family of the late John Hoare celebrated his life in racing with long-shot winner Red Bomber.  The Red Ransom gelding burst from the ruck to blouse out Group 1 star Trust In A Gust.

Hoare, who died last year, bred Red Bomber at Devon Park in Coldstream.  He was a long-standing TBV member and VOBIS advocate with the likes of Devon Princess (Gold Classic), Worth A Ransom (Gold Eldorado) and Making Mayhem (Gold Eureka Stockade).

His wife Betty races Red Bomber who had been out of form apart from a Peninsula Cup victory at Mornington in November.  “I didn’t think Trust In A Gust could be beaten,” trainer Mick Price said.  “My horse is an 88-rater against Group 1 winner under level weights but that’s what happens in this game.”

Zebrinz / Gallagher Bassett VOBIS Gold Mile (1600m)
Zebrinz looked a class act completing a winning hat-trick in the $250,000 finale to the Owners & Breeders Raceday.  He peeled off heels into the straight before lengthening to a two-length victory for Team Corstens.

“He’s done a fantastic job and this was his grand final this prep,” Troy Corstens said.  “He’s only small but he’s got a ticker.”

Modewarre based owner Bill Cockram bred Zebrinz at Shadow Glen Stud and sold him for $120,000 at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier.  The Sebring gelding is younger a half-brother to Sandown winner Sanjuan (Danehill Dancer) who went on to win at Listed level in Malaysia.

Inspections are in full-swing for the Inglis VOBIS Gold yearling sale and a round-up of vendors at Oaklands Junction suggests the following yearlings will be popular with buyers;

Lot 2  Street Sense x Ajamais filly – Hillside T’breds / Peter Ford

“The more I see of her, the more I like her.  It’s a beautiful European pedigree developed by the Wertheimer brothers and we were fortunate to buy Ajamais as they’ve retained most of the family.  Her half-sister is the dam of Solow who won the G1 Dubai Turf by four lengths last month.”

Lot 3  High Chaparral x Allapattah filly – Blue Gum Farm / Chris Kent

“Lovely moving filly with lots of scope.  Her half-sister Sagacious Miss won at Moonee Valley in December.  We also have a very strong colt by Host (Lot 78) and there’s been an update for our colt by Master Of Design (Lot 81).  He’s a neat, tidy type and is a half-brother to Rakitiki who won his maiden last month.”

Lot 52  Husson x Creation filly – Eliza Park International / Adam Henry

“Strong, athletic filly with a lovely hindquarter and will go early.  She’s from a half-sister to the dam of last week’s Randwick Group 3 winner Hi World.  We also have a first-crop colt by Moshe (Lot 11) who is typical of his sire with plenty of bone and substance.”

Lot 95  Artie Schiller x Inprivato filly – Lauriston T’breds / Warren Diggles

“Powerful, sprinting filly from a winning family.  She’s a half-sister to Brisbane winner Interlude and there’s another 19 winners under the next two dams.  She’s built like a lot of the good, short-coupled Artie Schillers – I broke in Vain Queen and this filly is similar type.”

Lot 122  Northern Meteor x Little Tycoon colt – Rosemont Stud / Anthony Mithen

“The only Northern Meteor in the Sale.  Not overly big but plenty of muscle definition and looks a strong runner.  We have a Toorak Toff half-sister to Group 1 2YO Fashions Afield (Lot 9) and another Toorak Toff filly (Lot 221) who is smart and strong and will go early.”

Lot 153  Host x Northeast Note filly – Swettenham Stud / Tim Jones

“Well-grown and balanced with a beautiful temperament.  Host can get fillies like Anfitriona, Flying Hostess and Marli Magic and this one is from a Stravinsky mare.  Her 2yo half-sister Northkape is shaping up nicely with Robbie Griffiths.”

Lot 154  Anacheeva – Nothin’ Leica Win filly – Chatswood Stud / Sinead Hughes

“Anacheeva is a real dark horse among the first-season stallions and this one is a forward filly.  She’s intelligent and bright-eyed with a lovely attitude.  We also have a Reward For Effort filly (Lot 245) that takes the eye – she’s a beauty.”

Lot 161  Globetrotter x Pasiphae colt – Damian White Bloodstock

“Strong shouldered with a powerful hindquarter.  Globetrotter is the only Street Cry stallion in Victoria and this colt is typical of the sireline.  He’s similar to Bundy Red – another Globetrotter I bred who was runner-up to The Big Dance in the VOBIS Gold Rush last month.”

