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Monthly Archives: July 2019

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Victorian stallions trifecta in UK

Winning a Victorian trifecta, connections of Cable Bay's St Ives celebrate at Doncaster, UK (Doncaster Races).

It was an interesting and no doubt rare result at UK’s Doncaster races last Thursday, when Victorian stallions sired the trifecta in the second race on the card.

The 2 year-old 1200 metre Steelphalt EBF Maiden Stakes was won by the William Haggas-trained St Ives, who is by Woodside Park’s shuttle stallion Cable Bay.

Finishing a short head behind the race favourite was first starter Mr Jones And Me. Trained by Tom Dascombe, the colt is by Darley Northwood sire Brazen Beau.

Also on debut and securing third place after stumbling during the race, the Kevin Ryan trained Soaring Star (IRE) is a colt by Rosemont Stud’s Starspangledbanner.

All three shuttle stallions are making their marks on the international breeding stage. Currently a leading European First Season Sire, Cable Bay continues to get wins on the board, with 3 Stakes horses and 12 individual winners to his name to date. 

The Australian progeny of Brazen Beau have proved extremely popular, with yearlings selling for up to $1,150,000 this year. With 6 Australian winners this season, including three stakes-placed runners, Brazen Beau also sired his first Northern Hemisphere stakes-winner in early June with Avengers Queen.

A regular shuttler, the resurgent stud career of Starspangledbanner is building momentum in the Northern Hemisphere. At stud, his numbers continue to be extraordinary off relatively low foal numbers, including a stakes winners to runners percentage of an impressive 8.5% (as at April). Connections are excited to welcome Starspangledbanner back to Victoria and Rosemont Stud this season.

Cable Bay stands at Woodside Park Stud in 2019 for a fee of $13,200.

Brazen Beau stands at Darley Northwood in 2019 for a fee of $49,500.

Starspangledbanner stands at Rosemont Stud in 2019 for a fee of $22,000.

Riverbank success at an all-time high

Beautiful Bee is one of many recent winners for Riverbank Farm (Racing Photos).

North-east Victoria’s Riverbank Farm is having their best run ever, with a flood of winners in the past 6 weeks from their resident stallions, led by Skilled, Anacheeva and Redente.

With more than 14 winners recorded at national racetracks such as Flemington, Cranbourne, Bairnsdale, Scone and Fannie Bay, the winners roll includes Hurry Home Harry, Crimson Ace, Come On Carl, Engadine, Eagle Point and the homebred Beautiful Bee.

Amassing just short of $1 million in stakes during a 12-start career, Anacheeva has his name on the Caulfield Guineas honour roll alongside the likes of Starspangledbanner, Redoute’s Choice, Vain and Heroic.

Also the winner of the Gr.3 Guineas Prelude and the Listed Mitchell McKenzie Stakes, Anacheeva was a versatile galloper who showed up early winning a Sale 1200m maiden by three lengths at debut.

One of 88 stakes winners sire by the Danzig stallion Anabaa, Anacheeva showed good and adaptable form from 1200m to 2400m. His progeny have secured 37 win this season from 22 runners including recent winners Framework, Sterling Acheeva and Sleek Acheeva. 

In April this year, Fiscal Fantasy became Group winner number two for Skilled, when she won impressively in the Group 3 Manwatu Breeders Stakes at Awapuni, New Zealand.

By the late sire Commands, Skilled’s dam line is a strong as his sire line with his dam being the Group 2 Sandown Guineas winner Dextrous who is excelling at stud with six of her seven foals to race being winners including the dual Group 2 winner Sidestep and the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes winning Ambidexter.

Skilled’s family is one that has been producing high quality racehorses for generations and includes Many Hands, Proverb and one of the greats of the Australian turf, Emancipation.

Redente is as well-bred as they come, being a son of the late super stallion Redoute’s Choice. His dam is Group One Australia Stakes winner Stella Cadente, who has produced multiple stakes performers. The family also includes Eau d’Etoile, Bint Marscay and Filante.

Just over a two hour drive from Melbourne, the family-run Riverbank Farm is situated opposite Benalla racecourse and was established around 30 years ago by Adrian and Dorothy Osborne. As well as affordable agistment, Riverbank caters for every stage from foaling, breeding, weaning and spelling to the racetrack.

Upon retiring in September 2014, Adrian and Dot handed the reins to their son, horse trainer Russell.

Together with his wife Caroline, an equine vet and current TBV Board Member, they have established their own broodmare band and have a number of their own home-bred horses which are trained and raced by Russell.

Their vision is for all clients to experience the thrill of breeding and owning a winning racehorse through offering top quality stallions at affordable prices.

The latest arrival to Riverbank, Bon Aurum will stand this breeding season alongside other resident stallions Boulder City, Redente, Skilled, Wayed Zain, Von Costa De Hero and Anacheeva.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Riverbank Farm in Victoria’s north-east.

Second Australian win for Jimmy Creed

Son of Jimmy Creed, Knock Knock wins at Bendigo on Sunday. (Racing Photos)

Spendthrift Farm’s Jimmy Creed (USA) has only had three runners from eight named foals from his first Australian crop of 16 live foals, but the son of Distorted Humor made it two from three following an impressive career debut by Knock Knock at Bendigo on Sunday.

Ridden by Dean Holland for trainer Paul Preusker, Knock Knock was well back in the early stages before being gifted a ground-saving passage along the rail to confront Godolphin’s odds-on favourite Deference (Exceed And Excel) in the final 200 metres.

After a short, sharp battle, Knock Knock drew a half-length clear with Just Jake (Reward For Effort) two and a quarter length back in third.

“For me, I still don’t think he handles it (the heavy track), said Paul. “But I’m glad we held off with him for a bit because I think he is up for something a little bit better and he will improve with time.”

Purchased for $60,000 out of the Ambergate Farm draft at the 2018 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale, Knock Knock is the third winner from five to race out of the winning More Than Ready (USA) mare Shameless whose granddam Rubrani (Rubiton) is a sister to Group 3 Sweet Embrace Stakes winner Millrich, the dam of dual Group 1 winner, dual The Everest winner and $15.5 million earner Redzel as well as the Group 3 winner and accomplished stallion Danerich.

Jimmy Creed returns to Australia this season with an exceptional winners to runners rate of 70.42% from his first three American crops, with 100 of his 142 runners (as of July 8) visiting the winner’s circle. This strike rate gives him more than 10% more winners to runners at the same stage of his career than Medaglia d’Oro (58.19%), Street Cry (52.63%) and Spinning World (59.23%).

Among active shuttle stallions, Jimmy Creed holds his own with a higher percentage of winners to runners than More Than Ready and Street Boss (USA) at the same stages of their careers. Jimmy Creed ties fellow Victorian stallion Street Boss with the same amount of northern hemisphere stakes winners, graded stakes winners and number of 2-year-old stakes winners at the same point in their careers.

