DANNY POWER finds that James O’Brien not only has a vision for the Victorian breeding industry, he also is full of enthusiasm.

James O’Brien is a passionate man, and it’s his passion for thoroughbred racing and breeding that has elevated him to the position of president of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria.

Under O’Brien’s watch, and thanks to the support of a vibrant committee, Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) has doubled its membership in the past 12 months. A new website, weekly digital newsletter and a full-time executive officer at Racing Victoria–Ashleigh Mitchell–has propelled TBV to an organisation of greater significance; and there’s much to look forward to, according to O’Brien.

“Victoria’s breeding industry, with its strong state government support and backing from Racing Victoria, is the envy of the other states,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien, who, with his father Kevin, owns Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm, a picturesque broodmare, agistment and training farm at Corinella, near Phillip Island, said he got involved with TBV in an effort to improve the Super VOBIS scheme.

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James O’Brien. Photo by Colin Bull.

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“I’d been in Queensland and experienced the QTIS600 scheme and thought we should do something in Victoria. I was at the Magic Millions and complaining to a mate that Victoria should have a similar extension to its Super VOBIS scheme. He said ‘stop your whingeing. Why don’t you do something about it.’

“So I wrote a paper and presented it to the (TBV) board–mine was called VOBIS Plus–and got good feedback.

“It took a couple of years for it to happen, but it was the support of the then Racing Minister, Dr Napthine (now premier of Victoria), that saw VOBIS Gold launched.”

O’Brien is excited by the prospect of VOBIS Gold bonuses being available for four-year-olds next season.

“There is a perception that Super VOBIS is for two- and three-year-olds, but next year four-year-olds will be racing in the VOBIS Gold series races, and it will continue on each year.”

O’Brien is confident that the Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale will grow in stature.

“The figures weren’t up on last year despite the fact the yearlings were better, but there were reasons. The sale had strong support from Inglis, Racing Victoria and the breeders, but the buyers just weren’t there,” he said.

“It was held on the Anzac Day weekend when there were 10 race meetings, so trainers didn’t have the time to focus on the yearlings, and the early start on the back of a busy few days also was an issue.

“Some of those issues have been addressed for next year. It will be held a week before Anzac Day weekend and I can see interest in the sale growing.

“The Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale continues to improve. It has been the only yearling sale in Australia to have growth each year since the Global Financial Crisis, and a lot of credit must go to the Victorian breeders and vendors.”

O’Brien sees Victoria’s breeding industry going from strength to strength. “A few years ago, I believe the Victorian representation at the Magic Millions (Gold Coast) was around 4 per cent, this year I understand it has increased dramatically. It’s a tribute to the improvement in the quality of the bloodstock in Victoria.

“Victorian farms have topped the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in three of the past four years.”

While O’Brien is pleased with the way Victoria’s breeding industry is the most progressive in Australia, he’s keen for ideas that will get more people involved in ownership. “It’s an area we must continue to address. I believe there are potential owners wanting to be part of the industry, but we need to encourage them and make it easier for them to participate.”

If passion and enthusiasm provide a ticket to the racing industry, James O’Brien has bucket loads to share.

Source: Inside Breeding, Inside Racing Sires Supplement 2014

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Robbie Laing has announced his Victoria Derby winner Polanski will commence stud duties at Roycevale Stud in Violet Town.

Roycevale Stud, 19km north of Euroa, has been sold by Wayne & Ginny Bellman who were vendors at Inglis Sales during their 10 years on the 72ha property.

Polanski won the LR Super Impose Stakes (1800m) at Flemington and G3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield before a dream result in last year’s G1 Victoria Derby at Flemington.

Laing brought the colt back for the G1 Australia Derby but he broke down first-up in the G1 Futurity Stakes.  “I honestly believe he would have been a star as a four year-old,” Laing said.  “He was tough, strong, genuine — the real deal.”

His sire Rakti — a Danzig line sire through Polish Precedent — died at Chatswood Stud in December 2010.  He won the 2002 Derby Italiano and a further four Group 1 victories in England.

Polanski’s fee will be advertised after Roycevale Stud’s new owners take possession in August.

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Artie Schiller (USA) sired his second feature winner in a month at Woodbine on Sunday when Lafontaine captured the LR Toronto Cup (1800m).

He is also the sire of Canadian star We Miss Artie who won the LR Queen’s Plate Trial on June 15.

