Above: Authentic winning the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is arguably the biggest and best known race in the world and this year’s running has a special association with Australia.

The race was won by Authentic and ended an estimated 50-year pursuit by American billionaire B. Wayne Hughes who established Spendthrift Australia in Victoria five and a half years ago.

The 86 year-old Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, is one of America’s best known breeding and racing organisations.

Authentic’s upset victory gave Spendthrift’s Australian operation great delight, according to its general manager Garry Cuddy.

“It’s been a pretty good few days, that’s for sure,” Cuddy said.

“We are very, very happy for the result to go our way and for the boss to fulfil his dream, it’s a big thrill to win.”

“It has been said that he has been trying to win the race for 50 years, and he’s had many good chances in the race over that time but never got the win.

“To have our other horse, Thousand Words, scratched in the paddock before they went out onto the track, you could be forgiven for thinking the Kentucky Derby curse had come again.”

“It proved we only needed one runner and it was great.”

Sired by Spendthrift’s American stallion Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday/Leslie’s Lady), Cuddy said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bob Baffert-trained Authentic join Spendthrift’s Australian roster.

“I would love to see Authentic here but we’d have to wait to let the dust settle and for everything to go to plan, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see a press release in April or May next year to say he is on our roster, that’s for sure.

“He actually ran the sixth fastest Derby in the history of the race and two horses above him are Secretariat and Northern Dancer, so he is in pretty good company.”

And Cuddy is among about 4500 people who paid $USD206 for a micro-share in Authentic through MyRaceHorse.com, he says probably equates to him owning a single hair on the horse’s back.

“I am a shareholder in it along with my mum and some mates, so it has made the win all the sweeter,” he said.

“MyRacehorse is a fantastic concept and it has worked really well in the US. I believe there are about 4500 owners in Authentic, and if you think what that does for racing with an ownership group of that size winning the Derby.”

Cuddy said they had started the breeding season well at Spendthrift and had increased the quality of its stallion roster this year by introducing Spendthrift America shuttle stallions Omaha Beach and Vino Rosso. The pair will stand alongside Gold Standard, Overshare and Swear.

“Both horses have been met with great response so far and we’re limiting each of the horses to 100 mares because they are coming off a very busy northern hemisphere season, but we are confident we will go close to that cap with both of them,” Cuddy said.

“It’s obviously a very good achievement for the farm in uncertain times.”

Cuddy said Vino Rosso served 240 mares in the northern hemisphere season, while Omaha Beach had 220 mares.

“They had good fertility which is obviously crucial,” he said.

Cuddy said the point of difference with Spendthrift, along with Darley, are that they are probably the only two Victorian farms that have other international bases.

He said to be able to bring in horses of the quality of Omaha Beach (War Front/Charming) and Vino Rosso (Curlin/Mythical Bride) was fantastic for Victoria.

“At the end of the day we are bringing in horses that would be competitive in the Hunter Valley,” Cuddy said.

“They are standing here in our backyard which is fantastic for our local industry.

“You can tell by the response we have had to both of these horses that there are mares coming to our farm this year that in previous years would have been going to the Hunter Valley.

“To do that and be able to claw a few mares back, we take that as a win and hopefully we’ll continue to build on that in the years to come.”

Although in its infancy in Australia, Cuddy said Spendthrift had gone from starting with 10 broodmares to 70 last season.

He said the quality of the broodmare band had improved year-to-year.

“I think it’s crucial to build a solid broodmare band. We only support our stallions with our own mares, we don’t send our mares elsewhere and I think that is a key element for people to know that we are supporting our stallions with quality stock.”

Cuddy said Spendthrift had about 20 of their own horses in work with various trainers throughout the eastern states. Spendthrift’s Dirty Work (Written Tycoon/Maidel) ran third to Gytrash and Nature Strip in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

He said Spendthrift had rebuilt its stallion barn which was ready for the start of the 2019 breeding season.

There are 14 boxes and with five stallions currently on the roster, and Cuddy said there is plenty of room to accommodate potential stallions like Dirty Work and Authentic who is sired by Spendthrift stallion, Into Mischief.

“I think these are two horses that are potentially on the roster for next year and who knows what else is to come because we have a few other nice colts in work here in Australia and in America,” Cuddy said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Lot 165 – Starspangledbanner x Dalakania (Ire) (colt)

A colt by Rosemont’s reverse shuttler Starspangledbanner topped proceedings at the opening session of the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale on Tuesday, knocked down to Richard Ryan for £170,000 (AU$308,837).

Catalogued as Lot 165, the colt was imported over the channel by Anna Sundstrom of Coulonces Sales, who last year consigned a Wootton Bassett (GB) colt now known as Legion Of Honour (GB) that Ryan took home for £280,000 (AU$508,673).

He is trained for Teme Valley 2 by Roger Varian and was a promising second on debut at Haydock in June. The Starspangledbanner colt was purchased in the same interest and will likewise head to Varian.

“He was the star of the show,” Ryan said of the session-topper. “The best in the sale in our opinion, and in the opinion of the trainer. We also bought a very nice horse here last year from the same vendor, for whom we have high hopes.

“Starspangledbanner gets winners out of all sorts of mares and all sorts of pages, but only very rarely will they have that kind of look at this age – that scope and quality, backed up by a top-class pedigree. It’s a beautiful family.”

Sundstrom was ecstatic that her Doncaster migrations had once again proved so lucrative. This colt was co-bred with Charlotte Hutchinson as the first foal of a Dalakhani (Ire) half-sister to G2 Grand Prix de Deauville winner Ziyad (GB) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}), cheaply culled by the Wertheimer brothers at the Arqana Autumn Sale of 2017.

“Charlotte is my head girl and was leading him up,” said Sundstrom. “She bought the mare out of training, she only cost €16,000. We love Starspangledbanner, we’ve had a lot of luck with him, so he was an obvious choice for Dalakania.

“We love Starspangledbanner, we’ve had a lot of luck with him, so he was an obvious choice for Dalakania.” – Anna Sundstrom

“It’s the most fantastic thing that he’s going to Roger Varian. And a fantastic result in a market like this. It just shows that there are people there for good horses. It’s difficult to know when things are like this, we knew he had a lot of people interested, but I didn’t think he could make this much. It’s incredible.

“Goffs has been very good to us. The results on the track from horses we sold here include Laurens and Nickajack Cave, so it’s easy to come back.”

Earlier in the session, a colt by former Coolmore shuttler Caravaggio (USA) sold to Howson & Houldsworth and Joseph O’Brien for £75,000 (AU$136,252).

Consigned by Limekiln Stud, the colt is out of winning Ravens Pass (USA) mare Vitello (GB), who herself is out of the stakes placed Vitoria (Exceed And Excel).

Above: A son of Churchill (Ire) [pictured] was purchased for £62,000 (AU$112,635) by Jamie Osbourne | Standing at Coolmore

Jamie Osbourne also struck for a son of Coolmore’s Churchill (Ire), taking the colt from the Ballyhane draft home for £62,000 (AU$112,635).

Catalogued as Lot 104, he is out of dual stakes winner Beyond Desire (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), who is also responsible for Listed Lansdown S. winner Queen Of Desire (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}). Further down the page is G2 Zipping Classic winner Beautiful Romance (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) and Coolmore sire Mastercraftsman (GB).

Notably absent from Tuesday’s buying sheet was Shadwell who have been the leading buyers at the Premier Yearling Sale for five years running.

At the 2019 sale alone, Sheikh Hamdan’s buying team signed for 17 yearlings at an aggregate just shy of £2 million (AU$3,637,740) and after a stellar year on the track so far in 2020, their absence has caused some concern for consigners.

Overall the day finished with an average of £36,687 (AU$66,649), down from the average of £49,202 (AU$89,385) at last year’s opening session, while the median sat at £30,000 (AU$54,500) compared to £38,000 (AU$69,034) on Day 1 last year.

The day’s aggregate was down by a third compared to the same session last year, with £6,970,500 (AU$12,663,256) changing hands compared to £10,578,500 (AU$19,217,883) in 2019. The number of six-figure lots was the most notable change in numbers with nine breaking into six figures on Tuesday, topped at £170,000 (AU$308,380), compared to 19 on the first day in 2019 which was topped by a £440,000 (AU$799,345) Kingman (GB) colt.

Article courtesy of TDN

Above: Dundeel x Cardiac 2020 Filly (Image Musk Creek Farm)

Having invested significantly in the quality of its broodmare band over the past few years, Victorian-based Musk Creek Farm is targeting a range of new and proven stallions in 2020 as it looks to frank that investment with strong results in the sales ring in the future.

Owned by David Kobritz, Musk Creek has been under the eye of Farm Manager Scott Williamson for just over three years and together with the guidance of bloodstock agent Craig Rounsefell, they have looked to re-invigorate Kobritz’s 20-strong broodmare band.

Around 12 of the 20 broodmares have arrived since Williamson began with Musk Creek, with a focus on quality and the aim of further building the Mornington Peninsula Farm’s reputation as a breeder and seller of top-class horses.

“Over the last couple of years, we have made a concerted effort in upgrading our broodmare band. We’ve spent a bit of money getting some young mares either carrying their first foals or off the track. We want to be at that top end of the market and have a red-hot crack. We want to produce those high-end yearlings,” Williamson told TDN AusNZ.

“Over the last couple of years, we have made a concerted effort in upgrading our broodmare band.” – Scott Williamson

Key to that success is the planning of matings for those mares, something which Williamson particularly relishes, utilising the experience of Kobritz and Rounsefell to ensure the right match.

“We want to be commercial, but we want to make sure we are breeding the right type. We want to make sure that it not only fits on pedigree, but that type is a strong consideration as well,” he said.

“With young mares, you don’t necessarily know what they might produce, but you know what their pedigree is and we try and identify things they may need. You want to put a stallion to her that might have what she is lacking and visa versa.