The third leading second crop sire in North America in 2018, Jimmy Creed (USA) will have more than double the number of foals to represent him in the new season and he covered 112 mares in 2017 and 75 last year. With his biggest Australian crops hitting the track in coming seasons, Jimmy Creed looks well on his way to becoming America’s next great shuttle stallion.

Jimmy Creed (USA) returns to Spendthrift Australia in 2019 at a fee of $8,800.

*Story by Mark Smith (Breednet) and Spendthrift Australia.

GRASSROOTS: Carla Aliphon

Cityview Farm's Carla Aliphon.

Growing up in South Africa, Carla Aliphon enjoyed riding ponies and attending pony club but a career in the thoroughbred breeding industry in Australia was far from her mind. Aged 15, she moved with her family to Australia where she finished her high school education. Following this, Carla decided to enrol in the University of Melbourne’s Advanced Diploma of Applied Science (Horse Management) at Glenormiston which set her on the career path to where she is today.

As part of her Diploma’s practical component, Carla worked for renowned horseman Greg Bennett at his property in NSW. Alongside learning skills in breaking and pre-training, Carla also got to care for a future star of the turf Makybe Diva, during her placement. The triple Melbourne Cup winning mare was a 3 year-old at the time and Carla helped with her pre-training and re-education before she went into training with Lee Freedman. The rest as they say is history, and a very successful one at that!

For her second work placement, Carla worked at Eliza Park (now Sun Stud). It was this placement under the guidance and mentorship of Brett Grayling that gave Carla a firm grounding in the care of broodmares and knowledge and techniques for foaling down mares. This insight into the breeding industry, instilled a passion which she still has today.

After graduating from Glenormiston, Carla returned to complete many further breeding seasons at Eliza Park. She also spent breeding seasons working overseas and her international experience has included stints at the renowned Derrinstown Stud in Ireland and at Kentucky-based Pin Oak Stud in America.

Having travelled to Europe and America working with horses, Carla had the travel bug and in 2007 she hung up her lead rope and spent over 3 years working as a tour guide throughout Europe.

“It was a great opportunity where I was being paid to travel and see the wonderful cities and different cultural experiences that Europe has to offer,” says Carla.

Adding another variation to her CV, Carla also spent 2 years working for a heli ski company in Canada.

Now in her second season at Cityview Farm in Gisborne South, Carla is relishing working in a more boutique farm environment.

“Having worked at many big Stud Farms around the world, I am enjoying having a smaller number of horses in my care. I can give more of a personal touch to the horses and learn a bit more about their individual personalities, which is something I thoroughly enjoy.”

Cityview Farm is located on the same land as the famed St John’s Lane Stud, an operation owned by Doug Reid, breeder of the great mare Maybe Mahal, among many others. Under Carla’s watchful eye, the farm specialises in mares and foals, offers agistment and sales preparation, foaling down and weaning, as well as servicing many of the local studs with walk-in mares.

“We are keen to support Victorian Stallions and hope to have a good quality draft of Victorian bred horses heading for the Melbourne Premier Sale.”

Ever keen to learn and increase her knowledge base, Carla built a good professional rapport with reproductive Vet Ian Douglas during her time at Eliza Park and continues to work alongside him at Cityview Farm today.

“When you work in the breeding industry, there is always something new to learn and that is something I enjoy,” said Carla.

When away from the farm, Carla relishes staying fit and active and is a member of the local Macedon Ranges Running Club. A keen painter, Carla also enjoys creating abstract art, drawing animals and nature, and of course painting pictures of horses!

Advice Carla has for anyone wanting to get involved in the breeding industry?

“A passion for horses is essential. There are long hours involved, especially during the breeding season or during Sales times where you have to forego many social commitments, but if you have a passion for horses it is a very rewarding industry to be involved in.”

For more information about Cityview Farm you can contact Carla directly on 0475 999 011 or visit

Fresh Eyes Find Value

New to Woodside Park this season, Foxwedge.

*Story by Tara Madgwick, Breednet.

A change of scene can put a new perspective on a sire and the Smart Missile example has been lost on nobody, which is why we’re looking with fresh eyes on this stallion, who packed his bags and departed the Hunter Valley earlier this year.

With record VOBIS bonuses and successful new initiatives such as the $1 million dollar Showdown race for Victorian sired two year-olds, the Victorian stallion ranks have become very competitive and while Written Tycoon ($110,000 fee) stands head and shoulders above the pack followed by young gun Brazen Beau ($49,500), the middle market below that takes some deciphering to find real value.

New to Woodside Park Stud this year, proven sire Foxwedge fits the bill for value as a well proven source of winners and stakes-winners headed by an impressive three Group I winners in Foxplay, Volpe Veloce and Urban Fox.

With his oldest progeny just five year-olds, Foxwedge has produced 41 stakes horses in both hemispheres and this season in Australia has sired 90 winners of nearly $5million in prizemoney.

Those winners this season include classy Group 2 winning mares Noire and Alassio as well as stakes-winner Stella Victoria, while classy Group 3 placed three year-old filly Into the Abyss looms as an almost certain stakes-winner for the season ahead.

Astute trainer Gerald Ryan has always had a huge wrap on two year-old filly Villami, who was the most expensive yearling by Foxwedge sold in 2018 when fetching $425,000 at the Magic Millions.

She won brilliantly on debut at Rosehill in February, before struggling on the heavy ground in the Group 2 ATC Magic Night Stakes and then bounced back to finish a close third in the $1 million Group 2 ATC Percy Sykes Stakes to Anaheed.

Villami is the sort of filly with type, talent and pedigree that could see her go a very long way in the season ahead.

Foxwedge featured in South Africa last weekend when Australian bred Infamous Fox won his second Black Type race and he’s not the only good one in the region for his sire. 

One star Foxwedge filly we may have missed out on in Australia is undefeated Run Fox Run, who has raced up a storm in South Africa this season winning all four of her starts to date including the Listed Olympic Duel Stakes at Kenilworth.

A $420,000 Inglis Easter purchase for South African trainer Brett Crawford, three year-old Run Fox Run is one of the most promising sprinters in South Africa.

A refined, good looking son of Fastnet Rock, Foxwedge was an expensive yearling himself bought for $925,000 at Inglis Easter in 2010.

Good looks, an even temperament and natural ability translated into Group 1 success on the track.

For those who may have forgotten, Foxwedge raced in a great era of truly world class sprinters and was fourth to Black Caviar, Hay List and Buffering in the Group 1 VRC Lightning Stakes, third in the Group 1 VRC Newmarket Handicap to Hay List and Buffering and then defeated that mighty duo when winning the Group 1 MVRC William Reid Stakes at WFA.

Foxwedge has imparted his brilliance and quality to his offspring to carve out a highly successful career at stud that is about to move into a new phase.

Foxwedge was the Champion Second Season Sire in 2016/2017 and as a result covered a strong book of mares that spring meaning he has a terrific crop of 110 weanlings in the pipeline.

Priced at $16,500 this spring, Foxwedge is not only a proven Group 1 sire, but a sire with considerable upside as by the time breeders are selling yearlings bred this year, those weanlings will be three year-olds and it’s not hard to think this stellar crop can deliver further Group 1 success.

