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It’s Bons Away for Euroa breeder

Bons Away & Linda Meech win the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes at Caulfield (John Donegan-Racing Photos)

A few well-timed country outings managed to perfectly set up Bons Away for a sensational win at Caulfield in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes over 1200 metres for Ken King’s Parador Park homebred.

Upstaging The Everest-bound Brave Smash, the Ciaron Maher-trained galloper secured his fourth consecutive victory, with previous wins at Sale, Mildura and Seymour.

Delighted owners nearly brought down the Grandstand roof, as Bons Away advanced his record to five wins, and two placings with earnings of $140,090.

Bons Away, Ken King & fellow owners after winning the Testa Rossa Stakes (Alice Laidlaw-Racing Photos)

Managing owner Ken King bred the talented four-year-old at his Euroa farm, Parador Park. King also bred Group 1 winners Bon Aurum, Set Square and Bons Away’s sire and Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner, Bon Hoffa.

King never doubted Bons Away’s talent, but the country road trips certainly helped with developing the gelding’s racetrack education and maturity.

“He had a few issues as a two and three-year-old, and he missed a fair bit of racing at that stage so Ciaron wanted to build his confidence, and get him through the grades. The choice was today at Caulfield or Benalla next week and I said to Ciaron, three times in the bush is enough, let’s have a throw at the stumps.”

“I have always had confidence in the horse, and he showed Ciaron plenty as a two year old, but as he missed a fair bit of racing when he was younger, and a successful gelding of him has now helped the galloper stretch out much better.”

King’s Parador Park is set on 300 acres based just out of Euroa at Sheans Creek. With a few foals already on the ground and another twelve mares due this season, there are sure to be some future racetrack success stories.

“We breed to race, rather than sell, as we love the racing. That is my focus when I am selecting the mares and their match. I aim to get a competitive racehorse for my owners,” King said.

“As a broodmare farm, it is great to have a successful race filly, as financially, they then upgrade our broodmares.”

“We used to have horses all over the country in South Australia and NSW, but we have pulled them all back to Victoria now.

“We only race in Victoria, and all our racehorses come home to spell. We also pre-train our own horses on the farm and the climate is perfect for the youngsters.”

“Being located at the base of the Strathbogie Ranges, our mares and foals graze on the hill country. The foals spend a lot of time running up and down the side of the hills which toughens them up.

“We think that this plays a big part in our success with the small number of horses we breed and race,” King said.

Bons Away is the third winner from as many foals out of the Mossman mare Villa Albani who was a $2,000 purchase at the 2012 Great Southern Bloodstock Sale.

Her dam Vila Valencia is a sister to Maid For Me the dam of dual Group 2 winner and Group 1 placed Maid For Me (Sebring) and a half-sister to the stakes-placed Patou the dam of Group 1 Golden Slipper winner Polar Success (Success Express).

Villa Albani has a 2YO Street Boss (USA) filly named Street Icon and a yearling filly by Bon Hoffa. She was covered by Darley Northwood’s Kuroshio last spring.

Sweet miracle for newborn Pink Toffee

The orphaned Pink Toffee at Rosemont before her foster mum was found

Last Wednesday morning Geelong-based breeder Jacinta Rooney woke to the tragic news that her broodmare, Pink Shimmer, had passed away.

Previously owned by her grandfather, Jacinta was grateful for the generosity he showed when the decision was made to give the mare to her.

Pink Shimmer was the first broodmare Jacinta was ever personally involved with, which made this a devastating and sentimental loss.

The complications for the heavily-in-foal Pink Shimmer began when she showed signs of colic Tuesday last week. She was subsequently transferred to Werribee Equine Centre to receive treatment.

Despite delivering her Toorak Toff filly on Wednesday morning, Pink Shimmer had suffered fatal gastro-intestinal trauma, leaving the newborn filly without a mother and in desperate need of a foster mare.

With the support from the team at Rosemont Stud, Jacinta began reaching out to the breeding community in search of a foster mare.

It was at this stage that Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria became aware of the situation and relayed the plea with breeders online via social media.

Within a few hours, the message had spread far and wide; breeders from all over the country empathised with this heartbreaking story, and rallied to find a foster mare for the orphaned foal.

Popping up everywhere on social media news feeds, the support was truly overwhelming.

“Everyone was so amazing,” Jacinta said.

Just ten short hours after the filly’s birth, Rosemont was contacted by Jo Hunt from New South Wales. In a lucky turn of fate, Jo had one foster mare remaining from a broodmare band of around 80, and offered to transport the mare down to Rosemont’s property near Geelong.

TBV is delighted to report that the mare has accepted the orphaned filly, now affectionately called ‘Pink Toffee’, and both are doing well.

Pink Toffee at Rosemont Stud
Pink Toffee and foster mare grazing at Rosemont

“The foal is amazing and it’s really quite remarkable. You wouldn’t even know she’d lost her mum. She’s jumping around spritely and is really strong, and the mum’s taken to her really well,” explained Jacinta.

TBV would like to thank the breeding community for the tremendous online response and show of support for Jacinta and her orphaned foal.

Ponderosa Park bred filly scores for Squamosa

Squamosa filly Kiwi Ida wins the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes at Riccarton

Victoria’s Champion First Season Sire of last season, Squamosa, produced a memorable double on Saturday on both sides of the ditch.

The highlight of the double was the win of filly Kiwi Ida in the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes over 1200m at Riccarton in New Zealand. She is a product of Nathalia’s Ponderosa Park. It was Squamosa’s first black-type win as a sire.

Also scoring for the sire on Saturday was the Mick Price trained, Sun Stud homebred Sun Quan who gave his rivals a galloping lesson with an easy five length win at Tatura.

Ponderosa Park’s Paul Kelly and Sue Miller bred Kiwi Ida, sending their Blevic mare, Empress Ida, to Sun Stud’s then first season stallion, Squamosa, in the spring of 2013 and dispatching the resultant filly to the 2015 Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale.

