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Monthly Archives: August 2019

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GRASSROOTS: Nioka Wozny of Moorookyle Park

Nioka Wozny of Moorooklye Park with her beloved horses.

For those who know Nioka, the first thing that you will notice, is her infectious smile and her love for

Nioka Wozny is the principal at Moorookyle Park which is located in Smeaton and set on a generous
160 acres, only 15 minutes from where she was born and raised in Clunes, Victoria.

Moorooklye Park is a boutique operation, which looks after each horse as an individual and giving
them personalised care and attention based on their requirements.

Originally established around eight years ago, Moorooklye Park focusses on everything from foaling
down, yearling and weanling sale prep, walk-ons, race horse spelling and rehabilition. In addition to
standing stallions; Ustinov, Jayemzed, Cecconi and Rockaroundtheclock.

Like most in our industry, her love affair with horses started young. A pony named Shandy, a
registered Appaloosa x Palouse pony stole Nioka’s heart and has been in her life for quite some time.

“My forty-year-old pony in the paddock, Shandy, I have had her since she was eight. I grew up with
her and she is still spritely, she trots off on me every day when I need to give her medication.” Nioka
laughs. “She was the first horse I ever attended any competition on.”

Prior to deciding to quit her day job and follow her passion for horses, Nioka studied Agronomy at
University and had a successful career as a logistics manager for a large company. However, this
wasn’t enough for Nioka and she felt as though something was missing in her life.

“I decided I needed to fulfil my dream and I wanted to be with horses all the time, they just feel like
home to me,” she enthused.

This is when Moorooklye Park was born and Nioka has not looked back since. Nioka thinks that there
is something so special about being involved in our industry, especially when it comes to the
breeding season,

Nioka Wozny thinks one of the most special things is when a new foal enters our world.

“When you are outside at night at 2:00am and you have just foaled a horse down and you watch the
foal get up and nurse for the first time. I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing that. I would say that is
one of my biggest winning moments, because you have planned the mating and see it all the way
through to the foal being born.”

“Those sorts of moments are the ones that make me tick, I feel very privileged to be part of and experience that, you feel so present and are really living in the moment at that time.”

Nioka Wozny with one of her new foals on the farm

Nioka has such a connection with her horses that they become so dear to her, that parting ways with
them at the sales, is no easy feat and she has been known to retain a share in them.

One horse which she shares a strong connection with, is one of her stallions, Ustinov.

“I originally noticed him on Gavel house and then two days later I flew over to see him and that was
it, I purchased him. Ustinov would be very dear to me, as he was my first stallion I ever owned, and
he has been very kind to me in the process. Because of him, I developed the confidence to have the
other stallions that I stand on the farm now.”

In the little spare time that Nioka has, she is an avid traveller and on one of her most recent trips,
while in Mongolia, horses were still a focus and she couldn’t get enough of the foals that she came

She is also a very keen skydiver and has just gained her ticket to be able to conduct solo dives. When
pressed about this hobby, Nioka beams, “Some people would say I am a bit of an adrenalin junky,

When asked if she had a mentor or someone she looked up to, she quickly responded with Pauline
Liston of Three Bridges Thoroughbreds.

“I love Pauline Liston. She is a true horsewoman and works as hard as the day is long, she is definitely someone I look up to and aspire to be like”.

And what advice would she give to someone wanting to get involved in the industry?

“My advice would be to go around and work at as many places as you can, listen to as many people
who have been in the industry and have experience. Those guys are a wealth of knowledge, go and

The Journey Continues

Mystic Journey ridden by Anthony Darmanin wins the P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield (Racing Photos)

On a quest for the Cox Plate and to take her place as the best in Australia, the Adam Tinder-trained Mystic Journey took her first steps to the spring with a convincing win in Saturday’s Group II PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Making her first start since her emotional win in the rich All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 16, the Group 1 Australian Guineas winner extender her winning sequence to seven.

With regular rider Anthony Darmanin in the saddle, Mystic Journey came from one out and three back to run down the courageous Cliff’s Edge by three-quarter of a length with old favourite Hartnell  a long-neck back in third.

Purchased for $11,000 by Trinder out of the Armidale Stud draft at the 2017 Magic Millions Tasmanian yearling sale, Mystic Journey advances her record to 11 wins from 14 starts with earnings of $3,383,600.

“It’s really pleasing to get them back to the races and see them do what you trust they’re going to do,” Trinder told AAP.

“This takes a little bit of pressure off and I feel she is where she needs to be.”

Connections of Mystic Journey after winning the P.B. Lawrence Stakes, at Caulfield (Racing Photos)

Trinder said Mystic Journey was likely to start in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on September 14 although the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on August 31, is an option, before the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington and then the Cox Plate

“That’s what I’m thinking standing here but I’ll make up my mind as the week transpires,” Trinder said.

“Looking at her presentation and her nostril flare directly, I think we won’t see her for a month.

“If she is to run in the Memsie she’ll remain here for a Cox Plate campaign because with fortnight racing I don’t want to be travelling with her all the time.

“She is more comfortable in her own environment.”

Mystic Journey is the best of three winners from four to race out of the Colombia mare White Gold who is a sister to the stakes-placed Oronero.

Bred by Ralph and Peta Zito, Mystic Journey is a three-quarter sister to the Listed winner Mystic Pursuit who is out of White Gold’s unraced half-sister Oh So Gold.

A full-sister to Mystic Journey made $55,000 to the bid of Ross Wilkinson at last year’s Magic Millions Tasmanian Yearling Sale. She has been named Emerald Crown.

White Gold was not covered in 2016 but had a Fighting Sun filly last spring and was bred back to Fiorente.