“We drove Henry Field mad for six months get Foxwedge,” said new owner Eddie Hirsch.

“He is a proven sire, ideally suited to Victoria and the VOBIS Scheme. I am sending at least half a dozen of my better mares to him.”

Foxwedge stands at Woodside Park Stud, click here for more details.

Success Written for another season

Woodside Park's Written Tycoon will secure another title this season.

Written Tycoon will easily claim his fourth consecutive leading Victorian Sires’ title, but the challenge for Woodside Park’s star is likely to get much tougher in the coming years and the raft of investment in the state should see a new band of top young stallions emerge.

As it stands, Written Tycoon’s progeny have won nearly $9.8 million this season, with a new best for the stallion firmly on the cards should they earn a combined $340,000 before August 1.

The total of 140 winners is short of the high-water mark of 153 last season but will represent at least his second-best season in that regard and he is currently seventh on the overall Australian Sires’ Table. He had a pair of Group 1 winners in 2018/19, Booker and Despatch, two of his six stakes winners for the season.

While there is an array of young stallions ready to chase his title as Victoria’s pre-eminent sire, the tough thing for them is the sheer numbers he has getting to the track in the coming years. His biggest-ever book was in 2016 when he served 226 mares and that crop hits the track this coming season, while his second biggest book of 183 was his current 2-year-old crop.

He served books of 168 and 162 in 2017 and 2018, and with huge support from local breeders, he will have big numbers at the races in the coming years.

Magnus’ consistency shines through

Magnus will finish second in the Victorian Sires’ race after another very consistent season from the Sun Stud staple. He has had 91 of his progeny victorious this season, earning just short of $6 million, which is still within sight of his career high of $6.18 million set in 2014-15.

He has now been a Top 25 stallion in Australia for five consecutive years and has had four stakes winners this season. He is another one whose biggest-ever crop, in his case off a book of 178, will hit the track in 2019/20.

Fellow Sun Stud stallion Bel Esprit first entered the Top 30 stallions bracket in the 2009-10 season, with four crops at the track and he has been at that level or above in every season since.

He is on the precipice of claiming 100 winners in the season for a seventh time after a strong campaign from his progeny, who have earned $5.5 million, the highest level for four seasons, including the stakes winners Belwazi and Tactical Advantage.

He continues to attract good strong books of mares, and even ahead of his 17th season at stud, should continue to have good numbers on both quality and quantity at the track for some time yet.

Chatswood Stud’s Reward For Effort continues to build his resume and has surpassed 100 winners for the first time this season and will be fourth on the Victorian table this year. He has had really good numbers in recent years, so you can only see him building his profile over the next couple of seasons.

Foxwedge on his way

Foxwedge is the stallion who should assume a spot inside the Top 5 Victorian stallions, having moved to Woodside Park this season, he doesn’t feature for 2018/19, but as a guide to where he sits, his progeny have earned $4.8 million this year, which would have put him in fourth.

He has good numbers and quality from his previous time at Newgate to ensure he continues to produce winners as he transitions to Victoria.

Helmet, who hasn’t stood at Darley’s Northwood Park since 2017, has had 89 winners for the season and his progeny have earned $4.4 million, more than any on Darley’s current Victorian roster.

Sepoy is the leader of the active Darley sires with his progeny earning $4.2 million with 66 winners, including a career-high of four at stakes level with four crops now at the track.

Street Boss (USA) had had a career-high of his own with 67 winners in Australia this season, with his progeny earning $3.2 million.

Brazen Beau building

Darley’s young sires are certainly ready to make an impression headed by Brazen Beau, who will win the Victorian First-season Sires’ title with some ease.

He has had six winners and his progeny have earned $1.35 million headed by Accession, to be third overall in the Australian first-season sire standings. Given the support his second crop have got at the yearling sales, with sales up to $1.15 million, you’d suggest there is plenty of quality to come.

The son of I Am Invincible looks to one who can seriously challenge Written Tycoon as leading Victorian sire in the medium-term future should Darley keep him in the state.

Swettenham Stud’s Toronado (Ire) also had a good first season with his progeny on the track, with five winners highlighted by Prince of Sussex. He has had good numbers to back up those promising early results.

Fiorente (Ire) will be the leading Victorian-based second-season sire having enjoyed a breakout 2018/19 with his progeny earning $2.4m. There have been 24 individual winners and significantly four stakes winners. He gets a deserved service fee bump to $27,500 (inc GST) this year and his first crop should improve again heading into their 4-year-old season.

Ill-fated Unencumbered continues to remind those at Three Bridges what they lost with 37 winners with two crops at the track.

Another promising second-season stallion, Shamus Award, looks a great addition to Victoria for the coming season, having had 34 winners including a Group 1 winner Mr Quickie in his two crops to the track. He arrives at Rosemont with some real momentum behind him. Starspangledbanner also returns to Rosemont off his best ever season in Australia in terms of both winners and prizemoney.

The other Victorian-based stallions currently inside the top 100 in the Australian Sires’ race are Love Conquers All, Artie Schiller (USA), Al Maher, Manhattan Rain, Moshe, Americain and Turffontein.

What’s coming?

Several Victorian stallions have their first crops ready to hit the track this upcoming season, including Woodside Park’s Rich Enuff, Rosemont’s Nostradamus, Sun Stud’s Ready For Victory and Swettenham Stud’s Trust in A Gust.

The first crops of Woodside Park’s Cable Bay (Ire), Darley pair Frosted and Holler and Sun Stud’s Palentino hit the yearling sales in 2020, while the first foals of Swettenham Stud’s Highland Reel (Ire), Darley’s Impending, Spendthrift’s Overshare, Sun Stud’s Thronum and Woodside Park’s Tosen Stardom (Jpn) arrive this spring.

2019 will also be especially significant for the Victorian scene, with Aquis Farm making its debut in standing stallions in the state with Lean Mean Machine and Siege of Quebec, while Yulong opens its operation with Grunt (NZ). Swettenham Stud’s roster features Sioux Nation (USA), while Spendthrift bring Bolt d’Oro (USA) to Australia.

*This article first appeared in TDN, written by Bren O’Brien

Victorian born trainee graduates top of her class

Katelyn Butler recieves her diploma from Godolphin's Hugh Anderson (John C Cooney, Racing Post).

Last week saw the Godolphin Flying Start class of 2017-19 graduate at Kildangan Stud in Ireland. Seymour’s Katelyn Butler was honoured with the coveted title of top trainee for 2019. Amongst her class of 12 trainees who received their diplomas, four also received a distinction award.

Godolphin Flying Start is a two-year, full time Management and Leadership training programme that specialises in the international Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. The programme provides practical work placements at Godolphin’s Studs in Ireland, UK, Dubai, USA as well as the Hunter Valley here in Australia.