Lot 175  Ustinov – Poetic Dancer filly – Moorookyle Park / Nioka Wozny

“We have four Ustinov fillies for sale and there’s a lot of the sire in this filly.  She has a strong constitution and a lovely temperament.  The Ustinovs have the look of stayers and he had a two-miler winner last week in Perth.”

Lot 289  Strategic Maneuver x Lady Choisir colt – Bullarook Park / Malcolm Boyd

“Compact colt and looks an athlete.  We have a half-dozen by Strategic Maneuver for sale and the colt from Nous (Lot 299) is a precocious type.  Strategic Maneuver’s first filly to the races Tempt Me Not won at Newcastle than got bogged down in the Kindergarten Stakes at Randwick last week.”

Lot 330  Artie Schiller x Chitraka colt – Emirates Park / Brodie Becker

“Brother to last-start winner Artie’s Party – he beat Mohar who came and won by four lengths at Seymour on Wednesday.  Artie Schiller has over 100 2YOs this season and his yearlings averaged $95,000 at Melbourne Premier.”

Lot 333  So You Think x Danaupair Starlet colt – Woodside Park / Matt Tillett

“He’s in the Supplementary Catalogue and is the first foal of a mare who was a Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed in the Queensland Oaks.  Big, strong colt just like his sire So You Think.”

RACE 5 – 1200m VOBIS Gold Ingot 2yo Set Weights

VIC BRED RUNNERS – 2 Kracken, 3 Uncanny Effort, 8 Dead Or Alive, 9 Kryptonian, 10 Primo Pintxo, 12 In A Smile, 13 Perfect Beat, 16 Superlative, 20 Prize Lily

TEMPO – Should be a genuine tempo but a little unclear as the majority of the field are still unexposed. On what we’ve seen 1 Danuki and 7 One Faster are highly likely to be on the speed.

RACE OVERVIEW – Still learning about the majority of these, the most experienced runners have had just three starts so it wouldn’t surprise me if we witness a surprise result. Based on exposed form NO. 1 DANUKI looks to be a bit of a standout here and from a gate between 5-11 I’d have been very confident; gate 20 (16 after SCR) is obviously not ideal for an inexperienced young horse. Offsetting the gate is the horse’s gate speed and Schofield has the chance to work across early and quickly find a good position settling 1st-4th by the 1000m. Really smart debut win at Donald when he quickly put a gap on his rivals, eased to coast home the last 75m. NO. 15 FLEUR FATALE is a runner that really interests me at odds – very green in her first public trial at Cranbourne, but once focussed for the last 200m she picked up well and was strong to the line. She was still green but much better in blinkers in her second trial at Tatura on April 10th when she quickened well with plenty up her sleeve. Trainer Brent Stanley places his horses extremely well and won’t be running for the sake of it.

SELECTIONS – 1 Danuki, 15 Fleur Fatale, 2 Kracken, 10 Primo Pintxo

RACE 6 – 1200m VOBIS Gold Sprint 3yo & 4yo Set Weights

VIC BRED RUNNERS – 1 Trust In A Gust, 6 Written Tycoon, 7 River Delta, 8 Tudor, 9 Turfane, 13 Rakitiki, 15 Bel Esprit

TEMPO – Genuine, possibly a bit stronger than average with 5 Arctic Song and 8 Tudor making the running, 6 Tycoon Tara settles next.

RACE OVERVIEW – On handicap ratings nothing in this field will get anywhere near dual Group 1 winner NO. 1 TRUST IN A GUST; he rates between 12 and 50 points clear of the other runners and just 4kg’s above the minimum weight, to put it bluntly he should absolutely flog this lot. His record suggests that he is at his best at 1400m but the genuine tempo set by the free running Arctic Song ensures that this is a enough of a test to bring him into the race with a winning run from the 300m. He’s the darling of the VOBIS program and retains his crown here. Similar story for NO. 6 TYCOON TARA which was a two-time Group 3 winner during summer when jockey Ben Melham was able to control the speed of both races, exploiting the slow tempo to his benefit. I actually think she is better when able to stalk a leader and Melham gets that opportunity here as he’s likely to settle third in running behind NO. 8 TUDOR which should finish top four here – lovely trial win Apr 14.

SELECTIONS – 1 Trust In A Gust, 15 6 Tycoon Tara, 8 Tudor, 3 Red Bomber  

RACE 7 – 1600m Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria VOBIS Gold Reef 3yo Set Weights

VIC BRED RUNNERS – 2 War Point, 3 Von Classic Hero, 4 Second Option, 5 Ultimate Doom, 7 Masterpiece, 8 Uncle Keithy, 9 Fontein Ruby, 10 Jurasound, 13 Primeiro

TEMPO – Moderate and those settling on or near the lead should have an advantage over backmarkers. Expect either 9 Fontein Ruby and 12 Penryn Pearl to lead.