(Article Courtesy of Breednet)

Victorian breeder to put Aloisia through spring campaign before the breeding barn calls

Aloisia ridden by Michael Walker heads to the barrier before Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington. (John Donegan/Racing Photos)

With the winter chill in Melbourne, it may not feel like spring is approaching, but it is definitely on the mind of Nick Wakim.

As the new owner of Aloisia, a mare that we have not seen in the winner’s circle since the 2017 Group 1 Thousand Guineas, when she provided trainer Aaron Purcell with his first Group 1 winner, the spring can’t come quickly enough.

Since that date in 2017, the talented mare has had a run of bad luck with outside barriers drawn and difficult ground conditions, but she has always shown determination in race conditions and an impressive turn of foot.

A set of skills that Nick certainly saw in the mare when he purchased her at the Inglis Chairman’s Sale earlier this year for $1,200,000.

Nick was concentrating on a Snitzel or Danehill mare however Aloisia caught his eye and fitted his requirements as she is out of Azamour on the Danehill bloodline.

“Although she wasn’t on my top two, she was strong, well-built and had an incredible walk crossed with the pedigree”. Nick said.

Following a spell at Hilldene, Nick’s high-end boutique operation in Seymour, Aloisia was given a much-needed break from the race track.

Both the team at Hilldene and Pinecliff’s (Anthony Freedman’s Mornington Peninsular stables) worked hard to strengthen Aloisia’s ankles and allowing her feet to grow out.

Now she is back in training at Pinecliff, where there are approximately forty horses.

“The mare has done well and remained calm” Nick remarked

Nick Wakim with mare Aloisia

There was no question for Nick in choosing Anthony Freedman to train Aloisia

“He is a very patient trainer and specifically has had success with fillies and mares.”

The team is targeting a busy Spring for Aloisia starting with The Memsie Stakes at Caulfield, The Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington, The Underwood Stakes at Caulfield and finally The Cox Plate totalling four Weight for Age Group 1’s. Following a trial yesterday at Cranbourne, Aloisia trialled well finishing third against a competitive field. The mare appears to be enjoying the race preparations with the new addition of blinkers and we look forward to seeing her start at The Memsie Stakes on August 31st.

However, if the mare is not performing at the level the team expect, then the plan is to head to the breeding barn prior to spring.

For the time being, we need to wait and see if the scenery of the Mornington Peninsula is what this mare needs to show her true potential and revive the form that we saw in her three-year-old year.



2019 Ready2Race Catalogue Released

Auctioneer at the Inglis Sales (Racing Photos)
The 2019 renewal of the Inglis Ready2Race Sale, to be held at Riverside Stables on Tuesday October 22, has attracted a strong catalogue of 191 2YOs.

The catalogue, which is now available online, features juveniles by leading stallions such as Written Tycoon,  Brazen Beau & amongst others.

Of the entries,  eligible and 27 are VOBIS nominated, while a number are entered for the Inglis Race Series – those that are not, are still eligible to pay up – as well as the Group One Golden Slipper and the Group One Blue Diamond.

“We really are delighted with how the catalogue has come together, with it featuring offerings from a number of the very best horsepeople in Australia and New Zealand who are experts in the development and management of young racing stock” said Inglis’ General Manager of Bloodstock Sales, Sebastian Hutch.

“The Inglis Bloodstock Team, in particular Matt Scown and Will Stott, worked in tandem with a number of our vendors through our yearling sale series to identify athletes for this sale and we are very confident that buyers will be impressed by what is on offer.”

“With prizemoney in Australia alone around the $700m mark and countless lucrative opportunities internationally, there has never been a better time to be involved in horse racing and this sale offers the opportunity to access quality, ready-made racehorses who have already demonstrated their ability in a training environment.”

Inglis is again teaming up with Racing NSW, with the Ready2Race Sale to take place on Tuesday October 22, three days after the running of the $14m The Everest at Royal Randwick.

The timing will again ensure the sale attracts the attention of the world’s racing eyes, which will be firmly planted on Sydney during that period.

The lead-up to the 2019 sale is expanding, with the introduction of a breeze up session at Eagle Farm in Brisbane, to be held on Monday September 23.

It will be accompanied by the regular Cranbourne (Fri Sept 13), Warwick Farm (Fri Sept 20) and Taupo (Mon Sept 23) breeze ups, as well as the alternative session at Warwick Farm on the morning of Friday October 18.

Hard copies of the Inglis Ready2Race catalogue will be available within the next fortnight.

To order yours, email


Friday September 13 – Cranbourne breeze ups
Friday September 20 – Warwick Farm breeze ups
Monday September 23 – Eagle Farm breeze ups
Monday September 23 – Taupo breeze ups
Friday October 18 – Alternate breeze ups at Warwick Farm
Friday October 18 – Champagne brunch and parades at Riverside Stables
Saturday October 19 – The Everest, Royal Randwick
Sunday/Monday October 20/21 – Inspection Days at Riverside Stables
Tuesday October 22 – 2019 Inglis Ready2Race Sale, Riverside Stables

Reminder to RSVP: Your Invitation to the 2019 Victorian Stallion Parades

Woodside Park stallion Written Tycoon.

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. If you plan on attending, it is crucial that you RSVP to the farms on the email addresses supplied below.

Please note that some of the start times may have changed since our last email to you, so please make sure you check the details below.

If you are planning on staying for the weekend of the parades, there are some fantastic places you can stay such as Mitchelton, Harvest Home Avenel, Nagambie Motor Inn or the Waterfront Motel, Nagambie.

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, Sun Stud have shuttled National Defense to Victoria, Swettenham have recruited Akeed Mofeed and Sioux Nation and Woodside have gained Foxwedge.