Lafontaine stayed on strongly in driving rain to become the 21st individual stakes winner by Artie Schiller.  “I’m very proud of this horse,” trainer Elizabeth Charalambous stated.  “He’s really figured it out now and knows why he’s here and what we’re asking of him.  The talent was always there, he just had to figure it out.”

A Kentucky homebred for Cudney Stables, Lafontaine started the 18-1 outsider in his stakes debut.  “Steve (Bahen) rode him perfectly,” Charalambous said.  “I asked him to sit off the speed, which he did and when things opened up — he exploded.”

Lafontaine’s dam Deli Cat (Bold Ruckus) was purchased by Cudney Stables from Schonberg Farm at the 2002 Canadian Winter Sale.  She is also the dam of 2013 Ellis Park Turf Stakes winner My Perfect Ten (Perfect Soul).

Among Artie Schiller’s 21 stakes winners are local gallopers Laser Hawk, Mezeray Miss, Lady Melksham, Big Chill, Secret Liaison and Moving Money.

Artie Schiller (El Prado) stands for a $22,000 (inc gst) service fee at Emirates Park’s Victorian arm at Digger’s Rest.

Kyneton trainer Neil Dyer is a regular visitor to the Top End and he has notched another Northern Territory Derby (2000m) victory with Royal Request.

Royal Request (3g Bel Esprit — Nassidarra by Nassipour) was runner-up to Gravitational (Astronomer Royal) in the Darwin Guineas a fortnight ago but turned the tables to win by two lengths on Saturday.

Both three year-olds are by sires based at Eliza Park International.  And Dyer’s first NT Derby winner in 2009 was Hawks Bay — a son of former Eliza Park shuttler Black Hawk.

“Royal Request went enormous from the outside barrier when second in the Guineas,” Dyer said.  “He’s a lovely horse and it’s exciting to see what he’s doing for us this preparation.”

Dyer trains him for a syndicate that includes Rory Crowley, Leanne Evans, Peter Gill, Peter & Ray Greene, Anita Morris, Cameron Newnham, Richard Palmer, David Pettman, Antonio Sanfilippo, Nathan Scotton, Kerry & Patricia Slingsby.

Royal Request is from a half-sister to the dam of Sydney Group winners Fickle Hostess and Zabarra (Zabeel).  Second-dam Vaindarra (Vain) was a Group 2 winner of the a Silver Slipper Stakes.  He was bred and sold for $60,000 by Erinvale Investments at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

He has a rising 2yo half-brother by former Eliza Park stallion Shinzig.

Bel Esprit has dominated Victorian premierships since 2007-08 and he’s on track for another title this season with 152 winners of $5.38 million.  Reset is next best on $4.58 million.

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

Blue Gum Farm freshman Red Arrow sired his first winner at Port Augusta on Sunday.

His gelding Tipsy On Red was racing for the fourth time when a narrow winner of the Whyalla Earthworths Hcp (1100m).  He is prepared by Port Augusta-born trainer Leon Macdonald and cost owner Nathan Sanders $15,000 at the 2013 Adelaide Magic Millions.

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Tipsy On Red (2g Red Arrow — Tipsy Piggy by Danewin) is the first foal from a mare who won at Eagle Farm (2) and Doomben (2).  She foaled a Red Arrow filly last August and is expecting to him again off an October cover.

Red Arrow (Red Ransom) commenced racing in Australia where he established himself as a top weight-for-age performer under trainer Anthony Cummings.  Transferred to California, he landed the G3 Los Angeles Hcp at Hollywood Park carving out the 1200m in a slashing 1.08.92s.

Australia’s Red Ransom sireline is spearheaded by Charge Forward and Domesday.  The second charge includes Red Arrow and fellow up-and-coming stallions All American, Red Element, Red Dazzler, Arlington, Duporth and Onemorenomore.

Red Arrow transferred from the Hunter Valley to stand at Blue Gum Farm in 2011.  The move came after Blue Gum bought into the horse with prominent bloodstock agent Denis Roberts and major shareholder Terry Lillis.

He is bred on the proven Red Ransom — Last Tycoon cross responsible for Group 1 champion Typhoon Tracy.  His dam Lady Jakeo was a G1 winner of the MRC Blue Diamond Stakes and MVRC Australia Stakes and his immediate family also boasts Golden Slipper winner Merlene and Magic Millions winner Bold Promise.

Red Arrow will stand for an $8,800 (inc gst) fee this year.

