Above: Immortal Love ridden by Craig Newitt wins the Tom Melbourne Trophy at Flemington Racecourse (Natasha Morello/Racing Photos)
After a 3.5 length victory at Flemington on Saturday, Immortal Love will be set aside for bigger things in the spring for Peter Creighton’s United Syndications.
The two-year-old Snitzel gelding, out of stakes winner Loveyamadly (Bel Esprit/Beauty World), was an impressive winner on debut at Echuca and backed it up at headquarters with an eye-catching victory.
Trained at Caulfield by Mick Price and Mick Kent jnr, Immortal Love is certainly living up to his name after he almost passed away as a foal.
Creighton, who likes to breed from horses he has bought and raced, said they wouldn’t have had a horse to race if it wasn’t for the skills of Scone Veterinary Hospital, Royston Murphy and his team at Scone’s Sledmere Stud.
“He is lucky to be alive after having a kidney infection and then had surgery to remove a blockage in his intestine.” Creighton said.
“He was a very tough foal to get through it, even Royston remarked that the foal is a tough little nut.”
The colt had been earmarked for the sale ring but it was his toughness that had Creighton thinking that perhaps he should be kept and syndicated.
They changed their mind after deciding that the colt had all the right attributes to make it on the track.
As a colt by Snitzel, out of a stakes winner mare, the price he could have fetched in the sale ring is something Creighton is reluctant to speculate on.
“We thought with all his strong attribute he showed in his first few months, we are going to take the punt and race him. That is the reason behind racing him as normally we sell the colts and keep the fillies to keep the family going,”’ Creighton said.
“We took the gamble as we knew he is a fighter and a tough horse and therefore decided to race him.
“Being by Snitzel out of a stakes winning mare, it was a big decision to make.”
Creighton said they believed Immortal Love deserved a chance in the spring and would probably head to the Caulfield Guineas after two wins on soft tracks. He will have to show that he is as good on the dry as he is in the wet ground.
One of the toughest decisions was the recommendation to the “Never Say Die” syndicate of 20 owners to geld the colt after he had other things on his mind during his training and trials.
“He was out the back star gazing but he is a different horse after being gelded with the blinkers.” Creighton said.
“They are a great bunch of people who race him and appreciate he would not be the horse he is now if we didn’t geld him.
“And with Mick Price and Mick Kent’s training efforts, he has come a long way.”
Creighton’s United Syndications also raced Immortal Love’s dam, Loveyamadly which under Price won six races, including the listed Abell Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in 2013.
Loveyamadly never raced beyond 1200m, but Immortal Love won on debut over 1100m, and then at Flemington last Saturday scored over 1400m.
Still with ownership of the mare, Creighton said they would benefit if Immortal Love performs during the spring which would be a big reward for the syndicate members who also raced Loveyamadly.
He said a lot of the owners had been with him since the start and enjoyed success with such syndicated horses such as dual Group winning mare La Bella Dame, stakes winner Le Bonsir, Group winner Damesfly and Onpicalo.
“They have had a lot of luck, but we saw the ups and downs in two days,” Creighton said.
Creighton bought Loveyamadly from Yallambee Stud at Romsey for $60,000 at the 2010 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
As well as her six wins, she still holds the 1100m track record at Flemington which she set in March 2013 with Dale Smith in the saddle.
“She was a good horse that had a lot of speed but was feeling her joints at the end, so we retired her after 14 runs for six wins. It was a good career and we have now bred from her. ” Leighton said.
Although she was a valuable mare when she retired, Leighton said the good quality horses are so hard to get and there was never a thought of putting her through the sales ring.
“I have loved the breeding side of it since day one and I have probably had my best success from breeding.” he said.
“We are just riding with it at the moment. Fighting Harada is another of our good horses which I bred. He has had no luck so far and is back in training with Matty Williams at Mick’s Warrnambool base.
“Royal Snitzel is another one that we have bred, and she was Group 3 placed on three occasions and was by Snitzel out of Royal Charades who was a good mare that I bought in the early 2000s.
“I have had a little bit of luck.”
Loveyamadly is in foal to Rubick and will be going to So You Think this season.
Another of Creighton’s mares Exflytations who has a date with Toronado this season, while Liberty Made (Statue of Liberty/Ready Made Family) is already in foal to Toronado.
“We have got a bit to look forward to hopefully.” Creighton said.
Creighton said he always buys fillies with pedigrees and tells himself that if they are any good then they can be bred from commercially.
He started as a syndicator in 1993 when he gained his dealer’s licence and has exclusively used Mick Price as his trainer since 2000.
“I go to the sales with Mick and he buys them whilst I do the pedigrees. He does the physical inspections and we go from there and try to work out what we can afford,” he said.
Creighton admits that breeding can get you a good “cheap” horse.
“We could never afford to buy some of these horses which we are fortunate enough to have bred because they have been cracking types.” he said.
“You couldn’t possibly buy Immortal Love – Snitzel out of a stakes winning mare as it’s just out of our range.”
Immortal Love’s three-year-old full sister is also trained by Price and raced by another group of United Syndications owners is another city winner.
“Loveyamadly has had three winners to race now for three winners and Classic Gaming was the first horse by Medaglia D’Oro. We sold him for $200,000 at the Easter sales.” Creighton said.
“We’ve kept the next two after that.”
A gender test has shown that Loveyamadly is having a colt by Rubick and that will definitely head to the sales.
But at the moment Creighton is hoping Immortal Love can develop into the real deal.
“But who knows,” he said.
“You have to dream – it doesn’t cost you anything to dream.”