The unstoppable son of Blue Gum Stud’s Turffontein, Widgee Turf burst through the $1.1 million barrier for earnings when the horse termed ‘the buy of the century’ won his 10th metropolitan race in the IRT $280,000 VOBIS Gold Mile at Caulfield.
Picked up for just $4,500 from the draft of Little Plains Stud as a weanling at the 2014 Inglis Great Southern Sale at Oaklands Junction by Crown Valley Lodge, the five-year-old has now had 23 first three finishes from 29 starts.
For trainer Patrick Payne, and co-owners Gordon McIntosh and wife Marlene they are in awe of their brilliant bargain buy.
“We drove down from the middle of Queensland to be there for his winning Swan Hill debut as a three-year-old and from then on it’s just been mind-boggling, to tell you the truth. To have now won ten races in town and tick over a million dollars today, that blows me away. It doesn’t happen very often with a four-thousand-dollar horse.”
With a significant proportion of the $1 million in prize money from VOBIS bonuses and prizemoney, McIntosh was full of praise for the Victorian Owners and Breeders Incentive scheme.
“The VOBIS scheme – for Victorian owners and breeders – you’d be mad not to be in it.
And although Widgee Turf was unplaced in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap at Randwick, McIntosh said the Group 1 dream might not yet be over.
“Patrick’s a pretty astute man,” he said. “He is a brilliant horseman and I think the Stradbroke Handicap in June is next on the list.”
Purchased for a mere $4,500 as a weanling, he has been a phenomenal investment for the McIntosh couple.
“I remember looking at the other weanlings (at the sale) making $100,000 from the big studs, but it was a bright, alert, chestnut colt that caught my eye.”
“I liked the Turffontein horses and his progeny like Fontein Ruby, but what got my full attention was the way he walked. He was really stepping out.
“The handler could hardly keep up with him, he walked with such purpose, so I thought this guy is on a bit of a mission, and as nobody wanted him, and I couldn’t help but put my hand up.
Widgee Turf was born and raised at Barb Ivill’s Little Plains Farm before being offered for sale as a foal at the 2014 Inglis Great Southern Sale.
“I was too ill unfortunately to attend the sale, so he went through unreserved. I always really liked him, he moved well and had a great attitude. I was a bit disappointed he only made $4,500, as I thought he would have made more.” Barb Ivill said.
“He was a beautiful foal, with a lovely head on him and it is very pleasing to see him doing so well.”
Widgee Turf is the last foal from the Kala Dancer mare Greyhound. Having foaled minor winners by Estambul and Legion, Ivill also bred Greyhound’s half-brothers Field Hunter (Torrential) and Change the Grange (Umatilla) to a total of 25 wins and both were successful at Flemington.
Originally retired from the studbook in 2014, Greyhound is now back in foal to Turffontein following Widgee Turf’s incredible recent success.
“She is a very pretty mare, with a lovely, good nature and she has never had any problems foaling. If they are healthy and strong to conceive and carry a pregnancy and we give them the best of care, I don’t see why old mares can’t produce first-rate foals.”