Avenel Equine Hospital welcomes Dr Jamie Wearn to their team as a Specialist in Equine Medicine.

Jamie graduated from the University of Sydney in 2003. Following an Internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at Sydney, Jamie undertook a Fellowship in Equine Medicine at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Kentucky and a Residency in Large Animal Internal Medicine at Virginia Tech University.

Jamie was certified as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and became registered as a Specialist in Equine Medicine in 2010.

On returning to Australia, Jamie worked in equine practice on the Gold Coast and as an Equine Medicine Specialist at James Cook University in Townsville.

Jamie’s clinical interests include neonatology, critical care and managing athletic performance. He is a currently undertaking the research requirements for a PhD in the use of antimicrobials in the treatment of joint infections.

The addition of Jamie to the team at the growing Avenel Equine Hospital marks a significant development in the hospital and intensive care service available to breeders and stud managers in the region.

Jamie’s role will involve supervision of the Medical Service, intensive care for neonatal foals and post-surgical care for young horses and broodmares which have been treated at the hospital.

“I’m excited to be involved in this rapidly developing region of the Victorian Thoroughbred breeding industry.” Jamie said. “I look forward to meeting the local breeders and veterinarians and understanding where Avenel Equine Hospital can help them.”

Avenel Equine Hospital are a valued sponsor of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria, to find more information on their services, click here

Master Of Design mare Polyxena has been a model of consistency for owner-breeder Manny Notaras since a winning debut in Canberra this time last year.

Polyxena has only been out of place once in 8 starts for trainer Rob Potter and she saluted again with a two-length victory in the Procurement Professionals Hcp (1280m) at Thoroughbred Park on Thursday.

Notaras and his wife Jenny have been keen supporters of the Victorian industry.  And coming down from Canberra to visit their mares is easier than the drive to the Hunter Valley.

Polyxena is the final foal of Bang Goes Lang (Langfuhr) who won three races in Adelaide and earned black-type when runner-up in a LR Dequetteville Stakes.  Her older half-sister Huntingdale High (Military Plume) retired with an unbeaten record after winning a LR Mona Nursery at Caulfield.

Master Of Design sprinter Cranbrook landed his third win this prep lumping 62kg in the Goodstone Group Hcp (1009m) at Devonport last weekend.

Greta West Stud sire Master of Design

Champion jockey Craig Newitt diffused the weight with a one-out, one-back ride from a wide gate.  He angled the favourite three-wide on the corner and then defied the late challenge of Bedrock Dreams (Bon Hoffa).

“To carry 63kg including the vest was a mighty effort and he will be competitive when he going up in grade,” Newitt said.  “He had to dig in for the fight today and stuck his head out when it counted.”

Cranbrook was a $34,000 buy for Denise Martin and Star Thoroughbreds at the 2015 Tasmanian Magic Millions.   Bred at Toolora Lodge by Ken Breese, he’s the first foal of Sandown winner Il Sogno (Elvstroem).  Second-dam Tickle My (Perugino) won 11 races up to Group 2 level in a Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley.

The Leanne Gaffney-trained gelding has been a quiet achiever with 6 wins and 6 placings from 22 starts.  “He’s been great this time in,” Gaffney said.  “He keeps getting the job done and loves his racing.”

Master Of Design (Redoute’s Choice) is based at Greta West Stud for a $3,300 fee.  There have been 73 individual winners of 166 races from his first three crops for earnings over $5.15 million.


The sad announcement of the passing of ex-racehorse Paint came via Contract Racing’s twitter last Thursday afternoon. Aged 26, Paint was the oldest resident at David and Jenny Moodie’s Yungaburra Stud in the Victorian Macedon Ranges.

Sired by Raami (GB) and foaled in early September 1993, the steely, almost black, grey gelding was out of the Luskin Star mare, Colour Chart. He was bred by Contract Racing, who raced him in partnership with Adrian Hancock and the Ferncourt P/L Syndicate (Manager: P Howell).

Paint’s first 2-year-old campaign was an exciting one. He had his first race outing in early January 1996, winning his maiden in an 1100 metre race at Kyneton. He followed this up with an unlucky fifth placing in the Group 2 Breeders Stakes at Morphettville before then winning at Moonee Valley two weeks later.

Connections then made the decision to pay the late entry fee into the Group 1 VATC Blue Diamond Stakes to be run seven days later. Due to track renovations at Caulfield racecourse that year, the race was being held at Flemington. Paint won the race by 3 lengths, beating Flavour and Our Cashel.

From here, the owners then again paid another late entry fee, sending Paint north to Canberra for the Group 2 Black Opal Stakes. The natural speedster won by 2 lengths, another late entry fee was paid, and he continued his journey further north to Rosehill Gardens, to contest the Group 1 STC Golden Slipper Stakes.

Jumping from barrier 8, he was travelling well in front before running into interference just before the turn. He picked himself up to get back to the lead but was run down in the final stages, finishing second behind the Lee Freedman-trained Merlene. In a strange twist, it was only just announced that Merlene also died late last month.

Paint came back in the Spring of 1996 to win the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes first up, however he never quite captured the same winning form he had shown in his two-year-old career. He was retired, aged eight and a lighter shade of grey, following a seventh placing at Sandown in the autumn of 2002. From 49 starts, he won nine races, including four Group and Listed races, placed 16 times and earnt his connections $1,447,970 in prizemoney.

Paint after winning the Black Opal (Jenny Barnes)

Paint is remembered as being a lovely, quiet and well-natured racehorse. Terrific around the stables, he was a fast and eager learner. When he retired from racing, he commenced the retraining process toward a secondary career as a clerk of the course however he didn’t quite take to the change of pace. So he returned to the Moodie’s farm, becoming a nanny to their young horses and living out his years blissfully surrounded by friends.

When the highly successful stallion Artie Schiller returned to Stockwell Thoroughbreds in Diggers Rest last year, there was an unassuming, hardworking and talented horsewoman on the farm that no one expected to be his future handler.

Bec Drylie has broken the mould and proved them all wrong and with her patient and gentle manner, she has tamed the lion.

Drylie is a handy acquisition to the Stockwell Thoroughbred operation and now a vital part of the stallion team.

“I didn’t come to Stockwell with the intention to handle the stallions, but when Brodie (Becker) let me start working with them, it started from there. I actually do everything with them now.”

“One day, when I was doing Artie’s box, I hugged him and I swear he held his breath until I let him go. I don’t think he had ever been given a hug like that before. So, I just started slowly giving him more pats and he really enjoyed them. He now even loves having his ears scratched.”

Artie Schiller has developed quite the reputation over his breeding years as a particularly dominate horse to handle.

“I have heard all the stories, and he has a dreadful history. I heard he took off his last handlers’ thumb.” Drylie remarked

“I don’t see that in him. I don’t see that dominant side in him at all. I’m sure it is there, and I am careful, he has a kind, soft eye. It’s a compromise; a partnership.”

“Artie is an alpha male, so he does not see me as a threat.  He does not dominate me, and I do not need to try to dominate him.”

Drylie gained experience having covered with Artie last season, but this season will really give her the chance to gain knowledge and improve her skills in the breeding barn.

“I am excited and eager to learn, and Brodie was great helping me and showing me the ropes. This year, I am looking forward to assisting with more serves, and honing my craft.”

“I love learning something new and working with Artie has been amazing. Who knows, maybe one day I will travel abroad and work with other stallions all over the world.”

“I love looking after my boys, and I am so thankful that Brodie, Mike and all the Stockwell family have given me the opportunity to really shine.”

Artie Schiller is a proven Group 1 racehorse and sire of four Group 1 winners, including World Champion three-year-old sprinter Flying Artie. There is no doubt that Artie Schiller is like a good wine, he gets better with age. Maybe he has even mellowed a bit too.

Brodie Becker, Director of Stockwell, is proud to stand a stallion who had been so closely linked to the property and the Victorian breeding industry.

“We have been with Artie since he first came to stud in this country and have obviously followed his rise more than most. It was a sad day when the commercial pressures of his success saw him move to NSW, but the reality is that he has been given a great chance in those two seasons to continue his outstanding strike rate.”

