Ripper Rita ridden by Jamie Mott wins the The VOBIS Sires Guineas at Caulfield Racecourse on April 17, 2021 in Caulfield, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

The long trip home from Oaklands to Cranbourne can be a bit of drag at any time, especially when Melbourne’s roads choke up for no apparent reason.

Cranbourne trainer Greg Eurell was headed home and feeling quite pleased with himself after paying $150,000 for a Street Boss filly at the 2019 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.

It was a filly he’d picked out – from Blue Gum Farm’s draft – and one he really wanted with a budget of $150,000 for stable client Tom Coen.

But Eurell knows that all too often you don’t get what you want.

As he idled onto the Bolte Bridge he answered his phone and the caller introduced himself as the breeder of the horse, Neville Duncan from Western Australia.

The name was familiar and so it should have been, as Duncan bred and raced Northerly, a gelding whose two Cox Plate victories were among his nine Group 1 wins. And then there was there was another one he’d bred and raced, Marasco, also a multiple stakes winner.

Duncan and his wife Susan’s Oakland Park Stud, through Blue Farm drafts, sold sale toppers Ducimus (Snitzel x Beauty World) for $700,000 at the 2016 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale and got $725,000  for a Snitzel x Jestajingle  at the 2020 sale.

Duncan freely offered his thoughts on the filly, out of the Contract Racing bred Riptide (Exceed and Excel x River Express), as Eurell listened intently.

“The fellow who bred her, Neville Duncan, was very confident that she would get over a bit of ground,” Eurell recalled.

“I remember when I spoke to him and I’d left the sales and I was on my way back home and a phone call came up and I was right on the Bolte Bridge.

“He said it’s Neville Duncan and I just want to have a chat to you about the filly and I’ll tell you one thing and he said whatever distance you get up to and if that doesn’t seem to work, go further.

“It was an interesting thought and certainly everything we are doing with her, I’d be surprised if she couldn’t run 2000m.”

Eurell chuckled when he said he couldn’t dispute what Duncan had achieved in breeding with his horses, especially with the famed Northerly and Marasco.

“I thought there is no going against what you say because you know the caper,” he said.

The filly, named Ripper Rita, won the VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday, and now has her sights set on the Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on May 1.

Eurell said the race for three-year-old fillies had always been the target.

Connections of Ripper Rita after winning the The VOBIS Sires Guineas at Caulfield Racecourse on April 17, 2021 in Caulfield, Australia. (George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos)

“Ideally we’ll head to Adelaide for the Australasian Oaks and that’s been the target all the way through and fortunately these races have worked out well to get us there,” he said.

“You couldn’t have scripted it any better at the moment and it will be a good exercise to see if she can run the 2000m.”

While Eurell said he wanted the filly for Tom Coen his family, there was a budget to consider.

“He told us his budget and she was our target and to be honest I thought she’d probably go for more, just being the type of filly she was,” Eurell said.

“It was incredible on how sort of things work out. I think I had my bid and she was rocking along pretty good and I wanted to make sure I hit the $150,000 and luckily that was their reserve and that was our budget and it all worked out.

“Honestly I thought she’d be around the $200,000 bracket and I was absolutely thrilled. When I first saw her in Phil’s (Phil Campbell’s Blue Gum draft) draft she just grabbed me straight away.

“Just a nice horse with a lot of scope about her and for a big filly she as very well developed and very well balanced.

“We probably could have squeezed another hand up. If she’d gone over $160,000 we would have pulled the pin. She was just one that we kept going back and having a look at all the time and you’d love to be taking her home and fortunately it happened.”

Eurell is big supporter for Darley’s Street Boss who he said is “flying” and can produce a little bit of everything which he says makes him a great stallion.

“And he is good value and no doubt they’ll capitalise on his efforts over the past 12 months,” he said

“He is a nice horse and he throws good sensible horses and they are good horses to train and it makes the job a lot easier.

And breeder Neville Duncan says that although he bought Riptide In foal to Street Boss, he’d sent mares from WA to Victoria probably five years in a row to support the stallion.  onHOnest

“It takes a while to get them onto the track. The fourth year you use the stallions, you have only just got horses that are starting to run,” he said

“I have shown a lot of faith in the stallion and he’s punched way above his weight.

In his early days in Victoria, he wasn’t supported strongly and I was trying to find broodmares in the early days to foal to him and I couldn’t find one that would be an upgrade.

“On a lot of parameters he is good stallion but I use other parameters. I do a lot of homework on who the mares are and where they were raised and when you factor in a book like he got in the first four years or so and then you factor in some other stallion around the place that’s just been sold to stud for $40 million or whatever and you look up the mares they’ve got and you go you’ve got no chance really. To punch above you weight like he has, his upgrades are remarkable.”

Riptide produced Frost David (Frosted) which is an unraced two-year-old for which was sold by Duncan in Melbourne as a weanling for $80,000 but is now in Perth.

“We bought two mares after about the third year of Street Boss at sales across Australia and we were sourcing mares which we thought was an upgrade but they were few and far between,” Duncan said.

“And then we sold Riptide in foal to Demerit and it’s since gone to an American owned stallion (Vino Rosso at Spendthrift).”

Duncan admits that he “hates” sending his broodmares all the way to Victoria because of the travel but sent 15 in 2019 but was obviously restricted because of COVID last year when they sent four to Darley to be served by Blue Point and three to Frosted.

“In 2015 it was most of our mares as we’ve only got 25 and I’m always upgrading them,” he said.

“The travel is a big ask.

Duncan his wife Susan own and operate Oakland Park stud where they also stand two stallions – Sessions (Lonhro x Seances) and King’s Troops (Redoute’s Choice x Royal Snippets.

Sessions, whose oldest progeny are four-year-olds, has an amazing 75 per cent winners to runners strike rate which Duncan said is amazing for a young stallion.

And Duncan also gives an interesting insight when he looks at the record of some stallions and says he eliminates from the statistics the big prize money from races like The Everest, or massive prize money won by one horse like Winx.

He said it gives a better reality rather than one horse “tweaking” the statistics.

“If I am doing figures I will eliminate those big races from the stats – but it would be nice to win one,” Duncan said.

Duncan said they race by default – the ones they can’t sell, plus they lease out a few fillies which are out of their better broodmares.

And Blue Gum’s Phil Campbell said Ripper Rita’s half-brother Crown Prosecutor (Medaglia D’Oro) won the New Zealand Derby (2400m) on the Saturday before the filly went through the Premier Sale “so it was a pretty decent pedigree upgrade.”

“Ripper Rita was a bit rangy Street Boss filly and wasn’t a short coupled little sprinting type filly and Neville Duncan is very much into the genetic testing and what not,” Campbell said.

Ripper Rita as a yearling when she went through Blue Gum Farm’s draft.

“And Neville always maintained that she was bred to be a nice middle distance filly and she has repaid Greg’s client really well already.”

Campbell has been the agent for Duncan for several years, and also looks after his broodmares when they arrive in Victoria, and has obviously had some excellent results for the WA breeder.

Ben Hayes with Finance Tycoon after winning the The Showdown at Caulfield Racecourse on April 17, 2021 in Caulfield, Australia. (George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos)

The success of the Victorian breeding industry was celebrated in spectacular style when Melbourne Racing Club hosted the sixth edition of the Victorian Owners and Breeders Day at Caulfield on Saturday.

The headline act of the day was the third running of the $1 million The Showdown (1200m) for two-year-olds, followed closely by The VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m) for three-year-olds.

And about 48 hours later the industry was again celebrating with confirmation that arguably Australia’s best stallion – Written Tycoon – was on on his way back to Victoria after being acquired by Yulong.

The Woodside Park stallion had been on ‘loan’ to New South Wales for last year’s breeding season but his ambitious and surprise purchase by Yulong has returned him to where he made his name and belongs – Victoria.

It was only fitting that his Victorian bred son, Finance Tycoon, won last Saturday’s The Showdown for trainers Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes.

The Sires Guineas winner filly Ripper Rita, trained by Greg Eurell at Cranbourne, was bred by Western Australian breeder Neville Duncan who bred two-time Cox Plate winner Northerly and another champion, Marasco.

