Top
TAB, TBV Principle Sponsor

Monthly Archives: April 2019

Home / Archives for April 2019

Swettenham’s Toronado Showdown Prince

Prince Of Sussex ridden by Michael Dee wins the Ladbrokes Showdown at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Natasha Morello/Racing Photos)

In a well-deserved victory for a sire who has promised so much, Prince Of Sussex not only showed up; he took out the inaugural running of the Showdown in brilliant fashion.

For Mornington trainer Matt Laurie, the $1 million-dollar Showdown race was always the Grand Final, and although the pressure was on, Prince Of Sussex certainly didn’t disappoint.

“I think he’s an extremely smart horse, and people would have seen that he worked only fair here on Tuesday, but he’s a game-day horse and you always feel there’s plenty left under the tank.” Matt Laurie said.

“They don’t always have to run time. They just have to turn up when it matters, and he does.” He said.

Challenged for favouritism by the highly spruiked Sartorial Splendor, Prince of Sussex was able to let his rival control the speed early, but on the home turn once jockey Michael Dee found some space, the talented two-old burst clear and left the field in his wake.

Connections of Prince Of Sussex after winning the Ladbrokes Showdown at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Natasha Morello/Racing Photos)

“I thought we were in a very awkward position,” he said. “He had to come back to the inside a little bit but once he found room, he picked them up so easily,” Laurie said.

Purchased for $145,000 from Swettenham Stud from the 2018 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sales, Laurie fell in love with Prince Of Sussex at first sight.

“This horse was a stand-out to be honest,” Laurie said on sale day. “I thought he was a $200,000-plus horse.”

One of my main clients Paul Dugan said he only had $80,000 to spend and fortunately, as it turned out, he had a little bit more, and he bought him for $145,0000.

“He’s an outstanding-looking horse, and it was just a matter of taking a punt on a first-season sire and for Toronado and what a start he’s had.”

Laurie said the horse was likely to be spelled for the spring with races such as the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas in mind.

“Being by Toronado, through High Chaparral, he should stretch out a little bit, and I know Peter Moody had a huge opinion of the mother (Il Diamante), who only had a limited career.”

The victory was a well-deserved triumph for the Nagambie’s Swettenham Stud, who stands the handsome son of High Chaparral, where Prince Of Sussex was conceived, foaled and reared on behalf of owner Chris Jackson.

James O’Brien, Matt Laurie, Adam Sangster & Chris Jackson

Swettenham stud principal Adam Sangster was thrilled with the result of their race both for the farm and their stallion Toronado.

“He was always an outstanding foal, and there was much interest to buy him as a foal, but Chris wanted to take him through as a yearling,” Sangster said.

“The whole result is great for Toronado. He visited 168 mares last season, and he’s going to be even more popular next season, which will be his fifth season in Victoria.” He said.

“The great thing about this race is the Victorian breeders have contributed to it. There’s a lot of progressive young sires in Victoria.” He said.

“The Showdown is all about up and coming stallions and, while there were a lot of established sires with progeny in the race, a first season stallion has managed to pull off the big win.

“Toronado was a Group 1 winner at three and four in England, but was also unbeaten at two, which included multiple stakes wins, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Prince of Sussex trains on to Group success in the spring.

“Toronado got off to a flyer with his first crop in Europe for Qatari owner Al Shaqab Racing, producing 25 winners, five of them stakes horses.”

“That fourth season is notoriously tough for any stallion, but he ended up covering more mares than in years two and three. Trainers have loved the look of his yearlings and word gets around.”

Toronado stood for a fee of $22,000 in his first four years at Swettenham but given the popularity of his progeny at the sales and with winners such as Prince Of Sussex, he will stand for $27,500 in 2019.

Prince of Sussex is the second foal from winning Testa Rossa mare, Il Diamante, a half-sister to Group winner Montauk from the Tasmanian stake’s winner, Diamond Cove for breeder Chris Jackson.

“I’ve only got the one mare, Il Diamante, and she has two winners from two to race,” Jackson explains.

“I was a part-owner in Diamond Cove too, also trained by Peter Moody. I was keen to breed from her but couldn’t buy out the other partners, so I bought into her daughter Il Diamante which was also trained by Moods. She won a race, but had leg problems and, once retired, I managed to buy her out.

“She went to Equiano that first year and has been to Toronado ever since. I race the first foal, Algadon Miss (three from four) with several mates and she’s trained by Matt Laurie too.”

“We’re having a lot of fun with Il Diamante: she’s got a lovely weanling filly and will head back to Toronado on an early cover this year.”

“Prince of Sussex looked a cracking type from the moment I laid eyes on him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes even better over 1400 metres or a mile in the spring,” Jackson said.

“It’s very exciting!”

The Showdown trophy

The Showdown is named in honour of champion stallion Showdown, who stood at Stockwell Stud at Diggers Rest between 1966 and 1983. He sired 46 Stakes winners, of which 13 were at Group 1 level including the Golden Slipper, Blue Diamond, Oaks and Derby winners. He was buried at Stockwell Stud in 1985 after his passing.

Starspangledbanner and Shamus Award arrive in Victoria!

Rosemont Stud have pulled off a major coup with the announcement that gun stallion Starspangledbanner will be returning to Victoria for the forth-coming 2019 breeding season. Majority owned by Coolmore, Starspangledbanner previously stood at Rosemont for the 2013, 2014 & 2015 breeding seasons before returning to Coolmore in 2016. He has regularly shuttled to the northern hemisphere and a deal has now been done again between Coolmore and Rosemont to see the stallion return to Victoria.

Rosemont Stud principal Anthony Mithen was thrilled with the development.

“Starspangledbanner is a horse that we have had tremendous success with and is a fantastic addition to the Victorian stallion ranks. We are rapt to have him back and grateful to Coolmore for keeping us involved. At stud his numbers continue to be extraordinary off relatively low foal numbers. He has a stakes winner to runners’ percentage of 8.5% and that is elite – in the realm of Australia’s very best stallions. I Am Invincible, Fastnet Rock and Exceed and Excel all bat at between 8.1 and 8.8% and on that measure, he is up there with them and miles ahead of a lot of unproven stallions standing for much higher fees.

“People also forget that the Banner was a brilliant racehorse, with the unique achievement of winning Champion Sprinter titles in both Australia and Europe in successive seasons. He was a dual Group 1 winner in both hemispheres – again, that is an achievement reserved for only the very best and again, it is a record that far out-strips some of the newer stallions going to stud for much higher service fees.”

After a brilliant racing career in Australia and Europe which netted four high profile Group 1 wins in the Caulfield Guineas, Oakleigh Plate, Golden Jubilee and July Cup, Starspangledbanner began his stud career with Coolmore in Ireland in 2011 before shuttling to Coolmore’s Hunter Valley Australia base for the 2011/2012 season. Despite large numbers in both hemispheres those two crops netted only 58 live foals and the stallion was labelled “sub-fertile” and returned to training. He was written off as a stallion until 51 of those first season foals hit the race track and – incredibly – nine of them became stakes winners.

By this stage the horse was back on stallion duties at Rosemont Stud and as Mithen explains, the Victorian farm was hard at work re-invigorating his stud career.

“We changed his environment, lightened his work load and focused heavily on keeping him happy. It helped turn him around and we increased his fertility to over 60% which was respectable. Thankfully his improvement continued after he returned to Coolmore and his most recent crop (2017) returned a fertility rate of 87%. That’s better than “normal”! We’ve learned that as long as he isn’t over-worked, there’s nothing wrong with his fertility. The best thing was that we supported him with our own mares. Our racing team has done really well in the last couple of years, but our best juvenile runners have all been by the Banner headed by Thrillster and Brooklyn Hustle.”

Brooklyn Hustle is of course one of Rosemont Stud’s flagship horses – running fifth in the Blue Diamond after holding favouritism for the race for an extended period during the preliminaries. She will return for the major three-year-old races in the Spring. Thrillster is the stakes winning three-year-old filly from the Team Corstens yard whose only unplaced run to date was her close up fifth in the Gr1 Thousand Guineas in the Spring. She was the winner of last year’s VOBIS Gold 2yo Sires race, which is now The Showdown, worth $1 million dollars.

In Europe, Starspangledbanner continues to throw exciting horses and just last week produced two 2-year-old fillies who won impressively, booking their spots in the prestigious Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. Chasing Dreams won on debut at the Newmarket Craven meeting by five lengths for Godolphin. She was a 750k guineas purchase at the Tatts October Yearling sale last year, the market reflecting the esteem in which Starspangledbanner is held in the Northern Hemisphere where his average sale price at the European yearling sales last year was a whopping EU 95,000 off a fee of EU 15,000 for that year.