“Artie’s yearlings have always been strongly received in the market by trainers and again this year have sold for better than $200,000.

“We are thrilled to have him back and getting support in his home state, and he is not slowing down with 53 winners already this season including the stakes winner Reykjavik.”

A top-class Group 1 sire that has left the likes of Champion three-year-old Flying Artie, Artie Schiller stands at a fee of $13,200.

Artie Schiller will have a solid book of mares visiting him this season, along with Stockwell’s other resident stallions, Al Maher and Rock Sturdy.


Stockwell sire Al Maher with Bec at the Diggers Rest property

“It’s a great photo of Al Maher. I was laughing, as he acts like a two-year-old kid. It’s great to see him expressing himself and having fun. He is feeling so well, ready and rearing, literally, to go for the season.”

Early mornings and hard work are nothing new to Chris Kent. As a national-level competitor in 5km open water swimming in his youth, his alarm rang daily at 5am for before school training. His afternoons were also spent in the water. On weekends, he’d travel to his parent’s 400 acre property in Goulburn to go pony riding.

Growing up in Douglas Park near Picton, 80km south of Sydney, Chris’ first taste of the horse racing industry came through his father, who bred and raced horses in partnership with Chris’ grandfather and uncle.

“My parents did not work in the industry. Mum likes horses but is a little scared, and dad is allergic,” said Chris. “But I used to love going to the country races to watch their horses. They had horses everywhere – with Peter Myers at Randwick, Keith Swan at Coonamble, and other trainers at Bathurst and Goulburn. We had the most fun around the Western Districts race tracks. I always wanted to be a horse trainer.”

After graduating Year 12 from Menangle Broughton Anglican College, family friend and veterinarian John Peakfield suggested to Chris that if he wanted to work with racehorses, he needed to first know where foals came from. So Chris went looking for work and secured a job with Brian Gorman at Scone’s Bellerive Stud.

After working under Brian for two years doing night watch and yearling preparations, Chris wanted to learn the next step in a thoroughbred’s career cycle. He then spent the next 12 months learning how to break-in horses with Greg Bennett.

“Some of the quality of bloodstock that came through the barns was amazing,” said Chris. “I learnt so much with Greg and still stay in contact with him.”

Chris then had the opportunity to move south to Victoria after securing the Australian Thoroughbred Scholarship at Geelong’s Marcus Oldham College. Upon graduating with a Diploma of Equine Management, Chris won the International Stud Management Award which granted him an invaluable opportunity to work for the historic Lanwades Stud in Newmarket, UK, for 12 months. It was also over there that he first met his now wife, Catherine.

Lured back to Australia with an offer to become Greg’s racing manager, Chris first did a five day stint for Phil and Patti Campbell at Blue Gum Farm, working with their draft at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale. And whilst he hit it off with the Blue Gum team, he kept his commitment to Greg. Whilst working for Greg, Chris looked after some lovely racehorses including Listed winner Charms Honour and Kaypers, whom he strapped when he finished 2nd in the Listed Parramatta Cup.

Whilst they stayed in touch, it was a while later that Phil made a specific phone call, offering Chris a role looking after Blue Gum’s Marketing and Nominations. It was too big an opportunity to turn down.

“Somewhere along the line I realised horse training wasn’t going to be for me,” said Chris. “Realistically, country training is where everyone starts and I’d seen how tough trainers do it. Plus I really enjoyed the breeding side, especially the pedigrees. I spoke to Greg and whilst he liked having me, he said I was better off doing that than working in his stables.”

Whilst Chris was busy working for Greg’s bourgeoning racing stables, Catherine came out to Australia on her own. She did a stint with the former Eliza Park before going north to Bellerive. It was here that romance began between the pair. Catherine followed Brian Gorman back down to Victoria and to Swettenham Stud and she currently works for Danny Swain at Euroa’s Glenelg Park. Chris and Catherine married in 2017 but they won’t work together as Chris jokes “we’d kill each other!”

Since accepting the role at Blue Gum Farm in April 2013, Chris’s role has grown to Horse Operations Manager. He is charged with managing the day-to-day operations, dealing with staff and clients and making sure the running of the farm goes as smoothly as possible.

Chris and Catherine Kent

“We’ll foal down just over 100 mares this breeding season,” said Chris. “Then we’ll prepare between 40 to 50 yearlings for the sales. We were leading vendors at this year’s Inglis Premier and VOBIS Gold Sales. We enjoy our success and it’s a lot of fun.”

When pressed to name his favourite part of his role, Chris honestly can’t provide a definitive answer.

“I like seeing foals born, seeing them develop into yearlings and I like watching them on the racetracks,” said Chris. “I also really enjoy doing my matings and pedigrees. I have dyspraxia and spent 17 years in speech therapy, so that means I have to work a bit harder when it comes to explaining things, writing emails and pronouncing names. But I don’t have one favourite part about my job. It’s not work, it’s a lifestyle for me.”

And when asked about a favourite horse?

“The year Blue Gum topped the Premier Sale (2016), I was lucky enough to take that horse through the ring.” That horse, which sold for $700,000, would become Listed winner and now first season sire, Ducimus.

“Fontiton was an absolute machine as a yearling to deal with, she thrived on the work. And then there’s What’s My Story. He wasn’t a superstar but riding him track work (at Greg’s) and seeing him win three races was pretty outstanding.”

Already having an all-encompassing career, Chris credits not just his managers, but also his fellow colleagues for teaching him so much through his work experiences, across all aspects.

“At every job you work, you learn something,” Chris said. “I’ve worked and learnt off Robert Simms, Jo Monahan, the boys in the UK stallion barns and our Yearling Manager Wendy Smith. Wendy is one of the most interesting horse people I’ve ever met and I’ve learnt so much off her.”

If there’s one thing Chris thinks the industry needs to focus on improving, it’s the necessity to attract more young people to the industry.

“It’s a great industry if you’ve got the bug for it,” Chris explains. “Trying to attract newer members, workers and breeders is what makes the industry grow and develop. The younger generation seem to be less and less coming into and staying involved in the industry.”

Living on site at Blue Gum, Chris does find it hard to switch off work mode. He’s been told, and he’ll admit, that he is a workaholic but he will always try to find time to watch the races on Saturday. He also enjoys getting out to the country race tracks and socialising with friends – BBQs in summers, fire pits in winter. Chill time. But for now, he’s on call and there’s a farm full of broodmares that need him.

And some advice for those wanting to get into the breeding industry? “Remember you get out what you put in and you can learn something off everyone. Don’t expect things to come quickly – patience is a virtue as they say.”

There’s always something thrilling about the ‘straight six’ at Flemington. It’s real ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ stuff, except only with a better ending.

On Saturday in the VRC Member Thomas Dandis Handicap, Ruban Bleu absolutely flew home over the final stages to record a memorable win for his large team of owners: ultimately scoring with nearly three lengths to spare.

Adding considerably to the win was the fact that Ruban Bleu was an emergency for the race, only obtaining a run due to several scratchings courtesy of the heavy surface.

It didn’t worry Ruban Bleu though and he relished the conditions according to Suman Hedge, who purchased the Artie Schiller sprinter for $80,000, on behalf of Carbine Thoroughbreds, at the 2017 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

“I think the penny has dropped for Ruban Bleu,” Hedge points out. “Two starts ago he was going around in a Class 1 and now he’s won a good race at headquarters.”

“He showed ability at two (with a Flemington fourth and a pair of Caulfield seconds) but then lost his way a bit. The Lindsay Park team have really persevered though, and he came into Saturday on the back of a Flemington third three weeks ago.”

Ruban Bleu ridden by Lachlan King wins the VRC Member Thomas Dandis Handicap at Flemington Racecourse on August 10 (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

“No decision has been made as to what lay ahead, but he’s very effective down that Flemington straight and he could pick up a really good race in the Spring.”

