Tony Carter-Smith has left his mark on thousands of horses over more than three decades.
It’s fair to say that the talented horseman had established the best brand in the industry.

After 35 year of freeze branding horses, ranging from thoroughbreds to ponies, the 67-year-old decided the time was right to retire and will now concentrate on taking things a little bit quieter as he finds more time as a hobby racehorse trainer.

Carter-Smith said he quietly decided to retire and let Ross Hedwards, who had been working for him for several years, drift in and take over the business.

He said it wasn’t really a plan to retire, but it just happened.

“I’d been thinking about if for a while because I’d had a hip replacement, I’ve got one arm that is ordinary and it’s a physical job and I did the trotters for 35 years and I handed that over to Ross,” Carter-Smith said.

“Ross started doing my jobs at Sale and Hamilton and the faraway places and then I thought you retire when you’re 70 or 75 when you’re doing this job.

“If you were sitting behind a desk you could probably work until you’re 80, but that’s not the case.

“I’m financially okay and didn’t do it for that reason so I can’t even brand my own now as I don’t have any gear.”

Carter-Smith, known to every stud and breeder in the state, has never kept statistics on the number of horses he has branded, except for one year when he did 6000.

He suggests averaging out 5000 horses over his 35 year career that a staggering 175,000 horses would be in the vicinity of the total.

And for 35 years he was the sole brander of harness horses in Victoria and for a while he also ventured into South Australia.

When he first started he was doing around 4500 to 5000 harness horses a year, but the Standardbred horse population has dropped back to about 1300 or 1400.

“With the thoroughbreds, there used to be three of us doing it in Victoria, then it became two and then 20 years ago a friend of mine passed away (Dennis Burnett) and I got all his work,” he said.

“So for the last 20 years I have virtually done 95 per cent of it.”

Carter-Smith always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father Stuart and become a horse trainer and spent five years with Tommy Smith and also worked for Bart Cummings.

In a strange twist of events, a famous ring-in at Broken Hill in March of 1983 led to Carter-Smith taking up a career as a horse brander.

“My father had a pretty handy horse that won in town and he couldn’t keep it sound so he sold it and the mob that bought it snuck it up to Broken Hill and had a ring-in with it,” he said.

“Nordica had been trained by father, obviously not then, and the horse they ran it under up there was called Foden. They bought both horses and Foden went up there with picnic form and was obviously long odds and they put Nordica in and backed the hell out of it to even money or odds on and he bolted in.”

Carter-Smith said the bookies never paid out and immediately began yelling “ring-in.”
He said the crooks were jailed.

“I thought then they will bring in freeze branding and make everyone do it because back then you could fire brand and there were no microchips either,” Carter-Smith said.

“I just went to the trotting mob because I knew they were doing it (freeze branding) and I just wanted to learn and there just happened to be an opening for a horse catcher.

“I was lucky that I went there at the right time and started doing the freeze branding for them and I was doing it for 35 years.”

Carter-Smith said his father was a successful country trainer, but he always had other businesses and told him that if wanted to train to make sure he had something else as back up.

“But I did all the right things and went to work for TJ Smith and there is are shot of me riding Kingston Town but you wouldn’t think so now looking at me,” he said.

“I went overseas for a couple of years and worked in Saudi Arabia for 12 months and worked for a trainer in England in a jumping yard and then I went to a stud and broke in all the yearlings.

“So I did everything around racing thinking I was going to be a horse trainer but then I drifted into the branding and quite enjoyed it and it has set me up now.

“I have always trained a couple and even sold one to Singapore for a couple of hundred of thousand dollars.”

Blood And Sand with owners Tony Carter Smith and Robyn Masters after winning Peter Anthony Menswear SV Maiden Plate at Bendigo Racecourse on August 14, 2016 in Bendigo, Australia. (Brendan McCarthy/Racing Photos)

Carter-Smith said he has done everything with horses, including breaking in, as he attempted to work out how he’d make a quid out of horses because that’s all he knew.

He has had a crack at horse dentistry but hasn’t done it for 20 years, with the exception of his own horses.

When Carter-Smith first started branding the process was optional.

“You could fire brand, but I never ever did that and started straight away with the freeze branding,” he said.

“I took a punt and was right for once and thought they’d make it mandatory which they did. It took me a long time to build up the business and buy the gear and improve things.

“I was probably the first one to use one inch brands which most studs in Victoria use now. There was a lot of equipment when Ross came and bought the business off me but we are friends as well and he rings me most days.

“The transition was good and he has got all the gear and as I said I can’t even brand my own.”

The busiest time of Carter-Smith’s work was between November to early June but he’d also do other horses, including ponies warmbloods and quarter horses.

He said it had been a great job, although people can’t believe that he’d never been seriously hurt.

“I did get a lot of time off but I’d never bag the job and I’d always look back and say what a great job it was,” he said.

“When I started a lot of people in the thoroughbred industry were catching up and you’d go there and they’d say you might was well do the three-year-old, the two-year-old, the yearling and the foal.

“So that was pretty exciting for a few years. Now it’s pretty straight forward.”

And he said when he first started out branding a lot of people thought it was an easy gig so there were quite a few others doing it but after a couple of years it got down to virtually just him for a long time.

Carter-Smith said he likes to breed a few of his own on his beautiful 30 acre farm just outside of Kilmore and will probably agist a few more horses and perhaps do a bit of pre-training with the aid of his equine treadmill.

And he joked he’d take a couple of motivational pills and continue training a couple and while he said 10 years ago every horse he put a bridle on won, but lately they just lose.

During the past 12 months he has sacked seven of his horses and the last one standing is a two-year-old by Nostradamus that he plans to break-in soon after recovering from a paddock accident.

He hopes to pick up another one in his price range at the VOBIS Gold Sale.

“I will miss the people but I won’t miss going to Pakenham and Cranbourne every 10 days and going through the traffic,” Carter-Smith said.

“I have made a lot of friends and some people you only see once a year but you look forward to it.”

While he has branded countless champions such as Black Caviar, and plenty of slow ones as well, has seen generations of people – and horses – in his time.

And that’s what he’ll miss.

