Breeding and spelling operation, Merricks Station, situated in the picturesque Mornington Peninsula is delighted with their healthy strike rate of winners over the last month.
“We have had a brilliant run of winners, with all four being yearlings that we have purchased to race under the Merricks Station banner. They have all spelled here, either to grow and develop, for a freshen, to rehab or for a break between preparations. It’s very fulfilling to see them go on and flourish,” Merricks Station manager, Dearne Gess-Jones said.
“I think this demonstrates that the farm can mentally and physically develop horses correctly, allowing them to be productive and successful athletes.’
All proudly from Victorian stallions, being loyal supporters of the local breeding industry, the three three-year-old fillies, and four-year-old mare are all trained at Flemington with Matt Ellerton and Simon Zahra of EZ Racing.
First over the line to sport the Merricks Station silks was the cleverly named Red Light Roxanne, at Geelong on the 4th April. A sassy Reward For Effort filly, out of the Street Cry mare Street Lover, she was purchased for $46,000 by Mat Becker’s Group 1 Bloodstock, Merricks Station and EZ Racing.
“It was essential that we were patient and gave her the time she needed to allow her to be successful. She was as tough as nails, so I knew she would make a racehorse, and although tricky to handle at times, she has now matured mentally. There is still more physical improvement to come, so she will look for more ground down the track,” Gess-Jones said.
“It was no surprise she won her maiden in a hard-fought contest to the line, as she had been knocking on the door for a while. She deserved to nail it, and we will look forward to watching her now progress now through the grades.”
The next winner was the impressive filly, Part Time Lover, who was a class above the field in her win at Geelong on the 17th April.
By Zoustar out of the High Chaparral mare Palomita, she was bred and bought from Woodside Park Stud also at the Melbourne Premier sale in 2017, knocked down for $130,000 to the Merricks Station / Group 1 Bloodstock / EZ Racing partnership.
“From a progressive running family, she combined the physical with a popular pedigree, hailing from one of the country’s hottest stallions.”
“Part Time Lover was able to hone her craft through her early runs, culminating in her maiden win in a dominant display by over six lengths. She deserved the win and dictated the race. No doubt there is still much improvement to come, and being easy to deal with, and a real sweetheart on the farm, she still has enough sass to bring out her desire to win.”
Bringing up a treble for the farm, was the Written Tycoon mare, Consortium, who claimed her maiden win last Friday night at Cranbourne against a quality field in a serious win, very solid to the line by over 3 ½ lengths.
Purchased from Richard Kerry and Jarrod Byers at Millford Thoroughbreds for $210,000, also at the 2017 edition of the Melbourne Inglis Premier Sale.
Out of the successful producing Peintre Celebre mare Gem Of Gems, Consortium is a half-sister to the Group 1 winner Precious Gem, from the Family of Turffontein and Hit The Roof.
After placing at her second start, she certainly knew the drill, and now looks to be very promising going forward, as described by Sharnee Rose on behalf of EZ Racing post-race.
“She has absolutely gutted them, and I am thrilled to come out to Cranbourne for that. Merricks Station have been patient, and the boys (EZ Racing) have been patient, and it’s been a good recipe,” Rose said.
Rounding up the quartet of winners for the farm, is the four-year-old filly All Cooped Up, a winner at Mornington at the start of April.
True to her name, jockey Chris Symons was all cooped up on the turn, but he was able to make his own luck and use her turn of foot to charge through the field in a strong and gutsy win on the line.
“All Cooped Up is a beautiful blue-blood filly, being a full to the brilliant Group 1 sprinting mare Bel Mer, out of the marvellous producer, the At Talaq mare, Drop Anchor.”
“Unfortunately, she did a suspensory early in her training, so we utilised the farm, rehabilitated her, and now it’s great to see her in the winner’s circle,” Gess-Jones said.
“There is plenty still happening in the family, with Super Swell, her half-sister, selling a weanling last week at the Australian Broodmare and Weanling sale for $180,000 and with the family continuing to improve with the recent wins of Drop Anchor’s Burning the Clock (Akeed Mofeed) and Wayanka (Encosta De Lago).”
Gess-Jones believes that in racing there are many parts to the puzzle that need to combine to achieve success on the race track.
“Everyone plays their part in making an equine athlete. From the selection of the yearlings to preparing the finished product. Along with the team at Merrick’s Station, full credit goes to the training team at EZ Racing and Group 1 Bloodstock’s Mat Becker. I would also like to make a special mention of Merricks Station pre-trainers Ray and Casey Besanko,” Gess-Jones said.
“They care so much about our horses, each and every one. They always ring and wish us luck, and message after to see how they pulled up. We are so fortunate to have such brilliant people around us, all playing an important and vital part in our achievements.”
“It is quite rare to see all four fillies, all offered from the Premier sale, all be fronted, and all overcome adversity. They are strong and confident to make their own luck, push through and do it. They are tough girls and love a battle,” Gess-Jones said.
“We produce a product that can mentally handle the pressure of racing, so trainers receive a product that brings out the best in their training. We build a strong partnership and become a great team.”
“Even Manning Road, now a five-year-old mare, has spelled beautifully at the farm, and with perseverance and patience, she was able to break through for a city win in late March for trainer Rachael Cunnningham. Sometimes it’s not about the quick return, as the ones you invest the most time and effort into, are often the most rewarding.”