The foal section of the Inglis Great Southern Sale has returned a record average at Oaklands.

After 224 weanlings changed hands on Sunday and Monday, the overall average of $14,504 was 44% up on 2013.  Adding to the success of this year’s sale is the super clearance rate of 88%.

“It’s obviously very satisfying sale and, importantly, it reflects the confidence in the market,” Inglis Director Peter Heagney said.  “With so many pin-hookers buying, it augers well for the 2015 yearling sales.”

A Foxwedge — Ekeel colt topped the opening session when selling for $175,000.  He  will head to Queensland from the draft of Donnybrook Estates.

Two first-crop foals by Darley Victoria’s Caulfield Guineas winner Helmet provided the top prices on Monday.  Basinghall Farm’s weanling colt from Take All of Me (Lot 242) sold for $100,000, while Yarran’s colt from Umoya (Lot 254) made $90,000 to the bid of Ascot Farm NZ.

Bruce and Maureen Harvey’s Ascot Farm finished as the leading individual buyer during the weanling section.  The successful New Zealand pin-hookers secured four weanlings for $280,000 at the sale.

Victorian based stallions who had weanlings sell for $50,000 or more included Helmet (Darley), Stryker (Three Bridges), Equiano (Swettenham), Moshe (Eliza Park International), Toorak Toff (Rosemont) and Wanted (Eliza Park International).

More Than Ready newcomer War has arrived at Blue Gum Farm for his first book in Euroa.

“He’s a magnificent individual,” Blue Gum’s Philip Campbell said.  “We are very excited about his stallion prospects.”

War (More Than Ready — Deedra by Zabeel) was trained by Gai Waterhouse and showed terrific talent winning the G3 Up and Coming Stakes (1300m) at Warwick Farm.  “His turn of foot was explosive,” jockey Tommy Berry claimed.  “He controls his races.”

Waterhouse was equally impressed.  “War is a very good horse in the making,” she said before an injury forced the colt into a premature retirement.

After paying $500,000 for War at the 2012 Inglis Easter Sale, renowned judge James Bester considered him as good a looking a yearling as he had ever bought.  “He’s a perfect marriage of speed, precocity and athleticism — one of the best two year-old of his generation — and he was good enough to progress to win a high-quality race at three.”

War’s fee has been set at $8,800 (inc gst).  “He’s available for inspection,” Campbell said.  “Everyone who has seen him so far has been hugely impressed.”

A Foxwedge colt topped the opening session of the Inglis Melbourne Great Southern Sale on Sunday when selling for $175,000.

Attractive colts and fillies from a wide range of proven and exciting young sires were well received by a competitive buying bench throughout the day.

A strong clearance rate of 85% saw 149 weanlings sell at an average price of $14,884 — a 33% increase on Day O1 in 2013 and a massive 61% higher than 2012.

“We are seeing a very strong market for weanlings,” Inglis Director Peter Heagney said. “There was good competition from both the domestic and New Zealand buyers in attendance, particularly on the better quality types.”

The Foxwedge — Ekleel colt will head to Queensland from the draft of Donnybrook Estates.

Ascot Farm NZ has had plenty of success pin-hooking from the Oaklands ring in past years and they snapped up colts by proven sires Sebring (Lot 115) and Stratum (Lot 54) for $90,000 and $70,000 respectively.

First season sires were popular and the following had progeny sell up to; Helmet ($78,000), Moshe ($54,000), Toorak Toff ($50,000), Master Of Design ($35,000) and Skilled ($26,000).

Day 2 on Monday will see the remaining weanlings go under the hammer followed by broodmares.

Keep The Dane hit punters in the hip-pocket at Gosford on Friday but the long-shot victory didn’t surprise owner-trainer Bob Holloway.

“I couldn’t believe the price,” Holloway said on Saturday morning.  “My wife Julie got $41.”

The first-starter by Greta West Stud sire Keep The Faith scored by three lengths in the Woodport Inn Plate (1000m).  “It was a good field, don’t worry about that,” Holloway continued.  “He got to the front and was a class above them.”

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Keep The Dane (2g Keep The Faith — Danish Puss by Tale of the Cat) had shown plenty of ability in two trials earlier this year.  “In the first hit-out, he was runner-up to Magic Topaze and that horse was the favourite in yesterday’s race,” Holloway explained.  “And in the second trial, he was placed behind Scratch Me Lucky who came out and was Group 1 placed in the Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick.”

Hong Kong agents wasted no time asking after Keep The Dane.  “We got four calls but he’s not for sale at the prices quoted,” Holloway declared.  “I’m 70 and just a hobby trainer these days.  I’m just happy we’ve got a nice horse.

