After a season away from his southern roots, Written Tycoon is back in Victoria and busy in the first few weeks of the breeding season. Now at Yulong Stud, the reigning Champion Australian Sire has enough star power to float a farm singlehandedly.

But at Yulong, he’s in good company on a roster that shouts six formidable stallions for the new season, among them the debut sires TagaloaYulong Prince (SAf) and Lucky Vega (Ire).

The latter two are internationally bred and internationally raced, and they’re products, perhaps, of the Yulong eye on global racing.

Written Tycoon | Standing at Yulong

“We try to target stallions with pedigrees and performances that are going to suit Australian mares,” said Sam Fairgray, the chief operating officer for Yulong Investments. “That’s the key, because finding those stallions that are going to nick well with local broodmares is the key to a stallion being successful here in Australia.”

Yulong is a relatively new player in the Australian breeding scene, pitching its tent as recently as 2018, but its impact has been extraordinary. In a short space of time, Yuesheng Zhang’s operation has climbed into the space of the top breeding establishments in Australia, and the trajectory is pointing up.

This spring, the farm will breed 300 of its own mares, largely to its six resident stallions. The mare numbers have spiked this year with Yulong’s investments in a remarkable number of new, elite broodmares for its band.

At the Magic Millions National Sale in May, the Written Tycoon Syndicate signed for 39 mares, among them the $2.6 million Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) and $1.5 million Greysful Glamour (Stratum).

All of this points to a bright spring for Yulong and, three weeks into things, that’s how it’s tracking.

Sam Fairgray

Lucky Vega gets going

Back in February, the world learned that the Jessica Harrington-trained Lucky Vega would stand in Australia upon his retirement.

Lucky Vega, by the Ballylinch Stud sire Lope De Vega (Ire), was a winner of the G1 Phoenix S. at The Curragh in 2020, and was second to Poetic Flare (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}) at his last start in June, in the G1 St James’s Palace S. during Royal Ascot.

The colt had the very consistent record of being in the top three in all but two of his eight starts and, in the colours of Mr Zhang, it was widely known that he was destined for duties in Australia.

“Being a Group 1-winning 2-year-old, he (Lucky Vega) also fitted in very quickly to the mould of what breeders like here in Australia.” – Sam Fairgray

“Lucky Vega was Mr Zhang’s first Group 1 winner, and not only that but he’s by a fantastic sire in Lope De Vega, who we’ve seen do so well in Australia,” Fairgray said. “Being a Group 1-winning 2-year-old, he also fitted in very quickly to the mould of what breeders like here in Australia.”

The Lope De Vega sireline has, as Fairgray said, done very well.

The Ballylinch sire shuttled to the then Patinack Farm between 2011 and 2014, and from those seasons got no less than Group 1 winners GytrashSanta Ana LaneVega Magic and Vega One. There was also a raft of other Group winners like ArchedemusEndless Drama and Spanish Reef.

Fairgray said Lucky Vega was a physically ideal horse for Australian mares.

Lucky Vega (ire) | Standing at Yulong, Image courtesy of Yulong Invest

“He’s a great physical, and he looks a real speed type of horse,” he said. “He’s got a great shoulder and a good hind-quarter on him, and he’s a lovely moving horse. He travelled over really well because his nature is fantastic, and he settled into the farm very quickly.”

Between lockdowns, Yulong was able to get people through the stud to see the new Irish horse. Fairgray said that very little had to be said during inspections, that Lucky Vega did all the talking, physically. The stallion will get around 130 broodmares this spring, and among them is Miss Barley (Fastnet Rock), the dam of Gytrash.

Fifteen-year-old Miss Barley was one of the 39 mares plucked out of the Magic Millions National Sale this year. She was bought by the Written Tycoon Syndicate for $300,000, in foal to Nicconi and from the draft of Pepper Tree Farm.

Gytrash was her third foal and she hasn’t produced since 2017, but she’ll head to Lucky Vega after her Nicconi foal with a number of other notables at Yulong Stud.

Gallery: Some of the mares to be covered by Lucky Vega

The new stallion will also get Gypsy Tucker (Zabeel {NZ}), the dam of three-time Group winner Gypsy Diamond (Not A Single Doubt), and the stakes-placed 8-year-old mare Smart As You Think (So You Think {NZ}).

The $2.75 million Fastnet Rock mare purchase Unforgotten is also booked to Lucky Vega. She was a winner of the G1 Australian Oaks in 2018, as well as a pair of Group 2 races in the Phar Lap S. and Chelmsford S. Mamwaazel (Exceed And Excel) won the 2015 Belle Of The Turf S.

“Because of his sireline, he created a lot of interest for breeders,” Fairgray said.

“He’s an easy horse to mate to with all the Danehill blood we’ve got here, so he’s been an easy horse for breeders to consider. Sticking with like to like, the speed lines are where he’ll really work. He was an up-and-go 2-year-old, so that’s what you’d be expecting he’d be leaving.”

“He’s (Lucky Vega) an easy horse to mate to with all the Danehill blood we’ve got here, so he’s been an easy horse for breeders to consider.” – Sam Fairgray

Fairgray said that Lucky Vega had started the season very well, and Yulong was pleased with his first-season fertility at this point.

Tycoon back ‘home’

On the farm, things have started similarly for 19-year-old Written Tycoon. The reigning Champion Sire is commanding $165,000 (inc GST) at Yulong this spring, and even then he’s looking good value.

Gallery of some of Written Tycoon’s Group 1-winning sire sons.

Written Tycoon has entered his 15th season at stud, and his stakes winners are headed by Golden Slipper-winning Newgate sire Capitalist, G1 Oakleigh Plate winner Booker, Golden Rose-winning Vinery sire Ole Kirk, and dual Group 1 winner Pippie.

At stud, his sire sons include Capitalist and Ole Kirk, as mentioned, and also Dirty Work, who is standing his first season down the road at Spendthrift Australia. There’s Rich Enuff, who is at Woodside Park, and Written By at Widden Stud in the Hunter Valley, while Banquo became the first of Written Tycoon’s sons to stand in New Zealand when he retired to Waikato Stud this spring.

“For us to be able to acquire him to stand at Yulong, it’s great for the brand and fantastic for Mr Zhang,” Fairgray said.

“He’s bought a lot of broodmares which we’ll be able to send to a Champion Australian Sire, and that’s a great thing for us. Written Tycoon did all his hard yards here in Victoria, and I think it’s great that he’s back here for the breeders and for the Victorian breeding industry.”

“Written Tycoon did all his hard yards here in Victoria, and I think it’s great that he’s back here for the breeders and for the Victorian breeding industry.” – Sam Fairgray

Yulong didn’t buy Written Tycoon this year to reinvent the wheel. It was a case of ‘more of the same’ when it came to marketing the stallion to the Yulong brand.

“With a horse like him, it was definitely more of the same,” Fairgray said. “Obviously he can get an outstanding physical. He topped the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale this year, and he had other million-dollar yearlings at the other sales around Australia.

“He’s such a diverse sort of horse. He can get fillies and colts, sprinters or milers, so he’s very durable. Like a lot of good stallions, temperament counts for a lot and this stallion tends to get progeny that trainers can really work with.”

Table: Some of the elite mares to be covered by Written Tycoon in 2021

Yulong is expecting 150 mares for Written Tycoon, and among the farm’s own booked to him are In Her Time (Time Thief), who was twice a Group 1 winner of The Galaxy and Lightning S., along with three further Group races. In Her Time foaled a colt, her first, by I Am Invincible in mid-August.

Also booked to Written Tycoon is the fellow dual Group 1-winning mare Viddora (I Am Invincible), who won the G1 Winterbottom S. and G1 AJ Moir S. through a smart career on the track. Viddora lost a foal by Lope De Vega last year, but is in foal to Snitzel at the moment.

Extremely (Hussonet {USA}) will also visit the stallion, and she’s the dam of Champion First Season Sire Extreme Choice. Likewise, Harlech (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) is also booked, the dam of G1 Australian Oaks and G1 Vinery Stud S. winner Hungry Heart (Frankel {GB}).

However, the true highlight of Written Tycoon’s spring might be Melody Belle, who sensationally sold to Yulong for $2.6 million in May. The New Zealand mare won a staggering 14 Group 1 races during her career on the track, which included the G1 Empire Rose S. at Flemington.

Melody Belle was a remarkable horse with a remarkable price tag, but Yulong didn’t think twice. She was purchased specifically for Written Tycoon on a mating that ticked all the boxes.

“She’s by Commands and a high-class race mare, and we thought physically she suited him very well,” Fairgray said. “She’s from a very nice family and we thought, having Written Tycoon on the farm, it was easy to go out and get a mare of this quality to breed to him. Whether it’s a colt or a filly, it’s going to have huge value.”

Fairgray said that any colt from this pairing would have strong stallion potential, but likewise a filly would be something just as valuable, and that doesn’t mean it would be retained.

“Being a commercial farm, we try to look at offering all the yearlings to the market place,” Fairgray said. “If we really like something, we might put a higher reserve on it, but at this stage the idea would be to offer any progeny for sale.”

Tagaloa a first for his sire

On the other end of the experience spectrum to Written Tycoon, debut sire Tagaloa is just starting out. He’s a familiar sight to Australian racing, a winner of the G1 Blue Diamond S. last year and the G3 CS Hayes S. this year.

Tagaloa | Standing at Yulong

Tagaloa retired after 13 lifetime starts and nearly $1.5 million in prizemoney. According to Yulong, he is the perfect Australian stallion – good-looking, a Blue Diamond winner at two that trained on at three, and he’s a complete outcross.

Tagaloa is by the Japanese success story that is Lord Kanaloa (Jpn), while his dam, the Arrowfield mare Vasilissa (Jpn), is also Japanese-bred by Heart’s Cry (Jpn).

“Tagaloa is such an exciting horse for the industry,” Fairgray said. “Being a son of Lord Kanaloa, who was such a fantastic speed horse, for a son of his to come out and win the Blue Diamond, it was a fantastic success. Tagaloa really is the stallion that, going to stud this year, every studmaster wanted on their farm because of his pedigree and performance.”

“Tagaloa really is the stallion that, going to stud this year, every studmaster wanted on their farm because of his pedigree and performance.” – Sam Fairgray

Yulong bought into the stallion in February last year, after the horse’s Blue Diamond victory. The operation had tried to get in before the race, but then ownership, including Ozzie Kheir, held fast until the Blue Diamond result.

“We obviously paid a bit more than we would otherwise have had to, but with the horse’s pedigree too we were thrilled that we were able to secure him,” Fairgray said. “We’d been following him for some time.”

Fairgray said the stallion would put plenty of size and quality into his progeny, and among the good mares booked to the horse was Gregers (Commands). She was a dual Group 3 winner in her time, and the very first mare to visit Tagaloa. She has tested in foal to the stallion already.

“She (Gregers) was a dual Group 3 winner in her time, and the very first mare to visit Tagaloa.” – Sam Fairgray

Yulong sold her 2019 foal by Snitzel at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, the filly selling to a consortium of Gai Waterhouse, Adrian Bott and Bruce Slade’s Kestrel Thoroughbreds. Gregers herself was a $1.75 million purchase at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in 2017.

Also booked to the stallion is the Street Cry (Ire) mare Erato, who is the dam of the 2019 G1 Blue Diamond winner Lyre (Lonhro). This is a valuable family through Erato’s dam Mnemosyne (Encosta De Lago), who was co-bred by Ron Quinton to win the G1 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield and G1 Queen of the Turf S. Mnemosyne was subsequently the dam of three stakes winners, including the dual Group 1 winner and now Darley sire Impending.

Gallery: some of the mares to be covered by Tagaloa in 2021

Tagaloa will also serve the G1 New Zealand Oaks winner Miss Sentimental (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}), along with dual stakes winner Neena Rock (Fastnet Rock) and outcross mare Written Era (Written Tycoon). The latter was purchased by Yulong for $770,000 from Bell View Park Stud at the 2019 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

“He’s going to get every opportunity at stud,” Fairgray said. “Physically, he’ll put plenty of size into his progeny, and we think he’ll suit a lot of the Snitzel, Not A Single Doubt and Danehill-type mares where you’ll get that really nice cross of speed with the pairing.”

Tagaloa remains the only son of Lord Kanaloa to stand in Australia, which is surprising trivia given the Australian association with Japanese lines. He is covering his first book at $33,000 (inc GST).

Booked To
2021 Foal
2020 Foal
2019 Foal
Gypsy Tucker Lucky Vega Grunt Grunt
Miss Barley Lucky Vega Nicconi
Smart As You Think Lucky Vega Savabeel
Unforgotten Lucky Vega I Am Invincible
Mamwaazel Lucky Vega Grunt Zoustar
Extremely Written Tycoon Alabama Express I Am Invincible I Am Invincible
In Her Time Written Tycoon I Am Invincible
Melody Belle Written Tycoon
Harlech Written Tycoon Alabama Express Snitzel
Viddora Written Tycoon Snitzel
Erato Tagaloa
Gregers Tagaloa Alabama Express Lonhro Russian Revolution
Miss Sentimental Tagaloa
Neena Rock Tagaloa Grunt Grunt Spirit Of Boom
Written Era Tagaloa Alabama Express Zoustar Zoustar
Article Courtesy of TDN.
So You Assume ridden by Dean Yendall wins the Ladbrokes Stocks Stakes at Moonee Valley Racecourse on September 24, 2021 in Moonee Ponds, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Lauriston Thoroughbreds’ James O’Brien is full of praise for the mare he bred – So You Assume – which won the Group 2 Stock Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

“It was a great win and she has proven to be an unbelievably tough mare which is absolutely outstanding,” O’Brien said of the Shane Nichols trained mare.