Ustinov colt Amun Ra staked his claim for three year-old spring feature races while winning the Devon Oaks 1100 at Te Rapa on Saturday.

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Amun Ra (NZ) was a fitting winner at the meeting which honoured Cambridge Lodge owner Ada Parnwell who died last month.  He is trained by Lee Somervell and is raced on lease from her estate.

Somervell prepared Fleur De Lune to win last year’s G1 Railway Stakes for Parnwell.  His sons Philip and Kurt are in the syndicate that races Amun Ra along with Cambridge Lodge admin manager Tarissa Mitchell.

“What a day, it’s such a thrill to remember Ada this way,” Somervell said. “I’ve got a lot of time for Amun Ra and he will have a brief let-up now.  I would like to think he’s a genuine prospect for the Guineas.”

Amun Ra (2c Ustinov — Jahan by Al Akbar) is a younger half-brother to Ellerslie stakes winner Civics Rock.  Second-dam Entanglement (Bletchingly) is a half-sister to G1 AJC Champagne Stakes winner I Like Diamonds.

Ustinov is a USA bred son of Seeking The Gold and Australian Hall of Fame mare Let’s Elope.  He was a G2 winner of the AAMI Vase at Moonee Valley and was also runner-up in the G1 Caulfield Guineas and G1 AJC Champagne Stakes.

Moorookyle Park near Ballarat stands Ustinov for a fee of $4,400 (inc gst).

Written is living up to her potential since transferring from Sydney to Mick Kent’s Cranbourne stables to take advantage of Super VOBIS.

The Written Tycoon filly won at Sandown’s Lakeside and Hillside circuits earlier this year and she brought up another city success in the Vintage Crop Hcp (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Written (3f Written Tycoon — Goldirocks by Marscay) settled just behind front-runner Jessy Belle and gradually got the better of the favourite to win by a nose.  “When I pulled her out into the clear, she wound up and hit the line really well,” winning jockey Katelyn Mallyon said.  “She really gritted it out and stuck her nose where it counts.”

A $45,000 purchase t the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Autumn yearling sale, Written is raced by Geoff Grimish, Craig & Keline Carmody and Manuel Spinola.

“Craig Carmody is a good mate and he sent her down earlier this season,” Kent said.  “She was inclined to over-race and pulled like crazy at her first start for us.  She just likes to get rolling on the speed and has a great long stride.”

Kent will nominate Written for the LR Lightning Stakes at Morphettville next Saturday and a VOBIS Gold feature race at Flemington next month.

She was bred by Northern Lodge and students at the Eden Park campus are expecting a Written Tycoon — Goldirocks foal next month.

Written Tycoon sired another nice three year-old winner named Fiftyshadesofgrey on Thursday.  The Marc Connors trained filly came from last in the Long Jetty Hotel Hcp (1100m) to score by three lengths at Wyong.

Woodside Park will stand Written Tycoon for an unchanged service fee of $13,750 (inc gst) this year.

Eliza Park International’s first foal for the 2014 season — a Magnus filly — touched down at 6.30 this morning.  She’s the first of many over the next four to five months.

The bleary-eyed ‘maternity ward’ (get used to it!) report that mother and baby are doing just fine and clearly the proud parent — of the two legged kind — will be hoping the new addition adds to the winning ledger of her highly prolific sire.

Indeed, Magnus is likely to finish the season as the stallion with the best strike rate of winners to runners among Australia’s Top 50 sires, while the filly’s mum — Libertas — is by fellow EPI sire Statue of Liberty and is closely related to stakes winning sprinter/miler Exotic Nights.

The General Manager of Operations, David Somers said — some might suggest tongue in cheek — that “it’s the best foal I’ve seen all year” and congratulated breeder Bill Stapleton on what is literally a bouncing baby girl.

Australian Stud Book record shows Libertas returned a PPT on a September 3 cover to Magnus last year.  Revamped rules mean the foal will still be a foal on August 1.

Brilliant debut winner Cool Hero continued Kaphero’s surge of late-season two year-old winners in Adelaide on Wednesday.

The Richard Jolly trained filly won the Dominant Plate (1000m) running away by nearly three lengths.

Kaphero has climbed to the top of the Victorian 2YO wins table next to established sires Domesday and Written Tycoon.  The trio have all sired the winners of 8 two year-old races this season.

Cool Hero (2f Kaphero — Tarcoola Ice by Zeditave) was in the market and the ease of her win didn’t surprise Jolly.  “She had shown us a bit and she also showed up in a trial,” Jolly said.  “She’s a nice filly and can progress to better grades.

