Bullarook Park Stud bred stayer Archibar gave his interstate rivals a galloping lesson in the Riverina Cup (3800m) at Wagga on Monday.

The Wodonga based gelding won the marathon on a heavy track by 11 lengths!

Archibar (6g My Patriarch — Barbie by Kenny’s Best Pal) was racing for the third time in 10 days but he cantered home in the inaugural running of Australia’s longest flat.  “I knew it wouldn’t hurt him, he loves the heavy and I’ve always said he could go all day,” trainer Stephen Aldridge declared.

“When Brendan (Ward) broke away at the half mile, I really thought it was too early, as he likes to get back and work home.  But he had them all off the bit by the turn and then kept whacking away.”

Bullarook Park owner Malcolm Boyd is based at Avenel and he bred Archibar by using former Goulburn Valley TAFE stallion My Patriarch (Be My Guest) over Queanbeyan winner Barbie.

His older brother Ken’s Image notched 7 wins in the Wimmera and Sunraysia districts and his younger half-sister Nippa Bleu (Monde Bleu) has won three races to date at Geelong.

Their dam Barbie has a rising 2yo colt from the first crop of Bullarook Park stallion Strategic Maneuver (Royal Academy).  She followed up with a Strategic Maneuver filly and was bred back to Lucas Cranach (Ger) last year.

Lucas Cranach (Mamool) was a stakes winner in France and Germany before arriving in Australia to finish third in Dunaden’s Melbourne Cup.   He bowed out after defeating Illo, Manighar and Glass Harmonium in the G2 Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield.

Boyd will stand Lucas Cranach for an unchanged fee of $5,500 (inc gst) at Bullarook Park this year.

Rosemont Stud owner Anthony Mithen has announced Group 1 racehorse and sire Starcraft will transfer to Victoria this month.

Starcraft (NZ) has been based at Arrowfield Stud and is the sire of 15 stakes winners headed by Champion Australian 3YO Colt Star Witness.

In a joint-venture with Arrowfield chairman John Messara, Starcraft will stand for a $11,000 (inc gst) fee at Mithen’s burgeoning Gnarwarre nursery alongside Toorak Toff and Starspangledbanner.

“We’ve targeted Starcraft for some time now,” Mithen said.  “We contemplated approaching Arrowfield 12 months ago but had our hands full re-launching Starspangledbanner.  The timing for us this year was perfect.”

Starcraft (Soviet Star) is a rising 14 year-old and he was crowned Australia’s Champion 3YO Colt after winning the 2004 G1 AJC Derby.  He was then transferred to trainer Luca Cumani to win the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Newmarket and G1 Prix du Moulin at Longchamp.

“He’s such a stunning individual and gets great-looking stock,” Mithen said.  “Type is everything and he produces some of the most attractive yearlings around that sell incredibly well — up to $650,000 at Easter this year.

“Starcraft sold more than 50 yearlings at all the top sales earlier this year and they averaged nearly $70,000.  That tells breeders finalising their matings for 2014 that Starcraft has plenty of unraced quality progeny out there in some of the very best stables.  I am certain he will produce more top-line runners in the next 12 months.

“Add the fact Starcraft’s Victorian-bred progeny will qualify for the riches of Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold, and he is a no-brainer.  I’ve got a feeling we are in for a very busy week!

“I’ve contacted a few of our best clients with mares here at the farm over the weekend to let them know he will be available here at Rosemont and they all booked mares to him on the spot.

“We will be sending a dozen or so very nice mares to him this season, including the mother of recent Brisbane Group 2 winner Sacred Star, as well as some of the stakes-winning American and European mares we’ve been collecting in recent years.”

The welfare of Australia’s thoroughbred racehorses will be bolstered by the introduction this week of new national regulations to capture enhanced information about their transition to a life after racing.

Effective from today, the Australian Racing Board (ARB) has introduced a new rule making it compulsory for owners to report the retirement of their racehorse within 30 days.

The managing owner of each racehorse is now responsible for advising the reason for their horse’s retirement and their plans for the horse beyond its racing career.