Ruban Bleu is out of the winning Fastnet Rock mare, Bleue Pepite, a half-sister to the Melbourne Group winner, Think Bleue, from the Group Two Silver Slipper winner, Ballybleue.

“Following our respective rounds of inspections, the Hayes team (Lindsay Park) and I compared notes at the Premier sale and Ruban Bleu was on both our lists,” Hedge recalls.

“I’ve always liked the Artie Schillers and Flying Artie was literally flying at the time.”

“Aside from the immediate family, Ruban Bleu has a terrific female pedigree, being related to Encosta de Lago and Flying Spur and it gave us added confidence when (breeder and vendor) Emirates Park decided to stay in the horse too.”

After breeding Group 1 Doncaster winner, Triple Honour – from a mare (Myrrh) which he purchased for just $19,000 in 2002 – Hedge has worked for a number of leading farms before setting up an agency under his own banner just on 12 months ago.

“The massive growth of prizemoney in Australia appears to be well and truly reflected in the sale ring and pin hooking is becoming more popular than ever.”

Ruban Bleu’s storming performance on Saturday is also welcome news for Stockwell Thoroughbreds’ Mike and Brodie Becker, who purchased Artie Schiller in 2018 and the prolific source of winners is about to embark on his second season at the Victorian nursery.

The sire of 47 stakes winners – 13 in Australia, including Group 1 success stories Artie Schiller and Laser Hawk – Artie Schiller is also responsible for last month’s Listed Winter Championship Final winner, Reykjavik.

“He (Artie Schiller) is 18 now and we’re not looking to get massive numbers to him,” Mike Becker points out. “We would be happy with around 80 mares, which – on the back of recent winners – is definitely achievable.

“He covered a big book of mares in 2016, due in large part to Flying Artie, and we bought the stallion on the back of those numbers coming through, which have all just turned two.

“He has a strike rate of around 70% winners to runners and it’s only a matter of time before he finds another good horse.”

Article courtesy of  Aushorse

Sixty starts. Nineteen wins, including five stakes wins.  Twenty-one placings and $1.4 million in prizemoney. Not bad for a little homebred gelding that was by an under-the-radar stallion and out of a mare who didn’t manage to break her maiden in 14 starts. The horse…Burning Front.

Of that massive purse, $151,400 of the $1.4 million was bonuses won through the Victorian Owners and Breeders Incentive Scheme (VOBIS). The chestnut gelding’s results on the track won him cult-hero status amongst Victorian racegoers and he would go one to provide his owner and breeder Justin Lovatt, with the accolade of 2017/18 VOBIS Owner of the Year and himself VOBIS Horse of the Year.

“We just could not be prouder of everything that Burning Front has achieved,” said Justin, taking a moment to reflect on his racehorse’s career.

“He completely changed our lives. I’d never done a TV interview in my life before he won. He was easy to train, had such a big will to win and not many can say they’ve owned a horse that beat Humidor. He was my little horse with a big heart!”

The Humidor victory Justin refers was the 2017 TS Carlyon Cup. With an uncontested lead for most of the race, including a 2 length lead at the home turn, he held off a late charge by Humidor to win by a neck.It was back-to-back wins in the race as Burning Front also took out the 2016 edition, beating Sydney stablemates Red Excitement and Dances on Stars.

Not breaking his maiden until his eighth start, Burning Front worked his way through the grades. He won a number of the VOBIS feature races – the Gold Star (twice), the Gold Eldorado, the Gold Mile and the Gold Bullion – as well as the time-honoured Chester Manifold Stakes at Flemington.

By the stallion Primus, Burning Front’s dam She’s A Knockout is still owned by Justin and is currently in foal to Sun Stud’s Palentino. Her other winning progeny are Cajo Kellila, Burning Front’s older full brother Apollo Creed and Casino Star, however it’s Burning Front’s 3-year-old full brother that currently has Justin’s attention.

“The little colt is currently in work with trainer Tony McEvoy,” said Justin. “Tony really likes him and we’re hoping he’s got as big a heart as his big brother!”

Since retiring from racing in 2018, Burning Front now calls Romsey’s Springmount Farm home. It was where he spelled prior to the commencement of what would become his final racing campaign.

“Springmount’s Michael and Anna Flannery are very good friends,” said Justin. “Anna fell in love with him while he was with them and she always said he had a home with them when his racing career was over.”

Having settled in well to farm life, “Burnie” has this season commenced his secondary career as a weanling nanny. In a role he has taken to with ease, the sensible and relaxed gelding is currently sharing a paddock with three playful colts.

The weanlings which Burning Front is a nanny to looking on in interest

Initially giving him time to settle into the property and retired life, this breeding season is his first under his new role. As a weanling nanny, Burnie acts like a big brother to the younger horses. He helps them get used to being separated from their mothers, plays with them but also keeps them in line if they get too cheeky.

“We eased him into it,” said Springmount’s Anna Flannery. “At first he was a little confused, you could see him thinking ‘what is this?’ but he’s taken to being a nanny so quickly. I’ve seen him grooming the weanlings and letting them groom him. He’s not nasty, is so sensible and has the perfect temperament for the job.”

As he stands in the paddock getting a brush down from Michael, you can see Burnie peering out of the corner of his eye. He’s keeping a look out for his three young charges, like a parent looks out for their adventurous toddler. He might not be a big horse but Burnie still has the presence of a champion. And, keeping their own look out too, it seems the young ones know it.

HOOF NOTE: “Where Are They Now?” is a new monthly series from TBV that will look at Victorian bred retired racehorses enjoying secondary careers off the racetrack. With an ongoing commitment to equine welfare, our aim is to further promote and highlight the work done in that area. If you have a story to share, please email tbv@racingvictoria.net.au

Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) in conjunction with Victoria’s stallion farms, would like to invite you to the upcoming stallion parades across the state.

Parades are free to attend and are a great way to see first-hand the exceptional quality of stallions that reside in Victoria, while seeing some of the beautiful Victorian countryside. If you plan on attending, it is crucial that you RSVP to the farms on the email addresses supplied below.

Please note that some of the start times may have changed since our last email to you, so please make sure you check the details below.

If you are planning on staying for the weekend of the parades, there are some fantastic places you can stay such as Mitchelton, Harvest Home Avenel, Nagambie Motor Inn or the Waterfront Motel, Nagambie.


This coming season, there is new investment from farms who have decided to call Victoria home, such as Aquis, who will stand Lean Mean Machine and Siege of Quebec and Yulong, who will stand Grunt.

Rosemont have acquired Shamus Award and will once again have Starspangledbanner, Stockwell have added Al Maher to their roster, Sun Stud have shuttled National Defense to Victoria, Swettenham have recruited Akeed Mofeed and Sioux Nation and Woodside have gained Foxwedge.

2019 Victorian Stallion Parades Schedule

Call to make an appointment
Name Website More Information
Blue Gum Farm http://bluegumfarm.com.au/ Philip@bluegumfarm.com.au
Bullarook Park http://www.bullarookpark.com.au/ bullarookpark@bigpond.com
Daisy Hill http://www.daisyhill.biz/ info@daisyhill.biz
Larneuk Stud https://www.larneuk.com/ neville@larneuk.com
Ponderosa Stud http://www.ponderosapark.com.au/ pk.three@bigpond.com
Riverbank Farm https://www.riverbankfarm.com.au/contact rosborne3@bigpond.com
Stockwell https://www.stockwellthoroughbreds.com.au/ brodie@stockwellthoroughbreds.com.au 
Yulong https://www.yulongracing.com/#contact-us samfairgray@yulonginvest.com.au

As the world’s leading Pedigree Analysis program for thoroughbred breeders, the Australian based G1 Goldmine boasts over 2800 users across 24 countries.

G1 Goldmine’s comprehensive 20/20 Broodmare Report provides a unique and informed insight into the Top 40 most compatible Stallions for the mare. The report includes three main features – the Aptitude Profile, which visualises past stakes winners with a similar breeding pattern, the 4×4 Impact Profile measures the strength of key crosses within a pedigree by comparing the potential number of stakes winners to actual stakes winners recorded, and the Stallion Match to identify the top graded stakes winners around that world that have similar pedigree pattern combinations to your mating.