The winner is the first foal of Danish Puss who doubled up in Adelaide as a late-season three year-old.  “I got him through Jamie Lovett of Australian Bloodstock — he’s a mate from our football club,” Holloway added.  “We put a syndicate together — Jamie, Dave Trigg, Darren Butcher and their wives are also in him.

“I’ve never had one as clean-winded as this bloke.  He had every right to feel the pinch yesterday but would not have blown out a candle.  We give him a few days off in a paddock every week and that seems to works well.”

Keep The Faith (Sunday Silence) will stand for a $4,400 (inc gst) service fee at Greta West Stud this year.

For the second day running, Starspangledbanner has sired a Group-winning two-year-old at Royal Ascot.

From a first northern crop consisting of just 33 foals due to fertility issues, the Rosemont Stud resident sired G2 Coventry Stakes winner The Wow Signal on Tuesday and G2 Queen Mary Stakes winner Anthem Alexander on Wednesday.

Anthem Alexander (2f Starspangledbanner — Lady Alexander by Night Shift) is bred to be fast being out of a mare who won the G3 Molecomb Stakes.  The dam is also a half-sister to Group 3 winning sprinter and leading sire Dandy Man.

Mountarmstrong Stud’s Noel O’Callaghan bred Anthem Alexander and she was passed-in for 48,000 guineas at the 2013 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.

A big, strong type, she was a last start winner by 7 lengths at Tipperary and trainer Eddie Lynam was full of praise for the filly.  “She’s just a bit special.  It’s just natural ability that’s got her through today,” he said.  “She’s got a great constitution and, without wanting to be bullish, I think she could improve a bit more.

“I should think the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket will be next.”

Lynam knows Starspangledbanner well, having caused a huge upset four years ago when his sprinter Sole Power defeated the Australia champion in the G1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

“She’s the only Starspangledbanner I’ve got — his fertility issues are a real loss,” Lynam said.  “I wouldn’t mind having a few more of his in future, he’s a fantastic stallion.”

Rosemont Stud will restrict Starspangledbanner to 50 mares in 2014.

Eliza Park International stallion Moshe opens the Inglis Great Southern Sale on Sunday with a filly foal from Snippets mare Zakuska.

A September 19 born foal being offered through Romsey based Supreme Thoroughbreds, the filly is from a three-quarter sister to the Snippets Hong Kong Group 3 winner Solid Contact.

Lot 1 is the first of 6 first-crop weanlings by Moshe being offered at Oaklands Junction.  The others are from mares by Elusive Quality, Royal Academy, Delago Brom, Danehill Dancer and Tiger Hill.  In addition, 5 of the broodmares in the catalogue were served by Moshe last season and 6 of the weanlings are by his sire Bel Esprit, a member also of the powerhouse team of sires at Eliza Park International.

A 16.1 hands bay who, besides being a brother to Black Caviar, is a half-brother to world class miler All Too Hard (Casino Prince), Moshe did not rise to their stature at the races but showed huge potential in his only season of racing as a three year-old.

In a career cut to five starts, he won a Bendigo maiden by 6 lengths in 56.95s on debut and added another two sprints over 1000m at Moonee Valley.

Moshe looks certain to sire brilliant horses, looking after books of 175 and 145 in his first two seasons.  He owns a stallion’s pedigree — his dam Helsinge is a half-sister to G1 winner Magnus (Flying Spur) who is also based at Eliza Park International.

Catalogued by Swettenham Stud (as agent) at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale in March 2009, he sold for $75,000 just six weeks before Black Caviar won by five lengths on her debut at Flemington.

Moshe will stand for a an $8,800 (inc gst) in 2014.

Louisa Penn’s lifelong love of thoroughbreds drives her passion for re-homing ex-racehorses

Louisa Penn’s maternal fondness is something that eminates deeply within every thoroughbred to come through her care.

Penn is a devoted horseperson and former jockey, who currently works as assistant-trainer to Western District based-horseman Denis Duffy.

A fierce advocate for the versatility of thoroughbreds, Penn plays an active role in re-homing all of the Duffy Stable’s horses following their racetrack careers, a job she completes with pride and care.

“You do it because you just want what’s best for them,” she said. “We’re real softies Denis and I, we can’t help but get far too attached to them.

“When you work in a small stable with pretty much the same horses day-in and day-out, you fall in love with them. They’re all individuals, they all have their own personalities; you can’t help but fall in love and want what’s best for them.

“People often say, ‘Oh, they’re just horses’ – but they’re not. They’ve all got their own little traits and random things they do. You get attached to them all, they’re like family in the end.”

Penn and Daffy ensure that a horse is set up for life from the minute they walk in their Camperdown-based training facility, including elements of dressage and showjumping within their early race education.

“When we break our young ones in, they always do at least a fortnight’s dressage work,” she said.