Madame Du Gast after winning the Eynesbury Golf Plate at Flemington Racecourse on January 21, 2022 in Flemington, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Quilly Park’s Richard Anderson admits it’s been a long process for the stallion De Gaulle to produce his first winner from only a handful of starters.

But he says the wait was and truly worth it when three-year-old filly Madame Du Gast won on debut in a 1000m maiden at Flemington on Friday.

Not only does Anderson part own De Gaulle, but he also owns the filly which he bred from his city winning mare Tremolo (Special Bond x Gabbiano).

“It was a relief, if you know what I mean,” Anderson said of the win.

“It’s four years of work. You go and buy a stallion on the belief that you can do something based on the broodmares you have and getting some advice from others.

“The win was the motivation that one needed to keep moving forward with the experience of holding a stallion.”

Anderson and John Pratt of Brooker Park in Gippsland are equal owners of the unraced seven-year-old De Gaulle (Exceed and Excel x Response).

De Gaulle won two trials and for Randwick trainers Peter and Paul Snowden but broke down with a tendon injury and was retired before getting to the races where it was planned to tackle the Golden Slipper.

The Victorian and Tasmanian manager of Magic Millions, Tim Brown, suggested to Pratt to buy De Gaulle as a stallion prospect based on his breeding.

Anderson and Pratt then got advice from breeding expert, the late Diane Neylon, who agreed they should buy the horse and then she drew up a list of broodmares that would suit De Gaulle’s pedigree.

“The results of Di’s influence will come to fruition in the coming years,” Anderson said.

“Tim Brown suggested to John Pratt to buy the stallion, and I said let’s buy him and then we spoke to Di who instantaneously said let’s do it and I’ll work with you.

“But Di passed away earlier last year.”

Anderson has heavily supported De Gaulle with his own band of broodmares and bought about eight on Di’s advice to match the stallion.

In the stallion’s first season when he stood at Pratt’s Brooker Park, he served 23 mares and eight of those belonged to Anderson, while Pratt also supported the stallion with his own mares.

When the stallion moved to Bombora Downs in his second season, six of his book of 26 also came from Quilly Park at Pearcedale.

“In the third year, I think it was another eight (from 39 mares) and then COVID came in we just cut back a little bit because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Anderson said.
De Gaulle served 14 mares in 2020 and nine last year.

“We’ll probably only have two or three (foals) this year because the mares didn’t get in foal due to the season,” Anderson said.

“You can only carry so many when you have a fixed budget.

“I can afford to do eight, and I have to race the first crop being by an unraced stallion, and everyone wants to see them race before they make a decision.

“No seeing what she has done, if we can get some better mares we will get some better results.”

Anderson has a total of 16 broodmares.

Breeding from Madame Du Gast’s dam Tremolo hasn’t been easy. Her first foal by Nadeem wasn’t a success and then she missed to Street Boss, slipped to Zoffany, her foal by Street Boss died after birth, and then she missed to Master of Design, Street Boss and Helmet before producing Madame Du Gast.

“She has had two lovely fillies to De Gaulle but didn’t get in foal to him this year,” Anderson said.

“But it’s great that she threw me a lovely animal as she was a lovely animal herself.”

Anderson admits that he went crazy in the celebrations when the filly crossed the line, but it was more so the excitement of De Gaulle producing his first winner.

“I didn’t know how to handle it because it was like it happened and it happened in town – wow – and it was just amazing.

“It’s a long, long, long road to travel and it’s a road well-travelled but I’ve enjoyed the scenery along the way.”

Anderson said De Gaulle’s first foal, now the three-year-old gelding Aeroport, which he bred from Varone (Holy Roman Emperor x Sorren Tessa), started his racing career in South Australia and has since been sold to Macau where ran second at his second start at 1500m for trainer Choi Chun Wai.

And another Quilly Park bred horse Eight Ball (Stryker x Barabba Star) won at Singapore on Saturday after being sold by Anderson, who retained a 25 per cent share, for $150,000 the 2019 Inglis Ready 2 Run Sale.

Another of Anderson’s De Gaulle homebreds is Rue Lepic, out of Great Cross (Cape Cross x Ilustria). The three-year-old filly has raced six times and her best result so far was a third at her last start and she races again at Kilmore this week.

Trepardoux (Eurouble) is a De Gaulle three-year-old in the care of Eric Musgrove and Anderson says the gelding shapes as a 2000m-plus horse.

And the spectacular looking Sapphire Sioux (Rubyone), a three-year-old filly with blue eyes and a white face, will make her debut for trainer Greg Eurell at Cranbourne this week and hopefully give Anderson and De Gaulle another winner.

“I’ve got some for sale at the VOBIS Gold Sale,” Anderson said. “The full sister to Madame Du Gast is in Melbourne Premier this year.

“I have got one colt that we’ve decided to keep because I think he could be a two-year-old and I’d just like to have him under our brand, making sure if he is not, we don’t hurt him.

“He is out Suzy Smart (Smart Strike x Minicolony) and she was a Group 2 winning mare from America who we bought under the specific guidance of Diane Neylon.

“It’s coming along, but it’s getting there slowly by surely. It’s just great for the stallion to get a winner and there is another one coming up called Bonjour De Gaulle (Plan The Peace) that is Mystyko’s half-brother and he is doing things that Mystyko (a stakes winner by Sakhee’s Secret) wasn’t doing at his age so that’s exciting.”

With just five of his progeny to have raced so far, De Gaulle has produced a winner, a second placegetter and had two thirds.”

With De Gaulle’s dam, dual Group 1 winner Response (Charge Forward x Live It Up) producing 2018 Golden Slipper winner Estijaab (Snitzel), Anderson said they would love to attract some more mares to the stallion.

Response’s first foal was by Fastnet Rock and raced as After Call, with the filly winning two races. De Gaulle and then Estijaab, a $1.7 million dollar yearling filly, followed.

Peter Moody paid $350,000 for Response’s fourth foal, a filly named Medic, also by Snitzel, and the five year-old was retired to stud last year and sent to Capitalist after managing two thirds from six starts.

Other progeny out of Response included the four-year-old mare Snappy Reply (Snitzel) which was a $575,000 purchase and three-year-old Snitzel colt Remarque, a winner and Group 2 placed.

