HE’s a 20 year-old and she’s an 18 year-old, but breeder Frank Butler is hoping that ageing years won’t be a factor – especially in the breeding barn.
Butler, a Seymour Racing Club committee member, bred and races Admiral’s Joker which completed a run of four consecutive wins to score as the odds-on favourite in last Sunday’s Listed Seymour Cup (1600m).
The lightly raced seven year-old gelding, which was ridden by Craig Williams, is by champion racehorse and Victorian sire Bel Esprit, out of Butler’s mare, Admiral’s Lady.
Two weeks ago he sent the Danehill mare back to Bel Esprit and is now waiting for the results of what he hopes was a successful mating.
“Obviously he is 20 and she is 18, so we can only hope,” Butler said.
But there is no shortage of progeny from the mare.
“She had an Americain filly (Lady Jackio) that ran third at Ballarat the other day and is going really well. She has an Equiano filly and a very nice Toronado gelding that is very much like Toronado and we have a super nice Brazen Beau colt that is being broken in at the moment,” Butler said
“They are all local horses which is great.”
Butler’s late father, Noel, bred and raced a lot of successful horses, including the Brian Mayfield –Smith trained gelding Stickpin which won the Group 3 Victoria Handicap in 2007 and the Manifold Stakes in 2008.
What made the victory of the Kylie Vella trained Admiral’s Joker ever better for Butler was that it was 21 years since a horse with a Seymour connection had won the local Cup. It dates back to 1998 when Seymour trainer David Bourne, who is still training at the track, trained Final Tempo to Cup glory.
After suffering lengthy stints on the sidelines caused by tendon injuries early in his career, Admiral’s Joker’s recent form has his Colac trainer targeting the Kennedy Cantala Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Derby Day as his next assignment. The Ballarat Cup is also among the options.
The Seymour Cup win of Admiral’s Joker provided Bel Esprit with his 27th stakes winner.
Standing at Sun Stud at Riddells Creek, Bel Esprit covered 95 mares last year and already has around 60 booked in for this season.
The stud’s Adam Henry said scans had showed that the stallion had got six of his last seven mares in foals as he continues to show why he is an eight-time champion Victorian sire.
“He is a real winner-getter and has had 100 winners-plus eight of the past nine seasons,” Henry said.
“He has a got a real zest for his job and knows what he is doing and is still king of the barn.
“Year after year he just butters and is just a reliable source for breeders. They just keep coming back to him.
‘And he has had 12 three year-old winners this season as well which puts him in the top 10 in Australia in that category,”