During this time, students are encouraged and supported to find work placements in other areas within the Industry. Katelyn completed her USA phase externship with PM Advertising and her Australian phase externship with Magic Millions. This gave Katelyn an opportunity to use her knowledge gained achieving a BA in Business from La Trobe University in 2013, with her practical equine experience.

Before commencing the program, Katelyn worked as a stallion groom at Swettenham Stud, at Chatswood Stud as a Stud Coordinator and an office Assistant with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott Racing.

Katelyn’s family have a long association in the thoroughbred and breeding industry in Victoria. Her grandfather raced horses with Rick Hore-Lacey and Brian Mayfield-Smith and her parents Frank and Karen, own the stallion Zupaone and have a quality band of about ten broodmares at their Riversdowns Farm in Seymour.

Back in Australia from her travels, Katelyn joins Olly Tait at Twin Hills Stud in Cootamundra, New South Wales.

Graduates of the Godolphin Flying Start in previous years include trainers Adrian Bott and Brian McGrath, Henry Field of Newgate Farm, Vicki Leonard of TDN AUS/NZ, Bloodstock Agents Andy Williams and James Clarke, Camilla Wishaw of Optim Equine and Mornington based Vet Dr Eoin Kelly.

Applications for the next intake of Godolphin Flying Start Students will open on 2nd January 2020 and more information about the program can be found HERE.

MM Entries Open for 2020 Yearling Sales

Magic Millions 2020 entries are now open.

*News from Magic Millions

Magic Millions is thrilled to announce entries are now open for the 2020 Yearling Sales Series across Australia.

The Southern Hemisphere’s leading thoroughbred sales company is coming off a record breaking season with over $378 million grossed at Magic Millions auctions.

“The impressive growth of Magic Millions sales in 2019 began with amazing support from our vendors. Again our achievements this year are a direct outcome of their ongoing trust and patronage,” Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch said.

“It was a record breaking sales season across Australia during 2019 and Magic Millions sales grew at a faster rate than the other auctions across Australasia.”

“For each and every yearling in your portfolio, the team at Magic Millions is dedicated to realising that horse’s best sale ring potential. Shared success is our very real aim.”

“Our business is continually evolving and we are focussed on progression with innovation aimed to service all sale requirements. We are committed to providing world-leading bloodstock services, global sales marketing and buyer recruitment, in addition to world-first incentives.”

With six yearling sales across four states, the sales series is complemented by the world’s richest Race Series featuring the annual $10 million Gold Coast Raceday.

Entries are now open for the following auctions:

Gold Coast Yearling Sale – 8-14 January

Perth Yearling Sale – 17-18 February

Tasmanian Yearling Sale – 24 February

Adelaide Yearling Sale – 10-11 March

Gold Coast March Yearling Sale – 16-17 March

Gold Coast National Yearling Sale – 3-5 June

View the brochure for the 2020 Magic Millions Yearling Sales Series here.

Nominations can be submitted now via the Online Entry Facility.

Entries close on Friday 9 August for all sales, except the National Yearling Sale which closes on 13 March. For further information contact Magic Millions Bloodstock on (07) 5504 1200 or email

An update from the Executive Officer

TBV EO Charmein Bukovec presenting the rug to winning connections of VOBIS Gold Premier Series Race winner Halvorsen at Moonee Valley.

The last six months since January, have flown by in the blink of an eye. To think that it has been nine months since I took over as Executive Officer from Patrick Clancy is hard to comprehend.

The two questions I get asked frequently are, are you enjoying the role and what has been happening?

My answer to the first question is, I am loving the role. I am very lucky to be able to be in a position where I can make a change to the industry and people’s lives. I am lucky to get out and meet the grassroots of the industry and love hearing feedback from our community. To get this opportunity, is one in a lifetime.

And to answer the second question? Well let me begin.

Our annual awards night was held on the 6th of December 2018, at the Champagne Bar at Flemington racecourse. It was a great night which was enjoyed by many. On this night, we also released the first of our videos, The Symbol, to promote VOBIS Sires and The Showdown. I must say thank you to Tim Patterson from DMC Media for his hard work and efforts through this campaign.

Unveiling The Symbol video with Tim at our awards nights (Racing Photos).

Before I knew it, I was touching down on the Gold Coast, after a 24-hour flight from Dublin – the difference in temperatures certainly shocked the jet lag out of me!

The MM Gold Coast Yearling sale kicked off the sales season and a busy time for everyone in Victoria, which as I am sure you are all aware has finally concluded.

We saw the Victorian State Government contribute $33 million dollars to prizemoney levels and saw Racing Victoria contribute an additional $7 million, to reach a total of $40 million dollars, to be spread across a two-year period.

We also saw the State Government uncouple the Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF) from unclaimed dividends. Therefore, this means that VOBIS Gold prizemoney will continue to remain, if not increase despite unclaimed dividends declining.

Between meetings and planning for a landmark Victorian Owners & Breeders Race Day, the 27th of April saw history be made, when Prince of Sussex took out the inaugural Showdown for Matt Laurie and Swettenham’s Toronado. The atmosphere on this day was phenomenal.  With the concept being created years earlier by Victorian breeders for the Victorian industry, and the initiative well into planning mode prior to my time with TBV, it was an honour to be part of this memorable day.

Our marketing campaign which commenced in December 2018, to promote Victorian sires, sales and The Showdown, exceeded our expectations. The reach of this campaign saw our content reach a staggering, 220,000 people in the space of six months. We also combined with Racing Victoria to leverage their media campaign which saw national coverage of The Showdown across all the major television channels and media outlets in Australia.

In June, TBV said thank you and farewell to Board Member Matt Tillett, whilst welcoming Yulong’s Sam Fairgray.

Just after the Great Southern Sale, we implemented a new newsletter series, called Grassroots, which is aimed at profiling our community. The aim, is to bring a new story each week and if you think somebody would be good to profile, please let me know. I am slowly working through all the suggestions we have been given.

Amongst all the sales, running of The Showdown and the 18 VOBIS Gold Premier Races, the Board and I have been working together to finalise TBV’s strategic framework and objectives. This will guide key projects which TBV will work upon in the coming months and year. I look forward to sharing this with everyone. In the next six months, I hope to share our finalised strategic framework & objectives with you. This will guide key projects which TBV will work upon in the coming months and year. I must give a big thank you to the Board, who have supported my ideas, concepts and have great passion for the Victorian industry.

I have continued to meet with Racing Victoria fortnightly to provide and seek updates on key issues in breeding such as the VOBIS program, welfare, prizemoney, sales results and trends.

I have also had the opportunity to visit many farms, such as Longwood Thoroughbred Farm, Sun Stud, Spendthrift, Sunhill Bloodstock, Yarran, Glen Eden, Blue Gum, Rangal Park, Yulong, Darley, Heartford Thoroughbreds, Springmount, Merrivale, Gilgai and Miranda Park, to name a few and will continue to visit many more in the next six months and beyond.

No doubt the next six months will be busy for everyone in Victoria, as the breeding season commences.

I am also working on unveiling a new website, which we hope to have more information and resources on and I welcome any suggestions for content.