“Having an unraced stallion we are probably playing off the family,” Anderson admitted.

“We bought him before Estijaab had run and then you’ve got Remarque which is competing in the Golden Slipper, and he is going to have to try to win a Group race because I think Arrowfield own him now.

“There is something in the family and based on De Gaulle not having a run we’ll be on their coattails for a while until he can stand on his own.”

Anderson said De Gaulle had an amazing temperament and demeanour for a stallion.

He said De Gaulle’s foals are just so affable to humans and are willing to work to please you.

“They are great doers and not one here has been anything but an angel,” Anderson said.

“Even the clients that have put mares to him, ring and just go it’s amazing what they are like.

“That might be a biased opinion based on the owner, but at the end of the day there is a common trait that they are all willing to work and they are happy to work with us and then let them show what they’ve got on the track.”

At this stage, Anderson said they were looking at “throwing the filly in the deep end” on Blue Diamond Prelude day at Caulfield next month in an 1100m Group race.

She was originally aimed for last year’s Blue Diamond, but wasn’t ready, and Anderson said it was a case of chasing dollars.

Anderson said Cranbourne trainer Trevor Rogers, who also trained Madame Du Gast’s dam Tremolo, had done an amazing job with the filly.

Anderson said Bombora Down’s Christoph Bruechert had also done an amazing job with the stallion which stands alongside Dandino, War Horse, Jungle Ruler and Frankel My Dear.

Bruechert said it was a great way to break a maiden with a win in town to give the stallion his first victory.

He admitted it had been terribly difficult to get mares to De Gaulle and said the days of getting support from owner breeders for those types of stallions are long gone.

“The horse has had quite a bit of support from his owners, but had another dozen or 15 outside mares from the first few years in the time I’ve had him,” he said.

But Bruechert said his phone had already begun to ring with enquiries from potential breeders inquiring about sending a broodmare to Du Gaulle.

He said he was pleasantly surprised with the quality of Du Gaulle’s first foals and had continued to be impressed.

“From all accounts, he could run and had ability and is obviously pretty well related,” Bruechert said.

He said it was hard to produce results from small numbers of broodmares, but there’s all a sudden a good story if the winners come.

The Victorian Alliance went to $500,000 for this son of Written Tycoon from Musk Creek's draft. He is out of Apologynotaccepted (Magic Millions)

The Victorian Alliance was again active on day four of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, pouncing for Musk Creek Farm’s colt by superstar sire Written Tycoon for $500,000.

The brown colt is the second foal out of Stakes placed mare Apologynotaccepted.
The Victorian Alliance exclusively target colts they have earmarked as future stallion prospects, and this precocious type fit the bill perfectly, according to Musk Creek’s Proprietor, David Kobritz.

“It was a very exciting result. We purchased the mare at The Chairman’s sale in Sydney. Craig Rounsfell of Boomer Bloodstock pointed her out, and she has an excellent pedigree. He recommended sending her to Written Tycoon, which is the same cross as Capitalist.

“This colt has just blossomed. As Spring came along and preparation began, he just got better and better. He is a very athletic, great moving, medium-sized Written Tycoon colt. He would have been out (of his box) nearly 200 times,” David Kobritz said.

As an owner, Kobritz has tasted success in both the Melbourne Cup (Subzero) and the Golden Slipper (Danzero) and has enjoyed Group 1 glory as a breeder courtesy of Epsom Handicap winner Rock Kingdom. They say success breeds success, and that is certainly the case with Musk Creek, who achieved a 100 per cent clearance rate for the sale.

Ciaron Maher Racing was one of the biggest buyers on the coast last week, and they swooped for another lot offered by Musk Creek. Their Street Boss colt (out of Notre Dame) will join the stable of Victoria’s leading trainers, who paid $260,000 for Lot 326.

Musk Creek had earlier sold their Maurice colt (out of Our Matilda) to Dodmark Thoroughbreds for $220,000, before Ballarat-based trainer Matt Cumani moved for Musk Creek’s filly by Widden Stud’s first season sire Written By, paying $120,000 to secure Lot 786.

That completed an outstanding Book One for Musk Creek, with Kobritz delighted with the farm’s sales.

David Kobritz said, “We had solid results with the Street Boss colt, who is going to Ciaron Maher and the Maurice colt, who is going to Gai Waterhouse, and they exceeded our budgets, and we are thrilled.”

“We had a small draft this year, and that is partly because we have been upgrading our mares, and we are working on building up the draft next year.”
“Next year, we will see some of the yearlings of those new mares in the ring; we did see the dams of the Written Tycoon and Street Boss colt represented at the Coast as some of our new mares.”

“I would like to thank the team at the farm and Scott Williamson, who was at the Gold Coast. I want to thank Craig Rounsefell of Boomer Bloodstock who has been selecting mares for us,” David said.

“It is all about quality going forward rather than quantity, and that is what we are concentrating on at Musk Creek Farm.”

Swettenham stud sire Toronado (Swettenham Stud)

Toronado scored a big win for Swettenham Stud on day four of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, with Lots 668 and 833 both selling for $400,000 each.

Lot 668 was a handsome brown colt out of the Sepoy mare Vigilance, who won four of her eight career starts and is from the same family as Stakes winners French Bid and Nancress.

Toronado, who currently stands at Swettenham for a service fee of $45,000, has enjoyed standout success in recent seasons with his progeny having amassed multiple Stakes wins – including Team Hawkes’ Group 1 champion Masked Crusader.

His four purchased yearlings this week have fetched just under $1.3 million, with the big-spending China Horse Club / Newgate Bloodstock / Starlight partnership very keen to secure a piece of the action when they outbid their rivals for Lot 668.

Later in the day, Three Bridges Thoroughbreds (as agent) sold another Toronado colt for $400,000, with A List Stud – who have been big supporters of the stallion – eventually winning the bidding war.

Lot 833, a son of Swettenham sire, Toronado, sells for $400,000 from the draft of Three Bridges.

“For Toronado to average more than $300,000 from his four yearlings sold is a great result for the farm,” said Sam Matthews, Swettenham’s Sales and Nominations Manager.