“We want to present the right sort of horses at the sales and ones that we think that are going to go on to be racehorses.”

Above: Scott Williamson

Williamson described the broodmare band size of 20 as a perfect sweet spot to ensure all the mares get the support they need to be successful in their breeding careers.

“That’s a comfortable number for us. It’s at a level where we feel we can invest in them and give them the service fees they deserve and need,” he said.

All in the family

One of the strategies Musk Creek has embarked on over the past few years is sourcing its new mares from already proven families.

A prime example is Personalised, a mare by Snitzel out of the stakes winner Personify (Galileo {Ire}), the daughter of blue hen Procrastinate (Jade Hunter {USA}), who Musk Creek and Boomer Bloodstock paid $525,000 for at last year’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

Above: Personalised

“She is a multiple city winning daughter of Personify and her half-sister Personal is ready to help the family out in some big races this spring,” Williamson said.

“She’s from Cressfield, which is a very successful farm. Buying into a family like that, you don’t get many opportunities to do that. We look to buy into a family like that and turn that into a Musk Creek family.”

Personlised is in foal to Dundeel (NZ) and is set to go to Widden Stud’s Zoustar this season.

“We feel a mare with a good bit of strength really suits him. I foaled down Zousain in my previous role, and he was out of a decent-sized, strong mare and I think those mares are the ones that best suit Zoustar. She’s a lovely, good-sized Snitzel mare with plenty of strength. Obviously, she is a very attractive mare and I thought it will be a good mating for her.”

Divine connection makes sense

It was another strong family connection that drove Musk Creek to pay $320,000 for Notre Dame(Exceed And Excel) at the recent Magic Millions Broodmare Sale from Godolphin’s draft.

Two years prior, it had paid $600,000 at the same sale for her half-sister Deipara (Lonhro) and Williamson has been delighted with what she has been able to produce.

Both mares are out of the multiple Group 1 winner Divine Madonna (Hurricane Sky).

Above: Notre Dame

“We know that that family is producing, and we saw it as a good opportunity to get a bit of control of that family and guide that family in the direction we want to go,” he said.

“She’s a cracking type of mare, Notre Dame. She has produced a Street Boss colt already this spring, and she is off to Written Tycoon this year. We are definitely investing in that family.”

Deipara’s now 2-year-old Exceed And Excel filly is in training with Anthony and Sam Freedman and Kobritz and Williamson harbour high hopes for her.

“The second foal out of the mare is an outstanding I Am Invincible filly. Both sales companies have looked at her and are extremely impressed with her,” Williamson said

“Deipara has thrown extremely good types and to an extent that she will go to Snitzel this year. We are pretty happy with what we have seen and we felt that with the quality of foals she has produced, it would be really good to get a Snitzel out of her. Not only does he suit her on type and pedigree, but to have a Snitzel in the draft, you can take that to any sale.”

Mirette shapes up

The other purchase for Musk Creek on the Gold Coast this year was Mirette (Unencumbered), a winner of four starts, including the G3 Auraria S., while she was second in a G1 Schweppes Oaks. She cost $150,000, a price that was very pleasing for Musk Creek.

Above: Mirette

“We are quite excited about Mirette. We thought she would make more money than she did. She was well performed on the track and is a lovely type of mare, good-sized and with a great temperament,” Williamson said.

“Testa Rossa has really started to stand up as a broodmare sire and we feel that Unencumbered has got every chance of doing the same.

“Mirette deserves a good mating, with her looks and also her race ability. She will head off to Blue Point this year and we feel he’s a very exciting horse from a great sireline and a sireline that has been successful in Australia.”

“Mirette deserves a good mating, with her looks and also her race ability. She will head off to Blue Point this year.” – Scott Williamson

Williamson admitted it was unusual to send a maiden mare to a first-season sire, but that Mirette’s profile held up well for such a mating.

Another maiden mare is the imported Ascertain (USA) (Blame {USA}), a three-time winner in the United States, who had just one start in the Musk Creek colours in Australia under trainer Lindsey Smith.

“She had a long layoff and had an injury in the States,” Williamson said. “She got over that and Lindsey was really happy with how she was going. Then everything went wrong with the one run she had.

“She’s up in the Hunter and is off to Deep Field. She’s a beautiful mare and obviously Deep Field is getting plenty of winners. We are pretty excited about her. We think she was very good purchase at US$40,000 (AU$54,979) when Craig managed to find her. The minute he laid eyes on her, he fell in love with her, I know every time I talk to Lindsey, he asks about her.”

Pride for If I Can

The Listed-winning If I Can I Can (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}), was a $350,000 purchase for Musk Creek back in 2016 and has produced a filly by I Am Invincible who sold for $475,000 in 2018 as well as a colt by Hinchinbrook that fetched $450,000 at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

“She’s in foal to American Pharoah at the moment and we plan to send her to Pride Of Dubai,” Williamson said.

“We have been pretty impressed with how he has started out at stud and we are of the opinion that the Pride Of Dubais will only get better at three. It’s the right type of stallion for her, she lacks a bit of height as a mare.”

Cardiac (Encosta De Lago) has already produced the Group 3 winner Declarationofheart (Declaration Of War {USA}) and is a half-sister to the G1 VRC Oaks winner Arapaho Miss (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), who has, in turn, produced a winner of the same race in Miami Bound (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}). A blood brother to Miami Bound by Reliable Man out of Cardiac sold for $200,000 by Musk Creek earlier this year at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

Above: Reliable Man (GB) x Cardiac (colt)

Cardiac recently produced a filly by Dundeel (NZ) and will be heading back to the Arrowfield Stud stallion this year.

“He’s the perfect type for her. She is quite a large mare, so a slightly smaller stallion suits her. Declaration Of Heart was quite a big horse for a first foal and she is the sort of mare you wouldn’t want to send to a big stallion,” Williamson said.

“It’s definitely a family on the up, Arapaho Miss has been doing a great job, It’s another nice family that seems to keep producing, That’s a family we would be looking to keep a filly out of at some point down the track.”

Finding the right fit

Also suited to a stallion with a smaller profile is another of Musk Creek’s mares in stakes-placed Keep De Rose (NZ) (Keeper), and she will revisit Shalaa (Ire), with who she produced a $300,000 colt.

Williamson said the form Shalaa’s first European crop has given it only more reason to send Keep De Rose back to the Arrowfield shuttler having recently produced a Rubick colt.

Imported mare Apologynotaccepted (USA) (Fusaichi Pegasus {USA}), a $500,000 2019 Inglis Chairman’s Sale buy whose Medaglia D’Oro (USA) filly is set to be one of the highlights of Musk Creek’s yearling offering in 2021, is in foal to Written Tycoon and will visit Snitzel later this season.

And Bellissima Miss (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), the daughter of Group 1 winner Veloce Bella (NZ) (Volksraad {GB}), has foaled a Brazen Beau filly and heads to Coolmore’s Pierro this spring.

Cross-border support

Williamson said he felt securing a spread of stallion options for the broodmare band was a strategy which would pay dividends for Musk Creek going forward.

“We feel that we are giving them all a fair chance. We’ve got a fairly equal split between New South Wales and Victoria,” he said.

“We are supporting Toronado with a couple of mares and we are supporting Fiorente. And we’re pretty excited and impressed with the new horse at Spendthrift.

“We will send one of our mares, Leny’s Here, the daughter of Devil Moon, to Omaha Beach, I was really impressed with Omaha Beach. He’s a horse that pedigree wise, he should work. He looks a cracking type with a lovely walk on him. He’s very good looking with a great head.

“We will also be sending a mare, Imperial Empress, to Brazen Beau.

“I feel there is a revival in the Victorian industry at the moment, and it’s good to see the new players getting involved and there are some exciting new stallions.”

Musk Creek’s 2020 mating plans

Broodmare 2020 2019 2018 2017 Notable Results Or Progeny
Personalised (Snitzel) Zoustar Dundeel (NZ) Spirit Of Boom (colt) Out of the stakes winner Personify, the daughter of blue hen Procrastinate
Notre Dame (Exceed And Excel) Written Tycoon Street Boss (USA) (colt) Out of the multiple Group 1 winner Divine Madonna
Deipara (Lonhro) Snitzel I Am Invincible (filly) Exceed And Excel (filly)
Mirette (Unencumbered) Blue Point (Ire) Group 3 winner, Group 1 placegetter
Ascertain (USA) (Blame {USA}) Deep Field A three-time winner in the United States
If I Can I Can (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) Pride Of Dubai American Pharoah (USA) Hinchinbrook (colt)
Cardiac (Encosta De Lago) Dundeel (NZ) Dundeel (NZ) (filly) Reliable Man (GB) (colt) Group 3 producer & a half-sister to the G1 VRC Oaks winner Arapaho Miss
Keep De Rose (NZ) (Keeper) Shalaa (Ire) Rubick (colt) Shalaa (Ire) (colt) Four time winner, Group 2 placed
Apologynotaccepted (USA) (Fusaichi Pegasus {USA}) Snitzel Written Tycoon Medaglia D’Oro (USA) (filly) Group 2 placed
Bellissima Miss (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) Pierro Brazen Beau (filly) So You Think (NZ) (colt)

Article courtesy of Bren O’Brien TDN

Above: Reward For Effort standing at Chatswood Stud

Reward For Effort gelding Moneymore provided David Hayes with the perfect start to his second training stint in Hong Kong, winning Race 2 in the Season Opener at Sha Tin.

“I’m very excited and especially happy for Keith (Yeung), he’s done a lot of work on the horse and he was very confident going into it and rode the horse perfectly.”

“He lost his balance a little bit upon straightening, he got on the wrong leg as you would say but to Keith’s (Yeung) credit he got him back on the right leg and he was very strong over the last 100 metres,” Hayes said.