“She led all the way and it was just dominant and to think it was a Group 2 that she won comfortably was very impressive.

“She was a lovely type, just a little bit small at the time. We sold her in session 2 of the Inglis Premier Sale and obviously Shane Nichols is proving himself to be a good judge.”

Lauriston Thoroughbreds sold So You Assume for $40,000 to Nichols and O’Brien admits it was a cheap buy for a mare that has now won five races, including her past three, from 12 starts, for stakes of more than $400,000.

“We always tell the good stories when we get the good results and it’s a bit like the fisherman who always talks about the one he caught,” a philosophical O’Brien said.

“The ones that get away, we don’t tell those stories so often and I think a breeder has a lot of stories about how they didn’t get the results they hoped for.

“But when you are a genuine vendor and are genuinely in business you need to sell your horses to keep your business going.”

O’Brien said “unfortunately” they sold So You Assume’s dam Remlaps Jewel (Choisir x Lady Remlap) as there is a need to keep turning over their mares.

“Similarly we sold Pippie in utero,” he said.

“We had three generations of Pippie’s line and we sold that dam in foal with Pippie and got something like $30,000 for her.”

Pippie (Written Tycoon x Coupe Express) won two Group 1 races – the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) and Moir Stakes (1200m) – on her way to winning $1.2 million. She was sold for $1.8 million as a broodmare this year.

O’Brien said breeding was a tough caper.

“I think everyone sits back and thinks breeding is easy, but that’s not true. And while sometimes you can get the good results on the racetrack, you might not get the good results in the sales ring,” he said.

O’Brien said it could also be a tough decision on deciding what stallion should cover a mare.

He said So You Think wasn’t all that fashionable at the time when So You Assume went through the sales ring and it wasn’t easy to sell the stallion’s progeny.

“But now a days the stallion has proven himself and he is very popular,” he said

O’Brien said the decisions breeders make now where they send their mares is obviously a big part of a long term result.

“The mares sent to stallions in 2021 won’t foal until 2022, they will turn one in 2023 and as a yearling you will sell them early in 2024,” he said.

Like the fashion industry, it is s a very fickle industry and the market may or may not like that stallion any more. If his progeny haven’t performed, you could have made a bad decision in 2021 to affect 2024 sales results.”

O’Brien said he always appreciated So You Think – a 10-time Group 1 winner – as a racehorse and supported him early in his stud career but says the market was looking for sprinting horses.

He said So You Think wasn’t popular in those early days.

“I think that has changed and everyone would love to have a So You Think,” O’Brien said.

“But his progeny have had to prove themselves on the track and that has taken a bit of time, so not all buyers would have been supportive.”

We purchased Remlaps Jewel in foal to So You Think for $80,000. $40,000 wasn’t an outstanding return on that investment.

Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm took a change of direction – a temporary one – last year when they originally planned to offer their entire 2019 draft as weanlings at the 2020 Great Southern Sale.

But in another change the weanlings were offered at the Australian Weanling Sale in the supplementary part of the catalogue.

“We sold all 10 of them,” O’Brien said.

“We topped the averages and we had the top selling horse. We had a gross of about $700,000 and seven or eight of them were bought by pin hookers and were bought back through the sales ring as yearlings and they sold for a gross of $1.6 million.

“So nine months later the pin hookers have done really well with our horses and obviously they presented well and stood up to the tests of inspections and x-rays and I am really happy with the results for these pin hookers.”

The sale topping weanling by Not A Single Doubt, out of Rhodamine, was bought for $280,000 by Suman Hedge Bloodstock and Grant Bloodstock and then sold to Gai Waterhouse for $750,000 at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Named Pantonario, the two-year-old filly finished third in an 855m trial at Kensington last week and has been nominated to the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) for 2yo fillies at Randwick on Saturday.

In what is a bit of gap year for Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm, they will offer nothing this year but will be back with their yearlings in 2022.

O’Brien said they made a decision to consolidate last year following the passing of his father the farm founder Kevin O’Brien, and the nervousness around the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he admits the market has been stronger than he anticipated.

And O’Brien is hoping that Pantonario can do something special as they have her full brother which will be offered as a yearling next year.




Thought Of That after winning the Evergreen Turf Handicap at Ladbrokes Park Hillside Racecourse on September 25, 2021 in Springvale, Australia. (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

Tarcoola Stud broodmare Hold Me Closer (Danehill Dancer x Intertwined) provided a couple of significant results in less than two days which has left owner Ken Williams contemplating the sale of his good producing mare.

The action started at The Valley on Friday night and continued the following day at Sandown Hillside.

Hold Me Closer’s Thought Of That (So You Think) won the last race of the day at Sandown with nearly an all the victory in the 1800m event for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.

The five-year-old couldn’t have been any more impressive, winning by 4.5 lengths.

On the Friday night at The Valley, Thought Of That’s three-year-old half-brother Daily Bugle finished third, beaten less than half a length, in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) for trainers Robbie Griffiths and Mathew De Kock.

Tarcoola Stud’s Williams has had some interesting observations in recent months on Thought Of That which he bred and took to the 2018 Easter Yearling Sale where he expected the colt to fetch $200,000-plus.

He walked away with $100,000 but nevertheless was disappointed.

When the horse was again offered for sale earlier this year, Williams went to $100,000 but was outbid by trainer Ciaron Maher who bought Thought Of That, along with a partner, for $140,000.

Williams was again a little disappointed when Maher, who trained the gelding to the 2019 Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m), rejected his offer to buy a share in the horse.

“When he came up for sale I thought I’d buy him back,” Williams said.

“I wanted buy a bit of him. Ciaron has owned him for two starts and he has won nearly $100,000 in those two wins.

“You have to laugh don’t you.

“I still reckon he is a good horse and certainly a Group horse.”

Thought of That and Daily Bugle are the only two horses Hold Me Closer has had to the races.

Inspiring Woman, a four-year-old full sister to Thought Of That, never made it to the races. She was sold online in July as a breeding proposition for $40,000.

“I have two beautiful fillies out of Hold Me Closer which we will race ourselves,” Williams said.

“We have a Spirit Of Boom filly which we will race and I have got another full sister to Thought Of That who is yearling at the moment and is absolutely magnificent, absolutely magnificent. It is a stunning horse.”

Williams said the Spirit Of Boom filly will probably be broken in soon and they were thinking that with two fillies, maybe they should sell Hold me Closer.

“Do well sell the mare – it might sound a bit stupid,” he said.

“The mare is going on 12 and she is hopefully going to be in foal to Brazen Beau and the way prices are at the moment, and we have got two fillies, so what will do is race them and have a bit of fun with those and then breed from them and sell the mare.

“They are obviously halves and fulls to Group horses and maybe we grab our money of the mare. Look, I’m not sure but it’s an option.”

With a lot of fillies that Williams would like to keep and races, he said Tarcoola Stud doesn’t have an abundance of horses to take to the sales so the economics become a big factor.

“It becomes a bit tricky,” he said.

“As a breeder and owner of a horse stud, not a big one but we employ three people, it’s fun and games just trying to break even all the time.

“But it’s a lifestyle and it’s a bonus if you do it without going broke.”

Hold Me Closer was late going to Brazen Beau last year but didn’t get into foal, but Williams said they’ll know probably know next week whether the recent return mating has been successful.

He said it didn’t hurt the mare to have a season off.

“The mare herself is a magnificent horse and has a bit of history that will make you laugh,” Williams said.

“She was a foal share with us and Coolmore to Danehill Dancer because he was $130,000 or something and we took her to Queensland to sell and for whatever reason she wasn’t that popular which was crazy.

“She was a good looking filly but at that stage her legs were a little bit not quite perfect but are now and Coolmore and us bid on her but the Coolmore boys bought her,” Williams said.

“They bought me out and raced her and she wasn’t a bad racehorse and probably should have won more than she did but won in Sydney.

“And then Colm Santry (Coolmore) rang me up and said do you want to buy her back for breeding, but I won’t tell you what I paid for her but it wasn’t a lot.”

Shane McGrath paid $30,000 for Hold Me Closer at the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale and she was sold soon after to Coolmore man, Colm Santry, for $45,000.

And after Thought Of That won the Caulfield Classic, Williams was offered $400,000 for the mare.

He said the Coolmore boys always laugh when they see him.

But Williams said he would expect to still get a big dollar for Hold Me Closer, whose dam Intertwined (Sir Tristram x Twining) produced the 2002 Golden Slipper winner, How Funny.

He predicts the mare still has the capabilities to produce at least three or four more foals and believes the family will keep improving.

“We will wait and see what we do with the mare and it depends on how the sales go,” Williams said.

“I couldn’t be happier with the mare and those two horses.

“We didn’t do too well with the So You Think when he only made $100,000 but should have made $250,000.

“But that second one to raise Daily Bugle made $230,000 which was pretty good for a Press Statement so can imagine what sort of type he is, really nice.”

Hold Me Closer’s first foal, also by So You Think, died three weeks after being born.

After being guilty of selling multiple Group winners rather than retaining them to race, Williams said that was a major reason for deciding to keep Hold Me Closer’s two fillies.

Williams has nine of his own broodmares his breeding from, and has a similar number of outside mares on the farm.

Stakes mare Tarcoola Spirit has dropped a Brazen Beau filly and Vivacious Spirit is in foal to Impending as part of the stud’s DNA breeding.

“Black Caviar has got a double cross of Vain in the female side so we look at things like that. I have got a guy in England who helps me out with all that stuff,” he said.

“We have got a Merchant Navy out of a mare, Explosive Cross, that is throwing some very nice horses. She is a Bernardini mare that has come from nowhere and the first foal out of her was a thing called Tarcoola Diva and Gemma Rielly had her and she is a beautiful, beautiful mare and is back in work now and we are hoping she is a stakes horse.”

Tarcoola Diva, who Williams also races, is yet to have a start for her new trainer Gavin Bedggood at Cranbourne.

The third foal out of Explosive Cross, which Williams also bred and raced, was sold at this year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale to Griffiths and De Kock racing for $260,000. The colt is by So You Think.

After Thought of That’s win on Saturday, winning trainer Maher said:


“He’s a really enigmatic horse. He’s got a lot of talent. It is taken a little bit of time to find the key, but just changing things up, you’ve got to keep the horse guessing.


“Credit to Josh (jockey Josh Richards). He was pretty forthright which is unlike him. It was a really good ride.


“We won last time and he’s only going to gain confidence again from

that. He’s a very likeable horse at home, a kind soul but he leaves a bit for himself occasionally. ”


After a disappointing performance in the 2019 Derby when he started at $4.80, Thought Of That had remained winless since his 2019 Caulfield Classic win until his victory at Sale in August and then made it two in a row with last Saturday’s Sandown triumph.


Owners of Comic Set after winning William Hill Handicap at Moonee Valley Racecourse on February 24, 2017 in Moonee Ponds, Australia. (Ross Holburt/Racing Photos)

With a name like Comic Set it’s little wonder that there’s a funny story associated with the travels of the eight-year-old gelding which went “missing” after a short but unsuccessful stint in Hong Kong.

Illowra Stud’s Meredith and Nigel Berry bred the son of Reset out of their broodmare Riddles (Distorted Humor) and after two wins from five starts and a third in the Group 3 Phar Lap stakes at Rosehill, Hong Kong came knocking with a big offer.

The Berrys accepted the offer for the Mick Kent trained gelding but the deal was that the horse would return to their Nagambie farm once his racing career was over.

After showing little in five barrier trials and then a last at Sha Tin on debut, Caspar Fownes sacked Comic Set, which raced in Hong Kong as Royal Prince, after that one race in July of 2018.

But instead of flying directly back to Australia to be united with the Berrys, the gelding was forced to quarantine in New Zealand because of an equine disease that prohibited the horse from being flown directly home.

Not only did Comic Set quarantine in New Zealand but he also resumed his racing career in November of 2019 and at this first race did exactly what he did on debut in Hong Kong – finished 12 of 12.

Kiwi trainers Jenny and Bob Vance preserved with the gelding, giving him 12 starts for a best effort of a second and third – before his career ended in January this year.

Once the Berrys finally tracked their horse down, he was flown to Australia where he started back with Kent at Cranbourne who has given Comic Set two starts for a first up second at Geelong in July and then a fourth at Sandown on his eighth birthday. He is now having a spell.

In line with his name, Meredith can see the humour in finally getting their lost horse back to Australia and the bonus of having him racing.

“One of the things was that when we sold him was that he had to come back to us,” she said.

“He went over but just didn’t settle and was there for nearly two years and he seemed to do a lot of swimming. I study the track records and you can follow their work.

“It was at the time when there was a horse virus in China which was transmittable to humans so the Agriculture Department said no horses were to come back here. They had to quarantine in New Zealand first.”

Meredith said she contacted Fownes in Hong Kong to find out what had happened to the horse which was supposed to be coming back to Australia and he said the gelding was waiting for a plane to get to New Zealand.

She said the horse just sort of disappeared and they were hoping that he had gone to New Zealand.

“I was wondering who we could contact and then my husband saw he was racing in New Zealand,” Meredith said.

“It turned out that people we knew also knew the trainer and so we got quite friendly over the phone and followed him while he was there and then he has come back to us finally which is lovely.”

While in New Zealand the gelding raced under his Hong Kong name Royal Prince.