We will also look for submissions for the foal gallery for the coming season and I cannot wait to see all the adorable pictures from Victorian farms.

I look forward to discussing my last six months in person. I have no doubt that I will see more of you on my travels, whether it be at the upcoming stallion parades, at your farm, at the race track or at other events. I always love hearing from members in our community, so please do not hesitate to give me a call or drop me a line.

Charmein Bukovec – TBV Executive Officer

Miranda Park was one of many Victorian farms I’ve visited recently.

Hendra Update

By now, you will be aware of the recent case of Hendra Virus detected in a horse in the Upper Hunter Valley. The horse was a non-Thoroughbred mare and was euthanised after her owners noticed neurological signs of distress.

While the Hendra Virus has not been detected in Victoria, you may have some questions about the virus and what it means. 

Hendra is most likely to appear during the winter months and has the likelihood of fatal consequences in horses. There have also been four known occasions in Australia where humans have died as a result of contracting the disease, though each of these cases has occurred when the possibility of Hendra Virus was not considered.

Hendra is endemic in flying foxes and they can transmit the disease so it is important to ensure horses do not have feed or water underneath trees where flying foxes are feeding or roosting.

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) chief executive Tom Reilly said farms should review their protocols for dealing with sick horses and contact a veterinarian immediately if they have any concerns.

He said: “This is an isolated case, remote from Thoroughbred breeding centres of the Hunter however it is a reminder to people to be aware and alert when it comes to dealing with sick horses.

“TBA encourages farms to review their protocols for dealing with horses showing signs of sickness and to contact their veterinarian immediately if they have any concerns.”

Hendra can be difficult to identify with signs often being mild. These can include an increased temperature, lethargy, respiratory discharge or distress, neurological signs, mild colic signs or sudden death.

A highly protective and safe Hendra vaccine is available and involves two initial vaccinations 21-42 days apart followed by a booster at six months, and then annual boosters after that.

Some stud farms in the Hunter Valley have changed their business policies in relation to allowing unvaccinated mares onto farms for covers. It is important that if you are getting your mare covered in the Hunter Valley, that you liaise with the farm ahead of time to discuss any concerns you may have.

You can find more information on the facts about Hendra on both the Agriculture Victoria and NSW Department of Primary Industries websites, as well as this Equine Veterinarian Australia handbook.

International success continues for Woodside Park stallions

Woodside Park's new resident stallion, Foxwedge.

*excerpts from Tara Madgwick, Breednet

The progeny of Woodside Park Stud stallions Foxwedge and Cable Bay (IRE) continue to enjoy overseas success, with both sires adding Stakes winners to their resumes over the weekend.

Recruited to Woodside Park this season, Foxwedge featured in South Africa on Saturday when his talented four year-old Infamous Fox took out the Listed Greyville Engen Performance Stakes.

Trained by Candice Dawson, he forged clear to win the 1600 metre contest by three-quarters of a length, taking his overall record to eight wins from 21 starts.

A $25,000 Magic Millions purchase for Central Route Trading from the Glastonbury Farm draft, Infamous Fox is the better of two winners from French, an unraced Nadeem half-sister to Group 3 winner Typhoon Billie. French was covered again by Foxwedge last spring.

Already a stakes-winner, Infamous Fox is one of 14 stakes-winners worldwide for Foxwedge including three Group 1 winners.

Woodside Park’s exciting young shuttle sire Cable Bay (IRE) has already posted 10 first crop winners in the Northern Hemisphere this year and now a has his first stakes-winner with talented filly Liberty Beach taking out the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown on Friday.

A last start fourth in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, the John Quinn trained filly tracked the leaders but was in a class of her own when she hit top gear, cruising home to win the five furlong sprint by more than three lengths.

“From Ascot to today I’ve been very happy with her, just ticked her over, but she has a very good mind and, as you saw today, she’s got electrical speed,” said Quinn.

“Her demeanour was good, and that’s her, it was very impressive to do what she did.”

Liberty Beach has the overall record of three wins and that unlucky fourth at Royal Ascot from just four starts with connections now looking towards races such as the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at Goodwood.

Retained to race by her breeder Phillip Wilkins, Liberty Beach is the first winner from Flirtinaskirt, a half-sister by Avonbridge to Group 3 winner La Rioja.

Foxwedge, the Group 1 winning son of Fastnet Rock stands at Woodside Park for a fee of $16,500, whilst Cable Bay (IRE), the Group 2 winning sprinter by Invincible Spirit, stands at a fee of $13,200.

The Rags to Riches story of Polanski

Ducks Crossing Farm's Polanski.

*story by Chris Humpleby, ANZ Bloodstock News

Polanski (Rakti) might not be fashionable, commercial or particularly well-renowned, but to Ducks Crossing Farm proprietor Jacqui McGregor he is undoubtedly ‘the horse of a lifetime’.

The rising nine-year-old, who covered just eight mares at a fee of $5,500 (inc GST) last year, achieved a landmark success at Flemington on Saturday when Fabulanski landed the Taj Rossi Series Final (Listed, 1600m) to become his maiden stakes winner.

Trained by Robbie Laing, who also oversaw the ten-start career of Polanski, Fabulanski will now be tasked with trying to emulate his sire by winning the VRC Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) this spring, with Polanski having romped to a threelength success in the Flemington feature six years ago.

Victory in the then $1.5 million prize paved the way for the horse’s fledgling stud career – he will cover his sixth book of mares at Ducks Crossing Farm in 2019, with his eldest racing crop now three – and yet the backstory of Polanski is one whereby any success, be it on the track or in the covering barn, looked unlikely at a number of key junctures.

Offered through the draft of Chatswood Stud at the Inglis Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale in 2012, Polanski was purchased by his trainer for just $4,000. After a difficult start in life, the horse subsequently made life difficult for those around him, with a suspect temperament presiding over the early days of his career. However, his talent for running shone through, winning once as a juvenile prior to a much-improved spring campaign that yielded three consecutive wins, culminating in his landmark Victoria Derby success.

Freshened for an autumn preparation, Polanski returned in the Futurity Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) the following February, but he sustained a serious injury to his near-fore in the Caulfield contest and his immediate future looked bleak. Nursed back to health but with no prospect of returning to racing, Polanski was unlikely to find a stud berth as a commercial prospect, being a staying son of the late Chatswood Stud shuttler Rakti (Polish Precedent), so McGregor – an equine vet who has been involved with Polanski since his yearling days – decided to stand the horse herself at Ducks Crossing Farm, where she operates a veterinary clinic.

The five years since have been a self-confessed ‘long road’ and ‘labour of love’, but one that is now starting to bear fruit, with Fabulanski the headline act but by no means the sole star of the show. Reflecting on those early years, McGregor says: “I was doing a lot of Robbie’s (Laing) work at the time he bought Polanski at the sales. He came back and he’d got crook at the sales – he had ticks – and he was one of those horses that was a bit of a handful.”