One breeder experiencing considerable success with the G1 Goldmine reports is Victorian breeder, Esker Lodge and Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s Darren Dance.

“I use the G1 Goldmine Broodmare Reports for all my matings,” said Darren.

By former Rosemont Stud stallion Toorak Toff, SOCIAL SPIN is out of Darren’s mare Pirouettes. Darren used the Goldmine reports to select the matching. 

Pirouettes also produced dual Group 2 winner La Passe. With a yearling to Wyndholm Park’s Crackerjack King, she has now been retired from broodmare duties.

Trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, Social Spin is raced by Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock and a big group of owners. With four wins so far from 10 starts, he has also secured three second placings. He wrapped up his last campaign finishing in fifth place in February’s G2 Autumn Stakes behind Hawkshot.

By the Canny Lass mare Rock Diva, WANTED DIVA is another of Darren’s Goldmine success stories.  After two wins, the mare was retired to the breeding barn last season and is close to dropping a foal by Aquis Farm’s Group 3 winner and stakes placed sire JUKEBOX (Snitzel). Not only did Darren use a Goldmine report to determine this matching, he also used the report with the progeny of Rock Diva, which also includes Listed winner Rockolicious.

The 4-year old gelding SIRIUS SUSPECT is out of Darren’s Galileo (IRE) mare Sirius Miss. She was matched with former Eliza Park stallion Wanted, after the Goldmine report determined he was one of the better matches for her based on their pedigrees.

Trained by Saab Hasan at Flemington, Sirius Suspect is a 5-time winner, with another 5 places on his record, from a total of 16 starts. In his most recent start on 20th July, he started the $4.60 favourite and showed blistering speed to outrun his rivals over the 1200-metre trip.

Connections with Sirius Suspect after Flemington Victory 20th July 2019 (Racing Photos)

As a valued partner, G1 Goldmine provides TBV Members with a complimentary 20/20 Broodmare report, valued at $240.

If you’re yet to take up the offer, please email tbv@racingvictoria.net.au to get your member code. Once you have your member code, click here to redeem! 

Many of the greatest horses around the globe have been bred upon the adage of ‘breed the best to the best and hope for the best,’ and history shows that success often does create more success. 

Gold StandardSpendthrift Australia have developed their stallion roster with a focus on standing exceptional sons of champion sires so that breeders have a greater chance of high prices in the sale ring and winning races that count.

Knowing that you are sending your mare to a champion stallion with a successful sireline is a considerable factor in the breeding decision and it increases the odds of his speed, soundness and temperament being passed on to the progeny.

Take a look at the leading sires list and you will see that majority of the stallions are backed by generations of top sires, attesting to the age-old saying about breeding to the best.

The success of a champion stallion’s influence can also be felt for generations after his last runners hit the track. The legendary Northern Dancer’s (CAN) impact now extends through his champion sons Danzig (USA) and Danehill (USA), with the later the sire of current leading Australian sires Fastnet Rock, Redoute’s Choice and Exceed and Excel.

Sir Tristram (IRE), who at one point in time saw him as the world’s leading sire for individual Group 1 winners, continued his legacy through his world-class son Zabeel (NZ) who is also the sire of New Zealand’s reigning champion sire Savabeel.

Spendthrift Australia’s Hampton Court and Swear are by the breed-shaping Redoute’s Choice, a fourth-generation champion sire. He comes from the legendary sireline of Northern Dancer, Danzig and Danehill.

Redoute’s Choice has already proven his sireline will continue the tradition with Snitzel leading the Australian general sires list and Not A Single Doubt trailing closely behind. Their success only bolsters the confidence in the stallion careers of Hampton Court and Swear.

Record-setting sire I Am Invincible is another champion sire that features in the Spendthrift Australia roster with his son Overshare. By Invincible Spirit (IRE), son of legendary sire Green Desert (USA), I Am Invincible has been on the rise since he won Champion First Season Sire honours and looks to add the Champion 2YO Sire title to his accolades this year.

Overshare is an identical type to his champion sire which is only strengthened by his female family featuring five global champions, a convincing example of breeding the best to the best.

Gold Standard joined the roster alongside Overshare in 2018 and is another exceptional type by a champion sire. He beat home some of the best runners of his generation, including Trapeze Artist and Merchant Navy, and follows in the mould of his Golden Slipper-winning champion sire Sebring.

His grandsire More Than Ready (USA) has sired the most winners of any stallion in history and his great grandsire Southern Halo (USA) is a son of Halo (USA) – the sire of Japan’s breed-shaping sire Sunday Silence (USA) whose influence is still felt through his champion son Deep Impact (JPN).

More Than Ready’s line in Australia is looking to have a similar impact, with Gold Standard positioned nicely to continue the late Sebring’s legacy.

Bolt D'Oro
Spendthrift’s Bolt D’Oro (Breednet)

Bolt D’OroSpendthrift Australia have also invested the same focus into finding shuttle stallions that will provide opportunity to every breeder in the Australian marketplace.

Many of the top sires to shuttle to Australia have been sired by champions with the likes of Shamardal (USA) being a son of Giant’s Causeway (USA), Teofilo being a son of Galileo (IRE), and the above mentioned More Than Ready being a son of Southern Halo.

Jimmy Creed (USA), who is currently producing over 70 percent winners worldwide and two winners from three Australian runners, is among the leading sires of his generation in the United States.

The success flows through multiple generations with Jimmy Creed being the son of champion sire Distorted Humor (USA), grandson of influential sire Gone West (USA) and great grandson of the breed-changing Mr Prospector (USA).

New to the Australian market this breeding season is US shuttle sire Bolt d’Oro (USA), a precocious dual Group 1-winning son of the exceptional sire Medaglia d’Oro (USA). In addition to the accomplishments of Medaglia d’Oro as an Australian sire, he was a Champion Second Season Sire in his home country.

Just like every stallion on the Spendthrift Australia roster, Bolt d’Oro descends from a long line of champions with the dominant Sadler’s Wells (USA) and Northern Dancer just a few generations behind him.

By focusing on champion sirelines, Spendthrift Australia are giving its stallion every chance of success. Not only does it fuel their chances of becoming a champion sire in their own right, but it also gives breeders the confidence their mares will be bred to a stallion with increased odds of producing a successful racehorse.

Article Courtesy of Breednet

In the four years since the birth of Springmount Farm in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, Anna and Michael Flannery have taken their farm from strength to strength, positioning themselves as serious players in Victoria’s breeding industry. But the story of the husband and wife team behind the Farm extends back a lot further.

Anna was born in County Westmeath, in Ireland’s midlands. Her father was a horse trainer, who trained privately for the retired soldier, Lieutenant General Sir Charles Gairdner. Moving to Western Australia to become Governor, Gairdner wrote to Anna’s father in an attempt to lure him over. And it worked – Anna and her family shortly thereafter boarded ship bound for Australia.  

Born in Paddington, Sydney, Michael Flannery returned to his father’s home country of Ireland when he was three years old. He would eventually travel back and forth between the two countries, working and learning his trade at farms such as Coolmore in Ireland, and Victoria’s Stockwell Thoroughbreds. A job offer came in from Western Australia, to work for Anna’s father. He took the job, Anna’s and Michael’s paths met and, as they say, the rest is romantic history.

Initially trained in health and midwifery, Anna worked in the healthcare sector both in Perth, overseas and with remote indigenous communities. These medical skills were ones she found easily transferred to mares, especially during the foaling season, and she initially spent a lot of her free time assisting Michael.

“A lot of the knowledge applies,” said Anna. “As well as handling medication, I also ran an immunisation program so the overlay is quite interesting. When we moved to Victoria, I’d planned to go back to work in the healthcare industry. I even went in for a job but got too busy at the farm and never went back!”

Taking a break from the horses, Michael spent time working in WA’s booming construction and mining industries. But upon deciding that horses was where their passion lied, to give it a go on their own they set up Avoca Park in Harvey, 140km south of Perth. They stuck at it for 20 years, but with the state’s breeding industry only so big and not quite viable enough to make it a livelihood, they packed up their car and crossed the Nullabor to try their luck in Victoria.

