Above: Master Montaro – image Racing Photos

The month of March has been a good one for Swettenham Stud’s Toronado (IRE), who has had 13 winners including some very smart three year-olds in Hypercane, Master Montaro, Laverrod, Beehunter, Fender and I’m on Break.

Hypercane made it two wins and two placings from four starts when saluting at Morphettville on Saturday, while Master Montaro was a super impressive debut winner at Pakenham last Friday,

Ridden by Michael Walker, the Richard Laming trained son of Toronado came from last to amble past his rivals when winning the Kentucky Equine Research Maiden Plate (1000m) catching the eye of many good judges.

The three-year-old gelding is part-owned by a group of Kiwis, which includes Woburn Farm principals Adrian Stanley and Hannah Kettlety, who retained a small share in the horse after selling him at the 2018 Ready to Run Sale for $300,000.

The strapping galloper stepped a stride slowly from the barriers which was not unexpected, according to Stanley, who had watched the youngster work at the beginning of the month when in Melbourne.

“I was expecting that as he has been tardy away in his jump-outs and his trial at Cranbourne, where he ran a nice second,” Stanley said.

“Richard decided that rather than going for another trial we would go to the races and treat it like a trial.

“1000m is well short of where he will show his best. He is a big striding horse, but still powerful. I knew he could do that, but I wasn’t expecting it and I didn’t have a bet.”

Stanley said Laming was now looking at options, although it is hard to plan too far ahead given the current Covid-19 environment.

“We kept a share in him because we thought he had a lot of ability. We didn’t really want to sell him, but we had to.

“They have taken their time with him and everyone has been happy with the patient approach which has helped him mentally and physically.”

Stanley explained that he and his partner Kettlety were keen to up the ante in terms of selling Ready To Run Sale horses and Master Montaro was one of two they purpose-bought themselves for that sale.

“That year we bought two horses from the Melbourne Yearling Sale,” he said. “We normally just bought weanlings, but we thought we’d have a go at the Ready To Run market.

“We thought we’d have to pay $150,000 for Master Montaro as a yearling, but we got him for $80,000 which was a nice surprise.

Below: Master Montaro made $300,000 at the Karaka Ready to Run

 “The other horse we bought was by Kuroshio and he is called Lincoln Kruz and has won two trials for Lisa Latta and she has a massive opinion of him.”

Stanley praised breaker, pre-trainer and fellow two-year-old consignor Sam Beatson for breaking in Master Montaro, while also recognising the work of Shaun Phelan and Emily Farr who handled the fast-work as the youngster worked towards breeze up day.

“Hannah did most of the educational work on him, while Shaun Phelan and Emily Farr also did a great job doing fast work,” he said. They gave him three gallops prior to the breeze up and the rest of the work was done around the farm, pretty much.

“We weren’t really expecting him to make his breeze up mate look a bit average, which wasn’t ideal, but he did it all naturally and did it on his own ability and wasn’t pushed.

“We decided to target the Ready to Run Sale, as it is another form of income for the farm.

“We will be doing another draft this year, no matter what happens in the future. We are looking to build another barn to accommodate those horses and keep them separate from our yearlings.

“It is a great sale and top line horses continue to come out of the sale and it works for ourselves as pinhookers as well as our clients.”

Stanley said the horse had plenty of interest for family and friends with his father Noel and Uncle Ron also involved in the ownership.

“They got involved because the horse was originally catalogued as a colt rather than a gelding but we disclosed to everyone he had been gelded,” Stanley said.

“When Richard got him to Australia, one of his clients who had committed, didn’t realise and wasn’t keen on racing a gelding so we helped him out and Dad and my Uncle took a share in the horse and we raised our percentage in the horse, plus Dad’s good friend John Heale is also in him.”

Stanley, originally from Taranaki, said it had been nice that Michael Walker could ride the horse given his association with the Stanleys over the years, dating back to partnering multiple Group One winner Grout when riding for Allan Sharrock.

Offers from Hong Kong have already been fielded, but Stanley said the offer would have to be decent to part with the special horse.

Toronado was the busiest sire in Victoria last year covering 197 mares at a fee of $27,500, so his run of success since the start of the year will be good news for a lot of breeders.

While Toronado is a son of Epsom Derby winner High Chaparral, he was a champion miler with a brilliant turn of foot and his offspring are winning most of their races over shorter distances and even his Tasmanian Oaks winner Still a Star was very effective over 1000 and 1200 metres at two.

Article courtsey of Breednet

Above: Yearling parade at Rosemont

It’s full steam ahead for Rosemont Stud as they prepare to offer seven yearlings at the Australian Easter Yearling Sale at Riverside Stables.

Rosemont’s principal Anthony Mithen said they will still offer their yearlings at the sale which has been impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Following strict government imposed protocols, Mithen said the stud was allowing potential buyers to inspect the yearlings at Gnarwarre stud.

“We are going to participate on the online auction and see how we go,” Mithen said.

“We are trying to get people to the farm and we had Ciaron Maher have a look at them on Friday and Trent Busuttin on Saturday and both liked what they saw.”

Mithen said he understood most other Victorian vendors had pulled out of the sale.

“We are nearly the last stud standing in Victoria” he said.

“Three Bridges might have one and Two Bays might have a couple and then there is our seven and that is it.”

Mithen said Rosemont was happy to take inspections this week and encouraged people to book an appointment with the stud.

“We are taking individual appointments only and are doing it is as safely as possible with following the guidelines and protocols.” he said.

Mithen described the seven yearlings as “a nice little draft which included a half to Yankee Rose, a half to Montoya’s Secret and a Starspangledbanner colt which is closely related to Golden Slipper winner, Farnan.”

“And we have a couple by Zoustar and one of them is out of a half-sister to Kiamichi which won the Golden Slipper last year,” Mithen said.

“They are some well-bred yearlings there which we are excited to be offering.”

Brad Rawiller returns to the mounting yard on Beautiful Flyer after winning the RSN 94.5AM BM78 Hcp, at Bendigo Racecourse. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Passed in for $8,000 off a $13,000 reserve at the Adelaide Magic Millions in 2014, the Victorian sired Beautiful Flyer has been a big money spinner for Gary Milroy and his co-owners, including breeder Margot Noack.