The Reward For Effort gelding broke from gate eight to settle worse than midfield before peeling out to register a gritty half-length success. Hayes suggested that the six-year-old could further lift his rating as the season progresses.

Replay

“It’s good to see a horse trial well and then run well, it means they’re putting their form together, so he might be a horse to follow in the next month or so,” Hayes said.

“He works like a horse that if he was home, he would be a midweek city horse in Australia, his trackwork suggests that.

“If he had won a race before I would have been a lot more confident but some horses work well and run like pussycats, so I was pleased to see him show a lot of fight and get the job done,” Hayes said.

Reward For Effort has also enjoyed a strong start to the Australian racing season. His 19 individual winners since August 1 sees Reward lead Victoria for both earnings and winners.

Above: Alabama Express

While the green and white colours have been a fixture in Australian racing for over six years, the Yulong project, spearheaded by the vision of chairman Yuesheng Zhang, is only just starting to take shape, with the ambitious acquisition of bloodstock matched by investment in staff and facilities.

The strategy around stallions has taken big steps in the past 12 months with Grunt, the dual Group 1-winning son of O’Reilly (NZ), standing his first season in Victoria last spring, and two excellent stallion prospects, G1 CF Orr S. winner Alabama Express and G1 Blue Diamond S. winner Tagaloa (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}), secured in a spending spree through February this year.

A son of the legendary Redoute’s Choice, Alabama Express debuts at $27,500 (inc GST) and began his stallion career earlier this week in what was another milestone for Yulong Chief Operating Officer Sam Fairgray and his team.

“He’s taken to it like a natural, he’s going really well. He covered a few mares yesterday and covered one this morning,” Fairgray told TDN AusNZ.

“At the moment he’s got 135 mares, so he’s going along really well. I think he’ll end up covering around the 150 mark.

“He’ll have every opportunity with getting some really nice mares to him. It’s good that Mr Zhang wants to do that and help support them with those nice mares.”

“He’ll have every opportunity with getting some really nice mares to him.” – Sam Fairgray

Tagaloa is also from a hugely desirable sireline, being by Lord Kanaloa (Jpn), who has only had 12 yearlings sell through Australian sales rings in the past three years. Being the only Australian Group 1 winner by the Shadai Stallion Station-based sire, he is an excellent recruit for an international operation such as Yulong.

However, Tagaloa’s time in Yulong’s new stallion barn will have to wait as his trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young plot further racetrack success through this spring. The smart colt returned with a close-up third in the G3 Vain S. at Caulfield last week and is second favourite for the G1 Caulfield Guineas next month.

Above: Tagaloa

Grunts on the ground

The 2020 season is a milestone for Grunt as well, with his first foals arriving in recent weeks, much to the delight of Fairgray, who is seeing exactly what he wants in his progeny.

“He’s thrown his quality into them which is great. Most of them are nice, attractive foals with plenty of size and substance about them. They all have good heads and so forth, and from what we’ve seen so far, you’d be really happy,” he said.

Fairgray feels based on the relatively small sample size so far, there should be no hesitation in breeders returning to Grunt again this year.

“I think going on the types of foals he’s thrown, you’d get mares returning,” he said. “He’s going to be well supported again this year. He’s got around 140 mares, which is good for a second-season stallion. Both of them are going to serve nice books and Grunt’s fertility last year was fantastic.

“Hopefully, Alabama’s can be as good, it just makes the job so much easier.”

Top class broodmares a boost

Looking to support its emerging and future stallions, Yulong has built its broodmare band both through local and international investment in recent years.

With two young stallions to support and another one likely to join next year, it was the leading buyer at both the Inglis Australian Broodmare Sale and Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in 2020, buying 26 mares or race fillies in total, and spending over $11.2 million.

In uncertain times, Zhang has not wavered in his desire to build his Australian business and give his stallion acquisitions every chance of success.

“If you believe in your stallions, you have to support them,” Fairgray said. “We think they are two very nice horses that will become successful stallions and we are happy to support them.

“If you believe in your stallions, you have to support them.” – Sam Fairgray

“We are getting a nice broodmare band together. Mr Zhang’s aim is to keep building and building the bloodstock portfolio, so he seems to be doing that and there are some really nice mares among the ones we bought and they are in foal to nice stallions as well.”

Million-dollar mares

Chief among that selection is Viddora (I Am Invincible), the winner of both the G1 Moir S. and the G1 Winterbottom S. who was purchased in foal to Lope De Vega (Ire) for $2.55 million at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

On an overseas cover to Ballyinch Stud’s Lope De Vega, she is due to foal in the next week, after which point a decision will be made on her next destination.

“She’s due around the 10th of this month. At this stage, we will wait and see what she does foaling-wise and then decide where we go from there,” Fairgray said.

Above: Viddora was purchased in foal to Lope De Vega (Ire) for $2.55 million

Being free of Danehill (USA) blood, she has a host of options in Australia, with Fairgray indicating she may be headed north to the Hunter Valley.

“It’s probably more a chance we go external with her but it will depend on what type of foal she has,” he said.

The other seven-figure purchase for Yulong on the Gold Coast was G1 Australian Oaks winner Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock), who cost $2.75 million. She is already in the Hunter Valley for her first season.

“She’s going to go to I Am Invincible. We thought we’d get her in foal and then bring her home. That’s the plan and she’s up in the Hunter now and ready to go, so hopefully, she will get bred in the next week or 10 days,” Fairgray said.

Above: Unforgotten was purchased for $2.75 million

Express plans

While those two mares are both likely to go outside the Yulong stallions, the vast majority of the other purchases will go to either Grunt or Alabama Express.

Another Dollar (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}), the G3 Premier’s Cup winner and G1 Queensland Oaks placegetter who cost Yulong $700,000, will head to Alabama Express in her first year, as will stakes-placed Storytime (NZ) (Savabeel), who cost $575,000 at the Gold Coast and is in foal to I Am Invincible.

The Redoute’s Choice-Zabeel (NZ) cross was also a decisive factor in sending Glitzabeel (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), the dam of G1 Schweppes Oaks winner Princess Jenni (NZ) (High Chaparral {Ire}), who was purchased for $400,000, to Alabama Express.

The success of the mixture of the bloodlines of Redoute’s Choice and Hussonet (USA), something Fairgray has plenty of experience with from his time at Arrowfield, is the driving force behind the decision to send Listed-winning mare Blue Morpho (Hussonet {USA}), a $450,000 Gold Coast buy, to Alabama Express as well.

Above: Hit’Em Hard winning on debut at Albury

A charitable deed by a Victorian breeder five years ago is being repaid across the border in Albury, New South Wales, in a feel good story for the racing and breeding industry.

Rhys Holleran was a novice breeder when he bought a service fee to Three Bridges stallion Stryker in a charity auction conducted by Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria to raise funds for teenager Joey Lynch who was battling a rare form of cancer.

It’s been five years since the auction but the wait for Holleran has been worth it, with the horse produced from the service fee – Hit’em Hard – winning on debut at Albury last week.

And more importantly Joey has done well in his battle with cancer.

Holleran was in the radio business for 30 years and ran the billion-dollar Southern Cross Media group and facilitated the massive merger with Austereo to form Southern Cross Austereo

Now in the horse industry and absolutely loving it, Holleran recalls how he received an email from TBV outlining the auction and it just happened that he was in the market for a stallion to cover his mare, La Cachette (Choisir).

“We hadn’t finalised anything for the mare and she had one foal to Written Tycoon called Hazel’s Diary and we were looking for something and it was for a good cause,” Holleran recalled.

“It was for Joey Lynch. His dad Michael Lynch works for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“So I thought that was a good idea so I put a bid in and it was successful. The real generous people were the people at Three Bridges where Stryker stood.”

Holleran said his winning bid was around $6000, and while Stryker is now about $3000, he couldn’t care because it went to a good cause.

“Michael Lynch rang and thanked me and the people at Three Bridges were just extraordinary and although I got something out of it, they are the ones who donated it and good on them,” he said.

“It was all worthwhile. Joey Lynch is well now and he is on the board of CanTeen – teenagers with cancer.

“I just think it is a nice story.”

Holleran said that after the foal was born his stable name was “Boxer’’ because he was by Stryker and in keeping with the pugilist theme, he officially races as Hit’em Hard.

He was foaled down at David and Kayley Johnson’s Rushton Park at Dhurringile, near Murchison.

And when he arrived home at Holleran and partner Leanne Hulm’s farm, Hazel Park at Kialla, near Shepparton, there was no Mike Tyson about him.

“He was the friendliest horse when he came off the truck and the whole family, we just love this horse,” Holleran said.

“He is a great horse with a ton of personality.

“He had a little bit of a niggle and we never rush our horses and we only ever run them as three year-olds and we would never run them as two year-olds. Our philosophy is that we’d like to leave them for a bit more time.

“He had a trial at Benalla last year and one at Narrandera not so long ago but he had a few niggles and he was still growing so we tipped him out and took him nice and slow and he made his debut on the racetrack last Thursday.”

The stable weren’t the only ones who thought he’d go all right as he started $1.80 favourite over the 900m scamper on the soft five track at Albury.

Holleran said it was the first horse they had had that had won on debut.

“We had another one, Star Of Tennessee, but she got disqualified (was demoted from first on protest),” he said.

“But she also won at Albury on Thursday so we had a double. She is a horse (Starspangledbanner/Miley) I bought at Inglis.”

Hit’em Hard is a half-brother to Hazel’s Diary which has won three races for Holleran who also bred the mare.

Holleran said it was a real family affair when Hit’em Hard won.

The four year-old gelding is trained at Albury by his sister-in-law Donna Scott who is Leanne Hulm’s sister.

“Blake McDougall rode him and he is our niece’s partner and Donna is my sister-in-law and Leanne and I breed horses and spell horses at our farm” Holleran said.

“It’s a big family thing for us and all the owners in the horses are family too, plus a few other people.