Owners will indicate, at no charge to them or their trainer, whether their racehorse was retired due to illness, injury, for breeding purposes or at their request and whether the horse will be re-homed as an equestrian or pleasure horse, enter an official retirement program or be sent to a livestock sale.

In addition to the new retirement of racehorse rule for owners, the rule requiring trainers to notify authorities of the death of a racehorse in their care has been strengthened. Trainers will also be asked to inform authorities of the cause of the death.

The changes will provide the industry with greater insight into the reasons why horses conclude their racing careers, as well as their activities post racing, thus supplying statistics which can be used to better direct education and welfare initiatives.

Racing Victoria (RV) Head of Equine Welfare and Veterinary Services, Dr Brian Stewart, has welcomed the establishment of what he described as “a significant welfare initiative for the industry”.

“These important enhancements to the Rules of Racing will provide access to information about why racehorses are retired as well as details about their life after racing — equipping the industry with knowledge which will help direct future welfare activities,” Dr Stewart said.

“The retirement of racehorse rule is something that Racing Victoria has actively campaigned for and we welcome the ARB’s decision to introduce it on a national level. The rule complements the range of initiatives we’re undertaking to manage the welfare of our equine athletes.

“By capturing enhanced information from owners and trainers we’ll be armed with accurate data around injuries and deaths, retirements and stable departures.

“It’s also information which can be fed back to trainers and owners and will be beneficial in assisting them to make informed decisions in the future.”

Dr Stewart said that most owners retire their horses responsibly, often within the broader equine sporting and pleasure markets, but that data could be improved.

He cited a 2013 University of Melbourne study which found that thoroughbreds with a connection to racing are the most commonly represented amongst Victoria’s 600,000 pleasure horses as an example of the positive efforts being made by owners to transition their horse to a life after racing.

“Misleading figures and statistics about the destination of retired racehorses are often quoted by animal welfare groups and collating this data will help to ensure the industry is represented truthfully,” Dr Stewart said.

“Ultimately, we are asking owners to take responsibility for providing information about the destination of their horse post racing so that we have accurate information on retired racehorses to better direct welfare programs.”

Under the newly introduced Australian Rule of Racing (AR) 64JA, the managing owner of each horse is required to notify the industry’s data provider, Racing Information Services Australia (RISA), on the retirement of their horse. The retirement of racehorse form can be found at the RISA website www.risa.com.au under the Registrar of Racehorses/Forms page.

Under the amended AR 64J, if a horse which has not been retired dies the registered trainer will be required to advise their relevant Principal Racing Authority and update the horse’s stable return via RISA’s online Stable Assist program.

If you didn’t receive a hard copy of the 2014 Swettenham Stud stallions brochure through the mail, don’t worry, you can view it as an e-Brochure!

Continuing as an industry leader in emerging technologies, Swettenham has increased its allocation of resources dedicated to engaging the horse racing and breeding community through its social media outlets and online presence.

“In order to set ourselves apart from the competition we needed to differentiate our product from the other farms within the industry,” said Swettenham Stud’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing Chris Belli.

“Over the past two years, we have brought back in-house a number of marketing functions such as graphic design, website development and social media marketing.  We have very capable staff that always has the client experience front of mind.

“We have a young roster of stallions, so our challenge is to remain relevant to the industry until our emerging stars Equiano, Master of Design and Americain start siring winners.

“The major difference between the print brochure and the e-brochure is the video content that accompanies the e-brochure.  Not only can you see the promotional reels that we produce for each stallion, but you can watch video replays of the stallion’s major wins, from the 2010 Melbourne Cup won by Americain, to the 2013 T J Smith Stakes which was won by Master of Design.

“We have the option of adding content to the e-brochure as the year goes on, so when the Equiano two year-olds start winning races throughout the upcoming season, we have the option of adding those replays for people to view through the e-brochure.

“The viewer statistics of the 2013 e-brochure justified our decision to put our efforts into developing a even better user friendly 2014 e-brochure.

“You only have to look around all of the major sales to see how many people have iPads and other devices to view the catalogue.  By having an e-brochure, each of the clients has access to our information at the click of a button and with an increasing number of international clients on our database, they also benefit from having an e-brochure at their disposal.”