“We only have a select few at the Magic Millions as most will be going to the sale in Melbourne, and for him to average $300,000 from what at the time was only a $25,000 service fee is enormous.

“Toronado has established himself as an elite stallion thanks to his consistency, you know you’re in pretty safe hands when you buy one of his progeny. He stamps them so well and they’re all good-looking, much like he is. Good-looking horses that can run and get up and going early are hard to find, so it’s a very appealing combination.”

The first lady of Australian racing will put the polish on another Toronado colt after Gai Waterhouse and her training partner Adrian Bott paid $375,000 in partnership with Kestrel Thoroughbreds for Lot 273.

The bay colt out is the second foal out of Miss Softhands (by Bel Esprit), who won five races over sprint distances.

Simon Zahra Racing snapped up the second Toronado yearling to go through the ring (Lot 493), a bay filly out of Segenhoe Valley, for $150,000. This is Segenhoe Valley’s second foal by Toronado with her first, Shelby Cobra, exploding onto the scene with a devastating win in the Listed Springtime Stakes at Flemington in 2020.

Rubick, who is standing in his second season at Swettenham for a service fee of $27,500, has also proved very popular this week with all 10 of his lots being sold for six figure sums so far.

The highest price was raised by his colt out of Stars are Out, with Annabel Neasham and her Bloodstock Manager Brian McGuire forking out $270,000 for Lot 560.

“To see Rubick so well represented and well received alongside Toronado is extremely satisfying,” said Matthews.

“We were pretty confident they would sell well in the build-up to the sale, but you still get nervous before they go through the sale ring so to come out of the other side with some great results is a big relief.

“Annabel has had some success with Rubick’s progeny, so it was great to see her continue the association and we’re delighted he’s going to find a very happy home, as are all his yearlings.”

Lot 436 of Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm's draft sold for $1.1 million at Magic Millions.

Lauriston Thoroughbred’s Not a Single Doubt colt held a special place in the hearts of everyone at the farm even before he was sold for $1.1 million on the second day of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

In what was a record price tag for James O’Brien’s Corinella farm, the full-brother to Gai Waterhouse’s Stakes-placed filly Pantonario and the Stakes-placed Legend of Condor, was knocked down for $1.1million to the leviathan Coolmore Australia operation.

The family of the colt have proved to have successful results in the ring. Legend of Condor realised $520,000 at the 2017 Melbourne Premier sale – until today, this was the highest priced horse, Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm had sold.

After a business decision related to COVID, Lauriston sold their weanlings at the 2020 Australian Weanling sale, where Pantonario was purchased for $280,000 by Suman Hedge Bloodstock.

The Gai Waterhouse trained Pantonario was reoffered by Silverdale Farm at the 2021 Magic Millions Yearling sale, where the filly made $750,000 when knocked down to Gai.

Tom Magnier & Co. will now follow the same path they trod with their Group 1-winning colt Home Affairs and send him to Australia’s leading trainer, Chris Waller, giving the future stallion prospect the best possible chance of racetrack success.

If the headline-grabbing price wasn’t newsworthy enough the colt’s back-story will only pique further interest as, despite the best efforts of everyone at the farm, sadly his dam Rhodamine passed away due to complications arising from the birth.

Fortunately, the quick-thinking team at Lauriston called on their years of experience and, when Rhodamine’s paddock mate Gold Edition gave birth to a foal shortly afterwards, they placed her placenta on the orphaned colt.

Champion mare Gold Edition with the two colts (Lauriston)

Believing she had given birth to not one but two colts, Gold Edition nurtured the orphan as if he were her own, raising the pair as twins and effectively ensuring the farm a million-dollar payday 12 months down the line.

Gold Edition is dear to those at Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm, as she was one of the first horses the Corinella based team owned.

“We’re obviously over the moon with the sale price,” said O’Brien.

“It’s by far the biggest result our farm has ever had and is testament to the hard work and dedication of all our staff. We’ve got a wonderful group of people, and this is a great result for all of them.

“Our astute team acted fast and thought on their feet when Rhodamine unfortunately couldn’t be saved, then Gold Edition did an amazing job with the orphan and the two colts basically grew up as twins.

“Gold Edition has always had a special place in our hearts anyway, she was the fastest three-year-old of her time and since joining us has done an outstanding job for us as a broodmare.”

Magnier was relieved to outbid other keen buyers on the colt, saying: “There were a few horses the team landed on this week, and we were pretty excited to get this one.

“James O’Brien and his team do a great job of producing quality horses, we went and inspected him on the farm and were very impressed with what we saw. He’s really precocious and we think he’ll be up and going early, which is exactly what we’re looking for.”

With their other two colts, Lot 83 (Lonhro x Gold Edition) and 167 (Snitzel x Just Our Girl), fetching $150,000 and $220,000 respectively, Lauriston’s three yearlings sold for just under $1.5 million – an outstanding result for O’Brien and his tight-knit team, led by farm manager Tamara Kemp.

Yulong's Written Tycoon is having a stellar run at the Magic Millions Gold Coast sale (Yulong)

Written Tycoon enjoyed another sensational day at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale, with his eight yearlings selling for just under $3.5 million.

The progeny of Yulong’s superstar stallion were in high demand throughout another action-packed day in Bundall, with Lot 583 – a filly out of Stakes-placed mare Supara – knocked down for $800,000.

The buyer was none other than David Ellis of Te Akau Racing fame, who seems certain to take the bay filly – who is both VOBIS nominated and VOBIS Sires eligible – back to New Zealand with him.

The China Horse Club / Newgate Bloodstock / Trilogy Racing partnership have been amongst the biggest spenders so far this week and the powerful trio put their hand up for another Written Tycoon, paying $775,000 for Lot 536, an athletic colt out of Slumber Party.

Not to be outdone, renowned bloodstock supremo James Harron paid $750,000 for an equally striking Written Tycoon colt, whose dam Rose Ahead was producing her first foal.

Other notable Written Tycoons included a handsome colt out of Ready to Rule, sold to Bennett Racing for $300,000; and a well-built colt out of Secret Liaison, knocked down for $375,000 to George Moore Bloodstock.