Later in the week another Starspangledbanner filly, Lady Kermit, followed up a six-length win on debut with another victory at Newcastle and she will also go to the Group 2 Queen Mary. It is a race Starspangledbanner has already won as a sire through his daughter Anthem Alexander from his first crop. It is worth noting that his current crop of Northern Hemisphere 2yo’s hail from the first crop of any numerical substance (69 live foals) that Starspangledbanner has ever achieved in Europe, with his Northern Hemisphere books growing in number and quality every year since.

Given the turnaround in his fertility, the momentum gathering in Europe and the juvenile stars in his own racing team, Mithen is understandably excited to welcome Starspangledbanner back to Rosemont Stud.

“We think that this is a fantastic result for Victorian breeders. It is a tough game. Increasingly breeders are stuck with the bleak choice of either paying massive prices for sires with a good record or taking a massive punt on a sire whose credentials are unproven in the breeding barn and in some cases, on the race track as well. This is a stallion who won four Group 1’s on the track and has a proven record as a sire of good stakes winning horses from low numbers to date. Best of all, he has done both in Australia as well as Europe and there is no doubt that as a sire, his best is yet to come.”

He will stand at the extremely competitive fee of $22,000 including GST and his book will be limited.

In addition to this announcement, it was announced last night that former Widden stallion Shamus Award will stand at Rosemont this season. Stud principal Anthony Mithen reported that the stallion arrived at his new home over the weekend.

“He arrived on Saturday morning and looks absolutely outstanding. Widden have done a fantastic job with him – he served over 125 mares in each of his first four seasons at stud and with his oldest only three, we know that the best is still ahead and we think his move is a bonus for Victorian breeders.”

Mithen’s confidence is no doubt underpinned by his own experience with the stallion – Rosemont bred and still part-own probably the best of his stock to date in the progressive Mr Quickie, who tightened his grip on South Australia Derby favouritism with a commanding win over older horses in Saturday’s VOBIS Gold Heath at Caulfield. It was the three year old’s eighth win from only 11 starts.

“Mr Quickie is a horse who has just continued to go from strength to strength and we still don’t know where his ceiling is. We can’t wait for the Derby. We think he might be typical of Shamus Award’s stock – there is another one who ran great in the Group 3 in Adelaide who is also going to the Derby and he is really starting to look like a stallion whose progeny will thrive at the 2000m range as later three year olds and then at four and five. It’s a great profile for a lot of the broodmare population in Victoria – we will leave him at $10,000 + GST which is fantastic value for a stallion who is on the verge of making his mark and has the numbers on the ground to keep backing it up in the next 12 months.”

“His winners to runners rate is now better than Dundeel and Fiorente and he could finish this season with a handful of stakes performers and all being well Mr Quickie gets his Group One. That makes him the best value 2nd season stallion of that crop for mine.”

The other Derby horse Mithen refers to is Tony McEvoy’s Classic Weiwei, who ran 3rd in the Gr 3 Chairman’s Stakes after winning the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas at his previous start. In a good weekend for Shamus Award, his 2yo filly Ethical Solution ran fourth in the Gr 3 Breeders Stakes on debut, while yesterday at Geelong Danny O’Brien’s 3yo filly Sovereign Award won her second start by seven lengths and looks a Group horse in the making. Yearlings this selling season have sold for up to $160,000.

https://www.breednet.com.au/breeding/news_images/2019%20sires/shamusawardhead_2019_500.jpg

Widden’s Ryan McEvoy said while they were sad  to see the son of Snitzel leave, they understood the situation.

“One of Shamus’s major owners and biggest supporters Sean Buckley has the majority of his mares at his farm in Kilmore so to have the stallion closer to them was the factor. His progeny look like they are improving all the time so it’s definitely a coup for the Victorian breeding scene,” McEvoy said. “We wish them all well.”

Mithen was thrilled to be making a second stallion announcement in as many weeks as the stallion ranks at Rosemont grows to four.

“We have been very patient in our pursuit of stallions – it is a high risk game and we wanted to be pretty selective to ensure that the stallions we did bring in would suit the Victorian market and most importantly, would introduce some value for the breeders. As breeders ourselves we know that the economics at present are tough – there are a lot of high service fees and a lot of stallions with risky credentials and things can turn south pretty quickly when a decision turns out to be wrong. But we think we are presenting four stallions at affordable prices where you know what you get and they can provide a return.”

“It is a great line up and one that we hope allows us to fulfil our strategy of returning some value to the breeders. We can’t wait for the season to begin.”

Shamus Award’s service fee is set at $11,000 plus GST.

Sun’s Magnus dashes away with VOBIS Gold

Halvorsen ridden by Andrew Mallyon wins the Avenel Equine Hospital VOBIS Gold Dash at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Victorian’s were in full force at Caulfield’s rich VOBIS meeting with the phenomenal run of success continuing for the progeny of Sun Stud’s Group 1 stallion Magnus when Halvorsen captured the Avenel Equine Hospital VOBIS Gold Dash over 1100 metres, worth $180,000 in commanding fashion.

It was win number four for the lightning fast Magnus three-year-old who hasn’t finished further back than fourth in his last 9 starts, which include a comfortable win in the VOBIS Gold Carat at Moonee Valley in January and a close second in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes over 1200 metres at Caulfield in February.

Bred and proudly trained in Victoria by Robbie Griffiths, Halvorsen is one of 18 Magnus winners from 19 runners for the Cranbourne trainer.

A leading fan of Victoria’s Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold schemes since their inception, Griffiths said all the signs were there early to suggest Halvorsen possessed above-average ability.

“He’s a horse that has always had terrific talent,” Griffiths said. “He cow kicked me as a young horse, and I’ve never had a horse kick me that quick, so I thought if he’s that fast on race day he’s going to be very good.

“We went through a series of low-key races to teach him to relax and then the penny dropped, and we saw that at Moonee Valley last preparation when he beat Hawkshot.

And the run of success may not stop there, with Halvorsen now a challenger for next month’s Group 1 Goodwood Handicap over 1200 metres.

Connections of Halvorsen after winning the Avenel Equine Hospital VOBIS Gold Dash , at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

“The plan was always to get the VOBIS dollars today, and he’s ticked that box which is fantastic so now he could end up in Adelaide.”

“The Goodwood is a possibility, although he might not be seasoned enough for that yet.”

Halvorsen is out of Flourishing, a half-sister to Bel Esprit sprinter, Beltrois who is also bred, trained and raced by Robbie, a talented stakes winner over 1200 metres at Caulfield and multiple Group placed.

With three stakes winners in just over a week in March, Magnus will stand this season at Sun Stud at a fee of $16,500. For more information visit www.sunstud.com.au

Blue Gum has a Million golden reasons to smile

Widgee Turf ridden by Brad Rawiller wins the IRT VOBIS Gold Mile at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Natasha Morello/Racing Photos)

The unstoppable son of Blue Gum Stud’s Turffontein, Widgee Turf burst through the $1.1 million barrier for earnings when the horse termed ‘the buy of the century’ won his 10th metropolitan race in the IRT $280,000 VOBIS Gold Mile at Caulfield.

Picked up for just $4,500 from the draft of Little Plains Stud as a weanling at the 2014 Inglis Great Southern Sale at Oaklands Junction by Crown Valley Lodge, the five-year-old has now had 23 first three finishes from 29 starts.

For trainer Patrick Payne, and co-owners Gordon McIntosh and wife Marlene they are in awe of their brilliant bargain buy.

“We drove down from the middle of Queensland to be there for his winning Swan Hill debut as a three-year-old and from then on it’s just been mind-boggling, to tell you the truth. To have now won ten races in town and tick over a million dollars today, that blows me away. It doesn’t happen very often with a four-thousand-dollar horse.”

With a significant proportion of the $1 million in prize money from VOBIS bonuses and prizemoney, McIntosh was full of praise for the Victorian Owners and Breeders Incentive scheme.

“The VOBIS scheme – for Victorian owners and breeders – you’d be mad not to be in it.

And although Widgee Turf was unplaced in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap at Randwick, McIntosh said the Group 1 dream might not yet be over.

“Patrick’s a pretty astute man,” he said. “He is a brilliant horseman and I think the Stradbroke Handicap in June is next on the list.”

Purchased for a mere $4,500 as a weanling, he has been a phenomenal investment for the McIntosh couple.

“I remember looking at the other weanlings (at the sale) making $100,000 from the big studs, but it was a bright, alert, chestnut colt that caught my eye.”

“I liked the Turffontein horses and his progeny like Fontein Ruby, but what got my full attention was the way he walked. He was really stepping out.

“The handler could hardly keep up with him, he walked with such purpose, so I thought this guy is on a bit of a mission, and as nobody wanted him, and I couldn’t help but put my hand up.

Widgee Turf was born and raised at Barb Ivill’s Little Plains Farm before being offered for sale as a foal at the 2014 Inglis Great Southern Sale.

“I was too ill unfortunately to attend the sale, so he went through unreserved. I always really liked him, he moved well and had a great attitude. I was a bit disappointed he only made $4,500, as I thought he would have made more.” Barb Ivill said.