Sun Stud’s Champion Victorian Freshman Sire Squamosa

The filly caught the eye of New Zealand trainers, John and Karen Parsons where they snapped her up for just $4,000: a pretty astute purchase given that Kiwi Ida has now won four of 10 outings with a further five placings – two of those at stakes level.

Saturday’s victory has since seen Kiwi Ida firm in the markets for the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on 18 November.

“We’ve been waiting a while for Kiwi Ida to win that black type,” Ponderosa Park’s Paul Kelly enthused.

“Even before the horse first raced, Karen Parsons told me that Kiwi Ida would win a stakes race and she’s proven to be spot on.”

“Fortunately, we have a few irons in the fire where Kiwi Ida is concerned. We’ve not only got Empress Ida, but we also have her half-sister, Imperial Ida, and their dam, Queen Ida, a half-sister to Royal Ida (18 wins, including 10 stakes victories).

“Empress Ida is back in foal to Niconoise (who they stand at Ponderosa Park) but the mare is returning to Squamosa this spring.”

Bringing up the Squamosa double was the ultra-impressive Mick Price trained Sun Quan, who at only his fourth race on Saturday, looks sure to be heading to the city very soon.

A half-brother to the Group placed Lord of the Valley, Sun Quan is out of the Bigstone mare, Lady of the Valley and close related to Kiwi Group One winner Sirstaci and his Group One winning half sister, Nimue.

It certainly augurs well for the Not a Single Doubt stallion, Squamosa, who was a brilliant performer at two and three.

“Squamosa was a very good racehorse for Star Thoroughbreds, being undefeated at two and actually breaking the race record when just beaten for second in the Golden Rose in 2010.” Sun Stud sales manager, Phil Marshall, reveals.

“Squamosa was Champion Victorian First Season Sire last year, but he’s just starting to get numbers through which is generating quite a bit of interest from broodmare owners.”

Squamosa is standing at Sun Stud for $6,600 for the 2017 season.

Photographer snaps the winner he bred!

Cliff's Edge, bred by the photographer Ross Holburt, wins at Caulfield (Ross Holburt-Racing Photos)

Photographer cum Victorian breeder Ross Holburt was in the action at Caulfield on Saturday.

He not only took shots of race 2 winner Cliff’s Edge, he could also lay claim to being the breeder of the three-year-old and a part-owner to boot!

Trainer Darren Weir said the Canford Cliffs colt was a relaxed and casual type providing difficulties in getting him fit.

“Backing him up (from Flemington the week before) was the secret…This preparation he’s probably looked a bit disappointing on face value, but he has become very casual, not wanting to work hard at home,” Weir said.

Luckily, Cliff’s Edge certainly brings his game face to the races. Ridden by John Allen, he followed the leader before gaining a split in the straight to record a three-quarter-length win.

Cliff’s Edge, bred (& photographed) by Ross Holburt wins at Caulfield (Ross Holburt-Racing Photos)

Both Weir and breeder/part-owner Holburt believe the best is still ahead of him.

“He is just such a relaxed fella, possibly the only three-year-old going around with no gear on him,” Holburt said.

“It’s important to keep his confidence up and pick the right race. As he is a November foal, there is no hurry and there are bigger and better things ahead of him next year

“I have been around horse racing long enough, and a win in the bush is pretty good, but getting one of these good ones going during the spring is much a breeder it’s a real thrill.”

Cliff’s Edge will be aimed at some good races over the carnival, including the VRC Carbine Club Stakes and Sandown Guineas races Weir won with Mahuta in 2015.

“He’s not unlike Mahuta with a similar sort of racing style, very tough and tries hard,” Weir said.

Cliff’s Edge is a son of Canford Cliffs, out of the Snaadee mare and multiple city winner, Simulation, from the family of French Group 1 winner and USA horse of the year All Along.

“Unfortunately, Canford Cliffs is now standing in South Africa (after five seasons shuttling to Blue Gum Farm), and we lost his dam, Simulation, last year to a bad case of colic after foaling a Danerich colt.”

Holburt, a loyal supporter of the Victorian breeding industry, has used Blue Gum Farm and Swettenham Stud sires for many years.

Last year he bought lifetime breeding rights to Trust in A Gust and now has a lovely ‘Trust’ foal out of his mare Miss Josephine on the ground at Greta West’s Bucklee Farm.

“I have kept my horses at Bucklee Farm for over fifteen years and Leanne (Smith) does a great job.

“They did a brilliant job prepping Cliff’s Edge (for the Inglis Premier Sale) and sold him for $60,000 to his trainer Darren Weir.” (Ross bought back a share to maintain part-ownership)

Bucklee Farm graduates have had a great run in recent weeks. Winners have included farm-bred siblings Sunday Escape (Hard Spun) & Weekend Escape (Helmet) as well as the Allan Price bred Money Maher in Perth.

Big Trials for Daisy Hill’s Americains

Gerry Ryan & Colleen Bamford with Americain (pic-Nicole Garmston)

This Wednesday sees the inaugural running of the Derby and Oaks Trials at Flemington, with a guaranteed entry into the Group 1 classics during the VRC Spring Carnival for the winner of each race.

The races are part of Racing Victoria and the Victoria Racing Club’s aim to improve the quality of staying races and the stock that race in them.

The Victorian breeding industry has certainly played its part in improving the staying breed. Various Victorian stallion operations have taken on sires with considerable racetrack success over a distance.

Sun Stud stands Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente, Bombora Downs is home to Dandino while Bullarook Park has the talented Lucas Cranach.

And today, Swettenham Stud will be crossing its fingers for a son and daughter of Americain line up at Flemington.

The Mick Price trained filly Oklahoma Days is in the Oaks Trial while Amerock trained by Darren Weir is in the Derby Trial.

Derby Trial entrant Amerock winning at Donald (Brendan McCarthy-Racing Photos)

Fittingly, both were bred by Daisy Hill’s Colleen and Kevin Bamford, who raced the Melbourne Cup winning Americain.

“Amerock has drawn a wide barrier, but he has done such a good job this preparation. This will be a brilliant test for him, as we believe he is a quality city galloper,” Colleen Bamford said.