“Not only does it help with their future as a racehorse, but it teaches them that they can go on both legs, and how to balance themselves up if they get a knock. I find that it gives them that better grounding before they go on to become racehorses, that they can do something after racing, because they’ve already got the basics there.

“They all do things like jumping too. I’ve got a couple of the blue dairy drums in our round yard and any that want to learn to jump can burl around and hop over them. I really think it helps if they’ve got that good basic education, if they have that they’ll go on to be better horses in the long term.”

Penn has actively re-homed a number of horses following their racing careers, and takes great pride in their achievements off the track.

“I get a huge thrill out of seeing our ex- racehorses out here competing,” she said.

“There’s a little grey horse running around Colac Pony Club right now called Greyt Batch, who we won at Moonee Valley with. He sat in our paddock for two years before I introduced him to the track rider’s school. From that, two young girls took him and another horse home and are now having a ball doing pony club with him.”

Re-homing a thoroughbred is not an easy, nor a cheap exercise. Yet it’s something that Penn would never even consider giving up.

“It can get very hard and very expensive,” she said, “but that just makes you try harder and harder to re-home them because you just want to do what’s right for them.

“Like most horse people, we’ll feed the horses before we feed ourselves. It’s just ingrained in to us that love.

“Denis plays a big part in re-homing our racehorses; I couldn’t do any of it without him. They’ve got to have somewhere to stay until they find their new home, and Denis always supplies them with that. It’s not easy, I remember one year we spent something like $28,000 on hay for those horses awaiting new owners.

“When you first think of that you think, ‘Oh my god — that’s a huge amount of money!’ But when you care for them like we do, it’s all worth it.”

Penn herself rides an Off the Track thoroughbred she broke and raced named Miles Ahead, a Flemington winner over 2000m who finished fourth behind Harris Tweed in the Listed Bart Cummings Stakes (2500m) in 2010.

“He is the absolute love of my life,” she said.

“I helped Dennis pick him from the yearling sales. We saw this great big yearling just caught our eye like nothing else. We bought him, broke him in and raced him. He was a really great horse for us, but more than that, he was always just my special horse, I absolutely adored him.

“When he did a tendon for the second time, we asked the owners what they wanted to do with him. One of the owners turned around and said to me, ‘You said there was always a paddock for him at your place, do you want him?’ and I just jumped at it and said yes.”

The pair have been inseparable ever since, with Miles Above now spoilt by more than just Penn.

“The really sweet thing though is that the owner that gave him to me now comes down and visits him quite regularly, and brings his granddaughter down to feed him carrots,” she said.

“It’s just been fantastic for the owners to see him. He will be starting a career as a Show hack soon, but at the moment he’s just sitting out in the paddock being spoilt absolutely rotten.”

Click here for more information on owning an Off The Track Thoroughbred

By Daniel Miles – @DanielMiles90

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Unbeaten colt The Wow Signal emulated his sire and grandsire at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

The Wow Signal raced close to the pace in the G2 Coventry Stakes (1200m) before Frankie Dettori coaxed his mount into the lead at the 400m pole.  They kept up a strong gallop to score by nearly two lengths from Cappella Sansevero who had changed hands for 1.30 million pounds (AUD 2.34 million) a day before the race.

The winner is by Rosemont Stud stallion Starspangledbanner who won the 2010 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.  His sire Choisir blazed a trail for Australia at the famous meeting with a running double in the 2003 King’s Stand Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes.

“He has come and beaten the best colts available,” trainer John Quinn said.  “He was right there on the speed and deserves a lot of credit.  He could have capitulated but he won going away.”

The Wow Signal (2c Starspangledbanner — Muravka by High Chaparral) had won by 9 lengths on debut at Ayr last month and started equal favourite second-up.  “I was worried about the ground being a bit quick,” Dettori admitted.  “But he showed tremendous courage and is a real good two-year-old.”

A 50,000 pounds (AUD 90,660) buy for Sheikh Joaan at the Ascot 2YO Breeze Up Sale in April, he is the first foal of an unraced half-sister to Irish stakes winner Tolpuddle (College Chapel).

Starspangledbanner encountered fertility problems after he retired to Coolmore Stud.  He was transferred to Rosemont Stud and will cover a restricted book of 50 mares in his second season at the Gnarwarre nursery this year.

Inglis has catalogued 661 lots for the Melbourne Great Southern Sale starting this Sunday, June 22.

The full catalogue for the three-day sale can be viewed online at:  www.inglis.com.au

A total of 278 foals will parade on Days 1 and 2 including 26 siblings to black type performers and 28 weanlings from stakes performed mares.