The 2014 Swettenham Stud e-brochure can be viewed by clicking the link in the top right hand corner of the Swettenham Stud website:  www.swettenham.com.au

Elvstroem filly Britt Ekland earned a step up to black-type company after completing a winning hat-trick in New Zealand on Saturday.

The athletic daughter of Blue Gum Farm sire Elvstroem was coming off a running double at Ellerslie in May to win the Fell Engineering Hcp (1400m) at Ruakaka.

Britt Ekland (3f Elvstroem — Sidestar by Red Ransom) settled behind front-runner One Cool Message before clicking into gear for a convincing victory as the even-money favourite.  Winning jockey Danielle Johnson came back to scale glowing about how well she had gone in what was her toughest test to date.

Co-trainer Dawn Williams, who prepares the filly with husband Peter from their Byerley Park base at Karaka, is enthusiastic about the future.  “She has strengthened up nicely but still has a way to go before she is fully furnished,” Dawn noted.  “She will now go to the paddock for a few weeks and that will set her up nicely for the spring.”

Connections have the LR Canterbury Breeders Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton in November as her major target.

Britt Ekland was bred by Wood Nook Stud’s Bob Scarborough and was sent ‘in utero’ to New Zealand in April 2010.  Her dam Sidestar (USA) was a Juddmonte Farms homebred and second-dam Yenda was a stakes winner in France and the USA.  She was a daughter of Juddmonte superstar Dancing Brave.

Elvstroem (Danehill) has sired 75 winners of 138 races for earnings of $3.36 million in Australia this season.  Blue Gum Farm will stand him for a $4,400 (inc gst) fee in 2014.

Ealing Park graduate Crafty Cruiser is one of the toughest horses in training and he lived up to the rating once again in the Banjo Paterson Series (2520m) on Saturday.

Crafty Cruiser (6g Good Journey — Sly One by O’Reilly) was caught three-wide facing the breeze but knuckled down to defeat King Of Dudes and Zuma Roc in a three-way finish at Flemington.  “I didn’t ride him that good but I just tried to keep him balanced,” winning apprentice Jye McNeil said.  “It was just a very tough effort from the horse.”

Trained at Torquay by Bryce Stanaway, Crafty Cruiser cost just $1,500 from Euroa based Ealing Park at the 2009 Inglis March Sale at Oaklands.  His dam Sly One is a NZ bred daughter of Mrs Selleck (Famous Star) who was a Group 1 winner of the Lion Brown Sprint.

Crafty Cruiser has won 7races and been placed 21 times in 65 starts.  “He’s a little bit more than honest and has been unlucky a few times,” Stanaway said.  “He could’ve had another five or six wins to his name very easily.”

A Listed victory in the R M Ansett Stakes at Mornington has been his biggest pay-day among earnings of $484,000.

Crafty Cruiser also brought up a city double for Ealing Park owner Tim Johnson.  The Euroa-based studmaster bred Thiamandi (Street Boss) to win earlier in the day at Morphettville.

Danerich youngster Traffic Dodger will head to Melbourne after a brilliant debut at Morphettville on Saturday.

Traffic Dodger (2g Danerich — Lady of the South by Catrail) won the Daken & Daken Real Estate Hcp (1000m) for the Blue Diamond Stakes winning combination of Dan Clarken and Lauren Stojakovic.  He was a $26,000 from Rangal Park at the 2013 Adelaide Magic Millions for a syndicate that includes Clarken’s brother-in-law Mick Armfield and Dennis Bowden.

“He’s a serious horse,” Clarken told the media.  “Hopefully, he can keep going for the Vain Stakes at Caulfield in August.”

Danerich stands at Rangal Park Stud in Euroa and his Adelaide winner is the last foal of unraced mare Lady of the South.  Second-dam Confederate Lady (Rancher) won the G3 Blue Diamond Prelude in 1989 and her younger half-brother Subzero (Kala Dancer) won the G1 Adelaide — Melbourne Cups double in 1992.

Armfield picked Traffic Dodger out of the Adelaide Magic Millions on a premonition.  “We went to sale, pulled the horse out and looked at him for three straight days,” Clarken recalled.  “We inspected a lot of yearlings but he was the one.