“The Weir stable certainly has a very good opinion of him, and what a thrill if he does happen to win.

“Oklahoma Days is a beautiful quality filly, and I know from the first day they bought her, they were talking about running her in Group 1 classic races. She is a serious chance, and should she win the trial she will take a very competitive place in the Oaks.”

“There has been a severe lack of distance races available to represent the staying sires to the best of their ability. These two trials give the horses that are better suited over a longer distance the opportunity to race to their best and truly showcase their wonderful sires.

“Americain is doing a very good job, but a win in either of these races would certainly put him on the map as a sire and provide an incredible opportunity for Group 1 success.”

The VRC’s Racing Manager Martin Talty said that both trials are imperative, as they give staying bred horses a significant stepping stone race before the two VRC classic Group 1 races and will help reinvigorate staying races in Australia.

“If they want to keep the Derby and Oaks distinguished and celebrated races, they have to have relevant lead-ups, so I applaud the move by the VRC and Racing Victoria.”

“For the breeders that invest in Victoria with stallions like Americain, Fiorente and others, they need to have races that their progeny is suited to. They are Melbourne Cup winners.” Talty said.

To demonstrate Racing Victoria’s further commitment to the two staying Trials, each race has both a $15,000 Super VOBIS and a $20,000 VOBIS Gold bonus available to eligible VOBIS nominated horses (which include both Americains).

TBV Note: Americain will have another two runners today. The Limerick Lane bred, Weir trained American Sunday lines up in race 2 at Flemington over 1400 metres. Meanwhile 3YO Toricain makes his debut at Launceston over 1420 metres.

He’s a Cracker!

Wyndholm Park sire Crackerjack King

Re-produced from Breednet. By Tara Madgwick

A fast stayer with an exceptional pedigree by an outstanding shuttle sire in Shamardal, Crackerjack King (IRE) is all class and stands at Wyndholm Park Stud in Victoria this spring.

Imported to Australia as a potential Cups horse by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, Crackerjack King’s third in the Group 1 MRC Underwood stakes behind Foreteller (GB) and Happy Trails an indication of his class.

“He had terrific natural speed and was a genuine Group 1 horse,” said his trainer David Hayes.

Crackerjack King won seven of 14 starts up to 2200 metres with highlight victories in the Group I Rome Premio Presidente della Repubblica and Group II Italian Derby.

“He could carve our four successive sub-11 second furlongs in a race and sustain his speed to be a Group I winner at 2000m. He was a sensationally fast stayer,” said Darren Dance of Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock.

His female pedigree is one of the best in the world as Crackerjack King is a half-brother to Group I winners Jakkalberry and Awelmarduk as well as stakes-winners Kidnapping and Joyful Hope. His dam Claba Di San Jore is a blue hen of the highest order with seven winners from nine foals to race, three of them Group I winners.

Wyndholm Park Stud co-principal Kim McKellar, a Country Racing Victoria board member of seven years and veterinarian for 40 years is adamant that Crackerjack King’s speed can ensure his success at stud.

“The critical ingredient to standing any successful stallion is that the stallion possess speed. It doesn’t matter if the horse was a 1000m or a 3000m horse, but the horse must possess speed – it’s a well-recognised fact,” McKellar said.

McKellar is quick to highlight his fellow Wyndholm Park stallion Rebel Raider as another prime example of the requirement of a stallion to possess speed at all distances.

“You look at Rebel Raider’s sectionals in the (Vic) Derby he won. He came back to win a Group race over 1200 metres after winning two Derbies,” McKellar enthuses referring to Rebel Raider’s (Reset) subsequent victories in the SAJC Chairman’s Hcp and SA Derby in the autumn of 2009 following his Victoria Derby victory at 100-1 in 2008 where he defeated Whobegotyou.

A long-time firm believer that breeding is a pursuit where everyone has the opportunity to breed a top-class horse, McKellar is adamant that Crackerjack King gives breeders that opportunity in an environment that he sees as quite positive for Victorian breeders.

“There is no question our (Victorian) stallions and broodmare bands have significantly improved and there are results that endorse that,” McKellar says.

“What we – the breeding industry, need to be mindful of is making sure all breeders especially the rank and file participants of our industry are encouraged rather than discouraged.”

McKellar is referring to some of the recent new Stud Book regulations, which he sees as having the potential to become too onerous on the smaller individual breeders.

“There’s got to be a balance between accountability and practicality at the same time,” McKellar added.

McKellar also stands Floral Pegasus and Sports Edition alongside Crackerjack King and Rebel Raider at Wyndholm Park – a 600-acre farm he and wife Elizabeth purchased in 1985 and have developed since to become one of Victoria’s longest family-run commercial studs.

The Best of the Best for Cable Bay

Woodside Park sire Cable Bay (Ire)

It is rare that a relatively low-profile northern hemisphere stallion standing his first season in Australia creates as much interest and publicity as Cable Bay.

Without spending thousands on advertising, boasting racetrack victories or proven progeny, Cable Bay has become a self-generating promotional machine.

For Cable Bay has something else, something even better to attract the top breeders. He has a very clever owner that the Australian thoroughbred industry seemingly has unwavering trust in.

Rick Jamieson of Gilgai Farm, a passionate pedigree student for more than 20 years has demonstrated over and over again that outstanding results can be achieved with precise bloodline analysis.

Group 1 stars Black Caviar, All Too Hard, Jameka, Lucky Bubbles and The Quarterback, have all helped make Jamieson a legend in Australian breeding.

And what gives this stallion and his breeding concept so much clout is that the man behind the brainchild is also putting his money where his mouth is.

Jamison is sending six of his top stakes performing mares to Cable Bay this year, with two of his very best in Brigite (the half to Black Caviar and full to All Too Hard) as well as Group 1 winner, Mirjulisa Lass.

“Brigite is just the most beautiful mare, she showed enormous talent, however due to a minor setback, I sent her to stud. Her breeding is exceptional, but her pedigree must match well to earn a date with Cable Bay” Jamieson said.