Stallions with their first foals include Master Of Design, Toorak Toff, Foxwedge, Helmet, Moshe and Skilled.  Master Of Design (Redoute’s Choice) is represented by 5 weanlings including a filly from Group 2 winner Freestyle.

Toorak Toff (Show A Heart) has 9 progeny in the sale including a colt from Listed winner Feelers, the dam of stakes winning $600,000 earner Tromso.

Weanlings by Foxwedge (Fastnet Rock) include two colts from stakes placed mares to be offered by Shadwell Farm.  The Mt Rowan operation is quickly earning the respect of pin-hookers after selling a Star Witness — Crystal Whip weanling colt for $80,000at last year’s Great Southern Sale.

The colt’s value rocketed to $400,000 when NZ based Ascot Farm offered him at the 2014 Inglis Melbourne Premier yearling sale.

Shadwell Farm has catalogued 23 weanlings for Oaklands Junction and other vendors include Rosemont Stud (19 weanlings), Eliza Park International (15), Three Bridges Thoroughbreds (15),  Northern Lodge Stud (11), Swettenham Stud (11) and Blue Gum Farm (10).

The supplementary weanlings on Monday (Day 2) will be followed by 150 broodmares.

Tuesday (Day 3) will comprise (in order); Broodmares, Stallions, Yearlings, Unbroken Stock, Race Fillies & Mares, Race Colts and Geldings followed by supplementary lots.

Top-class colt We Miss Artie led home a feature quinella for Artie Schiller in the Queens Plate Trial (1800m) at Woodbine on Sunday.

We Miss Artie (3c Artie Schiller — Athena’s Gift by Fusaichi Pegasus) started a long odds-on favourite and won under wraps by three-quarters of a length from Majestic Sunset.

Artie Schiller (USA), who stands at Emirates Park Victoria, sired both colts from Mr Prospector-line mares.  They will lead the charge for the G1 Queen’s Plate (2000m) — the most prestigious race in Canada — on July 6.

“The way we handicapped the race, there wasn’t much speed,” jockey Javier Castellano said.  “I just took my time, schooled him a little bit behind horses and let him find his best kick.  When I asked a little bit, he responded.”

We Miss Artie is prepared by Hall Of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher and won last year’s G1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland before returning to claim the G3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park in March .  He travelled to Canada after an unplaced effort in the G1 Kentucky Derby.

A $90,000 buy for high-profile owner Kenneth Ramsay  at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale, he is eligible for the Queens Plate having been bred in Ontario by Richard Lister.

Emirates Park stands Artie Schiller (El Prado) for a $22,000 (inc gst) fee at its Digger’s Rest property north of Melbourne.

Lillian Cooney has retired from the committee of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria after 30 years’ service to the industry.

A Life Member and pioneer of TBV, Cooney is winding back knowing the association is in good hands with the younger generation of breeders.  “Our first TBV meeting was at the Flemington Showgrounds in February 1985,” she recalled.  “Peter Gook was the secretary and back then we were known as the Victorian Breeders’ Club.”

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Thoroughbred Breeders’ Victoria president James O’Brien thanked Cooney for all her support and expertise.  “On behalf of the committee and members of TBV, I would like to express our gratitude to Lillian.  She was the Honorary Legal Officer for many years and Vice President at one stage as well being a long-serving committee member.  She was made a TBV Life Member in 2007.”

Lillian is from Irish stock and her family have been involved in racing for generations.  Her husband Barney hasn’t been active in racing administration but has always shown an interest in the sport.

“My grandparents met at the Echuca Cup,” she recalled.  “As a young girl, I used to run down to the local SP bookie with grandma’s bets.

“It must have rubbed off.  In Sydney for our honeymoon, we went to the Easter Carnival at Randwick and backed Indian Summer who won that year’s AJC Oaks.

“When the kids were growing up, Barney’s mother used to babysit during the Melbourne spring carnival until they were old enough to go on the final (children’s) day.

“I was born at Punt Road, St Kilda and we have lived at Elsternwick for 50 years so I haven’t moved very far.  Back in the early days, you could hear horses walking the streets to Caulfield.”

Away from racing, Barney and Lillian carved out successful careers in law and politics as well as bringing up four children.

Lillian specialised in the areas of property and trusts and commercial, industrial and administrative law.  She established the first all-female legal partnership of Gill Kane in Melbourne in 1963, together with Deidre Fitzgerald.  The firm merged with Maurice Blackburn Cashman in March 2005.

Her other roles included Deputy Chancellor of RMIT University and memberships of VCAT and the Law Institute of Victoria.

Barney grew up in the Victorian Mallee during the depression years and was educated at the University of Melbourne before becoming a barrister.  In 1984, he was elected to the Australian Senate as a Labor representative for Victoria and held the seat until 2002.