Beautiful Flyer recorded the first city winner for Mornington trainer Patrick Caboche when the mare won over 1300m at Bendigo on Saturday.

It was also Caboche’s first start with the seven year-old mare which was transferred to him from Adelaide trainer Len Jarvis.

Beautiful Flyer is by dual Group winner Solo Flyer (Belong to Me) which at the time was trained by Anthony Cummings at Caulfield and ran his last race late in 2009.

Following his retirement from the track, Solo Flyer began his stallion career at Carin Park Stud, near Hamilton, which also stood Rebel Raider for a short time. Carin Park no longer operates as a stud but offers agistment and other equine pursuits for riders under new ownership.

Beautiful Flyer was from Solo Flyer’s first crop and also gave the sire his first victory when the mare won at Strathalbyn in September 2014, at her second start after a 34 week spell.

Solo Flyer’s start to his stud career was modest when he served 27 mares in his first season in 2011 and continued to cover low numbers. He has since relocated to Queensland where his advertised service fee is $2000. He served only four mares in the 2019 season and has covered only 14 in the past five seasons.

He now paddock serves mares in Queensland.

Milroy, who had raced a lot of horses with Jarvis, said his good friend and former trainer also breaks in horses and told him he comes across one real good every 500.

“And that one was Beautiful Flyer,” Milroy said.

“She is just a good, gutsy horse.’’

Milroy said he had picked out Beautiful Flyer as a yearling and went to the Adelaide Magic Millions with the intention of buying her.

“I went with a couple of mates and one of them wasn’t interested and said he didn’t like fillies and mares,” Milroy said.

“So he spent our money on buying a couple of horses that turned out no good on the track.”

Milroy said he offered $7000 for the filly and someone went to $8000 but the reserve wasn’t met and she was passed in.

“Margot said that someone was going to lease her and I’d seen the horse out at Margot’s place and liked her,’’ he said.

“The person who was going to lease her never rang her back for two months and I asked Margot where the horse was and remarked she was still in the paddock, so sold it to me for $7000.

“And I gave her five per cent of the horse for selling the horse to me.”

Also in the ownership of Beautiful Flyer is Milroy’s wife, Jacqueline, and a good friend, Steve Murphy.

Milroy said Beautiful Flyer was obviously the best horse that Solo Flyer had produced from his limited opportunities.

“She is the only one that he can brag about,” he said.

“Solo Flyer was a good horse himself, because he had Sir Tristram and Horlicks in his bloodlines, and they thought he was a derby horse but he just couldn’t run the distance. He holds the record at Newcastle (1:20.980) for 1400m.”

Milroy, a boilermaker/welder who has worked on gas rigs and coal mines for many years,  said he named the mare Beautiful Flyer because his wife teaches and flies planes so the Solo Flyer matched up perfectly with Jacqueline.

“And Blow the Budget (dam), is fitting for me, and the filly was born on my late father’s birthday so I I thought I had to buy her.”

Milroy has bred a few horses including one by Puissance De Lune – three year-old Powerful Flyer – is set to make his debut with Caboche next month.

Margot Noack, who is based at Echunga in the Adelaide Hills, recalls how she spotted Beautiful Flyer’s dam, Blow The Budget (Luskin Star) at a neighbour and friend’s property and was told the mare was agisting but believed the owners wanted to sell her.

Margot said she became even more excited when told the mare was by Luskin Star and her dam was by Snippets.

“I thought good grief,” she said.

“I said if she ever wants to sell her, I’d love to buy her and it happened like that. The mare was in foal and the owners said if Margot wants her she can have for nothing as long as she takes her property and we don’t have to pay anything. She can bring up that foal until we want someone to prepare her for the sales.

“That foal was Happy Ending (Happy Giggle) that went to Singapore and won five or six races at least. She was very small but very quick.”

Another of Blow The Budget’s yearlings, by Devaraja (NZ), was bred by Margot and also sold to Singapore.

Margot said she decided with a few friends to send their mares to Solo Flyer and she was particularly impressed with his Sir Tristram line.

“I thought he would go well with the mare and when I looked at him, he was absolutely magnificent so we put our mares to him and the result was Beautiful Flyer,” Margot said.

“He was like a show horse and was a real show off and she has really taken after Solo Flyer and they become better with age.”

Margot said she had wanted to send the mare back to Solo Flyer but sadly passed away in a paddock accident.

She has a half-sister to Beautiful Flyer – Wings Of An Angel by Written Tycoon who has recently had a filly by Noor Elaine Farm stallion, IIovethiscity.

And Margot said while she didn’t make anything from the $7000 sale of Beautiful Flyer, the free five per cent share she has in the mare and the excitement of winning nine races and $480,825 in prizemoney has certainly repaid her.

Like Milroy, she spoke fondly of her former trainer Jarvis who would often say Beautiful Flyer would become jealous if he gave attention to other horses in the stable.

Margot still breeds from another of her mares, Chapent (Peintre Celebre), which continues to produce winners. The mare’s last two foals – Celine and Peaches De Lune – are by Puissance De Lune and she is again in foal to the Swettenham Stud stallion.









Swats That after winning the Smartline Bendigo VOBIS Gold Rush at Bendigo Racecourse. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Adam Gay certainly knows what makes the heart beat.

He’d always been fascinated with the size of the legendary Phar Lap’s massive heart which weighed around 6.2 kilograms – nearly twice the weight of the average horse at 3.3 kilograms.

His interest in hearts both human and later equine became a passion of Gay’s life. He was fascinated in this sector during his medical studies which he excelled in. This led him to becoming a cardiologist.

But it wasn’t just the human heart that Dr Gay was keen to study. With the assistance of his good friend cardiac technologist Glen Barker, they began scanning horse’s hearts to see if there was any correlation with the equine ability of big-hearted horses like Phar Lap.

They wanted to know whether they could scientifically determine what made the heart tick in elite horses and if the odds could be narrowed down to picking a “good one” in determining different characteristics in the hearts of horses.

He said while doing his medical training he wondered whether anyone had thought about horse’s hearts. He grew up wondering about the correlation of Phar Lap having a large sized heart.