Ripper Rita was sired by Darley Victoria’s stallion Street Boss who continues to enhance his reputation with his consistency and big race wins.

Interestingly Ripper Rita, which was sold through Blue Gum Farm’s 2019 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale draft, and the colt, Finance Tycoon, were both $150,000 purchases.

Finance Tycoon added to Written Tycoon’s battle to reclaim the title of Australia’s Champion Sire 2020/21.  He currently trails Not A Single Doubt by less than $50,000.

The stallion’s return to Victoria capped off a big weekend for Yulong after their homebred filly Hungry Heart (Frankel x Harlech) made it three in a row with victory in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday.  It followed her Group 1 win in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and the Group 3 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m).

Hungry Heart bred in Nagambie by Yulong wins the Australian Oaks (Steve Hart)

It’s also been a celebration for the Nagambie area where Yulong is based. As well as Written Tycoon now calling the town home, it was also the home and birthplace of Hungry Heart, while the outstanding son of Written Tycoon, Ole Kirk which was bred by Rick Jamieson’s Gilgai Farm, also based just minutes from Nagambie. He has now been retired to stud with two Group 1 victories alongside his name.

The Victorian Owner Breeders Breeders Race Day celebrated the success of the Victorian Breeding Industry with the emphasis on Victorian stallions and the lucrative VOBIS Gold scheme.

And that really is the pinnacle with Written Tycoon less than $50,000 off the top of the list.

Melbourne Racing Club chairman Peter Le Grand spoke glowing of the Victorian breeding industry and the Victorian Owners and Breeders Day when he addressed his guests at the committee room luncheon before Saturday’s races.

Le Grand welcomed guests to what he described as a special day for Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria – the sixth edition of the Victorian Owners and Breeders Day.

“And what a special race day it is,” Le Grand told guests.

“It is a very important meeting in our autumn carnival and has grown in stature over the years.

“We see the third running this afternoon of the $1 million The Showdown over 1200m.

“More than $2.7 million is on offer today in prize money and bonuses and enormous credit goes Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria.

“We salute you for the work that you are doing for Victorian breeders and for race horse owners in general.

“The Victorian breeding industry continues to go from strength to strength bringing to an economic impact of $193.3 million to the state of Victoria and that’s not to be sneezed at.”

Le Grand also outlined the following points to the guests which included many of Victoria’s biggest breeders.

  • More than 5,100 people are actively engaged in the breeding industry in Victoria – predominantly in regional areas – with 1,419 of those in full-time employment.
  • In 2020, 137 stallions called the state of Victoria home, which equates to 29 per cent of the industry’s stallion roster. In the 2020 breeding season, 3,410 thoroughbred foals were born which equates to 27 per cent of the total number of thoroughbred foals born in Australia.
  • Rosemont Stud’s Shamus Award is currently leading the Victorian sires table for the 2020-21 season, with Swettenham Stud’s Toronado – who sired Prince of Sussex – in hot pursuit in second place.
  • Widden Stud, the longest continuous family-run farm in the world, has announced that they will have a base in Victoria. Taking over the farm in Riddell’s Creek previously owned by Sun Stud, they are bringing with them both Nicconi, who sired six-time Group 1 winner Nature Strip, and Star Witness, whose progeny include multiple Group 1 winner Global Glamour. They have also announced multiple Group 1 winner Russian Camelot and Group 2 Danehill Stakes winner, Doubtland.

Le Grand said everyone should be proud of the Victorian breeding industry and he personally wanted to thank on behalf of everyone in racing, Thoroughbred Breeders Victorian chairman James O’Brien for his leadership.

“Thank you James to your committee and your CEO Charmein Bukovec for the work you do for racing and the breeding industry in Victoria,” he said.

As well as the return of Written Tycoon to Victoria there is plenty of excitement with the new boys on the block.

Written Tycoon will stand at Yulong this coming season (Bronwen Healy)

These include Hanseatic, a stakes-winning son of Street Boss formerly trained by Freedman Racing, who will stand at Rosemont Stud. He started favourite in last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes, but was beaten a neck by Tagaloa.

Darley Stud have announced that their unbeaten French champion Earthlight and Ghaiyyath, Godolphin’s multiple Group 1 winner who was the highest-rated horse in the world when he retired, will stand at their Northwood property in Victoria.

Yulong have announced that Yulong Prince, the horse which gave founder Yuesheng Zhang his first Australian Group 1 win in the Kennedy Cantala at Flemington, and the 2020 Blue Diamond Stakes hero Tagaloa, will both stand at the Nagambie farm.

Leneva Park will stand Matt Smith’s multiple Group 1 winner, Fierce Impact, who was sired by revered Japanese stallion Deep Impact.

The new stallions on the scene will only complement the established ones that breeders continue to support as they are offered an abundance of breeding options to suit their mares.

And there is no doubt that the Victorian Owners and Breeders race day held annually at Caulfield, will continue to highlight the best of the Victorian industry in the years to come.

Written Tycoon will stand at Yulong this coming season (Bronwen Healy)

Yulong Stud is excited to announced superstar sire Written Tycoon will join its stallion roster this spring.

Australia’s leading sire of stakes winners and stakes wins this season – and ranked second by overall earnings, winners and wins – Written Tycoon adds proven star quality to an exciting young roster that features the Group 1 winners Yulong Prince (SAf), Alabama Express and Grunt (NZ).

Yulong’s chief operating officer Sam Fairgray is delighted by the acquisition, which takes the stud’s stallion line-up to a new level.

“Written Tycoon is one of Australia’s best stallions, it is an absolute privilege to welcome him back to Victoria, and have him join our roster at Yulong Stud,” said Fairgray. “We are greatly appreciative to Sheriff  Iskander for entrusting us with Written Tycoon in the twilight of a truly extraordinary career, where the best is yet to come.”

The winner of the G2 Todman S. in a racing career for his owner Sheriff Iskander, who has maintained his involvement right through to the present day, Written Tycoon began his stud career in 2007 at a service fee of $8,250, but his exceptional results soon brought a meteoric rise.

Australia’s leading first season sire in 2010-11, and leading sire of two-year-olds in 2015-16, Written Tycoon has sired a total of 625 winners from 842 runners to date.

His 42 individual stakes winners include Golden Slipper hero Capitalist, Blue Diamond winner Written By, and fellow Group 1 winners Ole Kirk, Pippie, Tycoon Tara, Music Magnate (NZ), Despatch, Tyzone, Booker, Odeum and Luna Rossa (NZ).

Many of his sons are now forging their own careers at stud, including leading first season sire by winners and Stakes winners Capitalist, Rich Enuff, Winning Rupert, Written By and Ole Kirk.

“Yulong is a young farm with major ambitions which have been backed up by major investment in infrastructure and bloodstock,” said Fairgray. “It’s a great outcome for Victorian breeders have Written Tycoon back in the State and further indicates Mr Zhang’s commitment to the Australian industry.

“Acquiring an elite proven stallion like Written Tycoon will give our quality young broodmare band every opportunity for success.”

Written Tycoon is the second new addition to the 2021 Yulong stallion roster following the announcement of dual international Group 1 winner Yulong Prince.

They join third season sire Grunt, who has his first crop of exceptional quality foals and popular CF Orr Stakes winner and second season sire Alabama Express.



Sam Fairgray, CEO

Ph: 0418 427 568

Troy Stephens, Nominations and Sales Manager

Ph: 0455 316 666


Luke Wilkinson, Bloodstock Manager

Ph: 0413 489 736

Multiple Group 1 winner Russian Camelot to stand at Widden Victoria (Racing Photos)

The dust has barely settled at the new home of Widden Victoria following the arrival of Nicconi and Star Witness at the Romsey property earlier this week, and already the Widden team are delighted to announce two exciting new stallions who will make their debut at the inaugural Open Day and the official launch of Widden Stud Victoria this Sunday.

True to their earlier statement that they anticipated growing the current roster, dual Group I winner Russian Camelot (IRE) and brilliant sprinter Doubtland will be joining the barn as the Widden Team announce their arrival in Victoria.

“We’re aiming to build a sustainable commercial roster of sires for the Victorian market that can satisfy the needs of a wide range of breeders and in Russian Camelot and Doubtland we have two outstanding prospects,” said Antony Thompson.