Lillian has bred and raced numerous winners over the years but none better than Breadeater (Reindeer).  “She was bred in New Zealand and Tony Cavanagh suggested I buy her,” Lillian  said.  “Bread Eater was trained by George Hanlon and won races at Flemington, Moonee Valley and Caulfield.

Lillian had shares in Century and Breadeater foaled the stakes winners Century Toast and Nonpareils to the champion stallion who stood at Mornmoot Stud.

Prioress also brings back fond memories.  “Buying her was a stroke of luck at the yearling sales,” Lillian recalled.  “She was the last lot of the day and my friend and I got her cheaply.”

Prioress (Cardinal) foaled the dam of Sir Topaz who won four races including one at Sandown when trained by Robert Smerdon.  “He’s by Rustic Amber and we sent him to Charlie Hughes in Queensland,” Lillian said.  “He’s still at stud and siring winners up there.”

Another of their successful mares was Grey Haze (Grey Ghost) who was recommended by Cavanagh and bought from the legendary horseman George Smith.  She won four races in Melbourne and was runner-up in a Queensland Oaks and Edward Manifold Stakes.

Lillian has kept a link with Grey Haze through the mare’s grand-daughter Nenagh who has a yearling filly by Dash For Cash..  “It’s a predominately a family of grey horses,” Lillian explained.  “And I would love to win the Greys Plate at Flemington with one of her descendents.”

Article by Karl Patterson, Thoroughbred Express.

Greta West Stud has spared no expense launching its service fees for 2014.

Studmaster Laurie McCarthy came up with a novel marketing plan to promote his stallions to broodmare owners last week.

A 46 metre high air-balloon depicting Christ the Redeemer floated over Melbourne to advertise Greta West stallion God’s Own.  And a Keep The Faith hash-tag enhanced the message even though a corporate bookmaker took all the credit to publicise the World Cup in Brazil.

God’s Own (Redoute’s Choice) has sired 80 winners of 125 races so far this season and he will finish second to Bel Esprit in the Victorian winners and wins premierships for 2013-14.  He’s terrific value at a $5,500 (inc gst) service fee.

Keep The Faith (Sunday Silence) is also in the Victorian Top 10 with 61 winners of 84 races headed by VOBIS Gold star Trust In A Gust.  He stands for a $4,400 (inc gst) fee.

Rounding out the Greta West roster is King Of Prussia (Anabaa) who is available at $2,200 (inc gst).

Blue Gum Farm graduate Killua Castle upset the landscape for Durban’s G1 July Handicap with a tenacious victory in the G3 Jubilee Hcp (1800m) at Turffontein on Saturday.

Killua Castle (Aus) isn’t entered for the Durban July but he threw a spanner into the works for several candidates heading to the R3.50 million feature race at Greyville on July 5.

The four year-old son of former Blue Gum sire Churchill Downs won by a head in a tight finish from July candidates Halve The Deficit and Cherry On The Top.  The winner’s stablemate Tellina didn’t help her carnival prospects when beaten more than six lengths.

“We are thinking of the Group 1 Champions Cup for him on Super Saturday (July 26),” assistant trainer Tim Woodruff said.  “That will suit him nicely  It was very impressive the way he fought on today.”

Killua Castle (4g Churchill Downs — Prayers’n’promises by Encosta De Lago) was bred by the late Kevin Heffernan and cost $50,000 out of the Blue Gum Farm consignment at the 2011 Inglis Premier Sale.

“He was a great moving yearling and was relaxed and easy going each time I saw him,” Heritage Bloodstock’s Paul Guy recalled.  “He was well-made with an excellent hind-quarter and a very good head and eye, an all-round quality horse.”

Killua Castle had been pin-hooked for the South African Ready to Run 2YO Sale but suffered a severe bout of colic on the eve of the auction and was retained by owner Ashnee Devachander.  He was placed at Group 2 level in the Gauteng Guineas and Dingaans Stakes last season and has now earned R1.03 million (AUD 102,405).

His dam Prayers’n’promises is an unraced sister to Group 3 winners Besame Mucho and Gold Lottey.  She was covered by Blue Gum’s first-season shuttler Canford Cliffs last year.

Swettenham Stud graduate Word Of Mouth continued his rise up the ranks for a exuberant group of owners on Saturday.

Leading syndicator Brad Spicer bought Word Of Mouth for $150,000 out of the Swettenham draft at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale and among his owners is former Hawthorn premiership player Robert Dipierdomenico.

‘Dipper’ is Racing Victoria’s Owners Ambassador and was part of the Inglis VOBIS Gold Regional Road Show leading up to the Premier Sale earlier this year.