“Both are exceptional breeding propositions, and I am confident that my formula of matching pedigrees to obtain future success, will work. The mares that I am sending have the genetic hookups that I like, they are my indicator, and that makes the decision.”

Cable Bay is being supported by experienced and successful breeders including Gerry Ryan sending his young Group 3 winner Tuscan Sling, and Robert Crabtree who is sending Gabella a French stakes winning mare and Group performer.

“I believe the number of stakes performed mares booked to Cable Bay is around 30 and, coupled with city class mares, they total 60. This is an enormous result for a freshman sire. We aim to win first season sire honours, we want his progeny up and running.”

“I have astute breeders and very good friends who are putting their faith in me and sending their best mares, they believe in my pedigree analysis concept and want to reap the financial rewards,” Jamison said.

Crabtree, who has racetrack stars Catchy and Sheidel, and a coveted broodmare band, is sending to quality mares in  Gabella and Magrosso to Cable Bay.

“I am relying on Rick Jamieson who I have great respect for as an individual and as a breeder.  He recommended one mare as a very good mating and one as an absolute must. I have backed him and his judgment,” Crabtree said.

Woodside Park Stud’s Matt Tillett is upbeat about Cable Bay’s start to the season.

“It’s been a great beginning, as Cable Bay hasn’t had a negative yet, all mares scanned have tested positive. We are blessed to have a barn full of very fertile mares ready to go, and he certainly fits right in. He is a brilliant stallion to cover with, very professional,” Tillett said.

For more information on Cable Bay contact Matt Tillett at Woodside Park Stud or visit to arrange a free pedigree analysis to Cable Bay.

New Hong Kong Winner for Reward For Effort

Star Superior wins at Sha Tin on Sunday

The success of Chatswood sire Reward For Effort extended beyond Australian shores over the weekend with a winner in Hong Kong on Sunday evening at Sha Tin.

Five-year-old Star Superior came from well back to win over 1200 metres with Joao Moreira on board, notching up a second victory for trainer Michael Chang.

Chang lauded the three-time champion jockey’s “perfect” ride on dirt tracker Star Superior.

“I said to him, ‘you cannot chase or force this horse into the contest’. He was a long way back, but I had told him jump, relax him, let him travel last if that’s where he is and save some ground on the bend.

“I thought they would go too fast, there was a lot of speed in the race. It was a lovely ride though, he saved a lot of ground on the turn.”

Star Superior joins Jumbo Luck as winning sons of Reward For Effort in Hong Kong. Jumbo Luck has not raced since winning two in a row at the back end of last season, although his excellent trial form suggests we’ll be seeing him at the track shortly.

Less than twenty-four hours later, Reward For Effort brought up a Victorian racing double with Brueghelino and My Unicorn both winning maidens at Moe.

My Unicorn, under the care of local trainer Peter Gelagotis, was particularly impressive. The three-year-old filly was bred by Dean Watt of Dynamic Syndications fame before being sold through Stonehouse Thoroughbreds at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.

Dynamic Syndications raced Reward For Effort with enormous success which included victory in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes.

Super VOBIS nominations open for 2016 born foals

Racing Victoria has begun its Super VOBIS nominations campaign for all 2016 born foals.

And, for the first time ever, breeders will be able to complete their Super VOBIS nominations online (while also having a paper-based option).

Super VOBIS is a world leading incentive scheme designed to reward owners and breeders who invest in Victorian bloodstock.

Super VOBIS horses can race for millions in Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold bonuses and prizemoney throughout their career. And, starting with the 2016 foal crop, many Victorian bred yearlings will be eligible to race in the annual $1.5 million VOBIS Sires race series.

Starting this week, emails are being sent to breeders with Super VOBIS eligible foals. It is anticipated all emails will be sent out by the end of the month to identified breeders.

Breeders wanting to nominate using the regular paper-based forms can download the form at the Super VOBIS webpage.

2016 born foals eligible for nomination are:

  • All foals by a Victorian based sire
  • A non-Victorian sired foal whose dam visited a Victorian stallion in the year the foal is born (2016)
  • A non-Victorian sired foal whose dam (at the time of birth) is at least 50% owned by a Victorian breeder. In addition, both the dam and foal much have spent at least six continuous months in Victoria since the birth.

Breeders should note that the closing date for Super VOBIS nominations has changed from previous years. Nominations for 2016 born foals will now close on 30th April 2018. There is no longer any provision for late nominations.

Breeders seeking to enter their horses in early yearling sales such as Magic Millions Gold Coast in January or the Inglis Classic Sale in February should have their nominations in by no later than mid-October. This will ensure the yearling has a Super VOBIS logo on its catalogue page.

If you have any questions or require any assistance using the online form sent to you please contact the Racing Victoria Customer First team on 9258 4694 or email

Full information including Terms & Conditions can be found at the Super VOBIS webpage.

Record stallion nominations for VOBIS Sires in 2017

With little more than 18 months until the running of the inaugural $1 million VOBIS Sires two-year-old race, a record number of stallions have been nominated to the scheme.

“These record numbers are a further vote of confidence in the future of the Victorian breeding industry,” James O’Brien, President of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria said.

Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager Racing, Greg Carpenter, said he was buoyed by the excellent numbers nominated to the VOBIS Sires program.

“These record nominations illustrate the incredible value of the VOBIS Sires program, and the importance of providing lucrative returns to owners and breeders,” Carpenter said.

“I am extremely excited to see the inaugural running of the $1 million VOBIS Sires two-year-old in 2019 and the $500,000 three-year-old in 2020, and believe that the success of these races will pave the platform for further interest in the program beyond 2020.”

The VOBIS Sires numbers for 2017 are:
• 59 stallions (a record) have been nominated for the 2017 breeding season
• 19 stallion farms have nominated at least one stallion
• $88,000 is the highest service fee of stallions nominated which is for Victorian Champion Sire Written Tycoon at Woodside Park
• $1,100 is the lowest service fee of stallions nominated which is for Lawyer at Oritah Park near Kerang

A full range of pedigrees, race records and service fees are available across the 59 nominated sires.