RACE OVERVIEW – The speed map isn’t the only thing in NO. 9 FONTEIN RUBY’S favour, she also has a decent class edge on this field and is 17 Hcp ratings points clear of her rivals. That margin doesn’t mean a rival runner can’t improve their mark here, but on exposed form it’s a gap that they can’t breach if Ruby runs to her best. She is a seriously brave horse and a credit to her sire Turffontein, in for a fight whenever she is challenged and always tough to run past. The best roughie in the race, around $31 with some agencies, is NO. 2 WAR POINT and his first-up run at Tatura must be forgiven. He got into an awkward spot in that event and was ridden by an apprentice having her first ride in a race; things just didn’t pan out for either of them. During spring War Point was remarkably consistent with a string of placings behind proven Saturday class and Stakes class horses like Samartested, Firehouse Rock, Crafty, Magicool, and Caveka, that level is good enough to see him competitive here – a must for the quaddies or for those that like an each-way dabble at odds.

SELECTIONS – 9 Fontein Ruby, 2 War Point, 10 Jurasound, 1 Sentinum

RACE 8 – 1600m Gallagher Bassett VOBIS Gold Mile 4yo Set Weights

VIC BRED RUNNERS – 3 Written Tycoon, 4 Refulgent, 7 Varboss, 8 Belorum, 9 Pendles, 14 Written, 15 Anfitriona, 16 Soosa Rama

TEMPO – Expect a little battle for the early lead before the leaders drop anchor mid-race to set up for a sprint home. Written and Resistant are the likely speed runners.

RACE OVERVIEW – Forecast showers overnight Friday into Saturday morning should provide the give in the ground that NO. 3 WRITTEN UP is craving, and if he gets a Good 4 – Soft 5 surface he will be devilishly hard to beat at an each-way price. He returned mammoth effort fresh at Moonee Valley when wide without cover, then never fluent on a firm track at Bendigo behind The Bowler. I’m forgiving his Tatura Cup failure when he crabbed around the tight home turn and wandered off the track before picking up again the last 200m, he can get forward early from a wide gate and track a moderate tempo. NO. 1 SELF SENSE has that Hcp ratings edge I have referenced in previous races but a horrid draw and a drop back to 1600m makes life tricky this weekend. The value runner may be NO. 10 ZEBRINZ. Exciting win at Sandown Lakeside last start and loved the way he quickened under pressure and 60.5kg’s when the runner-up looked to have him cold.

SELECTIONS – 3 Written Up, 1 Self Sense, 10 Zebrinz, 16 Soosa Rama

Analysis by Mick Sharkie www.theshark.com.au

Blue Gum Farm shuttler Canford Cliffs topped Day 1 of this week’s Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale with a 300,000gns (AUD 610,860) colt destined for Hong Kong.

Already named Sparte Quercus, he is a half-brother to the dam of last year’s LR Flying Scotsman Stakes winner Nafaqa (Sir Percy).  “He breezed very well,” agent Charlie Gordon-Watson said.  “And he’s a solid horse by a sire I like.”

Athassel House studmaster Paddy Twomey had pin-hooked the colt for 65,000 euros (AUD 93,665) at the 2014 Arqana October yearling sale

Canford Cliffs (Ire) had 10 lots average $77,050 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier I Sale in March and there are another two colts and filly going under the hammer at the VOBIS Gold Sale on Sunday.

Coolmore Stud shuttles Canford Cliffs to Blue Gum after a career that saw him win the Group 1 Irish 2,000 Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes & Sussex Stakes as a three year-old and the G1 Lockinge Stakes & Queen Anne Stakes at four before going down to Frankel when attempting a Sussex Stakes repeat in 2011.

The buzz of excitement is building for the inaugural Victorian Owners & Breeders Raceday at Caulfield on Saturday and the Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale starting on Sunday.

This weekend will be a showcase for newcomers to the industry and TBV president James O’Brien believes it has been positioned for maximum effect following the autumn carnivals.

“The VOBIS Gold races at Caulfield are worth a combined $920,000 and have attracted class horses like Trust In A Gust and Fontein Ruby,” O’Brien said.  “The prizemoney and bonuses are a terrific incentive and the Melbourne Racing Club has got right behind promoting the Owners & Breeders Raceday.”

Caulfield will launch its infield super-screen on Saturday and racegoers will experience world-class viewing with a clear vantage from every angle.  It’s four times bigger than the existing screen!

Syndication companies will also be Caulfield to promote their yearlings for sale.  “It doesn’t have to be expensive,” O’Brien explained.  “You’ve only got to look at horses like The Big Dance and Lucky Liberty to realise it’s affordable.”