“But what a thrill it was with Hit’em Hard winning and it was the end of a really nice story.”

Holleran said they had a band of broodmares of varying ages on their farm and another 14 racehorses which are trained exclusively by Scott.

They started Hazel Park in 2011 with one broodmare and Holleran said their best horse so far is another one he’s bred, Lord Von Costa (Von Costa De Hero/Cashed Up Lady) which has won two stakes races – the Creswick Stakes (1200m) and the Victorian Sprint Final (1200m) at his last start in July.

“I had a very long career in media and my chairman (Tim Hughes) was a part owner of Von Costa De Hero and as it turns out we have got the best one by him,” Holleran said.

“Tim owned Serenade Rose (multiple Group winner, including Group 1 winner of VRC Oaks and AJC Oaks).”

Holleran said he couldn’t put a head collar on horse seven years ago and described himself as a corporate guy who had previously raced a couple of horses with a few mates.

But he is quick learner and was called upon to strap Lord Von Costa at his last start victory. It’s another part of the business he loves.

He said his partner Leanne was from a family of farmers who had always had been involved in racehorses part-time.

“I started getting involved in it and just fell in love with it and it’s a thing I have been incredibly passionate about,” Holleran said.

“We have had a bit of luck and a few of our horses have done okay and Donna is a super trainer and has got a lot of clients other than our horses. She is in every one of our horses and it’s a family thing.

“Our property is name after their grandmother, Hazel Hulm who died a couple of years ago and was 95 years of age. We have got Hazel Park Racing in Albury with Donna and the farm here, Hazel Park.”

Holleran has a half-brother to Lord Von Costa, a three year-old (Our Last Cash) which will race in the New Year and is described as an exciting prospect. He said the full sister to Lord Von Costa, Lady Von Costa, has a foal to Magnus (The Great Man). And there is also an unraced Moshe gelding, My Boy Mo, out of Hit’em Hard’s dam, La Cachette.

He said Our Last Cash was special to him as the colt was orphaned with the death of Cashed Up Lady.

Holleran said that while it’s a cliché to say racing is dreaming, he has been lucky that a lot of their dreams have come true.

Above: Shamus Award, sire of Embolism | Standing at Rosemont Stud

Embolism (Shamus Award) got his career off to a perfect start at Bendigo on Wednesday, taking out the 1300 metre Vale Subzero 3YO Mdn on debut.

Trained by Danny O’Brien and owned by Ultra Racing, the 3-year-old colt is out of Peggie’s Choice(Ihtiram {Ire}), who is the sister to champion mare Miss Andretti.

Both Miss Andretti and the colt’s sire Shamus Award were raced by Sean Buckley’s Ultra Racing.

Embolism settled midfield on the fence under Damien Oliver before angling out into the clear in the straight. Emulating his father’s impressive turn of foot, the rangy colt raced passed the front runners to score by 0.75l.

“I had a chat to Sean Buckley this morning and I said he was effectively in a Listed race for his first run,” O’Brien told Racing.com.

“He’s a colt that we’ve always had a nice opinion of and we did quite a bit with him as a 2-year-old without racing him and he’s come to the races off the one trial today with good improvement to come.

“He’s a colt that we’ve always had a nice opinion of.” – Danny O’Brien

“He’s shown us there’s good races in him.”

Embolism hasn’t been entered for any of the spring features but O’Brien believes he is not far behind fellow Ultra Racing-owned 3-year-old Flying Award (Shamus Award), who finished second in the G3 HDF McNeil S., on Saturday.

“He wouldn’t be far off him in talent albeit Flying Award has already had that autumn preparation as a 2-year-old and has got more experience,” O’Brien said.

“I think the early features like the Caulfield Guineas would be a bit soon for him, but there’s plenty of other races like the Carbine Club, The Vase at The Valley or the Sandown Guineas.

“It would be nice to think that he could make his way to a good race before the end of the spring.”

Bred by Golden Grove Stud, Embolism is the fifth foal but only the second to race out of Peggie’s Choice while she also has another yearling colt by Shamus Award.

Her dam, Peggie’s Bid (Marooned {GB}), produced eight foals including Miss Andretti as well as the four-time stakes winner Danny Beau (Zedrich), Listed scorer Peggie’s Dream (Ihtiram {Ire}) and the Group 2-placed Charlie Beau (Ihtiram {Ire}).

Less than two weeks ago Miss Andretti produced her first winner with the Lloyd Kennewell-trained Mr Raikkonen (Shamus Award), who is also owned by Ultra Racing, breaking his maiden at his second start at Wangaratta.

Monster win for Mozzie

Mozzie Monster (Sebring) made strong G1 Thousand Guineas claims after winning the Silks Events & Functions F&M BM64 H. by 3.5l at Bendigo on Wednesday.

The John Sadler-trained 3-year-old settled towards the back of the field under Jamie Kah and weaved her way past her rivals in the straight, eventually coming up the rail and running away with the race.

Remaining undefeated from two starts after a 3.5l win at Cranbourne on debut, Mozzie Monster is now the equal favourite at $10 on TAB for the Thousand Guineas.

She was purchased by David Digney for $150,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale and is out of G3 How Now S., winner Valentine Miss (Danetime {Ire}), while her brother Asterius is a five-time winner.

Two from two for Tydeus

The Lindsey Smith-trained Tydeus (Written Tycoon) kept his unbeaten record intact at Bendigo on Wednesday, winning the bet365 3YO BM64 H. with ease.

Ridden by Michael Rodd, the 3-year-old colt never looked like being beaten as he settled in second position and hit the front in the straight to score by 1.75l.

Tydeus was purchased by Spicer Thoroughbreds at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale for $50,000.

He broke his maiden on debut over 1200 metres at Warrnambool, winning by 3l and looks set for bigger and better things.

The only foal to race out of Encosta De Lago mare Elsednia, Tydeus hails from the family of former Riverdene Stud resident Kaphero.

Above: Tydeus as a yearling

Article courtesy of Georgie Dennis TDN

Above: Gytrash winning the G3 Concorde Stakes at Randwick

Gytrash – the South Australian Giant Killer – firmed into a $6 TAB Everest second favourite following a dominant victory in today’s G3 Concorde Stakes at Randwick.

Nicknamed the Giant Killer for his reputation of causing upsets over the best sprinters in the land, Gytrash (Lope de Vega x Miss Barley) was at it again today, lowering the colours of odds-on favourite and the world’s best sprinter Nature Strip (Premier Yearling Sale) to surge into Everest calculations.

He led in an Inglis graduates’ trifecta, with Dirty Work (Easter Yearling Sale) in third.

Gytrash (pictured) will represent Inglis in The Everest at Randwick on October 17.

It was an emotional win for trainer Gordon Richards, who described Gytrash as “the horse of a lifetime’’.

“I don’t really get nervous or emotional or celebrate wins much, but knowing what’s on the line this preparation and knowing what we have been offered by Inglis to be involved with, this is probably the most ecstatic moment I’ve ever had on a racetrack, probably even more so than when he won the Lightning because we all know what lies ahead the next six weeks with the Everest,’’ Richards said.

“I know Nature Strip was odds on and he’s a bloody good horse, maybe the best sprinter in the world, but we got him today and it’s going to be an amazing spring as the build up to the Everest continues.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do with the horse next. I’ll make my mind up on Monday I think but at this stage, I might send him to a farm for 10 days, give him a breather and some time on the water walker, then go straight into the Everest.

“The horse has pulled up great which is the most important thing so I’ll sleep on it for a night or two and then make a call on that.

“Today has been amazing, we’ve got some of the horse’s owners here from around Australia, Inglis has been amazing in looking after us and it’s really great to be able to pay them back at least a little bit with this win and hopefully there’s plenty more to come in mid-October.’’

Richards purchased Gytrash for $40,000 from the Maluka Thoroughbreds draft at the 2015 Premier Yearling Sale.

He has now raced 20 times for nine wins and 10 minor placings and $1.32m in earnings.

Two races later at Randwick Dame Giselle (I Am Invincible x Ballet Society) asserted herself the standout 3YO filly of her generation with another strong win in the G2 Furious Stakes, the second leg of the Princess Series.

Her win came a fortnight after she claimed the first leg of the series in the Silver Shadow Stakes.

She will now proceed to the next leg, the Tea Rose Stakes, in the lead-up to the G1 Flight Stakes at Randwick on Epsom Day.

Trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, Dame Giselle is a $500,000 Easter Yearling Sale buy for Go Bloodstock, from the Sledmere Stud draft.

And Dreamforce made it back-to-back wins in the G2 Tramway Handicap with a tough all-the-way victory for trainer John Thompson.

It was a 13th career win for the Easter Yearling Sale offering of Kitchwin Hills and took his career earnings to $2.3m.

He will now likely target the G1 double of the George Main Stakes and Epsom Handicap.

At Moonee Valley, G1 winner Bella Vella (Commands x Forget The Weather) resumed with a strong victory in the G2 McEwen Stakes.

The Inglis Digital pin-up girl was having her first run since claiming her maiden G1 in the Sangster Stakes back in May, when she became the first G1 winner for the Inglis Digital online platform.

Part-owner John Kelton purchased the now 6YO mare for $22,500 at the April 2019 Online Auction, where she was offered by Glenn Haven Farm.

Since then, the Will Clarken-trained Bella Vella has raced 12 times for 7 wins and in excess of $600,000 in prizemoney.

Above: Shandy ridden by Jamie Kah wins the PFD Food Services Handicap at Moonee Valley Racecourse (Natasha Morello/Racing Photos)

Sun Stud’s Melbourne Cup winning stallion Fiorente has produced two recent winners that have notched up a series of consecutive victories to earn them a Caulfield Cup nomination.