Meredith said Comic Set hadn’t repeated his Australian form in Hong Kong or New Zealand, but seemed to be happy when he returned home.

She said they paid for the gelding to be flown back from New Zealand.

The Berrys breed their own horses to race and have had plenty of success with the progeny of their broodmare Princess Regina (Zabeel x Princess Lily).

Four of the six to race are all winners, including Za Za Zoom (Strategic; four wins), Oncidium Ruler (Strategic; five wins), Royal Order (Commands; four wins) and Royal Crown (Hemet; five wins).

The talented stayer Royal Crown is just back in work with Kent and is already a listed winner of the MRC Galilee Series Handicap (2400m). The five-year-old finished his last campaign with victory in the Victorian Gold Stayers (2412m) and resumed at Sandown last Saturday when was unplaced over 1800m. The gelding holds a nomination for the Melbourne Cup.

Oncidium Ruler, a winner of $385,950 in prize money, is returning to the Berry’s farm after being retired and then becoming an eventer.

The Berrys race their horses with friends, as well as some of Nigel Berry’s doctor colleagues.

“We also have Royal Crown’s full brother, The Claimant (Helmet), who hasn’t raced yet and he is home here for the spring and will go back for the autumn,” Meredith said.

“Some of the owners are friends we first met when went to Mick’s (Kent) and it’s been really good fun.

“We have another little mare called Royelle but she is very small by Dundeel but she has a good finish.”

As well as Comic Set, the Berrys have bred three out of the mare broodmare Riddles – Golden Twist (Golden Snake) and Forty Nine Riddles (Lago Delight) and are both winners.

“We have the Zabeel line through Princess Regina who we have had most of them with Mick,” Meredith said.

Unfortunately Riddles died giving birth to Comic Set. The Berrys also like the breeding line of Forty Niner (USA) through his son Distorted Humor (Danzig’s Beauty).

Meredith said Comic Set’s half-sister Forty Nine Riddles was a magnificent physical type but has a difficult temperament.

“Despite being a difficult horse to float she did win three races, including the Wagga Queen of the Southern Handicap.

“We put her to Reset and have a nice 2018 gelding, Nine Set All, who has been broken in and has had a good pre-training. He is back at the farm for the spring before heading to Mick Kent.”

Meredith said the nine-year-old Forty Nine Riddles also has a nice yearling filly by Highland Reel and is returning to the stallion this season.

Princess Regina’s Za Za Zoom is the dam of Passenten (Epaulette) and an unnamed two-year-old So You Think colt. And Princess Regina (Zabeel x Princess Lily) has a yearling filly by Palentino and has been served this season by Ghaiyyath.

The Berrys also have two other Zabeel mares – Carmenes and Omit.

Caremenes has a Needs Further filly foal and is also booked to Highland Rule, while Omit has an unraced three-year-old colt by Teofilo that is currently spelling after having a preparation with Kent.

Omit, which was bred by Sir Michael Fay and Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan, raced only once and for Lloyd Williams.

The mare is due to foal to Dandino and has a booking with Russian Camelot.

Another of their mares Keep Courting (Keep the Faith x Court Swinging) has produced her first foal, a colt by Impending.

Meredith said breeders in Victoria were lucky to have some nice middle distance and staying stallions to choose from.

The Berrys breed about four or five every year and often sell the shares through trainers but there is a lot of repeat business coming from previous or current owners.

And because they bred stayers, Meredith said it’s not commercial to go to the sales although they did once but quickly realised it was better to keep them to race with friends.

The Berrys have owned and operated Illowra Stud for about 10 years after previously having a small block at Plenty which she says is not so rural any more.

Longwood Thoroughbred Farm

Longwood Thoroughbred Farm (LTF) is thrilled to announce the expansion of its operations base in North East Victoria. LTF has entered into a long term lease arrangement with the new owner of the recently purchased Lauriston Park (now known as Longwood Park) which adjoins its current property in Longwood East, Victoria. LTF will now comprise almost 500 acres of prime thoroughbred land in the heart of Victoria’s thoroughbred country.

The expansion will be seamless as both properties were previously part of one farm – the Victorian base of Vinery Stud with state of the art infrastructure and equipment.

LTF, owned and operated by Michael Christian along with wife Siobhan and brother Brad, was launched in 2018 and offers a comprehensive broodmare and rearing service to clients along with racehorse spelling opportunities for trainers.

Christian said, “we have some wonderful facilities and outstanding staff and by doubling our acreage we can now offer our high quality care & service to a broader array of clients. Whether it’s foaling down with our around the clock foal watch team, mare reproductive services, weaning, weanling and yearling sales preparation we pride ourselves on our great care and attention to detail”.

He added, ”we also have nearly 40 specifically designed spelling paddocks for racehorses looking to have a break in our beautiful climate”

LTF also has its own small band of broodmares with Christian already responsible for breeding a raft of stakes winners including Unpretentious, Hallowell Belle, Fuddle Dee Duddle, Eloping, Of The Brave, Fuhryk and of course last Saturdays Group 3 How Now winner, Bella Nipotina.

LTF is enjoying an exciting year with a yearling colt (bred in partnership with Widden Stud) out of Fuddle Dee Duddle selling for $1m and a yearling filly (bred in partnership with Segenhoe Stud) out of Eloping selling for $900k at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale in January. The farm also purchased on behalf of clients Group 1 winning mare Volpe Veloce for $1.9m and multiple Group 3 winning mare Rimraam out of the Shadwell draft for $1.5m at the Magic Millions Broodmare Sale in May.

“We’re all looking to the future with great excitement and welcome you to join us for the ride” says Christian.


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While Kennebec (More Than Ready {USA}) wasn’t the most expensive at $300,000 of the trio of mares secured at the Gold Coast by Michael Christian’s Longwood with Sheamus Mills Bloodstock (FBAA), she was one with special connections.

Kennebec is a daughter of the G2 Gilgai S. winner and multiple Group 1 placegetter Hallowell Belle (Starcraft {NZ}), whose half-sister Bella Orfana (Star Witness) is the dam of Saturday’s G3 How Now S. winner Bella Nipotina (Pride Of Dubai).

Christian and his wife Siobhan, with his brother Brad, bought Longwood in 2018 and bred Bella Nipotina, who was sold at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale for $80,000 to Lindsay Park Racing, Andrew Williams Bloodstock and Mt Hallowell Stud.

Bella Nipotina pictured as a yearling

“It’s been an amazing ride with Bella Nipotina. She was originally purchased by Lindsay Park and we retained an interest in her as a yearling. In mid-September after the Sale, David Hayes rang me and said I think she goes pretty well,” Christian said.

“It’s been an amazing ride with Bella Nipotina. She was originally purchased by Lindsay Park and we retained an interest in her as a yearling.” – Michael Christian

“She trialled well and David decided to run her in the Listed Debutant S. She travelled very well but was caught in behind the leader and was desperately unlucky.

“She went for an inside run and got blocked and had to come around off heels and finished off the race strongly without threatening to finish fourth. To think that was two years ago and she’s had her best career win now is testament to her constitution, toughness and durability.”

Bella Nipotina winning the G3 How Now S.

Change of ownership

Prior to her current preparation, an approach was made from Ciaron Maher’s stable to purchase Bella Nipotina.

“There was a significant offer for her, which was very fair, but the last thing we wanted to do was sell as we had visions of eventually breeding from her given we’ve bred up the family,” Christian said.

“In the end, we managed to do a deal on a 50/50 arrangement with the new owners to race and eventually breed from Bella Nipotina.

“In the end, we managed to do a deal on a 50/50 arrangement with the new owners to race and eventually breed from Bella Nipotina.” – Michael Christian

“As part of that, the caveat was she would be trained by Ciaron Maher so it was a hard call to make to Ben Hayes, but to his credit he understood the situation.”

Longwood still has Bella Nipotina’s dam Bella Orfana, who produced a Trapeze Artist colt in 2020.

“Unfortunately, the mare had a cancerous ovary so we had to take that out earlier this year. It’s not the end of the world, but we haven’t got her firing on the other ovary yet,” Christian said. “We’ve got to wait for her to start cycling so hopefully we can get her covered.

“We’ll wait and see what happens and no decision has been made on a stallion.”

Bella Nipotina’s grandam Belle Inez (Beautiful Crown {USA}) was purchased by Christian and Peter Morgan for $190,000 at the Gold Coast in 2004 and while she didn’t win, she proved a valuable broodmare before her untimely death.

She not only produced Bella Orfana and Hallowell Belle, but also the G3 WATC Champions Fillies’ S. winner Fuddle Dee Duddle (Red Ransom {USA}).

“She was sold to Perth interests, and Widden Stud then bought her post her racing in Perth and Antony Thompson, knowing I bred her, asked if I’d like to go in partnership, which I duly jumped at,” Christian said.

Michael Christen takes a snap of the Zoustar x Fuddle Dee Duddle colt purchased from Widden Stud by the Victorian Alliance, Suman Hedge Bloodstock (FBAA) and David Redvers Bloodstock at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale for $1 million | Image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

“We subsequently sold her in the Chairman’s Sale last year and ironically a good client of ours bought her. She’s had a Trapeze Artist yearling colt and a lovely Zoustar filly at foot.

“Bella Inez produced two stakes winners from her first two foals and could have been anything, but unfortunately at age 10 she had a colic attack in the Hunter Valley and died.”

Breeding plans

Longwood will be breeding from 18 mares of their own this season, including the three purchases from the Gold Coast earlier this year.

Volpe Veloce, purchased for $1.9 million at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale

“We bought Volpe Veloce for $1.9 million in foal to I Am Invincible for a good client and she’s booked to go back and we also purchased Rimraam for $1.5 million. She has a lovely Dundeel colt at foot and she’s also going to I Am Invincible,” Christian said.

“We also bought Kennebec as her dam Hallowell Belle was effectively the first horse I bred. Gai Waterhouse bought her and although I would have loved to retain a share, it unfortunately wasn’t possible.

“So when Kennebec came up for sale, that was a non-negotiable and I was happy to pay whatever it took to secure her. She’s a beautiful mare and probably worth more to us than others, given our affinity with the family.

“She’s in foal to Brazen Beau and she is booked to go back to him.”

Kennebec, purchased for $300,000 by Sheamus Mills Bloodstock (FBAA), Longwood Thoroughbred Farm and Peter Morgan at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale

Longwood also has Bella Inez’s half-sister Bella Sorellastra (Lope De Vega {Ire}), who was runner-up in the G2 Edward Manifold S. and their half-brother In Top Swing (Beautiful Crown {USA}) won the G1 Caulfield Guineas.

“Bella Sorellastra had a Merchant Navy colt, which we have retained to race and a lovely Deep Field yearling colt. The mare is in foal to Pride Of Dubai to make it a three-quarter to Bella Nipotina,” Christian said.

“Bella Sorellastra is on a late cover and won’t foal until the end of October. So much will happen in terms of stallions between now and then so we’ll take our chances and make a call later on a stallion.”

He's A Balter after winning the Henley Homes for RPC Hcp at Caulfield Racecourse on September 18, 2021 in Caulfield, Australia. (George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos)

He’s A Balter has certainly lived up or even exceeded the huge wraps placed on the horse when he went under the hammer at the VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale in 2018.
Offered through Rosemont Stud’s draft, the Victorian-bred colt sold for $120,000 – the then highest-priced horse sold at a Gold auction.

The now five-year-old gelding started his racing career with Peter Gelagotis at Moe, but was transferred to Will Clarken at Morphettville earlier this year.
Already with two wins on the board before Clarken took over the Victorian-bred gelding’s training, He’s A Balter completed his fourth win in succession when he won an open handicap over 1100m at Caulfield last Saturday.
It was a case of back-to-back wins at Caulfield after success at Morphettville and Murray Bridge.
He’s A Balter has raced 25 times for seven wins, five seconds and two thirds. Since joining Clarken’s stables in April, the gelding has had nine starts, five wins and two thirds.
Clarken said He’s A Balter had been a lot of fun for the owners, who include former Carlton player Fraser Brown.
“He has got his confidence up, and we most recently changed his racing style a little bit, and he has become a real handy type of sprinter,” he said.
“He has got his confidence up and he has got a fairly high rating now so he will have to go to another level to keep going with it and the owners are having terrific fun with him and hopefully he can do that.”
Clarken said that He’s A Balter was now a 90 rated horse which will allow him to tackle a stakes race.
At this stage the gelding looks like tackling the listed G.H. Mumm Century Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Oaks Day.
“We will just have to have a look and see how we go,” Clarken said.
Clarken said He’s A Balter was transferred to him after discussions with his friend Manny Gelagotis who is general manager and assistant trainer at Peter Gelagotis Racing.
“The ownership group wanted to shift him to South Australia, and I think they had another trainer in mind, but Manny pulled rank for me, thank God, and he got him into my camp,” he said.
“Everyone has got different systems and he has obviously fitted into ours really well. Peter and his team do a wonderful job but for some reason he has just clicked with our system.”
The progression of the horse hasn’t surprised Rosemont Stud’s operations manager Gerrard Jones who at the time of the sale said the yearling was the colt of the sale.
“We’re ecstatic with the result,’’ Jones said,
“He’s been out of his box all day today especially so I’m glad he can go back now and relax.
“He’s typical of all the Spirit of Booms, really relaxed, no fuss. He took it all in his stride.
“It was a really good price.”
After He’s A Balter’s win on Saturday, Jones also believes the horse is capable of winning a stakes race.
“On that run, you would think there is a stakes race for him.”
He’s A Balter was bred by Daniel Flack. He has bred four foals from Moxie Doll (Mossman x Affaire En Or). The first a filly, Let’s Boom, is a full sister to He’s A Balter and is still racing in the Toowoomba area as a six year-old and is a maiden after 31 starts but has had seven seconds and eight thirds. The grand dam, Affaire En Or (Dieu D’Or x Relations), won six races and produced the Group 3 winner of the WATC Hyperion Stakes (1600m), King Cool Kat (King Kugat)
Moxie Doll also has unraced fillies to Starcraft and Overshare.
Winning jockey Linda Meech was full of praise for He’s A Balter’s win.