“I did a trial where I scanned a number of horses without knowledge of who they were.” he said.

“I started seeing certain characteristics in the better performing horses. We tried to extrapolate the information to yearlings and within a couple of years we did a few thousand yearlings.  We followed their performances and worked out the common characteristics between cardiac parameters and good racehorses.”

Gay said that because he had become increasingly busy with the human heart as he launched One Heart Cardiology in 2014, he doesn’t do much of the equine heart work now.

“But my business partner Glen Barker still scans the horses routinely at the sales,” he said.

Gay said he wouldn’t buy a horse without scanning their heart, as for him it is an important element of the process.

Ironically it was the work of Gay and Barker which led to them testing the heart of a yearling by Snitzel, out of Sunset Express and recommending to Sean Buckley and Viv Oldfield to buy the colt. Little did they know that this yearling would go onto to win a Cox Plate as Shamus Award and amass $2.4 million in prizemoney and later become a sought-after sire.

“I have been scanning horse’s hearts for about 10 years with Glen Barker. We found Shamus Award for Vic Oldfield and Sean Buckley,” Gay said.

“As a thank you, after Shamus Award went to stud they gave us a serve every year. We wanted to breed a Shamus Award progeny so asked a few breeders about the mares that would be suitable.

“We bought a mare (Is it A Mosquito) specifically to go to Shamus Award following the advice we were given. Her first foal was a small filly so we elected to sell her at the Classic Sale for $45,000. She won a few races but is now retired.”

They sold the mare who was in foal to Shamus Award at the 2018 Great Sal for a modest $5,500.

At the time the mare was sold, Shamus Award had not produced a lot of good horses but has since had many successes on the track with the likes of the talented Mr Quickie.

In another twist, Gay and Barker, along with a group of friends and family now race the two year-old filly, Swats That, who collected $158,500 when she won the VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m) on debut at Bendigo’s metropolitan status meeting last Saturday.

The filly is bred by Gay and trained by Leon and Troy Corstens, by Shamus Award from Is It A Mosquito (Bel Esprit/Yes I Will).

Swats That is the second foal of Is It A Mosquito and Gay thought she was a lovely type and decided to keep her to race.

Swats That’s team of owners weren’t surprised with her win after she’d produced some impressive trial performances.

Trainers Leon and Troy Corstens had hoped that the filly would be eligible for the $1 million VOBIS Sires Showdown (1200m) at Caulfield on April 18, but Shamus Award, now standing at Victoria’s Rosemont Stud, was at the Hunter Valley when he served Swats That’s dam.

“She did a really good job,” Troy said.

“The VOBIS scheme is fantastic and makes a huge difference.’’

Corstens said he gave his owners the choice of running at Bendigo or in a stakes race in Adelaide.

“But Adam and Glen both picked Bendigo which was a very smart decision.” he said.

Corstens won the VOBIS Gold Rush at Bendigo two years ago with a filly he part owned, Thrillster, who went on to win the Sires Showdown.

He believes Swats That is every bit as good as Thrillster who is out of Rosemont’s stallion, Starspangledbanner.

Rosemont’s Anthony Mithen said Shamus Award has stood one season at his stud and is yet to have any Victorian horses on the track.

“Shamus Award is going really well and he is showing that he can get speed horses, two year-olds that can get a mile and further.

“He is a bit of bombproof option for Victorian breeders and probably interstate breeders this coming season.

“In this new world we are living in we have thoughts on a service fee for him but that will be all up in the air until we see where things settle. But I am glad that I have him in my barn.”

Mithen said that Rosemont sent 20 of their own mares to Shamus Award.

“Although we don’t own any of him, we are firm believers in him and are genuine investors in the horse. It’s good and exciting.’’

Charmein Bukovec, TBV Executive Officer (Left) (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)
I write to you tonight to provide you an update in relation to COVID-19 and the Victorian-breeding industry.

TBV are working with Inglis in relation to the Gold sale to represent the Victorian Breeders position. Kayley Johnson, Jenny Moodie and I spoke with as many vendors as we could to understand what your positions are and what you believe would represent the best outcome for your farm. TBV President- James O’Brien, then put forward the collective response to Inglis. The response was that vendors felt that the sale should be postponed given the current climate.

After our conversations with Inglis, it has been confirmed that the Gold sale and will be run in conjunction with the Great Southern sale, which will run from the 12-15 July. This will be reviewed on April 30, to ensure it reflects any conditions we may face at that time. However, Inglis have been clear, that regardless of what does happen the sale won’t be moving to earlier than this date. Inglis tonight have also released a revised 2020 schedule, which you can find here.

Additionally, you have raised concerns that in the event of racing being suspended, how the breeding industry will be supported, and the welfare of horses be maintained in the current climate.

In this regard, yesterday we met with the Minister of Racing’s office to talk through those challenges we face. We are currently preparing a paper which will be submitted to the Government to address these challenges, to ensure the welfare of the horses comes first and making sure that breeders also don’t end up in a tougher position.

Today, I met with Racing Victoria, the Minister’s office and other industry stakeholders to talk about the situation as it currently stands. Post this meeting, the TBV Board met to discuss issues that have arisen due to COVID-19. We will continue to have meetings regularly as a team to address the current situation.

We have only just learned tonight at 9:45pm, that Mark Zahra’s COVID test has shown he is negative to COVID-19. This is a great result for both the racing and breeding industry.

Finally, have you checked on your friends, or your neighbours today? A phone call or text can go a long way, I personally am trying to flick a text to people to see how they are going.

Sometimes, people need a little more support, which in this case Racing Victoria have extended their Stableline program to those people employed in the Victorian breeding industry. It is an independent counselling service which anyone can call 24/7 on 1300 520 122.

We will get through this if we support each other and build one another up.

And as always, you can call me direct on 0459 510 506 or email me at tbv@racingvictoria.net.au, should you wish to share ideas or concerns.

Kind Regards,




Charmein Bukovec

Moonlight Maid ridden by Ben Melham wins the TAB Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington Racecourse  (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Ballarat trainer Mitch Freedman started with the top two horses in the ballot for next month’s $500,000 VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.