“He was only at the stables for a couple of weeks when he broke free and ran on to a main road.  Luckily, he galloped between the traffic and wasn’t hurt.  I thought Traffic Dodger would be a perfect name for him.”

Danerich (Danehill) has sired 59 winners of 106 races this season for earnings over $2.56 million.  He will stand at Rangal Park for a service fee of $8,800 (inc gst) this year.

In a dramatic aftermath to the victory, Armfield suffered a heart-attack in the enclosure and was rushed to Royal Adelaide Hospital.  He was conscious and in a stable condition on Saturday evening.

Vain Queen maintained her unblemished Flemington record when taking complete control of Heat 8 of the VRC All Victorian Sprint Series (1100m) on Saturday.

The brilliant daughter of Artie Schiller (USA) jumped straight on the pace and was always travelling like a winner.  She cleared out before crossing the finishing line close to four lengths ahead of her nearest rival.

“Gee she was impressive,” trainer John Sadler declared.  “I just thought the firm ground might find her out a bit but she went to a new level today.”

Vain Queen (4m Artie Schiller — Our Teneriffe by Kenvain) has now won six of her eight starts and all three assignments down the straight course at Flemington.  She clocked 62.48s on Saturday which was just 0.33s outside the track record.

Sadler indicated that her next engagement will be the Listed VRC All Victorian Sprint Series Final in a fortnight.

Winning jockey Katelyn Mallyon was also impressed with the victory.  “She was brilliant today and travelled so comfortably.  She was laying in a little bit but I couldn’t really straighten her up because we were going that fast.  She’s a really good horse.”

Vain Queen was a $42,000 buy from Longwood based Mockingbird Hill at the 2011 Inglis Classic yearling sale and has earned over $317,000 for part-owners Phil & Zarah Green.  She is from a half-sister to G3 Blue Diamond Prelude winner Card Queen whose foals include Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Karuta Queen.

Artie Schiller returns to Emirates Park Victoria this spring at a fee of $22,000 (inc gst).

The continuing success of Fastnet Rock has led to a growing list of his sons making their way to stud and Bombora Downs has a value-priced representative from the sireline named Therock.

Therock was an expensive weanling fetching $370,000 at the Gold Coast Magic Millions and showed exceptional ability during a brief career with leading trainer Gerald Ryan.

“I held him in the same regard as Melito and Rothesay,” Ryan said.  “He was brilliant winning two races in Sydney as a spring three year-old and was favourite for the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas before an injury aborted that mission.”

Therock’s first-crop are rising two year-olds and are under the care of leading trainers Darren Weir, Mick Kent as well as Ryan.

“I am a massive fan of Therock and his youngsters look something special,” Ryan said.  “In my opinion, he was Fastnet Rock’s best looking son.  He had exceptional ability and we really believed he was going to be Fastnet Rock’s first Group 1 winner.”

Victoria’s champion trainer-elect Darren Weir has two youngsters by Therock.  “They are both really nice types, great movers and exceptionally athletic,” Weir said.  “We all know how good the Fastnet Rocks go and Therock is one hell of a good looking stallion.”

Group 1 trainer Mick Kent is also delighted with his colt.  “Mine is super impressive – big, strong and muscular — he wouldn’t look out of place at any sale in Australia.  In fact, I would rate him at least as good as any yearling I have purchased this year.”

Therock is from Scenic mare Bumps and stakes winners in his immediate family include G1 Golden Slipper winner Overreach and G1 Blue Diamond winner Reward for Effort.

Fastnet Rock (Danehill) is the sire of up-and-coming young sires like Foxwedge, Wanted, Hinchinbrook and Smart Missile.  That makes Therock a well-priced alternative for a $3,850 (inc gst) fee at Bombora Downs on the Mornington peninsula.

Royal Ascot produced another potential Group 1 winner from the family of incoming Blue Gum Farm’s Irish-bred sire Glass Harmonium.

His younger half-brother Arab Spring (pictured) created a big impression winning the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (2400m) last Saturday.

