One-time Independent Stallions shuttler U S Ranger opened his southern hemisphere account in Adelaide on Saturday.

Get The Nod (2g U S Ranger — Silent Cash by Secret Savings) raced on the pace first-up in the Holdfast Insurance Hcp (1000m) at Morphettville and scored by three-quarters of a length from Frank Heavens (Big Brown). The Lloyd Kennewell trained youngster was an $18,000 buy at the 2013 Inglis Classic yearling sale.

“I was very impressed,” Kennewell said. “He’s a promising young horse of the future!”

Independent Stallions owner Mike Becker stood U S Ranger (USA) at short notice when Artie Schiller was a late withdrawal from the southern shuttle in 2010. Both stallions were based at WinStar Farm in Kentucky.

U S Ranger was one of the last sons of legendary sire Danzig to retire to stud and there were 34 foals from that sole Victorian crop. He was unbeaten at two in the French provinces and resumed as a three year-old to win the G3 Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte before finishing second in the G3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

A free-wheeling front-runner, he developed into a high-class sprinter at four with Group 1 placings in the July Cup at Newmarket and Prix de la Foret at Longchamp. His dam My Annette (Roberto) is a three-quarter sister to Dynaformer.

The Australian opener came a week after U S Ranger’s three year-old colt Solitary Ranger won the LR John Battaglia Memorial (1700m) at Turfway Park in Kentucky. He had posted an initial black-type victory in last year’s G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity.

Trainer Wayne Catalano said Solitary Ranger will possibily run in the G3 Spiral Stakes back at Turfway Park on March 22. It’s a designated points race for the Kentucky Derby.

Clifton Red was a fitting winner of the Group 3 TBV Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Her breeder and managing part-owner Bill Cockram is a son of former TBV committeeman Ted Cockram who pioneered Super VOBIS back in 1987.

Clifton Red (2f Sebring — Pretty Penny by Encosta De Lago) is trained by David Hayes and is the latest stakes winner for the Cockram family and Lindsay Park. “It was a big ask to win down the straight-six at her very first start,” Bill Cockram said. “We are looking forward to the future — she will make a nice three-year-old.

“Winning the TBV Stakes is a real thrill. Dad is really happy and is watching from home.”

Ted Cockram bred champion racehorse and sire Century and he was a Moonee Valley committeeman for over a decade. Bill has always been active within the industry and he was voted on to the Geelong committee earlier this season.

Clifton Red was the first of three runners from her dam Pretty Penny at headquarters on Australian Cup day. I Am Titanium (Flying Spur) was fifth home in the LR MSS Security Stakes and her G2 Sandown Classic winner Sertorius (Galileo) finished third in the G2 Blamey Stakes.

“We have put a lot of time and effort into our breeding and mare selections,” Cockram explained. “We are very proud to have all three starting in black-type events on such a big day.”

Pretty Penny won five races in Melbourne and was beaten a nose in the G3 W W Cockram Stakes at Caulfield in August 2005. Now based at the family’s Shadow Glen Stud at Modewarre, she has a yearling colt by High Chaparral and is back in foal to Sebring.

Hayes indicated Clifton Red is now likely to run in Sydney with the Riesling Stakes at Rosehill next on the agenda. She will come into her own over longer trips in races like the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes and ATC Champagne Stakes.

“She’s right there among my better two-year-old fillies,” Hayes said. “She’s big and rangy and it was a good effort to win a Group race on debut.”

Macedon Ranges Shire Council will develop a feasibility study into establishing an equine centre capable of hosting world-class equine events, educational experiences and other equine activities in the region.

The Victorian Government will contribute $60,000 to the project, with Macedon Ranges Shire Council providing the balance of the $95,000 project.

The study will take 12 months to complete and will look at a range of options for community and commercial use including indoor and outdoor arenas, stabling, yards, exhibition areas and meeting rooms. It will also consider non-equine uses such as canine and agricultural shows and exhibitions.

Mayor, Cr Roger Jukes said that if the facility goes ahead, it would be a major driver for business development and employment in the region.
“Supporting the equine industry is a key initiative in Council’s Economic Development program Equine Industry Strategy.

