For Liverpool Farm’s Susan Keating, breeding a Group 3 winner on Derby Day is a dream come true, but doing it with a $2,000 graduate is truly astonishing!

Thanks to the sharp eye of buyer and trainer Darren Weir, he was able see the filly’s quality, turning the small outlay of a ‘couple of thousand bucks’ into $437,900 (so far).

The filly that made this possible, Lyuba, had her biggest day at the races when capturing the Group 3 $200,000 Skip Sprint over 1100 metres at Flemington.

Hitting the lead in the shadows of the post she was tough through the line to hold off a last gasp challenge from a fast finishing Savanna Amour.

Not only can he train ’em, Weir can definitely pick ’em out, snapping up Lyuba as Lot 69 at the Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale in 2014.

Offered for sale through the Swettenham Stud draft, Lyuba was knocked down to Forest Lodge Racing for only $2,000 on behalf of breeder, Liverpool Street Investments.

The honest five-year-old mare is a model of consistency, being runner-up six times in nine starts since scoring back to back wins at Flemington and Moonee Valley. Lyuba advanced her record to 6 wins and 7 seconds from 17 starts with earnings of $437,900.

“I was at the sales, poking around out the back and when she walked passed, she just caught my eye, to be honest. I just loved the way she moved. She’s a very good type of horse, and I bought her for a couple of thousand bucks,” Weir said.

Keating remembers that, unfortunately due to a haematoma on her rump, she didn’t realise the price she deserved.

“As the haematoma looked ugly, although superficial, it put the buyers off,” said Keating.

“It was a shame as she was a great type, and had a big beautiful walk. But that’s racing, and who knows, maybe if she went for more, Darren wouldn’t have taken the gamble.

“She had a feisty attitude, a real handful to handle from day one, and apparently she still is.

Her dam wouldn’t let us get near her and if she had gone to anyone else to train she might not have made it to the track.

When I put her in my bullring, she would try to leap out, and Weir’s stable still says “she has her moments”. There is a good reason why there are two people on her in the mounting yard!” Keating said.

Lyuba becomes the third stakes winner for Blue Gum Farm’s Group One winning Johannesburg sprinter Turffontein, and is unfortunately, the first and only foal of the General Nediym mare Dancing With Amy, who Keating also bred.

There was further breeding success for Liverpool Farm at Wycheproof on Derby Day with Cystic Fibrosis namesake, Forsixtyfiveroses taking out her maiden over 1050 metres with CF ambassador Harry Coffey in the saddle. H

aving bred and raced her dam, listed level galloper, Grandiva, Keating was thrilled to get the win on the board.

“Grandiva was nine times second by half a lip; she would have won half a million dollars had she been a little bit bigger, her neck just a little longer,” Keating said.

“I have a brilliant Kuroshio heading to the Adelaide Magic Millions that is a half to Forsixtyfiveroses, and I have sent Grandiva to Spendthrift to be covered by Swear this season.”

“I have sent all my mares to Victorian stallions this year, and all are VOBIS nominated, and having now bred a Group 3 winner, it certainly helps make all the 4am mornings in the middle of winter worth it.”

“I’m kicking goals here, for a breeder that does it by themselves, everything that has left the farm that is of racing age, has won a race. It’s a pretty good strike rate, and I believe I owe that to the land.”

Liverpool Farm, based in the Strathbogie Ranges, has wonderful hills, beautiful granite outcrops, spring water aplenty and lush green pastures.

It seems the perfect recipe, along with Keating’s dedicated care and management, to breed the next Lyuba, but there certainly won’t be another like her from Liverpool Farm going as cheap!

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