This year’s list includes first season stallions such as Palentino, St Jean, Frosted, Wolf Cry, Wayed Zain, Rebel Dane and Swear among others.

Also included are the likes Manhattan Rain (sire of last year’s Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign), Zoustar, (favourite for this year’s Champion Australia Freshman Sire title) and Melbourne Cup winners Americain and Fiorente.

The progeny of all VOBIS Sires-nominated stallions will be eligible to compete in two exclusive races run annually on the Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday:
• $1 million two-year-old race over 1200 metres to be run for the first time in April 2019; and
• $500,000 three-year-old race over 1600 metres to be run for the first time in April 2020.

The 2018 yearling sales will see the first crop of VOBIS Sire eligible yearlings pass through the auction ring. These are the yearlings born in 2016 from the mares covered in 2015.

“I expect many trainers and syndicators will be hunting for VOBIS Sires eligible yearlings in 2018 knowing they can aim those youngsters at the exclusive, inaugural $1 million VOBIS Sires race,” O’Brien said.

Before the lucrative VOBIS Sires races begin in 2019, Racing Victoria has programmed exclusive VOBIS Gold races for Victorian sired horses only in April. This season they are:
• $310,000 1200m race for Victorian sired two-year-olds
• $310,000 1600m race for Victorian sired three-year-olds

The full list of Victorian stallions nominated for VOBIS Sires in 2017 is below. Full VOBIS Sires information for breeders, buyers, owners and stallion owners can be found at the VOBIS Sires website

Big prizes announced for best Victorian foal photos!

The TBV Instagram Foal Gallery Competition is now well under way, and has already featured some fantastic submissions.

The competition aims to celebrate the safe arrival of the 2017 foal crop and showcases unique images of Victorian-bred foals as captured by breeding industry participants.

Breeder Clive Smith & new Toronado filly at Northern Lodge Thoroughbreds
Tahnee Pfeiffer's picture of a Rich Enuff foal at Woodside
Nostradamus foal from Rosemont Stud. Photo from Anna Furniss

There are a number of terrific prizes up for grabs donated by our kind sponsors Tabcorp and Mitchelton Wines. The following prizes will be awarded to the lucky winners:

  • A raceday lunch invitation for two guests hosted by in the Chairman’s Club at Flemington
  • Two x $100 TAB betting vouchers
  • A mixed case of wines from Mitchelton Wines

Selected foal photos will be featured on the TBV Instagram page. The criteria for entries is:

  • Foals must be Victorian-bred (Victorian sired or out of a Victorian resident mare)
  • Foals must be born in 2017
  • We are looking for unique/interesting photos (not simply a stand-up/conformation type shot)

Foal photos selected to be posted on the TBV Instagram page will go into the running for the big prizes. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories

  • Most unique image
  • Most popular image (judged by ‘likes’ on Instagram)
  • Best picture of a foal by a Victorian first crop sire (i.e. started stallion career in 2016)

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to get involved!

You can see the gallery and follow the TBV Instagram account by visiting:

Foal photo Submissions can be made at or email them to

TBV would like to thank the sponsors for their ongoing support, and we wish breeders all the best for the remainder of the foaling season!

Maher’s homebred Regina Coeli retires a winner

Regina Coeli ridden by John Allen wins the 2017 Grand Annual. (John Donegan-Racing Photos)

Re-produced from the Warrnambool Standard. By Tim Auld.

Top jumping mare Regina Coeli has been retired and will be in the breeding barn with the 2013 Melbourne Cup winning stallion Fiorente within weeks.

Regina Coeli won her second Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase in May this year, following on from her victory in 2015. Her half-brother Al Garhood was successful in the famous jumping race in 2010 and 2011.

Trainer Ciaron Maher, who trained both horses to their Grand Annual victories, said Regina Coeli deserved to go out a winner.

“Regina Coeli’s last race was in this year’s Grand Annual and she won,” Maher said.

“She was a superior wet tracker who loved running at Warrnambool. It’s a fitting result she ended her career on the track at Warrnambool winning her second Grand Annual.

“She was a very tough, honest jumper. We raced Al Garhood but we never bred him. We bred Regina Coeli which made her wins even more memorable for us.”

Maher, who has stables at Caulfield and Pakenham plus training facilities at Warrnambool, said the mating with Fiorente would produce a genuine stayer.

“Fiorente’s performances on the track were nothing short of sensational,” he said.

“I think he’ll be a success as a sire. I’ve seen some of his progeny and they’re lovely types.

“Fiorente is by one of the greatest stallions in the world in Monsun. Regina Coeli just stayed all day and I’m sure with her going to Fiorente we’ll have an out-and-out stayer.”

Versatile Irish born horseman John Allen rode Regina Coeli to her two Grand Annual victories. The nine-year-old mare won five of her 17 jumps starts for total earnings of $412,216.

TBV Breeding note:

Ciaron’s father John Maher bought Regina Coeli’s dam Alstomeria for a mere $3,250 at the 2008 Inglis Winter Thoroughbred Sale in Sydney.

Alstomeria was bred in the United Kingdom being by Petoski and out of the mare Cathedra. She race in Ireland, trained by Edward Lynam, without troubling the winning judge.

Aside from Alstomeria, Cathedra’s family also made it to Australasia through the stakes placed mare Benediction, the dam of Melbourne Cup winner Might and Power.

Before going through the sales ring in 2008, Alstomeria had produced a number of foals including Al Garhood.

Two other siblings born before 2008 were the mares Zals (Zabeel) and Gals (Galileo). Both now reside at Victorian broodmare farms.

Zals, owned by Woodside Park, produced a colt by Written Tycoon that sold for $305,000 at the 2016 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale (now named Bull Market and has already won for China Horse Club).

Gilgai does its magic for Sheikh Fahad

Gilgai Farm raised Paret as a Magic Millions 2016 yearling

Not content with breeding superstar, Group 1 winning horses for themselves, Gilgai Farm has now helped raise a highly talented horse for another breeder.

