When you’ve raced and bred as many horses as land developer Glenn Whittenbury and his family, it’s a good reward to have a winner on the final day of the Flemington Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Whittenbury’s five-year-old Wanted gelding Leiter won the 1100m handicap – the last race of the carnival – for Flemington trainer Tommy Hughes Jnr.
Leiter’s dam, Miss Octopussy, was also bred by Whittenbury.
Miss Octopussy (Lonhro x Ponton Flyer), also a Flemington straight winner, won six races and was also trained Hughes.
Ponton Flyer (Flying Spur x Currabahah) was also bred by Whittenbury and was a prolific winner, scoring in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1000m) in 2000 and the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1600m) in 2001.
Whittenbury said his late father Allan loved the breeding side of the racing industry.
“He loved working out who to send the mares to and we have been breeding for 35 years,” he said.
“We bred the winner of the Emirates Stakes in 2003 and raced him, Titanic Jack.
“And the old man many years ago was in a thoroughbred magazine and was voted the most astute breeder south the Murray – that’s when they referred to Victoria as south of the Murray,” he said.
As well as victory in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes, Titanic Jack won another four Group races.
Whittenbury said the family originally had a farm, called Barree, at Mount Macedon, but it was sold in the late 1980s when his parents separated.
He now agists his band of broodmares at Euroa and they get shuttled off to the stallions, primarily in Victoria, but the odd one might go to New South Wales if a particular match is sought
“At the moment I only have four broodmares,” he said.
“I still have Ponton Flyer and if you look at her record, every single horse she has produced that has raced, has won. She is a Flying Spur mare and is Leiter’s grand dam.
“She has been a terrific mare for us and is in foal to Rich Enuff again. She is 23 now and the last six seasons I have only tried to get her in foal every second season.”
Ponton Flyer also produced Listed winner Minnesota Shark (Lonhro) and dual Listed winner Black Vanquish (Lonhro).
Whittenbury has eight horses with Hughes and at the moment and one at the breakers. He has got seven horses in Singapore with former Australian trainer Cliff Brown.
“They are going real well over there with Cliff,” he said.
“I had a good one over there, Debt Collector, which was horse of the year in 2016 and at the moment I have a horse over there called Inferno which has won eight from nine, including two Group 1s and a couple of Group 2s and a Group 3 on the way through. He is only a four-year-old and he has been earmarked to maybe go to Hong Kong later in the year.
“When I got involved over there, which was 2012, the first couple we sent over we had bred and they had raced here and they were just fair but they went all right over there.
“For racing over there it’s almost better to see what is on the ground and it’s better to get to a yearling sale or ready to run sale and grab something once you see them. You need to see that you have got a chance.”
Whittenbury said he now sources horses, about one or two a year, bound for Singapore from Australia and New Zealand.
He said every horse he has with Hughes has been bed by Barree Pastoral which his sister, Kerri, is also involved in.
And while he admits he doesn’t want to spend a lot on service fees, he likes a stallion like Rich Enuff that is producing winners. Two of the horses he races with Hughes are by Swettenham Stud stallion Toronado.
“Rich Enuff is reasonably priced and everyone wants to go to Toronado but I got in early,” Whittenbury said.
“We try and find a stallion that we think might go well.
“You might get in a bit cheaper on the bottom line and then they get some winners and they do well. Sometime it’s the luck of the draw.
“It’s good fun.”
One of Whittenbury’s broodmares, Top Dolly (Choisir x Dux Of The Class), has just had a colt by Squamosa and has a booking with Toronado. Another of his mares, Atlantic Gold, will be served by Rich Enuff.
Whittenbury, whose business also takes in his investment company, admits racing can be expensive, but says it’s lots of fun, especially for people who can take a small share in a syndicated horse.
“We make our money to waste on horses,” he laughed.
And winning jockey Luke Nolen also had a few thoughts about Leiter.
“He’s the one that gave me the black eye,” he said after his winning ride.
“A bit of redemption in my eyes about him. I forgive him now.
“When I got on him the other day he head-butted me. I didn’t think it
was that bad but it ended up being worse than I thought it’d be.
“But I’m as hard as a cat’s head so it didn’t really hurt me.”
Nolen said that while Leiter was a bit quirky, it was always good winning during Cup week.