Word Of Mouth’s victory in the Rod Johnson Hcp (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday was a nice little earner for his connections.  They shared the $48,000 winner’s cheque plus a $23,000 Super VOBIS and $14,000 VOBIS Gold pay-day.

“He’s destined for much better races,” trainer Leon Corstens said.  “We won’t be looking at anything in the spring — when it’s time for a break, he will go out and come back for the autumn carnival.”

Word Of Mouth (3g Not a Single Doubt — Exo by Hennessy) has won three of his last four starts.  The only defeat was at the hands of Sonntag at Caulfield last month and the winner then stepped up to claim the G1 Queensland Derby.

Jockey Michael Rodd was also impressed with the Flemington winner.  “I was happy to travel wide with cover,” he said.  “We didn’t spent any energy but it’s a long straight and I didn’t want to get there too early.  He stuck his head out at just the right time.”

Word Of Mouth is a younger half-brother to Diamond To Pegasus who was a Listed winner of the 2011 Canonbury Stakes at Randwick.  Their dam Exo has a rising two year-old filly by Equiano with Cranbourne trainer Shea Eden.

Grey Mustang made it a winning double for Swettenham graduates in the Schweppes Hcp (1250m) at Morphettville on Saturday.  The grey son of Hold That Tiger has won five races for managing part-owner Ben Gass after selling for $18,000 at the 2010 Adelaide Magic Millions.

The Thief was described as a Darwin raider after winning at Flemington on Saturday when, in fact, the gelding was bred and reared in Victoria.

He’s the latest in a long line of winners that Tim and Di Dennis bred at Glenwood Stud south-west of Geelong.

The Thief (4g Dubleo – Bush Ballad by Alquoz) powered home to qualify for the LR Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) back at Flemington on July 12.  “He finished off strong once I got him into the clear,” jockey Dean Yendall said.  “He won really convincingly.”

Glenwood sold The Thief as a foal for $10,000 at the 2010 Inglis Great Southern Sale.  He was purchased by Top End owner Bob Kendray and won four in a row at Fannie Bay before a close second to Host Of The Party in last year’s Darwin Guineas.

Kendray sent gelding to Melbourne with trainer Stephen Brown and he was placed at Sandown and Mornington before the breakthrough at headquarters on Saturday.

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Tim Dennis retired to Torquay after Di passed away in 2011 and among the feature winners bred at their Modewarre property were Zazzman (G3 Geelong Cup), Volitant (G3 Moonga Stakes), Press The Button (G2 Reisling Stakes), Koonoomoo (G3 Maybe Mahal Stakes) and About Ready (LR Durbridge Stakes).

Brown will set The Thief for the LR Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at Flemington on July 12.

Makybe Racing’s Tony Santic has every reason to believe his regally-bred colt Il Cavallo has the makings of a successful stallion.

Il Cavallo (3c Choisir — Gold Chant by El Moxie) looked the part winning a heat of the A R Creswick Series (1000m) by more than four lengths at Flemington on Saturday.  The Peter Moody trained sprinter is a three-quarter brother to dual-hemisphere champion Starspangledbanner.

Santic catalogued Il Cavallo for the 2012 Inglis Easter yearling sale but took him back home to Gnarwarre when bidding failed to reach a $250,000 reserve.  A record-breaking Sandown winner on debut in March 2013, he returned for a spring campaign and nearly netted some minor black-type when a close fourth in the LR Vain Stakes at Caulfield.

Il Cavallo has rebounded off a 33 week spell with a running double at Sandown Hillside and Flemington this month.  “He’s talented but had problems rating himself early on,” jockey Luke Nolen said.  “Tony has been patient and they’re going to knock off some nice races.”

Stable foreman Zac I’Anson reiterated those comments after Nolen weighed in.  “The Sandown win was a real confidence-builder,” he explained.  “Peter has a really high opinion of this horse and will find a nice race to help launch his career as a stallion.”

Starspangledbanner (Choisir) was also bred by Santic and was a Group 1 winning sprinter-miler in Australia and England.  Sold to Coolmore Stud, he encountered fertility issues which scuttled what would have been a lucrative shuttle career.

That’s been borne out in England with 3 first-crop winners from just 5 starters so far this year.

Starspangledbanner was subsequently transferred to stand at Rosemont Stud where his fertility has improved under careful management.  He was foaled and raised at the Gnarwarre property when it was part of the Makybe complex.

Promising Geelong winner Marli Magic has maintained John Sadler’s strike-rate since rejoining Aquanita Racing.

The daughter of Swettenham Stud sire Host (Chi) ran down Young Girl to win the Hyland Racing Colours Hcp (1300m) by a neck on Friday.  Sadler’s son Thomas didn’t panic when Young Girl pinched a break in the straight.  He kept the filly balanced and in touch before setting out after the tearaway leader.