Julien Welsh’s Don’t Doubt Dory has won his past three starts and returns to Sandown on Wednesday, where he won at his most recent start when the gelding was first up over 1400m, to tackle a benchmark 78 over 1800m.

And last Saturday’s Moonee Valley winner Shandy has also won her past three as she continues onto a Caulfield Cup preparation.

Unlike the four year-old Don’t Doubt Dory, the five year-old mare does not hold a nomination for the Melbourne Cup.

Sun Stud’s Adam Henry said Fiorente got off to a flying start in the new racing season with 10 winners in August.

With a massive $10,000 reduction in his service fee to assist breeders in these tough times sparked by COVID-19, Henry is confident the stallion will again be well supported.

He said Fiorente had already produced five individual stakes winners – Cousin Ivan, Hawkshot, Moor Gait, Power Scheme and Stars of Carrum – as well as the inaugural VOBIS Sire Guineas winner in Florent.

“We have seen really promising last start winners, including Black Duke up in Sydney,” Henry said.

“He has blactype written all over him and is headed to the Dulcify Stakes next start. Obviously there is Melody Man in South Australia who won by a big space the other day as well. Jake Stephens has got him and says he hasn’t been this excited about a horse since Alcopop (Group 1 winner of $1.9 million). He knows a good horse when he sees one.

“It may not be this spring, but definitely in the autumn.”

Henry said the 2013 Melbourne Cup winner was in the top echelon of winners as far as stallions go and showed he could get a Group 2 winner and Group 1 Australian Guineas placed horse like Hawkshot which now races in Hong Kong and Group 2 winner Stars of Carrum which was second in the Group 1 Victoria Derby.

“He can get that real top class horse,” he said.

“It’s just exciting to see his last start winners and you’d like to think they’ll get to stakes level. They are only going to get better.

“We were happy to see Shandy register the hat-trick on Saturday,” Henry said.

“She was second favourite for a stakes race the Saturday before, but unfortunately because of a stone bruise didn’t race, but she came out and brained them after doing all the work at Moonee Valley.

“I see they have thrown in a nomination for the Caulfield Cup so they have a big opinion of her.

“And another of Fiorente’s last start winners, Don’t Doubt Dory, he has got a Caulfield Cup nomination. Julien Welsh has said he has never had a horse recover so well after a race.”

Henry said with the Feehan Stakes (1600m) being run last Saturday, was a reminder of how good Fiorente was when he showed a remarkable turn of foot, a trait he has passed onto his progeny, to win the race in 2013.”

Shandy was bred by Sharnee Rose, along with her parents Dennis and Coleen Rose and a couple of family friends.

Sharnee is racing manager for Flemington training partners Simon Zahra and Mathew Ellerton who obviously train the mare.

“I am thrilled with the way she is going and the boys have had an opinion of her for quite a while,” Sharnee said.

“But we have just had a lot little niggles and then she’s had accidents, so yeah it has taken a while to come around but it’s really good.

“I think we are going to nominate for the Naturalism (Group 3 2000m race at Caulfield on September 19) and see if we can get in there and we’ll just have to chase some black type ratings but it’s going to make it a bit tricky. She is going good and looking a million buck at the moment.”

The Rose family also breed Shandy’s dam, Portland Paije (Portland Pirate/ Enchanting Style) which they also raced.

The family first started breeding when they bought a mare, Enchanting Style, which was covered by Archway, and produced three-time city winner Hey Rosie.

The next foal produced by Enchanting Style was Shandy’s dam, Portland Paije.

“Mum and dad owned shares in that good horse Reggie, we didn’t breed her, but she was probably the best that they owned,” Sharnee said.

“Portland Paije was quite good, but she broke down. We have some city class horses but Shandy looks like being the best of them.”

Sharnee, who has worked with Zahra and Ellerton for 13 years, said the horses are raised on the family farm at Heywood in the Western districts and are really treated like part of the family.

“Shandy thinks she is a human and has always been treated like one of mum’s kids,” she said.

While Shandy was the last foal out of Portland Paije, they have a half-sister – Chilli Pepper (Reward For Effort) from the dam which is due to foal to Fiorente next month.

Sharnee said she went to the stud to inspect Fiorente as they were looking for a stallion that would throw some staying pedigree and speed.

“Physically he is just amazing and because of that speed that was the key for me to breed something that was not going to do too many laps at the back of the field,” she said.

“We have supported him this year. My parents have a mare that went to him but lost the foal so she is going back. It’s the mother of Sam Slick (Pensation) that Greg Eurell had and we may look at sending Shandy’s half-sister back again.”

While Sharnee liked Fiorente, the “boys” – Zahra and Ellerton – keep encouraging her to support the stallion.

And after Saturday’s victory Zahra was keen to praise the mare in his postrace interview.

“She is really coming of age,’’ Zahra said.

“She relaxed nicely, didn’t get the best (of) runs but Jamie (Kah)

didn’t panic and just kept her in a nice rhythm. She looked the winner a long way out but then was probably knocking up a little bit late.

“The extra week off just might have told late.

“It’s great for Sharnee, our racing manager, and her family. They’re always putting a couple (of horses) through the stable and getting their friends in. They’ll get a night buzz out of that.

Asked what was next, Zahra said:

“We’ll raise the bar. We did nominate her for the Caulfield Cup cheekily but we’ll get her up to 2000 (metres) and she’s got a nice win in her somewhere through the carnival.

“Just love the way she’s going and she looked terrific in the yard. We’re over that little speed hump last week and onwards and upwards.”

Above: Barood now standing at Glen Eden Stud

What a terrific job Starspangledbanner has been doing in both hemispheres, from limited numbers well represented by 143 winners, 14 of whom have been successful at stakes level including the Group One winners The Wow Signal and Millisle.

Boasting a 65.3% winners-to-runners strike rate in the southern hemisphere, Starspangledbanner hails from one of Australia’s favourite families and its fans will be happy that heading to stud this year is the dashing chestnut’s full brother Barood.

Due to make his debut at Glen Eden Stud, Barood is, says the farm’s Sonia O’Gorman “truly magnificent.”

“He is big, strong and powerful with a gentle temperament and one staff member he has joked that he is so gorgeous that she’d swap her husband for him!”

A $450,000 graduate of the 2014 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, the imposing colt bred by Makybe Racing & Breeding made his debut for the Peter & Paul Snowden stable at Warwick Farm in November 2015, Barood had to work hard from an outside gate but his gutsy third saw him sent out an odds-on favourite a few weeks later at Canterbury.

Despite striking early interference, Barood was strong to the line saluting by a half length – impressing Peter Snowden who noted that “he is a horse of good talent who has a great turn of foot.”

Quickly up in class – again finding trouble – Barood was subsequently second to the talented Sir Bacchus at Randwick.

Racing wide in a race not run to suit, Barood was game earning black type at just the second run of his second campaign, third in the Listed Queensland Day Stakes at Doomben. He would go onto to race for the Sue Murphy stable in South Australia, winning over 1050m at Morphettville in July 2017 and a couple of months later at Bendigo.

Still in form the following year, Barood won two in a row over sprinting trips at Morphettville – completing another double at that track in February 2019; proving himself to be tough and durable.

“He is my favourite horse,” Murphy, who was also Barood’s regular track rider, said.

“He’s got a lovely temperament and he is great to ride – it is like sitting in an arm chair but you can feel the motor under you like an explosive bomb!”

All up the winner of eight races and over $310,000 in stakes, Barood is of course a son of the globe-trotting dual Group One winning sprinter Choisir, outstanding sire of 95 stakes winners including 11 Group One winners.

With progeny earnings in excess of $121 million with stakes winners in Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, France, Italy, America, South Africa, Hong Kong, Macau, India and Turkey, Choisir is a truly international stallion.

And he is already proving himself as a sire of sires with Starspangledbanner, Olympic Glory (five stakes winners including the recent French Group One winner Watch Me; exciting winner of five of her first nine starts) and Proisir each siring stakes winners whilst the likes of Divine Prophet, The Mission, Defcon and Worthy Cause have runners to come.

Barood is one of ten winners (from 11 to race) for the terrific broodmare Gold Anthem, a stakes placed city winning daughter of Made Of Gold and the Vain mare National Song whose half-sister is the AJC Oaks winning high class broodmare Circles Of Gold.

Dam of the grand gallopers Elvstroem and Haradasun, both of whom won local and international Group One races, Circles Of Gold is also grandam of the Group One gallopers Highland Reel and Cape Of Good Hope as well as the Group winners Idaho and Noble Prize.

What a family this is with Gold Anthem’s stakes placed daughter Gold Chant producing the 1000 Guineas winner Amicus and the Listed winner Cheer Leader whilst other quality performers amongst Barood’s relations include the Group one winners Bit Of A Skite (All-Aged Stakes, George Adams Stakes) and Polar Success (Golden Slipper Stakes), the Group winners Marcado, Gold Wells, Ariante and Bring Me The Maid and the Listed winners Tagine, Shagolvin, Yankee Gold, Joan’s Best, Zupacool, Sarsarun, Beamer and Ain’t Seen Nothin’.

This is a family – one that descends from the acclaimed matriach Eulogy, also ancestress of such high class gallopers as Vo Rogue, Unpainted, Plush, Regal Praise, Fury’s Order, Kingdom Bay, Challen, Liebestraum, Nizam’s Ring, Rink, Elounda Bay, Red Handed, Gay Saba, Jolly Jake, Red Tempo, Show Gate, Zephyr Bay, Il Tempo, Channel Rise, Honour, Sublime, Burletta, Private Steer, Rubiscent, Lowland, All Silent, Tell A Tale, Platelet, Hawkspur, Ambitious Dragon, Sacred Kingdom and Bonecrusher.

Visit Glen Eden at: https://www.gleneden.com.au/

OR: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3163593427034794/

Or contact Sonia O’Gorman for further details: 0407 811 411

Above: Yulong’s Grunt x Peninsular Miss (Colt)

The 1st of September signals the start of Spring and the commencement of the breeding season.

