Merle The Pearl (Anacheeva) became the 100th winner sired by a Riverbank Farm stallion this season. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)
Riverbank Stud at Benalla reached a remarkable milestone last Wednesday when the Charlotte Littlefield-trained Merle The Pearl scored an impressive victory at Sandown.
It marked the 100th winner sired this season by a Riverbank stallion.
In this case, the three-year-old winning gelding is a son of Anacheeva.
Perhaps the most exciting and best result for Riverbank came on Saturday at Flemington, when Wodonga trainer Sylvia Thompson’s Brenlyn’s Trooper was beaten into first place by half a neck in the A.R. Creswick Stakes (1200m) by the Ken and Kasey Keys trained Free To Move, which started at $101.
Brenlyn’s Trooper, also a huge outsider at $81, was sired by Riverbank’s Redente, an unraced son of Redoute’s Choice, and out of Group 1 winning mare Stella Cadente (Centaine x Temple Fire).
It was the first time any of Redente’s progeny have won black type.
While there was plenty of disappointment for Brenlyn’s Trooper’s trainer and owners in just failing to win, it was a case of jubilation for Cranbourne father and daughter training team, Ken and Kasey Keys, as well as Bucklee Farm’s Leeanne Smith who bred the gelding which was sold for just $8000 at the 2019 VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale.
Kasey had selected the yearling, by Unencumbered, who died in 2018, and said she was prepared to go up to $25,000 to secure the horse that is out of Canhill (Dangerous x Canned Music).
Riverbank, which is operated by Russell Osborne and his veterinary wife Dr Caroline Duddy, stand seven stallions – Anacheeva, Boulder City, Prince of Caviar, Redente, Skilled, Von Costa De Hero and Wayed Zain – and all are aimed at the breeder who wants an economical service fee so they can breed to race.
Redente stands at only $3300, while Boulder City is the most expensive of Riverbank’s stallions at $5500. Veterinary fees are included in the price.
The stallions that achieved the century were:
- REDNETE: (Redoute’s Choice-Stella Cadente. Fee $3,300): 44 wins.
- SKILLED: (Commands x Dextrous. Fee $3,300): 28 wins.
- VON COSTA DE HERO: (Encosta De Lago x Piavonic. Fee $2200): 15 wins.
- ANACHEEVA: (Anabaa x Monroe Magic. Fee $3,300): 13 wins.
And the winners kept coming on Monday for Riverbank and Russell Osborne, who is also a trainer, when Red Impulse (Redente) and Dancing Duck (Von Costa De Hero) both won at Wangaratta.
Both horses have now each won more than $80,000 and are raced by Russell and Caroline.
Caroline said Brenlyn’s Trooper could have pinched victory at Flemington if he had not received a bump at a crucial stage of the race.
“We were delighted to have him running second as it was our first stakes placing for Redente,” she said.
“It’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic.”
Caroline said Riverbank was all about breeding to race.
She said a stallion like Redente had got his runners to race the hard way.
“He started out with small books of lesser mares and he just keeps churning out the winners and I have always believed he was going to get a stakes horse,” Caroline said.
“It’s a matter of time.
“I have got no doubt that if he got a big book of mares, sort of top-shelf mares, he wouldn’t be standing at Riverbank for three grand, I can tell you that.
“The thing about Redente is that he is always running over the 60 per cent mark. They just come out and win and you get yourself a really nice bread and butter horse that just keeps going to the races and picking up a cheque.
“We actually adore the horse and he has put our farm on the map and is very much the backbone of the farm for us and he’ll never leave the farm. He’ll be here for ever.”
Redente’s first season at stud was in 2009 when he served 49 mares, while his biggest books were 81 in 2015 and 104 in 2016. He served 42 mares last season.
Caroline said that the recognition of Redente’s first stakes placed horse was perfect timing coming into the breeding season.
“It keeps everything current and in breeders’ minds,” she said.
“We have certainly already got quite a few mares booked to him again this year and we are very happy with it.”
Caroline said she expects Redente, who was unraced because of a coffin bone injury and began his stud career as a three-year-old, to again get a book of around 50 mares for the coming breeding season, but interest in him could push the bookings higher.
She said the most winners Riverbank stallions had produced in the past was in the seventies last year.
“The thing is that the Von Costas just get better as they get older,” she said.