“She is VOBIS qualified so we can go across to Victoria.  Or we might throw her in at the deep and nominate for the Lightning Stakes here on Saturday week.”

Cool Hero is from a half-sister to top filly How Funny (Rory’s Jester) who was runner-up to Regimental Gal in the 2003 Magic Millions Classic and to Polar Success in the Golden Slipper.  She made $15,000 as part of the Tarcoola Stud draft consigned by Ken Williams to the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

“We also have her older half-sister — she has plenty of ability but is a handful,” Jolly said.  “At the yearling sale, the breeder said this one has a better temperament and he was right.”

Kaphero first-starter Just Kappy was backed into favouritism for the Dominant Plate after an outstanding trial earlier this month.  Sky Channel’s Tony Brassel tipped him as the day’s Best Bet but he was checked at the start and didn’t lead as intended.  He also returned with abrasions to the legs after a scrimmage at the half-mile.

Just Kappy will be winning races on the strength of his trial for owner-trainer Brian Mueller.

Kaphero (Danzero) has emerged as a viable alternative for breeders looking for a precocious sire in the $5,500 range.  His oldest are three year-olds and that crop have won 22 races this season.  He also leads Victoria’s second-season sires on the Australian table.

“We are always available to speak with broodmare owners about their mating plans,” Swettenham owner Adam Sangster said.  “We can discuss what deals are available for Kaphero and our other stallions.”

Victoria’s City to Surf Polo Club has become the new home for a number of retired racehorses.

Amber Gibbs is only too happy to be surrounded by slow horses.

In fact, those racehorses classified as ‘too slow’ by trainers are just what Gibbs, who runs Victoria’s City to Surf Polo Club, are looking for.

The husband and wife team of Corin and Amber Gibbs have been re-training off the track thoroughbreds for careers within the professional polo industry for the past 20 years, with a number of their graduates having gone on to compete Internationally at the highest level.

Gibbs takes great pleasure in the re-training of off the track thoroughbreds who, for whatever reason, have had their racing careers cut short.

“If a horse makes it in polo, it’s a lifelong career for them basically,” she said.

“You see a lot of off-the-track thoroughbreds out there in their mid-teens, and there are a lot of avenues for all different ages of horses within the polo industry. I even see 20-year-old horses trotting around for beginners.

“We’ve got one horse that’s 18 and she’s still going strong. She’s been a good horse for a professional player we know and has played some fast, hard polo and she’s still going. These days she’s a rental horse so life’s a little bit quieter for her.”

The Gibbs’ are a formidable force in the polo world, offering everything from lessons to agistment and stallion services at their 200-acre farm ‘Coramba Downs’ in Winchelsea on Victoria’s Surf Coast. It’s here that Corin and Amber ply their trade, having devised a three-year training program to help transition their off the track thoroughbreds towards their lives as polo ‘ponies’.

Year One of ‘polo pony school’ is all about ‘baby steps’, with the first month or two dedicated to working on circles, learning to accept the bit, moving off the leg and neck reigning, one of the most challenging aspects of their re-education.

“Neck reining is where you hold the reins with one hand rather than two and you use the neck to move the horse across, a bit like a joy stick,” Gibbs explained.

“If you want to go forward you release the reins and if you want to go to the left, you move your hand to the left and the right hand rein pushes against the horse’s neck which moves the horse across.”

“Obviously you’ve got the stick in the other hand so you need to ride with just the one hand.”

The stick and ball are introduced towards the end of their first year’s training, with their whirlwind year’s education culminating in very slow practice games.

Upon completion of their first year at pony school, Gibbs’ horses are ready to enter low level competitions where they are taught the basics of polo before they return for a third year and final year where the ‘final touches’ are added to their educations.

Gibbs works almost exclusively with off the track thoroughbreds in her pursuit to find the fastest, hardiest and most supple equine athlete. She is not alone in her thinking either, with thoroughbreds now making up almost 90% of the equine polo-playing population, overtaking even the purpose-bred polo pony in popularity.

“Thoroughbreds are perfect for polo, because you need a horse with that flat-out straight line speed, as well as that stayer’s endurance,” Gibbs said.

