Barnawartha breeders Tony and Kellie Smeaton, can now can claim to have bred the new king of Tasmanian sprinters after I’m Wesley won the Listed $100,000 Newmarket Handicap at Launceston.
Having now won five races in a row, the ultra-consistent galloper was given a perfect run just behind the leaders, before proving too strong, to seize his biggest career win for Wesley Vale trainer Glenn Stevenson.
Sold by Shadwell Farm as agent at the 2013 Great Southern Sale, I’m Wesley was purchased by his trainer after talking to Tony Smeaton about the well-bred colt.
“He didn’t have enough money to buy a yearling, so he was looking for an affordable weanling that he could train and have some fun with a couple of mates, so I steered him into I’m Wesley. I thought he would be great fit for Tassie racing,” said Tony Smeaton.
“I had prepped him for the sales at home myself. He always had the right attitude and was easy to handle. He was textbook really; I even pulled him out as a foal.”
“There was nothing wrong with him, except being a little small, but he was chunky and strong, and I knew his dam was super strong. If he was given a bit of time, I always thought he would grow into a good horse. He was a real bargain for $8,000,” Smeaton said.
Stevenson has certainly been patient in his training approach; with I’m Wesley battling a few problems before hitting his purple patch.
“We have had to take our time with him, but we knew that from the start. He’s always been strong but immature and I’m just pleased he’s now shown what a very good horse he is,” Stevenson said.
A son of I Am Invincible, I’m Wesley is out of the Danehill mare Daniela.
“I was very impressed with the first crop of I Am Invincible foals on the ground, so I went out and bought four mares in foal to him in his second season,” Smeaton said.
“Daniela, stood out as she was very athletic and neat, and reminded me of another very good mare I had in stature. I bought the four mares at an average of $6,000 – you certainly wouldn’t get them for that price today, when his service fee is now $110,000.”
“Unfortunately we sold all the I Am Invincible foals about six months too early, as if we had kept them that little bit longer we would have made a killing!”
Tony, who trades with Kellie as Indigo Bloodstock, has been interested and involved in racing all of his life. Based at Barnawartha (close to Wodonga), they now run ten broodmares on their 150-acre horse property, and have another 1000 dedicated to beef cattle near the Murray River.
“The Hong Kong champ they bred, Gun Pit, is happily retired in the paddock, but he still thinks he is a racehorse.
“Every time a truck turns up to pick up a mare, he thinks he is off to the races! His old buddy Freddy, a laid-back welsh pony and him are just the best of mates.”