“They’d had a lot of issues with him during the yearling prep and the Raktis had a bit of a reputation of being difficult. Everyone was gelding all of the Raktis and I remember telling Robbie ‘you’re going to have to geld the Rakti colt’ and he replied ‘this is my Derby colt, I’m not gelding him’, so it was a case of ‘oh well, we’re all going to die!’”

Laing’s insistence that Polanski should remain entire was handsomely vindicated by his racecourse exploits, but the joy elicited by his Derby success was in sharp contrast to the agony suffered by connections following his next-start injury.

“He won the Derby and was favourite for the 2014 Melbourne Cup after that,” McGregor continues.

“The owners got offered a huge amount of money for him, but they didn’t want to sell. He got to the autumn and unfortunately he broke down at Caulfield – it was a pretty catastrophic injury and it was a case of getting him back at my place. We were all just gutted and we nearly thought we were going to have to put him down at one point, but we got him back here – in my backyard – as I’ve got a little clinic at home.”

“He was in a full-wing cast for three months and he was my number one patient. We rehabilitated him by walking him up and down the driveway, just to get the strength back in his legs, and he’s never left!”

Expanding on her decision to stand Polanski, McGregor adds: “My husband and I decided we were going to keep him. We got to know the owners over the course of Polanski’s career. It’s nice that he’s with all of us, we’re his tribe, and he’ll be with us forever – he’s part of the family. He doesn’t owe anything to anyone, but it’s the icing on the cake that we can do this and breed some.”

Polanski has thus far produced seven individual winners and they include VRC Oaks (Gr 1, 2500m) starter Lesedi, progressive three-year old Gennady and Saturday’s Listed winner Fabulanski, who is intertwined in the Polanski story more than simply being a flagbearer for his sire.

“Fabulanski is co-owned by Ross and Fran Warner, who bred the colt and owned 50 per cent of Polanski as a racehorse. They foaled Fabulanski down and he’s been called that since the day he was born.”

Ross and Fran have always been racehorse owners, but Polanski has given them another dimension and they’ve never been as heavily involved as Polanski has made them.

“We’ve been on a journey – Ross, Fran, my husband and I – and I’m so pleased for them. It’s very emotional and they’ve seen it all now.”

McGregor speaks candidly of that journey, one that is refreshingly non-commercial in an era whereby financial implications dominate the bloodstock industry so strongly, sometimes perniciously.

“We’re all spending a fortune, but it’s one of those stories where you just fall in love with the horse and you would do anything for them – and we are,” she says. “We’re not going to die wondering – we’re probably going to die destitute, but not wondering!”

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding, especially with results like Saturday. A lot of people say ‘Derby horses don’t make it at stud’ or ‘he won’t be commercial’, but it’s a bonus for me because he wouldn’t be at my place if he was anymore commercial – one of the big studs would have snapped him up.

“It’s a really hard game trying to compete with all of the other stallions that are here, the big commercial studs and the marketing machines behind them, so we decided we won’t compete. We’ll breed our own and the results will be on the racetrack.”

Polanski will once again stand for a fee of $5,500 in 2019, but McGregor is honest in her assessment of how the horse is perceived among Victorian breeders. “I knew he wouldn’t get a great number of mares, but I was surprised he didn’t get more interest from local breeders,” she says. “He’s quite well-bred, he’s just not fashionable being by Rakti. Even though Rakti won six Group 1s and was a champion, people don’t want them. They’ve just got a reputation of not being the easiest to train.”

Elaborating how she and her co-owners have supported the horse at stud, McGregor continues: “Most of the mares he’s covered have been our own, or the owners’ or Robbie’s – we’re spending money, not making money. “We’ve sourced good mares, but they’ve been bargain basement mares, well-bred types that have been cast off and you pick up cheaply at the sales, while a lot of them have been older. He’s had to do it the hard way.”

However, McGregor is buoyant about the future prospects of Polanski, particularly given the youngsters on the ground who have not yet reached racing age. She says: “We’ve got some cracking foals and it’s exciting because I know the foals we’ve got are going to be like Polanski. He’s a beautiful horse – magnificent – and his progeny are big, rangy and strong – he’s throwing types like himself, which is really good.”

“They’re going to out-muscle other horses, especially as late two-year-olds and early three-year-olds. He used to monster everything. They’re quite dominant horses, but even breaking them in they really want to work with you. Also, Fabulanski is just a big, raw colt and it’s been a really big ask for him just having six starts. They’re tough – he got there and he won it – and that’s a bonus.”

“It’s just the tip of the iceberg and our powder is still dry. We’ve got plenty of nice horses around and they’re just works in progress. They take time, but I think they will speak for themselves when we get them to the races.”

McGregor is also hopeful the success of Fabulanski will stimulate more interest from outside breeders. “In previous years he’s covered between two and five outside mares, which is nothing, but there should be some more interest this year on the back of Fabulanski’s win,” she continues. “Even from the number of people who have texted me and I think people are genuinely pleased for us.”

“We’re the underdogs, but we’re on the right path and we’ve got to stay the course.”

Casting her final thoughts over the weekend exploits of Fabulanksi, McGregor says: “We’re crazy horse people – we have to dream and we’re living the dream. It’s been a long road and it’s been a labour of love, but we’re rapt.”

“Just to get horses to the races in the first place, but then to get some nice ones coming out and to get a stakes winner, we’re really pleased, and we’re really proud of Polanski. “He’s a once in a lifetime horse for me – he’s very special.”


Brad McCully, Yearling Manager at Two Bays Farm.

Growing up on a wheat and potato farm in Dargaville, New Zealand, thoroughbred horses weren’t something that even factored much in Brad McCully’s life. His uncle had some racehorses and an annual trip to the races was the extent of Brad’s equine interests.

After a stint working on a dairy farm, a job came up at Totara Park Stud. The job initially was as a Gardener/Maintenance Man but as with many small businesses when the breeding season got into full swing and staff were short, it was all hands-on deck to get the work done.

With no previous experience with horse handling, Brad was thrown in at the deep end.

“I was 18 years old before I even handled a horse,” said Brad.

“Before I knew it, I was handling stallions, foaling mares and caring for yearlings! I was initially quite scared of the horses but before long I grew to love working with horses.”

In total Brad spent 3 years working at Totora Park Stud but was thoroughly bitten by the horse bug.

Once Brad had decided that a career working with horses was for him, he started looking for stud hand jobs in Australia. After replying to an ad for a position with the Liston Family at their Three Bridges Stud Farm in Eddington, North Victoria, Brad made that move across the ditch.

“I wanted to work with top class horses and learn more about the breeding industry.”

During his time with Three Bridges, Brad was given the opportunity to prepare horses for and attend all the major sales throughout Australia. Over the following 2 years, Brad received invaluable experience as well as gaining an insight into all aspects of the breeding industry. It was during this time in Eddington that paths crossed with Rob Carlile who was Three Bridges’ Broodmare Manager at the time. While working together, Carlile became both a good friend and mentor to Brad. When Rob left to manage Two Bays Farm on the Mornington Peninsula, he offered Brad a job which he accepted, and Brad is now Yearling Manager at the Flinders farm.