“I thought his win on Memsie Day was very good and that win then was just as good,” Meech said in her post-race interview.

“Didn’t he try hard; he was really tired after the races so it was a big effort from him.

“It wasn’t how we thought things would pan out. They went very slowly. He was loving leading and was really comfortable.

“I was worried about getting beaten, I was just hoping that I wouldn’t.”

While Meech said she was very confident throughout the entire race,
But the change of a horse’s racing pattern isn’t always ideal.

He’s A Balter generally comes from back in the field, but he led in Saturday’s race after again racing handier at his previous Caulfield win.

Grinzinger King ridden by John Allen wins the John Spence Three-Years-Old Maiden Plate at Geelong Racecourse on September 05, 2021 in Geelong, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Danny O’Brien is used to winning the big races.
The Melbourne Cup winning trainer, who also a Cox Plate victory among his long list of Group 1 triumphs, has his sights set on another big win as he prepares Grinzinger King on the path to the Victoria Derby (2500m).
After getting his maiden out of the way at his second start over 1512m at Geelong earlier this month, the three-year-old steps out at Flemington on Wednesday in the Victoria Derby Trial (1800m).
O’Brien’s stable client John Wheeler paid $360,000 for Grinzinger King at the 2020 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
A man who races several horses with O’Brien, Wheeler selected the yearling himself and was determined that he wasn’t going home without the well credentialed colt.
Being a full brother to Extra Brut (Domesday x Dom Perion), the winner of the 2018 edition of the Victoria Derby, his little brother was always going to attempt to win the same Group 1 race.
O’Brien said they were extremely happy with the way Grinzinger King won at Geelong and weren’t concerned when the colt didn’t beat a runner home when he made his debut over 1400m as a two-year-old at Flemington in May.
“We were very happy,” O’Brien said of the Geelong win.
“Obviously he was a lovely yearling and John Wheeler paid a good amount of money for him.
“We have been pretty focused on him being a Derby horse from the time he was bought at the yearling sale.
“He is on track and runs in the Derby trial here on Wednesday and we are hoping he can keep building towards Derby Day.”
Grinzinger King raced near the lead at Geelong which was the opposite of what he did on debut.
“First up we just went back on him that day and it was inexperience and he just lost sight of the bunny,” O’Brien said.
“He did everything wrong, but he was very good obviously at Geelong the other day, and we are looking forward to what else he can do.
“We are hoping. He is fit and well and the next couple of runs will tell us.”
The man who bred Extra Brut and his full brother Grinzinger King, Andrew McDonald, is looking forward to seeing how the colt performs on the way to the Derby.
He was happy to see the colt get the money at Geelong.
“It was good, and he looks fabulous, too, so they have done a good job with him,” McDonald said.
“Wednesday will tell the story, won’t it.
“I have looked at the replays of most of them in the race, and there are some really nicely bred horses and some really nice looking horses.
“Whoever does well in that is really going to let you know that you’ve got a horse and if he can do something nice in that race than he is going to be all right.”
McDonald said Grinzinger King always definitely looked like a Derby horse, probably more so than his full brother.
“He is a different type and more of a staying looking horse than what Extra Brut was, but obviously he was very good, and that’s why he won the Derby.”
Since buying Dom Perion in foal to Domesday with what became Extra Brut, McDonald has had three foals, and one about to drop, out of the mare.
He sold a filly by Justify out of Dom Perion for $280,000 at this year’s Gold Coast National Weanling Sale.
Dom Perion is due to foal in a couple of weeks to Lonhro.
“She is having a filly, and she won’t be going anywhere – she will be staying here,” McDonald said.
“I have just been so desperate for a filly out of her because Justify was a foal share so we didn’t have a choice.
“I was desperate for a filly because she (Dom Perion) is 16 now and that’s why I wanted a filly to keep things going.
Dom Perion has a booking this season with new Darley stallion Ghaiyyath (Dubawi x Nightime).
“He is out of a Galileo mare, and you have got the Redoute’s (Choice) from our girl so it would be a nice cross I would have thought,” he said.
McDonald said that as a past customer, he recently got a generic email from the stud that stood Domesday informing him that the stallion would be covering a few mares this season, after serving only one in 2020.
“They did retire him, but apparently he is going to cover a few mares if people want to sort of thing,” he said.
“He must be feeling all right and for whatever reason he is coming back.
“We have been to Domesday twice, and we will have the Lonhro filly and Ghaiyyath looks good but he has to prove himself but looks promising.”
McDonald said he will be heavily supporting Darley this year with his band of broodmares.
He already has a Frosted filly on the ground at the moment out of Al Maher mare, Bee Ali.
“She is a ripping foal and Frosted is going okay at the minute,” he said.
“We bought a couple of mares up at the broodmare sale.
“And we are going to go to Darley. The mare that just had the Frosted is going to go to Earthlight and we are going to do a Blue Point, an Impending, a Kermadec and Ghaiyyath.”
McDonald retained a share in Dom Perion’s Toronado colt which was sold to Paul Moroney Bloodstock for $460,000 at this year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
It was the highest price paid for a Toronado yearling.
“I have got a little piece of him,” he said.
McDonald could be forgiven for still being in disbelief after paying $6000 for Dom Perion, in foal to Domesday, at the 2015 Great Southern Sale.
Freshwater Creek trainer Jamie Edwards might be thinking the same. He paid $7000 for Dom Perion’s second foal – by Statue of Liberty – which raced as Fill The Flute at the same sale as a weanling. Fill the Flute won seven races and $258,000 in prizemoney.
The first foal out Dom Perion, Mail It Send, was an unraced filly by Grey Swallow who the mare missed to the following season.
Extra Brut was Dom Perion’s third foal and then the mare had no luck the next two breeding seasons and slipped to Puissance De Lune in 2016 and Night of Thunder in 2017.
“I don’t know what happened, but she went straight in to foal and went 45 days, and it got to 60 and was sort of thinking I’m not too sure about this even though there were no obvious signs,” he said.
“And she slipped two years in a row.
“There was no rhyme or reason because every year she has gone in foal first cover and I think she keeps only the good ones.”
After missing two years in a row, one of McDonald’s mates suggested he should get rid of the mare, but he wisely told him he wasn’t too sure about that suggestion.
McDonald had sold Extra Brut, through Stonehouse Thoroughbreds, as weanling for $52,000 at the 2016 Great Southern Sale. He was sold again at the Inglis Classic Yearling Sale for $100,000 the following year.
And McDonald admits there are plenty of highs and lows in the breeding game, but Dom Perion continues to be one big success story.
Extra Brut was sold to Hong Kong five months after his Derby win, but was fatally hurt from a walking machine mishap after finishing third at his debut at Sha Tin.
He was being prepared for the Hong Kong Derby.

Wicklow Town after winning the Sportsbet Gold Nugget at Sportsbet-Ballarat Racecourse on September 19, 2021 in Ballarat, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

The home town victory of Wicklow Town in the Gold Nugget (1600m) at Ballarat on Sunday was a reminder for Steve and Ceri Jostlear of the stallion Super Jet which they imported from America to stand at their Ampulla Lodge stud at Bunyip.
Super Jet (Dayjur x Amelia Bearhart) sired Afterburn (out of Afters) which is the dam of Wicklow Town (Canford Cliffs), trained at Ballarat by Julie Scott.
While being known as excellent pinhookers, the Jostlears sold their property several months ago and have relocated to Swan Reach, where they enjoy the company of a couple of retired racehorses.
At one stage they also stood the Swettenham Stud bred Brackenbury (Danehill x Jullene) which they credit for funding their property.
Steve said that Super Jet had developed into a good sort of a broodmare sire.
“Super Jet was a character of a horse and he had some ability too. He was favourite for the Kentucky Derby at one stage and he won races in Kentucky by huge margins and then he did a tendon.
“He just broke down and they said put him to stud.”
Jostlear recalls that they went to America where they met up will well-known bloodstock agent Ed Price who specialised in selling stallions all around the world.
“Frank Stronach, the aficionado over there, owned racecourses, and we bought the horse from him. I think from memory we paid forty thousand US for him, but the Aussie dollar was around 49 cents so I was looking after the wallet all the time.
“It wasn’t too bad at the time because there were a lot dearer horses around, especially in Australia. We paid $120,000 for Brackenbury and he did quite well for himself and actually paid for the farm.”
Super Jet served 65 mares in his first season at Ampulla Lodge in 2001 and the following year had his biggest book, 91 mares which produced 65 live foals when his fertility rate was 93 per cent.
Jostlear said breeders tried Super Jet’s progeny as two-year-olds, but they weren’t early runners and could get a bit nasty.
“He was quite a dag of a horse,” he said.
“Most stallions would be waiting at the gate to serve a mare and you would go to get him and he’d take off and you’d have to chase him around the paddock – he just loved the farm.
“What we used to do was put him in his box when we were teasing or had the vet there so he couldn’t nick off.
“He was that fertile it was unreal.”
Jostlear owned 50 per cent of Super Jet with a friend and the 50 per cent was sold in shares to clients.
After the initial flurry of interest in the stallion, bookings began to taper off so they decided to sell Super Jet who made a modest $10,000 at auction and resumed his stud career in New South Wales where he served a single number of mares before his death in 2013, five months after Brackenbury died.
“I had him teed off to go to Queensland and was going to lease him to a man, and he got to the stage where he got right down to doing it,” Jostlear said.
“Unfortunately it was the time of the equine flu and we got locked down and he was ready to go the week later. He would have got 80 to 100 mares up there, and it was all lined up, and it was going to be a good financial move for all the owners.”
The Jostlears bred The Pentagon (Super Jet x Wicked Way), which won the 2010 Grand National Hurdle (4530m), and the 19-year-old is one of their retired horses they look after at Swan Reach.
“Another horse we have up here is Le Capitaine (Captain Sonador x Pyramisa’s Lass) which raced in Hong Kong as Seasons Bloom,” he said.
“We pinhooked him and he won his second start at Pakenham and we sold him to Hong Kong where he won a Group 1 and $5.2 million in prize money and was rated equal 11th or 12th in the word behind Winx.
“The fellow sent him back to us and asked if we could look after him so they paid him to come back and gave us a bit of money to look after him.”
He said they paid $26,000 for Le Capitaine at Magic Millions, but he was too small to get ready for a yearling sale, so they kept him to race themselves.
Jostlear admits they miss the pinhooking and said the pandemic played havoc with their business.
Super Jet’s best performed horse was the mare Skyerush which fell just short of $1 million in prize money after winning the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1600m) in successive years, the Group 2 Doncaster Prelude (1600m) and Liverpool City Cup (1300m) and the listed Belle of the Turf Stakes (1600m). The mare finished second, beaten a short neck, in the Group 1 Tatts Tiara in 2012.
And Julie Scott said she sent her mare Afterburn to Super Jet after being successful in a tender for a nicely priced service fee to the stallion.
“It was when the stallion tender scheme was going, and he was quite a smart horse overseas and she was pretty tough and I thought it might be a good cross,” she said.
“So that’s why we went there and we got a cheap tender.
“Afterburn was very tough and won in won four in a row in Melbourne, and although she won seven races, she had 11 seconds, so she was a good horse to me and finished with $253,000.”
She bred Afterburn, the dam of Canford Cliffs’ Wicklow Town, after buying Afters (Snippets x Translantic) when she was training at Bairnsdale, but the mare was retired after just two starts when it was apparent she wasn’t going to make it on the track.
Afters produced seven foals, but Afterburn was clearly the mare’s best.
Scott, who admits she is getting a bit older, said her son Michael Matthews and his wife Lisa, decided to breed from Afterburn after she bred the first two foals from the mare. Air Space (Hardspun) was unraced, while Strike Action (Street Boss) won four races.
Wicklow Town was the third foal Michael and Lisa bred from Afterburn.
“My son at the time worked at Blue Gum Farm, where Canford Cliffs stood, and my daughter in law was one of the foremen at Lindsay Park at Creightons Creek,” Scott said.
“So I said if you want to take Minty, which is Afterburn, than you can because I’m not going to do it anymore and they took her over and she went to Canford Cliffs twice.”
Canford Cliffs stood at Blue Gum Farm from 2012 and until 2016 but didn’t return from Ireland for another season because of lack of support.
“I have been trying to talk the kids into having a go at Cliff’s Edge because he is by Canford Cliffs, but they don’t want to do that, but that’s their business.
“The mare is 19 now so she might have one more go at it. She has two-year-old by Sepoy and a yearling by National Defense and she is in foal to Harry Angel.
“And she might be going to Hanseatic this year.”
Afterburn also has a three-year-old unraced filly – Brittas Bay – by Ready For Victory which returns to Scott’s stables this week for another preparation.
Scott trained Afterburn at the same time she had the talented sprinter Tesbury Jack (Armidale x Clear Money), a Group 2 and three-time listed winner.
And she is hoping that Wicklow Town will also win a big race.
“All going well we are going to try to run him in the Seymour Cup which is going to be held here at Ballarat because Seymour is undergoing a renovation,” Scott said.
“It’s going to be another step up because it’s a listed, $200,000 race but he is going well and he tries hard and he is tough.”
Scott said Wicklow Town would probably have one more run after the Seymour Cup and then go out for a spell to avoid the hard summer tracks.