“Many local businesses are supported by the equine industry, from veterinary practices to the business servicing horse floats, fixing electric fences or building sheds and sand arenas,” he said.

Cr Jukes said that representatives from the recently formed Macedon Ranges Equine Industry Network (REIN) would be key to development of the study, from both a business and recreational perspective.

“We also know that the equine industry is widely supported by recreational horse owners and members of local riding clubs and associations. As part of the study, we will be consulting with these groups as well as broader equine interest groups and associations,” he said.

The feasibility study is an action in the 2012—17 Equine Strategy, which aims to support the sustainable growth of the equine industry and create local employment opportunities. The equine industry contributes an estimated $140 million each year to the local economy.

To view the equine strategy, visit For more information about the strategy or to receive information and updates about equine projects, contact Leanne Davey on 5421 9617 or

Media Enquiries: Gemma Gamble, Communications and Public Relations Coordinator,
telephone 5422 0310 or 0419 103 346

Greta West studmaster Laurie McCarthy had one eye on Sky Channel while keeping the other on his yearlings at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale on Wednesday.

McCarthy watched Honey Steel’s Gold win at Sandown and then sold the top-priced Reward For Effort and the top-priced Domesday during Session II at Oaklands. Both yearlings were offered through the Little Plains Stud consignment.

Honey Steel’s Gold is by Greta West stallion Keep The Faith and trainer David Hayes will set him for the G1 South Australian Derby in May.

The Reward For Effort – Sea Frolic (Dolphin Street) filly made $48,000 to First Light Racing and will be trained by Mat Ellerton and Simon Zahra. She is a half-sister to 5 winners and 3 of them are by Greta West sires Keep The Faith and King of Prussia.

The Domesday colt from Firhill (Marauding) is a half-brother to five winners topped by Greta West bred mare Two Hills who has won 7 sprints in Melbourne and over $360,000 in prizemoney.

He impressed several prospective buyers and auctioneer Jonathon D’Arcy. “Here’s a big, strong colt,” D’Arcy boomed as the youngster entered the sale ring. “He looks like he could run through a brick wall.”

Trainer Ciaran Maher agreed and went to $40,000 to outbid a visiting trainer from Singapore.

Earlier in the week, Greta West stallion God’s Own burst through the $2 million barrier in prizemoney this season when Angel Warrior came from last to land the Bullarook Park Plate (1000m) at Terang.

Angel Warrior (4m God’s Own — Wingin’ A Prayer by Raise A Stanza) was racing first-up on Monday and won running away by a length for trainer Michael Roebuck. At her only other run, she led but faded at Swan Hill in October.

God’s Own is second among Victorian based sires for the individual winners’ premiership this season. Bel Esprit (103) leads that division ahead of God’s Own (64), Reset (61), Magnus (59), Dash For Cash (55) and Elvstroem (55).

The harder the audience clapped, the higher he stepped. Lofting his exceptionally long legs so high that each step seemed more animated, more look at me, than the one before, he danced with all his heart to a movie soundtrack from Secretariat.

And Sea Lord was great that day. Not as a racehorse, he never raced.

But in the hands of top-level dressage rider Silva Martin he was a virtuoso in the dressage ring performing a Freestyle that displayed their talent and connection, while reminding everyone who watched that this was no Warmblood.

This was an ex-racehorse Thoroughbred who became a Grand Prix dressage horse!

Outfitted in the silks and blinkers customarily worn on the track, Martin cantered them into the show ring of the PVDA Ride For Life Dancing Horse Challenge June 25 to the sound of a bugler announcing the start of a race.

Race name: Sea Lord
Sire: Sea Salute
Dam: Graceful Glory
Foal date: 2001

The idea to honor Sea Lord’s heritage came to Martin and the Thoroughbred’s owner Charish Campbell once it was decided that he would be the horse they would bring to the benefit show for the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center, Martin says in a recent interview with

“Charish and I were throwing ideas around, and I said, ‘There’s really no question. We’ll have to go as a jockey and racehorse.’ He’s an American Thoroughbred and we should honor that,” she says.