Each year, when it comes time for branding the weanlings at Two Bays Farm, each staff member can use their favourite number on their pick of the crop. Brad likes to use the number 8 and successful horses who have received that brand include the chestnut colt Kubrick. Bred, raised and sold by Two Bays Farm, Kubrick is now trained by Chris Waller and has gone on to be Group 1 placed as a 2-year-old.

Described by friends as hardworking, honest, reliable and somewhat a perfectionist, the outgoing Brad has embraced his role as Yearling Manager at Two Bays Farm and harbours no ambitions at present to return to a dairy farming career. He has made the Mornington Peninsula his new home where he enjoys spending time away from the horses down at the many beaches, at the gym or socialising with friends.

And advice from Brad to someone wanting to get involved in the breeding industry?

“Is to not worry too much about what other people are doing, work hard at your own job, follow your own path and you will succeed”.

OPEN NOW: Inglis’ 2020 Yearling Sales entries

Inglis 2020 Yearling Sale entries are now open.

*media release

Entries are now open for the 2020 Inglis Select Yearling Sales Series.

Inglis will again conduct five select yearling sales – Classic, Premier, Easter, Gold and Scone – in 2020 at Riverside Stables, Oaklands Junction and White Park.

More than 2000 yearlings were sold through the Inglis Select Yearling Sale Series in 2019 at a market-leading clearance rate of 85%, market-leading average ($114,000) and market-leading gross ($230,000,000).

Inglis also sold the most yearlings in 2019 for $1 million or more, with 19 of the 30 yearlings to sell for seven figures in Australia doing so through Inglis, as well as the only two yearlings to sell for $2 million or more.

Inglis graduates continue to dominate on the track, with 20 individual G1 winners for the 2018/19 season.

Since the start of 2018, Inglis has produced 88% more G1-winning graduates than any other Australian auction house, while 83% of Australian G1-winning 2YOs in that same period that have been offered at auction have been offered through Inglis.

“The success of graduates of Inglis auctions, particularly at G1 level, is very significant and we will be doing our utmost to promote to the buying bench that their chances of buying a G1 winner are dramatically increased by doing business with Inglis,” General Manager of Bloodstock Sales Sebastian Hutch said.

“We are determined to offer our vendors an outstanding service throughout the process and our sales structure for 2020 is a reflection not just of the consideration we have given as a team to where we can improve, but more importantly of the feedback we have received from both vendors and buyers.

“We want to work with each and every one of our vendors to help them to achieve optimum results across the board, starting with identifying appropriate sales targets for the 2020 Yearling Sales Series.

“It is a most important time of the year and while work for the 2020 Series began quite some time ago, our bloodstock team is excited about getting out and about to discuss options with vendors over the coming weeks and months.”

To discuss the sales placement of your yearlings for 2020, contact a member of the Inglis bloodstock team in Sydney on 02 9399 7999 or Melbourne on 03 9333 1422.

To enter your yearlings, CLICK HERE.

Entries close Friday August 2.

Pauline Liston on the mend

Jess & Pauline Liston with their Walers (image: Jo McKinnon).

*media release

The Liston family would like to thank everyone for their support in the past week after Pauline’s unfortunate accident.

Pauline was injured by a Waler on Tuesday 2nd July and was airlifted to Royal Melbourne Hospital with several broken ribs and back injuries. Following two surgeries to her lower back and ribs Pauline is now on the mend. 

There is only one thing tougher than a Waler, and that is Pauline!

Jessica and Pauline’s commitment for re-homing the Waler’s is unwavering and although this is a setback they are even more determined to re-home them in the coming months to their wonderful supporters and new homes.

Pauline would like to thank the amazing staff at the Royal Melbourne. She has given the nurses the highest praise possible in saying to the nurses “I would let you look after my foals”.

Three Bridges Thoroughbreds continues to operate as normal and we thank you all for you continued support and kind thoughts.

Along with her daughter Jess, Pauline has been instrumental in championing the revival of the breed, which was pivotal during Australia’s World War 1 campaign. Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria wishes Pauline a speedy recovery.

Upcoming Stallion Parades Announced

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

Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) in conjunction with Victoria’s stallion farms, would like to invite you to the upcoming stallion parades across the state.

Parades are free to attend and are a great way to see first-hand the exceptional quality of stallions that reside in Victoria, while seeing some of the beautiful Victorian countryside.

This coming season, there is new investment from farms who have decided to call Victoria home, such as Aquis, who will stand Lean Mean Machine and Siege of Quebec and Yulong, who will stand Grunt.

Rosemont have acquired Shamus Award and will once again have Starspangledbanner, Stockwell have added Al Maher to their roster, Spendthrift have recruited Bolt D’Oro, Sun Stud shuttling National Defense to Victoria, Swettenham recruited Akeed Mofeed and Sioux Nation and Woodside gain Foxwedge. Please note that we will have a further list of parade schedules in the August newsletter.

RSVPS are essential and to confirm your attendance, please advise the farms of your attendance.

2019 Victorian Stallion Parades Schedule

StudTimeMore Information
Friday 16 August
Saturday 17 August
Woodside Park StudTBC (AM)
Sunday 18 August
Glen Eden
Sunday 24 August
Glen Eden
By Appointment
NameMore Information
Blue Gum

Hand me down makes the Cut

King Of Hastings wins at Caulfield, 29 June 2019 (Racing Photos).

*Story by Aushorse

You might not know the name, but Chris Rentessis is a familiar – and friendly – face at Victorian sales. He’s worked for a lot of farms over a lot of years.

However, it was courtesy of a stint at Rangal Park Stud that Rentessis “inherited” a winning Danerich mare called Handcut.

On Saturday at Caulfield, it was Handcut’s second foal – King of Hastings – who stole the show in the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap over 1200m, with the Anthony Freedman trained 2YO notching up his second win from three outings: his only ‘blemish’ a lip second at Sandown two weeks earlier.

The win continued the Freedman stable’s terrific run with juveniles this season – including Blue Diamond winner Lyre and dual stakes winner I Am Immortal – and while King of Hastings has still some way to go to match strides, he is clearly a youngster with tremendous ability.

Which all augurs well for Handcut and Rentessis.

“Handcut was bred and raced by Terry Martin who had quite a bit to do with Rangal Park when I was there,” Rentessis recalls. “Anyway, Handcut came out and won her second start easily and went on to finish a good third behind Platelet, who was a Group winner at the time and went on to win the Sangster and the Goodwood at Group One level.

“Trouble is, Handcut was a bit of a head case and Terry didn’t want to breed from her. My wife, Margie, and I have got a small farm – Aird’s Green – at Euroa (in Victoria’s north east), so he ended up giving us the mare.”

Rentessis decided to send Handcut to be covered by Ilovethiscity, the Grahame Begg trained Magic Albert entire who won the 2011 Group One Randwick Guineas and finished a neck second in the Group One George Main Stakes.