It is hard to believe how quickly this year is flying by with everything that is taking place in the world at the moment.

Over the past six months, I have provided regular updates about changes and protocols within the industry. To make it easier for everyone to access these updates, protocols and changes, we have created a section on our website called ‘COVID-19 protocols, which you can access here.

In the last 24 hours, I have been getting questions from breeders, both those coming to Victoria and those wishing to cross the NSW border about which permit type they need to select when they apply. When you are completing the permit be sure to select, Movement of freight for a commercial purpose’ not ‘Agricultural worker’.

As I have mentioned previously, TBV are also happy to write you a letter to accompany the permit. In saying this I have not heard of anyone needing to use the letter when they go across the border.

While this season will be different for everyone, I have no doubt that we will take it in our stride and make the most of it.

And, as always you can contact me at tbv@racingvictoria.net.auor on my mobile.

On behalf of everyone at Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria, I wish you the best of luck for the season ahead.


Above: Written Tycoon

In 2013, when Mark Rowsthorn took control of Woodside Park Stud from his father, just a month into the job one of his first major decisions was to purchase into the then promising young sire Written Tycoon.

Recently crowned Champion Victorian Sire for a fourth consecutive year, such is the opinion of Written Tycoon (pictured below) that leading Hunter Valley-based Arrowfield Stud brokered a deal with the shareholders to stand the multiple Group 1-producing sire in NSW for the season. Rowsthorn’s second stallion purchase came a few years later when securing, in partnership with Widden Stud, the then unproven Zoustar.

While no longer involved in the ownership of the Group 1-producing sire, Woodside Park Stud played an integral role in his initial success, having stood him in Victoria for two seasons early in his career. Since then, Rowsthorn has been instrumental in also securing the purchases, in full or part, of Rich Enuff, Cable Bay, Tosen Stardom and Foxwedge.

Yet to purchase a stallion who hasn’t succeeded, Rowsthorn is overjoyed by the start Rich Enuff has had to date with nine first crop winners, more than any other active Victorian-based sire, while Cable Bay’s exploits in the northern hemisphere have set him up for success in Australia with his first crop 2YOs set to launch in the Spring.

Foxwedge continues to go from strength to strength, with his first Woodside Park Stud-conceived foals arriving this season, along with the rave reviews the first crop (now yearlings) of Tosen Stardom garnered, the future looks exciting not only for Woodside Park Stud, but also for the Victorian breeding industry.

Article courtesy of Breednet

Above: Fiorente standing at Sun Stud

A promising staying prospect by Melbourne Cup hero Fiorente (IRE), lightly raced four year-old Melody Man opened his account with a runaway win at Murray Bridge on Wednesday as a short priced favoruite.

Trained by Jake Stephens and ridden by Todd Pannell, Melody Man was placed at his first two starts and showed the benefit of those outings to power away and win the 1800m maiden by nearly five lengths.

Retained to race, Melody Man is the first foal from stakes-placed Keep the Faith mare Extra Virgin, who was covered again by Fiorente last spring.

The Sun Stud based son of Monsun has had a winning start to the season with recent metropolitan winners Black Duke, Shandy and Don’t Doubt Dory among his eight winners since August 1.

Fiorente stands at a fee of $17,600.

Article courtesy of Breednet

Above: Dr Katie Wilcox checking in on the yearlings

It is with great news that Dr Katie Wilcox and Daniel Nevill welcome their first child to the world and we would like to send our congratulations to them both. We managed to catch up with Katie before being one of the first to welcome a new arrival on the farm.

Growing up surrounded by city life in London, a career with horses seemed far from Katie’s sights. The interest in horses started at 7 years old, when her grand-parents moved to a house that was located next to a riding school. It is fair to say from then onwards she spent a lot of time visiting her grand-parents!  Katie was very keen to learn how to ride. ‘My background didn’t involve anything to do with veterinary but my interest in horses started from a young age thanks to my mother who was also a keen rider.  She encouraged me to follow my dream despite us living in London and my terrible childhood allergies!  We spent most weekends and school holidays with my grand-parents, so I could be close to the horses.’

After excelling at science through-out school, Katie embarked on veterinary studies where she could combine the science with her love of animals. ‘I fell into the thoroughbred industry, my first job out of school was riding Arabian racehorses. During my time at university I would ride out for local trainers and attended the races quite a bit.’

Upon completion of university, Katie gained a two-year internship at the birthplace of Thoroughbred Horse Racing, Newmarket. ‘This really kick started my career in the thoroughbred industry.  Newmarket is the absolute heart of racing and breeding in the UK. I was working at the biggest equine hospital in Europe, the Newmarket Equine Hospital.’ The variety of surgeries and cases that Katie was involved with was vast and really heightened her knowledge and hands-on experience.

The next move for her career, Katie wanted to do a stud season which would bring a further depth in knowledge. Through the contacts at Newmarket Equine Hospital an opportunity arose to travel to Australia, where Katie gained a role at Scone Equine Hospital (SEH). ‘I had always been keen on coming to Australia. I knew the industry was big in Australia and I would get the exposure to the breeding industry in Scone. Many of my colleagues from Newmarket had enjoyed their time here.’

After four years in Scone, Katie decided it was time to move on from the Hunter Valley. ‘I thoroughly enjoy my four seasons working there but couldn’t see myself settling in Scone; for me it is that little bit too rural.’ Katie decided to take a short break and explored New Zealand as well as completing charity work in India whilst deciding what her next career move would be.

While in New Zealand at the Karaka sales, Katie met some of the team from Randwick Equine Centre and took a position working in their Southern Highlands branch based in Bowral.  However, Katie was tempted back by the Scone Equine Group a couple of years later when they asked her to head up a practice they purchased in Victoria from Dr Terry Lowis.  This became Avenel Equine Hospital (AEH), and since then Katie hasn’t looked back and has taken AEH from strength to strength.

‘My passion for horses has grown through-out my career. I have always felt a connection with horses, I have a real respect for them and enjoy being around them. I love the variety of my job and the challenges that we face on a daily basis, from getting a difficult mare in foal, nursing a sick foal back to health or assisting my clients to get a good result in the sales ring.  For Katie, it is not only the work with the horses that she enjoys so much, it is also the stud life. ‘It is the people you meet, the farms and the relationships that you develop with them. Everything that goes on with a stud is an enjoyable aspect of my working day.’

In Katie’s role as Director of Avenel Equine Hospital, the breeding season is one of the busiest but most rewarding times of the year. ‘We see a large number of mares arriving on the studs for the season, new foals and new stallions standing at stud. There is always the anticipation in August as it gets going and we head into a new breeding season.’ Of course, this also brings many new challenges each year and this can include some stressful emergency situations, and some long working hours. ‘It can also impact on your personal life. Especially doing dual seasons, there is not a lot of downtime. It is also very challenging when you have a case that you are not winning with, losing any of of our patients is very difficult.’

‘Victoria has grown hugely since I have been here the last five years. We have seen some big new players opening farms here. I think this area has a lot of potential and hopefully we are going to see continued growth in the future.’

‘2020 has definitely been the biggest challenge yet, both personally and professionally.  It started with a move for my partners business Hollylodge Thoroughbreds, renovating a new house for us to move into and then navigating the many hurdles COVID 19 has thrown at our business’, all while welcoming our first child to the world.  This season will be quite different as I’m going to have to hand over the reins at AEH and try and manage things from afar while embracing the new demands of motherhood!’

Above: Dr Katie Wilcox and Daniel Nevill at The Breeders Awards 2019

The advice that Katie would pass to someone looking at getting into the industry is ‘It is not something that you can go into lightly, you need to be very passionate about a career in stud practice. You have to be prepared to work very hard and put in the hours. I have always tried to absorb as much knowledge as I can from the people who I have been fortunate enough to work with and take every opportunity that has presented itself to me.  Push yourselves, travel and get out of your comfort zone.

 

 

 

 

Leading Victorian farm Rosemont Stud stands some of the best stallions in Victoria and you can see them all up close and personal this week in virtual parades.

There will be a virtual parade for each of the five stallions (one per day) for the week beginning Monday August 31st from 6pm live every evening on Rosemont’s Facebook page.

Monday – Strasbourg (I Am Invincible)
A brilliant colt by a champion sire, Strasbourg is I Am Invincible’s highest rated 2YO to go to stud since Brazen Beau in 2015.

Above: Strasbourg

A $750,000 Easter yearling, Strasbourg retires to stud as a Group II winning, multiple Group performer in his juvenile season and will receive overwhelming support from not only Rosemont and China Horse Club, but breeders throughout Australia with all breeding rights that were available now secured.

Tuesday – Starcraft (Soviet Star)
One of the best, proven sires at under $10k – some 40 stakes horses including 20 stakes winners that have won over $42m in progeny earnings and tracking at very strong 60% winners to runners.

Above: Starcraft

A leading sire in Hong Kong with multiple Group winners, Starcraft also delivers in the sale ring with his yearlings in 2020 selling for up to $340,000, $320,000 proving his perennial worth is as strong as ever.

Wednesday – Shamus Award (Snitzel)
The #1 Son of the #1 Sire. Amassed over $5m in earnings last season with the equal most stakes winners of any current stallion standing for under $20,000.

Above: Shamus Award

Sired the fast finishing runner up in both the Group I MRC Memsie Stakes and Group III McNeil Stakes in Mr Quickie and Flying Award and you can read about them here.His progeny have sold at auction for up to $550,000 within the last 12 months and Shamus Award has over 120 2yo’s in work this season representing his biggest ever crop.

Thursday – Nostradamus (Medaglia D’Oro) 
Sire of arguably Australia’s most exciting filly, CLAIRVOYANCE. A sensation in Western Australia, this undefeated filly has won her last two starts in Perth by a combined 10 lengths +

Above: Nostradamus

Currently #2 on the 2nd Season Sire list ahead of Headwater, Vancouver.