Three-year-old Paret, raised at the Nagambie farm, certainly drew some attention to himself with an eye-catching run from last to win on debut for trainer Chris Waller at Canterbury last Wednesday.

Bred by Qatar Bloodstock’s Sheikh Fahad (of Melbourne Cup winning Dunaden fame), Paret spent almost a year at Gilgai during his formative years before being prepped for sale at Magic Millions in 2016.

He is by Qatar Bloodstock’s own sire Harbour Watch and is out of the Encosta De Lago mare Enduja.

Gilgai’s Kelly Skillecorn remembers the foal as a real standout when he arrived with a group of Qatar Bloodstock owned mares.

“He is easy to remember as he was a real ripper, he was the best foal of the season at Gilgai Farm that year,” Skillecorn said.

Stonehouse Thoroughbreds’ Ryan Arnel, who manages Qatar Bloodstock’s breeding operation in Victoria, agreed he was a stunning foal and is not surprised at what he did on debut.

“I’m sure there is a race in the spring for Paret (he still has a Caulfield Guineas entry), and based on that run, all going well, I think he will be very competitive at that level. Being such a brilliant foal, we expected big things from him.” Arnel said.

Sheikh Fahad now keeps a quality group of mares at Arnel’s Stonehouse farm at Eddington, west of Bendigo.

This particularly helps to support Zoustar, the top class stallion of whom Sheikh Fahad is a shareholder. All of these mares will head to Woodside Park for a date with Zoustar this season.

“There are such big wraps on Zoustar at the moment. Based on what we saw at the yearling sales and the reports of horses currently in training, Qatar Bloodstock are supporting him more than ever now,” Arnel said.

“He has had some great early trial results which give breeders confidence and his fertility is just out of this world.

“Sheikh Fahad loves the racing in Melbourne, and the Spring Carnival is a huge draw card for them.

“He believes Victoria is a great place to breed and race. One year they had a runner in almost every major race, and no doubt there will be something running in their colours during the Melbourne Cup Carnival week.”

“That’s all part of Qatar plan, to breed and support their stallions, and then put the progeny out in the market to show the industry what they are producing.”

‘Joyeuse’ day for Sword of Light

Sword of Light wins the Let's Elope Stakes at Flemington (Alice Laidlaw-Racing Photos)

We often speak of the ‘ups and downs’ of horse racing, but the Hesket Bloodstock team and leading jockey, Damian Lane, took it from the metaphorical to the literal in the space of 40 minutes at Flemington on Saturday.

Piloting Hesket homebred Limestone in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes, the 3YO filly clipped the heels of Booker in the final stages and fell … fortunately with no lingering injuries to either horse or jockey.

Dusting himself off, Lane then hopped aboard another Hesket homebred Sword of Light (New Approach) in the next race, the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes over 1400m and, this time, managed to avoid any major interference, getting up in a thriller.

“She (Sword of Light) was game. We got across outside the lead really easy and she switched off well for me in the run. I thought she might have felt the pinch late, but to her credit she was tough,” Lane said.

An impressive 2YO who won by over five lengths on debut and followed up with a victory in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Preview, Sword of Light mixed her form in three further juvenile performances, while her 3YO spring included a third in the Group 2 Tranquil Star.

Sword of Light ended a 15-month winners’ circle drought in April with a victory in the $280,000 VOBIS Gold Reef at Caulfield in April.

Trained by Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra and bred and owned by Hesket Bloodstock, Sword of Light has now won five of 19 outings for $608,250 in stakes. This places her amongst her sire’s highest earning progeny worldwide which has also included Group 1 winner May’s Dream (bred by Horsham’s Dunn family).

“It was a rollercoaster day for us to be honest,” Hesket Bloodstock’s Jenny Moodie said.

“We were still reeling from Limestone’s fall by the time the Let’s Elope came around, but it was a top win by Sword of Light and terrific to see her notch up a second stakes victory.”

Originally breeding and racing their horses under the Contract Racing banner, David and Jenny Moodie formed Hesket Bloodstock with Ashley Hardwick in 2012 with the oldest ‘Heskets’ now 4YOs and include 2016/17 2YO stakes winner, Arctic Angel.

Sword of Light hails from the fourth generation of Moodie owned mares and is out of the King’s Best matron, Joyeuse. She was stakes placed in Sydney and is a daughter of Group winner Razor Blade, the dam of seven winners including stakes winners Flamberge (triple Group One winner), Sunburnt Land, Durendal and Curtana.

“Joyeuse has a 3YO filly, Kaiken, who is with Darren Weir, while her 2YO Exceed And Excel colt will be trained by Mat (Ellerton) and Simon (Zahra),” Moodie adds.

“She also has a smashing yearling filly by Written Tycoon, is in foal to Redoute’s Choice and has been booked to Fastnet Rock.”

Story from Aushorse

Royal Symphony is music to Vellas’ ears

Royal Symphony & Dwayne Dunn after winning the Exford Plate at Flemington

Having muscled his way to the feed bin as a foal at Romsey’s Wingrove Park, unbeaten three-year-old Royal Symphony (Domesday) did the same to his opposition at Flemington on Saturday.

Seemingly gone at the 300 metre mark, the remarkable colt found a scintillating way to win the Listed VRC Pin & Win Plate at Flemington.

Trainer Tony McEvoy said he had consigned himself to defeat until his horse somehow conjured the victory.

“I threw the baby out with the bathwater at the 400, but Dwayne kept him balanced and got him out, it was really special. He’s a game day horse, when the bell rings, he’s there. That’s what you need to be a high-class racehorse.”

“After the slow start, I just had to ride him for luck, and when the luck came, he accelerated. Good horses get you out of trouble, and fortunately, he has a brilliant turn of foot,” said jockey Dwayne Dunn.

Wingrove Park’s Daira and Joe Vella were present at Flemington and were bursting with pride immediately after the outstanding win.

Wingrove Park owners Daira & Joe Vella at Flemington

“We knew he was a champion, even as a youngster,” Joe enthused.

