The red heart of Alice Springs is a long way from lush green dairy pastures of Drouin but a young colt bridged the gap on Saturday.
In taking out the Inglis 2YO Handicap by four lengths at Pioneer Park, the Drouin bred Savatoxl was the first ever winner for Victorian-based Darley stallion Kuroshio.
Kuroshio, a speedy son of Exceed And Excel, has had only a handful of runners to date. Among his tested progeny have been Not Usual Currrent, who recently ran with merit in a Group 1 race in NZ, and Yulong February, who won a Cranbourne trial last week and may debut for Aaron Purcell later this week.
Savatoxl’s Gippsland based breeders, Carrington Park’s Sheryl and Mark Atkinson, were thrilled that Savatoxl had secured the win on his debut.
“I try to follow all of our horses that we have bred as we have put so much care into raising them, but he was named so close to him running that I missed the race!” Sheryl said.
“When Ryan (Arnel) from Stonehouse Thoroughbreds called me with the good news, I wasn’t surprised he had talent (and got the win)…we always loved him as a foal and thought he was a great type as a yearling.
Having only a couple of yearlings each year to sell, Carrington Park places its yearlings with Stonehouse Thoroughbreds for sales.
Savatoxl, a colt out of Carrington Park’s Savabeel mare Li’l Mis Hayley, was in the Stonehouse draft at the 2017 Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale and sold for $8,000 to the bid of the Alice Springs Turf Club.
“They do a fabulous job and he was prepped beautifully…although he was very popular at inspections, unfortunately his x-rays showed a small blemish and put most of the buyers off,” Sheryl said.
“It wasn’t anything that would affect his performance going forward, but when it came to the bidding we couldn’t help but be disappointed with the price. We thought a heap of him and we were so confident he would sell well. They got an absolute bargain.”
The Alice Springs Turf Club, which bought seven yearlings at the VOBIS Gold Sale, then on sold the Kuroshio colt at the Inglis Red Centre Sale where he fetched $18,000, the top price of the sale.
He was purchased by part owner and experienced local trainer in Will Savage.
“There is no real reason that he couldn’t hold his own and I believe he could have won anywhere, but it just happened to be in Alice Springs, a thriving racing community in one of Australia’s most remote locations,” Sheryl said.
“He might be that good horse that he comes home and gives them all a run for their money. Maybe he could be a Takeover Target for his trainer and part owner!”
The Atkinsons managed a band of twelve broodmares at one time, but they are now down to breeding two mares with plans to travel in the future.
“Anybody who has horses knows that you can’t leave them. With Eliza Park retired and our Galileo mare Sister Earth sold over the border to Cornerstone Stud specifically to go in foal to Sir Prancelot, we now just have the Encosta De Lago mare Crimson Ribbon and Li’l Miss Haley.
“We have given them both the year off, but they each have beautiful Brazen Beau weanlings that we will sell as yearlings. A lovely black colt for Li’l Miss Hayley and a bay filly for Crimson Ribbon.”
“I think the Brazen Beaus are going to go very well, and I’m sure it will be like I Am Invincible, that once they get into the trainers’ hands, they will get every chance and be in high demand.
“Similarly with the Kuroshios…the floodgates will soon open. It’s interesting that Li’l Miss Haley has produced Kuroshio’s first winner as she usually produces three-year-olds. Kuroshio has really tightened it up and brought her progeny’s maturity forward. I’m sure he will do the same with other mares too.”
Carrington Park has bred and shown Angus cattle at the highest level throughout Australia for 20 years, but it was a couple of close friends that got Mark and Sheryl Atkinson involved in breeding thoroughbreds at their Drouin based stud.
“I was originally a show rider growing up, and I said to Mark, ‘you do know what you are getting yourself into?’ when we thought about getting back into horses,” Sheryl explained.
“We are not just owners that have our horses on agistment, we do everything for them. We walk on the mares, we foal down in the middle of the night and then we spend all that time raising them and getting them ready to go to a sale. When they sell, we like to stay interested in them and hope they become successful.
“When you see them win, it is very rewarding, and you get that bit back in your heart knowing that you gave them the best start in life and that they wouldn’t be there if you didn’t do your little bit when they were young.”