Arab Spring (4c Monsun – Spring Symphony by Darshaan) came with a strong run to score going away by two-lengths in the style of horse that is still improving.  He is unbeaten this year following earlier victories at Kempton Park, Doncaster and York.

Like Fiorente and Glass Harmonium, who both came to Australia to win at Group 1 level, Arab Spring is a homebred for Ballymacoll Stud.

“The Australians would like to buy him, particularly being by Monsun the sire of Fiorente and a half-brother to Glass Harmonium,” Ballymacoll manager Peter Reynolds said.  “He’s in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket which Fiorente won.

“He has some serious entries including the Arc de Triomphe.  It’s the one race that Ballymacoll haven’t had a winner of yet and we would love to do it.  If he’s good enough to get to the Arc, we might just be there.”

Fiorente and Glass Harmonium were also trained by Sir Michael Stoute.  “Arab Spring suffered a hairline on a hock last year and, as a result, missed getting the long slow distance work into him,” Stoute said.

“He’s a progressive horse but is still a bit of a playboy walking around.  We will now go into Group company with him – he is a very interesting horse – a typical Ballymacoll late maturing horse”

Glass Harmonium (Verglas) has just retired to Blue Gum Farm as the winner of 5 races and $1.64 million in earnings.  In Australia, he was successful in the G1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and G2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) as well as a cracking second to All Too Hard in the G1 Futurity Stakes (1400m).

Blue Gum Farm will stand Glass Harmonium for an introductory fee of $6,600 (inc gst).

Racing Victoria (RV) today announced that a record $19.4 million in prizemoney and bonuses will be on offer across Victoria’s two lucrative owners’ and breeders’ incentive schemes, Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold, for the 2014-15 racing season commencing 1 August.

The record figure has been driven by the continued expansion of VOBIS Gold, which will include four-year-old horses for the first time next season, and a subsequent 13-year high subscription to its mother scheme, Super VOBIS.

The announcement, which comes in the lead-up to Monday’s 30 June deadline to nominate current yearlings (2012-born) to VOBIS Gold, includes the following:

– Expansion of the exclusive VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series from 10 to 13 races with the inclusion of four-year-old only and combined three and four-year-old feature races;

– The 2014-15 VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series to offer $1.9 million in prizemoney and bonuses — up from $1.5 million this season;

– The addition of Pakenham as a regional host of a VOBIS Gold Premier Race, alongside Ballarat, Bendigo, Swan Hill, Wangaratta and Warrnambool, with a feature race for four-year-olds programmed at south eastern Victoria’s newest track on 26 April, 2015;

– Creation of a lucrative VOBIS Gold Breeders Raceday at Caulfield on 18 April, 2015, highlighted by the running of four races in the VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series;

– A total of $5 million in VOBIS Gold bonuses on offer next season — up from $3 million this season — with $20,000 bonuses available on 100 four-year-old races;

An enticing $12.5 million in Super VOBIS bonuses will be programmed in 2014-15 which brings the total rewards on offer across the VOBIS schemes to a record $19.4 million.

Horses must be first nominated for Super VOBIS, which carries bonuses from $9000 to $30,000 on two and three-year-old races, to be eligible for entry into the VOBIS Gold scheme.

RV Executive General Manager — Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the enhancements to Victoria’s VOBIS programs continue RV’s development of the racing program in line with its strategic plan, Racing For The Future, released last November.

“The Strategic Plan identified the enhancement of VOBIS as a priority activity to promote ownership and breeding growth in Victorian racing as part of a wider strategic objective to strengthen the quality of our racing program,” Carpenter explained.

“Thus we’re delighted to offer Victorian owners and breeders a record $19.4 million in prizemoney and bonuses across Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold next season.

“The VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series has produced some wonderful stories in its initial two years through the deeds of horses like Trust In A Gust, Eloping and Worth A Ransom, and that will continue with its expansion next season to include four-year-olds.

“We are equally pleased to extend the footprint of VOBIS Gold further into regional Victoria next season, as we are to provide a focal point for the industry with a feature VOBIS Gold Breeders Day in April 2015 in the week prior to the annual VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale.”

Carpenter said that the 2012 introduction of VOBIS Gold had stimulated renewed interest in its mother scheme Super VOBIS and that owners and breeders are now set to reap the rewards.