Liam Howley heads home with this stunning STREET BOSS colt, sold by Sullivan Bloodstock (Facebook)

With her first draft of yearlings selling very well at the Magic Millions this week, Sherah Sullivan has no regrets about going it alone and establishing Sullivan Bloodstock last year.

Having overseen the day-to-day running of Noorilim Park Thoroughbreds for seven years, Sullivan is enjoying the challenge of going solo and setting up her own boutique farm in Kialla East.

Sherah presented her first draft of weanlings at the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale last May. Fast forward eight months, and Sullivan is back on the Gold Coast with six well-bred yearlings which have attracted plenty of interest since inspections started last week.

That early interest gave Sullivan confidence that her draft would be in high demand, and so it has proved with the first three lots selling for a combined $540,000.

“We opened with a great result, we pinhooked the Smart Missile colt as a weanling for $22,000 and he sold for $140,000, so we were delighted with that outcome,” said Sullivan.

“That got us off to a great start and we’ve continued the momentum with our two Street Boss yearlings for $200,000 each. They were both home-bred so we were delighted to get such a good result for our clients. I think Street Boss’ service fee back then was around the $20,000 mark, so that was a very good return on investment.

“Lindsay Park loved the Smart Missile, so I’m really happy they’ll get the chance to train him. The Street Boss filly will go to Tony McEvoy, so she’ll join a great stable and the Street Boss colt will go to Liam Howley, which is another great result.”

Howley was effusive in his praise for the Street Boss colt, with the young horseman – who now trains at Kyneton – couldn’t believe his luck securing the striking chestnut, who is out of Mamasan.

“He’s an outstanding colt, so we couldn’t be happier to have him join our stables,” said Howley.

“I love Street Boss, we have a few of them in the stable and this bloke is typical of the breed. They’ve got plenty of speed about them, and I reckon this bloke is going to do well on the track with us.”

“It’s such a hot sale so I’m delighted to get him into the stable. He has a stunning head on him, is a great mover and he comes out of a ripper family, so there’s a lot to like about him.

“I can’t wait to get him home and get him into our colours, I’m sure he’s going to represent the stable with great pride in the future.”

Towards the end of day three, Sullivan Bloodstock’s fourth lot – a colt by Flying Artie out of Tennessee Tycoon – went through the ring and fetched $110,000 when knocked down to Wylie Dalziel and Peter Moody.

The bay colt was the first foal of Tennessee Tycoon (by Written Tycoon), whose half-sister Pergram Won the Listed Adelaide Stakes as a two-year-old for her trainer Mick Price.

Glentree Thoroughbreds went to $1,350,000 million for lot 590 at Magic Millions (Magic Millions)

Glentree Thoroughbreds splashed the cash late on day three of the Magic Millions Yearling Sale, shelling out $1.35 million for a Snitzel filly.

Glentree is situated in the heart of Victoria’s horse country south-west of Geelong, close to the scenic Otway Forest and with other famous farms such as Makybe and Rosemont nearby.

The boutique operation, owned by the Wilson family, pride themselves on their attention to detail and they did plenty of homework on Lot 590 before deciding to make their move.

The bay filly is a superb mover and comes from a highly desirable family, with her dam Sweet Sherry (by Bel Esprit) having won three Stakes races including the Group 2 Euclase Stake, beating Lindsay Park’s multiple Stakes-winning mare Fuhryk into second.

“We’ve had our eye on this filly from day one,” said the farm’s General Manager Luke Simpson.

“She was our number one target from the outset, her pedigree combined with her action and looks meant that she really ticked all the boxes as far as we were concerned.

“It’s been a super strong sale so we thought she might fall into the million dollar-plus price bracket, and that’s how it panned out.

“We’ve had a very successful breeding season, and she’ll be a great addition to our racing team with a view to one day joining our broodmare roster.”

The filly out of La Fluorescent sold to the Bennett Racing syndicate for $180,000. (Magic Millions)

Makybe Racing and Breeding unveiled their draft on day two of the Magic Millions, with a lovely Zoustar filly out of the farm’s broodmare La Fluorescent selling to the Bennett Racing syndicate for $180,000.

The chestnut filly is a half-sister to Oughton (More Than Ready x La Fluorescent), the talented Team Hawkes-trained colt who won at his second start at Sandown.

She will be sent to the stables of multiple Group 1-winning trainer Phillip Stokes, who also prepares the Bennett Racing-owned three-year-old Blazerro (Pierro x Blazing Snitzel), a close second two starts back in the Group 2 Neds Sandown Guineas.

Fluorescent is the half-sister to a Group 2 winner in Savvy Nature, and Jo Griffin – co-owner of Lime Country Thoroughbreds – was pleased to sell the filly on behalf of Makybe for a competitive price.

“I think it was a very shrewd purchase,” she said.

The filly out of La Fluorescent will be trained by Phil Stokes. (Magic Millions)

“Makybe meet the market on the day and she was a good buy for Bennett Racing, she’s probably a slightly lighter, racier filly than the previous fillies we’ve sold out of this mare so I think they’ve got a really good prospect on their hands.”

Ed Cummings was the buyer of the second Makybe-bred yearling to go through the sales ring, paying $50,000 for a Divine Prophet filly who is the half-sister to Group 3 winner Ellsberg.

Makybe will have a further four lots hoping to catch the eye of buyers this week, starting with a Shalaa colt (Lot 425) early on day three.

He will be swiftly followed into the ring by a Brave Smash x Summer Surf filly, who according to Griffin shares many of her sire’s traits.

“She’s the first foal out of a half-sister to Golden Slipper winner Farnan,” she said.

“Brave Smash came over from Japan and won two Group 1s, and was very much an Australian-style sprinter. This filly has thrown to the family, she’s very neat, sharp and tidy.”

Brave Smash is presenting his first crop of yearlings and the same goes for Showtime, who produced Lot 697. The chestnut colt out of Without Saying (by Sepoy) has already piqued the interest of several potential suitors, and Griffin believes he could be a contender for the inaugural edition of the $1 million race for two-year-olds which will debut on Magic Millions Raceday next year.

“Makybe bought a share in Showtime and they’ve sent him some really good mares to give him a kick-along,” she explained.