“He was a beautiful foal, with a lovely head on him and it is very pleasing to see him doing so well.”

Connections of Widgee Turf and Patrick Payne after winning the IRT VOBIS Gold Mile at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Natasha Morello/Racing Photos)

Widgee Turf is the last foal from the Kala Dancer mare Greyhound. Having foaled minor winners by Estambul and Legion, Ivill also bred Greyhound’s half-brothers Field Hunter (Torrential) and Change the Grange (Umatilla) to a total of 25 wins and both were successful at Flemington.

Originally retired from the studbook in 2014, Greyhound is now back in foal to Turffontein following Widgee Turf’s incredible recent success.

“She is a very pretty mare, with a lovely, good nature and she has never had any problems foaling. If they are healthy and strong to conceive and carry a pregnancy and we give them the best of care, I don’t see why old mares can’t produce first-rate foals.”

Americain’s Tarwin is destined for the Cup

Tarwin ridden by Beau Mertens wins the Spendthrift Australia VOBIS 3YO Sires at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Being born on Melbourne Cup Day and being by a Melbourne Cup winner, Americain’s Tarwin continues to show promising signs that one day he may fulfil his destiny for his breeder and owner, the Woolridge family of running in the big one.

After landing his third win from just four starts in Spendthrift Australia’s $310,000 VOBIS Sires race at Caulfield on the lucrative VOBIS Owners and Breeders Race day, a buoyant Mick Kent, was quick to make mention of the excellent bonus scheme for Victorian owners and breeders.

“The 1600-metre distance is well suited to horses by the Victorian stallions and Melbourne Cup winners American and Fiorente, who produce gallopers befitting middle-distance and staying races,” Kent said.

Tarwin defied a muddling speed and a wide run to finish off his three-year-old season in style and will now head to the paddock before a possible assault on the spring, including a tilt at the Cox Plate.

“He has a big future, potentially over further ground, but he is still maturing and learning as a rising four-year-old.”

“He’s fairly sharp, but as he was born on Melbourne Cup Day by a Melbourne Cup winner, he’s a fair way off that at the moment. He is a big, raw horse so we’ll just take our time with him,” Kent added.

Tarwin as a foal

A homebred for the Woolridge family, they have a long and memorable history raising, breeding and racing horses and Tarwin is only continuing to add to their passion.

Phil and Anne Woolridge met in the 1950’s through tennis as double partners in Paris. Phil a champion English schoolboy player and Anne representing Australia, fell in love with Phil following Anne back down under to married.

Although Anne grew up in the country and was a natural horsewoman, it was through their mutual tennis buddy, Doug Reid, that they were introduced to thoroughbred racing and breeding, being a committeeman at Flemington.

After attending the Adelaide broodmare sales in 1978 together, their breeding journey began, having secured three broodmares, including their foundation broodmare, Regal Dutchess.

An exceptional producer, she went to Doug Reid’s stallion Caboul, and produced Woking, who staunchly and successfully raced until he was ten.

For Jenny, their daughter, the passion for the industry has been lovingly passed down, as she is now also actively and enthusiastically involved.

“My family were fortunate to meet Joan Walker, and we sent our mare to Reckless, who produced Waratah Bay. He went on to win the St Leger in 1975 and ran in the Melbourne Cup,” Jenny Woolridge said.

Connections of Tarwin after winning the Spendthrift Australia VOBIS 3YO Sires , at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

“From dad’s point of view, you always have something to look forward to, when you have a youngster, and although we intended to sell some of our horses as yearlings, we never did. We just got so excited when we looked at the progeny, we always held onto them to race.”

“Interestingly Tarwin is from the Regal Dutchess line, as a fourth-generation descendant, and is possibly the most exciting galloper we have bred yet.”

“We were in tears of joy at Caulfield, and especially thrilled to win the race sponsored by the breeders – Spendthrift Australia.”

“We want to thank Spendthrift for sponsoring the race, as the breeders are what this industry relies on. When you look at their website and read the Spendthrift motto of ‘Without breeding, there is no racing’, you realise why the breeding industry is so important. This is what people need to remember and appreciate.”

“Breeders invest blood, sweat and tears. There is no doubting the love and dedication that they have for their mares and foals.”

Tarwin, nicknamed Bart (after the cups king) has been attracting some tempting financial offers, however, it is no surprise that the Woolridge’s will certainly never accept.

“This is why we breed, for the fun, and to have this success, and we would never ever consider selling him.”

The Woolridge’s typically name all their horses after places, either in Gippsland, with their farm based in Tarwin Lower, or from Surrey in the UK, where Phil was originally from.

They are currently breeding with two Brief Truce broodmares, the dam of Tarwin, Clandon and Sealer’s Cove, who is currently back in foal to Americain.

“Excitingly both will have their progeny running this Friday night at Cranbourne – Abinger (Teofilo) and Seattle Cove (Reset) – and as it is Dad’s birthday, let’s hope they can bring home a double – that would be the perfect present.”

Rosemont’s VOBIS success!

Mr Quickie ridden by Ben Allen wins the Hygain VOBIS Gold Heath at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

It was a double day of celebrations for Rosemont Stud with Mr Quickie’s popular win in the Hygain VOBIS Gold Heath over 2000 metres, along with Iconoclasm taking out the last, in the Newmarket Grandwest VOBIS Gold Sprint, worth $280,000.

A son of Shamus Award, Mr Quickie has now justifiably earned the top spot in the lead up to the Group 1 South Australian Derby.

Able to make amends for an uncharacteristic last start defeat, Mr Quickie accelerated well off a slow tempo to easily account for his older rivals in the $280,000 contest.

Trained by Phillip Stokes, having started his career with Darren Weir, he praised the composure of jockey Ben Allen and believes the three-year-old will have no trouble stepping up to the 2500m of the Derby in a fortnight.

“I left it up to Benny and he gave him a great ride, I was thrilled with the way the horse relaxed today. He’s a good racehorse, he just tries. He is giving every indication that he’ll run the Derby distance,” Stokes said.


While proud Victorian sponsors of the race, horse feed producer, Hygain, will also be looking ahead to the Derby as they played a significant part in the victory, with connections post-race making a point that Mr Quickie is “fuelled on Hygain”.

Bred and sold by Rosemont Stud, Mr Quickie was a $115,000 Magic Millions purchase for Dalziel Racing.

He is the first foal of Special Favour, a General Nediym winner at 2200 metres from Group 2 winner My Tusker, whose grand-dam is champion Kiwi mare Horlicks, who won the Japan Cup in world record time.

Horlicks many notable descendants include Melbourne Cup winner Brew and Group I ATC Australian Derby winner Fiumicino, giving every indication that classic success is well suited for Mr Quickie.

Iconoclasm ridden by Craig Williams wins the Newmarket Grandwest VOBIS Gold Sprint at Caulfield Racecourse on April 27, 2019 in Caulfield, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

While the second success of the day, the son of Rosemont’s Toorak Toff, Iconoclasm, the Stradbroke may well be firmly on the radar after taking out the Newmarket Grandwest VOBIS Gold Sprint.

A recent stable acquisition for trainer Danny O’Brien, Iconoclasm has earned a trip north for the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap in June.

Having contested a trio of Group 1 races at the end of his last campaign, Iconoclasm is destined for the elite level once more via two lead-up races in Brisbane.

“Danny’s got a couple of more runs planned for him in Queensland,” stable representative Ben Gleeson said.

“He may go two-week breaks between runs, and that leaves us well spaced for six weeks leading into the Group 1 Stradbroke.”

Spendthrift Australia joins forces with Trainer Connections Pty Ltd

Spendthrift Australia announces that it has formed a relationship with Trainer Connections Pty Ltd (Trainer Connections) and will offer a complimentary ASIC regulated Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for any foal by a Spendthrift stallion to be syndicated by a trainer.

Trainer Connections is the holder of an Australian Financial Services Licence. The company has met the criteria required to obtain a licence through the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) after passing the stringent conditions imposed on companies who apply.

One of the benefits offered by Trainer Connections to Trainers is the ability to use this licence to advertise horses that the Trainer would like to syndicate, without contravening regulatory restrictions placed on advertising by State Racing Controlling Bodies. Trainer Connections has available a legally prepared Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which is made available to its Trainers in order for them to go to the marketplace and publically advertise shares in their horse. This service is provided free of charge to Trainers, saving them up to $3,000 in the cost of having a PDS prepared. In addition, Trainer Connections will work with the Trainer to sell shares, register the syndicate and ensure that the requirements of the Governing Racing Body in each State are adhered to. Trainer Connections can also manage the monthly financial affairs of the syndicate on the Trainer’s behalf at no cost to the Trainer.

“Spendthrift is aware of the challenge to trainers when it comes to syndicating horses. It believes that this unique relationship with Trainer Connections is a way of giving back to those trainers who support Spendthrift stallions” said Garry Cuddy, General Manager of Spendthrift Australia.