“A polo field is 300 yards long, so if you’re doing that run down the field and it turns in to a horse race, which it often does, you need that sprinting speed, but you also need endurance. Each horse plays a chukka, which is a quarter of a game and is seven-and-a-half minutes long. That’s seven-and-a-half minutes of galloping, stopping flat-out and then going again which is pretty tiring.

“It’s a tough ask, so you need a horse that has the stamina and brain for that. We don’t want to push horses in to something that they’re not going to enjoy.”

On this point the racing and polo worlds meet. Melbourne Cups king Bart Cummings is often quoted as saying, ‘A happy horse is a good horse’, and ideal shared by Gibbs.

“The horses love the game which is something that is really important to me,” she said. “They’re actually quite competitive.

“You can tell in racing, they always want to get their heads in front and it’s the same in polo. They really try 120% for you, so we obviously want to do the best by them. All the people who work for us love the horses and they get spoilt rotten.

“To be honest we’re astounded at the horses we can get off the track. For us, they’re obviously our livelihoods but they turn in to our pets. Our 18-year-old mare that we have; Corin re-trained her 14 years ago and she’ll stay with us for the rest of her life because we absolutely love her, just like we love all of the horses who come through our yard, you just can’t help but love them.”

Click here for more information about off the track thoroughbreds, and here to find out more about the City to Surf Polo Club.

By Daniel Miles – @DanielMiles90

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Champion sire Bianconi passed another milestone on Sunday when his colt Glen Rock won at the Sunshine Coast.

Glen Rock became the 500th individual winner for the record-breaking son of Danzig who is gearing up for his first book at Ridgeview Park in Muskerry East.

Bianconi (USA) has sired the winners of 75 races this season for earnings of $1.71 million.  His stakes winning mare Fillydelphia is still going strong and she added more black-type to her record in the LR Sunshine Coast Cup on Australia Day.

Glen Rock (3c Bianconi — Queen Emma by Irish River) was racing first-up for 22 weeks to win the Leticia Kelly Equine Vet Maiden (1200m) on Sunday for Marshall Thoroughbreds and local trainer Andrew Williamson.

His French bred dam Queen Emma has also foaled Sydney’s LR Winter Stakes winner Irish Dream.

Queen Emma was originally bought out here by Tony Santic in 2004.  She is a daughter of Riverman stallion Irish River and the Makybe owner has an affinity with that sireline.

Santic imported Riverman mare Tugela in 1999 and she foaled Melbourne Cup legend Makybe Diva.

Ridgeview Park is operated by Phil and Fiona Sloane and they are looking forward to working with Bianconi.  “He’s a magnificent looking individual,” Phil said.  “We are delighted to be standing him and the response from breeders has been very encouraging.”

Bianconi is available at a $5,500 (inc fee) service fee.

Woodside Park’s champion sire Written Tycoon unearthed another two stakes-winners in waiting on Sunday.

Locally based 3yo Baron Archer kept his unbeaten record intact at Sandown and then minutes later his 2yo Black Mamba was an eye-catching winner on debut in Singapore.

BARON ARCHER (3g Written Tycoon — Elyraq by Lacryma Cristi) had won at the first time of asking at Cranbourne last month and he went to another level second-up.  Settling at least 10 lengths off the leaders on the Lakeside circuit, he unleashing a brilliant burst in the straight to win going away.

“He’s green, gangly and still learning,” trainer Jason Warren said after the Schweppes Hcp (1400m).  “He’s got a big stride and appreciated the open spaces here at Sandown.

“We’re looking forward to the future and I will nominate him for another 1400 metre race at Caulfield in a fortnight.  All going well, we might then step him up to a black-type race.”

Baron Archer is a homebred for Jeff Long, Mark Etherington and Darren Young.  “We raced his mum Elyraq and she was a more than handy racemare so we decided to give the breeding game a shot,” Long recalled.  “We sent her to Written Tycoon and Baron Archer is her first to race.  He was a massive foal and he never stopped growing!”

Long brought in several of his colleagues from Crown Casino and also got Gary Ablett Jnr involved.  The champion footballer loves horses and might find time to come down from the Gold Coast now that a shoulder injury has ruled him out for the season.

BLACK MAMBA (2g Written Tycoon — Dipping by Straight Strike) was just as impressive winning the UK Open 2YO Stakes at Kranji on Sunday.

Black Mamba was a clear last out of the barriers before Danny Beasley tacked on to the field along the back straight.  He swooped down the outside and, despite racing greenly, finished over the top of his rivals to score by over a length.