“He’s an attractive colt and has been well-received during the inspections, so there should be some interest in him when he goes through the ring.

“I’ve told a few people that I think he could be a good candidate for The Debut. He’s ‘eat, sleep, work, repeat’ so is a real professional already and could easily be ready to tackle a 900-metre race first up this time next year.”

The final yearling in Makybe’s draft is Lot 744, an Impeding colt who has made great strides in his time on Lime Country’s farm.

“This colt has probably been the biggest improver since he arrived, and I can really see that improvement continuing in the coming months,” said Griffin.

“We had an Impending filly who was sold to Ellerton-Zahra Racing for $180,000 last year, she was much the same as this boy in that she was a big improver so hopefully he can keep maturing.”

The Victorian Alliance went to $1.3 million to secure lot 375 at Magic Millions (Magic Millions)

The Victorian Alliance made a dramatic first foray late on day two of the Magic Millions, with Rosemont Stud Principal Anthony Mithen and his band of breeding brothers splashing out an eyepopping $1.3 million on a Zoustar colt.

Lot 375 had been at the top of the group’s wish-list, not least as the Zoustar colt they bought here last year – subsequently named Brereton in honour of Dermott Brereton, regarded as one of the greatest AFL players of his generation – has already gone some way towards repaying his purchase price by scoring a Stakes win in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington.

Rosemont Stud provide seed capital for the venture with a consortium of breeders joining to form the Victorian Alliance, which was officially established in the latter part of 2020.

The partnership specifically targets colts whose long-term value as stallions could make seemingly expensive purchases appear cheap, and Mithen is confident their latest acquisition – who will join Brereton in Peter Moody’s Pakenham stables – will go on to prove his worth both on and off the racetrack.

“He’s a ripping colt, he was really high on our shortlist and we’ve had some success with Zoustar colts already so it made a lot of sense to us,” he said.

“Everyone knows that Zoustar can get a precocious two-year-old, it’s a matter of getting a horse than can tick as many boxes as possible, and this bloke pretty much ticked them all.

“With the trainer, we went with the theory that ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’. Moods has already trained Brereton to a Group win so we’d be foolish not to stick to the same formula with this bloke.”

The Victorian Alliance team, in conjunction with Suman Hedge and David Redvers seem to only be heating up after securing the Zoustar colt on day two of the sale.

The team purchased six colts at last year’s Magic Millions for a combined total of $3.6 million.

Yulong's Written Tycoon is having a stellar run at the Magic Millions Gold Coast sale (Yulong)

Victorian stallions came to the fore on day two of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, with the progeny of Yulong sire Written Tycoon, Rosemont’s Shamus Award and Swettenham Stud’s now resident stallion Rubick fetching high prices.

The successful Darby Racing syndicate went to $240,000 for Lot 259, a striking chestnut colt by Rubick out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Mining Tycoon. Mining Tycoon’s progeny include Stakes winner Usmanov, who has won nine races for the Gold Coast training team of Toby and Trent Edmonds.

Rubick is standing in his second season at Swettenham’s Nagambie farm alongside I Am Immortal, whose full brother (Lot 253) had earlier sold for a cool $1.1 million to James Harron Bloodstock.

The full brother to Swettenham sire I AM IMMORTAL, realised $1.1 million on day two (Magic Millions)

After his yearlings had, as expected, proved particularly popular on the opening day of the sale, champion sire Written Tycoon was again in demand with Lot 263 – a chestnut filly out of Miss Ballantine – fetching $450,000.

The imposing filly – who has three white socks and a white streak on her face – was bought by Luke Murrell and Jamie Lovell’s Australian Bloodstock syndicate, with Mick Price and training partner Mick Kent Jnr tasked with putting the polish on her.

Another Written Tycoon filly, Lot 314 (out of Nelum), was later purchased for $400,000 by the Magic Bloodstock syndicate, whose owner Peter Tighe and his wife Patty shot to prominence through their association with Winx.

The chestnut filly was sold by Widden Stud and is from the same family as Stakes winners Champs Elysees, Intercontinental and Mirage Dancer, the son of superstar Frankel.

The husband-wife training team of Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young have been very active so far this week, and the pair were the successful bidders on Written Tycoon’s son out Lazumba, who was placed at Group 2 level. The colt, who was sold by Bhima Thoroughbreds and is a half-brother to Group 2-placed Latino Blend, was knocked down for $300,000.

Rosemont’s Shamus Award realised two great results with lot 269, heading home with Will Clarken. The colt who is out of the Group 3 winner Miss Ethics, is a full relation to Ethical Solution, who like his mother, is a Group 3 winner. The SA based Will Clarken secured the colt for $150,000.

Bjorn Baker and Clarke Bloodstock went to $200,000 for lot 390. The colt out of Princess Rock, who is a full sister to Group 2 Turffontein Victory Moon stakes winner Perana and is a three-quarter sister to Listed Australia Day Cup and Frank Underwood winner, Prince Arthur.

Shamus Award stood for $11,000 in the season the colts were conceived.

There is no doubt that Victorian stallions will continue to be in demand on day three of the sale. Last year, Racing Victoria and TBV announced an additional $7.5 million in VOBIS Sires bonuses could be won, starting in the 2022/23 season.

The $30,000 bonus vouchers available on 250 races which carry a VOBIS Gold bonus, is available to horses sired by a VOBIS Sires and paid up to Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold.

The bonus voucher is paid to the winner of the race and the owners of the horse will be able to use their vouchers to purchase a VOBIS Sires eligible horse at eligible sales or to pay for a service fee for a mare to be covered by a VOBIS Sire.

The announcement of the additional $7.5 million has brought the VOBIS programme to over $30.5 million in prizemoney and bonuses.

To view which stallions stood in 2019 (2020-born), click here: https://bit.ly/3zsguqZ

The clearance rate on day two of the sale was 94%, which was up from day one, which was 91%.

The average was 287,004 and the median was $227,500, which was up from last year’s results of $251, 095 and $180,000.

Imagine waking up at 3am for work or working 12 days on, two days off. Imagine working Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, New Year’s Eve, or any public holiday. Sounds tough, right?