“We are a company that strives to give back to our supporters where we can and this opportunity is something that is a step in the right direction.”

For further information please contact Spendthrift Australia 03 5421 5600, Garry Cuddy 0410 451 595, Josh Rix 0411 116 648 or Greg Scott at Trainer Connections on 0416 246 111. Also visit the company website at www.trainerconnections.com.au to see the range of services offered.

The Showdown attracts stellar field

The field of the inaugural Showdown has been finalised, with 16 VOBIS Sires two-year-olds set to chase the $1 million purse this Saturday at Caulfield’s Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday.

Named after the legendary stallion of the 1970s, The Showdown is only open to the two-year-old progeny of Victorian-based stallions nominated for the VOBIS Sires Race Series.

Twelve Victorian stallions are represented in The Showdown, from seven Victorian studs. Darley Northwood has the most representatives, with four, followed by Sun Stud with three.

The impressive field is headlined by Hightail, trained in Sydney by the father-son partnership of Peter and Paul Snowden. The gelded son of Victoria’s leading stallion Written Tycoon has amassed $273,240 in prizemoney from six career starts, including two wins.

One of the most exciting runners is Prince of Sussex, trainer Matt Laurie’s precocious sprinter who lived up to his regal billing with a dominant performance in the VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m) on Bendigo’s Golden Mile Race Day last month.

Prince of Sussex was sired by leading imported stallion Toronado, who stands at Swettenham Stud. Starspangledbanner, who like Toronado has a Royal Ascot win on his impressive resumé, has two of his progeny in the field.  

Father-and-son training team of Leon and Troy Corstens, who are strong supporters of the VOBIS program, have three hopefuls in contention for the $500,000 first prize cheque – Stand to Attention (Starspangledbanner), Heka Express (Starspangledbanner) and Free Thrills (Unencumbered). Trainer Brendan McCarthy has two contenders – Lucifer’s Reward and Oh So Rewarding – both by Chatswood Stud’s consistent sire, Reward For Effort.

Other starters in Saturday’s billing include Geraldine’s Jewel, a bargain buy at last year’s Inglis Melbourne VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale. Trainer Mark Ashby, who named Geraldine’s Jewel after his mother, paid just $5,500 for the daughter of Helmet, and it proved a very shrewd investment when she won on her debut at Sandown last month.

At the other end of the scale, Sisstar was bought for $600,000 – twice the price of her famous sister Sunlight, who has won three Group 1s for trainer Tony McEvoy.

“This will be the inaugural running of The Showdown which is a great concept designed by the Victorian Breeders to showcase and promote the exceptional stallions that we have in Victoria,” said Charmein Bukovec, Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria’s Executive Officer.

“The prizemoney raised was partly due to contributions from Racing Victoria and the State Government but mainly from Victorian Stallion farms contributing to the pool of prizemoney.”

“The Showdown has been in the making for some time now and to see the race come to fruition is exciting for all Victorian breeders.”

The Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day, at Caulfield this Saturday, is a great day which showcases Victorian breeding and with seven VOBIS Gold Premier Races scheduled and more than $2.5 million in prizemoney and bonuses on offer, it is one of the state’s premier off-season meetings.

CLICK HERE to view the field.

Pre-race veterinary inspections commence today for all starters and emergencies in The Showdown.

MRC offers complimentary access for Victorian Breeders

As part of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria’s commitment to providing more value for its members, TBV and the Melbourne Racing Club have formalised an agreement that will provide better access to race meetings at the MRC’s three racecourses.  

The Melbourne Racing Club, who host 70+ race meetings annually across its three racecourses (Caulfield, Mornington and Ladbrokes Park), are pleased to offer all Victorian Breeders complimentary racecourse and members reserve admission for the remainder of the 18/19 Racing Season (Until July 31st 2019), commencing with this weekend’s Victorian Owners & Breeders Race Day.

For details on how to obtain your ticketing, please see below:

  • Simply visit the Ticket Box Office at the Main Gate
  • Show your ID at the Ticket Box Office, where your name will be recorded and you will be able to collect your Daily Members Reserve Access Pass which also provides admission to the racecourse.

Charmein Bukovec, TBV – Executive Officer, welcomed the initiative which commences on the inaugural running of The Showdown on April 27.

“I applaud the MRC for inviting breeders to continue to be part of their horse’s journey across their three tracks. As we are all aware, breeders have an enormous amount of pride for their horses and love to be able to cheer them on trackside.”

TBV and the MRC encourage you to make the most of this new benefit and enjoy all of the action trackside at Caulfield, Mornington and Ladbrokes Park and thank you for your ongoing commitment to the industry.

Written Tycoon leads the way at Woodside

Written Tycoon, Victoria’s leading sire stands at Woodside Park.

Written Tycoon again heads Woodside Park Stud’s stallion roster for 2019 with Victoria’s champion sire to stand at an unchanged fee of $110,000 (inc GST).

“A beacon for the Victorian industry, Written Tycoon’s appeal extends far beyond as he is one of only a handful of stallions to have sired two colts to win the two richest Group 1 2-year-old features on the Australian turf calendar,” General Manager Commercial James Price said.

Written Tycoon’s son Capitalist won the Golden Slipper Stakes while Written By was victorious in last season’s Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes.

“Breed-shapers Redoute’s Choice and Danehill are the only other stallions in the past 25 years to do so,” Price said.

Written Tycoon is also the sire of the Group 1 winners Tycoon Tara, Music Magnate,

Booker and Luna Rossa and he has produced 49 stakes performers to date. His current yearling crop sold up to $900,000 at both the Magic Millions Yearling Sale and Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, as well as topping the second day of the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.

Joining Written Tycoon is his fastest ever son Rich Enuff, whose first crop of yearlings were in keen demand at the sales, while Invincible Spirit’s son Cable Bay will stand his third season in Victoria and off the back of the early success achieved by his first crop of European runners.

“It’s a fascinating and highly anticipated twelve months ahead for these two stallions with their first runners on the track in 2019,” Price said.

“Everybody has loved the physique of Rich Enuff’s stock while Cable Bay’s first three runners for two winners and a second is simply extraordinary.”

Rich Enuff’s first crop of yearlings sold up to $300,000 at the Magic Millions sale in January and the Group 1 placegetter will stand for $12,100 (inc GST).

“With trainers expressing their delight at his progeny, we are looking forward to seeing Rich Enuff’s first crop contest the early juvenile races of the new season. With Rich Enuff being the fastest three-year-old over 1200 metres at Flemington, we expect him to be a leading contender in the first-season sire race,” Price said.

Tosen Stardom (Jpn), the only dual Australian Group 1 winning son of world dominator Deep Impact (Jpn) to stand at stud in Australia, will cover his second book of mares later this year.

“The sustained success of seven-time champion sire Deep Impact, who was represented by his 40th individual Group 1 winner recently, has continued to see outstanding interest in Tosen Stardom, who will remain at a fee of $19,250 (inc GST).” Price said.

“With impressive fertility, the Group 1 Toorak Handicap and Group 1 Emirates Stakes winner was one of only four Victorian first season sires to cover more than 120 mares, a true testament to his popularity. With a season under his belt, Tosen Stardom has let down into a true equine marvel. Breeders will see he has transformed into a tremendous equine athlete.” 

Group 1 winner and producer Foxwedge will cover his first Victorian book of mares since joining the farm earlier this year. The Group 1 William Reid Stakes winning son of Fastnet Rock will stand at $16,500 (inc GST).

“This price offers incredible value. With Foxwedge’s credentials as a sire, at this price he has no peer in Victoria,” Price said. “The risk has been removed with Foxwedge – he is the sire of Group 1 winners and breeders have the opportunity to breed their own Group 1 winner at a very affordable price.”

Foxwedge is the sire of the elite level winners Foxplay, Volpe Veloce and Urban Fox, while his current 2 and 3-year-old crops racing crops include Gerald Ryan’s Group 2 performer Villami as well as Run Fox Run, who is unbeaten in three starts in South Africa.

Cable Bay (Ire) has got away to a flying start in the Northern Hemisphere and he will stand his third Australian season at a fee of $13,200 (inc GST).

“Cable Bay’s first European crop of runners has hit the track running, showing tremendous speed,” Price said.

The stunning son of Invincible Spirit has been represented by just three runners for two winners with a combined winning margin of nine lengths. His other runner finished a head second at her only start.

“He’s sure to prove tremendously popular once again and, with all mares selected for the stallion needing to pass a mating compatibility test, he is being given every chance to succeed.”

The Sun is shining bright for Sun’s Stallions

National Defense to stand at Sun Stud (Irish National Stud)

With another brilliant week for the Kerrie based Sun Stud, two of their stallions again came away with stakes victories and with National Defense to shuttle in 2019, the future is looking bright.

The ever-consistent Magnus clocked up another brilliant sprinting stakes win with Streets of Avalon’s victorious in the Group 3 Ladbrokes Victoria Handicap over 1400 metres at Caulfield.