Call to make an appointment
Name Website More Information
Blue Gum Farm
Bullarook Park
Chatswood Stud
Daisy Hill
Larneuk Stud
Ponderosa Stud
Riverbank Farm

Dr. Jamie Wearn joins Avenel Equine Hospital

Avenel Equine Hospital's Dr Jamie Wearn

Avenel Equine Hospital welcomes Dr Jamie Wearn to their team as a Specialist in Equine Medicine.

Jamie graduated from the University of Sydney in 2003. Following an Internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at Sydney, Jamie undertook a Fellowship in Equine Medicine at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Kentucky and a Residency in Large Animal Internal Medicine at Virginia Tech University.

Jamie was certified as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and became registered as a Specialist in Equine Medicine in 2010.

On returning to Australia, Jamie worked in equine practice on the Gold Coast and as an Equine Medicine Specialist at James Cook University in Townsville.

Jamie’s clinical interests include neonatology, critical care and managing athletic performance. He is a currently undertaking the research requirements for a PhD in the use of antimicrobials in the treatment of joint infections.

The addition of Jamie to the team at the growing Avenel Equine Hospital marks a significant development in the hospital and intensive care service available to breeders and stud managers in the region.

Jamie’s role will involve supervision of the Medical Service, intensive care for neonatal foals and post-surgical care for young horses and broodmares which have been treated at the hospital.

“I’m excited to be involved in this rapidly developing region of the Victorian Thoroughbred breeding industry.” Jamie said. “I look forward to meeting the local breeders and veterinarians and understanding where Avenel Equine Hospital can help them.”

Avenel Equine Hospital are a valued sponsor of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria, to find more information on their services, click here

Consistency a plus for Polyxena

Cranbrook winning at Canberra (Peter Staples)

Master Of Design mare Polyxena has been a model of consistency for owner-breeder Manny Notaras since a winning debut in Canberra this time last year.

Polyxena has only been out of place once in 8 starts for trainer Rob Potter and she saluted again with a two-length victory in the Procurement Professionals Hcp (1280m) at Thoroughbred Park on Thursday.

Notaras and his wife Jenny have been keen supporters of the Victorian industry.  And coming down from Canberra to visit their mares is easier than the drive to the Hunter Valley.

Polyxena is the final foal of Bang Goes Lang (Langfuhr) who won three races in Adelaide and earned black-type when runner-up in a LR Dequetteville Stakes.  Her older half-sister Huntingdale High (Military Plume) retired with an unbeaten record after winning a LR Mona Nursery at Caulfield.

Master Of Design sprinter Cranbrook landed his third win this prep lumping 62kg in the Goodstone Group Hcp (1009m) at Devonport last weekend.

Greta West Stud sire Master of Design

Champion jockey Craig Newitt diffused the weight with a one-out, one-back ride from a wide gate.  He angled the favourite three-wide on the corner and then defied the late challenge of Bedrock Dreams (Bon Hoffa).

“To carry 63kg including the vest was a mighty effort and he will be competitive when he going up in grade,” Newitt said.  “He had to dig in for the fight today and stuck his head out when it counted.”

Cranbrook was a $34,000 buy for Denise Martin and Star Thoroughbreds at the 2015 Tasmanian Magic Millions.   Bred at Toolora Lodge by Ken Breese, he’s the first foal of Sandown winner Il Sogno (Elvstroem).  Second-dam Tickle My (Perugino) won 11 races up to Group 2 level in a Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley.

The Leanne Gaffney-trained gelding has been a quiet achiever with 6 wins and 6 placings from 22 starts.  “He’s been great this time in,” Gaffney said.  “He keeps getting the job done and loves his racing.”

Master Of Design (Redoute’s Choice) is based at Greta West Stud for a $3,300 fee.  There have been 73 individual winners of 166 races from his first three crops for earnings over $5.15 million.


Moodies farewell beloved Paint

David and Jenny Moodie’s much loved horse Paint (Contract Racing)

The sad announcement of the passing of ex-racehorse Paint came via Contract Racing’s twitter last Thursday afternoon. Aged 26, Paint was the oldest resident at David and Jenny Moodie’s Yungaburra Stud in the Victorian Macedon Ranges.

Sired by Raami (GB) and foaled in early September 1993, the steely, almost black, grey gelding was out of the Luskin Star mare, Colour Chart. He was bred by Contract Racing, who raced him in partnership with Adrian Hancock and the Ferncourt P/L Syndicate (Manager: P Howell).

Paint’s first 2-year-old campaign was an exciting one. He had his first race outing in early January 1996, winning his maiden in an 1100 metre race at Kyneton. He followed this up with an unlucky fifth placing in the Group 2 Breeders Stakes at Morphettville before then winning at Moonee Valley two weeks later.

Connections then made the decision to pay the late entry fee into the Group 1 VATC Blue Diamond Stakes to be run seven days later. Due to track renovations at Caulfield racecourse that year, the race was being held at Flemington. Paint won the race by 3 lengths, beating Flavour and Our Cashel.

From here, the owners then again paid another late entry fee, sending Paint north to Canberra for the Group 2 Black Opal Stakes. The natural speedster won by 2 lengths, another late entry fee was paid, and he continued his journey further north to Rosehill Gardens, to contest the Group 1 STC Golden Slipper Stakes.

Jumping from barrier 8, he was travelling well in front before running into interference just before the turn. He picked himself up to get back to the lead but was run down in the final stages, finishing second behind the Lee Freedman-trained Merlene. In a strange twist, it was only just announced that Merlene also died late last month.

Paint came back in the Spring of 1996 to win the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes first up, however he never quite captured the same winning form he had shown in his two-year-old career. He was retired, aged eight and a lighter shade of grey, following a seventh placing at Sandown in the autumn of 2002. From 49 starts, he won nine races, including four Group and Listed races, placed 16 times and earnt his connections $1,447,970 in prizemoney.