Joe said the young colt displayed his determined racing attitude back at the farm when growing up.

(Royal Symphony was sold by the Vellas as a yearling via Inglis’ online sales channel for a purported $20,000.)

“He may have been the last to get to the feed bin, but he bit and muscled the other horses out of his way and always worked his way to the front, he was a very determined colt.

“When he was in with all the fillies, they really gave it to him. He had to develop a tough, resilient attitude as a young horse, and he definitely needed to draw on every bit of that today.”

Royal Symphony is a half-brother to the stakes-placed Hoodlum and is the eighth winner and the last foal of Naturalist, a three-quarter sister-in-blood to multiple Group 1 winner Naturalism and Queensland Oaks winner Crystal Palace.

Royal Symphony as a foal at Wingrove Park with his dam Naturalist

“His dam is Naturalist, from the Naturalism line, and all our horses are line-bred…Royal Symphony is bred from The Minstrel and Hail To Reason lines to achieve this successful combination and to bring these two influences together,” said Joe.

The Vellas maintain a strong interest in Royal Symphony’s family and have at least one half-sister in their small broodmare band in the Marauding mare Siding Spring. She has produced some handy types including city winning Primitive Man.

Meanwhile, the Group 1 MRC Caulfield Guineas over 1600 metres on October 14 is the main goal for Royal Symphony. He is now a $3.00 fixed odds favourite with

From Cup Hero To Stud Success

Americain at Swettenham Stud(pic-Katelyn Butler)

Reproduced from Breednet. By Tara Madgwick

The decision to stand a Melbourne Cup winner is not one taken lightly, but a warm initial response from breeders, followed by encouraging yearling sale results and now winners on the track have made Swettenham stud’s gamble on Americain (USA) look like a good one.

The charismatic son of Dynaformer was a great favourite on the track, not only for his obvious ability but also his classical good looks.

An imposing individual with an undeniable presence, Americain is a hard horse not to like, so his burgeoning stud success has been the source of considerable interest from both breeders and race-goers alike.

Americain has reeled off three promising winners since the start of the new season in Amerock, American Sunday and Queen Consort, putting him right up at the top end of the Australian Second Season Sires List.

A dominant winner last month at Donald for the powerful Darren Weir stable as favourite, Amerock quickly translated potential to Black Type with a brave third in the Listed SAJC Morphettville Guineas over 1600 metres last Saturday (9 Sept).

Bred and part owned by Colleen Bamford from Daisy Hill Breeding, the three-year-old colt is raced by a large and enthusiastic group of owners, managed by Mark Hoare from Pacific Bloodstock, who bought him as a yearling at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.

He travelled well throughout, and raced on well to the line although the stable has noted that there is still plenty of improvement to come.

“He was a little green when he hit the front and probably could have benefited from blinkers, with jockey John Allen, commenting that he was a little bit lost out in front,” Bamford said.

He has pulled up very well again from this run, but Weir is yet to make the decision on whether he will have a little let up or if he will race on.

“He has had a very long preparation this time in, and it would be a good note to finish on. Reports from Weir’s stable is that we haven’t reached the bottom of him yet, and all opinions are that he has a promising future and we will have a bit of fun with him,” Bamford said.

Although not a winner yet, it seems just a matter of time before the Mick Price trained Americain filly Oklahoma Days finds the winner’s circle judging by her excellent second at Wodonga on Monday.

An unlucky fourth on debut in July, she led for home and looked set to win the 1400 metre maiden at Wodonga until run down by royally bred Fastnet Rock filly Tagreeda, who is also on the up.

Another Inglis Premier graduate, Oklahoma Days is from Cracking Melody (GB), an unraced Shamardal half-sister to French Group I winner Coquerelle from an impressive European Black Type family.

It looks like an Oaks pedigree and that is exactly where Oklahoma Days is headed via the VRC Oaks Trial at Flemington on September 27.

“We’re going to the Oaks Trial and hopefully the VRC Oaks from there,” said Mick Price.

“She’s a sound filly with beautiful temperament – good clean-winded and looks like a genuine staying filly. I’m very happy with her and I think she will be good when she gets to 2000m.”

With his oldest progeny now three, this is when it gets interesting for Americain as trainers can start to step them up in trip and look to the classics. Given his encouraging start after just one month of the new season it would seem Americain is well and truly on the right track.

Priced at $11,000 this spring, Americain has covered over 470 mares in his first four seasons ensuring good follow through crops allowing him to build on his burgeoning success.

“We could not be happier with the way Americain is progressing and are absolutely delighted for his many fans and supporters,” said Adam Sangster.

“That said, in such a competitive year we realise broodmare owners deserve the best commercial advantage, so we are offering very competitive deals on bookings to our Swettenham stallions.”

Stable chat with Ellerton Zahra Racing

Ellerton Zahra's Flemington winner Booker is aimed at this year's Thousand Guineas (Pat Scala-Racing Photos)

TBV is visiting the stables of some of Victoria’s top trainers this Spring to find out how they have experienced success with Victorian bred horses. And we ask them about their Spring Carnival hopes.

This week, we put the questions to the Flemington based training partnership of Mat Ellerton & Simon Zahra

What is the key race you’re aiming to win this Spring Carnival? Is this with a Victorian bred horse?
The MRC Thousand Guineas with Booker, a daughter of Written Tycoon.

Name three to five of your leading Victorian bred/VOBIS horses heading towards a Spring campaign.
Arctic Angel, Booker, Sword Of Light, Crystal Dreamer

Do you have any Victorian bred/VOBIS 2YOs in your stable that have shown you a reasonable amount of ability leading into the Spring?
Haven’t done enough with any of them yet.  Too early to tell.  We don’t push

Do you have a number of horses by any particular Victorian sire in your stable?
Zoustar, Written Tycoon & Magnus

Name your biggest Spring Carnival achievement with a Victorian bred racehorse.
Winning the 2003 Mackinnon Stakes with Casual Pass and the 2001 Emirates Stakes with Desert Eagle. (both bred by Contract Racing)

Mackinnon Stakes winner Casual Pass

Do you have any other Victorian-related Spring Carnival highlights?
Sunburnt Land winning the 2008 Group 2 Caulfield Sprint and each time he went around that last spring before we lost him.