Known as tenacious and tough, breeder/owner, Phil Warren, is proud to call his four-year-old sprinter the “Rocket Man”.

Hitting the lead around 300 metres from home, Streets of Avalon showed plenty of grit over the closing stages to hold off a strong challenge from fast finishing favourite, Manolo Blahniq: recording a second stakes victory from his last three outings.

Warren, a successful Melbourne based businessman, has been involved in the thoroughbred industry for the past decade and races Streets of Avalon with a few close friends.

“I initially had some horses with OTI Racing including (dual stakes winner) New Kid In Town and (Kilmore Cup winner) Dany The Fox, but Streets of Avalon is the best one to date,” Warren explains.

“I’ve only got two broodmares and breed strictly to race. The mares, foals and yearlings are at Supreme Thoroughbreds in Romsey, while the three I currently have in work are all with Shane Nichols at Mornington.”

Although Streets of Avalon didn’t break his maiden until three in an unfashionable Bairnsdale Maiden, Nichols believes the horse has always been steadily improving.

“He (Streets of Avalon) was fairly backward early, a bit immature, but in the run after his maiden win, at Caulfield on Boxing Day, he finished a very good third,” Nichols points out.

“Ever since then he’s been rarely out of a place and has won four races in town this season, including the (Listed) Hareeba Stakes at Mornington last month. In fact, this time in he’s had nine starts for three wins and four placings, including a second to Violate in the Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue and a half-length third behind Widgee Turf and Hellova Street in the Listed Super Saturday. He should really be three from three as he got knocked from pillar to post at Caulfield two weeks ago.

“He’s a very good horse and it’s great for Phil and his mates. Great bunch of owners.”

The Victoria Handicap was Streets of Avalon’s 32nd outing and he has currently won six starts, with a further 15 placings, for $634,860 in stakes.

And there could be plenty more where that came from according to Nichols.

“I’m 95% sure at this stage Streets of Avalon will be sent to the paddock and we’ll have him ready to return for the spring,” Nichols reveals. “Those good, on-pace runners win more than they lose, and I reckon he’d have a genuine chance in races like the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke over 1400 metres or even maybe the Group 1 Toorak Handicap over 1600 metres.”

One of 19 stakes winners for the Sun Stud based, Magnus, clocking up a hat trick of black type winners in the past month, Streets of Avalon is out of the well-related Black Minnaloushe mare, Kamuniak, a full sister to dual Group 1 winning two-year-old, Jokers Wild.

Kamuniak has produced a yearling full sister to Streets of Avalon which will also be making her way to Nichols’ stable, while she also has a “lovely” Starspangledbanner weanling filly and, despite failing to get in foal last spring, will be heading back to Magnus this year.

While the Love Conquers All sired Mr Marbellouz won the Listed BRC Ascot Handicap at Doomben despite a bottomless track. Trained by Kevin Kemp, Mr Marbellouz missed the start, but was still proved too strong to secure a short half head win in the 1200 metre sprint.

The five-year-old gelding has an impressive record with eight wins from 15 starts and nearly $300,000 in prizemoney. Retained to race by his breeders Phillipa and William Kingswell, Mr Marbellouz is the best of three winners from Red Ransom (USA) mare Marbled, who comes from the family of Golden Slipper winner Polar Success. Marbled produced another colt by Love Conquers All last spring.

Mr Marbellouz is the third stakes-winner for Love Conquers All joining Savanna Amour and I’m a Rippa. An outcross sire by the now retired Mossman, Love Conquers All has 54.2% winners to runners and is a proven option for those seeking an affordable Danehill free option.

While Sun Stud has confirmed that National Defense (GB), the Group 1 winning son of Invincible Spirit (IRE), will join the roster at its Victorian-based stud in the upcoming season.

National Defense was set to shuttle to Sun Stud’s Kerrie property last year, but an injury saw him remain in Ireland. He is currently in his second season at the Irish National Stud, with his first Northern Hemisphere foals hitting the ground and he will now shuttle to Australia where he will stand at $11,000 (inc GST).

A winner on debut by six lengths before winning the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Legardere at Chantilly by 4.5 lengths at just his third start, he becomes the sixth son of Invincible Spirit, who he stood alongside in Ireland, to stand in Australia. National Defense is out of the unraced mare Angel Falls (GB) (Kingmambo {USA}), who has also produced the stakes-placed pair Nordic Defence (Makfi {GB}) and Cascading (Teofilo {IRE})

“National Defense was a brilliant juvenile who absolutely streeted his rivals and, not only is he an outstanding type, he’s by one of the most influential sires in the world,” Sun Stud’s Sales & Nominations Manager, Mark Lindsay said.

He is one of 10 stallions standing at Sun Stud in 2019, joining a list that includes emerging sire Fiorente, whose fee jumps to $27,500 (inc GST) off the back of a strong season on the track from his progeny.

Fiorente has had 19 winners this season, including the stakes winners Stars of Carrum and Hawkshot, who were both successful at Group 2 level and placed in Group 1s, and Power Scheme, who recently became the Melbourne Cup victor’s first two-year-old stakes winner.

“We couldn’t be happier with the ‘team’ for 2019 and the National Defense announcement comes off the back of terrific results recently from Sun Stud stallions such as Fiorente, who this month notched up his third stakes winner with the Lindsay Park trained 2YO, Power Scheme,” Lindsay said.

“Sun Stud will again offer the best terms available to breeders, with no payment due until live foal.”

Palentino, the Group 1 winning son of Teofilo (IRE), stands for $17,500, with his first yearlings to hit the sales ring in 2020. He has weanlings for sale at the upcoming sales in Sydney and on the Gold Coast.

Thronum served his first season last season and returns this year at $11,000 (inc GST), while Ready For Victory’s first crop hit the track next season and he stands at $6,600 (inc GST).

Love Conquers All, who will stand for $8,800 (inc GST), had a third stakes winner with Mr Marbellouz, while Magnus stands for $16,500 (inc GST) in 2019, with Saturday’s Group 3 Victoria Handicap winner Streets of Avalon one of five stakes-winners for him this season. He is on track to surpass 100 winners for the third time in four seasons.

Veteran stallion Bel Esprit has had an excellent season on the track, with 81 winners already, including stakes-winning pair Tactical Advantage and Belwazi, He enters his 17th season at stud priced at $11,000 (inc GST).  Fighting Sun, who has had 14 winners so far this season, stands for $13,750 (inc GST), while Squamosa, who had Kiwi Ida claim a second stakes-success late in 2018, is priced at $6,600 (inc GST).

Connections of Streets of Avalon after winning the Ladbrokes Victoria Handicap, at Caulfield.(Racing Photos)

Sadler is ready for a Showdown

Sartorial Splendor heads to The Showdown. (Racing Photos)

Trainer John Sadler is ready to deliver a knockout blow with possibly the best colt he has ever prepared. Although only a debut winner, and lacking experience, Sadler well-known for his patience, admits the lure of a big prize money cheque has him eyeing off the inaugural running of The Showdown at Caulfield.

Sadler has the debut Terang winner Sartorial Splendor aimed at the 1200 metre two-year-old race which is exclusive to the progeny of VOBIS nominated stallions. Carrying a lucrative first prize of $522,500, the trainer has been swayed and has brought forward the speed of the colt’s preparation.

“Saturday is the only reason we’ve pushed him,” Sadler said. “It’s a million-dollar race, otherwise he wouldn’t have run yet. We have hurried him along a bit.”

Sadler said Sartorial Splendor did a few things wrong at Terang when successful on April 14 as odds-on favourite, but his raw talent got him through.

“Ability-wise, I doubt that I’ve had anything as good – which is a big call – but whether he’s as good a racehorse or not, we’ll all find out together,” Sadler said on Tuesday.

“Two of his gallops that he’s put in on the course proper at Caulfield, I haven’t had horses do that ever before, but whether he can transfer that onto the racetrack, we’ll see.”

“If he can produce (in trackwork) what I’ve seen, he’ll be very, very hard to beat in this race.”

“He’s a really exciting horse. I don’t know mentally if he’s ready for it. He certainly is physically, and he’s much fitter than he was at Terang. It’ll be a really interesting day to see how he copes. A good barrier draw would help as it looks like it will be a full field with a few smart horses in it.

“He’s certainly going to benefit greatly from this preparation and he’s a horse going forward that you would think that would be certainly a better three-year-old.”

A $130,000 yearling from the 2018 Inglis Premier Sale, Sartorial Splendor is a half-brother, by Brazen Beau, to Fontiton, who was the favourite in the 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield for former trainer Robert Smerdon, after winning both the Preview and Prelude.

“He was one of Brazen Beau’s first year, so there was a question mark on him, but he’s a really nice and a very good horse,” Sadler said. “He’s one of the best gallopers I’ve had, but whether he’s the best racehorse we’ll have to find out.”

