Cannons Creek breeders Carol and Norm Hassell likely could be heard from Flemington as they watch one they bred, Choisborder, secure yet another win for trainer Darren Weir on Saturday.
It was a third win from four starts and second metropolitan win in a row for the gelding bred nearby the shores of Westernport at the Hassell’s Shadowbrook farm.
“He was just a standout colt from the time he was born, and although he could be a bit of a lad, we always had very high hopes for him,” Carol Hassell said.
“Although I couldn’t be at the track (on Saturday) as we were busy working the horses at home, I was watching and screaming all the way down the straight. We are just so pleased to see him winning so well and so convincingly.”
Out of the Royal Academy mare Borderline, Choisborder was originally sold for $280,000 through the Musk Creek Farm draft at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale to Hong Kong buyers.
He entered that same Oaklands Junction sales ring in June for the 2018 Great Southern Sale where he was purchased by his trainer.
“We bought him as a tried horse for only $34,000, so he is now quite a bargain,” Weir said post-race at Flemington.
“As he wasn’t suited to go to Hong Kong for his previous owners, they wanted to move him on and having previously trained him, I thought he would be a fun horse to stay involved in. So I got a great bunch of mates involved and they have had a dream start.”
Carol is full of praise for Weir, noting that finding the right trainer is half the battle.
“We are fortunate he went to a good stable, as he has had every opportunity to reach his potential. Darren has been very patient with him,” Carol said.
“He is showing his versatility, having won on three very different tracks across two states…the win at Flemington proves he has mentally matured. Let’s hope there is more to come and maybe a very exciting spring ahead!” Carol said.
Carol and Norm have built up a small commercial band of mares over the last couple of years and have more recently been selling their yearlings under the Shadowbrook banner with success.
“I started dabbling in breeding about four years ago and enjoy preparing them myself,” Carol said.
“Borderline (dam of Choisborder) has been a wonderful broodmare, already producing the stakes performed filly She’s Miss Divine (Show A Heart). I sold her Zoustar yearling this year under our banner to Tony McEvoy at (Inglis) Premier for $180,000. I have heard that she is doing everything right, so we are excited to see her debut on the track.
“Borderline also has a three-year-old by Shamus Award called Which Ever Way with John Salanitri that is yet to debut. We gave her a year off last season, and she will be heading north this season to Flying Artie for an early cover.”
“We have two going to Premier next year, a Dundeel Colt out of Fast Gal (Fastnet Rock) and a Written Tycoon filly out of Dubai Me Roses (Cape Cross). We sold her full sister at Premier this year for $250,000, which was a great result, and I hope this yearling will be just as popular.
“We try to keep our mares in Victoria and support Melbourne Premier as much as we can. We would love to breed more down here.”
Shadowbrook is a 50-acre undulating pastured property. As well as the breeding side of things, the Hassells also offer pre-training, water walking and spelling facilities. Leading trainers including Jason Warren, Peter Gelagotis, Steve Richards and Mick Price are amongst their clients.