When the ballot order was recently released, Freedman had his gelding Southern Moon sitting at the top and was followed by the stable’s other exciting stayer, Moonlight Maid, at No. 2.

Both are sired by Swettenham Stud stallion Puissance de Lune.

Southern Moon earnt his No. 1 ranking with $413,150 to his name. The three year-old filly, Moonlight Maid, won the Group 2 VRC Edward Manifold Stakes to give Puissance de Lune his first stakes winner, was next with $326,500.

Southern Moon finished second in November’s Victoria Derby (2500m), while five days later Moonlight Maid was third in the VRC Oaks (2500m).

Unfortunately Southern Moon had bone chips removed after his Derby run. Freedman explained that Southern Moon had suffered a couple of setbacks which had ended any chance at the big race at Caulfield on April 18.

“He won’t be seen for a while,” Freedman said.

“He has a few little niggles at the moment.”

But Moonlight Maid is certainly on track for the VOBIS Sires Guineas.

She resumed in the Group 2 Sunline Stakes at The Valley last Friday night and worked home strongly to finish three lengths from the winner Mamzelle Tess.

Freedman said Moonlight Maid’s goal this preparation is the Group 1 Australasian Oaks in Adelaide in May.

“Obviously her plans are to go to South Australia in May but those plans are up in the air at the moment as all plans are,” Freedman said.

“I don’t know how long racing can keep going at the moment.”

Moonlight Maid went into Friday night’s race with two trials behind her and Freedman was delighted with her performance.

“I thought she ran a terrific race as it was very high-pressured.” Freedman said.

“And from her first up run last time, she certainly ran a lot better than that. She is on track for the Australasian Oaks.”

Freedman said the Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on May 2 was always Moonlight Maid’s target.

Mamzelle Tess after winning the Sheamus Mills Bloodstock Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley Racecourse (George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos)

Neville Murdoch can still manage a chuckle when he recalls what could have been a life-changing moment.

He was offered the choice of two stallions – O’Lonhro and I Am Invincible when the pair finished their respective racing careers about a decade ago.

Murdoch, who has owned Larneuk Stud near Euroa for 20 years, opted for the son of Lonhro which stands at his stud for $5500, while I Am Invincible started his stud career with a service fee of $11,000 but in a typical rag to riches story, stood last season at $247,500.

Murdoch was happy to tell the story after O’Lonhro produced his first stakes winner when Mamzelle Tess won the Group 2 Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

“If you want to have a bit of a laugh, I was offered I Am Invincible at the same time as O’Lonhro,” Murdoch said.

“The same owners owned both of them and all of the so called experts said don’t buy I Am Invincible.

“I was clever wasn’t I?  You’d never be able to buy him now.

“We never even discussed money and in the end he never got sold.

“It was a toss of the coin type of thing.”

“O’Lonhro is out of the same family as well but has never had the numbers he deserves.’’

Murdoch watched Mamzelle Tess’ victory from Asia, but cut short his trip because of the coronavirus and has arrived safely back in Australia.

“I watched it from overseas actually and I was so rapt because the lady who bred the mare, Margaret Naismith, is just a brilliant lady,” Murdoch said.

“The mare has been so brilliant for them and I had $100 on her each way at $24 or $25. It was fantastic.

“And it was a fair field she beat too. She always starts at big odds and it’s crazy.”

Murdoch said has had a long association with Margaret and they still have Mamzelle Tess’ dam Phoenix Crown (Sarason) on the stud as a nanny mare.

“The mare (Phoenix Crown) hadn’t produced anything special before but this one was a beautiful type and we just hoped it could race well fo her,” he said.

“And it’s turned out, she is a good winning horse.”

O’Lonhro, according to Murdoch, is an underrated stallion that has never been given a top line of mares.

“I don’t know what he is running at now but at one stage he was running about 62% winners to runners.” Murdoch said.

“It can be frustrating that he doesn’t get the support he deserves.”

“He has done well for us and we have a good loyal base of people who breed from him every yea.”

While O’Lonhro has had plenty of winners, Murdoch said Mamzelle Tess was the best the stallion had produced so far.

Cranbourne trainer Cindy Alderson also had a talented son of O’Lonhro, the gelding named O’Lonera that has won six races and earnt $562,550 in prizemoney. Murdoch’s homebred O’Tauto shows plenty of promise after having two wins from 10 starts and already has won $221,000. The gelding will be back for the spring following a small set-back injury.

Murdoch said he hopes that the latter years of O’Lonhro’s stallion career might be his best ones and Mamzelle Tess’ is leading the charge.

Murdoch is not expecting much of a change in the breeding season for O’Lonhro “He’ll probably get his 30 or 40 mares from reliable breeders.”

“But saying that, who would know. If Mamzelle Tess can pull a couple more races off and O’Tauto comes back and does what we think he can do, you never know.”

“It’s going to be a tough year and who knows if even the shuttle stallions will come to Australia with everything that’s going on so the support may remain locally.”

O’Lonhro served 33 mares last season but Murdoch reiterated that he doesn’t get big numbers but his winners to runners’ ratio are good and he deserves successful progeny.

“When you are dealing with $5000 stallions they can come from anywhere,” he said.

“And she came from nowhere as well.”

Murdoch said he wouldn’t be surprised if O’Lonhro produces another stakes winner and has been delighted to see the recent success on the track.

Margaret Naismith appreciates how lucky she was to win the Sunline Stakes, especially with the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

Margaret also bred Mamzelle Tess’ dam (Phoenix Crown). She bought the grand dam – Phoenix Empress – at an Inglis sale.

“We had show horses and I got into the breeding industry by accident as one does,” Margaret said.

“I was looking for another broodmare and I paid $500 for her. She was a New Zealand bred mare and she won four races. I bought her as Phoenix Empress and that’s who she was listed as in the sales.

“Then I found that she’d had a name change when I looked at her pedigree so she is listed as Arctic Star which was her original name.”

Margaret said that when she met the Murdoch family many years ago when she sent a couple of mares to their stallions but says nothing special was produced.

She said it was an easy decision to go to O’Lonhro.

“With the money I had to go for a sensible service fee and he was a stunning looking horse.Neville just treated me so well from day one and we have stayed good friends all that time,” she said.