The Big Dance (Oamaru Force) cost a mere $750 from the Noor Elaine Farm draft at the 2014 Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale and she won the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush at Bendigo last month. “It’s amazing to be part of her story,” trainer Danny Curran said.  “It was just luck that we got her so cheaply.”

Lucky Liberty (Statue Of Liberty) is another successful VOBIS Gold Sale graduate.  He was a $17,000 buy from Basinghall Farm for trainer Henry Dwyer and has banked nearly $100,000 after completing a hat-trick at Flemington in January.  “It was a good opportunity to involve some first time owners and some mates from school,” Dwyer said.  “They’re all having a ball.”

There are plenty of opportunities to get into racehorse ownership at this year’s Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale, with 362 lots catalogued on Sunday and Monday at Oaklands Junction.

Local studs have also raised the bar with Group 1 winning stallions Brazen Beau (Darley), Zoustar (Woodside Park) and Toronado & Trust In A Gust (Swettenham) all covering their first mares in Victoria later this year.

Spendthrift Farm has also selected Victoria as its base in Australia.  The famed Kentucky farm has purchased Yallambee Stud and will start shuttling its stallions to the Romsey property this year.

“This weekend will continue to grow and everyone in Victoria working in the same direction,” O’Brien declared.  “Why would you want to breed and race anywhere else?”

Rosemont Stud stallion Starspangledbanner sired his 4th stakes winner when racing returned to Newmarket for the first of this year’s English classic trials on Wednesday.

His promising colt Home Of The Brave bounded away for a convincing victory in the LR European Free Hcp (1400m) and bookmakers reacted by firming him from $50 into $12 for the G1 English 2000 Guineas back at Newmarket on May 2.

Home Of The Brave (3c Starspangledbanner – Blissful Beat by Beat Hollow) had won a Newmarket maiden last July and was placed in the G3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park in September before a winter spell.

“We will have to sit down and have a long think about the Guineas,” trainer Hugo Palmer said.  “He might be the perfect type for the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.”

Home Of The Brave has an Australian connection through Flemington Bloodstock’s Troy Corstens & Justin Bahen who put together a partnership after buying him for 80,000 euros (AUD 114,400) at the 2013 Arqana yearling sale.

“His part-owners down here include David Moodie, Ash Hardwicke, Peter Raff, Frank Cotela and Micheal Ramsden,” Corstens said on Thursday morning.  “All the boys are pretty excited and are already booking tickets to England!”

Corstens has been a Starspangledbanner fan from the outset after buying him as a yearling at the 2008 Melbourne Premier Sale.  He was a Group 1 winner of the Caulfield Guineas and Oakleigh Plate before transferring to Coolmore Stud for another Group 1 double in the Golden Jubilee Stakes and July Cup in England.

After retiring to stud, Starspangledbanner encountered fertility problems while shuttling between Ireland and Hunter Valley, however, his first northern crop included 2014 Royal Ascot stakes winners Anthem Alexander and The Wow Signal.  The latter went on win the G1 Prix Morny at Deauville.

In Australia, his first starter Of The Brave won the LR Debutant Stakes (1000m) on debut at Caulfield last October and the G3 Blue Diamond Prelude in February.

Starspangledbanner was subsequently transferred to Rosemount Stud where he was born and raised when it was part of Makybe Stud at Gnarwarre.  His fertility has showed steady improvement due to lots of hard work vetting the mares and ASB records show he had a book of 107 last year.

“He’s currently covering mares to northern hemisphere time at Rosemont,” Corstens said.  “Anthony Mithen and his team at Rosemont are doing a great job with the horse and now he’s got another stakes winner in England.”

Rosemont is still taking bookings to northern hemisphere time at $27,500 (inc gst) and broodmare owners can contact Anthony Mithen on 0413 486 767.

Starspangledbanner will stand at Rosemont in conjunction with Coolmore this spring with his southern hemisphere fee to be announced shortly.

Larneuk Stud has signed Fastnet Rock’s Group 2 winner Cluster to join its Euroa roster in 2015.

Cluster showed more than his share of ability during a short but brilliant career.  So well regarded, he was entered for the G3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) second time out and ran right up to expectations with an impressive second to Va Pensiero.

Stepped up to 1600m a month later in Melbourne, he ran third in the G2 Bill Stutt Stakes beaten by Divine Calling and Shamus Award with Victoria Derby winner Polanski finishing fourth.