Paint after winning the Black Opal (Jenny Barnes)

Paint is remembered as being a lovely, quiet and well-natured racehorse. Terrific around the stables, he was a fast and eager learner. When he retired from racing, he commenced the retraining process toward a secondary career as a clerk of the course however he didn’t quite take to the change of pace. So he returned to the Moodie’s farm, becoming a nanny to their young horses and living out his years blissfully surrounded by friends.

Drylie has a handle on Artie

Bec Drylie with Stockwell Thoroughbred sire Artie Schiller

When the highly successful stallion Artie Schiller returned to Stockwell Thoroughbreds in Diggers Rest last year, there was an unassuming, hardworking and talented horsewoman on the farm that no one expected to be his future handler.

Bec Drylie has broken the mould and proved them all wrong and with her patient and gentle manner, she has tamed the lion.

Drylie is a handy acquisition to the Stockwell Thoroughbred operation and now a vital part of the stallion team.

“I didn’t come to Stockwell with the intention to handle the stallions, but when Brodie (Becker) let me start working with them, it started from there. I actually do everything with them now.”

“One day, when I was doing Artie’s box, I hugged him and I swear he held his breath until I let him go. I don’t think he had ever been given a hug like that before. So, I just started slowly giving him more pats and he really enjoyed them. He now even loves having his ears scratched.”

Artie Schiller has developed quite the reputation over his breeding years as a particularly dominate horse to handle.

“I have heard all the stories, and he has a dreadful history. I heard he took off his last handlers’ thumb.” Drylie remarked

“I don’t see that in him. I don’t see that dominant side in him at all. I’m sure it is there, and I am careful, he has a kind, soft eye. It’s a compromise; a partnership.”

“Artie is an alpha male, so he does not see me as a threat.  He does not dominate me, and I do not need to try to dominate him.”

Drylie gained experience having covered with Artie last season, but this season will really give her the chance to gain knowledge and improve her skills in the breeding barn.

“I am excited and eager to learn, and Brodie was great helping me and showing me the ropes. This year, I am looking forward to assisting with more serves, and honing my craft.”

“I love learning something new and working with Artie has been amazing. Who knows, maybe one day I will travel abroad and work with other stallions all over the world.”

“I love looking after my boys, and I am so thankful that Brodie, Mike and all the Stockwell family have given me the opportunity to really shine.”

Artie Schiller is a proven Group 1 racehorse and sire of four Group 1 winners, including World Champion three-year-old sprinter Flying Artie. There is no doubt that Artie Schiller is like a good wine, he gets better with age. Maybe he has even mellowed a bit too.

Brodie Becker, Director of Stockwell, is proud to stand a stallion who had been so closely linked to the property and the Victorian breeding industry.

“We have been with Artie since he first came to stud in this country and have obviously followed his rise more than most. It was a sad day when the commercial pressures of his success saw him move to NSW, but the reality is that he has been given a great chance in those two seasons to continue his outstanding strike rate.”

“Artie’s yearlings have always been strongly received in the market by trainers and again this year have sold for better than $200,000.

“We are thrilled to have him back and getting support in his home state, and he is not slowing down with 53 winners already this season including the stakes winner Reykjavik.”

A top-class Group 1 sire that has left the likes of Champion three-year-old Flying Artie, Artie Schiller stands at a fee of $13,200.

Artie Schiller will have a solid book of mares visiting him this season, along with Stockwell’s other resident stallions, Al Maher and Rock Sturdy.


Stockwell sire Al Maher with Bec at the Diggers Rest property

“It’s a great photo of Al Maher. I was laughing, as he acts like a two-year-old kid. It’s great to see him expressing himself and having fun. He is feeling so well, ready and rearing, literally, to go for the season.”

TBV GRASSROOTS: Chris Kent – Blue Gum Farm

Chris Kent at Blue Gum Farm

Early mornings and hard work are nothing new to Chris Kent. As a national-level competitor in 5km open water swimming in his youth, his alarm rang daily at 5am for before school training. His afternoons were also spent in the water. On weekends, he’d travel to his parent’s 400 acre property in Goulburn to go pony riding.

Growing up in Douglas Park near Picton, 80km south of Sydney, Chris’ first taste of the horse racing industry came through his father, who bred and raced horses in partnership with Chris’ grandfather and uncle.

“My parents did not work in the industry. Mum likes horses but is a little scared, and dad is allergic,” said Chris. “But I used to love going to the country races to watch their horses. They had horses everywhere – with Peter Myers at Randwick, Keith Swan at Coonamble, and other trainers at Bathurst and Goulburn. We had the most fun around the Western Districts race tracks. I always wanted to be a horse trainer.”

After graduating Year 12 from Menangle Broughton Anglican College, family friend and veterinarian John Peakfield suggested to Chris that if he wanted to work with racehorses, he needed to first know where foals came from. So Chris went looking for work and secured a job with Brian Gorman at Scone’s Bellerive Stud.

After working under Brian for two years doing night watch and yearling preparations, Chris wanted to learn the next step in a thoroughbred’s career cycle. He then spent the next 12 months learning how to break-in horses with Greg Bennett.

“Some of the quality of bloodstock that came through the barns was amazing,” said Chris. “I learnt so much with Greg and still stay in contact with him.”

Chris then had the opportunity to move south to Victoria after securing the Australian Thoroughbred Scholarship at Geelong’s Marcus Oldham College. Upon graduating with a Diploma of Equine Management, Chris won the International Stud Management Award which granted him an invaluable opportunity to work for the historic Lanwades Stud in Newmarket, UK, for 12 months. It was also over there that he first met his now wife, Catherine.