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

Racing Victoria (RV) and Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) are pleased to announce a $7.5 million boost to the VOBIS Sires program.

The $7.5 million will be offered in the form of $30,000 vouchers on top the $20,000 VOBIS Gold bonus, exclusively to the winning owners of VOBIS Sires horses across the 250 VOBIS Gold bonus races run throughout Victoria.

The vouchers may be utilised by the winning owners to purchase the progeny of a VOBIS Sire at a recognised sale or can be applied to a service fee for a VOBIS Sire during the eligible breeding seasons.
Allocation of the voucher will be based on the percentage owned by the owner and in the event a syndicate is part of the ownership group, the voucher will be allocated to the syndicate (not to the individual members). Owners will have two years to utilise the voucher whether in full or part from the time the horse wins a VOBIS Gold race.

The vouchers will come into effect from the start of the 2022-23 racing season, however, any horse who is the progeny of a VOBIS Sire born from 2016 will be eligible to compete for the vouchers.

The VOBIS Sires program is highlighted by the VOBIS Sires Showdown, a $1 million race for 2YOs and the VOBIS Sires Guineas, a $500,000 race for 3YOs, both of which feature on Victorian Owners & Breeders Raceday each April.
RV Executive General Manager Racing, Greg Carpenter, said: “Thanks to today’s announcement regarding the boost to the VOBIS Sires program, our VOBIS program will now offer over $30 million annually in bonuses, prizemoney and breeding vouchers which is both a great reward and incentive for owners and breeders.
“We hope that the introduction of these vouchers will not only encourage owners to reinvest in the Victorian breeding industry, but also increase demand for Victorian-sired progeny in the sales ring and the attractiveness of racing horses in Victoria.

“I would like to thank TBV for their advocacy and support on this new initiative and we hope to see great uptake of the vouchers throughout future breeding seasons and yearling sales.”

TBV President, James O’Brien, said: “I am delighted with the announcement of the $7.5 million enhancement to VOBIS Sires which is an emerging feature of the successful VOBIS program.

“This season’s breeding season has just commenced and any broodmare owner who is still deciding on which stallion to best suit their mare should strongly consider a VOBIS Sires stallion.

“The stallion roster in Victoria headlined by Australia’s current champion sire, Written Tycoon, continues to go from strength to strength, with Victorian-sired progeny having won 16 Group 1’s across Australia last season.
“Thanks to today’s announcement, the progeny of VOBIS Sires will be extra sought after at sales with buyers looking to invest their vouchers into VOBIS Sires horses.
“The 2022 yearling sales are only a few months away and present prospective owners with the perfect opportunity to purchase VOBIS Sired horses to race for bonuses from August 2022 onwards.

“I would like to thank all the stallion farms who have supported the VOBIS Sires program since its inception and the continued commitment they have provided to Victoria.

“I’d like to thank Racing Victoria who have shown a strong commitment to supporting thoroughbreds at the grass roots, and decisions like this demonstrate that they are invested in the Victorian breeding industry.”

Image Courtesy of Racing Photos: Finance Tycoon wins the 2021 VOBIS Sires Showdown

Australia’s latest pin-up racehorse extended his remarkable winning streak to seven with a supreme front-running performance in the 1600-metre Flemington feature, defeating a red-hot field of 10 individual Group 1 winners in his very first start at the elite level.

Steve Tregea, Incentivise’s former Toowoomba-based trainer.

Tregea was delighted to share the big result with Moody and a new group of co-owners, including Ozzie Kheir and Brae Sokolski, who secured a 50 per cent share during the gelding’s all-conquering Queensland winter campaign that included victories by 9.5l in the Provincial Stayers’ Final and 12l in the G3 Tattersall’s Cup.

“That was an absolute dream result,” Tregea told TDN AusNZ. “We’ve won Group races before, but a Group 1 race in Melbourne – that’s just a different league.

“Even if he never wins another race from here, it’s worked out so well and it’s a special result for us and for the new owners as well. It’s great to share this with them. I don’t have any trouble sharing a win with other people, and if you’re losing, at least you’re sharing the expenses.

“Even if he (Incentivise) never wins another race from here, it’s worked out so well and it’s a special result for us and for the new owners as well.” – Steve Tregea

“But the way this horse is going at the moment hopefully, this won’t be the last time we’re celebrating a win.

“It’s a bit of a different experience to have the horse being trained by someone else now, but I don’t mind that either. Normally we don’t have anybody else to blame if things go wrong, and I guess we do now! But there won’t be any need to worry about that, he knows what he’s doing and he’s obviously doing a fantastic job with the horse.

“Now we just need to try to keep the horse at this level as we head through the rest of the spring and towards the Cups. He’s not a very difficult horse to train, and it’ll just be about keeping him ticking over. It’s very exciting for everyone involved.”

A ruling favourite for both the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup, Incentivise is now the winner of seven of his 10 starts, a far cry from just five months ago, when a sixth placing at Eagle Farm was his best result from three career appearances.

Incentivise being led back into the enclosure by his strapper | Image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

“He was a horse that’s just gradually kept improving throughout this year, and I guess it’s kind of snuck up on us how good he’s turned out to be,” Tregea said. “He was always going to be a stayer, so it wasn’t until he got up to those longer distances that he started to perform. Once he got that first win (over 1600 metres at the Sunshine Coast on April 11) and did it pretty easily, we realised we might have something, and he’s never looked back from there.”

Carrying on with the superstar’s siblings

Tregea breeds from a small broodmare band of around 10 at his Windermere Stud operation, which unfortunately no longer features Incentivise’s deceased dam Miss Argyle (Iglesia).

Miss Argyle being led to the barriers in the 2006 Listed Gimcrack S. | Image courtesy of Sportpix

Herself a black-type placegetter in the Listed Gimcrack S., Miss Argyle has produced eight winners from eight foals to race. Incentivise is the headline act among four stakes winners, while his Redoute’s Choice half-brother Ardrossan was a high-class performer in New Zealand who won the G3 Concorde H., placed in the G1 Waikato Sprint and now stands at Waikato Stud.

Bergerac (Drumbeats) won the Listed Bernborough H. and Ipswich Cup among 10 victories for Tregea, and Cheyenne Warrior (Not A Single Doubt) rounds out the black-type quartet with a victory in the Listed Gold Sovereign S.

Miss Argyle sadly died last spring after hitting her head on a rock in her paddock, and the foal she was carrying by Pride Of Dubai was also unable to be saved. But Tregea still has other members of the family to carry on with.

“We’ve got a 4-year-old half-brother to Incentivise called Argyle Lane, who hasn’t raced yet.” – Steve Tregea

“We’ve got a 4-year-old half-brother to Incentivise called Argyle Lane, who hasn’t raced yet,” he said. “We’ll see what happens with him. And we’re breeding from a half-sister, Flaunt, who’s due to foal within the next couple of weeks to Spirit Of Boom.

“There’s another half-sister, Ra Ra Epic, who’s in foal to Yes Yes Yes and was sold for $200,000 at the Inglis Great Southern Broodmare Sale a couple of months ago.

“So there’s still a few parts of the family around, we’ve got a bit to carry on with ourselves, and hopefully we might have a bit more luck along the way. But anyway, it’s great to be a part of what’s happening with Incentivise.”

Gosford hosted a mid-week metropolitan meeting on Wednesday, and the first race proved a thriller when 3-year-old Frosted (USA) colt Kooled narrowly held California Surreal (I Am Invincible) for a tight victory.

Kooled as a yearling | Image courtesy of Pam Crosby

The grey-coated, Hawkes-trained Kooled, who was having only his third start, looked at one point a comfortable winner on the rails, but in the straight, he hung then fanned right across the track for jockey James McDonald and gave away what otherwise might have been a cosy win.

Kooled jumped smartly from the inside barrier and took the initiative to lead, and he stayed there for much of the race with Hollywood North (Vancouver) and Excela Bella (Exceed And Excel).

Turning for home the colt had every chance until the last 150 metres when he ran out and allowed California Surreal to come wide alongside.

The pair argued out the last 50 metres of the race, with Kooled getting the upper hand narrowly. The final margins were 0.05l between first and second, with 1.5l back to the Ingham-owned Fangirl (Sebring) in third.

There was a collective sigh of relief when Kooled was announced the winner in the photo result, backed as he was into $1.90 favouritism. It was also a relief for McDonald, who didn’t have the easiest of rides.

“He’s a beautiful horse,” the jockey said. “He oozes a lot of quality, and once the penny drops he’s going to be a goody. Obviously, he did a lot of things wrong, but in saying that it’s a tight-turning track and that’s probably the first time he’s seen that.”

McDonald said post-race that it wasn’t ideal to be leading on the colt, but the good barrier prompted it.

“He (Kooled) oozes a lot of quality, and once the penny drops he’s going to be a goody.” – James McDonald

“They mustered speed really quickly and I was very comfortable in using him to guide through his gears early,” he said.

“He got a bit lost then and luckily we got a result. He was like a crab going left instead of going straight, and it just shows how much ability he’s got. He’s a lovely raw horse with plenty to play with.”

Bigger targets in mind

Kooled’s owner-breeder, Tamworth-based Rob Crosby, watched the race from home with similar trepidation.

“We thought he’d got there but it was close, we might have to take him to Victoria to run the other way after that.” – Rob Crosby

“We thought he’d got there but it was close,” Crosby said. “We might have to take him to Victoria to run the other way after that.”

Crosby said the horse had no reason to run across the track at Gosford as he did, but like McDonald he said it showed the colt had plenty in-hand to still produce a result.

“We watched the race from our lounge room, and we always knew this was going to be a beautiful colt,” Crosby said. “He was a beautiful foal when he was born, and we don’t usually race colts but we thought we’d try this fellow and everyone loves a grey, so if he’s any good he’ll have a good following.”

Rob and Pam Crosby

Crosby said Kooled holds a nomination for the G1 Golden Rose and G1 Caulfield Guineas, but he was reluctant to be confident about the colt’s chances of making the fields.

“I don’t think he’s going to have enough ratings to get into those races,” Crosby said. “He’ll need to win a couple more races. It was probably our fault, because after he ran in the VRC Sires’ Produce he needed a spell and we kept him home too long. All of his combatants are already racing now, so we probably shouldn’t have given him as long a spell as we did.”

Kooled was second in his debut race at Canterbury last February as a 2-year-old and was thereafter unplaced to Lightsaber (Zoustar) in the G2 VRC Sires’ Produce S. in March. After that, he was spelled and won his first trial back at Rosehill in late August. It was a promising return for his connections.

“The beauty of today’s run is that he’s never gotten out of the barrier so quickly.” – Rob Crosby

“The beauty of today’s run is that he’s never gotten out of the barrier so quickly,” Crosby said. “To lead as he did all the way at Gosford and have enough to win with that second horse peppering him all the way, that was pretty good.”

The ‘little Chautauqua’

Kooled is from the first Australian crop of Darley’s American shuttler Frosted (USA), and the seventh foal from the One Cool Cat (USA) mare Dawned (NZ). This is an old family nurtured by Sir Patrick Hogan, who bred Dawned along with her dam Our Dawn Run (NZ) (Sir Tristram {Ire}).

Frosted (USA) | Standing at Darley

Dawned is a half-sister to G2 Emancipation S. winner Beat The Fade (NZ) (Maroof {USA}) and G3 Cuddle S. winner Dawn Till Dusk (NZ) (Manntari {Ire}), while Kooled himself is a half-brother to the G2 Guy Walter S. winner Dawn Dawn (All Too Hard).

In fact, Dawn Dawn was the first foal bred by Crosby from Kooled’s dam Dawned after he purchased the mare from Patinack Farm at the 2013 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. He paid as little as $45,000, something he puts down to uncertainty at the time about her sire.

“The next one we got from her (Dawned) was Enjoy Elsie, who was by Sepoy, and she was probably the best one, but she fractured her pelvis after one race.”

“The next one we got from her (Dawned) was Enjoy Elsie, who was by Sepoy, and she was probably the best one, but she fractured her pelvis after one race.” – Rob Crosby

Enjoy Elsie (Sepoy) is now one of Rob and Pam Crosby’s six broodmares at home in Tamworth, and she has a Frosted three-quarter yearling brother to Kooled and is due to foal to Pierata this spring. She is one of two daughters of Dawned that the Crosbys have, and she is more valuable to them now than ever.

Rob Crosby opted to sell Kooled’s dam at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale this year, and she sold to Arrowfield Stud, via Jon Freyer, in foal to The Autumn Sun for $200,000.

Freyer, Arrowfield’s bloodstock manager, said the decision to buy Dawned was all about her smart grey colt Kooled.

“We’d been very impressed with him as a 2-year-old, which is why we bought her,” Freyer said, before admitting the irony about Kooled’s Gosford win on Wednesday. “They call him ‘little Chautauqua’, but he led today.”

Freyer confirmed that Dawned is booked to debut shuttler Admire Mars (Jpn) at Arrowfield this season, the stallion serving his first book after a highly successful racing career in Asia that included three Group 1 wins.

Admire Mars (Jpn) | Standing at Arrowfield Stud

Admire Mars will stand at Arrowfield this season for $22,000 (inc GST).