Cluster (Fastnet Rock – Tarcoola Diamond by Last Tycoon) resumed as a late season three year-old for a 9 length kill at Kembla Grange and then he doubled up in a sprint at Rosehill.  Trainer Peter Snowden set sight on the G2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m) and his colt responded again with a barnstorming finish.

“Full credit to the horse – he was way back on the home turn and not going anywhere,” Snowden said.  “But he has a massive amount of acceleration and we saw a bit of that today.”

Cluster won the Theo Marks at his 10th start but his career was over within weeks due to injury.  “He’s an absolutely gorgeous horse,” Larneuk studmaster Neville Murdoch said.  “We think he will really appeal to Victorian breeders…a magnificent type with great scope, strength and presence.”

Cluster is one of Fastnet Rock’s 74 stakes winners and is from Listed winner Tarcoola Diamond.  Her second-dam is G1 AJC Champagne Stakes winner I Like Diamonds.

“It is a great family chock-full of speed,” Murdoch added.  “Danehill, Last Tycoon and Bletchingly are all great influences and he is a horse who looks ideal for VOBIS.”

Cluster will stand for $6,600 (inc gst) and limited shares are available.  For further information contact Neville Murdoch on 0418 105 706.

The Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale has received numerous updates since the catalogue went to print with a highlight being the brother to last Saturday’s Randwick stakes winner The Barrister.

Bred in Victoria by Barree Stud, he had won the $100,000 Mornington Sires Produce Stakes (1500m) last month before trainer Jason Warren sent him to Sydney for a successful raid on the LR Fernhill Hcp (1600m).

The Barrister (2c Star Witness – Strikeline by Desert Sun) can give his family another boost this Saturday in the G1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) on the final day of The Championships.  “Once he got into a nice rhythm, he ran the mile out well,” Warren said after the Fernhill.  “He’s really improved so we decided to have a throw at the big stumps this weekend!”

His younger brother has been catalogued as Lot 313 by Golden Grove (as agent) and will be one of the last to parade at the Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale.

With over $19 million in prize-money and bonuses on offer across Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold, there is no better opportunity for owners to get involved than by purchasing a yearling at the Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale this Sunday and Monday, April 19 and 20.

Other updates among the 362 Lots on offer at Oaklands Junction include:

Lot 53  Blue Gum Farm / Stryker x Croisette colt – Half-brother to Macau winner Hong Kong Pearl.

Lot 66  Spring Valley Farm / Host x Easy Virtue colt – From a half-sister to the dam of G3 ATC Carbine Club Stakes winner Hi World.

Lot 100  Eliza Park International / Magnus x Jessi Rae colt – Brother to recent 2YO debut winner Magnus Knight.

Lot 102  Bowness Stud / Von Costa de Hero x Just Bess colt – Half-brother to Rosehill winner Crown Moss.

Lot 196  Bucklee Farm / Turffontein x Romalpa filly – Half-sister to last Saturday’s Flemington winner Hard Romp.

Lot 207  Rushton Park / Danzero x Secret Cove colt – Half-brother to Melbourne metro winner Taylah’s Secret.

Lot 300  Bowness Stud / Authorized x Origami filly – Half-sister to recent Perth winner Malibu Style.

Selling will begin at the VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale at 12 Noon on Sunday and at 11am on Monday.

2015 Melbourne VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale Catalogue

TBV members are incredibly passionate about their industry and the horses they breed and that’s matched by Gallagher Bassett Services P/L.

Gallagher Bassett is focused solely on managing workers compensation claims and is a long-term sponsor of TBV.  “We look after more than 30 stud farms in Victoria – large and small – to provide a priority service,” GB Business Development Manager Barry Oliver said.  “We have a dedicated claims team for the industry and there’s a single point of contact for all issues.”

WorkSafe independently collates and compares data from all their Authorised Agents relating to workplace injury claims, return to work rates and claims management.   Gallagher Basset’s performance on claims duration in Victoria is particularly impressive.

The results represent the percentage of workers on weekly payments at four key milestones in the life of a claim: 13 weeks, 26 weeks, 52 weeks and 134 weeks, with an aim of having a lower percentage of workers on weekly payments at these key milestones.

Gallagher Bassett has been the No.1 performer in the Scheme consistently achieving earlier return to work outcomes resulting in lower claims costs for employers.

On a personal level, Oliver loves horses and a day at the races.  “Our office is in Collins Street but I grew up on a dairy farm and don’t need an excuse to get out of the city and visit our clients.

“Gallagher Bassett has sponsored the TBV for the last six years and we want to keep developing that relationship.  It’s all about building lasting links with people and organisations who are engaged and passionate about what they do – and do well.”

For further enquiries on workers compensation, Barry Oliver can be contacted at Gallagher Bassett on (03) 9297 9108.