With thick conifer trees bordering the driveway, Springmount Farm is a picturesque 78-acre property nestled on the outskirts of Romsey. Just under an hour from Melbourne and central to many of Victoria’s top stud farms, the broodmares, babies and agisting racehorses in the Flannery’s care have ample space to frolic in the property’s lush paddocks.

Michael Flannery with Burning Front

“We looked for four years before finding this place,” said Michael of what used to be Monterey Stud. “We certainly wanted a place that was pretty well set up, we didn’t want to wait for trees to grow. It’s a huge plus if you can start operating your business without developing a property at the same time.”

Three white Labradors also call the property home, as do weanling nannies Burnie and Baldy. You may know Burnie better as the VOBIS cult-hero Burning Front, whilst Baldy was once a lead pony that belonged to trainer Peter Moody.

“Burning Front spelled here during his racing campaigns and I told (owner) Justin Lovatt that he’d always have a forever home here after he retired,” said Anna. “He was such a quiet and sensible racehorse when he was here. Currently sharing a paddock with three young colts, he’s taken to his new role of nanny so easily.”

This coming season, about 40 foals are expected to be born at Springmount before yearling preparation gets underway ahead of the sales season. Regular vendors at the Melbourne sales, the Flannerys had not only the Day Three sale topper but also their best ever result at this year’s Inglis Premier Yearling Sale. Lot 452, a popular Brazen Beau colt out the mare Sistine Princess, sold to Orbis Bloodstock for $560,000.

They may not have any plans for further development or expansion, but Anna and Michael seem fairly content in their little slice of horsey paradise. And rightly so. They’ll let their results speak for themselves.

*Edited story by Greg Tobin

It’s somewhat fitting that Saturday’s Listed TAB Lightning Stakes winner, Assertive Approach, is out of a mare called Arrival.

After all, it was an ‘arrival’ of sorts for Mr Pan Sutong’s Goldin Farms which bred and raced, Assertive Approach – the first stakes winner for Dubawi’s Hong Kong Cup winner, Akeed Mofeed.

And yes, the Hong Kong based, Mr Pan, also raced AND stood – for the first five seasons at least – the highly promising Akeed Mofeed.

It’s been an interesting few years for Goldin which purchased, in 2013, what is arguably the most famous thoroughbred real estate in South Australia: Lindsay Park Stud.

No-one can put a number on just how many stakes winners have come off that property over the decades, but since Goldin took up the reins, the graduates include last year’s Group One Thousand Guineas winner, Amphitrite – somewhat fittingly trained by Lindsay Park Racing.

However, Assertive Approach would become the initial black type winner to race in Mr Pan’s white and gold, as Goldin Farm’s bloodstock manager, Brett Campbell, proudly points out.

“He (Assertive Approach) is a very exciting horse,” Campbell enthused. “That was three wins from three starts on Saturday and while we were quietly confident he’d go well in the Lightning, it’s always a relief to get that stakes win under your belt.

“We’ve been unlucky with a couple of Akeed Mofeeds who have gone very close, but Assertive Approach is clearly a very promising horse and, fingers crossed, is gearing up for a successful spring.”

Trained by Team Hawkes, Assertive Approach had his first start at Bendigo in February, winning by a head, but resumed at Sandown in late June with a resounding four length win over 1000m. Although facing tougher company on Saturday, Assertive Approach again led throughout, fighting back strongly despite the late attention from Behemoth, who was last seen in May when finishing a head second behind Despatch in the Group One Goodwood Handicap.

“I have always been confident in Akeed Mofeed as a sire and this win, along with the recent performances of his other progeny, should encourage breeders to support him this spring,” a delighted Pan Sutong said after watching the race in Hong Kong.

Very much an on-pacer like her stakes winning 3-year-old, Arrival was a multiple winning daughter of Choisir who finished second in the Listed Pewsey Vale (over the same journey as the Lightning). Arrival is also a three quarter sister to multiple Melbourne Group winner Tuscan Sling, while other close relations include 4-time Perth stakes winner, Lite’N In My Veins and 2018 Ballarat Cup winner, Kiwia.

Not surprisingly, Arrival will be heading back to Akeed Mofeed this spring, but will have to venture further afield for the privilege as Victoria’s Swettenham Stud will stand the stallion in 2019.

“We couldn’t have been any happier to secure Akeed Mofeed earlier this year…well, as it turns out we could after Assertive Approach’s win on Saturday,” Swettenham Stud’s Sales & Nominations Manager, Sam Matthews points out.

“In those first few seasons Akeed Mofeed got reasonable numbers, but was basically utilised as a ‘private’ stallion. Yet, after his first crop came out and started winning races and made good money in the ring (Akeed Mofeed’s yearlings have sold up to $200,000), he covered 98 mares last spring.

“Mr Pan is sending 33 of his mares to Swettenham this spring and the interest in Akeed Mofeed has been incredible. He’ll certainly cover his biggest book in 2019 and a good many of those already booked are group winners or dams of group winners.

“Encouragingly, despite the stallion’s success at sales, nearly half of the broodmare owners are breeding to race.”

Akeed Mofeed stands at Swettenham Stud in 2019 for a fee of $16,500.

*Excerpts from Greg Tobin and TDN

Proudly boasting over $1.3 million dollars in prizemoney, Saturday’s Bletchingly Stakes Day at Caulfield featured the running of the final three races of the VOBIS Gold Premier race series for the 2018/19 season.

The day hosted the following VOBIS Gold races, which each having a minimum of $180,000 of prizemoney and bonuses up for grabs; the VOBIS Gold Ingot, the VOBIS Gold Stayers and the VOBIS Gold Reef.

The VOBIS Gold Ingot was taken out by the Ellerton Zahra Racing trained Parmie. With Dean Yendall aboard, the filly came with a sustained finish and showed determination to hold off the challenge of Igniting (Starspangledbanner), who initially looked like he was going to open his winning account.

Parmie was coming off her maiden midweek success at Ladbrokes Park – Hillside and further improvement is expected from her after a break and justified the connection’s decision to stay closer to home with her, rather than tackle a stakes race in Adelaide last week.

Parmie is raced by her breeders and long-time supporters of the stable David and Jenny Moodie, under their Hesket Bloodstock banner.

“David and Jenny have been great supporters of mine,” said co-trainer Mathew Ellerton. “This filly has tested everyone’s patience, but she’s turned into a racehorse now.”

Jessica Moodie could barely contain her excitement, as she screamed Parmie across the finishing line to win the VOBIS Gold Ingot.

“This is a very special win for me today,” said Jessica. “Parmie is the first foal out of my favourite race mare Spirits Dance. I’ve watched her grow up and was pretty much there with her from the day she was born. Winning a VOBIS Gold race like this makes it even more special, I am still in shock.”

The Ciaron Maher/David Eustace trained Sopressa was considered a strong chance to farewell racing on top in the 2400 metre VOBIS Gold Stayers.

Sopressa hadn’t made a visit to the winners’ enclosure since May 2018, when capturing the Group One Schweppes Oaks over 2000m at Morphettville. However, despite a less than memorable spring and autumn, there was plenty of wind in the sails coming home this time in.

With the job now done, Sopressa will now head to the breeding barn, and whilst she might not be the highest profile mare heading there this spring, she has meant so many things to many.

To Danny Molloy, who purchased the filly for $70,000 at the 2015 Inglis Great Southern Sale in Melbourne, to breeders Ken Dean and Cathy Webb, to Bucklee Farm who sold Sopressa and to Oaks pilot, Harry Coffey, a popular jockey who has spent his life battling cystic fibrosis. For each of them, Oaks success was a Group One first.

Webb and Dean had to learn the art of patience too. The pair, at one stage, owned 25 mares and stood five stallions – under the Victorian Stallion Partnership banner – but their Group One winner was a long time in the making.