Is there anything that sets Victorian bred racehorses apart from their rivals at this time of year?
Super VOBIS money. It is always a great incentive to buy, breed & race Victorian bred horses at this time of year and beyond. They seem to come into their own as 3-year olds.

For those interested, Mat and Simon are holding an open day with a BBQ & parade starting at 9am this Sunday at their Flemington stables.

All American sires Sha Tin double

All American's son Green Card wins at Sha Tin (pic-SCMP)

New Chatswood Stud sire All Americain had reason to celebrate on Saturday night with two of his sons winning at Hong Kong.

It was a tonic of sorts for the sire and the Chatswood team after it was announced his super Group 1 winning filly Yankee Rose had not come up following a long injury layoff and would be sold and likely retired.

The Group 1 winning and producing sire had his first runner on Saturday night, Invisible in race 4 over 1400m at Sha Tin.

Jumping from barrier 9 he drifted back to third last before producing a sustained turn of foot to nail Laughing Lord on the line. The HK$650,000 event was Invisible’s third career victory.

Next up was Green Card in race 10, again over 1400m but this time the son of All American was racing for HK$1,350,000.

Tommy Berry took him to the outside where he hit the front with 100m to go and held off late challengers.

This was Green Card’s second victory with a further seven placings. He was bred in Victoria by Bruce Mathieson from the Testa Rossa mare, Cristallo.

Another talented son of All American, Lucky Dollar, races on Wednesday night at Happy Valley. Trained in Melbourne by Team Hawkes he was unbeaten in two starts as a three-year-old before being shipped to Hong Kong. He was runner-up on his Sha Tin debut before saluting at his second start in May this year.

Impressive Trial Winner for Unencumbered

Three Bridges sire Unencumbered with his VOBIS Sires rug

Re-produced from Breednet. By Tara Madgwick

A brilliant early two year-old that won the 2014 Magic Millions 2YO Classic, Unencumbered fired up with his first two year-old trial winner with a fast finishing win at Gosford on Tuesday for well named colt Swoop.

Prepared by John Sargent, Swoop did just that, travelling sweetly back in the field before surging to the line for Andrew Adkins to win his 800 metre heat by half a length going away under her own steam.

Swoop was snapped up at the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale for a modest $30,000 by John Sargent and renowned good judge Paul Moroney, so will be Magic Millions eligible if he seeks to follow in the footsteps of his sire.

Swoop has some pedigree to back him up as she is from Katique, a half-sister to Group 2 winners Happy Morning and Fatal Attraction from the famed Princess Tracy (IRE) family that produced Australian Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy.

Unencumbered yearlings were popular at the sales this year selling for up to $150,000 and joining the stables of many of our leading trainers.

More than a quarter of his first crop of two year-olds have already been named, so expect Swoop to be the first of many youngsters warming up for race day in the coming weeks.

Unencumbered stands at a fee of $11,000 at Three Bridges Thoroughbreds this spring.

Breeders Trust Repaid with Quality First Foals

Trust In A Gust at the recent Swettenham Stud stallion parade

Swettenham’s Trust In A Gust has certainly repaid his debut season breeders, with the first of his foals all consistently stamped with quality, power and bone.

The young stallion has now furnished into an incredible looking stallion following his dual Group 1 racing career.

Brian Gorman, Swettenham’s General Manager, has been impressed by Trust In A Gust’s professionalism in the breeding barn.

“He is covering another first-rate book of mares this season, and he is doing everything right in the shed, he has started off in great form,” Brian said.

“We have been thrilled with the standard of foals on the ground. He is stamping his quality into the foals and passing on his best characteristics. They all have strong shoulders, great bodies and plenty of bone.”

Swettenham’s resident photographer, Rachel Ritchie has been busy taking snaps of some of Trust In A Gust’s youngsters. Brian Gorman comments on each of these foals.

Trust In A Gust x Maitresse

“Owned by Stuart Pickworth and Swettenham, he is a good, strong type of colt. Commands mare, Maitresse, is a half to Alister Clark winner Domesky and being a class mare herself, she has also put plenty of quality into the foal. We are very pleased with the result.”

Trust In A Gust x Sulmita

“From the Estate of the Late Michael Niall, the Sulmita colt has “look at me” presence with a flashy white blaze. He is a leggy foal, with plenty of bone and a great body. From a six-time winning dam, Sulmita, the family boasts black type performers Another Victor, Spook and Suit.”

Trust In A Gust x Hotel Sierra

“Owned by Michael Leonard, the Hotel Sierra colt has been born in the image of his father. Stamped with a strong shoulder and great bone, he is an outstanding first foal.”

Trust In A Gust x Haumea

“Owned by Adam Sangster this is a lovely type of filly, just all quality. A Tasmanian Oaks runner, Haumea is a half sister to NZ filly of the year, Bonneval’s dam Imposingly. From a black type studded family, including Group 1 winners Champagne and St Remis.”

There is also ongoing recent international form in Trust In A Gust’s pedigree, with the top galloper Thunder Snow (Helmet), now a dual group 1 winner.

Trust In A Gust’s dam, Subtle Breeze is a half sister to Thunder Snow’s grand-dam, Red Slippers by Nureyev.

As a racehorse, Trust in A Gust had two qualities that stood out in his racing career, natural talent, and raw courage, with victories in the stallion making Group 1 MRC Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400m and in the time-honoured VRC Toorak Handicap over 1600m.

In his racing career, Trust In A Gust won the VOBIS Gold Eureka, VOBIS Gold Star, VOBIS Gold Sprint and the VOBIS Gold Carat at Caulfield.

“This is the ideal VOBIS stallion, and one of the first things you look for at a sale is the VOBIS sticker!” trainer Darren Weir said.

For more information on any of the stallions, or to take a virtual “foal stroll”, please visit the Swettenham Foal Gallery.