“Super VOBIS nominations this year exceeded 2500 yearlings for the first since 2001. Now is the time for those owners and breeders to make their horses eligible for VOBIS Gold and to maximise their career earning potential,” Carpenter said.

“Nominations close for VOBIS Gold next Monday and thanks to the support of the Coalition Government, owners need only pay $1100 to make their horse eligible not only for the Premier Race Series, but for lucrative VOBIS Gold bonuses each and every year throughout its racing career.”

Victorian Premier, Dr Denis Napthine, said the Coalition Government’s four-year $6.8 million commitment to VOBIS Gold was delivering clear benefits for thoroughbred racing and breeding.

“Victorian-bred horses eligible for VOBIS Gold are attracting increased prices at yearling sales while many owners are seeing VOBIS Gold bonuses come their way,” Dr Napthine said.

“This is leading to significant investment in the local breeding industry delivering increased economic benefits and jobs to Victoria.

“With even more bonuses on offer next racing season, there is no doubt there has never been a better time to breed, buy, own and race a Victorian-bred horse.”

Anthony Mithen, Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) board member and proprietor of Gnarwarre-based Rosemont Stud, said the VOBIS schemes were vitally important for Victorian breeders.

“Both Super VOBIS and the VOBIS Gold are world leading incentive schemes and have been enormously important and valuable for Victorian breeders,” Mithen, who stands Group 1-winning stallions Starspangledbanner and Toorak Toff at his property near Geelong, said.

“Having horses nominated for Super VOBIS and eligible for VOBIS Gold makes them extremely attractive to buyers, not only in Victoria, but at Australia’s biggest yearling sales each year, even more so with the increase in prizemoney and bonuses announced today.

“I can’t wait to cheer home the progeny of Rosemont stallions Starspangledbanner and Toorak Toff in the coming seasons and I’m sure the lucrative VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series will prove a popular target for their connections.”

VOBIS Gold yearling nominations close on 30 June 2014, as do Super VOBIS late entries for the same foal crop. For further information visit www.racingvictoria.net.au

The Blue Gum team were busy at Oaklands selling a total of 18 foals and mares. L-R:  Michael and Lisa Matthews, Chris Kent and Philip Campbell. Photo:  Sharon Chapman / Fast Track Photography

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The Inglis Great Southern Sale came to a close on Tuesday evening after 504 lots traded over three sessions at an excellent clearance rate of 85%.

The average, median, gross and clearance rate for the broodmare, yearling and racing stock section of the sale all recorded significant increases on 2013 figures, similar to this week’s buoyant weanling sessions.

“The high clearance rates in Melbourne has always been a feature of these sales,” Inglis Director Peter Heagney said.  “We are delighted with the overall results with all figures showing an increase on last year.  The move back to the original June date has obviously been well received by both buyers and sellers.”

The top priced lot on Day 3 was stakes winner Rare Diamond (Lot 443).  Offered by Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, the daughter of Redoute’s Choice was sold in foal to Wanted for $57,500 to Fesen Pty Ltd.

Buyers from all parts of Australia and New Zealand were busy during the mixed bloodstock offerings on Days 2 and 3 led by Damon Gabbedy of Belmont Bloodstock who spent $136,000 on six lots.

Gabbedy’s purchases included the stakes placed mares Anelene and Here For Glory (in foal to Smart Missile), Uate’s dam Long Walk (in foal to Magnus) and well-related mares More Black Magic (in foal to Astronomer Royal) and Newstar Lass (in foal to Americain).

A total of 280 broodmares, stallions, yearlings, unbroken and racing stock grossed over $1.68 million which was a 56% increase on 2013.

Eliza Park International sire Astronomer Royal was represented by his first European juvenile winner of the season in France on Tuesday.

His colt Kloud Gate won the Prix Des Amarantes (1200m) at Aix-Les-Bains second time out for trainer Jacques Heloury and jockey Tony Piccone.

Astronomer Royal’s current two year-olds are his penultimate French bred progeny.  He relocated to Eliza Park on a permanent basis in 2012.