“We’d been in the breeding industry for over 30 years, but she was our first winner at the elite level,” Webb reveals. “We had bought Hidden Strings in foal, and also got a Written Tycoon filly and Warhorse colt out of the mare before selling her on. It might have taken a while, but trust me, it’s never too late to get your first Group One winner!”

Meanwhile, Leanne Smith, who owns Bucklee Farm – a boutique 70 acre property at Greta West in Victoria – prepped Sopressa for the Great Southern, recalls that the filly looked a lot like her mum, Hidden Strings.

“We won’t be forgetting her (Sopressa) in a hurry, but I’ve still got my fingers crossed that we get a second Group One winner with Cliff’s Edge who we sold for $60,000 at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale and resumed with a very good third in the (Group Three) Bletchingly on Saturday.”

The final VOBIS race on the card, the $180,000 VOBIS Gold Reef, was claimed by jockey Damien Oliver onboard Benitoite. Trained at the track by Clinton McDonald, the filly was bred by Swettenham Stud’s Adam Sangster and is by Americain, who now stands at Daisy Hill. She has now had 6 starts for 4 wins, making her $90,000 purchase price at the 2017 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale a great value-for-money purchase.

The VOBIS Gold Premier race series comprised of 18 races with $4.45 million dollars in prizemoney and bonuses for the 2018/19 season, however the series will see an increase to $4.65 million dollars for the 2019/20 season. Horses must be first nominated to Super VOBIS and then upgraded to VOBIS Gold, to be able to be part of the series. The aim of VOBIS is to ensure a sustainable and viable Victorian Breeding industry by providing further riches and rewards to prizemoney already on offer in Victoria, to those who breed, buy or race a Victorian-bred horse. 

The VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series is proudly supported by Victorian Breeders, Racing Victoria and the Victorian State Government.

Charmein Bukovec – TBV Executive Officer commented, “It is great to have strong support behind our Victorian Breeders in the form of the VOBIS Gold Premier race series. No matter who you speak with; trainers, breeders, owners, they will tell you that they are always on the hunt for a VOBIS horse at the sales. This series helps drive the demand for our horses.” 

“We also had the inaugural running of The Showdown at Caulfield in April this year and with the Matt Laurie trained Prince Of Sussex taking out the coveted crown, this shone a light on the exceptional quality of stallions and the strength of our incentive scheme which we have in Victoria.” 

James O’Brien – TBV President commented, “I am delighted with how the VOBIS program continues to go from strength to strength. It confirms the confidence the market has in our horses and showcases the very best of what we have to offer here in Victoria.” 

“There has continued to be new investment into the industry with new farms deciding to call Victoria home. With the quality, talent and rewards on offer – there is no better time to Buy, Own and Race a Victorian bred thoroughbred.”

Connections of Sopressa after winning the Danny Barrett VOBIS Gold Stayers at Caulfield on Saturday. (Racing Photos)

*Story by Greg Tobin, Aushorse

Next time you’re wondering if industry professionals are dispassionate about the horses they train, ride or breed, it will be well worth taking a look at the post-race interview of Lindsey Smith celebrating Scales of Justice’s victory in Saturday’s Group Three The Big Screen Company Bletchingly Stakes over 1200 metres at Caulfield.

Without wishing to age Smith prematurely, it’s hardly the Perth/Warrnambool trainer’s first time on the black type merry-go-round, having saddled up the winners of eight Group Ones: among them Old Comrade and Old Money way back in 2000.

Still, it was an emotion charged Smith who faced the cameras after the Bletchingly, revealing that it’s been a long road back for Scales of Justice who won the Group One Railway Stakes in December 2016, but had been out of the winners’ enclosure since mid-2017 after capturing the Group Three Strickland Stakes at Belmont.

However, Smith’s 6-year-old flyer was firing on all cylinders at Caulfield, sitting just off the pace until turning for home before scooting away in the final stages to score with over three lengths to spare.

“I didn’t think he was going to race again,” Smith points out, referring to a number of injuries Scales of Justice has sustained in the past year. “I’ve nursed him and spoiled him, but he showed on Saturday that it worth all the effort.

“He’s a wonderful horse…got the best eye and best character of any I’ve ever dealt with. It’s easy to get emotional…they are like your children.”

One of the most highly regarded trainers in Western Australia and renowned for his eastern ‘raids’ (Old Comrade won three Group Ones in Perth before capturing the 2002 Australian Cup, while Plastered won the 2004 Victoria Derby), Smith took over 40 boxes at Victoria’s Warrnambool racecourse in May.

Since the satellite operation commenced, Smith has had 13 starters for six winners, including a Listed Winter Championship victory via Reykjavik in early July.

With the backing of his biggest owner, Chris Wells (also part-owner of Scales of Justice) and major syndicators such as Brad Spicer Thoroughbreds, it’s not surprising that the ‘bool stable is filling fast.

As for Scales of Justice, the Bletchingly brings his tally to 10 wins and 11 placings from 24 starts for $1,540,450 in stakes, with his trainer currently formulating some ambitious spring plans.

“If he’s back to his best, then he’s a (Group One) Toorak Handicap (12 October) horse or he’ll go home for the (Group One $1 million) Railway Stakes (23 November),” Smith reveals.

More immediately, a Group One Memsie Stakes tilt on 31 August isn’t ruled out, nor would a slot in October’s $14 million The Everest, for that matter.

A son of Not A Single Doubt, Scales of Justice is a half-brother to three winners – including Listed Warrnambool Cup runnerup, Cruyfforme – and is from the Umatilla mare, Beymatilla, a close relation to Flemington Group winner, King Hoaks.

Purchased out of a paddock but never making it to the track, Beymatilla was the first horse Victorians Gerard and Kathy Hammond ever bred from and, understandably, have maintained a close interest in Scales of Justice’s progress.

The mare was eventually given to Richard Kerry and Jarrod Byers at Millford Thoroughbreds, who put Scales of Justice through the 2014 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale on the Hammonds behalf: with the colt eventually being sold to Boomer Bloodstock’s Craig Rounsfell.

Sadly, Beymatilla died three months short of foaling after getting in foal to Magnus in 2015.

“We thought Scales of Justice would make around $80,000 to $100,000 in the ring. He was a slow maturing horse, but had grown out really well at the farm and was always a nice type,” Jarrod Byers recalls.

“Turns out though that both Craig (Rounsefell) and Robbie Laing were very interested in him and he eventually sold for $180,000.

“It was great for Gerard and Kathy … they breed from three or four mares every year and have been long-time clients.

“There’s a lot of swings and roundabouts in this industry. They sold a Written Tycoon colt for just $5,000 at the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale which was then pinhooked as a ready to run horse for $90,000 before going on to win over HK$5 million in Hong Kong as New Asia Sunrise.

“So, it’s great to see when they get a result like they did in Melbourne and, for that matter, the entire Scales of Justice team.”

On a crisp winter’s evening last Sunday, the team at Yulong Investments welcomed what is believed to be this Victorian breeding season’s first thoroughbred foal.

The gorgeous bay filly is out of the unraced but well-bred mare Descent (Street Cry). Both mum and baby are doing very well.

Descent is one of Yulong’s 154 Australian-based mares. They also have 14 based in Ireland and 12 in New Zealand. This new filly is Decent’s second foal and she also has a weanling colt and will be served by Yulong’s foundation sire, Group One winning miler Grunt, this season.

“We are very happy with the support Grunt is receiving and he will cover a good book of mares this upcoming season,” said Yulong’s Chief Operating Officer Sam Fairgray.

As well as a busy breeding barn, Yulong are enjoying recent success on the racetrack. The homebred Green Rules won on debut at Bendigo on Sunday, with another 8 two-year-old winners on the books. The consistent filly Maozi has only finished outside the top 3 once from her 7 starts, while the Patrick Payne-trained Killarney Kid notched up win number 17 in the Kevin Lafferty Hurdle at Warrnambool earlier this month.

“We’ve recently had three stakes winning two-year-old fillies,” said Sam. “It’s exciting for their broodmare prospects going forward.”