Lured back to Australia with an offer to become Greg’s racing manager, Chris first did a five day stint for Phil and Patti Campbell at Blue Gum Farm, working with their draft at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale. And whilst he hit it off with the Blue Gum team, he kept his commitment to Greg. Whilst working for Greg, Chris looked after some lovely racehorses including Listed winner Charms Honour and Kaypers, whom he strapped when he finished 2nd in the Listed Parramatta Cup.

Whilst they stayed in touch, it was a while later that Phil made a specific phone call, offering Chris a role looking after Blue Gum’s Marketing and Nominations. It was too big an opportunity to turn down.

“Somewhere along the line I realised horse training wasn’t going to be for me,” said Chris. “Realistically, country training is where everyone starts and I’d seen how tough trainers do it. Plus I really enjoyed the breeding side, especially the pedigrees. I spoke to Greg and whilst he liked having me, he said I was better off doing that than working in his stables.”

Whilst Chris was busy working for Greg’s bourgeoning racing stables, Catherine came out to Australia on her own. She did a stint with the former Eliza Park before going north to Bellerive. It was here that romance began between the pair. Catherine followed Brian Gorman back down to Victoria and to Swettenham Stud and she currently works for Danny Swain at Euroa’s Glenelg Park. Chris and Catherine married in 2017 but they won’t work together as Chris jokes “we’d kill each other!”

Since accepting the role at Blue Gum Farm in April 2013, Chris’s role has grown to Horse Operations Manager. He is charged with managing the day-to-day operations, dealing with staff and clients and making sure the running of the farm goes as smoothly as possible.

Chris and Catherine Kent

“We’ll foal down just over 100 mares this breeding season,” said Chris. “Then we’ll prepare between 40 to 50 yearlings for the sales. We were leading vendors at this year’s Inglis Premier and VOBIS Gold Sales. We enjoy our success and it’s a lot of fun.”

When pressed to name his favourite part of his role, Chris honestly can’t provide a definitive answer.

“I like seeing foals born, seeing them develop into yearlings and I like watching them on the racetracks,” said Chris. “I also really enjoy doing my matings and pedigrees. I have dyspraxia and spent 17 years in speech therapy, so that means I have to work a bit harder when it comes to explaining things, writing emails and pronouncing names. But I don’t have one favourite part about my job. It’s not work, it’s a lifestyle for me.”

And when asked about a favourite horse?

“The year Blue Gum topped the Premier Sale (2016), I was lucky enough to take that horse through the ring.” That horse, which sold for $700,000, would become Listed winner and now first season sire, Ducimus.

“Fontiton was an absolute machine as a yearling to deal with, she thrived on the work. And then there’s What’s My Story. He wasn’t a superstar but riding him track work (at Greg’s) and seeing him win three races was pretty outstanding.”

Already having an all-encompassing career, Chris credits not just his managers, but also his fellow colleagues for teaching him so much through his work experiences, across all aspects.

“At every job you work, you learn something,” Chris said. “I’ve worked and learnt off Robert Simms, Jo Monahan, the boys in the UK stallion barns and our Yearling Manager Wendy Smith. Wendy is one of the most interesting horse people I’ve ever met and I’ve learnt so much off her.”

If there’s one thing Chris thinks the industry needs to focus on improving, it’s the necessity to attract more young people to the industry.

“It’s a great industry if you’ve got the bug for it,” Chris explains. “Trying to attract newer members, workers and breeders is what makes the industry grow and develop. The younger generation seem to be less and less coming into and staying involved in the industry.”

Living on site at Blue Gum, Chris does find it hard to switch off work mode. He’s been told, and he’ll admit, that he is a workaholic but he will always try to find time to watch the races on Saturday. He also enjoys getting out to the country race tracks and socialising with friends – BBQs in summers, fire pits in winter. Chill time. But for now, he’s on call and there’s a farm full of broodmares that need him.

And some advice for those wanting to get into the breeding industry? “Remember you get out what you put in and you can learn something off everyone. Don’t expect things to come quickly – patience is a virtue as they say.”

Straight Six Victory for Artie Schiller’s Ruban Bleu

Connections of Ruban Bleu after winning the VRC Member Thomas Dandis Handicap at Flemington Racecourse on August 10, 2019 in Flemington, Australia. (Natasha Morello/Racing Photos)

There’s always something thrilling about the ‘straight six’ at Flemington. It’s real ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ stuff, except only with a better ending.

On Saturday in the VRC Member Thomas Dandis Handicap, Ruban Bleu absolutely flew home over the final stages to record a memorable win for his large team of owners: ultimately scoring with nearly three lengths to spare.

Adding considerably to the win was the fact that Ruban Bleu was an emergency for the race, only obtaining a run due to several scratchings courtesy of the heavy surface.

It didn’t worry Ruban Bleu though and he relished the conditions according to Suman Hedge, who purchased the Artie Schiller sprinter for $80,000, on behalf of Carbine Thoroughbreds, at the 2017 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

“I think the penny has dropped for Ruban Bleu,” Hedge points out. “Two starts ago he was going around in a Class 1 and now he’s won a good race at headquarters.”

“He showed ability at two (with a Flemington fourth and a pair of Caulfield seconds) but then lost his way a bit. The Lindsay Park team have really persevered though, and he came into Saturday on the back of a Flemington third three weeks ago.”

Ruban Bleu ridden by Lachlan King wins the VRC Member Thomas Dandis Handicap at Flemington Racecourse on August 10 (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

“No decision has been made as to what lay ahead, but he’s very effective down that Flemington straight and he could pick up a really good race in the Spring.”

Ruban Bleu is out of the winning Fastnet Rock mare, Bleue Pepite, a half-sister to the Melbourne Group winner, Think Bleue, from the Group Two Silver Slipper winner, Ballybleue.