Kloud Gate (2c Astronomer Royal — Talkata by Suave Dancer) was bred at Haras d’Ellon by Thierry de la Héronnière and is a younger half-brother to Longchamp stakes performer Baby Wood (Elnadim).

Astronomer Royal (USA) won the 2007 French 2000 Guineas and he was also placed in that year’s French Derby.  His best galloper out here has been the Chris Waller trained Weary who won the G3 Doncaster Prelude in April prior to Group 1 placings in the Doncaster Mile and All-Aged Stakes.

Astronomer Royal’s first southern crop are three year-olds and there have been 16 winners of 23 races this season.

The only European classic-winning son of Danzig available to Australian breeders, he stands at Eliza Park International for a $7,700 (inc gst) fee.

Media are invited to Gnarwarre-based Rosemont Stud this Wednesday morning, 25 June, as Racing Victoria (RV) makes a significant announcement about the VOBIS Gold program for the 2014-15 racing season.

The announcement comes in the lead-up to the 30 June deadline to nominate eligible yearlings (2012-born) for Victoria’s lucrative breeding and racing incentive scheme which is set to enter its third year of operation.

Media will hear from RV’s Executive General Manager — Racing, Greg Carpenter, about enhancements to next season’s VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series and VOBIS Gold bonus scheme.

As a Board Member of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV), Rosemont Stud proprietor Anthony Mithen will provide his perspective on the enhancements to VOBIS Gold and what they mean for Victorian breeders and owners.

There’ll be unique vision opportunities including an appearance by Starspangledbanner, a four-time Group 1-winning stallion that sired two feature winners at last week’s Royal Ascot meeting in the UK and now stands in Victoria where his progeny are eligible to be nominated for VOBIS Gold.

WHAT:           VOBIS Gold 2014-15 program announcement

WHERE:         Rosemont Stud, 250 Volum Road, Gnarwarre, 3221

WHEN:           9.30am, Wednesday, 25 June, 2014

TALENT:        Greg Carpenter — RV Executive General Manager — Racing

Anthony Mithen — Rosemont Stud proprietor and TBV Board Member

                        Starspangledbanner — Group 1-winning Victorian-based stallion

Pinch River is the latest pin-hook to make the grade from Musk Creek Farm.

The Denman youngster has won 4 of his 7 starts including the LR Dalrello Stakes (1200m) at Doomben and a last-start victory in the Bundamba Plate (1100m) at Ipswich.

Musk Creek bought Pinch River for $46,000 at the 2012 Inglis Easter Weanling Sale before he changed hands again for $85,000 at the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions.

That mark-up wasn’t anything to write home about but it did emphasise the ability of Musk Creek owner David Kobritz and his team to identify a potential stakes winner two years in advance.

Recent Moonee Valley winner Nicoscene (Nicconi) is another successful pin-hook for Musk Creek.  He was a $23,000 foal and then made $85,000 at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier.

Pinch River (2g Denman — Avenue Girl by Catbird) is trained by Rob Heathcote and has been compared with one of his Group 1 winning stablemates.  “He does remind me a lot of Buffering at the same stage and I’m forecasting a very good career ahead,” Heathcote said.  “He could be in for a trip interstate next season if he keeps progressing.”

By boom Darley sire Denman, Pinch River won at Doomben and Eagle Farm in the early-season jump-and-runs.  “He had a setback in the lead up to the Magic Millions and he was taken to the lead when I didn’t want him ridden for pace,” Heathcote said.  “He came back for the winter carnival and his only loss was in the Hampden Stakes when he was probably a run short.”

Pinch River has nearly doubled his purchase price for owner Angela Duncan and regular jockey Damian Brown is keen to stay aboard.  “He’s genuine and has got plenty of speed,” he said.  “I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of fun with him.”

Besides the two pin-hooks, recent Seymour winner Profit Share was bred and reared at Musk Creek’s Mornington base.  He is by Darley Victoria sire Domesday and was purchased by Darren Weir at the 2013 VOBIS Gold yearling sale.

Musk Creek purchased 6 foals at the Magic Millions National Sale last month with colts by Fastnet Rock ($220,000) and Denman ($210,000) the most expensive.

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.