“And she was foaled on my birthday – August 9 – I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“She was an early foal and Neville said straight away it’s the best one you’ve had.”

Margaret owns Mamzelle Tess and has a lease arrangement share with some family and friends.

“Because of her modest breeding she always went along a little underrated.” she said

Mamzelle Tess is a rising eight year-old and with the lease to expire on July 31, Margaret says her mare won’t be racing into the new season.

“I don’t want to keep her until she is too old to be a successful broodmare and she has more than exceeded all expectations and I think this is the right time to finish her racing career.’ she said.

“The plan is to sell the mare. I have enjoyed the breeding I have done so far and I’m too old to go down that track again. I know all too well how things can go wrong  and time can get away with.”

Margaret said she would leave the mare with trainer Leon Corstens at Geelong and he would determine if she would keep racing until the end of the season.

Margaret said Corstens plan to give the mare a couple of easy weeks and will then look for another race.

“She has got better with age. ” Margaret said.

Leading into her victory in the Sunline Stakes, Mamzelle Tess had finished second, beaten less than half a length in the Group 3 Tressady Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.

Mamzelle Tess has had 47 starts for eight wins, seven seconds and 13 thirds.



Connections of Jamaican Hurry after winning the Furphy Ale Sprint , at Flemington Racecourse.(Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Mornington husband and wife training partners, Amy and Ash Yargi, celebrated a training double on their home track at last Saturday’s metropolitan status Mornington Cup meeting with a client’s home bred and a horse that cost $20,000 as a yearling.

The two Victorian bred horses – Jamaican Hurry, who won her second successive city race, and I’m Telling Ya completed the double for Yargi Racing.

The five year-old Jamaican Hurry is by Von Costa De Hero and six year-old I’m Telling Ya, which Ash is the managing owner of, is by Reward For Effort.

“It was a very good day at the office, ‘’ Amy said.

“Hobby breeder Paul Butterss bred Jamaican Hurry and races her with a couple of partners.

“It’s very rewarding when you bred them and now she is a two-time city winner. He was in tears when she won at Flemington and did the same thing the other day when she won.

“He has been very patient with her and is getting rewarded.”

Amy bought I’m Telling Ya for $20,000 at the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

“He has always been a magnificent type and I wouldn’t have bought him otherwise, but the seller just had his one horse.” she said.

“I think he just got lost in the crowd, but I loved him.”

Amy said Reward For Effort is doing a good job and is producing what she describes as underrated horses.

She said her and her husband’s stable are having plenty of success and are being rewarded for the hard work.

Riverbend Farm stands Von Costa De Hero for a modest $2200.

The farm is owned by Russell Osborne and his veterinarian wife Caroline who are delighted with the results of their stallion.

“He is obviously not covering big books of mares, but he is lovely horse to deal with and we love him.” Caroline said.

“The thing with his progeny is that even though he ran second in the (Golden) Slipper himself, his progeny seem to be older maturing horses and you just need to give them more time.

“He has done well for us and we are very happy with him. His stats for his three and four year-olds are very good. The last time I checked they were over 60 per cent.’’

Caroline said they believed Von Costa De Hero’s price was extremely good value.

“We think he is exceptional value to be honest,” she said.

Hobby breeder Paul Butterss admits that he spent a lot more on the service fee when the stallion Von Costa De Hero was standing at Darley.

“I bred a mare (Grano D’Oro) and she has had seven or eight foals and generally people want to buy the colts and therefore I retain the fillies.

“And that’s what happened with her. She was offered as a weanling and wasn’t sold so we took her home and awaywe went.  We gave her plenty of time but she was a horse that struggled early and even though she showed us nice ability and won a jump out, she wasn’t physically mature enough.

“I think we gave her 48 weeks out after her first prep.”

Butterss said at one stage he put her out in the paddock and was going to give her away as a broodmare.

“I went down to have a look at her after a couple of months and she was changing shape and starting to look like a horse and so I gave her more time,” he said.

Butterss said he needed a mate for a yearling filly he was preparing for a VOBIS sale and brought the Von Costa De Hero filly out of the paddock and started doing a bit of work with her.

He said the filly was starting to look good and he decided to send her back to Amy for a second preparation.

“And that’s the result we have got now,” Butterss said.

“Amy said she really liked the horse but couldn’t work out why she wasn’t racing well in that first prep and was disappointed like we all were.

“But the time has made her, so it’s very exciting.”

Butterss said it cost him $20,000 for the service fee when he sent Jamaican Hurry’s dam to Von Costa De Hero at his first season in 2011. A colt was produced which was sold as a weanling.

The fact that the stallion didn’t win a lot of races didn’t bother Butterss who said he just liked the look of the stallion.

“I liked the colt from Von Costa De Hero so much that I sent the mare back to him a year or two later and Darley gave me a free cover and the result is this mare now,” he said.

“The funny thing is that he ran second in the Golden Slipper and if he wins that, he’s standing up in the Hunter Valley and it’s a completely different story.”

The only broodmare Butters now has Grano D’Oro’s daughter Artie’s Lucy (Artie Schiller) which he raced to four wins and she now has a Starspangledbanner filly which was born last September. Artie’s Lucy also has a two year-old filly by Warhorse which Butterss soon plans to syndicate.

Butterss, who is an irrigation contractor and landscape gardener, said he had been racing and breeding horses for a long time and admitted he’d sacrificed a lot but having a good one made it worthwhile.

He said he leases paddocks at Chelsea Heights so he can look after his own horses.

Butterss is hoping that the coronavirus won’t stop them from taking Jamaican Hurry over to South Australia to compete in a listed race.


Dear Victorian breeder,

I write to you today, to update you on the latest regarding COVID-19. As we all know, this situation continues to evolve and does so at an alarming rate.

Today, I will once again meet with Racing Victoria, the Victorian State Government, and other key racing stakeholder groups to talk about racing and the impacts COVID-19 has had on our industry.

Following this meeting, while I have no doubt Racing Victoria will provide an update, I too will keep you updated.

These meetings are beneficial as they have provided invaluable recommendations which can be adopted in the breeding industry and provide another line of communication to the Minister. These meetings have helped me to provide recommendations which I sent to you last Monday.

