Above: Dundeel x Cardiac 2020 Filly (Image Musk Creek Farm)

Having invested significantly in the quality of its broodmare band over the past few years, Victorian-based Musk Creek Farm is targeting a range of new and proven stallions in 2020 as it looks to frank that investment with strong results in the sales ring in the future.

Owned by David Kobritz, Musk Creek has been under the eye of Farm Manager Scott Williamson for just over three years and together with the guidance of bloodstock agent Craig Rounsefell, they have looked to re-invigorate Kobritz’s 20-strong broodmare band.

Around 12 of the 20 broodmares have arrived since Williamson began with Musk Creek, with a focus on quality and the aim of further building the Mornington Peninsula Farm’s reputation as a breeder and seller of top-class horses.

“Over the last couple of years, we have made a concerted effort in upgrading our broodmare band. We’ve spent a bit of money getting some young mares either carrying their first foals or off the track. We want to be at that top end of the market and have a red-hot crack. We want to produce those high-end yearlings,” Williamson told TDN AusNZ.

“Over the last couple of years, we have made a concerted effort in upgrading our broodmare band.” – Scott Williamson

Key to that success is the planning of matings for those mares, something which Williamson particularly relishes, utilising the experience of Kobritz and Rounsefell to ensure the right match.

“We want to be commercial, but we want to make sure we are breeding the right type. We want to make sure that it not only fits on pedigree, but that type is a strong consideration as well,” he said.

“With young mares, you don’t necessarily know what they might produce, but you know what their pedigree is and we try and identify things they may need. You want to put a stallion to her that might have what she is lacking and visa versa.

“We want to present the right sort of horses at the sales and ones that we think that are going to go on to be racehorses.”

Above: Scott Williamson

Williamson described the broodmare band size of 20 as a perfect sweet spot to ensure all the mares get the support they need to be successful in their breeding careers.

“That’s a comfortable number for us. It’s at a level where we feel we can invest in them and give them the service fees they deserve and need,” he said.

All in the family

One of the strategies Musk Creek has embarked on over the past few years is sourcing its new mares from already proven families.

A prime example is Personalised, a mare by Snitzel out of the stakes winner Personify (Galileo {Ire}), the daughter of blue hen Procrastinate (Jade Hunter {USA}), who Musk Creek and Boomer Bloodstock paid $525,000 for at last year’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

Above: Personalised

“She is a multiple city winning daughter of Personify and her half-sister Personal is ready to help the family out in some big races this spring,” Williamson said.

“She’s from Cressfield, which is a very successful farm. Buying into a family like that, you don’t get many opportunities to do that. We look to buy into a family like that and turn that into a Musk Creek family.”

Personlised is in foal to Dundeel (NZ) and is set to go to Widden Stud’s Zoustar this season.

“We feel a mare with a good bit of strength really suits him. I foaled down Zousain in my previous role, and he was out of a decent-sized, strong mare and I think those mares are the ones that best suit Zoustar. She’s a lovely, good-sized Snitzel mare with plenty of strength. Obviously, she is a very attractive mare and I thought it will be a good mating for her.”

Divine connection makes sense

It was another strong family connection that drove Musk Creek to pay $320,000 for Notre Dame(Exceed And Excel) at the recent Magic Millions Broodmare Sale from Godolphin’s draft.

Two years prior, it had paid $600,000 at the same sale for her half-sister Deipara (Lonhro) and Williamson has been delighted with what she has been able to produce.

Both mares are out of the multiple Group 1 winner Divine Madonna (Hurricane Sky).

Above: Notre Dame

“We know that that family is producing, and we saw it as a good opportunity to get a bit of control of that family and guide that family in the direction we want to go,” he said.

“She’s a cracking type of mare, Notre Dame. She has produced a Street Boss colt already this spring, and she is off to Written Tycoon this year. We are definitely investing in that family.”

Deipara’s now 2-year-old Exceed And Excel filly is in training with Anthony and Sam Freedman and Kobritz and Williamson harbour high hopes for her.

“The second foal out of the mare is an outstanding I Am Invincible filly. Both sales companies have looked at her and are extremely impressed with her,” Williamson said

“Deipara has thrown extremely good types and to an extent that she will go to Snitzel this year. We are pretty happy with what we have seen and we felt that with the quality of foals she has produced, it would be really good to get a Snitzel out of her. Not only does he suit her on type and pedigree, but to have a Snitzel in the draft, you can take that to any sale.”

Mirette shapes up

The other purchase for Musk Creek on the Gold Coast this year was Mirette (Unencumbered), a winner of four starts, including the G3 Auraria S., while she was second in a G1 Schweppes Oaks. She cost $150,000, a price that was very pleasing for Musk Creek.

Above: Mirette

“We are quite excited about Mirette. We thought she would make more money than she did. She was well performed on the track and is a lovely type of mare, good-sized and with a great temperament,” Williamson said.

“Testa Rossa has really started to stand up as a broodmare sire and we feel that Unencumbered has got every chance of doing the same.

“Mirette deserves a good mating, with her looks and also her race ability. She will head off to Blue Point this year and we feel he’s a very exciting horse from a great sireline and a sireline that has been successful in Australia.”

“Mirette deserves a good mating, with her looks and also her race ability. She will head off to Blue Point this year.” – Scott Williamson

Williamson admitted it was unusual to send a maiden mare to a first-season sire, but that Mirette’s profile held up well for such a mating.