Yulong Investments has announced the appointment of Harry King to the role of Sales and Nominations, joining the team led by Manager Troy Stephens.

The appointment was brought on by the significant growth of Yulong’s breeding division in recent months, following the acquisition of the now six-strong stallion roster and the increase to the broodmare band.

Hailing from New Zealand, Harry has a lifetime of experience in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry as a son of Nick and Anne-Marie King of Waikato’s Brighthill Farm. 

Involved in the day-to-day operations of his parent’s stud from an early age, Harry then spent several years dividing his time between Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Working for reputable studs and preparers such as Vinery Stud, Ascot Farm and Yarraman Park during the sales seasons, he has also completed preparations with Round Hill Stud (Limerick), and a stint with Baroda and Colbinstown in County Kildare, Ireland. 

Harry spent three years with New Zealand Bloodstock as their Hospitality Manager, gaining huge insights in the sales and marketing of thoroughbred breeding. When the pandemic hit, Harry took up the opportunity to work for the NZB online arm in, further enhancing his skills and knowledge of the bloodstock auction world.

“Harry comes to Yulong with fantastic credentials and global networks,” said Yulong Nominations & Sales Manager, Troy Stephens. 

“His enthusiasm and drive match the ethos we strive for here at Yulong and we’re looking forward to generating more success with Harry as part of the team.”

“I was very fortunate to meet Mr Zhang a few years ago in New Zealand,” said King.

“His love for horses and his industry knowledge is admirable and I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity to work under the Yulong banner.”

With operations based in the thoroughbred heartland of north-eastern Victoria, Yulong’s stallion roster boasts the current Australian Champion General Sire Written Tycoon, as well as third-season sire Grunt, second-season sire Alabama Express, and newcomers Lucky Vega, Tagaloa, and Yulong Prince.

This is the second year we have conducted online webinars, and we are very grateful to everyone who has assisted with bringing the series to life.

We are incredibly grateful to our long-standing partners Avenel Equine Hospital and Surewise Insurance, who joined us to provide important information.

We also would like to thank Agrifutures Australia, who provided essential updates about projects they are conducting on behalf of the Thoroughbred industry.

Post this year’s webinars, we have launched our educational webinar library, which will be the home for all our recorded webinars, including those which were conducted in 2020.

We hope to add to this over the coming years and welcome any suggestions for future webinars.

You can access the library by clicking here.

If you would like to make any suggestions, please get in touch with us at

Ryan McEvoy (Racing and Sports)

Ryan McEvoy, one of the figures behind powerful Victorian Alliance colts fund headed by his employer Rosemont Stud, liked what he saw from the new partnership’s first two juveniles to officially barrier trial at Cranbourne yesterday, but he has been around long enough not to get ahead of himself.

Nevertheless, Rosemont Stud’s general manager of bloodstock declared it an exciting start to the Alliance’s first big-stakes foray into the yearling market and, at Cranbourne yesterday, it was Millane (Zoustar) who trialled nicely in heat nine behind stablemate Rampant Lion (Frankel) over 800 metres.

Rampant Lion, who was bred and is co-owned by Rosemont Stud’s Anthony Mithen and Nigel Austin, won the heat by three-quarters of a length in a time of 46.96 seconds with Brian Higgins in the saddle.

The Phillip Stokes-trained Runaway Belle (Pariah) was another half a length away in third.

In the other two-year-old heat, also over 800 metres, the Alliance’s Moody-trained Brereton (Zoustar) was not asked for an effort late in the heat but he still worked home stylishly to finish a neck behind the Shawn Mathrick-trained The Wizard King (Flying Artie).

The Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Cannonball (Capitalist) was a further five lengths away in third.

“It is early days, but it is really pleasing that there are a couple of horses who have put their hand up to potentially be a candidate for an early two-year-old race,” McEvoy said. “It is exciting, but I am also guarded that they are two-year-olds. They can very easily find themselves in the paddock in the next week as well.

“Certainly, PG (Moody) has got those two colts, in addition to Rampant Lion who we are obviously connected to as well, coming along nicely.

“There hasn’t been one update regarding their shins or that they’re getting tired, they’re working and come back to their box eating up and sticking their head out of the box the next morning saying, ‘where’s the saddle?’. It is a pleasing start.”

Rampant Lion, who was passed in at the Magic Millions sale in January before Mithen and Austin struck a deal with syndicator Wylie Dalziel to sell down part of the talented colt, and Millane were broken in and pre-trained by Brad Pearson. Marty Lacey handled the early education of Brereton and McEvoy also credited Moody for his handling of the three colts associated with Rosemont.

Millane and Brereton are two of a dozen two-year-olds purchased by the Victorian Alliance, which includes Noorilim Park’s Peter and Glen Carrick, Glentree Thoroughbreds’ Bruce Wilson and Musk Creek Farm’s David Kobritz, at the 2021 yearling sales.

Another Victorian Alliance-owned colt Quinlan (I Am Invincible – Precious Lorraine by Encosta De Lago) is on track to have his first public hit-out at Monday’s official two-year-old barrier trial session on the Kensington track in Sydney.

Trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Quinlan was a $600,000 purchase from the Magic Millions sale by the Alliance in conjunction with agents Suman Hedge and UK-based David Redvers.

“It is not often you get those two-year-olds who just never have any sign of showing tiredness or the fact that they are over the top. At some stage, they will need a spell, but if we can get them through to a race, that would be a wonderful result for all our partners in those horses,” he said.

“We think we’ve got a couple of nice ones in the paddock as well who at this early stage have shown us above average ability as well, so it’s not just these colts we’ve got up and going now.

“We’re reasonably bullish about some of our colts who have had a bit of a look at the stables and are back out. There is a bit to look forward to but, again, I am really mindful that the two-year-old trial form at this time of year can be neither here nor there.”

As for Rampant Lion, McEvoy is comfortable at this stage by the farm’s decision to retain the Frankel (Galileo) colt who is out of Furnival (Street Cry), a three-quarter sister to Telperion, a half-sister to Varda (Lonhro) and Yavanna (Redoute’s Choice), herself the dam of Group 1 winner Kementari (Lonhro).

“He was a really unique sort of horse to present to sale and we thought all along that he was a pretty special sort of colt, hence we were prepared to defend him at a fairly serious level and that’s okay,” McEvoy said.

“There were a couple of offers that came across us after he left the ring. In fact, we probably could have sold the horse, but Wylie Dalziel came to us with an offer and, look, we’ve got a pretty good connection with Wylie through Mr Quickie and a number of horses and we enjoy that relationship.

“Wylie was a big believer in the horse, as was Peter Moody, and ultimately we sat down with Wylie and reached a deal. 

“You could dare to dream on a horse like him. He was offered at sale and I suppose Frankel has gone to another level, if that was possible, since that sale. I don’t know how many Group 1 winners he’s had since January, but it’s a handful (six) and he’s probably taken up the mantle as the world’s best stallion post the sad demise of his sire (Galileo).”

Brooklyn Hustle set for Moir

Meanwhile, the Rosemont Stud-owned Brooklyn Hustle (Starspangledbanner) tuned up for her first-up A J Moir Stakes (Gr 1, 1000m) tilt at Moonee Valley on Friday week with a slashing barrier trial at Cranbourne yesterday.

The Jason Warren and Dean Krongold-trained Brooklyn Hustle, who won Group races in Adelaide and Brisbane last campaign, charged home under Brett Prebble to win heat eight over 800 metres by a length.

“She is obviously a very good mare fresh, albeit she finished her campaign last time in with a couple of Group races (wins),” McEvoy said.

“She is a very effective mare who loves the Valley. It’s no secret we think she’s a Group 1 horse and her runs at Group 1 level to date have been really, really competitive, particularly in a race like the Oakleigh Plate (when fourth).

“She’s trialled up super and she is going to run a really big race. Now that she’s a bit older, you wonder if they will retain their dash but judging by that trial this morning it looks like she has.”

Article courtesy of ANZ News

Tooradin after winning the TAB Long May We Play Plate at Flemington Racecourse on September 11, 2021 in Flemington, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Businessman Gerry Ryan, who raced 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain in partnership with Kevin and Colleen Bamford, is again chasing glory in Australia’s biggest race with a son of the stallion that gave him his first Cup victory.

Ryan, well known for his ownership of Jayco Caravans, parts owns five-year-old Americain gelding Tooradin which was bred and sold by Balius Farm at Darnum in Gippsland.

Tooradin was purchased as a weanling at the Great Southern Sale of 2017 for $65,000, which was more than double what Balius Farm’s owners Jacqui Sushames and her husband Tom Dieu expected.

Ryan purchased the weanling with a group of Victorian entrepreneurs – Adam Campbell, Brett Murry, Wal Pisciotta and brothers Ray and Ron Weinzierl – who spent millions of dollars turning Gumbuya Park at Tynong North into Gumbuya World.

The amusement park has developed into a major tourist location and isn’t far from Tooradin’s birthplace at Darnum.

Now with six wins from 15 starts, the gelding’s last two wins have been at 2400m at Caulfield and over 2500m at Flemington last Saturday to give Caulfield co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace confidence that the gelding can win a decent staying race in the spring.

Tooradin holds nominations for the $755,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 2, the $5.150 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 16 and the $7.630 million Melbourne Cup on November 2.

After originally standing at Swettenham Stud, Americain now resides as Colleen and Kevin Bamford’s Daisy Hill Thoroughbred Farm, where he served eight mares last year and ten the season before.

With prize money of $358,650, Tooradin is quickly closing in on Americain’s biggest price earner and his only stakes winner, Eperdument, which won the Group 3 SAJC Lord Reims Stakes and has $382,870 in prizemoney from 49 starts.

Tooradin’s dam Socialize (Iffraaj x High Tea) has had an interesting journey in racing, having been bred by Merrivale Farm’s Jen Fowler at Gooram.

Jen bought High Chaparral mare High Tea (NZ) in New Zealand and put her to Iffraaj, where the resultant foal (Socialize NZ) was sold as a yearling in New Zealand where she was bought by Western Australian bloodstock agent John Chalmers for $10,000.

Socialize was transported to Australia and had one start at Bunbury, where she beat home four runners in a 15 horse three-year-old maiden. She was then bought by Balius for $8,000 at the Inglis March Thoroughbred Sale.

Socialize had seven starts for Pakenham trainer Cameron Templeton and ran third first-up and soon ran another third before breaking her maiden status at Moe over 2050m. The mare was retired after another three starts and produced Tooradin as her first foal.

And Jen said that while High Tea remained in New Zealand, she also had foals by Jimmy Choux and Stravinsky. Brought back to Australia by Jen, she has had another five foals.

“She has just actually had a magnificent Alabama Express colt,” Jen said. “She is a pretty fabulous mare.”

Jacqui Sushames said it was exciting to see the horse they’d bred from a mare they raced win at Flemington.

She said they have a breeding right to Americain and believed with Socialize (NZ) being from an older, tough New Zealand staying family that the mating would suit their plan to breed a stayer.

“To us, it was a fairly obvious choice as the dye hadn’t been cast on him (Americain),” Jacqui said.

“To be honest, when we sold the colt, they had just gone off him as a whole.

“But we wanted to breed a stayer, and that’s what we were aiming to do and it kind of looks like we have somewhat achieved that, which is awesome.”

Socialize was covered by another staying stallion last week, Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy x Stage Magic).

“She is a pretty small mare, but gee, she throws me a good horse every year,” Jacqui said.

“Honestly, she doesn’t fail, which is amazing.”

And Jacqui admits the $65,000 paid by the Ryan team for a weanling by Americain that year was an extremely good price and was significantly more than what they were hoping to get because of the staying pedigree.

“He was always a lovely type and very correct, and when we went to the sales, we thought it would be nice if we could get $25,000 for that colt, even though he was very nice,” she said.

“But their team saw something in him, and it’s just lovely when you horse rewards someone who has put their support behind the farm. It’s a good result for everyone.

“It was a huge result for us because we were just putting our toe in the water to breed more commercial horses and with a pedigree being by Americain and out of a mare that had won over 2000m at Moe, you are sort of thinking that most people won’t be thinking it’s the hottest thing in the sale.

“Staying pedigree on a staying pedigree just doesn’t tend to sell here,’’

Jacqui said she could understand why people want their up and running two-year-olds when compared to Tooradin, who is finally getting the runs on the board as a five-year-old.

She said a lot of time, effort and patience had gone into getting Tooradin into the position he’s in today, and it’s a credit to his owners and trainers.

And she believes that on pedigree, Tooradin will probably be a better horse in 12 months as on his breeding, he should be at his best as a six or seven-year-old.

Socialize’s next foal after Tooradin was a colt by No Nay Never (USA), which is now a four-year-old gelding named Gluck Runner, which was trialled last week but is yet to race in Hong Kong. It was sold for $90,000 at Melbourne Premier’s 2019 yearling sale.

The third foal, named Goodifwecould, is an unraced three-year-old gelding by Cable Bay which is trained by Allan and Jason Williams at Cranbourne. It is owned by prominent Hong Kong-based Price Bloodstock. The gelding sold for $80,000 at last year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

Caulfield trainer John Moloney paid $160,000 for Socialize’s fourth foal, a filly by Vancouver, at this year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, but Balius has retained 50 per cent.

Being the first filly out Socialize, Jacqui said they were keen to retain a significant share of her with the possibility of eventually breeding from her if she could emulate Tooradin’s racetrack feats.