 

Well, this is the dedication our stud and stable staff have for the Thoroughbred and without doubt are the backbone of the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry, yet rarely are these unsung heroes rewarded or recognised by the industry for their hard work, dedication and passion.

 

That’s why the Stud and Stable Staff Awards (SSSA) supported by Godolphin, in partnership with Racing Australia and Thoroughbred Breeders Australia were established in 2015. Although these Awards are an international initiative spanning across five countries, in Australia alone the SSSA’s have awarded over half a million dollars in prize money to 98 finalists since its inception.

 

Individuals can be nominated for an Award in any of the seven categories: Leadership, Horsemanship, Dedication to Breeding, Dedication to Racing, Administration and Ancillary, Thoroughbred Care and Welfare, and the Newcomer category.

 

In addition, the overall Thoroughbred Excellence Award will be selected from one of the five categories, excluding Thoroughbred Care and Welfare and the Newcomer Awards. This person must have made a significant, extraordinary contribution to the industry, as demonstrated by past winners as Mark Newnham (2015), Jenny Watson (2016), Jeremy Rogers (2017), Joe Agresta (2018), David Merrick (2019), Wendy Smith (2020) and Gary Fennessy (2021).

 

In the last six years, 1,026 people have been nominated for contributions to an industry that now employs an estimated 230,000 people.

 

Magic Millions Managing Director, Barry Bowditch, said the Awards reflect the gratitude the

racing and breeding industry have for its workforce and are vital in highlighting the importance of those who are the backbone of the Thoroughbred industry.

 

“We work in such a great industry and it’s the people that make this industry so extraordinary. It’s Awards like this that give our staff a chance to shine, be special and be appreciated.”

 

This is particularly so during a period where our industry has been able to function, and indeed thrive, during a distinctively challenging period.

 

Nominations are now open and will be accepted until Tuesday, 15 March.

 

The five nominees shortlisted in each category will be named in late March. The 11 judges, who represent all parts of the racing industry, will then convene to choose two finalists in each of the seven categories. The finalists will be announced on 14 April. The category winners will then be announced at the SSSA Awards ceremony to be held at the Gold Coast Turf Club on the evening of Wednesday, 25 May.

 

To nominate or for more information, visit https://www.studandstablestaffawards.com.au/ or contact Fran Khan at sssa@studandstablestaffawards.com.au.

 

 

 

 

Award Categories:

LEADERSHIP AWARD (STUD OR STABLE) sponsored by the Victoria Racing Club

A staff member in a managerial or supervisory role who displays quality people management, mentoring and support of staff, attention to workplace health and safety, commitment to continuous improvement and displaying good business acumen. Prize: The winner receives $10,000, trophy and $1,000 to the employer to share among staff. The runner-up receives $3,000.

HORSEMANSHIP AWARD (STUD OR STABLE) sponsored by Inglis

This person displays incredible horsemanship and has shown consistency and reliability in or out of the saddle. They must have an affinity with thoroughbreds and give priority to animal welfare, demonstrate a degree of success with the thoroughbred in breeding or racing or both, that has been born out of this skill set. Prize: The winner receives $10,000, trophy and $1,000 to the employer to share among staff. The runner-up receives $3,000.

DEDICATION TO BREEDING AWARD sponsored by Magic Millions

For an individual in thoroughbred breeding who has displayed horsemanship, consistency, and reliability in a stud role. Five years’ service in the breeding industry and being pivotal in their employer’s success is required. Prize: The winner receives $10,000, trophy and $1,000 to the employer to share among staff. The runner-up receives $3,000.

DEDICATION TO RACING AWARD sponsored by the Australian Turf Club

For an individual in thoroughbred racing who has displayed horsemanship, consistency, and reliability in a racing role. Five years’ service in the racing industry and is pivotal in their employer’s success is required. Prize: The winner receives $10,000, trophy and $1,000 to the employer to share among staff. The runner-up receives $3,000.

ADMINISTRATION AND ANCILLARY SERVICE AWARD sponsored by MRC Foundation

Works in any administrative or other support service role within the thoroughbred racing and breeding sectors. This includes, but is not limited to, administration/corporate roles, journalists, marketing and media staff, sales positions, auctioneers, gardeners, veterinary practitioners, farriers, barrier attendants, horse transport, grounds staff in sales companies, breeding farms or racecourses, horse dentists and physiotherapists. Prize: The winner receives $10,000, trophy and $1,000 to the employer to share among staff. The runner-up receives $3,000.

THOROUGHBRED CARE AND WELFARE AWARD sponsored by Racing Queensland

For an individual with a demonstrated commitment to the care and welfare of thoroughbreds who are not actively racing, and/or who created greater awareness, passion, and care for the thoroughbred horse in its second/alternate career (breeding, educating, pre-and post-racing career, re-homing, retraining, providing a comfortable retirement, etc). This may be, for example, a quiet achiever (paid or volunteer) involved in retraining or re-homing of the thoroughbred. The winner is not eligible for the Thoroughbred Excellence Award. Prize: The winner receives $10,000, trophy and $1,000 to the employer to share among staff. The runner-up receives $3,000.

 

NEWCOMER AWARD (STUD OR STABLE) sponsored by Thoroughbred Industry Careers and Marcus Oldham College

Worked in any field in the industry for less than three years. The winner will display a passion for, pride in, and an excellent contribution to the thoroughbred industry. They will stand out from other newcomers and will be identified as a significant valuable member of this industry in the future. The winner is not eligible for the Thoroughbred Excellence Award. Prize: The winner receives $5,000, trophy, an educational racing experience in Dubai during March 2023* and $1,000 to the employer to share among staff. The runner-up receives $3,000. *Discretionary Prize.

THOROUGHBRED EXCELLENCE AWARD – OVERALL AWARD (STUD OR STABLE)

Selected from one of five categories, excluding Thoroughbred Care and Welfare Award, and Newcomer Award. The chosen person must have made a significant and exceptional contribution to the industry. Prize: The winner receives $5,000, trophy, and $1,000 to the employer to share among staff.

Lot 27, of Three Bridges draft was knocked down to Yes Bloodstock for $320,000 (Three Bridges)

Three Bridges Thoroughbreds flew out of the blocks on the opening day of the 2022 Magic Millions Sale, with their three lots selling for a combined $1.22 million.