Marli Magic (3f Host — Unlimited Passage by Giant’s Causeway) made it a family affair for the Sadlers.  She is part-owned by John’s sister Helen.

Sadler returned to Aquanita on June 1 and has hit the ground running training five winners headed by talented mare Vain Queen.  “It was a tough effort from Marli Magic to work home and win on Friday,” he said.  “She will win better races but doesn’t like wet tracks.  I will send her to the paddock now and bring her back for the summer.”

Marli Magic was initially trained by Mat Ellerton and Simon Zahra and had won her maiden in a Super VOBIS race at Kilmore in November.

Swettenham sold her for $50,000 at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.  She has an unraced younger brother by Host named Hong Kong Captain with David Hayes — he was an $85,000 buy at the 2013 Melbourne Premier.

Their dam Unlimited Passage has a filly foal by Equiano and was bred back to the King of Speed last year.  It’s a family that’s produced stakes winners for Swettenham’s Sangster family for several generations going back to champion Godswalk filly Pure Of Heart.

Host (Chi) has averaged over 100 mares in his last two seasons at Swettenham and will stand for an $8,800 (inc gst) service fee in 2014.

Sir Fernando notched the 200th win of the season for champion sire Bel Esprit in the Pura Milk Winter Challenge (1200m) at Geelong on Friday.

The Colin Little trained gelding broke a long losing streak going back to Moonee Valley in March 2012.  He missed the start before issuing a powerful challenge in the closing stages to score by over a length.

Sir Fernando (5g Bel Esprit — Ruby Doll by Desert Style) was initially prepared by Mick Price before moving to Lord Lodge earlier this season.  He started racing as a spring three year-old and was only out of a place once in his first 8 starts before that run of outs.

He is from a half-sister to the dam of Perth stars Playing God & God Has Spoken and is raced by a syndicate organised by the late Bryan Muschialli along with his daughter Tracy Howard and Greg Funnell.

Friday’s result marks the third season a row Bel Esprit has topped 200 wins from his base at Eliza Park International in Victoria.  He’s also challenging for second spot on the Australian table in that category with Fastnet Rock (202) and Choisir (201).  The trio are a long way behind runaway leader Lonhro (244).

More importantly for Bel Esprit, he’s claimed the last six Victorian sires’ titles and leads this season’s premiership with earnings of $4.65 million.  Darley resident Reset is next best with $4.32 million.

If successful, Bel Esprit will prevail without any help from his iconic mare Black Caviar who earned over $7.52 million in Australia between April 2009 and April 2013.  His chief earner this season is G2 Edward Manifold Stakes winner Se Sauver with $175,875.

Bel Esprit (Royal Academy) will stand for a $24,200 (inc gst) service fee at Eliza Park International this year.

Former Bart Cummings trained galloper Dare To Dream has been placed on the market as a sire prospect.

The lightly-raced Irish-bred stallion is son of Danehill Dancer and his dam was a Group 3 winner of the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket.

Gavel House is selling him on behalf of a syndicate that includes part-owner Richard Pegum.  “He comes up beautifully,” Pegum declared when Dare To Dream arrived in Australia.  “I believe he has the most potential of any horse we have ever brought over here.”

That’s high praise given Pegum has part-owned Group 1 winning imports My Kingdom Of Fife (AJC Queen Elizabeth Stakes) and December Draw (VRC Turnbull Stakes).

Dare To Dream (6h Danehill Dancer — Beneventa by Most Welcome) was heading in the same direction until a tendon injury brought his career to a premature finish after just 9 starts in England and Australia.

He was originally registered as Dare to Dance in England and was quickly into gear winning second time out over 1600m at Sandown for trainer Jeremy Noseda.

He followed up with a two length victory over 2000m at Newmarket and increased the margin to three lengths when completing a hat-trick like an odds-on favourite over the same distance at Ayr.

Those victories qualified Dare To Dream for the time-honoured G2 Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.  “He has scope for further improvement and is only just beginning to grasp what is required,” Noseda said.  “I feel he has a big future in front of him as a four-year-old.”

Dare To Dream firmed from 16-1 into an 8-1 joint-favourite for the Cambridgeshire but he was withdrawn in advance of a transfer to Australia.

Allowed to acclimatise by Cummings, the 16.1hh stallion was a handful for apprentice James McDonald first-up in the G3 Bill Ritchie Hcp (1400m) at Randwick in September 2012.  He raced more generously next time out when only going down a half-length to Mourayan in the G3 Craven Plate (2000m).

Cummings sent him south for a last-minute attempt to gain a start in the Melbourne Cup but Dare To Dream just missed out when beaten a neck by Kelinni in the G3 Lexus Stakes after being disappointed for a run in the straight.