Russian Camelot is no stranger to making history, as Timeform’s highest-rated Australian 3YO of 2020 and the only northern hemisphere-bred 3YO to win an Australian Derby.

Russian Camelot is the epitome of an elite European style thoroughbred, but one that has proven his stripes in Australia under our unique training and racing conditions with great success.

“A winner from 1400 to 2500m, he was a Classic victor, a genuine weight-for-age champion and his profile suggests to us he could ultimately be a similar style of sire to So You Think.”

By highly regarded Sadler’s Wells line sire Camelot, Russian Camelot was purchased from the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale for 120,000 guineas with the specific goal of racing in Australia.

Trained by Danny O’Brien, Russian Camelot made history when winning the Group I SAJC Derby at just his fifth race start as a Northern Hemisphere bred three year-old, something that had never been done before.

He returned in the spring to run in only the best races, winning the Group I MRC Underwood Stakes (1800m) and placing in the Cox Plate, Caulfield Stakes and Makybe Diva Stakes all at Group I level.

His final appearance before injury curtailed his career was a gallant first up second in the $5million All Star Mile beaten just half a length by Mugatoo (IRE).

“I think he’s the best horse I’ve had anything to do with, particularly to do so much so early in his career,” said Danny O’Brien.

“He’s got charisma, if you’ve ever seen him close up at the races, he just looks the part. He is a horse that just turned up in any weather and under any conditions, gave his all and never let anyone down. He was just an outstanding racehorse.”

Russian Camelot retires a dual Group One winner with an overall record of four wins and five placings from 11 starts, with $2.3million in earnings.

“I felt his best racing was ahead of him up in Sydney this autumn and to next spring and beyond. There was always the expectation he was getting better,” added O’Brien

“I have no doubt he will have a significant impact on our industry for years to come through his stud career.”

Russian Camelot will be standing for a fee of $22,000 this season.

For broodmare owners looking for a stallion bred for Australian speed and precocity, Doubtland fits that profile perfectly.


Group 2 Danehill Stakes winner, Doubtland to join Russian Camelot at Widden Victoria (Bradley Photographers)

Doubtland was an undefeated two-year old, winning the Group III ATC Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) by four lengths and the Group II VRC Danehill Stakes (1200m) at three, before finishing fourth in the Group I VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes.

After being identified and purchased by Hawkes Racing for $1.1million at the Inglis Easter Sale, Doubtland was a yard favourite, with Wayne stating on record: “He’s the best-looking colt in my yard. Expensive, with a hell of a pedigree – he’s got two Golden Slippers (winners) in his pedigree. He’s the real deal, this bloke.”

“He was the most expensive yearling by Not a Single Doubt sold in 2019 and his win in the Kindergarten was by the biggest margin ever achieved by a colt in that race,” said Antony Thompson.

“The Ratings Bureau (Dan O’Sullivan) assessed his performance that day as superior to past luminaries that have won the race, including such as Astern, Hallowed Crown and even Bivouac.”

The highest rated 2YO by Not a Single Doubt to stand in Victoria, Doubtland’s brilliance and precocity on the track is an accurate reflection of his pedigree, which features not one but two Golden Slipper winners in Rory’s Jester and Ha Ha.

Doubtland is from a fast, running family with the first four dams producing 100% winners from foals to race indicating great soundness and natural talent being passed down the line.

Of Doubtland’s Danehill Stakes win, William Pike raved “It was electric. It was the way he did it. I had to angle for a run and he let down at the same time.”

Doubtland will be kicking off his stud career at a fee of $16,500.

Widden will also be offering shares and lifetime breeding rights for those interested in investing in the future success of these exciting prospects.

“We will have a full team of our staff on hand this weekend to discuss breeding plans and available options for the season ahead.” Thompson concluded.

Anamoe, sired by Street Boss won the Inglis Sires on Saturday. Street Boss has sired two fillies who will contend the VOBIS Sires Showdown this Saturday (Steve Hart)

Two Street Boss fillies are poised to lead Godolphin’s raid on the rich The Showdown (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

Following some extraordinary success in Sydney last Saturday, Darley – the breeding arm of the global powerhouse Godolphin – will hopefully be represented in the $1 million race by Victorian sire Street Boss’ Arcaded and Sliders.

With three victories from four starts, including a Group 3 and a Group 2 win, Arcaded is also entered for the Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Trainer James Cummings will make a decision on where the two-year-old runs in the next couple of days, but Caulfield is certainly a tempting proposition.

Arcaded, which is out of Lonhro mare Gloriette, is a last start winner of the Group 3 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill and had a 30 day freshen-up before a 1040m trial at Randwick last Friday where she finished third.

The filly is based in Sydney at the moment, while Sliders is at Cummings’ Flemington stables.

Out of Glissade (Redoute’s Choice), Sliders has raced four times for  one win over 900m at Newcastle and a second at Rosehill over 1100m. She was unplaced at her most recent start at Caulfield on April 3 in the listed Redoute’s Choice Stakes (1100m) when she was caught out wide. Glissade is the dam of Group 1 winning Flit.

Sliders also holds a nomination for the Percy Sykes Stakes, but is expected to stay at home for The Showdown.


There are several factors to take into consideration before deciding whether Arcaded will stay in Sydney or races in Melbourne. Cummings is expected to accept for both races and then make a final decision based on barriers and the composition of both fields.

But hopefully both fillies will be running in The VOBIS Sires Showdown.

Darley’s Andy Makiv said a definitive decision had yet to be made by Cummings.

He said Arcaded was obviously a very talented filly and also extremely valuable.

“Obviously she is nominated for both races and they are million dollar races,” Makiv said.

“And it’s up to James Cummings and the stable to determine where she runs and she is obviously in good fettle and ready to go on Saturday.”

Another Street Boss filly, the Greg Eurell trained three-year-old Ripper Rita also looms as one of the key players in the VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m).

Last Saturday, Cummings prepared four stakes winners for Godolphin, including two at Group 1 level in Sydney.

Street Boss’ Anamoe won the Group 1 Inglis Sires Produce for two-year-olds which more than likely will see the colt eventually becoming another Darley stallion.

Makiv said with a couple of Street Boss’ nominated for The Showdown and one in the VOBIS Sires Guineas, it showed that the American stallion is in good shape.

“He is going really well and is a good stallion,” he said.

“With Arcaded and Anamoe, he is having a fabulous year. They are two very good two-year-olds and it is fantastic for him and he’ll warrant a reasonable fee this year. I haven’t worked it out yet.”

Makiv said that 100 mares caps out Street Boss who is currently in America on stud duties.

“We will stick to the same number but will probably charge more and I think that will be the key to him,” Makiv said.

Street Boss has shuttled to Darley in Victoria since 2009. His biggest book was in 2015 when he served 119 mares on a $11,000 service fee.

The son of Street Cry served 98 mares last season with a $27,500 service fee.

Scissor Step, bred by Hesket Bloodstock is ready to take on the VOBIS Sires Showdown (Racing Photos)

After running second in last year’s The Showdown with River Night, Flemington trainer partners Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra are back for another crack at Saturday’s $1 million race for two-year-old horses that were sired by VOBIS Sires-nominated stallions.

This time around they will saddle up Scissor Step for Hesket Bloodstock.

And there are plenty of similarities with River Night (Night Of Thunder x River Pearl) and Scissor Step (Toronado x Watch Your Step).

River Night was bred by David and Jenny Moodie’s Contract Racing, while Scissor Step was bred by Hesket Bloodstock, a breeding operation with the Moodies and Ashley Hardwick.

Scissor Step’s dam, Watch Your Step (Sepoy x Gypsy’s Best) was also bred by Hesket Bloodstock, while River Night’s dam River Pearl (Helmet x River Crossing) was bred by Contract Racing.

With one win and two thirds from Scissor Step’s three races – two at 1100m and the last one over 1000 when he finished third to the unbeaten Starry Legend in the VIOBIS Gold Rush (1000m) at Bendigo  – Zahra is confident Scissor Step will appreciate the 1200m of Saturday’s race at Caulfield.