The Eddington-based operation kicked off Victorian involvement on an action-packed day on the Gold Coast when they sold Lot 14 to Lindsay Park Racing.

Three Bridges have a grand total of 15 yearlings going through the sales ring, and they got their week off to a super start when their beautiful bay filly by Exceed and Excel was knocked down for $200,000 to Ben and JD Hayes.

The Super VOBIS-nominated filly is the fourth foal of Enchanted Dawn, whose sister Sweet Orange was a multiple Stakes winner.

Three Bridges’ second yearling to go through the ring was another bay filly by Hellbent out of Fairchild, whose sire was multiple Group 1 winner General Nediym. Fairchild has produced three foals which have made it to the races, with the trio combining to win 15 races.

This filly fetched $320,000, with Brae Sokolski’s determination enabling the leviathan owner to outbid his rivals under his Yes Bloodstock banner (named in honour of Yes Yes Yes, the colt who won The Everest for Sokolski in 2019).

The equine talent at Sokolski’s disposal includes reigning Melbourne Cup heroine Verry Elleegant and Coolangatta sired by Written Tycoon, the odds-on favourite for this Saturday’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic, so he clearly has an eye for a champion racehorse and will be hoping his latest acquisition can make the grade.

But Three Bridges saved the best until last as Lot 142, a striking I Am Invincible colt out of Stakes-winning mare Into The Mist, was purchased by Boniface Ho – of Classique Legend fame – for a cool $700,000.

Lot 142 – I Am Invincible (AUS) : Into the Mist (AUS) (Magic Millions).

The son of ‘Vinny’ will be trained by Will Freedman, and Three Bridges co-owner Toby Liston believes the newest addition to the Freedman racing dynasty could have a potential superstar on his hands.

“It’s a wonderful result for everyone at the farm, Chris Waller was the underbidder and Bon Ho has one of the best sprinters in the country, so he’ll go to a wonderful home,” he said.

“He’s a lovely animal so I’d say that was about his right price. Will Freedman had goosebumps when I spoke to him, so you could tell he was really excited to get him into the stable and start working with him.

“We’ve averaged just over $400,000 for our three sales today, so it’s been a very good day and hopefully it sets us up nicely for the rest of the week. We really target this sale each year, so far the hard work has paid off for us but it’s only day one and there’s still a long way to go.”

Of their remaining lots Liston identified Lot 396, an Exceed and Excel filly out of Provocative, as a potential standout.

“Her dam was a Queensland Oaks winner and she’s a beautiful filly, so I’m sure she’ll be very popular,” he said.

“We’ve also got a Russian Revolution colt I’m pretty excited about, and we have another I Am Invincible filly who will be well sought after. Our entire draft is very strong, so hopefully we can have a 100 per cent clearance rate.”

A busy week at the sales could be capped by a headline day on the track if Beau Rossa, the Will Clarken-trained four-year-old bred and sold by Three Bridges for $80,000 at the 2019 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale, can score his sixth career win on Magic Millions Raceday this Saturday.

At the end of day one, the current average for the Magic Millions sale sits at $273,010 and the median sits at $220,000 both up from the 2021 sales statistics where the results overall were $207,130 and $150,000 respectively.

Lot 82 of Yulong's draft, the filly out of Gold and Diamonds, gets some very deserved love (Magic Millions)

Victorian powerhouse Yulong enjoyed a productive first day on the Gold Coast, headlined by the $900,000 sale of their Zoustar filly to Ciaron Maher Racing.

Lot 82, a stunning bay filly out of the Fastnet Rock mare Gold And Diamonds, was bred on Mr Yuesheng Zhang’s Nagambie farm and fetched the joint second highest price on the opening day of the Magic Millions Yearling Sale.

A half-sister to Stakes-placed filly Authentic Jewel (trained by Brad Widdup), the powerfully-built filly had proved popular during the inspections – not least due to her distinctive ‘love heart’ marking.

Ciaron Maher eventually prevailed after a bidding war and his Bloodstock Manager, Will Bourne, explained why Victoria’s leading stable was so keen to secure her.

“When she came out at the farm at Yulong, at first we thought she was a colt,” said Bourne.

“She’s a big, imposing type with a lot of presence. She’s like a bull much like Sunlight was, she used to tower over all the colts in the mounting yard and we can see this girl furnishing out in much the same way.

“She’s a real athlete, we were hoping to get her a bit cheaper but sometimes you have to go a bit higher for the ones you want.”

Lot 82, the filly out of Gold and Diamonds, was knocked down to Ciaron Maher for $900,000 (Magic Millions).

Yulong’s Chief Operating Officer, Sam Fairgray, was delighted with the sale, saying: “She has always been a lovely filly and she kept on improving physically as we matured, so we were pretty confident that she would sell well.

“She’s a great type with good size and substance and she’s from a very well-regarded and desirable family, so it’s great that she’s gone to Ciaron and David who will give her every possible chance of success on the track.”

Reigning Australian Sires Premiership winner Written Tycoon is the headline act of Yulong’s stallion roster, and his progeny proved popular as always with Lot 71 – a bay colt out of Stakes-winning mare Karavali – bought by Boniface Ho (under his Legend Racing banner) for $575,000.

Yulong’s foundation stallion Grunt produced a brown filly (Lot 97) out of Gypsy Tucker which was snapped up by Grahame Begg Racing for $250,000, and Fairgray is confident his progeny will only increase in popularity in time.

“That was a fantastic result for Grunt,” he said.

“He was very well received during his first year, and to get $250,000 for his first yearling was really pleasing for us. The filly is a great mover and she was popular at the inspections, so it was no great surprise that she was sold for a good price.”

Lindsay Park Racing paid $200,000 for another of Yulong’s draft, a Lope De Vega colt (Lot 99) who was the first foal produced by Stakes-winning mare, Happy Odyssey.

Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Danny O’Brien paid $120,000 for another Yulong yearling (Lot 30), an Exceed and Excel colt out of Faith’s Encore; whilst their Lonhro colt (Lot 95) was purchased by the Racing Club No. 4 syndicate for $150,000.