Trainer Theo Kieser is toying with the idea of backing him up in the G3 Juvenile Championship (1200m) on July 27.  “I will wait and see how he pulls up and discuss with Danny,” Kieser said.  “He has the conformation of a stayer but, on his work, I thought he would finish in the money today.”

Black Mamba is the final foal of NZ bred mare Dipping won 5 races in Sydney for trainer Bill Mitchell including the LR Triscay Stakes at Rosehill.  He cost Kieser $45,000 at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Written Tycoon is now firmly established as one of the best stallions in Victoria and Woodside Park Stud has left his service fee unchanged at $12,500 (plus gst) in 2014.

Phoenix Broodmare Farm graduate Crown Lawyer continued his rise up the ranks with another on-pace victory in Perth on Saturday.

Crown Lawyer (3g Not A Single Doubt — Sirenese by Belong to Me) has won three of his last four starts at Belmont since resuming from a spell.  Stable apprentice Chris Parnham settled him outside the leader and then skipped away in the straight for another comfortable victory over 1400 metres.

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Trainer Neville Parnham reckons he would be unbeaten this time in but for being blocked on the fence second-up.  “I told Chris to let him roll along and then swing and sprint off the home turn.  He let down like a nice horse and proved you can’t knock good form.

“I think he can develop into Listed level horse so we will look at races like the Bunbury Stakes and Hannans Hcp next year.”

Phoenix Broodmare Farm owner Damian Gleeson sold him (as agent) to Parnham for $80,000 at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.  The lightly-raced gelding has more than doubled that in earnings for his owner Santo Guagliardo.

Gleeson’s 2012 Melbourne Premier draft included the Gai Waterhouse trained filly Exceleine (Exceed And Excel) who won at Hawkesbury & Warwick Farm earlier this season.

He also prepped an Alamosa — Nikey Davone colt that was purchased by Inglis (as agent) for $40,000.  Named Jubilee Road, he was trained by Luke Oliver and won a Tatura trial by five lengths in February.

Subsequently sent offshore, he has been renamed Lean Journey and will debut for trainer Denis Yip when racing resumes in Hong Kong.

Phoenix Broodmare Farm topped this year’s Melbourne Premier I with a Northern Meteor colt that changed hands for $450,000.  The Euroa nursery also topped Premier II with a Myboycharlie half-sister to Group 1 winner Peggy Jean that made $110,000.

Justify That has always been a favourite around Peter Moody’s Strathalbyn stables even though the gelding endured a long run of outs before an overdue win at Morphettville on Saturday.

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The six year-old sprinter had been winless since October 2012 but connections never lost faith in the durable son of Greta West Stud sire King Of Prussia.  “We sent him up to Darwin last year and he came back in pretty ordinary condition,” Moody said.  “It’s taken us a long time to get him right.”

Justify That (6g King of Prussia — Duty With Honour by West Point) improved his record to 9 wins and over $280,000 in prizemoney in the Dawn Of Planet Of Apes Hcp (1400m) on Saturday.   “He hasn’t really had a lot of luck with bad draws,” Moody said.  “If you look at his form right from the start, he’s been a consistent horse and never been beaten by much.”

One of his best efforts was in defeat when beaten three lengths at Group 1 level by Platelet in the 2013 Goodwood Hcp.   He also finishing third in the 2012 Pioneer Sprint which is the premier speed event in Alice Springs.

Justify That is raced by a partnership that includes Moody’s son Nigel and Craig Reid.  Moody trained in Alice Springs for 30 years and Nigel took over the stables after his parents left the Red Centre in 2004.

Long-time Wangaratta breeder Alan Price bred Justify That from Moonee Valley winner Duty With Honour.  The mare foaled a filly by Greta West resident Keep The Faith last year.

King of Prussia (Anabaa) is nearing the 400 wins milestone at a 60% strike-rate.  His leading earner this season has been the Rod Symons trained two year-old Jarka.  He won second time out at Cranbourne and then finished second to top filly Eloping in the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush at Bendigo.

Greta West stands King of Prussia for a $2,200 (inc gst) service fee alongside God’s Own and Keep The Faith.  He’s a no-nonsense option for owner-breeders searching for a sire who can get talented stock that train on and on.

Azevedo has returned home to stand his first season back in Victoria.

The Group 1 sprinter arrived at Malcolm Boyd’s Bullarook Park Stud last week.  The Avenel property is already home to Lucas Cranach (Ger) and Strategic Maneuver.