And Socialize’s Brazen Beau colt will go through Melbourne Premier next year.

Jacqui said they’d discussed sending Socialize back to Americain even though he wasn’t high in the popularity stakes.

“If a horse can run, that’s what it is about, and it’s not about popularity,” she said.

“I am not going to be too harsh about the stallion, especially with the way Tooradin was able to tough it out on Saturday.”

Tooradin was in the first draft of weanlings offered by Balius, and they were prepped by Springmount.

Daisy Hill Thoroughbred’s Colleen Bamford said they were only getting a trickle of broodmares to Americain (Dynaformer x America), and in the two seasons that they’ve stood him, he had ten coverings last season and eight the previous year.

“The breeders tend to want the sprinting stallions these days,” she said.

“There were some breeding rights sold in him in the early days, so we get a few of them, and we get a few outsiders.

“His strike rate isn’t too bad, and they all take a little bit of time. Unfortunately, in this day and age, people aren’t willing to wait.

“He looks magnificent and is in great nick, and it’s a shame we haven’t got a few more mares booked to him.”

Colleen said that as Americain is no longer a dual hemisphere horse, he has settled right down.

“He is a lovely horse, and he got a chance early, but I think a lot of his horses were pushed too hard too early because the incentives are there for two-year-olds,” she said.

Colleen and her husband are currently racing a four-year-old by Americain, out of Sunnyvale, which they bred, named Silicon Valley. The gelding has had seven starts for two wins – one over 2000m and the other at 2150m.

“We have given him time, and Dave Eustace loves him,” Colleen said.

“But he is a huge horse. He is back at work and is out of my favourite mare, and I just kept him for myself, and it’s a bit of fun, and Dave wants to jump him, and he is already qualified. I said not yet.”

The Maher and Eustace training team also have other American progeny in their stables, including gelding Chaska and fillies Forliah and Michante, which are all talented and out of the mare Sioux Seas Angel.

And Daisy Hill Thoroughbred’s stud manager Shane Freeman is hoping that Americain can get back to serving around 50 mares this season.

“We have a lot of enquiries this year because he is constantly getting winners,” he said.

“Tooradin might be the big one I’ve been waiting for.

“Americain has got a great strike rate, and you can’t go wrong there.”

Freeman said Americain’s fee for this season, his third at Daisy Hill, is $4400.

Asked about the possibility of a Cup run, Ciaron Maher said: “You never know. Now we’ll look at raising the bar, and whether it is a Bart Cummings or something like that, we’ll see if we can sneak into a Cup.

“All races are on the table from him. He generally likes his runs spaced a little. He did back up after two weeks this time, but his demeanour was a bit more casual, so I think he does enjoy that extra week.”

Winning jockey Damian Lane was asked whether Tooradin had Group staying potential.

“He’s got all the qualities,” Lane said in his postrace interview.

“The Maher-Eustace stable is so good at it, and he’s got the right attitude. He’s relaxed and quickens up when you need him.”

Sirileo Miss ridden by Craig Williams wins the Ladbrokes Easy Form Handicap at Ladbrokes Park Hillside Racecourse on September 08, 2021 in Springvale, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Two wins in two days from a filly and a mare out of a broodmare bought for $75,000 is giving Miranda Park’s Gary O’Meara plenty of hope for a colt from the same mare that will be offered at next year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

The broodmare – She’s Sirius (Galileo x Canicula) – produced Sirileo Miss (Pride of Dubai) at Sandown last week for a first-up win over 1300m, while Notions (Press Statement) won over 1600m at Hawkesbury the following day.

Sirileo Miss, already Group 3 placed, is trained at Warrnambool by Symon Wilde, while Notions is in the care of Richard and Michael Freeman at Rosehill.

“She has done a good job, and we are very happy with her,” O’Meara said of She’s Sirius.

“The Pride of Dubai is the first one we’ve had out of her, which is Sirileo Miss, and the next one was by Press Statement, which is Notions.

“She then had a Divine Prophet, which is now a two-year-old called She is Divine, and she is with Symon Wilde, and we have a yearling colt by Merchant Navy which is going to go to the Premier Sale.

“He is very similar to the mare and is a chestnut with a baldy face. Her first foal was like that too, a horse called Coys (Dylan Thomas), and he won six in Sydney and was quite a good horse.”

The first seven out of the mare – the first two were colts, and the next five were fillies – have all won, which puts a bit of pressure on the Merchant Navy colt.

“Those all got to the track, and all won multiple races,” O’Meara said.

“We gave her a year off after the Merchant Navy colt was born as it was getting quite late and is being covered by King’s Legacy probably next week.’’

He said the Galileo factor was a big appeal when they decided to buy. She’s Sirius as she is out of a Rory’s Jester mare, which provides a good blend of speed and stamina.

“She herself was a useful racehorse and just a nice type of mare,” O’Meara said.

The credit for buying She’s Sirius, who was in foal to Pride of Dubai, goes to O’Meara’s son Tom who worked as a diesel mechanic.

“Actually, it was my son Tom who bought the mare,” O’Meara said

“Tom is a diesel mechanic, and a bit over five years ago, he came back and has been working with us at Miranda Park and is now a partner in the business with us.

“This had been the very first sale that Tom had been to by himself and bought the mare and paid $75,000 for her, and it was a bit of a spend for his first crack at it.

“But I think we should be sending him to the sales more often.”

O’Meara said his son had a good eye for a horse and put a lot of time in studying the catalogue, and when the mare measured up physically after he inspected her, they were happy to spend that sort of money to purchase her.

Being in foal obviously cushioned the cost of the mare, but O’Meara admits they were a little bit disappointed at the time that the Pride of Dubai filly only made $60,000.

“She was a lovely type of weanling, but she is just growing and growing into quite a tall yearling, and I think that put some people off, O’Meara said.

“But when Symon Wilde bought her, we sort of thought our best way of capitalising on a nice filly we bred was to stay in her.

“We took a share, and my brother Shane took a share in her, and we are very pleased that we did.”

O’Meara said the filly needs to settle a bit more pre-race, and while her behaviour away from the track is fine, she gets a bit hot and stirred up in the mounting yard.

“Once she overcomes that, I think it will help her achieve her maximum potential in the races, and it probably cost her a bit in the Australasian Oaks when she was only beaten 1.2 lengths (she finished five of 16),” he said.

“She got very hot in the mounting yard and going out onto the track and had burnt up a lot of energy by the time she got into the race but was still good enough to finish very close to them.”

While it was a very strong field at Sandown last week, the odds of $5.50 seemed generous given that the filly had previously won both of her first-up races.

“With her first-up record being impeccable, it gave us a bit of confidence,” he said.

“Craig Williams, a good barrier and it all panned out beautifully. Craig gave her a perfect ride, and when the gap opened and when she made run at the top of the straight, Mick Price and Michael Kent’s horse Cambourne went past her to take the lead, and I thought we might have been in a bit of strife then.

“But she really dug in and was very determined and strong to the line.”

O’Meara said if everything goes to plan, Sirileo Miss might finish up in the Matriarch Stakes (2000m), but Williams believes the filly would be better kept to around the 1400m distances.

“But I’m sure Symon will work that out and send her to where she has the best chance, but I think the run the other day and the ability she has shown, I think it’s pretty likely that she’ll measure up to a black-type race.

“I can’t see why she can’t get up to 2000m again.”

Already with three wins and three minor placings, from seven starts, O’Meara said the filly would be a handy breeding proposition once she finished racing, and if possible, it would be good to get hold of her for his broodmare band.

But he said it would probably be a double-edged sword because the way she was heading, she’d likely become a valuable breeding proposition down the track.

“But we still own the two-year-old half-sister, She’s Divine, which is also with Symon Wilde, so at least we have her from the mare going forward,” he said.

“Even if the group racing her were interested in having her back here, we’d be interested in being part of her breeding future.

“But we’ll just see what happens.”

The ownership group was put together by Wilde, and they have all become good friends with O’Meara.

O’Meara said Notions was always a beautiful filly.

“She was standout as a big, strong athletic filly as a young horse and a very impressive yearling.

“I guess Press Statement at the time wasn’t the flavour of the month but having said that, she was a very attractive filly and had her share of admirers. She was very good in terms of x-rays and scopes but there again, similar to Sirileo Miss, and we were expecting her to make more than what she did.

“She made $70,000 and was certainly a good type all the way through.”

O’Meara said that with Sirileo Miss and Notions performing well on the track, along with the She’s Sirius’ other five progeny, he was hoping that the Merchant Navy colt could have some value-added to him.

But he said a bit would depend on whether Merchant Navy can come up with some winners before next year’s sale.

“You would be expecting that he would be quite popular at the sales,” O’Meara said.

Notions holds nominations for next month’s three-year-old fillies races, the Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick and the Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.

With She’s Sirius already producing the stakes-placed Sophia’s Choice (second in the listed Springtime Stakes at Flemington) and Sirileo Miss (third in the Group 3 Auraria Stakes), O’Meara said if Notions could get black type and Sirileo Miss could step up and win a stakes race, then it would also give the Merchant Navy colt a huge boost.

O’Meara said they are breeding from 12 of their own broodmares who are foaling to an assortment of stallions, including Toronado, Impending, Street Boss, and Turffontein, which Miranda Park has a share in.

The Impending mating with Impinge (Generous x Imco Resource) has produced a recently born colt, while Corcovado (Churchill Downs x Lominata) had a Turffontein colt which is a three quarter to filly Atomic Lokade which has won 10 races.

The most commercial broodmare at Miranda Park is the recently purchased Supriym Story (General Nediym x Grand Story) which O’Meara paid $70,000 for at the red hot Gold Coast National Broodmare sale earlier this year.

Supriym Story is the dam of 2015 Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) winner Lasqueti Spirit (Beneteau).

“We have just been trying to upgrade the mares all the way through and have them going to these better stallions to get a decent draft into Melbourne Premier,” O’Meara said.

“Supriym Story was in foal to Headwater when we bought her. I wouldn’t call her a bargain, but she stood out as a fair price considering what they were going for.”

O’Meara is also buoyed with Coolmore paying $850,000 for Lasqueti Spirit’s first foal, a colt by Pierro, at this year’s Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

Now a two-year-old, the colt is unnamed, and the mare has since been to Dundeel (NZ) and Deep Field.

“So it’s a chance for the family to kick on,” he said.

O’Meara said they would accommodate 60 outside mares this breeding season.

“They come here to foal down and then be walked on studs around Victoria and New South Wales,” he said. “It keeps us busy.”

O’Meara said they breed and prepare their own yearlings with the focus on Melbourne Premier.



Incentivise ridden by Brett Prebble returns to the mounting yard after winning the PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on September 11, 2021 in Flemington, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Rosemont Stud principal Anthony Mithen said he was unaware but excited that Shamus Award is shadowing his famous father Snitzel for the number of stakes winners at the same stage of their stallion careers.

“At the same point of his career in September 2013, with his fifth crop about to hit the track, Snitzel had 15 stakes winners, the identical amount as Shamus Award has produced to this point,” TDN reported this week.

“Snitzel did have more winners, 184 to 147, but Shamus Award has more Group 1 winner, with Incentivise his fourth after his win in Saturday’s Makybe Diva S. At this point of his career, Snitzel had one Group 1 winner.

“In fact, Shamus Award has produced more individual Group 1 winners – four – since the start of last season than any other Australian stallion, a measure of just how well he is tracking.”*

Mithen said Shamus Award had been fully booked for several weeks and will serve his biggest book of mares. He made his debut as a stallion in 2014 when he had 165 coverings.

He served 177 mares last season, and Mithen said the stallion would cover 200 this season.

“Isn’t he going well,” Mithen told TBV this week. “What will be interesting is that comparison to Snitzel. Everyone will be saying he is a gun stallion and has always been a gun stallion; well, it took him a little while for him to hit his straps and build some numbers that were elite.”

Mithen said it would be interesting to see whether Shamus Award’s progeny do train on and are not just “here one minute and gone the next sort of horses.”

“That might be a factor,” he said. “But look at Incentivise. He is a five-year-old and is just hitting his straps now.

“I suppose the train on factor might be quite relevant.”

Mithen said Shamus Award continued to show his versatility by producing all types of distance horses, which is highlighted by Swats That which will be high up in the markets for Friday week’s Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) and boom horse Incentivise, which is favourite in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

He said Snitzel isn’t known for being a prolific producer of distance horses but still managed to get the odd good one over a trip but nothing like Incentivise.

Rosemont Stud-bred Shamus Award’s Mr Quickie and remained in the ownership of the two-time Group 1 winner, which had the ultimate success in the Queensland Derby (2400m) and the Toorak Handicap (1600m).

Mithen said Shamus Award would get very chance to bring up the double century of mares at Rosemont.

He said they were getting mares from all over the place, and this week Shamus Award had covered the dam of Swear, Crossyourheart, an example of the quality of mare being sent to him.

“The stallion boys said they can already notice the difference in the quality and type of mare that is coming this year as opposed to his first two years with us,” Mithen said.

“His stats are really encouraging, and it shows what he is doing now based on not getting the best opportunity, whereas now he is going to get that best opportunity. The sky is the limit now.”

Shamus Award, a winner of the Cox Plate (2400m) and Australian Guineas (1600m), only served 84 mares the season before he was relocated from New South Wales to Rosemont.

Mithen believes the drop off as a result of the fierce competition he was facing and the breeder’s fascination for “new shiny toys.”

“Everyone loves a new shiny toy,” he said.

“Breeding, I suppose, used to be an art, and you used to match the stallion to your mare, and it didn’t matter about the new shiny toy.