“He hasn’t done much wrong and he has gradually improved,” Zahra said.

“Scissor Step seems to put himself in the race.

“After racing at Bendigo he went straight to the farm to just give him some time out of Flemington and to freshen him up a bit.

“He is a beautiful horse and did a lot of the bullocking the other day and a lot of the chasing and the 1200m, is going to probably suit him a lot better as well.

“And Toronado is going well and is probably nearly the best Victorian stallion at the moment. He has some nice mares and a lot of hobby mares for a lot of the smaller breeders and he got a Group 1 winner (Masked Crusader) the other day and was Group 1 placed last Saturday.

“He can get the job done.

“Our bloke has had three runs and a freshen up and the 1200m should be ideal.”

And Zahra said it was a great race for huge money and the form from last year’s race had stood up with River Night since winning a stakes race – the Redoute’s Choice Stakes (1200m) – and The Showdown winner Khoekhoe (Turffontein x Walvis Bay)  is also a stakes winner – the Super Impose Stakes (1800m) – and was competitive in last Saturday’s Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.

River Knight finished a narrow second after being overhauled by the fast finishing Khoekhoe in last year’s race.

And the Salanitri brothers, John and Frank, are also back after having two runners – Just A Tribute and Fender Bender (both by Street Boss) in The Showdown last year for prominent owner and breeder, Eddie Hirsch.

Frank, who is racing manager to John, paid $155,000 for King’s Ransom, the son of Reward for Effort at the 2020 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

Out of Viva Dubai (Dubai Destination x Always Forever), the horse was offered by Two Bays Farm and bred by Hill Holme Lodge.

Frank Salanitri has remained in the ownership, along with Hirsch and several other owners.

After winning his maiden at Kilmore in February, the gelding failed to beat a runner home at his next start at Moonee Valley in the Listed Valley Pearl at Moonee Valley.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what sort of field we’ll get,” Salanitri said.

“Two-year-olds are so unpredictable and you don’t know whether you’ve got them one day to the next, that’s the thing with it.”

Salanitri said he lined up The Showdown after King’s Ransom ran at Moonee Valley (1200m) at his last start.

“I thought for a million dollar race it’s worth a throw at the stumps,” he said.

“He’s not hopeless and didn’t get any favours at all at The Valley, but whether he measures up to them I suppose we’ll know on race day.”

Salanitri said the stable had some good clients in the horse and while it would be exciting to have a runner in a $1 million race, he pointed out that it was hard enough to win a maiden, yet alone a race of the calibre of The Showdown.

“But unless you have a go, you don’t know,” Salanitri said.

And he said that when King’s Ransom was being auctioned late in the Inglis sale they thought they might get him for $70,000 or $80,000.

But he said there were about five “big heads” also keen, with Aquis  the under bidder.

“So there were quite a few there waiting for him and he was a cracking style of horse and unfortunately we had to geld him as he was squeezing up a little,” Salanitri said.

“But we want a race horse and he was not going to be a stallion. We cut him and hopefully we’ll see further down the track.”

Salanitri said King’s Ransom was thriving after his two runs but they still had to get a benchmark on him as he’d only won at Kilmore.

“But as I said he didn’t have any luck at all at The Valley,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how we go but we are willing to roll the dice and regardless of what he does in the race, I think he’ll go to the paddock.

“He has been trained out of the paddock up here at Tylden, where we are based now, and he is enjoying it.”

Miss Inbetween is ready to take on the VOBIS Sires Guineas (Racing Photos)

One year on from finishing fourth in last year’s The Showdown, three-year-old filly Miss Inbetween is back to tackle the VOBIS Sires Guineas at Caulfield on Saturday.

Trained at Mornington by Michael Mehegan, the daughter of the ill-fated Sun Stud stallion Fighting Sun had little luck in The Showdown (1200m), but the 1600m distance of the VOBIS Sires Guineas is expected to be more suitable a year later.

And the filly which finished fourth, beaten just 2.7 lengths in the Group 3 Alexandra Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on her second last start in March, goes into the Sires Guineas with winning form after scoring over 1400 metres in a fillies and mares benchmark 70 at Sandown last week.

Just like The Showdown was always Miss Inbetween’s target, the VOBIS Sires Guineas was also a race the three-year-old filly was set for months ago.

Mehegan said it had always been the plan to go the $500,000 race  and luckily everything is  going to plan for the filly which has won two twice, had four seconds and two thirds for $229,900 in prize money from 14 starts.

“This race has been the long range plan for her and we’ve been trying to get a win with her in between,” he said.

“It’s been a struggle until the other day.”

After The Showdown fourth, Miss Inbetween was spelled for 19 weeks and then ran two consecutive seconds in maidens at Mornington before winning her first race at Sale (1415m) last October. A third in the Group 3  Fillies Classic (1600m) at Moonee Valley came after a second, also over 1600m at Caulfield,  and followed her maiden win at Sale.

Mehegan said that after being spelled for 15 weeks, the filly was unlucky in her first-up run in the Group 3 Typhoon Tracy (1200m) at The Valley in February when she finished sixth of 12, beaten 3.2 lengths.

“Then at her next run she was galloped on at Flemington which really set us back and she tends do a few things wrong, but the 1400m the other day was basically to give her some confidence to go into this race to give her every chance,” he said.

“And in last year’s race (The Showdown) it was a disaster because she missed the start, had blinkers on the first time and she changed directions about six times and ran up the bums of other horses. It was just a nightmare – a horror watch. But she ran super in it.”

Mehegan said the 1600m wasn’t an issue, but it would depend on how she was ridden, with her good gate speed providing the option to go forward to put her on the speed.

But with most starts without cover, the trainer said it was obviously hard to lead or sit outside the leader and do all the “donkey work” for the others, especially with good horse sitting off her.

“Because she has got good gate speed, she can go forward and the other day dropping back to the 1400m she settled further back and there was good speed in the race and she had cover and it worked out perfectly,” Mehegan said.

“She probably doesn’t need to necessarily have to sit that far back but she just gets ridden where she is comfortable. It all depends on barriers, especially at Caulfield.”

Craig Williams has ridden Miss Inbetween five times, including her last start victory, but he’ll be in Sydney on Saturday. Mehegan has booked leading jockey Jamie Kah.

“It was good to get Jamie on,” he said.

Miss Inbetween was passed in as a weanling at the 2018 Great Southern Bloodstock sale on a $30,000 reserve.

Mehegan purchased her the following year at the 2019 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale for $25,000 and retained a share in her.

The filly was offered by Springmount Farm at Romsey as the agent for breeder Wayne Comerford who bred her from his broodmare Ruby Ninetails (Red Ransom) whose dam Whipping is a half-sister to the champion Zipping (Danehill).

“I’d seen her before at Springmount Farm and she was a really nice type and there was just nothing wrong with her,” Mehegan said.

“I guess being by Fighting Sun they had never made huge money and she was out of a Red Ransom mare.

“She came through late in the sale and there was no one there and the breeder stayed in for half, along with the co-breeder Tony Dragicevich who has 20 per cent.

“Wayne sent a couple to Fighting Sun and I’ve got another one here by Fighting Sun who is a two-year-old.

“When I bought the filly she was a cracking type but probably a little bit plain as a yearling and she had a good walk and there was nothing wrong with here.”

Mehegan said that for an outlay of $25,000 and a return of nearly $240,000 – so far – it was looking like a pretty rewarding investment.

“There was no way you could let her go for $25,000 as she was too nice a filly,” he said.

“I would have gone a little more, I guess.

“She has got a lot more to offer as she is a progressive filly and I think she is capable of winning that Sires race and it’s been her target and every race has been aimed at getting her right for this race.

“It’s not like it’s an afterthought and it was always going to be her grand final. You just don’t get too many opportunities to race for half a million dollars in a restricted race where you have to be by a Victorian stallion and be VOBIS and VOBIS Gold qualified and it eliminates a huge percentage of the horses. It’s for three-year-olds at set weights.

“We always thought she’d be better over further and when she came back in this was her target races

“Everything that’s been done this preparation has been geared toward this race.

“The Showdown last year was also our grand final. We had to worry about qualifying last year whereas we didn’t have to worry about it this year.”