Saturday’s inaugural race has attracted 32 nominations with 18 Victorian sires represented. Swettenham Stud’s Toronado (Ire) having five of his first crop two-year-old’s nominated.

They include leading chance Prince of Sussex, after winning impressively on debut for trainer Matt Laurie in the VOBIS Gold Rush on Bendigo’s Golden Mile Race Day last month.

In the race for the $50,000 Showdown VOBIS Sires nominator’s bonus is Sun Stud who are leading with seven nominations who represent 22% of runners in the field with their stallions Fighting Sun, Fiorente, Moshe, Squamosa, and Magnus. 

Rosemont Stud has five nominations, Swettenham and Darley on five, with two from Brazen Beau. Woodside has four and include the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Hightail, who ran third in January’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast.

Chatswood with Reward For Effort has two challengers, Three Bridges with two, both by Unencumbered and one each to Lauriston Park, and Spendthrift Australia.

Searching for Gold at Inglis

The Inglis Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale commences this Sunday (Racing Photos).

A strong representation of the Victorian breeding industry, the 2019 Inglis Gold Yearling Sale will offer brilliant value and some possible bargains in the substantial 260 lot catalogue. 

With the leading studs and small breeders equally in attendance, the buying bench will include both metropolitan and country trainers, making the most of one of the last opportunities for yearling purchases in Victoria this year.

With a wide range of proven and First Season Sires on offer, there are yearlings from the in-demand and popular sires Exceed and Excel, Rubick, Zoustar, Dundeel and So You Think.

They are complemented by the best of Victoria’s sires, with Written Tycoon, Fiorente, Foxwedge, Toronado, Unencumbered, and Magnus all on offer.

The Melbourne Gold Sale has produced some outstanding results in recent years, none better than the likes of Group 1 winner Malaguerra.

Consigned by Pakenham’s Ballarto Lodge by Bruno Micalizzi and Bluegrass Bloodstock for a bargain buy of $32,000, with the son of Magnus has won $1.9 million dollars for the Gelagotis brothers.

John McArdle’s Group 1 placed and the Group 2 winning mare I’II Have A Bit who cost a modest $48,000 from Bassinghall Farm’s draft has comfortably won $676,000 on the track, with still more to come.

The daughter of Turffontein, Lyuba was a bargain buy at $2000 from Swettenham Stud, a Group 3 winner down the straight at Flemington has collected a handy $445,000 for connections, not to mention, the Yallambee Stud consigned Sirbible, who was picked up for a small sum of $3,500 has now collected $326,000 in racetrack earnings.

While current galloper, McEvoy’s Desert Lashes ran a blistering 55-second challenge at The Valley which gives a healthy return of $370,000 for only a $3000 purchase price for the speedy daughter of Reward For Effort, who is represented with eight yearlings in the sale.

Making the most of the lucrative Super VOBIS, VOBIS Gold and VOBIS Sires programmes, 115 yearlings are Super VOBIS nominated across 53 individual vendors. The leading seller is Bowness Stud with 21 entries ahead of Blue Gum Farm with 18, Golden Grove Stud with 15 and Bucklee Farm with 13.

Following a big day of racing at Caulfield where the Owners and Breeders Day will feature the inaugural running of the $1 million Showdown, the Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale will be held at Oaklands Junction on Sunday April 28 from 10am.

The perfect way to finish a great weekend highlighting the very best of the Victorian racing and breeding industries.

Behind the Barriers With: Leeanne Smith

Leeanne Smith (left) and her Bucklee Farm 2018 sale team.

*A story from Tai Ryan’s Racing Girl Blog

Dedicated. Professional. Experienced. Benevolent. Battling. Exhausted. These words could be used to describe just about anyone who works in racing.

Today, breeder Leeanne Smith is preparing to transport her draft of 13 yearlings to Melbourne for this Sunday’s Inglis Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale. After a quick post-Easter debrief, she ends our call with “Well, I’d better keep moving, if I stop I’ll fall asleep”. It’s a familiar ending to our regular phone conversations.

Leeanne has been in my life for as long as I’ve been alive. Before I hit double digits, whatever I wasn’t learning in my father’s stable, I was being taught at her Wangaratta training stables during school holidays. Whilst my box-mucking skills were fine-tuned, I was also absorbing life lessons I wouldn’t realise until I was much older.

As the cliché goes, Leeanne (or ‘Aunty Lil’ as she’s affectionately known) became involved with racehorses at a very young age. She was a 12 year old girl who, from a single parent family with three brothers, wanted a pony and needed a way to pay for its upkeep. Walking into the Mordialloc stables of Bon Hoysted, she picked up a job of mucking out boxes before school for a small wage. The love affair with racing started as the master trainer took her under his wing.

Leeanne strapped many racehorses over the years, but none have come close to Hall of Fame inductee, Manikato.

In his 40 years of training, Bon had never won a Group 1 race until Manikato came along. As a two-year-old in 1978, Manikato won the Blue Diamond Stakes and Golden Slipper double. Bon passed away suddenly after this and his brother Bob, subsequently took over. Manikato would go on to added a further seven Group 1 and 16 Group 2 victories to his resume He broke at least three track records and was the second Australian horse to achieve $1 million in prizemoney.

“Only a handful of people are lucky enough to be associated with a champion,” says Leeanne. “I was one of them.”

Moving to Euroa to seek a new adventure saw Leeanne working for Victoria’s first and only stud mistress at the time, Thelma Harris of Lauriston Park.

“She imprinted my horse knowledge, and I am so grateful to her,” recalls Leeanne.

“She was a brilliant yearling preparer and she taught me the basics. From the first day, she changed me from a stable girl to a farm girl, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Along the way, Leanne took out her own trainers licence, basing herself at those Wangaratta stables I would come to frequent. She would eventually win the one race that meant so much to her, the Bonny Hoysted Apprentices Cup at Pakenham.

“I had strapped a true champion for Bon and I had won his race. I was in tears leaving the grandstand that night.”

In 1995, Leeanne and her partner Peter Buckley purchased an old run-down dairy farm in Greta West, a few kilometres out of Glenrowan, in North East Victoria. The property, now known as Bucklee Farm, is a boutique broodmare, weanling and yearling farm. It is also home to a family of miniature and Shetland ponies, dogs, cats and chickens. Out that way, Mother Nature is not always kind, but each and every animal is cared for with the utmost attention.

Continuing to juggle training with building up the farm, Leeanne eventually retired from training to focus solely on the farm as her clientele grew. Some fine Victorian bred racehorses have been born and raised at Bucklee Farm – Miss Norway, She’s Our Gift, Sopressa, Money Maher, Free of Debt, Geraldine’s Jewel and Group 2 winner Cliff’s Edge.

This industry is literally 24/7. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. Leeanne is one of those racing people who, even though riches may have eluded her, continues her work with a passion that is becoming harder to hard to find these days. And anyway, it’s not about the money. She’s rich in other ways.

A slight limp caused by a horse kick might slow her down a little these days but Leeanne isn’t showing any signs of stopping. She is my inspiration, my motivation and my voice of reason. On those days where giving up appears as the easiest option, she’ll pull me back into line. “If I’m not quitting, then neither are you.”

If you’re heading out to Oaklands Junction this week, keep an eye out for Leeanne. She’ll be the one running her barn like a well-oiled machine and turning her babies out in their best order – shiny coats, glossy hooves and no matter the weather, there will be a smile on her face.

Click here to view Bucklee Farm’s full draft for the 2019 Inglis Melbourne VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale. Held this Sunday 28th April from 10am, inspections commence Thursday.

Champion racehorse, Manikato

No Barrier No Limits Mentoring Program Continues

Racing Victoria is once again running their successful No Barriers No Limits Women’s Mentoring Program.

The aim of the WMP is to retain, grow and develop women in racing. The initial foray into this program was a partnership between Racing Victoria and TABCORP. The program then extended to Steering Committee Participants – the ATA, VJA, CRV and TBV.

What is the Women’s Mentoring Program?

The WMP offers a development opportunity for women mentees by providing access to mentors (senior managers and executives) tools and resources, and networking opportunities. It provides the push needed for women to further their personal and professional self.

  • Mentors and mentees complete a 12-week program and are provided the Emberin My Mentor: Courageous Woman Program self-paced learning kit containing CD’s, DVDs, USB and workbook.
  • Regular mentoring group sessions lead by Racing Victoria and stakeholder organisation Mentors (groups become self-regulating)
  • Weekly emails from the WMP Program Coordinator with supporting material.
  • Celebratory events for all Mentors and Mentees upon commencement and completion.

TBV Members are welcome to nominate for the program. To find out more information or to nominate a female worker in your employ who would benefit from this program, please contact TBV Executive Officer, Charmein Bukovec, by COB Thursday 2nd May 2019 on tbv@racingvictoria.net.au 

Saving the ANZAC Walers

A typical Waler of the ANZAC Mounted Division. (Australian War Memorial)

ANZAC Day is the anniversary of the first major military action by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. It is also a time to commemorate all our other servicemen and women, both past and present, who have served our country.