Whilst Yulong are not hosting an official open day this season, they welcome visitors to the property to inspect Grunt and their impressive facilities. Please contact the property to make an appointment.

TBV’s Executive Officer Charmein Bukovec is also excited by the arrival of the Yulong foal and the start of the foaling season.

“It was a lovely Monday morning surprise to see Yulong’s announcement of the arrival of the season’s first foal,” said Charmein.

“The breeding season is truly upon us and I wish all of our breeders the best of luck with the coming season and can’t wait to see all the foals as they arrive.”

With the foaling season upon us, TBV will also be again holding the annual Foal Gallery and Photo Competition.

Open to all TBV Members, you’re encouraged to show off Victoria’s newest members of the thoroughbred industry. The winning photo will be selected based on originality and all-round cuteness. Photos can be submitted from the 12th of August.

*Story by Breednet

Sun Stud’s perennial champ, Bel Esprit has again notched up 100 individual winners for the season with promising 3YO, Ashrad, leading throughout to notch up his maiden win at Wangaratta last Sunday 21 July.

Although he has gained global attention as the sire of racing immortal, Black Caviar, it’s worth noting that Bel Esprit has sired 682 winners in 11 countries – at a strike rate of 68%! – with over $68 million in progeny earnings. Indeed, his $5.65 million in earnings this season again place him among Australia’s Top 20 active sires.

Meanwhile, 2019 stakes winners such as Tactical Advantage and Belwazi are just two of Bel Esprit’s 52 stakes horses, which also include Group One winners Bel Mer and Bel Sprinter.

With consistency being the key, Bel Esprit has produced – on average – 130 winners a year world-wide for the past 10 seasons and is rapidly gaining currency as a broodmare sire too, particularly in light of the 2019 deeds of Hong Kong Horse of the Year, Beauty Generation, Group One winner Costa Viva and 15 other stakes horses.

At the time of publication, Bel Esprit has credited an additional 7 winners over the past 7 days to his name.

Still hugely popular with breeders, Bel Esprit covered 95 mares last season and stands at Sun Stud in 2019 at a fee of $11,000 with no payment until live foal.

The son of a policeman with a keen interest in music, a career working with horses wasn’t necessarily the definite career path for Scott Williamson. Growing up on the edge of the famed Epsom Downs racecourse, south of London, horses were just part of everyday life but music was his first passion. Playing the double base in the National Children’s Orchestra, Scott travelled and performed throughout the UK.

As the godson of trainer Philip Mitchell, who trained at Epsom’s Downs House, the Derby Festival was naturally a big event in the Williamson household with Scott attending his first Epsom Derby as a baby when he was mere weeks old. Scott’s father had shares in some racehorses and it wasn’t long before Scott developed a keen interest in racing and the double base got packed away. Keen to watch track work any morning he could, Scott would spend his free time getting into the thick of things at the racing stables. During this time Philip trained a horse called Running Stag. The horse ran in the Dubai World Cup and won in France and America which helped broaden Scott’s racing interests to international territory.

Following the same path of his two older brothers Grant and Craig, after school Scott enrolled at Writtle Agricultural College in Essex, UK to study Equine Studies. Graduation saw Scott travel to the USA to work for studs such as Lanes End and Coolmore USA. Ever eager to increase his knowledge, Scott worked for a company called Equix. Working with the Lexington-based company, Scott learned how to measure horse biomechanics using motion analysis and digital measuring, recommending breeding matches and sale prospects for clients.

“Travelling and seeing how everyone does things differently has allowed me to form my own opinions on what I think works best,” reflects Scott. “Technology can be great but you still need to develop your horsemanship skills and own eye for looking at horses.”

At Writtle College, Scott’s older brother Craig chose to study Horticulture over Equine Studies and has gone on to become one of the world’s top track managers and currently holds the position of Estates Manager at Epsom Downs and Sandown Park in the UK. Scott’s other brother Grant has been a big influence on shaping how Scott’s career has developed. When Scott was in America, Grant told him of a job opportunity as Assistant Yearling Manager at Widden Stud, where he was working at the time. Scott followed his advice and moved to Australia and spent over 2 and a half years in the Widden Valley. Grant currently works for Fasig-Tipton in America as a bloodstock consultant, having previously managed Studs throughout America and has been a great source of support with a wealth of bloodline and breeding knowledge, which he willingly imparts to Scott.

As well as the experience gained when working at Widden Stud, Scott also met his future wife Bec at the property. An opportunity to become Farm Manager meant a move to Twin Palms Stud, also in the Hunter Valley. Ever the keen student, each new role brought Scott new learning opportunities. Ever the supportive wife, and a talented horsewoman herself, Bec has been able to move jobs with Scott as his career developed.

When Yulong Investments commenced a breeding operation in Victoria, Scott become their first manager, setting up their farm near Koo Wee Rup. Scott was involved in the first purchases for their breeding venture and was heavily involved in the initial set up, putting his previous farm management experience to use as paddocks needed fencing and the property needed to be transformed to be fit for the purpose.

“It was a very exciting time to be involved with Yulong and I enjoyed working for Mr Yuesheng Zhang as he is so passionate about horses,” Scott said of his time at Yulong Park.

When Yulong acquired further stud farms in Nagambie, the 170 acre Yulong Park property was redeveloped into a state-of-the-art facility for spelling racehorses.

“As well as spelling the racehorses, we also helped rehabilitate them. I got to look after Killarney Kid during his time there and he was such a great horse to work with. All the staff loved him so we were delighted when he went on to win some features over the hurdles.”

The desire for working back in the breeding industry was too great, so when a job as Farm Manger at Musk Creek Farm came up, Scott applied and was successful. “I had originally thought about moving down to the Mornington Peninsula about 8 years ago when the job was available back then but I decided to stay in the Hunter Valley at the time. It’s funny how things work out and I’ve ended up down here now anyway.” Scott said.

Owner David Kobritz leaves the day to day running of Musk Creek Farm in Scott’s very capable hands. While this comes with great responsibility, knowing that an employer has such confidence in his abilities has shown the years of hard study of all aspects of the breeding industry are beginning to reap their rewards. Having bought some new broodmares in the past few years, Scott is confident that the next 2 to 3 years will see some big advances at the Flinders based farm.

Scott has settled into his role as Farm Manager and is enjoying life on the Mornington Peninsula with Bec, who runs the administrative side of the farm.

“During the busy times, you can go weeks without even leaving the farm gate so when I do have some time off I enjoy going to the races and socialising on the Peninsula.”

One of the challenges Scott has encountered from his years working in the breeding industry is the fact that you never know when luck is going to come into play.

“There are so many things that have to fall in to place when it comes to breeding. Hard work and a sound knowledge to base decisions on certainly help too.”

Scott, owner of Mockery, celebrates after she won at Flemington on 2nd March 2019 (Racing Photos).

Musk Creek Farm have been breeding horses to race in recent years. By having these horses on the farm from an early age, Scott feels it is an advantage when they go racing.

“Being around theses horses on a daily basis, I get to know their temperament and can then use this to advise whether I think a horse will be an early 2yo for example. I also will have an idea what type of trainer might suit a particular horse,” explained Scott, a self-confessed racing-nerd.

One thing Scott would like to see change in the industry is the number of young people coming through who want to work in the breeding industry.

“It’s long hours, unsociable at times and young people today just don’t want to work in that kind of a job.”

With 4 staff on the farm, Scott is conscious of the long hours and commitment involved from his staff. He feels that something needs to be done to help attract more people into the industry by making people aware that there are career pathways available and ensuring staff are paid a decent wage as a reward for their dedication.

“When you do the mating plans, then watch these horses be born, then watching them development and go on to win on the track – there isn’t a better feeling for me. That’s where I get the enjoyment from my job.”

A lot of attention was brought to Musk Creek Farm with the pin hooking of multiple Group 1 winner Pierro. While it was a great achievement, Scott feels that this doesn’t reflect accurately what’s going on at Musk Creek Farm.