Mehegan normally has between six to eight horses in work at any one time and bought two horses at this year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

His best horse has been the mare Prussian Vixen, the winner of the Group 3 Bellmaine Stakes 1200m in consecutive years – 2017/18.

Prussian Vixen (King of Prussia x Miss Eileen), which he owned and raced with family members, has a colt by Impending and is in foal to Street Boss.

Breeder Wayne Comerford has Miss Inbetween’s dam Ruby Ninetails back at his Queensland property.

She has a colt and a filly by Impending and is in foal to Frosted. Comerford said he breeds six to ten a year.

“I send a fair few of my mares to Victoria,” he said.

“I sent a few to Fighting Sun and other stallions.”

Comerford bought Miss Inbetween’s dam, Ruby Ninetails (Red Ransom x Whipping) to race.

“I actually bought Miss Inbetween’s mum, Ruby Ninetails and her mum, Zipping’s half-sister (Whipping by Desert Prince x Social Scene),” Comerford said.

“When I found out that Ruby Ninetails, by Red Ransom was for sale, and she was the last of the Red Ransoms, I thought I’d better get one of them.

“Ruby Ninetails had a tendon issue but won her third start over 2100m so I thought she was a good stayer so I thought I’d send her to Fighting Sun because I wanted to put a bit of speed into her, a bit of Australian Colonial sprinting and it’s seemed to have worked.”

He said Ruby Ninetails first foal by Bel Esprit looked like being an Oaks horse but bowed a tendon and Miss Inbetween’s full brother, Fighting Fire, was sold to New Zealand where he is a winner and still racing.

“It’s a progressive family so hopefully there’s more to come,” Comerford.

He said he planned to race Ruby Ninetails’ Impending filly and would sell her Impending weanling colt which would be sold as a yearling.

“I have got another Fighting Sun filly (Funky Me) out of More Joyous’ family out an Authorized mare (Helen Royale) and she is a two-year-old also with Michael,” Comerford said.

“The prize money to race in Victoria is just phenomenal.

“But breeding is a tough game. I thought I’d get $30,000 or $40,000 for Miss Inbetween at the sales. Her full brother sold for $60,000 as a weanling (and $120,000 as a yearling).”

The ownership group, put together by Comerford, comprises of his mates from all over Australia.

Comerford has a family insulation company at Hervey Bay and keeps his band of brood mares on his 40 acre farm on the Stanley River at Woodford.

And he believes Miss Inbetween will only get better as she matures.

Lot 72, a son of Written Tycoon was knocked down to Coolmore for $900,000

Above: Lot 72, a son of Written Tycoon was knocked down to Coolmore for $900,000.

Inglis catalogued upwards of 40 yearlings with Super VOBIS stickers at the Australian Easter Sale and among the first to parade was the Written Tycoon colt (Lot 72) purchased by Coolmore Stud for $900,000.

Bred by Woodside Park and Sheriff Iskander, he was sold (as agent) by Arrowfield Stud and is the second foal of Perth winner Secret Doubt (Not A Single Doubt).  His second-dam Covertly won a G1 Railway Stakes at Ascot.

“He’s a smashing colt and is bred on the same cross Enthaar,” Woodside Park noted.  “She is a dual G3 winner (Gimcrack Stakes & Chairman’s Stakes) and it’s a cross with four winners from five runners!”

Secret Doubt’s first foal is the unraced 2yo filly Little Miss Magic.  She is also by Written Tycoon and was runner-up in an early-season Randwick trial for trainer Bjorn Baker.

Written Tycoon’s filly from Ballet Rose (Lot 210) was offered by Encompass Bloodstock’s Steve McCann and she was snapped up for $420,000 by former Hong Kong trainer John Moore.  Her dam is a winning half-sister to King’s Rose (NZ One Thousand Guineas Gr.1).

“They told me she was originally going to the Magic Millions in January,” Moore said.  “Written Tycoon is in vogue and I like the cross with Exceed And Excel.  She’s a very nice filly and I guess you have to go over the budget to buy the better types here.  We’ve been blasted out of the water on a few yearlings already.”

Rifa Mustang received $400,000 for another Super VOBIS eligible filly by Written Tycoon from River Pebbles (Lot 46).  Her dam is a half-sister to Kulgrinda (G3 Irwin Stakes & LR Carlyon Stakes).

“Congratulations to Andrew Williams for securing this beautiful filly,” the Southbank-based business tweeted.  “She’s a strong, precocious type with an impeccable pedigree and was presented in exceptional condition.”

Glentree Thoroughbreds owner Bruce Wilson went back-to-back on Day 1 with $560,000 for a Snitzel filly (Lot 206) and $400,000 for a Frankel filly (Lot 207).

Peter Devitt also doubled up with a pair of Zoustar fillies that both realised $350,000.  Lot 79 is a half-sister to Melbourne stakes performers Shokara and Muswellbrook while Lot 331 is the first foal of Hear The Chant (G3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes).

Makybe received $350,000 for its Fastnet Rock filly (Lot 463) from the family of Procrastinate who has 11 stakes winners under her name including Group 1 fillies Laisserfaire and Personal.  Longwood nursery Rockmount chimed in with $300,000 for a So You Think filly (Lot 192) who is the first foal of Ana Royale (G3 SA Fillies Classic).

Lot 227, the Snitzel x Bulbula colt which the Victorian Alliance went to $1.2 million for (Inglis)

Rosemont Stud’s Anthony Mithen admitted only the fittest survived last week’s Inglis Easter Yearling Sale after two record-breaking sessions in Sydney.

Mithen went the distance as a buyer and vendor at Riverside Stables while his stallion Shamus Award delivered knock-out Group 3 victories in Melbourne and Sydney.

The Rosemont Victorian Alliance has been active at the majors this year targeting stallion prospects but their 11th and final buy was knocked down for $1.20 million.  Even though the Snitzel – Bulbula colt (Lot 227) was offered at the tail-end of Day 1, Mithen and bloodstock agents Suman Hedge & David Redvers had to fight off some intense competition before landing the final bid.

“There were high-fives and handshakes all-round,” Mithen said with just the hint of a smile that masked the relief of a battle well-won.  “He’s a lovely colt with a fast pedigree and we thought he was the best Snitzel on the grounds this year.

“He’s among the last of the Shadwell yearlings to be offered here and it’s an honour and privilege to take him back home to Victoria.  I’m sure he will do Shadwell proud.”

The Snitzel colt (Lot 227) comes from a flying juvenile family out of Melbourne.  He’s a half-brother to Aryaaf (G3 Ottawa Stakes) and their dam Bulbula (Shamardal) won a LR Merson Cooper Stakes.

The Victorian Alliance also purchased a Written Tycoon – Shaaheq colt (Lot 77) for $200,000.  He’s another Shadwell-bred youngster from a Redoute’s Choice mare who won the G3 VRC Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes in 2010 and was runner-up to Star Witness in the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes that year.

Their third buy was the I Am Invincible – Beat the Benchmark colt (Lot 213) that made $525,000.  He’s the first foal from a New York black-type winning mare who was also Group 1 placed in a Natalma Stakes.

Mithen also signed for an I Am Invincible – Heart Of Thrills filly (Lot 333) on the Rosemont account after going to $1.20 million.  She’s a half-sister to Thrillster (LR Atlantic Jewel Stakes) from the family of Spendthrift Australia sire Swear and G1 Hong Kong Sprint winner All Thrills Too.

“We thought she was the filly of the sale and there were some very smart judges on her,” Mithen said.  “I thought she could perhaps go for as much as $2 million.  That would have been beyond our maximum so I’m delighted to buy her.”

Rosemount recouped that selling 6 yearlings for $1.14 million topped by a Redoute’s Choice colt (Lot 190) bought by Ciaron Maher Bloodstock for $350,000.  His dam Amanpour (Northern Meteor) won a G1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes

Next best were a pair of Shamus Award colts sold (as agent) for $180,000 to the bids of trainers Danny O’Brien and Henry Dwyer.

Shamus Award (Snitzel) stands at Rosemont and he bookended the Easter Sale with G3 Victoria Hcp (1400m) winner Mr Quickie at Caulfield and G3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) winner Duais at Randwick.