Horses have always played a central part in our country’s history – from farming and building, from the legendary Man from Snowy River story to their partnership with us in sport. Their strength, loyalty, reliability and character reflects that of the Australian spirit. 

More than 130,000 Australian horses were sent overseas to support our troops in WW1. At the end of the war, the Government imposed strict quarantine laws to stop the spread of disease, meaning our remaining 13,000 horses were unable to return home to Australia.

The horses that were sent were a mix of breeds, including the thoroughbred, however the most used horses were Walers. The Waler is an Australian breed developed from horses brought to the Australian colonies in the 19th century, including Thoroughbreds, Arabs and Timor Ponies. The name comes from their breeding origins in New South Wales.

One famous Waler to assist our troops is Major-General W.T Bridges’ mount, Sandy, the only Waler to be returned home after the war. Another, Bill The Bastard, was the winner of the inaugural ANZAC led Jericho Cup. This race has be honoured with the re-creation of The Jericho Cup, first run at Warrnambool Race Club last December.

After the war, there was a decline in the demand for Walers. In May 2013, 10,000 Walers were culled at the Northern Territory’s Tempe Downs Station. They are now unfortunately a dying breed, however Jess Liston, daughter of Pauline from Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, is doing something to change that. She tells her story: 

The Waler is an amazing breed of horse – they are uniquely Australian and played such an important role in our nation’s history as a war horse. Over the last twelve months I have been working with old blood line Walers in my Equine Assisted Coaching business Inner Rhythm. I have been astounded at their temperament, confirmation and ability to work with my clients who come from all walks of life, from three year old children to business leaders, health professional, local sporting teams and other community groups.

These are incredibly loyal animals that have a temperament more like a family dog than other horses you may be familiar with – but sadly they are close to extinction.

We sent 136,000 Walers to war and thousands more to colonial outposts, today, less than 400 remain in Australia – soon they could be lost forever.

Research into this breed has been occurring over the last 40 years. We have identified a small group of around 300 Walers on an outback property in the Northern Territory. In 2019 I am heading there with a small group of horse enthusiasts to save 20 of them. We are getting good media interest to help spread the word. My mother Pauline Liston and good friend Angela Tiede (who owns old blood line Walers) and I will be there before Easter. We will be hosted by local people and the traditional land owners as we explore the logistics of selecting and transporting horses back to Victoria.

We are fund raising to pay for the horse related expense of the trip and the transport of the horses back to my property in Victoria. From there we will handle and re-home them. We are looking for great horse homes, so if you would love your very own old blood line Waler and have the experience and facilities to manage a wild horse then please get in touch and e-mail jess@innerrhythm.com.au

To donate to this cause, please click here – https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-the-waler

These horses saved so many Australian lives at war, now it’s time for us to save them. Thank you for your support!

Mirette ensures Three Bridges sire is not forgotten

Mirette as a yearling.

The late and sorely missed Three Bridges stallion Unencumbered (Testa Rossa) was provided with his first stakes winner at Morphettville on the weekend after Victorian filly Mirette scored a narrow victory in Group 3 The Schweppervescence / Auraria Stakes, over 1800 metres.

With a steady run of results and good news for the Eddington based nursery, following Ringerdingding’s win last week, and a solid selling performance at Easter, Three Bridges’ Toby Liston was thrilled to see Unencumbered secure his first stakes winner with the highly promising filly.

“After all the hard work, it’s good to finally see it all paying off for the farm, and particularly so for Unencumbered,” Toby Liston said.

The Archie Alexander-trained filly made the journey down south worthwhile when beating Dreamed (Dream Ahead) by a neck, with the same margin back to Sizzleme (Sizzling) in third.

In her previous run, in the Alexandra Stakes, Mirette was clearly the best of the on-speed horses, going down less than a length to Princess Jenni, and if she had drawn a more favourable gate, she may have very nearly won.

Wrapping up their sales results at the recent Inglis Easter, they were very pleased how the buying bench received their draft as a whole.

“We had a great sale, our horses sold well, and they are all going to great operations. Anthony Freedman, Snowden Racing and Danny O’Brien all secured a lot, while the nicest couple in country New South Wales you would ever meet, took home the fourth. They are headed to fantastic homes and will have every chance to succeed.”

“We knew that people would like them, we knew the trainers would like them, and while we were hoping to get some overs, they all made their fair value, which gives us 100% clearance yet again.”

“Throughout the whole yearling sale season, we have maintained 100% clearance which is an enormous effort and demonstrated the quality we are offering to the buying bench. The purchasers believe in our product, and they have the confidence to buy from our farm.”

Mirette, who now stamps herself as a solid South Australian Oaks contender, advances her record to four wins and three seconds from 11 starts with earnings of $193,655.

An affordable yearling purchase, being a $75,000 purchase by Alexander Racing/McKeever Bloodstock out of the Three Bridges Thoroughbreds draft at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

“It’s great for Mirette’s trainer Archie Alexander, who is a great supporter of Three Bridges. He is a very good trainer and a good person. He bought another Unencumbered out of our draft at Adelaide with Jeremy Rogers for $90,000,” Liston said.

“We would love to win the South Australian Oaks back to back, having won it last year with Sopressa, also raised on the farm, and it would be even more special to win it with a daughter of Unemcumbered, giving him his first Group 1.”

Mirette is the second winner from as many foals to race out of the unraced Zabeel mare Lady Zabeel, and a granddaughter of the stakes-placed Primera Dama (Danzero) who is a half-sister to multiple Stakes winner and Group 2 STC Peter Pan Stakes and Group 2 VATC Sandown Guineas runner-up Enjoy Dancing.

“We purchased the mare through Paul Willetts to breed to Unencumbered, and the previous owners of Unencumbered stuck through that mare. It’s great to see her become a Group winning mare, but I did tell them to keep her!”

Lady Zabeel was purchased by Yulong Investments for $95,000 at the 2017 Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale when carrying a full-sister to Mirette, Lady Zabeel had a colt foal by Exceed And Excel last spring and was covered by Choisir.

Sun’s Triple Treat

Power Scheme's dash to the finish line at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Sun Stud’s stallions were having quite the weekend, with three impressive winners across three states.

First up and providing Fiorente his third stakes-winner, was the two-year-old colt Power Scheme, who surged home to score a narrow win in the Listed ATC Fernhill Handicap at Randwick on the second day of The Championships.

A full brother to Group 2 MRC Autumn Stakes winner Hawkshot, the Lindsay Park trained Power Scheme has now shown similar stakes ability.

A close last start second in the $125,000 Mornington Polytrack Sires Stakes he was able to handle the class rise to this 1600 metre Black Type contest with ease. Strong all the way to the line for Mark Zahra he won by a short half head in a thrilling finish over Dissident filly Foxborough.  

Bred and retained to race by Victorian-based Sun Bloodstock, Power Scheme has a win and two placings from five starts with prizemoney in excess of $117,000. He is the third winner from three foals to race from Rosa Perlato, an Encosta de Lago daughter of stakes-placed Fiammarosa from the family of Group I winners Shindig and Shinzig. Rosa Perlato was covered by another of the Sun Stud sires last season in Thronum.

Co-trainer David Hayes spoke glowingly of Power Scheme in his post-race debrief, and the colt could make a quick return to the track in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes over 1600 metres at Randwick next Saturday.

“He’s by Fiorente, and I think he’s a horse of the future, a Derby colt, and we’re very excited he can step up like this,” Hayes said. “If he pulls up well, we might back him up into the Champagne next week.”

Sun Stud’s Fiorente covered 169 mares last spring, and with his oldest progeny just three-year-olds, the son of Monsun is already doing an excellent job, with better results expected as they mature. With horses like Hawkshot and Stars Of Carrum flying the flag, he is proving popular with buyers with his yearlings in 2019 averaging $126,000 off a great value service fee of $17,600 for the 2018 season.

The second winner for Sun Stud was from the ever-reliable stallion Magnus, with the magnificent win of Mahamedeis who powered home from last to score over 1600 metres at Caulfield on Saturday.

Luke Currie had no one behind him at the 400-metre marker but judged his run to perfection to get home in the final strides on board the ultra-consistent and classy four-year-old gelding.

Having saluted in both the Traralgon and Werribee Cups last preparation Mahamedeis is building a super impressive resume of seven wins, and four placings from only 20 starts, with earnings of $577,290 for his Caulfield based trainer, Nick Ryan.

“I was confident today, and it’s good to see it come off. He will target the profitable 2000 metre VOBIS Gold race in a fortnight Caulfield and will be tough to beat,” said Ryan.

Mahamedeis is the fourth named foal out of the Elusive Quality mare, Elusive Magic, and was bred by Victorian breeder Christie Woodard at the former Yallambie Stud in Kerrie.