On Friday, I also had a discussion with the Minister’s office about the Victorian breeding industry and how COVID-19 will impact our farms, businesses, and employees. I will continue to speak with the Minister’s office and Racing Victoria.

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) has released guidelines for your farm in the wake of COVID-19. I encourage you to share this through your networks, forward the email on to your neighbour, share it on social media. Sometimes emails get overlooked. You can find the guidelines by clicking here.

This country was built on community and helping one another get through the tough times. Kindness and checking in on your neighbour go a long way (while maintaining social distancing protocols).

If you or anyone you know, needs to reach out for support in this time, Racing Victoria have extended their Stableline service to those who are employed in the Victorian breeding industry for the period of the COVID-19 outbreak. The service is a free, independent counselling service and is available 24/7 to you on 1300 520 122. Should you wish to utilise other 24/7 support services, you can find a list of them in the table below.

Never in our lifetimes have we experienced something of this nature. There is no rule book as to how we should make decisions, but one thing is crucial and that is we must listen to those in charge and take their messages seriously to get through this period.

And as always, you can contact me directly at tbv@racingvictoria.net.au or on 0459 510 506.

Kind Regards,




Charmein Bukovec

Western Sun ridden by Craig Williams wins the Browns Sawdust & Shavings VOBIS Gold Reef at Caulfield on March 14, 2020 . (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Western Sun has been named Fighting Sun’s most expensive yearling – a $220,000 purchase at the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling.

The three year-old gelding is quickly clawing back his initial outlay after winning last Saturday’s $205,000 VOBIS Reef at Caulfield.

The past two winners of the VOBIS Reef are the talented Benitoite, proving to be competitive in Group races and the stakes winner, Snitzepeg.

Trained by Matt Cumani, Western Sun will back at Caulfield on April 18 to contest the $500,000 VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m), a race which is exclusively for the three-year-old progeny of Victorian Stallions.

While Western Star is proudly Victorian bred, his owners are spread outside of the state with one owner from America.

Cumani has high hopes for the gelding and is excited for what may lay ahead for Western Sun.

“It was a great run at Caulfield and a great prize thanks to VOBIS,’’ Cumani remarked.

“He will go on to the VOBIS Sires race in a few weeks. We are hopeful for a competitive start and in the meantime we will look at non restricted races. We will probably aim for the Bendigo Guineas which has unfortunately dropped back to 1400m which isn’t ideal as I’d prefer to keep him at 1600m.

“We may put the blinkers on for the Bendigo Guineas and see how he runs and then we will be heading to the Vobis Sires race.”

Cumani said Western Sun had always been a nice horse and has appeared to be a precocious type which meant he was able to get to the race track early.

They ran him in reverse for the Magic Millions trial at Ballarat when he suffered a minor tibia injury which forced the gelding to a have a long spell.

“He has really developed over the last 12 months, so I am quite impressed with the size and scope of him. He is showing us a great deal of potential,” Cumani said.

“The way he raced on Saturday, he looked like he could relax and race at any distance.’

“ I believe he could get up to 2000m but at the moment I think we will focus at the mile distance. We will see what happens when his up against tougher company and determine the distance.

“Although he doesn’t initially strike you as a stayer, out Fighting Sun, his dam is a Reset mare so there is some staying potential.

“I thought he is one of the most promising from the sire and I would hope that he can get some stakes races for the stallion.

“I think he can keep improving and he is definitely stakes class , whether that’s South Australia or Victoria.”

“He has still got plenty of improvement to come from Saturday as he is not the finished article just yet. We are trying to get him to peak in that race which will be fifth up and I didn’t want to have him too prepared.”

Cumani works closely with Craig Rounsefell, of Boomer Bloodstock in Queensland, and they usually select horses together.

But with Western Sun, Rounsefell selected the yearling and sent him to Cumani sight unseen.

“Boomer bought him for their clients and normally every horse in my stable I buy with Boomer and we select them together.  I can’t take any credit for this one as it was purely Boomer,” Cumani said.

“I was obviously delighted to get a horse of that value and he is certainly proving to be a nice horse.”

Cumani said he first met Rounsefell when he was working in America and after starting his training career in Australia he was keen to make sure he didn’t buy European style horses in case they didn’t suit Australian tracks.

“I wanted an Australian agent to help me select horses and to at least temper my desire to buy English style horse. It has worked quite well, and I think he is a very good hardworking, and we have a great relationship,” Cumani said.

Cumani described VOBIS as a fantastic initiative and definitely a great incentive for those eligible.

“I’ll be going to the VOBIS sale in March and if I can see a VOBIS logo on the catalogue page of any horse, it certainly adds a few points’’ he said.

Sun Stud’s nominations and sales manager, Phil Marshall, said Western Star was an exceptional looking yearling who was bought by Boomer Bloodstock’s Rounsefell who he described as an excellent judge.

“It was pleasing to see him go to a good young trainer and Matt Cumani has done a terrific job with him. He is yet to miss a place in his six-start career and looks very progressive,” Marshall said.

“Western Sun will target the inaugural $500,000 3YO VOBIS Sires race over the mile at Caulfield in April and judging by his emphatic victory at the weekend he would have to be one of the leading chances.”

“Another Fighting Sun galloper, Celestial Sol, made his debut in the two-year-old stakes race on the same card and he acquitted himself very well to place third. This colt looks to have a very bright future with the Chris Waller camp and the $1,000,000 2YO VOBIS Sires race looks a logical option for him. It could be a big day for Fighting Sun.”

Marshall said Fighting Sun has had 34 individual winners this season and his progeny earnings exceeding $1.5 million.

Rounsefell remarked Western Sun was a very athletic yearling and showed a lot of quality and class when he inspected him at the sales.

“He was by an unproven sire from a modest family. I thought he was an outstanding type and one that we could target the rich VOBIS series,” Rounsefell said.

“Matt Cumani and I have been friends for some time and have been buying horses together since Matt started training in Australia. I wanted to support Matt with a nice horse and thought he was the ideal horse for his system.”

Rounsefell said he purchased the Western Sun for four of his long term clients – Queenslanders Bill Andrews, who is also part owner of Scales of Justice, and Peter McCallum, while Tony Tighe is from Sydney and Rick Gold is from California.