Azevedo (Helissio) was trained by Robbie Laing and, in his first preparation, won at Moonee Valley and was beaten a nose by seasoned sprinter Super Elegant in the G3 Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield.

He also finished third to Choisir and Spinning Hill in the G1 Lightning Stakes at Flemington at just his seventh start.  “We were offered big money for him at that stage,” Laing recalled.  “But we knocked it back because he had so much potential.”

A colic attack interrupted the colt’s career, however, he came back to complete a hat-trick of Sandown sprints and was runner-up to Super Elegant again in the LR Sir John Monash Stakes at Caulfield.

Azevedo started at stud with a 100% strike-rate in his initial crop.  Appropriately, Laing got him off the mark with talented filly Serene Tanie at Caulfield and Moonee Valley.

Being based in Tasmania meant Azevedo’s opportunities were restricted — there have been 11 winners from just 22 starters in his first three crops.

“He’s proved he can sire winners from very limited numbers,” Boyd said.  “All he needs is a proper book of mares.”

Azevedo is a son of former Widden Stud shuttler Helissio (Fr).  The only other son of the Arc de Triomphe winner to stand at stud in Australia was Helenus and he sired Group 1 winners Cedarberg (BMW Stakes) and Ethiopia (Australian Derby).

Boyd stands Azevedo in conjunction with long-time client John Fiteni for a $2,200 (inc gst) service fee.  He can be contacted on 0407 342 291  or  bullarookpark@bigpond.com

Starspangledbanner will rejoin Coolmore Stud’s Irish roster in 2015.

A champion sprinter in both hemispheres, Starspangledbanner experienced fertility problems after shuttling between Coolmore Stud bases in 2011.

Starspangledbanner’s first Irish crop number just 33 foals but among them have been Royal Ascot stakes winners The Wow Signal (G2 Coventry Stakes) and Anthem Alexander (G2 Queen Mary Stakes).

There were just 31 foals from his first Hunter Valley book and they are rising two year-olds.

Put back into work with Aidan O’Brien after those setbacks, he failed to recapture form and was re-routed to Anthony Mithen’s Rosemont Stud in Victoria.  He was foaled and raised at the Gnarwarre property when it was part of the Makybe complex.

During his first season at Rosemont last year, Starspangledbanner covered a small, carefully managed book of 51 mares, with 24 of them subsequently scanned in foal.

He has been restricted to 50 mares again this year.

“He will cover his second book at Rosemont before heading back to Ireland after Christmas,” said Coolmore’s Richard Henry.  “He’s done so well and made such an exciting start, it would be foolish not to have him back.  We will decide a service fee at a later date.”

The winners keep coming from the first crop of Swettenham Stud’s in-form sire Equiano — his chestnut filly Ventura Shadow ran a cracker to land the Haylin Stakes (1000m) at York on Friday.

Ventura Shadow (2f Equiano — Stavinsky’s Gal by Stravinsky) was coming off a decent second in a nursery at Musselburgh to turn over short priced favourite Pres Rapide on the first day of York’s prestigious John Smith’s meeting.

Jockey Paddy Mathers was happy to sit off the pace and then ensured a clear run on the Knavesmire course by switching wide at half-way point.  The Equiano filly ran on gamely to the line to score by a neck.

“It’s always difficult to know where you are with horses so early in their career,” trainer Richard Fahey said.  “But she’s a genuine filly and I thought she would run well.”

Ventura Shadow is the second winner by Equiano from Fahey’s Musley Bank stables.  He sent out Moving Melody to score on debut at Newcastle in April.

Fahey purchased his York winner for 30,000 euros (AUD 42,810) at the 2013 Tattersalls (Ireland) Yearling Sale.  Her dam Stavinsky’s Gal won 5 races in the USA and was stakes placed in Kentucky and Florida.

Ventura Shadow had been pin-hooked as a foal by Victorian bloodstock agent Gary Mudgway for 8,000 guineas (AUD 12,935) at the 2012 Tattersalls December Sale.

Equiano (Fr) will have his first southern two year-olds gearing up for their first campaigns in the spring.  Swettenham Stud has kept his fee unchanged at $15,000 (plus gst) this year.

Press Report is arguably the best two year-old maiden in the nation but trainer Lee Curtis is confident she will break her duck before the end of the season.

The Written Tycoon filly was a brilliant barrier trial winner on Monday and she will race first-up over 1200 metres at Rosehill on July 19.  “She won that trial by 5 lengths — it was unbelievable,” Curtis said.  “She put it all together and there are exciting times ahead.”