On the right track, Magnus has recorded 78 individual winners and has over $4.2m in progeny earnings already for the 2018/19 season, a remarkable statistic from a service fee of only $19,800.

While the final victor for Sun Stud was the talented Squamosa filly taking out the lucrative two-year-old event at Rockhampton on Saturday.

Unbeaten in two starts, the two-year-old filly Good Humour produced an exciting burst of acceleration to win the $125,000 Capricornia Yearling Sale Classic over 1200 metres.

The Toowoomba trained filly won convincingly on debut in February at Rockhampton and has retained her unbeaten status with an electric three-quarter-length win in the valuable 2YO Classic. With the winner’s purse and QTIS bonuses, the impressive Squamosa juvenile will see her prizemoney soar well over the six-figure mark, much to the delight of her connections.

Good Humour is the first foal out of the Mossman mare, Funny As, and was bred by loyal Sun Stud client Perry Hardy. Standing in 2018 for $6,600, Squamosa has a cost-effective winner’s average earnings index of $65,645 and has an exceptional strike rate of 11% stakes horses to runners.

Flinders Park Stud is Humming along to Gold

Humma Humma as a yearling

Flinder’s Park Stud graduate Humma Humma’s (Denman) narrow victory in the Listed Redelva Stakes over 1100 metres at Morphettville on the weekend was celebrated by her Mornington Peninsula vendor, after the talented mare had gone so close, on so many occasions.

The talented three-year-old filly finally saluted having spent the best part of her early career playing black-type bridesmaid frustratingly for popular Cranbourne trainer John McArdle.

But connections have always been confident in the talented filly’s ability, when on debut Humma Humma placed in Adelaide’s Listed Cinderella Stakes, before racking up placings in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes, Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes, Group 3 Scarborough Stakes and the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes.

Just narrowly missing the placings in her past two starts, in the Group 3 Typhoon Tracy and the Listed Fireball Stakes, Humma Humma’s eventual maiden black-type win will add significant residual value as a future broodmare.

Beau Mertens pressed the button on Humma Humma at the 300 metres, and when challenged in the final 100 metres she stuck to her guns to hold the challenge of Behemoth (All Too Hard) by a short-head with the favourite Anjana (Sepoy) a half-length back in third.

“She deserved a stakes win. I think she has been seven times stakes-placed and just missed to Sunlight in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes at Caulfield,” McArdle said.

An $80,000 purchase by Redgum Racing out of the Flinders Park Stud draft at the 2017 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Humma Humma (pictured as a yearling) is the best of two winners from three to race out of the Melbourne winning Bel Esprit mare Humma Mumma who is a half-sister to Listed winner Vignette (Spectrum).

Michael Cumming from Flinders Park Stud remembers Humma Humma as a yearling well notes that “from the day she was born she was just tough.”

“She was a nice, neat, not overly big filly – always a strong and compact.”

“She had a great temperament, great attitude and could handle the sales atmosphere. So, it’s no surprise that she can handle racing consistently in these high-pressure races. But if she didn’t like something, she would give back ten-fold,” Cumming said.

Flinders Park Stud are heading to the upcoming Gold sale with a standout draft of three yearlings.

Lot 131 is a good quality Zoustar colt, out of the Exceed And Excel mare, Seeking Status, a half-sister to Victory Chant, from the family of Guard of Honour and Serious Speed.

“We held him back to give him the chance to fully mature and he will be spot on for this sale. Being the only Zoustar offered, he will quite possibly be the busiest horse on the complex. He is a nice neat two-year-old that will run early.”

Lot 130 is the Night of Thunder colt is out of the Fraar mare, Seattle Lass.

“He is a half to the John McArdle trained Bricktop, who is by Snitzel and resumes this week at Bendigo, so we are expecting a nice pedigree update. He will go close to winning that based on his race form and recent jump outs,” Cummings said.

Lot 151, Flinders Park Stud offers a filly by Warrior’s Reward (USA) out of the Seattle Dancer mare, Taleer who has produced ten foals for seven winners, including the five-time winner Lannister and six-time winner Get Set.

“She is a very nice filly. An early type, nice and compact and correct.”

McArdle purchased Humma Humma’s half-sister by Hallowed Crown, from us, named Hummalong, for $100,000 at the 2018 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.

“Hummalong has shown early potential, and they have given her a bit of time, and she is going back into work today. We look forward to seeing her this campaign,”

Humma Mumma has a filly foal by Capitalist and was covered by Zoustar last spring.

“We have upgraded Humma Mumma suiters over the last couple of years, as we took the risk that Humma Humma would continue on, and she has indeed done that and is deserving of Capitalist, and Zoustar.”

“The Capitalist filly is the splitting image of Humma Humma, you couldn’t pick them apart if they were both foals at the same time. Let’s hope she runs as well.”

Humma Humma advances her record to three wins, six placings from 12 starts with earnings of $271,255, and McArdle said he now aim the talented three-year-old filly at either the Group1 Sangster Stakes or the Group 2 Euclase Stakes.

A splendid debut for Sadler

Sartorial Splendor wins on debut at Terang (Racing Photos).

It was an exciting win on debut for the John Sadler trained Sartorial Splendor at Terang on Sunday, with the two year-old colt taking out the 1000 metre maiden plate and earning a spot in the inaugural $1 million Showdown at Caulfield in a fortnight.

Starting as the $1.60 favourite and piloted by in-form jockey Michael Dee, the blazened-faced son of Brazen Beau jumped from the widest gate in the field of eleven and pushed forward to a front running position. Upon straightening, he showed his inexperience by racing greenly and looking around in the running, but Michael managed to keep him ahead of the pack to win by 2.2 lengths to Kuramae (Matthew Williams) and Exceed Rock (Mick Price).

“It’s a long straight here and he wanted to do a few things wrong,” said Michael Dee after the race. “It’s a good effort, he had a good blow and there’s plenty of improvement to come.” 

“He’s going to come on a bit from that,” agreed John Sadler. “We were just hoping the ability would carry him through. He’s never been away from home before so he’ll learn. The float trip and the whole experience will do him the world of good and hopefully he can go right on with it.” 

Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold nominated as well as VOBIS Sires eligible, the horse’s big group of owners received a lovely bump up in prizemoney. Not only did they take home the first place prizemoney, they also scored the $20,000 VOBIS Gold 2YO Horse Owners Bonus!

“It’s a big thrill for the owners,” said John. “They’ve had to wait a long time after we had to pull the pin and give him three months off (due to injury).”  

Bred by Blue Gum Farm in Euroa, Sartorial Splendor is by Darley Northwood sire Brazen Beau, out of Personal Ensign. By Oamaru Stud’s now deceased Rubiton, Personal Ensign won three of her eight starts, including the 2006 Listed Northwood Plume Stakes. She also placed in the Group 2 The Age Classic behind Magnus. She has had 7 winners from 10 foals, including Fontiton (Turffontein) who won the 2015 Group 2 MRC Blue Diamond Prelude (F) and Group 3 MRC Blue Diamond Preview (F). Owned by Victorian breeders the Campbell family, Personal Ensign has only ever been sent to Victorian standing stallions, and she is currently in foal to Manhattan Rain.

Brazen Beau (I Am Invincible) was an outstanding sprinter whose performances earned him Champion 3YO Colt in Australia in 2014-15. He currently sits third on the Australian First Season Sires List by earnings ($1,076,590) behind Better Than Ready ($1,469,600) and Sidestep ($2,425,165).

Sartorial Splendor, alongside smart Australian winners Tassort and Accession, stakes-placed First Dawn and UK winner Proper Beau, are helping to cement their sire’s solid reputation as a stallion. At the February Inglis Classic Sale, Brazen Beau’s Pouter colt became the highest-priced horse ever sold at this sale, selling for $550,000. He also sired the second top lot.

At the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, his Up In Lights colt became the second-most expensive yearling ever sold in Victoria, going to Orbis Bloodstock for $800,000. Another colt (ex Sistine Princess) topped Day 3, selling for $560,000. Brazen Beau was the star sire of this sale, topping the aggregate at $4,850,000 from 17 sold.

He then smashed his own highest-priced yearling record at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale when his Just Discreet colt sold to Orbis Bloodstock for $1,150,000.

Bought by John Sadler at the 2018 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale for $130,000, Sartorial Splendor is now one of 12 two-year-olds in the ballot order chasing glory for Brazen Beau in the inaugural VOBIS Sires Showdown at Caulfield on Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day, Saturday 27 April.

“Brazen Beau looks the perfect horse for The Showdown,” Darley Northwood General Manager Andy Makiv said. “To anyone who’s got them I wish them luck, and obviously buyers will be looking at them strongly.”

After covering 92 mares at Darley Northwood last season, Brazen Beau now stands at Darley’s UK base of Dalham Hall this year at a fee of 7,000 pounds. He has 3 representatives at the upcoming Inglis Australian Weanling Sale and 1 at Inglis Scone Yearling Sale.