“And I think we are starting to see the flow on effects of the couple of bigger books Redente did a few years ago and there are just more of them out there.
“And we are just very excited, too, about what is coming through with Wayed Zain and Boulder City and what they might hold in store for us in the future.”
Caroline said it was just such a nice story with an Unencumbered and a Redente running first and second in a stakes race at Flemington.
“I just think it is just a fantastic result for Victoria,” she said.
“Those are the results you like to see.”
She said there was no correlation to what is paid for a yearling in the sale ring as to what they may actually earn on the track.
“You are paying for potential and there is a big disparity between the commercial breeders breeding to sell a yearling as opposed to our breeders here just breeding to try to have a nice racehorse that will come out and keep coming home with a cheque,” she said.
Caroline said they were very much grassroots at Riverbank Farm where their clients know their horses inside out and love their mares and they are breeding for themselves, which is very different to the commercial owners who can see it as a commodity.
“We are what we say we are and there are no hidden agendas,” she said.
“Redente is very good value at three grand,” she said.
“And there are no hidden costs.”
And for trainer Sylvia Thompson, she said Brenlyn’s Trooper had lived up to everything he had been set for and the plan was to always go to Flemington last Saturday.
With just six starts, the gelding has now won three races and been second twice, including his second start when he was beaten a length at Moonee Valley last December.
And with a bit of any easier run through the field, Sylvia also believes the result might have been different last Saturday.
“I couldn’t have been happier with him,” she said.
“I was surprised at his odds but they were pretty good horses and I suppose he is the new kid on the block and one bloke (tipster) did pick him to run third.
“His run before that when we went to Flemington just to have a look at the straight, because he hadn’t been down it and I knew the 1100m would be a bit short, but he was off the bridle most of the way to keep touch, and he had reasons for that but still ran fifth.
“I only had a bush jockey on, I’m a bush trainer and they’d be looking at all of that and saying she won’t be of any danger.
“He has been real good.”
Sylvia’s relationship with Riverbank Farm goes back a long way and she remembers sending broodmares to the stud when it was operated by Russell’s father Adrian.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Adrian and we used to race quite a few horses for him,” she said.
“We’d lease them off him.”
Sylvia had no hesitation in recommending to her sister Lyn and husband Brendan Windsor to send Brenlyn’s Trooper’s dam, One For The Kids (Hold That Tiger x Palais D’Or), to Redente.
“There is nothing wrong with Redente’s breeding, even though he didn’t race,” she said.
“He is beautifully bred and he is just up the road from us.
“And though we had the mother of Trooper, she was always lame and I did suggest to them to put her to a stallion and we could just go up the road to Russell’s and that was the go there.
“At that stage, Adrian had only him (Redente) and I think Hillman.
“He is getting winners everywhere and you look at the results on a Monday and there are plenty. But he hasn’t got anything outstanding and I reckon that’s only because he hasn’t had a topline broodmare go to him and there have only really bush ones that have gone to him.
“Obviously, the breeding of Trooper’s mother clicks with him.”
Sylvia’s sister Lyn Windsor and her husband Brendan Windsor bred Brenlyn’s Trooper from their mare One For The Kids (Hold That Tiger x Palais D’Or) which they raced but had only two unplaced starts.
“She went by the wayside and that’s how the breeding happened,” she said.
“They (Brendan and Lyn) had one other horse with me before that and he wasn’t much good and the day we thought he was going to win a race it was a three horse field at Albury in a 2000m race. And you wouldn’t believe it, he got kicked behind the barriers and they scratched him.”
One For The Kids’ first foal was by Redente, but the gelding never made it to the races because of injury, while her next foal, Benjamery (Hillman) has won two races and been placed seven times from 29 starts.
The mare was not served in 2013 and 2015 and then produced Brenlyn’s Trooper. Currently with a filly by Boulder City, the mare was also not served in 2017 and 2018.
The Thompson family has also bred another son of Redente, Chipsaredown, which Sylvia describes as pretty handy.
“I have got a couple of two-year-olds by Redente and a couple of yearlings and a couple are in foal to him,” she said.
“I have always supported them. We have one by Skilled and a Boulder City and we have a couple by Wayed Zain.”
Despite some offers to buy Brenlyn’s Trooper, the Windsor family is enjoying the success with the best horse they have had.