Jockey Hugh Bowman believes the Edward Cummings-trained Duais can make the necessary improvement to double up in the G1 Australian Oaks (2400m).  “She is strong, she can stay and she settled well today,” Bowman said on Saturday.  “She joined in when I asked her to and she showed a lot of fight when she needed to.  And, she’s trained by a Cummings.”

Robert & Sylvie Crabtree lead Catchy back to scale after the Blue Diamond (Sarah Ebbett)

Dorrington Park owner Robert Crabtree reached a career-high as a vendor at the Inglis Premier Sale in March and he lifted the bar even higher with a $1.20 million filly at the Inglis Easter Sale last week.

Crabtree topped the leader-board at Oaklands with a $1.10 million Written Tycoon colt sold through Blue Gum Farm to James Harron Bloodstock.  It was his first seven-figure graduate but he eclipsed that in Sydney with a stunning I Am Invincible filly at Riverside Stables.

The I Am Invincible – Catchy (Fastnet Rock) filly was sold on his behalf by Bhima Thoroughbreds for $1.20 million to Chris Waller acting for Hermitage Thoroughbreds.  “Melbourne was terrific but this is just incredible,” Crabtree declared.  “I was tempted to keep her but you have to pay the bills.”

Crabtree paid Coolmore Stud $220,000 for Catchy at the 2016 Easter Yearling Sale and sent her to Lindsay Park where her first campaign was planned and successfully executed in the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes.  She also carried Dorrington’s red and white checked silks to Group 2 victories in the Danehill Stakes at Flemington and Arrowfield Sprint at Randwick.

After accruing $2 million prizemoney, Catchy was retired in 2018 and her maiden cover to I Am Invincible produced the standout filly in Sydney.  Crabtree offered to keep a share but that was declined by Hong Kong-based Hermitage owner Eugene Chuang.

Crabtree and his wife Sylvie can take some solace in the knowledge Catchy has a Zoustar filly foal back home at Nagambie.  And she is carrying a PPT from the first southern-hemisphere crop of Godolphin’s Group 1 star Too Darn Hot (Dubawi).

“Her I Am Invincible is just a magnificent filly and I thought she looked more like a colt,” he said.  “It’s been a great journey with her and it’s terrific when it works.”

Chris Waller’s bloodstock agent Guy Mulcaster had been very impressed with the filly from first sight.  “Catchy was a great race mare and this filly is such an athlete,” he explained.  “We liked the way she took the preparation.  We saw her about a month ago and she came here and took it all in her stride.  That’s what you look because the pressure goes on now.”

Dorrington also sold fillies by Written Tycoon ($600,000) and Fastnet Rock ($350,000) at the record-breaking Easter Sale.  They will both be trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent jnr.

The Written Tycoon is a half-sister to Mizzy (Zoustar) who won to Group 2 level at Rosehill in the 2019 Golden Pendant and Sheraco Stakes.  She finished second in the G1 Coolmore Classic last month and has been entered for the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in May

The Fastnet Rock filly is from G2 Toy Show Hcp winner My Sabeel (Savabeel) and the mare foaled another Fastnet Rock (colt) in September before being bred back to Trapeze Artist.


Dorrington’s other high-priced graduate at Riverside Stables was the colt by Siyouni (Fr) from Totally Mystic (Invincible Spirit) purchased by China Horse Club for $550,000.  He’s the first foal out of an unraced three-quarter sister to Champion English Sprinter Moonlight Cloud.

Siyouni was a 2yo Group 1 winner of the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp and he claimed a hat-trick of French 2yo titles prior to the General championship in 2020.

Dorrington’s colt was bred to southern-hemisphere time at Haras de Bonneval in Normandy when Siyouni stood for €75,000 (AUD119,225).   His service fee has since doubled to €140,000 (AUD217,870) this year.

Air Defence wins the VOBIS Gold Reef and is now headed to the VOBIS Sires Guineas.JPG

With a horse costing a modest $4000, veteran Bendigo trainer Shane Fliedner can hardly wait to tackle the more fancied runners in the $500,000 VOBIS Sires Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on April 17.

The race, for three-year-olds, is restricted to the progeny of category A VOBIS qualified horses, which means they are sired by Victorian sires.

Fliedner’s Air Defence was sired by Stryker (Fastnet Rock x Laetitia) when he stood at Three Bridges Thoroughbreds at Eddington. The stallion was then sold and stood three seasons in New South Wales, serving a modest book of mares each year.

Stryker was purchased earlier this year by Victoria’s Platinum Thoroughbreds where he will stand alongside Scorpz (Charm Spirit x Forbetterforworse) at Hilldene, near Seymour.

You could say that Fliedner had some inside information when he purchased the then colt from Merton Creek Thoroughbreds’ draft at the VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale.

The previous year Fliedner had paid $14,000 for a colt, which now races as Travail, out of Air Defence’s dam Jomar Star. The colt was by the more commercial Reward For Effort and was also offered by Merton Creek Thoroughbreds for breeder, Dr Dawn Giltinan.

Fliedner said Air Defence made his own luck at Moonee Valley when he won the $200,000 VOBIS Gold Reef (1600m) and then ran third in the listed Bendigo Guineas (1400m) in his last race.

“People didn’t think much of it at Moonee Valley after he was coming off a benchmark 64 race (1300m) at Bendigo,” Fliedner said.

“And then after Moonee Valley he didn’t do too bad a job in the Guineas at Bendigo.

“We rode him at little bit quieter at Bendigo as we wanted to have a look at him with some different options. He will be ridden just the same and will be in the first couple and that’s the way he likes to race.

“The 1400m was a bit sharp for him the other day and he whacked away all right but probably going to Caulfield and a soft track will more than likely help him.

“But any way you have to deal with what you get.”

Fliedner said the Sires Guineas was a great race and described it as a bonus for horses like Air Defence to get a crack at some big prize money.

And he said that when Air Defence’s older half-brother Tavail ran second at his third start, he followed up by taking more interest in another colt, which became Air Defence, out of Jomar Star at the sales.

“When he (Travail) ran second in that maiden at Bendigo I thought I’d follow it up as I thought that horse can gallop,” he said.

“He unfortunately had a hairline fracture in a hip and he is sitting in the paddock these days having six months off. But he has won a race at Wangaratta.

“But you always like to think you can get a cheap horse that can win you a few races and Air Defence has gone beyond our expectations.”

Fliedner said he bought the horse on type and said there was nothing wrong with him but what also sealed the deal was that he knew his half-brother had ability.

He said the beauty of having a VOBIS Gold qualified horse was that there are plenty of races to win around the country and they’re lucky to have one good enough to compete in town in a race worth $250,000 to the winner.

“We have lobbed into the right race at the right time,” he said.

“It is a good initiative.”

Air Defence, which Fliedner races with several stable clients, has had seven starts for two wins, one second and two thirds for $172,385 in prize money.

Fliedner said while he knew Stryker was a good tough racehorse, he relies more on the dam than the stallion when he looks at breeding.

“I always go on the dam,” he said.

“No dam, no horse.

“Stryker has thrown some good horses. They are tough.

“When Air Defence won his maiden at Kilmore he beat a horse (Grinzinger Lord) that then ran third at his next start in a listed race in Melbourne.

“I thought then that it’s not too bad and we might pick up few races.

“He is a good worker and you just have to translate that to the races which with some horses can be the difficult.”

Fliedner, who has been training for more than 20 years, has 12 horses in work.

Merton Creek Thoroughbreds’ Sunny Mitchell said the owner of Jomar Star, Dawn Giltinan, really liked the pedigree cross with Stryker.

“She  was very particular about going to that stallion and even though he wasn’t in vogue, she really liked the pedigree cross and she is actually thrilled that Air Defence is going so well because it sort of backs up her judgement,” Sunny said.

“And her stallion selection was correct.

“But when the colt was sold the stallion wasn’t in vogue but Dawn purpose bred him because she just liked the pedigree cross. It just reinforces that if you do the right analysis you will probably come out with a really good horse.

“It mightn’t sell that well, but it might be a really good horse.

“And it’s really lovely for Dawn to follow him and to have that success with the progeny of one of the mares and then to be able to follow what he is doing.

