After being named the Leading Small Breeder for the 2020/21 season at last week’s Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria awards, Ivan Holloway is looking forward to more success with his local band of four broodmares.
Holloway and his wife Martina, who operate Holloway Equine, won the Kentucky Equine Research and Barastoc Leading Victorian Small Breeder on the back of Hong Kong Galloper Excellent Proposal which they bred.
Although unplaced at last Sunday’s Group 1 Hong Mile, the five-year-old galloper has won seven races and $2.5 million in prize money. He is a winner of the Hong Kong Classic Mile.
Holloway said it was an honour and thrill to be presented with the award, which made things a little more worthwhile to be recognised in the category of breeders with fewer than five broodmares.
He is hoping to breed another quality galloper.
His Group 2 winning mare Mamzelle Tess is in foal to So You Think and his Listed placed, Sophia’s Choice, is also in foal to the same stallion.
Named after his daughter Sophia, the five-year-old mare was bought by Holloway for $240,000 at the 2018 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
A winner of three races, she was retired to stud after having a final start at Mornington in January for Robert Kingston who has since retired as a trainer.
Fastnet Rock mare Fading Shades is in foal to Toronado and Forgotten Dreams is in foal to another Swettenham Stud stallion, I Am Immortal which Holloway has a stallion share in.
“I like their breeding and also liked them as racehorses as well,” he said.
“They are going really well.”
Holloway said he didn’t experience a great time with his broodmares last season, but does have a Merchant Navy from Forgotten Dreams and another couple he has bred in Ireland.
“It’s the only one I have on the ground this year, but I have an Exceed and Excel and a Zoustar yearling that are hopefully going to hit the boat sometime in March that I have bred overseas,” he said.
“They are just getting broken in now.
“I bought a horse over here about six or seven years ago, a horse called Zilbiyr out of a Dalakhani mare, and she won a few races, and then I bought the mother and I have bred three foals to her now. The first two have been winners and I have a Holy Roman Emperor on the ground and a Highland Reel filly.
“The dam was Zaziyra.”
Unfortunately Zaziyra died after giving birth to the Highland Reel filly in Ireland.
“I hope to keep the family going with the filly,” he said.
Irish-born Holloway, who heads a global infrastructure company, bought a mare in foal to Fastnet Rock at the recent Goffs Sale and she’ll most likely also head to Australia.
While Holloway had hoped to get a foal out of Mamzelle Tess last season after paying $110,000 for the Group 2 winner as a broodmare, he put her back into racing after she didn’t get into foal to Merchant Navy.
She failed to be placed in her five comeback runs, which convinced Holloway the nine-year-old mare was ready for the breeding barn again.
He had ambitiously hoped to get enough public support for the daughter of O’Lonhro to make the All-Star Mile field, but she failed to get enough votes.
Holloway had mixed success with Excellent Proposal’s dam, Pivotal (GB) mare Procrastination (GB) which cost him $180,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Broodmare Sale.
He said the mare, which was in foal to Exceed and Excel when he bought her with what was to become Excellent Proposal, won two races in France and was stakes placed and more interesting was out of Rubiton mare Dilly Dally which won two Group 2 races over 1200m in Australia.
Holloway sold the Exceed and Excel colt at the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale for $200,000 to Bill Mitchell who bought him for a Hong Kong client.
Unfortunately the dam died after the second foal by Vancouver – the second bred by Holloway – was retained by the breeder and is now trained by Matt Laurie at Mornington.
Now a four-year-old, the horse is named Potato Pete as Holloway explained he names the horses after his children. Sophia’s Choice is named after one of his daughters.
Holloway laughed when he explained that Potato Pete is his son’s nickname.
Now a four-year-old, Potato Pete has been unplaced in his three starts, but will return to racing as a gelding.
Holloway said he likes to breed to race and also has shares in a couple of horses, including with Adam Sangster.
“The feeling you get with a winner for yourself, it’s the same feeling when you breed one and see it win,” he said.
“It’s good when you have actually bred one and it goes to the racecourse and wins.”
Holloway said he would need to turn over a couple of the horses and he’ll probably sell one of the mares in foal at the Inglis Digital Sale and another one would head to the sales.
“But if anything is a filly, I’ll probably keep it and the colts I’ll probably sell.
“I like the fillies as they can hold their value if they are breeding propositions.”
Holloway admits that racing has been a lifetime obsession and love which started when he went to the races in Ireland as a child and was then attracted to the gambling side of the industry.
He then owned and raced a couple before buying a couple of broodmares in Ireland.
After being based in Australia for eight years, Holloway’s love for racing and breeding continues to grow.
He likes to bring out at least one horse a year from Ireland in the hope they’ll make in on the track or the breeding barn.