Lunar Fox and Brett Prebble returning to scale after winning the Group Two MSS Security Sires’ Produce Stakes (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

For Terry O’Sullivan, at least, it was if time had stopped at Flemington on Saturday.

It was 17 years to the day that O’Sullivan had trained his first Group One winner, Winestock, in the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and now here was Lunar Fox winning the 2020 chapter, albeit at Group Two level.

The drop in status was of little significance to O’Sullivan, nor for leading international jockey, Brett Prebble, who was quite emotional after Saturday’s victory aboard Lunar Fox.

Indeed, Prebble was merely a bright-eyed apprentice when he steered home Winestock, but has gone on to win a Golden Slipper and a Melbourne Cup, plus Group One winners in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

Adding to the theatre, Lunar Fox’s strapper is Prebble’s son, Thomas.

“Terry was my old boss and made me into the person I am today,” an elated Brett Prebble explained. “This win is very special.”

Very special too for the owners of Lunar Fox – a mix of ‘old and new’ – who would undoubtedly have been eager to snap up the odds of $26 offered about the colt.

“It was a terrific result for the owners,” O’Sullivan points out. “There’s a lot of ‘em but while some have been with the stable for ages, it’s only the second horse for a couple of others.

“Just as long as they remember it doesn’t happen every week!”

Based at Stawell with 24 in work, O’Sullivan has co-trained with daughter, Karina – “one of the first training partnerships granted” – for the past 12 years and their stakes winners include Hollowlea, Dolphin Jo and Magnapal.

(Terry O’Sullivan had also trained 2005 Group One South Australian Derby winner Tails of Triomphe).

“Full marks to Karina and part-owner, Jim Burke, for picking out Lunar Fox at the sales,” O’Sullivan reveals. “Karina does all the work when it comes to selecting pedigrees and she reckons he ticked all the boxes.

“I thought he had a ton of ability from quite early on in the piece and was a little surprised he was virtually unwanted by the punters on Saturday, particularly given his strong win at Ballarat heading into the race.

“We’ll see how he pulls up but he’s earned a trip to Sydney in my opinion and will probably go around in the (Group One $1 million) Inglis Sires’ over 1400m at Royal Randwick on 4 April.”

Much to the delight of Victoria’s Woodside Park Stud, Lunar Fox became the first leg of a two state black type double for resident stallion, Foxwedge, with Gerald Ryan’s 3YO filly, Villami capturing the Listed Tokyo City Keiba Fireball Stakes over 1100m at Royal Randwick some 90 minutes later.

Originally standing at Newgate Farm until his relocation to Woodside Park in 2019, Foxwedge – a Group One winning sprinter by Fastnet Rock – has produced 17 stakes winners with Lunar Fox becoming his first male Group winner (previously, Foxwedge’s three Group One winners – Foxplay, Volpe Veloce and Urban Fox – and three Group Two winners were all fillies/mares).

“He fits so well into the roster and is excellent value at last year’s fee of $16,500,” Woodside Park’s General Manager Commercial, James Price, points out. “The Foxwedges sold up to $220,000 at the Gold Coast in January and $160,000 in Sydney last month, and he has seven going through the ring in Adelaide this week.

“The timing couldn’t have been better … since the announcement Foxwedge would stand at Woodside, he’s produced the winners of nearly 300 races and eight stakes winners, including Volpe Veloce, Alassio, Run Fox Run and now two new ones in Lunar Fox and Villami.”

Trainer, breeder and yearling prepper, Rebecca Kelly also took some time off from her chores to cheer home Lunar Fox in the Sires’.

Based at Cobains, near Sale in Victoria’s Gippsland region, Kelly currently has four in work but is getting seven youngsters ready for the 2020 Inglis Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale on 19-20 April, including a half sister to Lunar Fox from the first crop of Godolphin’s Group One winning Commands sprinter, Holler.

Wisely, Kelly and husband, Travis, had snapped up Lunar Fox’s dam, Grant’s Moon – in foal to Foxwedge – for just $20,000 at the 2017 Inglis Great Southern Sale.

“We’ve been operating for about five years and steadily trying to build up our broodmare band,” Kelly explains. “She looked pretty good value at the price.

“Lunar Fox was a lovely foal and we took him to the Great Southern Weanling Sale, but passed him in when she didn’t make his reserve.

“We were pretty confident he’d sell as a yearling but he didn’t attract a bid and so we thought we’d race him ourselves. Then Mark Dodemaide from Inglis called and said we could get him in the VOBIS Gold sale and that’s where he was knocked down to Terry and Karina for $40,000.”

With two wins and a second from five starts, Lunar Fox has now won $185,900 in prizemoney.

Article courtesy of Aus Horse

Danny O’Brien inspects Amanpour colt ahead of the Magic Millions sale (Rosemont Stud)

As the sale season is well under way, we look to the role and importance of the Bloodstock Agent in the Thoroughbred industry. We spoke to Simon Vivian from Inglis who gives us an insight of the role from the perspective of the auction house, offering his opinion and advice on the Victorian breeding industry.

Bloodstock works on a cyclical basis in line with the breeding farms. Ultimately, it is working towards the main goal of getting a weanling/yearling to the sales and providing the best possible outcome for breeders.

The research for the auction houses start in the Autumn looking at foals who were born in the Spring. Some of these foals may be weaned already and some still with their mothers. The pedigrees and conformations are assessed noting any special characteristics.

‘You are looking for general structure, part one would be size and part two would be to ensure the horse has sufficient bone. You are making sure that the conformation is good or if there is a fault then it has been recognised by the foals’ owner so corrective measures can
then be taken.’

At this point, recommendations as to which sale the horse should go to are also made. ‘We try and provide as much information as possible to the breeder(s), so they can go into the second half of the year having a plan in place for that foal. We are providing an advisory
service and our opinions as oppose to telling them what to do’.

The next stage is for the auction house to call for entries for the yearling sales. It is at this point that breeders will allocate weanlings to particular sales or, in many cases, a couple of sales per horse. It is then for the auction house to inspect every yearling that has been
entered into the sale to make an assessment which book they should be allocated into.