“Aside from pin hooking, we are putting great effort into our breeding programme, improving the quality of our mares and ensuring that we are taking quality potential racehorses to yearling sales. We are looking to the future with our broodmare band and ensuring we have quality stock coming through.”

So it seems that the Orchestra’s loss has ultimately been Musk Creek Farm’s gain, as Scott puts his skills and knowledge gained from working in varying roles in the thoroughbred breeding industry throughout the world, together with his firm understanding of the racing industry to good use at the Flinders farm.

The advice that Scott would give someone trying to get involved in the breeding industry is “Always try and learn. I would highly recommend for young people to travel. Before you decide to settle down – travel. Go to England. Go to America. Get as much experience as you can but then form your own ideas. There are always interesting ways of doing things and always interesting things to learn if you are willing to learn them.”

*News from Inglis

Entries for the 2020 Inglis Select Yearling Sales Series are closing soon, with Australia’s leading thoroughbred auctioneer confident of again enjoying a successful sales season with its breeders and vendors.

Inglis will again conduct five select yearling sales – Classic, Premier, Easter, Gold and Scone – in 2020 at Riverside Stables, Oaklands Junction and White Park.

The Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale will comprise of a two-day Premier Session, supplemented by a further two days of the newly formed Showcase Session from March 1-4 while the Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale will expand to the two days of April 19 and 20.

Both Melbourne sales will be held at the magnificently renovated Oaklands Junction precinct.

“We are thrilled with how the Oaklands renovations were received by our clients this year and we look forward to building on that in 2020,’’ Inglis’ Victorian Bloodstock Manager Simon Vivian said.

“The Premier Yearling Sale was a great success again in 2019 with another increase in average – the 10th year of the past 11 years we have achieved that – the atmosphere and spirited bidding at Oaklands was fantastic and with the support of the Victorian breeders especially, as well as many interstate breeders, we believe 2020 will be even bigger and better.’’

More than 2000 yearlings were sold through the Inglis Select Yearling Sales Series in 2019 at a market-leading clearance rate of 85%, market-leading average ($114,000) and market-leading gross ($230,000,000).

Inglis also sold the most yearlings in 2019 for $1 million or more, with 19 of the 30 yearlings to sell for seven figures in Australia doing so through Inglis, as well as the only two yearlings to sell for $2 million or more.

Inglis graduates continue to dominate on the track, with 20 individual G1 winners for the 2018/19 season.

Since the start of 2018, Inglis has produced 88% more G1-winning graduates than any other Australian auction house, while 83% of Australian G1-winning 2YOs in that same period that have been offered at auction have been offered through Inglis.

“The success of graduates of Inglis auctions, particularly at G1 level, is very significant and we will be doing our utmost to promote to the buying bench that their chances of buying a G1 winner are dramatically increased by doing business with Inglis,” General Manager of Bloodstock Sales Sebastian Hutch said.

“We are determined to offer our vendors an outstanding service throughout the process and our sales structure for 2020 is a reflection not just of the consideration we have given as a team to where we can improve, but more importantly of the feedback we have received from both vendors and buyers.

“We want to work with each and every one of our vendors to help them to achieve optimum results across the board, starting with identifying appropriate sales targets for the 2020 Yearling Sales Series.

“It is a most important time of the year and while work for the 2020 Series began quite some time ago, our bloodstock team is excited about getting out and about to discuss options with vendors over the coming weeks and months.

“We are committed to offering an outstanding level of service to our patrons, both vendors and buyers.

“Having canvassed feedback throughout the sales season, we have made slight changes that we feel present our clients with an optimal sales structure for 2020.

“There is an absolute commitment amongst our Bloodstock team to working hard for our vendors to achieve outstanding results for our clients.

“Inglis auctions have produced 29 Group 1-winning graduates since the start of 2018, almost double that of the next best Australasian auction house. We are very grateful for the support that has resulted in this success and feel that it affords us the perfect platform to attract buyers from across Australia and right around the world to our sales in 2020.’’

To enter your yearlings for the 2020 Inglis Select Yearling Sales Series, download an entry form at inglis.com.au or contact a member of the Inglis bloodstock team in Melbourne on 03 9333 1422 or Sydney on 02 9399 7999.

Entries close this coming Friday, August 2.

Margaret Taylor sadly passed away last Wednesday, only hours after her beloved stallion Angelo Minny succumbed to colic on Tuesday evening at her farm in Garfield, Victoria.

A pharmacist by training, Margaret ran the chemist shop in Garfield alongside husband Edward for many years. When they retired from this venture, they purchased their Garfield property where they began standing stallions and began a small breeding operation. Margaret called the farm Susiman Farm, a mixture of the names of her 3 children Susan, Simon and Ian.

Strong willed and not afraid to speak her mind, Margaret was always hands-on when it came to maintaining her 80-acre property. At 85 years of age, Margaret could still be found slashing weeds and harrowing paddocks aboard her tractor. Ailing health in recent years, meant that operations were scaled back but with assistance, she still provided agistment and foaling down services to outside clients as well as standing Angelo Minny, her final stallion.

The French bred Angelo Minny originally raced with success in Europe and was brought to Australia in 2008 by Peter Maher who was seeking Melbourne Cup glory. A winner over 1400 metres as a two-year-old and 2400 metres as a three-year-old, an injury curtailed the initial Melbourne Cup campaign of the son of the great Red Randsom.

Following a final campaign, the colt raced in Brisbane before retiring to Stud in Victoria.

Margaret’s love for Angelo Minny meant he had a home with her no matter what he achieved at stud. Margaret matched Angelo Minny to her own broodmare band and a few local mares.

One of his progenies to race with success was the Miranda Cox trained five-year-old mare, Rebecca who won at Stony Creek in February of this year, much to Margaret’s delight as a part owner.

One of Margaret’s more successful stallions was Rare Pearl (FR) who bred many wet track specialists and was well supported by local Cranbourne trainers. A very clever lady, Margaret enjoyed studying racing pedigrees and even as her body began to fail her in later years, with her alert mind she thoroughly enjoyed discussing breeding lines and mating plans.

Margaret will be sadly missed by her family and friends. A funeral service will take place at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, 1215 Bunyip River Rd, Iona on Tuesday 6th August 2019 commencing at 11:00 am.

*News from Victoria Racing Club

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) will introduce two new opportunities for young horses to race down the famous Flemington straight this spring.

Flemington will now host the first two-year-old race of the season on Spring Classics Preview Day held on Wednesday 25 September 2019. The new 900 metre sprint for two-year-olds will have the option to be divided into two divisions, potentially based on gender, if the number of acceptances allows.

This new race is intended to give the juveniles valuable raceday experience on Flemington’s course proper on a relatively low-pressure day, with the aim that many of the entrants in this race will progress to take their place in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes on Turnbull Stakes Day and potentially either the Group 3 Ottawa Stakes on Lexus Melbourne Cup Day or the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate on Kennedy Oaks Day.

The Club has also adjusted the distance of the Listed Poseidon Stakes on Turnbull Stakes Day, Saturday 5 October 2019, to 1100m. Previously held over 1400m, this adjustment will allow the Poseidon Stakes to serve as a valuable lead in race for the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on AAMI Victoria Derby Day.

“Australia is recognised for the strength of its sprinters with many of the world’s sprinting highlights taking place over the straight six course at Flemington, and we believe that these changes will help to provide a good grounding for the sprinting stars of the future,” said VRC Executive General Manager Racing Leigh Jordon.

“The new two-year old race on Spring Classics Preview Day will offer an important opportunity for younger horses as part of their preparation for racing later in the spring,” Mr Jordon said.

“This is an exciting opportunity for horses early in the season to showcase their Sires and their ability,” said Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria Executive Officer, Charmein Bukovec.

“Racing Victoria and the Victoria Racing Club are supporting Victorian breeders by giving their horses an early opportunity to stamp their mark ahead of the season to come.”

One of the distinguishing features of Flemington’s famous racecourse, the straight six hosts Group 1 highlights including the VRC Sprint Classic, Black Caviar Lightning, and Seppelt Wines Newmarket Handicap.