Trust In A Gust will headline the inaugural Victorian Owners & Breeders Raceday at Caulfield this Saturday, April 18.

The Super VOBIS Horse of the Year will race first-up in the VOBIS Gold Sprint (1200m).  Caulfield will be glowing gold – there are four VOBIS Gold races on a day bursting with $1.29 million in prizemoney.

“I’m rapt in the way Trust In A Gust is going,” trainer Darren Weir said.  “He’s heading to Brisbane but I wanted to give him a race before he went up there and Caulfield makes sense.  He’s already done the job for me and for the owners and it would be great to see him win another Group 1.”

The Victorian Owners and Breeders raceday will showcase the wealth of talent produced by the Victorian breeding industry to potential racehorse owners, breeders and general racing fans at Caulfield.

VOBIS GOLD BONUS RACES

$150,000  VOBIS Gold Ingot (1200m) – 2YOs

$150,000  VOBIS Gold Sprint (1200m) – 3YOs & 4YOs

$250,000  VOBIS Gold Reef (1600m) – 3YOs

$250,000  VOBIS Gold Mile (1600m) – 4YOs

The Owners and Breeders will search for the next Trust In A Gust among the 362 yearlings catalogued for the VOBIS Gold yearling sale on April 19 & 20.  Collectively, Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold offers $19.4 million in restricted race prize money and bonuses to connections of nominated horses each racing season.

Adam Sangster has assembled the best line-up of stallions at Swettenham Stud since he took full ownership of the Nagambie property a decade ago.

In announcing the stud’s services fees for 2015, Sangster declared the Swettenham roster is the result of an evolving, long-term plan to provide a high-class, affordable range of stallions for broodmare owners.  “We are delighted with this year’s roster,” Sangster said.  “The service fees are attractive and affordable within the current industry conditions.”

For booking enquiries call Chris Belli on 0417 514 552

SWETTENHAM STUD 2015 FEES (inc gst)
TORONADO – $22,000
MASTER OF DESIGN – $15,000
AMERICAIN – $13,750

EQUIANO – $13,750
TRUST IN A GUST – $13,200
PUISSANCE DE LUNE – $11,000

Grey stayer Ask Me Nicely turned back the clock for a courageous victory in the inaugural $100,000 Western Australian Cup (3200m) at Ascot on Saturday.

It was the first 3200m race run in the State since the 2008 Perth Cup.

Ask Me Nicely is a son of Moorookyle Park sire Ustinov and he won a battle of attrition to defeat Daneclicked (Blackfriars) by a head.  “It certainly created a lot of interest going back to the two miles,” trainer Fred Kersley said.  “I’m so happy for the horse .  I admire versatile types and he’s still is sound as ever.”

Kersley had saddled the veteran for runner-up results in the LR Grandstand Cup and LR Pinjarra Cup at his previous two starts.  He was also placed in last year’s G2 Perth Cup.

“He should be going out for a spell now in time for another tilt at the Perth Cup,” Kersley added.  “But he’s an eight year old and it may pay to keep him going while in form.”

Ask Me Nicely (NZ) was a $37,500 buy for senior part-owner Reg Webb as a Karaka yearling and the WA Cup improved his record to 9 wins and $430,000 in prizemoney.  He is one of three Ustinov winners from Flemington stakes winner Took A Chance (Unbridled’s Song).

Rosemont Stud resident Starcraft has sired his first two year-old winner of the season and he did it in style thanks to a five-length runaway by Hover at Trentham.

Hover (2g Starcraft – Hot Stash by Secret Savings) won the Marky Mark 2YO Cup (1200m) for New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock and owners Noel & Ron Stanley.  “They’ve been my longest standing clients and we’ve had a terrific run together with horses like Grout, Wahid and Woburn,” Sharrock said on Saturday.  “This bloke looks like being a pretty tidy pony for the boys.”

The Starcraft gelding was making a fresh start on a slow track at Trentham after finishing runner-up on debut in the spring.  “He went seriously shin sore after his first run so we put him aside and he’s still got some developing to do,” Sharrock said.  “I had a fair hunch he would handle the ground today because he beat The Neon Icon when I galloped them on a wet track earlier this season.”

Hover cost $32,5000 at the 2014 NZB Karaka Select Sale and is the first foal of Randwick winner Hot Stash.  Second dam Abeel Hostess (Zabeel) won 5 races in Sydney and was stakes placed in the LR Tattersall’s Club Cup.

Sharrock said he will target the LR Castletown Stakes at Foxton and he also mentioned the Wanganui Guineas as a long-term goal for the spring.