‘We try and find horses that have excellent saleable conformation. At the same time, we are also doing pedigree assessments so that we can make sure horses have the desired pedigree to fit into a certain sale. We would then make an assessment to see where that horse best
placed in the sales ring’.

According to Simon, there appears to be a shift with the breeding farms in Victoria over the past few decades as farms have become more knowledgeable.

‘The Victorian Breeders are becoming more commercially minded. We are seeing incredibly professional farms. There is a far more sophisticated approach by our breeders and they have a much clearer understanding of where their respected horses are best sold. It is not
always getting your horse to the best sale, it is getting your horse to the right sale where you are going to get the best financial return.’

Victoria has seen a huge amount of recent investment and is showing that it has so much tooffer newcomers to the area. It is become a central breeding hub for the industry and an exciting time to be involved with the Victorian Thoroughbred Industry.

‘We are seeing many Internationals coming in, the development of farms in the recent decade of Woodside Park and Rosemont have been fantastic for investment in the industry. Beyond that we now have Yulong, Aquis, Sun Stud and Spendthrift with the international
money which has been directed towards Victoria is phenomenal. It is one of the most positive signs we have seen for years and years. It is a long time since I can say that Victoria has been in such a positive position and attitude with a positive outlook for the future.’

Victoria has some impressive stallions to the area with the rise of notable pedigrees, but it is clear talking to Simon that above all the conformation of a horse must always come first for purchasers.
‘Our buying bench is very sophisticated and predominantly structured around horse trainers, syndicators and bloodstock agents. Their number one rule when purchasing a horse would be conformation. First and foremost, they have to buying an athlete. Poor confirmation would dramatically bring down a big pedigree versus how a high quality good athletic horse will pull up a lesser pedigree. A horse will outsell its pedigree if a horse is outstanding.’

Simon’s insight has been invaluable and when asked about advice for breeders said;

‘If you are breeding commercially, being conscious of what potential market forces are going to be in place when you go to sell your product. Whilst you cannot predict market forces in two and a half years down the track, you have to be conscious in what potential market forces might be in place. For example, ensuring your broodmare has enough appeal in her pedigree to get her foals into the sale you would want to go to. The question that needs to be asked, what is the likelihood of the chosen stallion being popular in two years’ time and if the answer is maybe then you need to decide if that is the right mating for your mare. Always thinking down the track and not just in the minute.’

Today, our Premier, Daniel Andrews announced that Victoria is in a State of Emergency.

We must comply with the Government’s position and while it may be of an inconvenience to our lifestyle and livelihoods, it is imperative we get this right in the interests of our staff, families and our industry.

Over the weekend, breeders have reached out to Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria expressing concerns about the pandemic and what the plans are to manage the situation.

The recent global events are unprecedented. The situation is constantly evolving, as are our conversations, plans and advice.

The Inglis Easter Yearling sale and the Inglis Gold sale, as well as other sales are on our doorstep. We have contacted Inglis and Magic Millions and we will work with both sales companies to determine the best options for staff and horses, while considering Government advice.

In doing so, consideration will be given to the economic impacts of decisions.

We recognise it is important to you, that a decision needs to be made sooner rather than later.

This afternoon, I met with the CEO and Executives of Racing Victoria, other Victorian Racing industry stakeholders, and Victorian Government representatives to discuss how we can best protect our people and our industry as we work through the crisis.

Breeding and racing’s collective objective is to ensure we keep our people safe and healthy, and minimising any negative impacts to the industry.

Some of the things that you as a breeder can do in the current climate, are the following measures:

  • Where possible, staff work should from home remotely. Given the nature of our business is labour intensive, this is not always possible and therefore, we recommend farms to consider alternative working arrangements.
  • Staff temperatures should be tested on arrival at work. Anyone with an abnormal temperature should be sent home.
  • Any staff member who displays any signs of a cold, should remain at home for 14 days.
  • Practising of social isolation and social distancing should occur, you can find full details in the recommendations below.
  • Good hygiene methods should be engaged and avoidance of shaking hands and refraining of touching one’s face is recommended.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, here are some summarised recommendations to help you make your work environments safe.
For businesses:

  1. Install hand sanitisers in prominent places around the workplace.
  2. Disinfect surfaces regularly.
  3. Hold a briefing to discuss hygiene and general practices to keep everyone safe.
  4. Put up posters to encourage regular and thorough hand washing. You can download posters on the WHO website, click here.
  5. Promote good respiratory hygiene. Cough and sneeze into elbows or tissues.
  6. Open doors and windows for good ventilation.
  7. Brief your employees, contractors and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your community anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home. They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection.
  8. Keep communicating and promoting the message that people need to stay at home even if they have just mild symptoms of COVID-19.
  9. Where possible, provide face masks, tissues and closed bins to dispose of tissues.
  10. Post-pone conferences, large meetings and other social events that are not necessary.
  11. If you are travelling, read the government advice for travellers, click here.
  12. Develop a plan if someone in your workplace becomes sick with COVID-19.
  13. Read the full WHO fact sheet on getting your workplace ready for COVID-19. Click here.

For individuals:

  1. Ensure all staff practice high standards of hygiene. Good hygiene includes:
    • If you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
    • Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
    • Washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
    • Disposing of tissues properly.
    • Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue.
  2. Practice social distancing:
    • Staying at home when you are unwell.
    • Avoiding large public gatherings if they’re not essential.
    • Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people whenever possible.
    • Minimising physical contact, especially with people at higher risk such as older people and people with existing health conditions.
  3. If you have a confirmed case, you need to self-isolate to prevent spreading it to others. 
    • If you are sick, wear a surgical mask. If you are healthy, there is no need to wear a surgical mask.
    • Do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university.
    • Ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
    • Do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home.
    • If you are a confirmed case, inform your employer and anyone that you have come into contact with.
    • If you develop shortness of breath, seek medical attention immediately.

For information about symptoms, when to get tested and more, click here. If you are concerned about coronavirus, there is a 24 hour hotline that you can call for advice:1800 020 080

As I have updates, I will communicate them with you. In the meantime, I do want to hear your opinions and thoughts on the current situation and I invite you to contact me directly on 0459 510 506.

Kind Regards,


Charmein Bukovec – Executive Officer