“I’m very good mates with Nev Murdoch who owns Larneuk Stud and was standing Ilovethiscity at the time,” Rentessis explains. “Anyway, Handcut slipped that first year before producing an Ilovethiscity colt the second time around.

“I sold that colt to David Jolly for $30,000 at the Inglis VOBIS sale and he’s called Appalachian. He’s only had the one start – a maiden at Balaklava in May – but won easily and David has a huge opinion of the horse.

“Now King of Hastings – who I sold to the Freedmans for $32,000 at the Adelaide Magic Millions last year – has won two from three. A 100% strike rate for the mare so far.

“Strangely, both Appalachian and King of Hastings are totally different types, but the one thing they have in common, obviously, is that they can both run!

“I’ve got an O’Lonhro colt – a yearling – out of Handcut that was a late foal and I’m going to race him myself. He’s at Jerilderie getting broken in, but I’ve had a couple of phone calls already since Saturday, so he might end up getting sold. Who knows? I’d love to race him, but we’re only a small operation and you have to be practical.

“Handcut, meanwhile, is back in foal to Ilovethiscity on a good early cover.

“It just goes to show you that in this game there’s always a diamond in the rough.”

Noor Elaine Farm’s stud manager, Mark Calwell, was also cheering home King of Hastings on Saturday, particularly given that his Victorian farm now stands Ilovethiscity.

“We’ve always liked the stallion – a very good racehorse – and we jumped at the opportunity to stand him,” Calwell reveals. “Ilovethiscity has never had huge numbers but covered his biggest book (70 mares) last season, largely on the back of his stakes horses El Dorado Dreaming (Group One ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes, multiple Group One placed and winner of $989,155), Moonlover (Listed winner of 10 races), Tony McEvoy’s Savoie, who was runnerup in the Group Two Moonee Valley Vase last spring and stakes placed, Chapel City.

“All up, Ilovethiscity has had only the 68 runners but his winners to runners strike rate is 64%.

“Not only is Handcut back in foal to him, so is the dam of El Dorado Dreaming.

“He’s excellent value for money given that he stands at just $5,500.”

Based at Euroa, the 380 acre Noor Elaine was purchased by the El-Fahkri family in 1990, but only established as a horse property some 15 years ago.

“Noor Elaine has also stood the Group winning sprinter, Oamaru Force, who is pretty much retired but he did a lot to put the farm on the map,” Calwell adds. “His (Group One) Stradbroke Handicap winner, Mid Summer Music, was grown out at Noor Elaine, as was (Flemington stakes winner) Rocking Force, while he also had another very good stakes winner in Diplomatic Force (Group Two Yallambee Classic).

“Moving forward, it really looks as if King of Hastings is right up to stakes class which is a nice boost as Ilovethiscity gears up for his second season at Noor Elaine.”

Grassroots: Nic Willis

Nic Willis at Chatswood Stud.

Described as outgoing and the life of the party by his friends, Nic Willis of Chatswood Stud decided that after completing an advertising degree at university, his true calling was not in an office somewhere but with horses.

Swapping content design for researching pedigrees and matching mares with stallions, it is a decision that Nic does not regret in the slightest.

Presented with the opportunity to accept the role as Sales and Nominations Manager for Chatswood Stud, it was not one he could turn down.

When asked where he saw his career taking him in five years, he states, “I am already doing what I intend on doing for the rest of my life”.

While he enjoyed his role at an advertising agency, it isn’t something that Nic saw as a ‘forever job’. After all, horses are in his blood. His father is Greg Willis, principal of Chatswood Stud.

Raised in Seymour, he spent his youth on the farm he now works at and while at first, he may have taken the country life for granted, as Nic puts it, ‘it isn’t until you get a bit older, that you appreciate it’.

Between work, watching all the races where Chatswood’s stallions have a runner, (in fact, he paused this interview to watch a runner at Pakenham) and catching up with friends, Nic doesn’t get a lot of down time to himself. He does however, try to make weekly trips into the ‘G to watch his beloved Tigers win.

“I enjoy the football and it is something that my Dad and I try to do weekly. I also try to make sure I get to Hong Kong each year. I love travelling and have a very soft spot for the place”.

Nic recognises that the opportunity he has worked so hard for, isn’t one that is readily available to all those in the industry. When asked what advice he would give to someone aspiring to be in the position he is, he stops and reflects for some time, before saying, “Study as much as possible, so you can speak and relate to people. In your spare time, study pedigrees, people really notice if you are approachable and have a positive can-do attitude. It becomes contagious.”

In his mere four years in his role, when asked what his career achievements to date were, he smiles and states he has a few. Firstly, in 2015 and 2017 ensuring that he booked 200 mares into Reward For Effort, Nic carefully studied pedigrees and drew upon mating analysis’ he conducted to get the bookings.

The second career achievement?

Well at first, he states when Reward For Effort had his first Stakes Winner in Golden Symphony but then quickly changes his mind to when Take Pride won at Seymour. Nic was there cheering on from the sidelines as she flew across the finishing post to become Reward For Effort’s first winner.

And finally, parting advice from Nic?

“You never know what someone is going through and there are a lot of tough people in the industry, but you should always be nice to people.”

We think so too Nic.

Hoofnote: What is Grassroots? Grassroots is a new segment of the TBV weekly newsletter, which aims to showcase people in our industry and the stories they have to tell. Each week, we will aim to bring you a new story of someone’s background, experience and passion.

Reward For Effort’s first winner, Take Pride (Racing Photos).

Stylish Winner for Brazen Beau

Darley Northwood's Brazen Beau.

*Story from Breednet

Darley young gun Brazen Beau sired an impressive winner at Scone on Monday with the Kris Lees trained Iconic Star galloping clear to win as she pleased.

Third at her first run back from a spell when she did plenty wrong, it was a better behaved Iconic Star that stepped out at Scone.

She jumped fast from an outside gate to take up the lead and was never challenged in scoring an easy two and three-quarter length win over older rivals in the 900 metre maiden.

Iconic Star was an $80,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Coolmore draft for Lees Racing and her owners include her breeders Emaroo Bloodstock.

She is the first winner for Order Me (USA), a half-sister by Elusive Quality to stakes-winner Top Cross from the family of Group I winning sprinter Mozart.

Iconic Star is the fifth Australian winner for I Am Invincible’s champion son Brazen Beau, who also has five winners in the Northern Hemisphere.

He stands at Darley Victoria this spring at a fee of $49,500.

Racing Victoria Survey Request

Racing Victoria is requesting your participation in their VOBIS survey to help identify key insights in the use of the Racing Victoria website and what advertising you may have seen. This survey has also been sent out to racehorse owners.

Are you aware of VOBIS, the Victorian Owner and Breeder Incentive Scheme?

What sort of information would you like to see included in VOBIS emails or on the website?

Have you seen marketing materials promoting VOBIS?

This survey will take just approximately five minutes to complete.

CLICK HERE to complete the survey.

Thank you for your participation.