Starcraft (NZ) transferred to Rosemont Stud from the Hunter Valley last year and he nearly nailed a Group 3 juvenile winner on Saturday when Petracca was beaten a neck in the SA Sires’ Produce Stakes at Morphettville.

Rosemont stood him for $11,000 (inc gst) and that appeared good value after his yearlings sold to $300,000 at the Melbourne Premier last month.

Turffontein jumped the blocks with Fontiton earlier this season and he has another promising two year-old filly in Brisbane named Faint Blaze.

The Liam Birchley trained youngster lived up to her potential with a first-up victory in the Club 100 Hcp (1110m) at Doomben on Saturday.  Connections would have been content with a minor placing at the furlong before their filly descended from fifth to first in a few strides.

“She showed plenty at the track early on but didn’t take her work to the races,” Birchley explained.  “Now she has won, we might press on to something a bit better over more ground.”

Faint Blaze (2f Turffontein – La Compania by Danasinga) cost $8,000 at the final yearling sale conducted by Brisbane Bloodstock in 2014 and she has already returned more than $80,000 for LDM Racing..  Turffontein has revived her family – the nearest black-type goes back to third dam Canon Song (Rory’s Jester) in the 1996 Merson Cooper Stakes at Sandown.

Turffontein has seen 4 two year-old starters from his second crop and his latest batch of yearlings have fetched up to $170,000.  Top price was a Gold Coast Magic Millions colt that will remain in Queensland after catching the eye of Brisbane trainer Kelly Schweida.

Blue Gum Farm has announced Turffontein will stand for an $11,000 (inc gst) service fee in 2015.

Vendors have supplemented another 37 entries for the VOBIS Gold yearling sale at Oaklands Junction on April 19 & 20.

A total of 362 yearlings are now set to be presented at the two day sale which has offered some great buying since its introduction to the Inglis Select Yearling Sales Series in 2013.

The complete catalogue is available online at:  inglis.com.au

“This week’s announcement of Spendthrift Farm setting up an Australian base in Victoria is a tremendous endorsement of the Victorian breeding industry,” Inglis Melbourne director Peter Heagney said.  “Fast Cash and The Big Dance are two great examples of the excellent returns available to trainers and owners of VOBIS Gold horses purchased from this sale.”

Fast Cash cost $10,000 and won the $150,000 VOBIS Gold Carat at Moonee Valley earlier this year, while $750 buy The Big Dance saluted in the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush on debut at Bendigo last month.

All 260 lots in the Select Session of the VOBIS Gold Sale are nominated for Super VOBIS.  Buyers also have the option of entering their purchases into the lucrative VOBIS Gold program.

There is over $19 million in prize money and bonuses available to breeders and owners of Victorian horses under the Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold schemes.  All yearlings offered at the 2015 Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale are also eligible for entry into the $5 million Inglis Race Series.

Swettenham Stud has announced Trust In A Gust and Puissance De Lune (Ire) will join its new-look roster at Nagambie this year.

TRUST IN A GUST is among Australia’s leading Group 1 sprinter-milers and was bred and reared at Swettenham.   He will be retired after the Brisbane winter carnival where the targets will include the G1 BTC Cup, G1 Doomben 10,000 and G1 Stradbroke Hcp.

“He’s got a tremendous will to win like all good stallions,” Swettenham owner Adam Sangster said.  “He’s a fighter and he’s got an exceptional pedigree – we’re excited to welcome him back home.”

Sangster has kept close tabs on Trust In A Gust since the colt was beaten a nose on debut in the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush at Bendigo as a March 2YO.  Trainer Darren Weir brought him back the following season to carve up the lucrative VOBIS Gold events as a three year-old.

Trust In A Gust won the VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade (1400m) at Ballarat and VOBIS Gold Carat (1200m) at Caulfield and was also runner-up in the VOBIS Gold Eldorado and VOBIS Gold Reef at Flemington.

It was no surprise when he was the unanimous choice as 2013-14 VOBIS Racehorse of the Year at the Crown Casino awards last August.  “He’s a great racehorse to train,” Weir said.  “He’s sound, tough and makes his own luck.  He’s perfect.”

It was the launching pad for a spring campaign that saw Trust In A gust complete a Group 1 double at Caulfield starting with a G1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).  He was headed in straight but fought back to defeat Dissident who was gunning for a Group 1 treble following victories in the Makybe Diva Stakes and Memsie Stakes.

The time-honoured G1 Toorak Hcp (1600m) was next and Trust In A Gust denied several challenges after being left in front a long way out.  “I never had any doubts because he just tries so hard,” jockey Brad Rawiller said.  “It felt like he had topped on his run at the furlong but, when I asked him to go, he found again.  He keeps stepping up and is just a super horse.”