“A good friend of mine sewed my silks and he wore goggles for the first time in his life. The whole idea that he was off the racetrack in Virginia was fantastic. The audience loved it. And the more they clapped the better he went for them.”

Martin and her husband Boyd Martin, a US Eventing Team A-List member, love Thoroughbreds.

“Boyd has always purchased Thoroughbreds off the track and has been a big fan of them. He has tended to prefer them to Warmbloods because they’re so smart and they have a good energy–they never wear out,” she says.

And Sea Lord was evented by both Boyd and Olympian Phillip Dutton before Martin moved him into a dressage career in 2007.

She still remembers what she said the first time she saw Sea Lord. “I met him in July 2007 and Phil Dutton was eventing him and Boyd was also riding him, doing some novice work,” she says. “I used to look at him and think that this was a really nice horse. You could just see it.”

At the time, his jumping skills were not meeting expectations, so she offered to sit on him.

“I remember telling his owner at the time, Shannon Simpson, that he could be something really good. Then he developed into this freak that he is now.”

The pair has quickly climbed levels, and is now at Grand Prix. Most recently, Sea Lord won Reserve Champion in the last Regionals at Prix St. George and has achieved many other successes, including wins at multiple Prix St. George shows.

In a Dressage article, he is described as a “well developed Grand Prix” horse who has achieved one tempi changes and piaffe-passage. The article notes: “He is a dream to ride, very soft, forward thinking, and loves to please.”

His personality and his ability were deciding factors guiding Martin’s decision to take him to the show.

“Sea Lord loves to make a grand entrance and he thrives in the big atmosphere at a dressage show, with all the lights, music and people,” Martin says. “A lot of horses can get scared in an atmosphere like that. But this horse is way less hot than some of my Warmbloods, and when he’s in the ring, all he does is try for you.”

And he has made a big impression on many of the people in his circle.

Shannon Stimson, his first owner, recalls how impressed she was with the horse nicknamed Big Bird because of his resemblance to the Sesame Street character.

“He was so gangly and his neck and legs were so unusually long at 17.1 hands that he was called Big Bird by the stable guys caring for him,” Stimson says. Skinny and out of shape, he had a “huge suspension” and his trot “was like velvet,” she adds.

She purchased the horse and put him in a program with Phillip Dutton. But, as the horse advanced it became clear that he was not as careful over rails as they would have liked, and that upper-level jumping was probably not in the cards for him.

But Martin saw something special in him, and grabbed the opportunity to teach the large, constitutionally uphill mount to perform dressage.

Stimson recalls how well they fit each other when Martin finally gave him a try.

“From the first moment Silva sat on him and I watched them work together, it was clear that dressage was what he was born to do,” Stimson says. “Silva’s personality matches Birdy’s perfectly, and he will do anything for her.”

He was always a big mover with a bold personality, she adds.

“His personality was always exceptionally sweet and laid back, not that he didn’t have his opinions,” Stimson recalls. “He has huge self-confidence, and there is absolute no ‘No!’ in him. I take this to be basic to his Thoroughbred temperament and excellent blood lines.”

Among the greats in his family tree are Native Dancer, Nashua, and Seattle Slew.

Although Sea Lord is “still learning collection,” he’s young yet, and full of promise, Martin says.

His owner has watched the video of his debut Freestyle over and over again.

“The performance is a tribute to the American Thoroughbred,” Campbell says. “Watching this in person has been the highlight of my career.”

And for one more ex-racehorse performing at the highest echelons, the performance in honor of great Thoroughbred athletes helped underscore what so many top riders know: Thoroughbreds can do anything.

“If you get them on your side,” Martin says, “they’ll do anything for you.”

See original post here: Off-Track Thoroughbreds

An $80,000 average price and improved clearance rate have underlined an outstanding opening day at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

“The average has jumped 10% and the clearance rate is much better than this time last year,” Inglis director Peter Heagney said. “Naturally, we are thrilled for our vendors at how the sale has started.”

Phoenix Broodmare Farm topped Sunday’s trade with a $450,000 Northern Meteor colt from Group 2 winner Conquistar. He was purchased by Sun Kingdom P/L, Gai Waterhouse Racing and James Harron Bloodstock.