“And it was really good for Shane because he’d bought the Jomar Star colt the year before and he was really pleased with that horse and that’s why he came to look at the next progeny out of that mare at the next sale.”

Sunny said that Fliedner finished up by buying two yearlings from the Merton Creek draft that year.

“His comment to me was how the heck did I manage to get that horse for that price, I can’t believe it when I would have gone up to $20,000,” Sunny said.

“And that’s when I said to him if you’ve to some change, come and have a look at this colt (Magnus x Sequel) which he finished up by buying as well which was great for our draft.

“He was very excited at the fact that he didn’t have to pay too much for the Stryker because he expected to. The colt was always a good type and he expected to pay a lot more. But if the stallion isn’t in vogue, they just don’t look at them.”

Sunny, who owns and operates Merton Creek Thoroughbreds with her husband Neil, said it was fabulous for both Fliedner and Dawn who has a full band of broodmares.

Dawn placed her broodmares just 12 months after the Mitchells purchased their Merton farm more than a decade ago.

“She has been with us the whole time and has been a very passionate breeder and does a lot of research on her stallions and VOBIS Gold is everything,” Sunny said.

“She is a very big believer in the VOBIS scheme and Victorian racing in general. And she is one of those super clients who everyone would like to have and we just very fortunate to have her.”

A retired doctor, Dawn has just celebrated her 77th birthday.

Dawn buys and sells her broodmares and races a lot of horses and usually keeps a small percentage in the horses that are sold but she missed out on retaining a share in Air Defence.

She rang Fliedner to retain her usual 10 per cent but unfortunately he had already put a group of clients together and there were no shares left.

“She has bred and raced horses all her life and absolutely loves it,” Sunny said.

“And she would probably breed a dozen a year.”

And the new owners of the Group 3 winning Stryker, Rene Hoefchen and Sarah Pfeiffer, are also hoping that a solid performance by Air Defence in the Sires Guineas will provide the stallion with some renewed interest.

“We bought him two or three months ago and he’ll stand here alongside Scorpz at Platinum Thoroughbreds,” Hoefchen said.

“It was Scorpz’s first season last year and we were looking for a second stallion that would complement Scorpz and they complement each other really well.”

Hoefchen said that so far there had been a lot of interest in Stryker from previous supporters of the stallion who were happy he was back in Victoria.

“I think he has still got a lot to offer,” he said.

Stryker sired the Victorian bred Rangipo which won the 2016 Group 1 New Zealand Derby, plus another three Group 2 races.

Rusheen trained by Tony Noonan will head to the VOBIS Sires Showdown (Racing Photos)

A filly by Written Tycoon and a colt by Toronado are giving two country trainers plenty of hope in The Showdown (1200m) at Caulfield.

The $1 million dollar race offers a first prize of $500,000.

Warrnambool’s Matthew Williams has Written Tycoon filly Literary Magnate nominated for the race, while Tony Noonan’s Toronado colt Rusheen is also set to contest the race.

Williams paid $135,000 for the filly while Noonan paid $60,000 for his colt.

Literary Magnate will go into the big race after an impressive debut over 1100m on a heavy track at Warrnambool late last month when she won by 3.3 lengths.

Rusheen won first up at Bendigo over 1000m and was then unplaced at his next start over 1200m at Caulfield. The colt then had a 13 week break before being unplaced in the VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m) at Bendigo late last month.

Noonan said that Rusheen pulled up a “touch” shin sore before heading for a spell and went into the VOBIS Gold Rush just a “little bit big.”

“He’d only had the one jump out so that will suffice as far as tuning him up,” Noonan said.

“He’ll go straight into that race.

“The 1200m will be no problem at all and he’ll be right.

“Toronado is a very good stallion and is going well.”

Noonan said he bought Rusheen, offered by Swettenham Stud’s Adam Sangster, at the Inglis Classic Sale.

“I didn’t pay a lot of money for him and went back and bought a full brother this year for $160,000 so it was a lot more money,” he said.

“The stallion is only going to get better and it’s going to be hard to buy them.”

Noonan said with young horses it was always a week to week proposition.

“All is going well at the moment, that’s the plan,” he said.

“He has been set for this race and he was always going to need the run the other day and things just didn’t work for him but we were happy with his effort.

“And he has made good improvement since then.”

Rusheen is the first foal out of Irish Rose (Fastnet Rock x Bramble Rose).

And Williams admits he went he went over his budget when he paid $135,000 for Literary Magnate, also at the Inglis Classic Sale.

Bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills does some advisory work for Williams and the filly was on a list of about 40 to 50 horses to inspect and consider.

“When I went to see her a couple of times I hoped that we could get her,” Williams said.

“I was bit more than I usually pay because I normally stick around that $100,000 – that normally pulls me up.

“I guess the extra ticks for her were that she was Super VOBIS and VOBIS Sires nominated so you think at the time she has got the option there to run in some restricted races for great prize money if she can gallop.”

Williams said it would be interesting to see the final makeup of the field.

“Sad’s (John Sadler) horse is going there and that’s about the only one I really know that’s going there,” Williams said.

Literary Magnate, trained by Matt Williams, has been aimed at the Showdown (Racing Photos)

“We have always liked our horse and had a good opinion of her and back at Christmas time we hatched a bit of a plan and we had her up and gave her a trial and we were happy that she had ability.

“We thought we’d put her away and spotted that race at Warrnambool and thought that was the easiest way to get her into The Showdown.

“She could have gone to the Gold Rush but if you missed running fourth you were better off racing at Warrnambool than finishing fifth or sixth at Bendigo as far as prize money goes to get you into the race.

“So hence we went that way and she has come through it terrific and I think the 1200m suits her better.”

Williams said the prize money was enormous.

Despite always trialling on good rated tracks, Williams said they were a bit weary when Literary Magnate made her debut on a heavy eight track.

“It was unknown that day what she was going to do on heavy ground but clearly she can handle that so I’d say she is pretty adaptable to whatever surface we end up with,” Williams said.

“If you can handle all sort of tracks that you’re not too concerned with what is thrown up on race day.”

Williams said $135,000 for a Written Tycoon wasn’t expensive.

“Written Tycoon seemed to have a bit of a quieter time that year at the sales and I reckon if that horse 12 months later was  going through that it would have made better money again,” he said.

Williams retained a share of the horse but said she was difficult to sell shares in because the costs started to climb with the addition of GST, insurance and breaking in fees.

“She might have been $15,000 for a 10 per cent share and that slows a lot of people up,” he said.

“We sold the first few shares quickly and then it was a bit slow and I had mentioned it to Darren Dance (syndicator) and he finished up putting a big syndicate together and getting 30 0r 40 per cent sold for us.”

Williams said there were probably more than 30 people in the horse with some having shares of one and two per cent.

He joked that when the filly won at Warrnambool that the ownership group provided half the crowd at the track.

Williams said he always tries to buy fillies as it takes away all the Asian market for people who are buying colts with potential resale to Hong Kong.

“We like to buy fillies that have got enough happening in the pedigree page and quite often we have bought them out of stakes placed mares,” he said.

“And if your filly can gallop a bit then you’ve got a chance on resale value and then you can reinvest again and go in another one.”

Williams said he decided in January to set Literary Magnate for The Showdown.

Irish Mist, bred by Victoria's Barb Saunders, is now headed to the VOBIS Sires Showdown (Racing Photos)

Caulfield trainer Nick Ryan is confident Manhattan Rain filly Irish Mist will bounce back in the $1 million The Showdown (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday week.

The two-year-old filly, out of Cahira (NZ), has had two starts, both over 1000m, but Ryan believes she’ll be better suited to The Showdown’s 1200m.

Irish Mist won on debut in a two-year-old maiden at Cranbourne early last month and then finished nine of 14 in the VOBIS Gold Rush at Bendigo on March 27.

Ryan said the filly had spent a week in the paddock and would be back in the stables this week.

“Obviously John Sadler’s colt (the unbeaten Starry Legend) is going to be hard to beat but I think my filly will relish the 1200m,” he said.

“She just couldn’t keep up the other day in what was a fast run race and barrier one didn’t help her. She stood in the gates for a long time and half stepped a little bit slow.”