Trust In A Gust is due to resume in the VOBIS Gold Sprint (1200m)at Caulfield on Saturday week, April 18.  Appropriately, it’s part of the Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day that will showcase VOBIS Gold races totalling $1.24 million in prizemoney.

His sire Keep The Faith was bred as part of an Australian – Japan accord between Arrowfield and Shadai Studs.  He was installed a pre-post favourite for the 2003 Golden Slipper Stakes after a brilliant debut victory for Sheikh Mohammed and he franked that form as a three year-old in the LR Schweppervescence Cup (1600m) at Caulfield before transferring to North America.

A son of super-sire Sunday Silence, Keep The Faith became the fastest 1200m horse to ever race in the United States when clocking 1.06.82s on turf at Belmont.

Sangster bought his dam Subtle Breeze for $140,000 at the dispersal of his father’s prized bloodstock assets at Keeneland in November 2007.  “She’s big and strong, a typical Storm Cat and is a three-quarter sister to Balanchine,” he said.  “It’s a beautiful pedigree and I also felt a sentimental connection to her.”

Back in 1993, Balanchine won two juvenile races in England by a combined 10 lengths before Robert Sangster sold the filly to Sheikh Mohammed.  “She went on to win the Irish Derby and English Oaks and was a pivotal part of Dad’s history.  Now she’s a part of mine through Trust In A Gust.

“Sunday Silence has nicked very successfully with Storm Cat and we’re confident the cross will be just as effective in Australia.”

Trust In A Gust will stand for a $12,500 (plus gst) service fee at Swettenham Stud and lifetime rights are available for $30,000.

PUISSANCE DE LUNE has been retired to Swettenham Stud after a leg injury ruled out any further racing for the son of champion sire Shamardal.

Owner Gerry Ryan has decided against giving the grey another campaign to stand him at Swettenham.  The Irish bred stallion joins Ryan’s Melbourne Cup winner Americain on the roster at Nagambie.

“We’ve decided to pull up stumps,” Ryan said.  “He’s been a really good horse and now he can do the job as a stallion.”

Puissance De Lune arrived from Europe for the 2012 Victorian spring carnival and made a huge impression with runaway victories in the LR Bendigo Cup and G3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Winning jockey Glen Boss compared him to Makybe Diva and So You Think after cruising home by five-lengths at Flemington.  “I haven’t had that feeling on a horse for a really long time.  He relaxes and conserves a lot of energy in running and when you ask him…it’s instant power.  He’s a superstar!”

Puissance De Lune returned for a short autumn campaign to win the G2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington and, after a winter spell, he looked on course for a stellar spring carnival with an explosive first-up victory in the G2 Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

He went down narrowly in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes and again in the G1 Turnbull Stakes when Boss blamed the hard track at Flemington.  Punters sent him out favourite for the 2013 Cox Plate but he injured a tendon that continued to hamper his career last year.

“It’s a shame we never really saw the best of Puissance De Lune,” Swettenham owner Adam Sangster said.  “Glen said he had the speed to win a Newmarket and his family is on fire in the northern hemisphere.”

Ryan bought Puissance De Lune from France on the advice of leading agent Rob Roulston for 100,000 euros.  Roulston had also organised the purchase of Americain.

“Rob certainly finds us some very good ones,” Ryan added.  “He rang me to say he had this nice horse named Puissance De Lune.  He was a reasonably good bargain and exceeded all my expectations.”

Puissance De Lune’s three-quarter brother topped the 2014 Tattersalls December yearling sale when making 325,000gns (AUD 653,425).  He is also a half-brother to the dam of Group 1 filly Rizeena who won the 2013 Moyglare Stud Stakes and 2014 Royal Ascot Coronation Stakes.

Their second-dam is a sister to Serena’s Song who was the Champion 3YO Filly of her generation in the USA winning the G1 Beldame Stakes, Hempstead Hcp and Haskell Invitational.

His sire Shamardal won the G1 Dewhurst Stakes at two and completed a classic double in the 2005 French 2000 Guineas and French Derby.  He has already been represented by 13 Group 1 winners including Hong Kong superstar Able Friend.

Shamardal colt Lope de Vega emulated his sire in the 2010 French 2000 Guineas and French Derby and he was Europe’s Champion first-season sire last year.

Lope de Vega has made a similar impact with his first Australian bred two year-olds and fellow Shamardal stallions Captain Sonador and Shamoline Warrior are also off the mark with winners this season.

Puissance De Lune will stand for an introductory service fee of $11,000 (inc gst) this year.  Swettenham also has lifetime breeding rights available for $25,000.