“You would breed to that stallion because that’s what suited your mare, but people are looking to the commercial aspect so often.”

Mithen said that the third and fourth years of a stallion could become very tricky.

Rosemont will support Shamus Award with 22 of the stud’s own broodmares and a couple more that could soon be retired off the track.

Breeders who got into Shamus Award for $11,000 in his first season at Rosemont and $19,800 last year could be feeling quite smug, according to Mithen, with the stallion’s fee rising to $33,000 this season.

“Those at the $33,000 could be feeling quite smug because in the past couple of weeks, I reckon we would have knocked back 25 or 30 bookings,” he said.

“They were nice mares. Breeders are keen to write the cheque for $33,000 because they are still getting a bargain because his statistics measure up in a real sense with horses like Dundeel, Pierro, and So You Think. And they are all more than double is the fee.”

Asked what the chances of Shamus Award’s fee staying at $33,000, Mithen quickly said: “None.”

He said they set the fee before Incentivise, Duais and Media Award won Group 1 races this year.

“Since we set his fee at Easter, he has had three individual Group, 1 winners,” he said.

“If you have one, you are kicking yourself a little and thought you might have left a little bit on the table.”

Mithen said he wasn’t entirely shocked that Shamus Award’s numbers compare favourably with Snitzel at this same stage of his career but was a little surprised that he was better than him.

“God help him if he is the horse that Snitzel has been over a long period of time – wouldn’t that be nice,” Mithen said.

Interestingly, Snitzel stood at $33,000 in his first season at stud in 2006.

*Excerpts courtesy of TDNAus




Crystal Bound ridden by Jye McNeil wins the Cap D'Antibes Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on September 11, 2021 in Flemington, Australia. (George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos)

After failing to make a significant impact on the racetrack, Crystalised looks like making up for it in the breeding barn with her three-year-old filly by Not A Single Doubt, generating plenty of noise in her three starts.
Crystal Bound demanded plenty of attention on debut at Moonee Valley in March when she blitzed her rivals by six lengths over 1000m
Starting at $11, there was little hype before the race but plenty after it.
At just her second start, the filly – trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace – was beaten less than a length in the Group 3 Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m).
Back last Saturday, after a 21-week spell, Crystal Bound again raced handy to take out the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m) at Flemington.
After parting with $1.3 million for Crystalised (Zabeel x Gin Player) as a yearling, Noorilim Park Thoroughbreds at Arcadia offered Crystal Bound at the 2020 Gold Coast yearling sold and was snapped up for $400,000 by Cameron Stott and Caulfield trainer Ciaron Maher who didn’t have to look far to fill the ownership page.
Noorilim Park’s Peter and Glen Carrick retained a share, as did Scott Williams, who bred Crystalised.
“She was impressive but a little bit underdone coming into the race,” Glen Carrick said.
“But she got the job done for us.”
He said it was definitely good to still have Crystalised (Zabeel x Gin Player), which has now produced three foals for three winners.
“We have had Crystalised since we bought her as a yearling for big money ($1.3 million), and now it’s good to see her progeny doing it on the track,” he said.
“We bought her off Scott Williams in New Zealand, and he took her to the Sydney sales, and he stayed in her for a 25 per cent share, and he is still continuing to breed with us.
“And we both stayed in Crystal Bound. “We retained a leg in her.
“She was one of the better yearlings we bred, but we had to sell, but we wanted to stay in as well, and I think we made the right choice.”
Carrick said Crystal bound would head to either the Danehill Stakes or the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Caulfield against the fillies.
Crystalised has a filly by Impending, which will be either offered at next year’s Magic Million Gold Coast Yearling Sale or Melbourne Premier.
“She is clearly the best foal on the farm,” Carrick said.
“She is going to visit Farnan this week. It will be a close relation to Crystal Bound with the Not A Single Doubt line, so I think that works in the family.”
Crystalised slipped to the Autumn Sun after being served last October.
Carrick said they were mindful that they had to make the right stallion selection for Crystalised because of her size.
“You never know, that could have come out too big,” Carrick said of The Autumn Sun mating. She is a pretty big mare.”
With Crystalised being so big – she is pushing 17 hands; Carrick said it was important to match her with the right sized stallions.
“I think a few people thought she was going to throw a boat, but they didn’t say she was going to throw a fast boat, that’s for sure,” he said. “It’s a speed boat.”
Carrick said it was crucial with a big mare to make sure the stallion was the right size.
“You just hope it comes out perfect, and it did that time,” he said.
Carrick said that while it was tempting to retain Crystal Bound, it was also important to bring in funds to pay for all the costs.
Carrick said they had about 15 of their own broodmares and would foal down 90 for the season.
“It’s the busiest time of the year but the best time of the year,” he said.
He said they try to sell all of the foals they bred, which means they send their mares to what Carrick describes as the better stallions.
As well as Crystal Bound’s win, Crystal Dynasty (Tavistock), which is also out of Crystalised, won on Sunday at Donald.
The four-year-old mare is also trained by Maher/Eustace, while Stott and Noorilim Park Thoroughbreds are also in the big ownership group. Crystalised’s first foal, Queen of Ascot, is by Redoute’s Choice and is a Bairnsdale maiden winner that now races in South Australia.
“We also had a winner, Easy Single (Not A Single Doubt x Special Lover) at Swan Hill last Friday,” Carrick said.
The four-year-old was bred by Noorilim Park and purchased by Maher for $240,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Yearling Sale in 2019.
“We bred all three of those, and they are trained by Ciaron Maher, and he has done well for us,” Carrick said
Carrick said everything they breed is for sale – at the right price.
“We put a price on them, and if they sell, they sell,” he said.
“We usually put a fair price on them and don’t overprice them.”
Maher described Crystal Bound in his post-race interview as a very high-quality filly.
She’s got that beautiful big action,” he said.
“We took her to The Valley off one trial, and she obviously was very impressive the first time out.
“So we took a similar path this time around. She’s still a bit wintry in the coat, and that will really bring her on. That’s probably why she probably doesn’t look as refined as when they’ve been in work a bit longer.”
Maher said the “Sky’s the limit for her.”
Crystalised is a half-sister to Group 1 SAJC South Australian Derby and Group 1 Schweppes Oaks winner Zarita (Pentire), Group 2 winner Run Like The Wind (Pins) and Hong Kong sprinter/miler Joy And Fun (Cullen) which won 12 races.

Obfuscation ridden by Jordan Childs wins the Adroit Bendigo Maiden Plate at Bendigo Racecourse on September 03, 2021 in Bendigo, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

As Laurie and John McCarthy gradually wind down operations at their Greta West Stud, they both took pleasure in witnessing a horse they bred give Darley stallion Holler his first win.

Obfuscation was bred by the brothers from a mare they bred – Hai Lil (Churchill Downs x Smooth as Silk) – which they bought back after retiring.
It didn’t surprise Laurie that the three-year-old provided Holler with his first winner at Bendigo last week.

“He was always a nice horse,” McCarthy said.

“The form around him in that first start was pretty strong, I think.
“Even the way he did it after being wide and everything. He has gone to the line pretty well. It was nice.”

In what turned out to be a little bit in reverse, Greta West Stud sold Obfuscation through Bucklee Farm’s draft at the 2020 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale to Blake Ryan Racing for $90,000.

Later that year, Ryan Racing sold the two-year-old colt at the Inglis Ready to Race Sale for $50,000 to Caulfield trainer Mick Price who trains the now three-year-old gelding in partnership with Mick Kent Jnr.

After finishing third on debut at Bendigo last month, the gelding returned to the same track 26 days later, scoring a relatively easy but impressive victory over 1300m as the $2.10 favourite.

McCarthy said the victory was also significant as it gave his Group 1 winning sire Holler (Commands x Shouts) his first winner as a stallion.

Greta West Stud bred Obfuscation from their mare Hai Lil (Churchill Downs x Smooth As Silk), which they sold for $60,000 at the 2011 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale to Bendigo trainer Allen Browell who retired in 2019.

The McCarthy brothers bought the mare back after she was retired from the racetrack with six wins – four of those at city level.

“Obfuscation was a cheap horse,” Laurie said.

“Blake Ryan loved him, and he wanted to ready to run him. He went through at Sydney and didn’t run down too badly either, but he only made $50,000, and Mick Price bought him.

“If you were paying fifty for him and he is educated and ready to run, he is a cheap horse for Mick Price but a dear horse for Blake at ninety.”

After they bought Hai Lil back, her first foal to Fighting Sun was born dead, and the mare was sent back to the stallion which produced Hai Sun. The now four-year-old mare, trained by Mitch Freedman, has had five starts for a win at Caulfield and a second and a third.

Hai Lil’s foal after Obfuscation was a colt by Toronado, which Lindsay Park Racing paid $200,000 for at this year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

“He is named (Le Ferrari), and the Hayes’ really like him,” McCarthy said.
“She didn’t have one as she was late, but she is back in foal to Toronado. I bred two to Toronado in the first year and have bred to him every year so far.

“We got good money for a Toronado the year before and got $200,000 for a colt out of No Vanity.”

Hai Lil is booked to Darley’s Earthlight (Shamardal x Winters Moon) this breeding season.

“Earthlight was a terrific two-year-old and won five out of five,” McCarthy said.
“We tend to just stay in Victoria. I haven’t sent mares to the Hunter. I really wanted a proven horse, but proven horses are just too dear for me now.

“I was looking to spend around $20,000, but I ended settling on Earthlight, who I think is a high-quality horse. You would think he would have appeal.

“We are sending our other mare, No Vanity, to Hanseatic. He is 17 grand, and it’s not all about price, but there are not many horses under 20 grand to go to in Victoria, and then you jump up to 30-plus.”

McCarthy revealed that they are winding back their operations and last year was the first time in more than 40 years they did not stand a stallion at Greta West Stud, which is recognised as one of the oldest family-owned studs in Victoria.

Laurie and John’s father, Les and his wife Maureen established the stud in the 1960s.

Greta West Stud (Greta West)

McCarthy said that when he was at school, his father was standing Prince of Baden, which had Scamanda a winner of his first eight starts as a two-year-old and his first defeat was in the Golden Slipper and Staincross (GB).

“We had a stack of stallions, and Toy Pindarri was a terrific old horse that we had for years,” he said.

“But that era of the smaller breeders, that’s all gone.

“If it’s not going to make to a yearling sale somewhere, then no one wants to breed it. And those people who breed from themselves were our clients”.

“A lot of them are people who are in their seventies or eighties, and hence they don’t have the farm, and they don’t have the income and the horses to do it.

Times change and a lot of them take a five or 10 per cent in a syndicated horse, and that’s their exposure.”

Among Greta West Stud’s big roll call of stallions are two of their most recent sires – Master of Design and King of Prussia.

“Dad started standing stallions in the 1960s,” McCarthy said.

“I’ve been doing it for 40-odd years, and it’s time for a break, I reckon.

“We’ll keep one farm, and we’ll probably sell one farm.

“We are getting into our sixties, and there is no one to take it on, there are all different reasons, and it’s a good time to make a change, really. But we have had a really good couple of years.”

Greta West Stud comprises two farms, about a kilometre apart, and one is 280 acres and the other 300 acres.

He said the work doesn’t get any easier, and they have been foaling nothing under 50 mares “forever.”

“You are out there day and night, and it’s a year-round job, and once an upon a time you’d stand the stallions and nothing would go to a yearling sale, and the mares would come along, and you’d get the agistment and the service fee and out the gate,” McCarthy said.

“You would have horses all year round, but you wouldn’t do yearling sales, and they are now a thing of their own, and they never stop. You would get some downtime to a degree, and staff is harder to get, and everything is that much more commercial.”

McCarthy, 60, said his brother John, 61, wanted to stay on the older 280-acre farm where they grew up and sell the slightly bigger one which they have had for more than 35 years.

He said his father’s parents originally had the property around 1880 and 1890 when the Kelly Gang bushrangers roamed the area.

McCarthy said he bought a block of land in the older part of Geelong more than two years ago, and they built a new home, and it was only last Friday that he took possession of the keys to the house.

“Eventually, I’ll end up there,” he said.
“We’ll keep some of the mares.

“I have got three girls, and they are leaving and going off to uni and things like that, so it’s just a good time to make a change.”

McCarthy said that while he was sad about moving, he believes there will be plenty of positives with the move to Geelong with his wife Toni and their three daughters, Ella, Sophia and Ava.

Greta West Stud where the family have called home for decades (Greta West)

“We have had a lot of winners later, and that Free Of Debt which we bred won in Adelaide again the other day,” he said.

“We don’t have a large broodmare band and have only had half a dozen for quite a while, and we have cut it all back.

“We have had a couple of good years from our yearlings. It’s hard to get a horse by the right stallions, get them to x-ray and scope well and all those sorts of things.”

McCarthy said that if they stayed serious, money would have to be spent on the farm if they were to remain on a commercial basis, and they’d need to buy broodmares and already stopped with the stallions.

“As I said, there are a lot of things that say it’s a good time to have a change,” he said

McCarthy said his brother wouldn’t do much with the farm as it would be difficult without him receiving back-up.

“He doesn’t really have to do much, and you sort of think why put yourself through it, and some of them go forever until they finish, and then they drop off,” he said.

“We have worked pretty hard for a long time.

“He’ll run a few cattle and will probably have a few horses. Because we still have the farm, there is no reason why we can’t breed a few more foals and see what happens and how it works.

“We’ll just see how it goes as we go along.”