Press Report (2f Written Tycoon — Grenada by Dolphin Street) was runner-up to Darley filly Memorial on debut and then beat all bar Mossfun in the G2 Silver Slipper.  She followed up with an unlucky fourth in the G2 Sweet Embrace Stakes at Randwick and connections decided against paying a late entry fee for the G1 Golden Slipper.

Curtis has Group 1 plans for Press Report if she goes as well as expected on Saturday week.  She is scheduled to race second-up in the LR Rosebud (1200m) at Randwick on August 9 followed by the G2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 23 and the G1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 13.

Connections have already paid a late entry fee for the $1 million Golden Rose.

Press Report was bred in Victoria by Michael Shannon under his Mileshan Nominees banner and is raced by a syndicate comprising Shane Braddick, Allan Brooks, Cherie Durnberger-Smith, Roger, Lorraine & Anthony Ford, Con Hadjiparaskevas, Allan & Rick Henson.

Written Tycoon has sired the winners of 8 juvenile races this season — the best among Victorian based sires ahead of Domesday (7) and Kaphero (6).  His unbeaten filly Novel Dancer is being set for 3yo filly features in Melbourne by trainer Shea Eden.

Written Tycoon stands at Woodside Park Stud and is available for a $13,750 (inc gst) fee this year.

Chatswood Stud’s 2014 brochure is now online and the printed brochure will be in the mail next week.

Its Seymour roster comprises Reward For Effort ($11,000), Anacheeva ($6,600) and Purrealist ($5,500).  All fees (inc gst).

Reward For Effort has continued to be very popular with breeders, in fact he was in the Top 10 most popular stallion in Australia for the 2013 breeding season.  He is by Exceed and Excel, a dominant 2YO sire of three Blue Diamonds, a Golden Slipper and a Breeders Cup Juvenile.  He is also a three-quarter brother to 2013 Golden Slipper winner Overreach.

Reward For Effort’s first yearlings were well received at the sales and have found their way into the stables of all the leading trainers.

Anacheeva was a G1 Caulfield Guineas winner and his brother Headturner (AJC Derby) and half-sister O’Marilyn (Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes) were also successful at Group 1 level.

His sire Anabaa continues to built his Group 1 strike-rate — it reached 15 when Style Vendrome won the 2013 French 2000 Guineas.  Of them, 7 have been in Australa & NZ — Anacheeva, Anabandana, Headturner, Imananabaa, Teranaba, Virage De Fortune and Yell.

Purrealist has already sired a Group 1 winner in Hawkspur, plus stakes winners like Storm Approach, Melrose Place and Adjuster and he is the sire who is going to produce plenty of metropolitan winners.

Chatswood followed up Hawkspur’s victory in the 2013 Queensland Derby by breeding 2013 Victoria Derby winner Polanski.

Studmaster Greg Willis also sold the highest priced yearling by Reward for Effort when the colt from Go With The Wind made $170,000 to the bid of Peter Moody at the Inglis Melbourne Sale in March.

View brochure at:  www.chatswoodstud.com.au/news/2014-stallion-brochure

Stakes winning mare Malaika has been booked for an early-season cover to Americain this spring.

West Australian owner-breeders Tony and Kerry Cockburn retired Malaika after her barnstorming win in the Listed Pinjarra Cup (2300m) in March.  “I think we have the right mare to go to Americain and produce a top stayer,” Tony Cockburn said.  “She had stamina and a quick turn-of-foot.”

Malaika (Fighting Falcon – Our Annabel by Lucratif) was known for her powerhouse finishing bursts winning 6 races and earning $269,000 in prizemoney.  “She’s a courageous little mare,” trainer Donna Baillie said after Pinjarra Cup.  “She’s been stakes placed twice at Ascot and deserved to win a black-type race.”

The Cockburns won a Listed Belmont Park Cup with her dam Our Annabel in 1996.  Her sire Fighting Falcon (USA) represents the Northern Dancer line and was a Group 3 winner at Hollywood Park before retiring to Heytesbury Stud.

Americain (USA) is currently in quarantine after covering his second northern book at Calumet Farm in Kentucky.  He will be back at Swettenham Stud in time for its annual stallion parade on Sunday, August 31.

Americain covered 155 mares in his first book at Swettenham last year.  He will stand for a $13,750 (inc gst) fee in 2014.