That equalled the 2013 sale high and was one of five lots that made $200,000 or more.

The half-brother to Blue Diamond runner up Jabali was the first lot to push through the $200,000 mark at Oaklands on Day 1. Kornong Stud’s strapping colt by Denman from Balalaika was finally secured for Tan Sri Vincent Tan of Malaysia with a bid of $320,000. He will be trained by Mick Price at Caulfield.

Queensland trainer Dan Bougoure then went to $300,000 to buy Grange Thoroughbred’s colt by Fastnet Rock from Group 3 winner Bhandara.
Day 1 trade for the 106 lots that changed hands reached $8.56 million. The average was $80,778 and the clearance rate rose 5 points to 79%.

Yallambee Stud finished Day 1 as the leading vendor (3 or more sold) selling five yearlings for $480,000.

Victorian vendors dominated the leader-board of the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale on Sunday. New Zealand based Ascot Farm was the only visiting seller to make the Top 10 on Day 1 at Oaklands Junction.

  • $450,000 Phoenix Broodmare Farm (Northern Meteor — Conquistar Colt )
  • $400,000 Ascot Farm NZ (Star Witness – Crystal Whip Colt)
  • $320,000 Kornong Stud (Denman — Balalaika Colt)
  • $300,000 Grange Thoroughbreds (Fastnet Rock – Bhandara Colt)
  • $230,000 Erinvale Thoroughbreds (Fastnet Rock – Blonde Humor Colt)
  • $180,000 Millford Thoroughbreds (Not a Single Doubt – Beymatilla Colt)
  • $170,000 Swettenham Stud (Equiano – Circus Polka Colt)
  • $160,000 Eliza Park (Not a Single Doubt – Canadian Legacy Colt)
  • $160,000 Bucklee Farm (Denman – But One Regret Colt)
  • $150,000 Three Bridges (Lonhro – Voltdanze Filly)

The 2014 edition of the Inglis Melbourne Premier yearling sale is just over a month away. The source of world champion Black Caviar, its first lot this year will parade at 12 Noon on Sunday, March 2.

Conceived, born, raised, sold, owned and trained in Victoria, Black Caviar received her most recent accolade last week when officially rated equal-top of the year-end 2013 Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings released by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA).

“The total number of Australian-bred horses rated 115 or more by IFHA has increased 400% in the last ten years — underlining the tremendous growth in the Australian thoroughbred and its international reputation,” points out Inglis Melbourne Director Peter Heagney.

“Racing both here in Victoria and in many other states of Australia is a tremendous passion.

“Now is a great time to get involved in this exciting sport, with increases in prizemoney, incentive bonus schemes and the limit on the number of individual persons who may be registered as owners of a racehorse from ten to twenty making racehorse ownership more accessible and affordable.”

A total of 775 lots have been catalogued for the Melbourne Premier and 61% are Super VOBIS Qualified, just as Black Caviar was in 2008.

Black Caviar was offered as Lot 520 from the draft of Swettenham Stud (as agent for Gilgai Farm). The daughter of Bel Esprit was snapped up by trainer Peter Moody for $210,000.

With a median price of just $60,000, Melbourne Premier has an enviable record as the sales source of top level sprinters such as Black Caviar, Starspangledbanner, Weekend Hussler, Alinghi, Ortensia, Reward For Effort, Turffontein, Costa Viva, Rostova, Stepitup and Sacred Kingdom.

Inglis Melbourne is also growing an impressive record as a source of outstanding middle distance and staying type horses such as Fawkner, Polanski, Pinker Pinker, Arapaho Miss, Hollow Bullet, Escado and Igugu.

Over a ten year period the stakes winners-to-lots sold from Melbourne Premier has risen 44%.

All of Australasia’s leading sires are represented in the 2014 catalogue with yearlings that were carefully selected from almost 2,000 entries received for the sale.

“An improving genetic pool in Victoria and increased vendor support from other major states has enabled our bloodstock team to be increasingly selective on type and conformation for Melbourne Premier,” Heagney added.

Go to for the online catalogue or download it on the Inglis Sales iPad App

Hard-copy catalogues can be requested from the Melbourne office on 03 9333 1422 or email