“Following our respective rounds of inspections, the Hayes team (Lindsay Park) and I compared notes at the Premier sale and Ruban Bleu was on both our lists,” Hedge recalls.

“I’ve always liked the Artie Schillers and Flying Artie was literally flying at the time.”

“Aside from the immediate family, Ruban Bleu has a terrific female pedigree, being related to Encosta de Lago and Flying Spur and it gave us added confidence when (breeder and vendor) Emirates Park decided to stay in the horse too.”

After breeding Group 1 Doncaster winner, Triple Honour – from a mare (Myrrh) which he purchased for just $19,000 in 2002 – Hedge has worked for a number of leading farms before setting up an agency under his own banner just on 12 months ago.

“The massive growth of prizemoney in Australia appears to be well and truly reflected in the sale ring and pin hooking is becoming more popular than ever.”

Ruban Bleu’s storming performance on Saturday is also welcome news for Stockwell Thoroughbreds’ Mike and Brodie Becker, who purchased Artie Schiller in 2018 and the prolific source of winners is about to embark on his second season at the Victorian nursery.

The sire of 47 stakes winners – 13 in Australia, including Group 1 success stories Artie Schiller and Laser Hawk – Artie Schiller is also responsible for last month’s Listed Winter Championship Final winner, Reykjavik.

“He (Artie Schiller) is 18 now and we’re not looking to get massive numbers to him,” Mike Becker points out. “We would be happy with around 80 mares, which – on the back of recent winners – is definitely achievable.

“He covered a big book of mares in 2016, due in large part to Flying Artie, and we bought the stallion on the back of those numbers coming through, which have all just turned two.

“He has a strike rate of around 70% winners to runners and it’s only a matter of time before he finds another good horse.”

Article courtesy of  Aushorse

Where are they now? Burning Front

Burning Front wins the Chester Manifold Stakes (Racing Photos)

Sixty starts. Nineteen wins, including five stakes wins.  Twenty-one placings and $1.4 million in prizemoney. Not bad for a little homebred gelding that was by an under-the-radar stallion and out of a mare who didn’t manage to break her maiden in 14 starts. The horse…Burning Front.

Of that massive purse, $151,400 of the $1.4 million was bonuses won through the Victorian Owners and Breeders Incentive Scheme (VOBIS). The chestnut gelding’s results on the track won him cult-hero status amongst Victorian racegoers and he would go one to provide his owner and breeder Justin Lovatt, with the accolade of 2017/18 VOBIS Owner of the Year and himself VOBIS Horse of the Year.

“We just could not be prouder of everything that Burning Front has achieved,” said Justin, taking a moment to reflect on his racehorse’s career.

“He completely changed our lives. I’d never done a TV interview in my life before he won. He was easy to train, had such a big will to win and not many can say they’ve owned a horse that beat Humidor. He was my little horse with a big heart!”

The Humidor victory Justin refers was the 2017 TS Carlyon Cup. With an uncontested lead for most of the race, including a 2 length lead at the home turn, he held off a late charge by Humidor to win by a neck.It was back-to-back wins in the race as Burning Front also took out the 2016 edition, beating Sydney stablemates Red Excitement and Dances on Stars.

Not breaking his maiden until his eighth start, Burning Front worked his way through the grades. He won a number of the VOBIS feature races – the Gold Star (twice), the Gold Eldorado, the Gold Mile and the Gold Bullion – as well as the time-honoured Chester Manifold Stakes at Flemington.

By the stallion Primus, Burning Front’s dam She’s A Knockout is still owned by Justin and is currently in foal to Sun Stud’s Palentino. Her other winning progeny are Cajo Kellila, Burning Front’s older full brother Apollo Creed and Casino Star, however it’s Burning Front’s 3-year-old full brother that currently has Justin’s attention.

“The little colt is currently in work with trainer Tony McEvoy,” said Justin. “Tony really likes him and we’re hoping he’s got as big a heart as his big brother!”

Since retiring from racing in 2018, Burning Front now calls Romsey’s Springmount Farm home. It was where he spelled prior to the commencement of what would become his final racing campaign.

“Springmount’s Michael and Anna Flannery are very good friends,” said Justin. “Anna fell in love with him while he was with them and she always said he had a home with them when his racing career was over.”

Having settled in well to farm life, “Burnie” has this season commenced his secondary career as a weanling nanny. In a role he has taken to with ease, the sensible and relaxed gelding is currently sharing a paddock with three playful colts.

The weanlings which Burning Front is a nanny to looking on in interest

Initially giving him time to settle into the property and retired life, this breeding season is his first under his new role. As a weanling nanny, Burnie acts like a big brother to the younger horses. He helps them get used to being separated from their mothers, plays with them but also keeps them in line if they get too cheeky.

“We eased him into it,” said Springmount’s Anna Flannery. “At first he was a little confused, you could see him thinking ‘what is this?’ but he’s taken to being a nanny so quickly. I’ve seen him grooming the weanlings and letting them groom him. He’s not nasty, is so sensible and has the perfect temperament for the job.”

As he stands in the paddock getting a brush down from Michael, you can see Burnie peering out of the corner of his eye. He’s keeping a look out for his three young charges, like a parent looks out for their adventurous toddler. He might not be a big horse but Burnie still has the presence of a champion. And, keeping their own look out too, it seems the young ones know it.

HOOF NOTE: “Where Are They Now?” is a new monthly series from TBV that will look at Victorian bred retired racehorses enjoying secondary careers off the racetrack. With an ongoing commitment to equine welfare, our aim is to further promote and highlight the work done in that area. If you have a story to share, please email

Your Invitation to the 2019 Victorian Stallion Parades

Woodside Park stallion Written Tycoon.