After leading all the way to win on her debut, Ryan said at Bendigo it was her first time in amongst the field and she didn’t appreciate it, but will be better for the experience.

“She did get beaten seven lengths which is a little bit concerning and she has to improve a lot, but how often do you get a chance at a million race,” Ryan said.

“If you don’t go, you’re mad and she’ll be in with a chance.

“You have to go there and she has had a freshen-up and she’ll run well. She is pretty genuine and will only improve from the experience the other day.

“In her first run she jumped to the front in the two-year-old fillies maiden at Cranbourne the rail was out and she won pretty dominantly.”

Nick Ryan said Irish Mist is the first horse he has trained by Blue Gum’s Manhattan Rain (Encosta De Lago x Shantha’s Choice).

Irish Mist was bred and is raced by prominent breeder and racing identity Barb Saunders, who along with her husband Barry, purchased premier Mornington Peninsula horse property Denistoun Park last year.

Barb like many other owners who have horses entered in the race is wondering whether Sadler’s colt Starry Legend (Zoustar x Savsenga) will run out the 1200m.

“Our filly was looking for 1200m in the race the other day and wasn’t used to being knocked around,” she said.

“She’ll go there and even if it looks tough, it’s worth a go. You just don’t get opportunities and I’d love her to go and be very competitive.

“But Sad’s horse is a worry and is very talented.

“Even if you ran second in a race like that I think it would be pretty good.”

Barb is full of praise for Manhattan Rain who sired Group 1 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign who also won the Group 1 Moir Stakes in the same year – 2017 – along with the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes.

“I just love that Encosta De Lago side of him coming through,” she said.

“I have put more mares to him and have a beautiful colt out of Spinderbella (Spinning World x Belle of The Bay). He is big boy and can’t believe he is so big because she was sort of two dimensional, she was that narrow.

“He is a yearling just being broken at the moment.

“I put stakes winner Every Faith (Not A Single Doubt x Zephyria) and Spinderbella to Manhattan Rain again last year and they are in foal to him now.”

Every Faith has a weanling colt, by Toronado, which is a three quarter to Group 2 winner Alpine Eagle (High Chaparral x Zephyria), and the mare will go back to the Swettenham Stud stallion this year.

Barb admitted that she breds to race, not to sell.

“We never set her for it and it’s just her time in coming through and I think that’s what has to happen that you just sort have got to bring them through when they’re ready.

“I had two fillies going to the race but the other one just wasn’t up to keep on going after winning her race very well at Ballarat. They tell you when they’ve had enough.”

And Barb said they were loving their Denistoun Park property which they had done extensive work on over the past year. The property has every facility to get the horses fit and ready to race.

Mr Quickie will now race on Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day (Racing Photos)

Mr Quickie is a proven Group 1 galloper and he appreciated a drop in grade to win the Group 3 Victoria Hcp (1400m) for a Wylie Dalziel – Roy Higgins Racing syndicate at Caulfield on Saturday.

The son of Rosemont Stud sire Shamus Award was anchored with 60.5kg and a car-park draw but class prevailed as he powered home from the back-half of the field to score by a head from Still A Star (Toronado).

Mr Quickie had last greeted the judge in the Group 1 Toorak Hcp (1600m) at Caulfield in October. That was his second victory at the top level following the 2019 Queensland Derby.

“We considered the Doncaster, but it’s generally won by a light-weight so we’ve set him for the Stradbroke Hcp, instead,” Dalziel said.  “He will run again on Victorian Owners and Breeders Day in two weeks and then head to Brisbane.”

Rosemont sold him for $115,000 at the 2017 Gold Coast Magic Millions and stud principal Anthony Mithen kept a share in the syndicate that has carved up almost $2 million in prizemoney.  The victory would have also increased the value of the Shamus Award yearlings Rosemont is offering, as agent, at the Inglis Easter Sale.

Both first foals, the colt from Street Impact (Lot 104) is from a Melbourne-winning daughter of NZ Group 1 winner Culminate and the colt out of Caesour’s Dream (Lot 232) is from a NZ 2YO winner who is a direct descendant of multiple Group 1 winning mare Perfect Promise (C F Orr Stakes & Cape Fillies Guineas).

Shamus Award has another stakes winner in waiting with impressive last-start Warwick Farm winner Duais. She gave Ed Cummings his first city winner and will now head to the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick this Saturday. Duais also holds a Group 1 nomination for the Australian Oaks (2400m) on April 17.

Duais is a half-sister to G3 Sunshine Coast Guineas winner Baccarat Baby.  They are homebreds for Peter Harris and Matthew Irwin and their dam Meerlust (Johannesburg) hails from the family of North American blue-hen Fanfreluche (Northern Dancer).

Rosemont also sells a filly from the last crop of champion sire Redoute’s Choice (Lot 190).  “She’s a gem,” Rosemont’s Bloodstock Manager Ryan McEvoy said. “She’s a daughter of a Group One winner (Amanpour) and is a stunning filly.”

The So You Think colt (Lot 338) from Rosemont is another yearling with Group 1 credentials at Riverside Stables.  “He’s worth a look being a full-brother to Sopressa (Group 1 SAJC Oaks),” McEvoy added.  “And So You Think sired another Group 1 winner with Think It Over in the George Ryder Stakes last week.”

To view the entire Rosemont draft, click here.

Hungry Heart wins Vinery Stud Stakes (Steve Hart)

Yulong Investments filly Hungry Heart timed a Group 1 performance to perfection in the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

Hungry Heart banked the bulk of the $500,000 purse and sent her residual value through the roof as a Group 1 winning daughter of Frankel (GB).  And there will be an added bonus for Yulong owners when they offer Hungry Heart’s half-sister by Snitzel (Lot 328) at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale on Wednesday.

The Chris Waller-trained 3yo filly completed an Easter Group 1 double for TBV breeders. Earlier on Saturday, Burnewang North Pastoral bred graduate On The Bubbles (Brazen Beau) won the Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.

Hungry Heart came from last on the corner to run down front-running favourite Harmony Rose (Glass Harmonium) by a short neck. Waller will now consider setting her for another Group 1 assignment in the Australian Oaks (2400m) on April 17.

“It was a great win and a great race to watch,” Waller said.  “They ran along quickly, so it gave the backmarkers their chance although she had a lot of ground to make up.  But she really fought hard in the final 100m and got there quite well.”

Yulong chief operating officer Sam Fairgray took time off from inspections at Riverside Stables to watch the ground-breaking victory at Rosehill.  Yulong has prepared 13 yearlings for the Inglis Easter Sale from its Victorian base at Mangalore and Fairgray describes Hungry Heart’s half-sister as a beautiful-moving filly.

Yulong will present the half-sister to Hungry Heart at the Easter sale as lot 328.

“She’s a sharp Snitzel and has a great temperament.  She’s a bit stronger and more mature than Hungry Heart at the same stage but there are many similarities.  She has been popular since we arrived and that’s increased since the win on Saturday.”

Their dam Harlech (Pivotal) was a 60,000gns buy for Sheamus Mills Bloodstock (as agent) for Yulong Investments at the 2016 Tattersalls July Sale.  She was covered to southern-hemisphere time by Juddmonte Farms icon Frankel and arrived in Australia carrying the Vinery Stud Stakes winner.

Yulong’s first yearling to parade at Riverside Stables is another Frankel filly from Rise Over Cloud (Lot 44).  She’s the first foal of an Irish-bred half-sister to the dams of Royal Ascot winner Banimpire and Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment.

The half-sister to Hungry Heart is one of six Snitzels in the Yulong consignment and its filly from Soriano (Lot 95) also received a Group 1 update across the Tasman last month.

Soriano (Savabeel) won the Group 1 Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie in 2014 and one of her half-sisters foaled Rocket Spade (Fastnet Rock) to claim the Group 1 New Zealand Derby.  He is on the third line of markets at $8.50 to double-up at the elite level in the Australian Derby at Randwick this Saturday.

There is no doubt that Yulong’s 2021 Easter offering, will produce great results both in the ring when the sales start on Tuesday, and when the graduates step out on track in the future.

To view the entire Yulong draft, click here.