Nestled in the heart of Victoria’s prime thoroughbred country is Platinum Thoroughbreds Victoria, a relative new player in the thoroughbred game having been established in 2018… but there is much experience behind the name with the farm’s Sarah Pfeiffer and Rene Hoefchen both boasting long time equine involvement.
“I started out breeding, training and competing quarter horses but always had a love of thoroughbreds,” Rene Hoefchen said, “and working for a while at Godolphin intensified my passion for them!”
“And Sarah is a vet nurse who competed with quarter and paint horses, also working at Mohawk Lodge.. and her grandfather and great grandfather both trained thoroughbreds.”
Specialising in young horse growth and development along with spelling and broodmare management, Platinum Thoroughbreds Victoria this spring welcomes to the Hilldene (just 5km out of Seymour) farm its foundation stallion… the well credentialled and exciting Scorpz.
A member of the Invincible Spirit line which has been faring so well in this part of the world, Scorpz is a son of the triple Group One winner Charm Spirit who has made such a great start to his stud career – his southern and northern hemisphere debut crops producing six stakes winners including the New Zealand bred Group winners Aretha, Fascino, Likikoi and Scorpz.
Doing his best work late at his debut at two, the Stephen Marsh trained Scorpz was given time to mature and really came into his own at three – in November last year racing away to an easy three length victory at Te Aroha.
17 days later stepping up to Group Three class, Scorpz travelled well in the 1600m Wellington Stakes, coming off heels turning and was soon in the lead. From there he was a sitting shot and Shenanigans did put his nose in front only for Scorpz to fight back, showing plenty of heart!
“We hit the front too soon to be honest but sometimes things are out of your hands,” Jockey Jason Waddell reported, adding that “it was a long 350m!”
Waddell described Scorpz as “a big strong colt who does not know he is a colt,” whilst Marsh was delighted by the win… “gee he’s a lovely colt,” he enthused.
Despite doing it tough from a wide gate at his next outing, Scorpz was again in winning form with a similar performance – getting to the front, strongly challenged late and digging deep to take out the Listed Salver at Ellerslie.
There was method to Waddell’s ride, the jockey telling the media that he let another horse “go past me on purpose… so he could fight back.”
Marsh was again proud – “he was very tough to the line… he covered all that ground and still kicked, it was a top effort.”
Not having a great deal of luck in two runs heading to the Gr.1 NZ Derby, Scorpz was third back to the mile in a Te Aroha handicap (held up at the 300m) and second despite being forced wide in the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas won by the talented Dragon Leap.
Sadly he found further trouble in the Derby, crowded early before again being forced wide, his effort to run third a particularly gallant one.
From there Scorpz headed to Australia with the Gr.1 Australian Derby an exciting target. The Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas looked a nice lead-up but it was in that race that all went wrong – Scorpz copping a check as he left the gates, one severe enough to cause serious injury.
And so instead of lining up in the spring’s features in 2020, Scorpz will be serving his first book of mares, and Hoefchen is delighted to be standing a horse of such heart and courage -“the more he was challenged in his races, the harder he kicked on,” he said, adding that “he is going to be an asset for Victoria.”
“He was the perfect colt to train,” Stephen Marsh noted.
“He had a kind nature yet was as tough as tungsten on the track. What he did as an immature three-year-old was due to his class and guts alone and I believe that he would have furnished into a true Caulfield Cup quality horse.”
The first son of Charm Spirit to stud in Australia, Scorpz has the pedigree to succeed here – Charm Spirit being by Invincible Spirit (also sire of I Am Invincible) from the family of Encosta de Lago and Flying Spur – whilst his dam Forbetterforworse is by Dubawi, the triple Group One winner who sired 22 southern hemisphere bred stakes winners (six of those at Group One level) despite standing only three years in the Hunter Valley.
Dubawi is of course a world wide sensation, the sire of 183 stakes winners with progeny earnings in excess of $223 million. And he is already making his mark as a broodmare sire with 22 stakes winners including the Group One gallopers Dream Castle and Blair House.
Forbetterforworse (who paid a return visit to Charm Spirit last spring) is out of the stakes winning Hennessy mare For The Good Times, also dam of the dual Group Three winning sprinter Fast ‘N’ Rocking and the Listed winner Good ‘N’ Fast.
This is a strong Australian family that has been producing tough and sound stakes winners for generations, its members including the Group One gallopers Shiva’s Revenge and Just Now and the Group winners Close Your Eyes, Bernalla, Tellson, Scenic Warrior, World Fortune, Champagne Boom, Heaven’s Riches and Charmview.
Due to make his debut at an affordable $5,500, Scorpz is perfectly placed at Platinum Thoroughbreds VIctoria where Rene Hoefchen and Sarah Pfeiffer will work hard to ensure his success, also keen to expand on the spelling and broodmare services sides of their business – noting that they are in such close proximity to some of the best stud farms in Victoria.