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. If you plan on attending, it is crucial that you RSVP to the farms on the email addresses supplied below.

Please note that some of the start times may have changed since our last email to you, so please make sure you check the details below.

If you are planning on staying for the weekend of the parades, there are some fantastic places you can stay such as Mitchelton, Harvest Home Avenel, Nagambie Motor Inn or the Waterfront Motel, Nagambie.


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, Sun Stud have shuttled National Defense to Victoria, Swettenham have recruited Akeed Mofeed and Sioux Nation and Woodside have gained Foxwedge.

2019 Victorian Stallion Parades Schedule

Call to make an appointment
Name Website More Information
Blue Gum Farm
Bullarook Park
Daisy Hill
Larneuk Stud
Ponderosa Stud
Riverbank Farm

G1 Goldmine delivers success

Wanted Diva winning at Cranbourne (Racing Photos)

As the world’s leading Pedigree Analysis program for thoroughbred breeders, the Australian based G1 Goldmine boasts over 2800 users across 24 countries.

G1 Goldmine’s comprehensive 20/20 Broodmare Report provides a unique and informed insight into the Top 40 most compatible Stallions for the mare. The report includes three main features – the Aptitude Profile, which visualises past stakes winners with a similar breeding pattern, the 4×4 Impact Profile measures the strength of key crosses within a pedigree by comparing the potential number of stakes winners to actual stakes winners recorded, and the Stallion Match to identify the top graded stakes winners around that world that have similar pedigree pattern combinations to your mating.

One breeder experiencing considerable success with the G1 Goldmine reports is Victorian breeder, Esker Lodge and Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s Darren Dance.

“I use the G1 Goldmine Broodmare Reports for all my matings,” said Darren.

By former Rosemont Stud stallion Toorak Toff, SOCIAL SPIN is out of Darren’s mare Pirouettes. Darren used the Goldmine reports to select the matching. 

Pirouettes also produced dual Group 2 winner La Passe. With a yearling to Wyndholm Park’s Crackerjack King, she has now been retired from broodmare duties.

Trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, Social Spin is raced by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock and a big group of owners. With four wins so far from 10 starts, he has also secured three second placings. He wrapped up his last campaign finishing in fifth place in February’s G2 Autumn Stakes behind Hawkshot.

By the Canny Lass mare Rock Diva, WANTED DIVA is another of Darren’s Goldmine success stories.  After two wins, the mare was retired to the breeding barn last season and is close to dropping a foal by Aquis Farm’s Group 3 winner and stakes placed sire JUKEBOX (Snitzel). Not only did Darren use a Goldmine report to determine this matching, he also used the report with the progeny of Rock Diva, which also includes Listed winner Rockolicious.

The 4-year old gelding SIRIUS SUSPECT is out of Darren’s Galileo (IRE) mare Sirius Miss. She was matched with former Eliza Park stallion Wanted, after the Goldmine report determined he was one of the better matches for her based on their pedigrees.

Trained by Saab Hasan at Flemington, Sirius Suspect is a 5-time winner, with another 5 places on his record, from a total of 16 starts. In his most recent start on 20th July, he started the $4.60 favourite and showed blistering speed to outrun his rivals over the 1200-metre trip.

Connections with Sirius Suspect after Flemington Victory 20th July 2019 (Racing Photos)

As a valued partner, G1 Goldmine provides TBV Members with a complimentary 20/20 Broodmare report, valued at $240.

If you’re yet to take up the offer, please email to get your member code. Once you have your member code, click here to redeem! 

Spendthrift’s roster bolstered

Spendthrift Sire Gold Standard (Spendthrift)

Many of the greatest horses around the globe have been bred upon the adage of ‘breed the best to the best and hope for the best,’ and history shows that success often does create more success. 

Gold StandardSpendthrift Australia have developed their stallion roster with a focus on standing exceptional sons of champion sires so that breeders have a greater chance of high prices in the sale ring and winning races that count.

Knowing that you are sending your mare to a champion stallion with a successful sireline is a considerable factor in the breeding decision and it increases the odds of his speed, soundness and temperament being passed on to the progeny.

Take a look at the leading sires list and you will see that majority of the stallions are backed by generations of top sires, attesting to the age-old saying about breeding to the best.

The success of a champion stallion’s influence can also be felt for generations after his last runners hit the track. The legendary Northern Dancer’s (CAN) impact now extends through his champion sons Danzig (USA) and Danehill (USA), with the later the sire of current leading Australian sires Fastnet Rock, Redoute’s Choice and Exceed and Excel.

Sir Tristram (IRE), who at one point in time saw him as the world’s leading sire for individual Group 1 winners, continued his legacy through his world-class son Zabeel (NZ) who is also the sire of New Zealand’s reigning champion sire Savabeel.

Spendthrift Australia’s Hampton Court and Swear are by the breed-shaping Redoute’s Choice, a fourth-generation champion sire. He comes from the legendary sireline of Northern Dancer, Danzig and Danehill.

Redoute’s Choice has already proven his sireline will continue the tradition with Snitzel leading the Australian general sires list and Not A Single Doubt trailing closely behind. Their success only bolsters the confidence in the stallion careers of Hampton Court and Swear.

Record-setting sire I Am Invincible is another champion sire that features in the Spendthrift Australia roster with his son Overshare. By Invincible Spirit (IRE), son of legendary sire Green Desert (USA), I Am Invincible has been on the rise since he won Champion First Season Sire honours and looks to add the Champion 2YO Sire title to his accolades this year.

Overshare is an identical type to his champion sire which is only strengthened by his female family featuring five global champions, a convincing example of breeding the best to the best.