Friday – Starspangledbanner (Choisir) 
The King Of Victoria. Four time Group I wining champion sprinter, Royal Ascot hero ANDthe #1 Sire in the state by Stakes Winners to Runners – over 6.3%!

Above: Starspangledbanner

Since start of July, he’s had four individual stakes-winners worldwide from 31 winners + another three stakes performers! Among those winners is his $2million Inglis Millennium winner Prime Star, who scored his first new season victory at Rosehill last Saturday.

Article courtesy of Breednet

Above: Royal Meeting winning G1 Chantilly Criterium International

Saturday’s race day at South Africa’s Greyville circuit was the final meeting of the interrupted Champions Season, and with four elite levels races on the card, the competition was hotly contested.

A Gr.1 winner at 2 like so many in his pedigree, Royal Meeting’s close relative Van Halen captured the Gr.1 Mercury Sprint (1200m) defeating a host of Gr.1 winners including last start Gr.1 winner Warrior’s Rest, to take his overall tally to seven wins from 24 starts highlighted by three black type victories.

By Danehill’s son Oratorio, the mating was planned to replicate that of Royal Meeting’s six-time black type winning half brother Heavy Metal, a son of Exceed And Excel, clearly highlighting that the blood of Danehill, which is so prolific in Australia, works exceptionally well with the family.

Van Halen is out of the Gr.1 placed Rock Concert, a full-sister to the Gr.1-winning, Champion 2YO Filly Rock Opera, who is in turn the dam of the Gr.1-winning, unbeaten 2YO Royal Meeting, who is set to cover his first book of mares in the coming days at Aquis Seymour.

Standing at a fee of $11,000 (inc. GST), Royal Meeting is a son of Invincible Spirit, whose own son I Am Invincible set the benchmark for the numbers of stakes winners in a single season in Australia, having also sired nine individual Gr.1 winners led by the stakes producing sire Brazen Beau.

For further information on Royal Meeting, or any of the stallions on Aquis’ 2020 Roster, please contact our Sales Team.

Above: Subzero won the 1992 Melbourne Cup – image Steve Hart

Saturday was not only about the great spring racing as it also marked the end of an amazing life with the passing of beloved Melbourne Cup winner Subzero, a horse who made a real difference to everyone he met.

The 1992 Melbourne Cup winner, known affectionately as ‘Subbie’, was humanely euthanised by veterinarians at the Bendigo Equine Hospital after battling ill health in recent days.

His passing comes a little over two months after the sad loss of his best mate and owner Graham Salisbury after a long-term illness.

Above: Subzero and Graham Salisbury – image Racing Victoria

RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said: “This is another incredibly sad day for all within the Victorian racing industry as we learn of the passing of everyone’s favourite horse, Subzero.

“Subbie’s contribution to the sport on and off the track was incredible and thoroughbred racing will forever be indebted to a horse that touched the hearts of both racing fans and everyday Australians.

“As a Melbourne Cup winner he became a household name, but it was his work in retirement that earned him legendary status.

“Subbie was racing’s most famous equine ambassador and we were privileged to have had him headline our ‘Subzero Goes to School’ program for many years travelling to every corner of the state and beyond.

“Many youngsters have grown up having only had the chance to meet and pat one horse. That horse was Subbie and the laughter that emanated from those kids when Subbie nodded his head to a question of whether he had a girlfriend is something that will live long with many of us.

“From school children to the elderly, those battling ill health to Hollywood A-listers, Subbie and Graham did plenty to bring joy to their lives whilst promoting the sport of thoroughbred racing at the same time.

“When the time is right we will have a discussion with the Salisbury family and our Clubs about an appropriate tribute to Subzero. In the meantime, we send our thoughts and best wishes to Anita and the Salisbury family.”

Article courtesy of Breednet

Above: Polanski

For a stallion that has never had an abundance of broodmares, the much maligned Polanski continues to produce winners.

A $4000 purchase from Chatswood’s Stud draft at the 2012 Melbourne Autumn Yearling Sale, former Cranbourne trainer Robert Laing boldly predicted the son of Rakti (Polish Precedent/Ragera) would win the Group 1 Victoria Derby.

Laing was right with the entire winning the big race in 2013, but the trainer made the prediction well before Polanski won the Listed UCI Stakes and the Group 3 Norman Robinson in the two lead-up races to the Derby.

But just one start after his Derby triumph the horse was retired through injury to end his career with four wins from just 10 starts.

So what happens with a horse like Polanski who finished his career as an entire?

Well, that’s where local veterinarian Dr Jacqui McGregor stepped in after having a lot to do with the treatment of Polanski throughout his brief but successful career.

McGregor, who admits she adores Polanski, decided to stand him at her Mornington Peninsula property.

Asked how many mares they were getting to Polanski, Jacqui quickly said: “None. He has not ever been commercial and that’s why I got him because no one wanted him.

“Ross Warner, (the main owner) and I have tried, we’ve spent a lot of money on advertising and everything but it meant nothing.

“He is by Rakti and everyone just pots him but we just love him and we don’t care.”

Polanski brought up another winner- Miss Polanski – at Mornington last week for local trainers David and Coral Feek. La Marita won for Udyta Clarke at the latest Bendigo meeting, while Gennady ran third at Sale on Sunday for Cranbourne trainer Enver Jusufovic.

Jacqui and her husband Simon Lee, who has started training at Pakenham, have bred several by Polanski, while Laing also sent several mares to the stallion in his first couple of years.

She said Ross Warner had consistently sent six to eight mares to the stallion.

“We get a few outside mares, but he is not commercial and it is a love job for us,” Jacqui said.

“We are racing them and we want to get stayers and we are pretty passionate about it and we are going to die trying.

“But we just love him and I believe in him, I really do and I wouldn’t be spending all this time, money and effort if I didn’t. It is satisfying seeing them come out and race.

“While everyone pots him and says he isn’t commercial, I just love him. I walk out the back and see him and I think how lucky am I to have him – I just love him and he is a really special horse and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”

Polanski has served only 153 mares since his first season in 2014 and while he started with 49, his numbers have steadily declined.

Compared to the commercial stallions, Jacqui said it was her opinion Polanski had done well from the limited number of mares he’d served. She admits to being a bit shocked at first that Polanski wasn’t embraced, especially with a push to breed Australian stayers.

Despite her desire to get Polanski as many mares as possible, Jacqui is not interested in him serving outside mares that don’t match his genetics as she is cautious about only breeding good horses

“He has done his job and doesn’t owe anyone anything,’’ she said.

“But we have got some lovely horses by him and I think they are only getting better as they mature, I just think they are. We’ll see what happens and hopefully in a couple of years it is going to be excitable.”

After serving 14 mares last season and eight the year before that, Jacqui admits at this stage they don’t have any outside mares booked to him this season but he’ll continue to receive support from her mares, as well as Warner again sending four of his five mares.

“There have been a few people knocking on the door but they really haven’t matched up that well so I really haven’t encouraged them because there’s no point in breeding them just because you think he is a cheap stallion,” she said.

“He has got no Danehill him so he going to match really well with those types of mares. I think he matches back to anything that has got a bit of Rainbow Quest and that Quest For Fame line of stallion.”

Jacqui operates Ducks Crossing Farm at Tyabb, which she describes as a boutique thoroughbred and equine veterinary facility, and it’s where Polanski is the only stallion.

Obsession might be too strong a word to describe Jacqui’s fascination with Polanski but she jokes that “the Polanski project” is happening at their place.

“We are going to basically live in a tent so we can afford to do what we want with Polanski,” Jacqui joked.

“He comes first and we believe in him to the point where everything goes by the bye. It’s pretty hard but deep down I know he is going to pull it off.

“He is a one off, is our Clancy and a very special horse to do what he did and to do what he is doing now.”

Jacqui said that Cranbourne trainer Udyta Clarke, who has got two by Polanski, keeps telling her that Polanski will do it. Fellow Cranbourne trainer Greg Eurell has got a three year-old he likes, while David and Coral Feek have another Polanski in their stables which they also rate.

“He throws a type,” she said. “He was such a good type himself. A lot of them are big.

“He was always an impressive horse, but was pretty difficult in the early stages and I’ll give Robbie credit for doing a job to get him to work for them because Polanski doesn’t take crap from people.

“You have to get him on side because he is a pretty dominant horse but I have known him all along and he’s has been a handful but a character and that’s the other thing about him.

“It’s probably like having a pet crocodile that you really love and admire from afar, but he is just pretty full of himself.

“Here I am standing him at stud after telling Laing to geld him because he was going to kill me when I gave him his antibiotics.”

Jacqui said she can remember telling Laing it would be safer for all concerned if the Rakti yearling was a gelding, but the trainer continually told her the colt would win the Derby.

After breaking down with what Jacqui described as a horrific tendon injury in his first run back in the Group 1 Futurity Sakes after winning the Derby, he was nearly put down.

“Laingy rang me from Caulfield and said I’m going to lose him but I said don’t put him down and put him in a splint and bring him to my place and we’ll let the dust settle and then decide what to do,” he said.

“I am one man vet clinic and have a little hospital at home and I had him boxed and in a splint for three months and my husband walked him up and down the driveway for six months after we got him back on deck.”

There were stud offers for Polanski but when nothing eventuated on the eve of the breeding season Jacqui told the owners to leave him with her and she’d start him off as a sire.

“I said to Laing when he said the colt would win the Derby, righto, are you dreaming but he was right,” she said.

Now it’s Jacqui who dares to dream what Polanski can do and says the results are starting to come now as his progeny grow older.

Above: Behemoth wins the G1 Memsie Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)

The aptly named Behemoth added another “I wish it was me” story when the five-year-old gelding won the Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday to take his earnings to $1.3 million.