Another maiden mare is the imported Ascertain (USA) (Blame {USA}), a three-time winner in the United States, who had just one start in the Musk Creek colours in Australia under trainer Lindsey Smith.

“She had a long layoff and had an injury in the States,” Williamson said. “She got over that and Lindsey was really happy with how she was going. Then everything went wrong with the one run she had.

“She’s up in the Hunter and is off to Deep Field. She’s a beautiful mare and obviously Deep Field is getting plenty of winners. We are pretty excited about her. We think she was very good purchase at US$40,000 (AU$54,979) when Craig managed to find her. The minute he laid eyes on her, he fell in love with her, I know every time I talk to Lindsey, he asks about her.”

Pride for If I Can

The Listed-winning If I Can I Can (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}), was a $350,000 purchase for Musk Creek back in 2016 and has produced a filly by I Am Invincible who sold for $475,000 in 2018 as well as a colt by Hinchinbrook that fetched $450,000 at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

“She’s in foal to American Pharoah at the moment and we plan to send her to Pride Of Dubai,” Williamson said.

“We have been pretty impressed with how he has started out at stud and we are of the opinion that the Pride Of Dubais will only get better at three. It’s the right type of stallion for her, she lacks a bit of height as a mare.”

Cardiac (Encosta De Lago) has already produced the Group 3 winner Declarationofheart (Declaration Of War {USA}) and is a half-sister to the G1 VRC Oaks winner Arapaho Miss (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), who has, in turn, produced a winner of the same race in Miami Bound (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}). A blood brother to Miami Bound by Reliable Man out of Cardiac sold for $200,000 by Musk Creek earlier this year at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

Above: Reliable Man (GB) x Cardiac (colt)

Cardiac recently produced a filly by Dundeel (NZ) and will be heading back to the Arrowfield Stud stallion this year.

“He’s the perfect type for her. She is quite a large mare, so a slightly smaller stallion suits her. Declaration Of Heart was quite a big horse for a first foal and she is the sort of mare you wouldn’t want to send to a big stallion,” Williamson said.

“It’s definitely a family on the up, Arapaho Miss has been doing a great job, It’s another nice family that seems to keep producing, That’s a family we would be looking to keep a filly out of at some point down the track.”

Finding the right fit

Also suited to a stallion with a smaller profile is another of Musk Creek’s mares in stakes-placed Keep De Rose (NZ) (Keeper), and she will revisit Shalaa (Ire), with who she produced a $300,000 colt.

Williamson said the form Shalaa’s first European crop has given it only more reason to send Keep De Rose back to the Arrowfield shuttler having recently produced a Rubick colt.

Imported mare Apologynotaccepted (USA) (Fusaichi Pegasus {USA}), a $500,000 2019 Inglis Chairman’s Sale buy whose Medaglia D’Oro (USA) filly is set to be one of the highlights of Musk Creek’s yearling offering in 2021, is in foal to Written Tycoon and will visit Snitzel later this season.

And Bellissima Miss (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), the daughter of Group 1 winner Veloce Bella (NZ) (Volksraad {GB}), has foaled a Brazen Beau filly and heads to Coolmore’s Pierro this spring.

Cross-border support

Williamson said he felt securing a spread of stallion options for the broodmare band was a strategy which would pay dividends for Musk Creek going forward.

“We feel that we are giving them all a fair chance. We’ve got a fairly equal split between New South Wales and Victoria,” he said.

“We are supporting Toronado with a couple of mares and we are supporting Fiorente. And we’re pretty excited and impressed with the new horse at Spendthrift.

“We will send one of our mares, Leny’s Here, the daughter of Devil Moon, to Omaha Beach, I was really impressed with Omaha Beach. He’s a horse that pedigree wise, he should work. He looks a cracking type with a lovely walk on him. He’s very good looking with a great head.

“We will also be sending a mare, Imperial Empress, to Brazen Beau.

“I feel there is a revival in the Victorian industry at the moment, and it’s good to see the new players getting involved and there are some exciting new stallions.”

Musk Creek’s 2020 mating plans

Broodmare 2020 2019 2018 2017 Notable Results Or Progeny
Personalised (Snitzel) Zoustar Dundeel (NZ) Spirit Of Boom (colt) Out of the stakes winner Personify, the daughter of blue hen Procrastinate
Notre Dame (Exceed And Excel) Written Tycoon Street Boss (USA) (colt) Out of the multiple Group 1 winner Divine Madonna
Deipara (Lonhro) Snitzel I Am Invincible (filly) Exceed And Excel (filly)
Mirette (Unencumbered) Blue Point (Ire) Group 3 winner, Group 1 placegetter
Ascertain (USA) (Blame {USA}) Deep Field A three-time winner in the United States
If I Can I Can (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) Pride Of Dubai American Pharoah (USA) Hinchinbrook (colt)
Cardiac (Encosta De Lago) Dundeel (NZ) Dundeel (NZ) (filly) Reliable Man (GB) (colt) Group 3 producer & a half-sister to the G1 VRC Oaks winner Arapaho Miss
Keep De Rose (NZ) (Keeper) Shalaa (Ire) Rubick (colt) Shalaa (Ire) (colt) Four time winner, Group 2 placed
Apologynotaccepted (USA) (Fusaichi Pegasus {USA}) Snitzel Written Tycoon Medaglia D’Oro (USA) (filly) Group 2 placed
Bellissima Miss (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) Pierro Brazen Beau (filly) So You Think (NZ) (colt)

Article courtesy of Bren O’Brien TDN