Gold Standard joined the roster alongside Overshare in 2018 and is another exceptional type by a champion sire. He beat home some of the best runners of his generation, including Trapeze Artist and Merchant Navy, and follows in the mould of his Golden Slipper-winning champion sire Sebring.

His grandsire More Than Ready (USA) has sired the most winners of any stallion in history and his great grandsire Southern Halo (USA) is a son of Halo (USA) – the sire of Japan’s breed-shaping sire Sunday Silence (USA) whose influence is still felt through his champion son Deep Impact (JPN).

More Than Ready’s line in Australia is looking to have a similar impact, with Gold Standard positioned nicely to continue the late Sebring’s legacy.

Bolt D'Oro
Spendthrift’s Bolt D’Oro (Breednet)

Bolt D’OroSpendthrift Australia have also invested the same focus into finding shuttle stallions that will provide opportunity to every breeder in the Australian marketplace.

Many of the top sires to shuttle to Australia have been sired by champions with the likes of Shamardal (USA) being a son of Giant’s Causeway (USA), Teofilo being a son of Galileo (IRE), and the above mentioned More Than Ready being a son of Southern Halo.

Jimmy Creed (USA), who is currently producing over 70 percent winners worldwide and two winners from three Australian runners, is among the leading sires of his generation in the United States.

The success flows through multiple generations with Jimmy Creed being the son of champion sire Distorted Humor (USA), grandson of influential sire Gone West (USA) and great grandson of the breed-changing Mr Prospector (USA).

New to the Australian market this breeding season is US shuttle sire Bolt d’Oro (USA), a precocious dual Group 1-winning son of the exceptional sire Medaglia d’Oro (USA). In addition to the accomplishments of Medaglia d’Oro as an Australian sire, he was a Champion Second Season Sire in his home country.

Just like every stallion on the Spendthrift Australia roster, Bolt d’Oro descends from a long line of champions with the dominant Sadler’s Wells (USA) and Northern Dancer just a few generations behind him.

By focusing on champion sirelines, Spendthrift Australia are giving its stallion every chance of success. Not only does it fuel their chances of becoming a champion sire in their own right, but it also gives breeders the confidence their mares will be bred to a stallion with increased odds of producing a successful racehorse.

Article Courtesy of Breednet

GRASSROOTS: Anna & Michael Flannery

Springmount's Anna and Michael Flannery

In the four years since the birth of Springmount Farm in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, Anna and Michael Flannery have taken their farm from strength to strength, positioning themselves as serious players in Victoria’s breeding industry. But the story of the husband and wife team behind the Farm extends back a lot further.

Anna was born in County Westmeath, in Ireland’s midlands. Her father was a horse trainer, who trained privately for the retired soldier, Lieutenant General Sir Charles Gairdner. Moving to Western Australia to become Governor, Gairdner wrote to Anna’s father in an attempt to lure him over. And it worked – Anna and her family shortly thereafter boarded ship bound for Australia.  

Born in Paddington, Sydney, Michael Flannery returned to his father’s home country of Ireland when he was three years old. He would eventually travel back and forth between the two countries, working and learning his trade at farms such as Coolmore in Ireland, and Victoria’s Stockwell Thoroughbreds. A job offer came in from Western Australia, to work for Anna’s father. He took the job, Anna’s and Michael’s paths met and, as they say, the rest is romantic history.

Initially trained in health and midwifery, Anna worked in the healthcare sector both in Perth, overseas and with remote indigenous communities. These medical skills were ones she found easily transferred to mares, especially during the foaling season, and she initially spent a lot of her free time assisting Michael.

“A lot of the knowledge applies,” said Anna. “As well as handling medication, I also ran an immunisation program so the overlay is quite interesting. When we moved to Victoria, I’d planned to go back to work in the healthcare industry. I even went in for a job but got too busy at the farm and never went back!”

Taking a break from the horses, Michael spent time working in WA’s booming construction and mining industries. But upon deciding that horses was where their passion lied, to give it a go on their own they set up Avoca Park in Harvey, 140km south of Perth. They stuck at it for 20 years, but with the state’s breeding industry only so big and not quite viable enough to make it a livelihood, they packed up their car and crossed the Nullabor to try their luck in Victoria.

With thick conifer trees bordering the driveway, Springmount Farm is a picturesque 78-acre property nestled on the outskirts of Romsey. Just under an hour from Melbourne and central to many of Victoria’s top stud farms, the broodmares, babies and agisting racehorses in the Flannery’s care have ample space to frolic in the property’s lush paddocks.

Michael Flannery with Burning Front

“We looked for four years before finding this place,” said Michael of what used to be Monterey Stud. “We certainly wanted a place that was pretty well set up, we didn’t want to wait for trees to grow. It’s a huge plus if you can start operating your business without developing a property at the same time.”

Three white Labradors also call the property home, as do weanling nannies Burnie and Baldy. You may know Burnie better as the VOBIS cult-hero Burning Front, whilst Baldy was once a lead pony that belonged to trainer Peter Moody.

“Burning Front spelled here during his racing campaigns and I told (owner) Justin Lovatt that he’d always have a forever home here after he retired,” said Anna. “He was such a quiet and sensible racehorse when he was here. Currently sharing a paddock with three young colts, he’s taken to his new role of nanny so easily.”

This coming season, about 40 foals are expected to be born at Springmount before yearling preparation gets underway ahead of the sales season. Regular vendors at the Melbourne sales, the Flannerys had not only the Day Three sale topper but also their best ever result at this year’s Inglis Premier Yearling Sale. Lot 452, a popular Brazen Beau colt out the mare Sistine Princess, sold to Orbis Bloodstock for $560,000.

They may not have any plans for further development or expansion, but Anna and Michael seem fairly content in their little slice of horsey paradise. And rightly so. They’ll let their results speak for themselves.