It’s the sort of prizemoney that wouldn’t have been out of the question for a weanling sold for $120,000.

The pain for some is that when the All Too Hard weanling was offered several months later as a yearling, he was sold for a measly $6000.

While it could have been expected that the colt’s price would keep increasing when it came to be offered as a yearling, the only thing that kept growing was the horse.

On behalf of an investing syndicate Blue Gum Farm’s Phil Campbell, in conjunction with Paul Guy’s Heritage Bloodstock, paid $120,000 for the weanling colt at the Great Southern Sale in 2016. He was offered by Tyreel Stud.

It was always the intention to sell him as a yearling but by that time he’d grown into something of a monster with the general consensus that he was just too big to appeal to buyers.

To further complicate things, the colt was withdrawn from Blue Gum’s draft at the 2017 Melbourne Premier Yearling after hurting himself in the box at Oaklands Junction.

“He was down at Oaklands Junction as part of our Premier draft but unfortunately he hurt himself in the box and he was sore and we couldn’t put him through the ring,” he said.

“So he wasn’t actually offered at the sale despite being down there. We just had to put him on a float and take him home.”

Campbell said they bought Behemoth as a weanling knowing he was a big colt but liking the way he used himself. The problem was that he grew into an even bigger colt and was “a rather plain Jane sort of yearling.’’

“I think the horse’s build, his size, coupled with All Too Hard just being a little bit slow off the mark with his first crop of two year-olds, look we took a calculated risk and this one didn’t pay off for us,” he said.

“But we feel good that we saw enough in him as a weanling to think he was going to make a horse, unfortunately for us it just took longer than we had.”

Campbell said that he’d combined with Guy’s Heritage Bloodstock to buy yearlings for a group of investors and they’d had a couple of years where they’d done exceptionally well.

He said unfortunately Behemoth was among a group that didn’t do so well.

“It’s funny you know, even as recently as Melbourne Premier this year, the buying public just don’t like buying great big horses and the ones we struggled with this year were the big horses again,” Campbell said.

“Behemoth was a struggle for that reason and you only have to look at his name to understand his size. He is a monster, but I have long held the belief that if they are big and they have natural ability, their size becomes an advantage. He is living proof of that.”

Campbell said the rule with the investors was that the horses were bought as weanlings and they were sold as yearlings and it was a case of taking the profit or copping the loss.

When Behemoth was withdrawn from Melbourne Premier because of injury the decision was made to send him to Queensland a few months later to sell at the Magic Millions Gold Coast National Yearling Sale

“We prepped him again here at Blue Gum and sent him up to Nick Hodges at Riversdale Stud (Scone) just before the sale,” Campbell said.

“Nick also said he couldn’t get any traction showing him to people because he was too big and plain and he was finding it difficult getting anyone interested in him.”

Behemoth was one of 20 yearlings offered by Riversdale Stud.

Campbell admitted that when he had the colt entered for Melbourne Premier he feared they’d struggle against the purchase price.

He said they were getting the same feedback as Hodges received when he took the horse to the Gold Coast sale.

“People were just passing over him thinking he was too big and not ‘sexy’ enough looking and had the All Too Hard factor at that time of his career. Look at how terrifically successful All Too Hard has gone on to be now,” Campbell said.

“But at that time he certainly wasn’t that.”

“To be honest we thought we’d be struggling to get our outlay back on him but of course to see him sold for six grand was a crying shame. On the other hand I am just rapt for David Jolly (trainer) who is a good guy and those guys who did put their hand up and good luck to them.”

“The result was a disappointment because there was good competition on the horse as a weanling and I’m sure he didn’t have a reserve anywhere near $120,000 then so other people liked him like we did but unfortunately he just grew up as a big, ugly duckling as a yearling. Just like a big gawky kid.”

Campbell said one could sit there and get down in the mouth about it but his same group had bought weanlings around that time for $80,000 (sold for $200,000), $105,000 (sold for $235,000), $150,000 (sold for $230,000), $200,000 (sold for $460,000), etc.

“It’s swings and roundabouts and if anyone in this business thinks they are going to get it right 100 per cent of the time, they are dreaming,” he said.

“I say to the people who finished up buying this horse, good luck to them and we are glad that we had some association with him.”

And Behemoth’s dam – Listed winner Penny Banger (Zedrich/Miss Firecracker) – was purchased by Darren Dance of Esker Lodge and Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, in foal to Scissor Kick for $30,000.  Dance said he sold the Scissor Kick foal out of Penny Banger for $85,000 but kept a share in the three year-old filly, the last foal produced by the mare which unfortunately was killed in a paddock accident.

“Wylie Dalziel bought it,” he said.

“Behemoth is a great story and shows that anyone has got a chance in this game.”

The Scissor Kick filly was named Danny’s Sparkle and finished second on debut at Echuca in July and hasn’t raced since.

Bloodstock agent John Price, who bought Behemoth for Grand Syndicates, watched from his Cranbourne home as the gelding scored the most significant win of his career.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Ilovethiscity (Image: Breednet)

Noor Elaine Farm’s Mark Calwell has no regrets about dropping their stallion Ilovethiscity’s modest $5500 service fee to what it was in 2018 – $4400.

The sale of the sire’s son, Ilovemyself, to Hong Kong and the emergence of jockey Clayton Douglas’ first starter as a trainer – Barocha – has brought more attention to the stallion.

Barocha, also the subject of lucrative Hong Kong offers, strolled in by five lengths at his only start after being backed in from $6 to start $1.75 favourite at Sale last month.

The Group 1 winning IIovethiscity (Magic Albert/Kensington Rose) served his biggest book of mares in 2018 – 70, after having 59 last year.

He is on target to surpass his 2018 figures.

With a strike rate of around 64 percent winners to runners and already with four individual Stakes winners, IIovethiscity produced another winner at Sale on Sunday, with Shenanigan scoring his second win (plus a second) from five starts.

Calwell said things were going along extremely well for the stallion.

He said that once they announced the reduced service fee they were always going to honour it regardless of what happened.

“I wouldn’t think the horse would be standing for that next year, but once we announced it we decided to honour it and hopefully we’ll get him a decent book of mares,” Calwell said.

Calwell said the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact other studs were doing the right thing by dropping their fees in these unprecedented times was the main reason why they decided to follow.

Asked if had second thoughts after the hype associated with Barocha, Calwell said: “No, not really. I think the horse is to the stage now where he has just got to keep numbers coming through.

“Clayton’s horse looks like it’s pretty smart. You don’t win like that if you’re no good.

“The spruik was huge.”

Calwell said while there was a big chance IIovethiscity would have his biggest book this season and although contracts are signed, the mares still had to turn up at the farm.

“At this stage the feedback has been good, bookings have been good and we are just hoping that we can have a good season with him,” he said.

“The first year we had him he did 70 and that was his biggest book and I think he is fair chance of knocking that off this year, but we’ll see what happens.”

IIovethiscity stood at Neville Murdoch’s Larneuk Stud from his first season in 2012 when he served 43 mares. He served only 28 mares in 2017 before transferring to Noor Elaine Farm.

Calwell admits to being a bit nonplussed when they were first offered the stallion but became more interested when they delved into his figures.

“He was doing pretty well, ‘’ he said.

“I didn’t take a lot of notice of the figures (services) previously but thought if we could get him some mares then he might have a half a chance but he is doing really good job now.”

Noor Elaine Stud has been a supporter of IIovethiscity and provided him with about 15 of their own mares to give him a good chance to show his ability.

“We are stumping up, the shareholders are stumping up and he has got a lot of nice outside bookings this year so we’ll see where it goes,” Calwell said.

“In some cases he is getting a better quality mare but it is not easy for a horse standing at four or five grand to get really good mares.

“But he is getting some reasonable mares now.

“We are just trying to look after him to get the numbers and by Christmas I’ll be able to say whether it’s worked or not.”

Calwell said it always helps the stallion when he produces a horse like Barocha, plus Murdoch’s Ilovemyself going to Hong Kong.

“It certainly makes your job easier, that’s for sure,” he said.

As far as publicity goes, Calwell concedes that while it might have been better for Ilovemyself to have continued to campaign in Australia, he could win a good race in Hong Kong which they could spruik from here.

“Good on Nev but we have to sail on without that horse,” he said.

“Nev has been having a go for a long time and I wouldn’t be knocking the money back either.”

Calwell said Ilovethiscity’s winners to runners statistic was up with the best of the stallions.

And while Murdoch admits he probably made a mistake by the moving on the stallion from his Larneuk Stud, he was happy with the price Hong Kong interests paid for Ilovemyself which has had two starts for a win in the Listed Festival Stakes (1000m) at Flemington in February. The Greg Eurell colt then encountered a wet track when he was the beaten favourite in the Group 3 Pago Stakes (1200m) in Sydney.

Murdoch said there was no point looking back about IIovethiscity.

“He’s a bloody nice horse and I made a mistake there and without doubt I should have kept him but you can’t do everything,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter because I’ve still got five lifetime breeding rights in him so I’m happy.”

And after selling Ilovemyself to Hong Kong, Murdoch and Neville Penfold race Ilovethegame, trained by Greg Eurell, and the gelding has had one win from his two starts.

“Hong Kong was on to him as well and we might sell him but he was only a two year-old when he raced and he is in the paddock now as a three year-old,” Murdoch said.

“I don’t normally sell but when they start knocking on your door, you have to be a bit sensible.”

But Murdoch did express concern that Ilovemyself had been gelded since arriving in Hong Kong and says he was a quiet type who perhaps needed to be kept intact to be a good horse.

“But I’ve still got the mare (Sunstyle by Xaar) and of course she’ll got back to IIovethiscity, but we have got two Clusters out of her and two by Wolf Cry so I’m not whinging,” he said.

Murdoch said there was no doubt IIovethiscity is a very good sire.