He backed up in the G3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the last day of the carnival and finished a creditable fourth behind tearaway winner Puissance De Lune.

Connections were confident of a ground-breaking campaign in 2013, however, he was sidelined with a bowed tendon and then aggravated the injury in April.

Dare To Dream is by champion sire Danehill Dancer who has just been retired by Coolmore Stud.  The 21 year-old is the sire of Coolmore’s successful dual-hemisphere stallion Choisir and up-and-coming New Zealand shuttler Mastercraftsman.

His dam Beneventa won 7 races when trained by John Dunlop and, apart from the G3 Dahlia Stakes, she was also successful in the LR Aphrodite Stakes at Newmarket and LR Snowdrop Stakes at Kempton.

Her current three year-old is promising Shamardal colt Bow Creek.  He was a Listed winner for Sheikh Hamdan at Lingfield in April and holds a Group 1 entry for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next Tuesday.

For more information on Dare To Dream, Gary Moore at Gavel House can be contacted on (03) 9499 2229 or  www.gavelhouse.com

Off the Track thoroughbred Shanghai Joe and Shane Rose claim CCI3* honours as retired racehorses reign supreme at the Melbourne International Horse Trials

Olympic silver medallist Shane Rose believes the sky is the limit for thoroughbred gelding Shanghai Joe after the retired racehorse claimed top honours in the CCI3* class at the Melbourne International Horse Trials.

Occupying second position following the dressage and cross country phases of the coveted event held at Werribee Park over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Rose put in a faultless show jumping performance on the seven-year-old to score a narrow win over Sonja Johnson and her retired racehorse, Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison.

Rose said Shanghai Joe performed admirably during all phases of the competition and pointed to his speed and athleticism, two defining traits of the breed, during Sunday’s cross country round as the hallmark of his win.

“I’m very happy with how the horse went because he’s such a young horse to be competing in this field let alone to be at the top of the pile at the end of the weekend,” Rose said.

“He felt great, he’s quite a careful horse and he pulled up great after the cross country.

“He had to run pretty fast (during cross country) because I got a little bit lost and made a bit of an error in my line and wasted 10 or 15 seconds so he showed his racing speed to make up that time.”

Bred by Rose, who is in involved in thoroughbred education and pre-training in addition to his illustrious equestrian endeavours, Shanghai Joe was given a brief racing education in Sydney.

The son of Another Warrior had three official trials while in the care of Warwick Farm trainer Marc Conners but, after beating only one horse home, was retired and retrained for an elite eventing career.

An unabashed fan of the breed, Rose believes that many of Australia’s top racehorses would make outstanding eventers if they were trained and given the chance to compete in dressage, cross country and show jumping instead of racing.

“If we had the opportunity as competition riders to work with the best thoroughbreds, we would be unbeatable,” Rose said.

“They are an amazing animal and unfortunately for us, the best of them run fast.

“If you had horses like Black Caviar or Makybe Diva given the opportunity to come out as eventers early in their career they’d probably have gold medals around their neck.

“A lot of those horses go on to be good racehorses and then have a breeding career so really we only get the slower ones which are still great athletes.

“He (Shanghai Joe) is testament to that because he beat one horse home in a trial.”

Rose is confident the seven-year-old has more improvement to come and, with another two seasons of competition under his belt, can be a contender for Australia at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

“Limitations are not really there for him at the moment,” Rose said.

“He’s got three great phases, he’s got a great attitude and he seems to be really sound because he hasn’t had to do a lot of racing and doesn’t have a lot of miles in his legs.

“Realistically, the peak age for a competition horse in eventing is 12 or 13 so he’s got another five years of improvement so he can hopefully go as far as I want.

“I’m certainly looking at having him ready for Rio in a couple of years and then there’s every possibility he could stay around for up to 10 years.”

Runner-up Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison, who raced in Western Australia as Bullionaire, could also be headed overseas with Johnson hopeful the performance is enough to warrant selection at this year’s World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

After taking out the CCI1* on Paihia Wilhelm, popular event rider Will Enzinger teamed with former Lindsay Park gelding Wenlock Aquifer (Aquifer) to finish runner-up in the CCI2* and collect the ‘Best Performed Off the Track Thoroughbred’ award.

A nine-year-old son of Alannan, Aquifer had four starts in South Australia for Half of Fame trainer David Hayes, his best performance coming in the form of a debut win at Victoria Park in 2006.

Nina Clarke was thrilled with the performance of her mount LP Boudin, a former VRC St Leger runner-up who was raced by Fran Houlahan and Brian Johnston as Mr Bigalow, who was awarded ‘Best Performed Off the Track Thoroughbred’ in the CCI1*.

The full results from all classes at the Melbourne International Horse Trials are available here.

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