Puissance shines his light on Flemington Carnival

Just five months after getting his first winner, Swettenham Stud stallion Puissance de Lune has quickly put his name up in lights.

The success of the young stallion’s first winner, filly Moonlight Maid, and three year-old colt Southern Moon, which finished second in the Victoria Derby (2500m), has generated publicity that is earnt rather than bought.

This is nothing like putting the score on the board and now it’s up to Moonlight Maid which tackles Thursday’s  2500m VRC Oaks where she is one of the top fancies.

Both three year-olds are trained by young Ballarat trainer Mitch Freedman who scored his first stakes win when Moonlight Maid, which is raced by Gerry Ryan and his good friend John Sutcliffe, won the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes when she came from last to score with Ben Melham in the saddle.

Moonlight Maid ridden by Ben Melham wins the TAB Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington (Racing Photos)

Ryan also raced and owns Puissance de Lune and has supported the stallion heavily at stud.

Moonlight Maid suggested she had above average ability when she powered to victory on a heavy track over 1200m on debut at Geelong in June.

At her most recent run, she finished second in The Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley .

Swettenham Stud principal  Adam Sangster said that for the farm,  Ryan and all the people who had supported the stallion in the infancy of his stud career, it’s been simply ecstatic to get two good horses so early.

“It’s good for people who have supported him from the start like Mike Hirst, who is on the RVL board and has Southern Moon and supports Mitch Freedman who is a young trainer in his fifth year,” Sangster said.

“Gerry Ryan and one of his best friends, John Sutcliffe, who is an ex AFL umpire, bred Manhattan Maid to Puissance, and got Moonlight Maid. So Puissance got second in the Derby and has a leading chance in the Oaks on Thursday.”

Sangster said Southern Moon was foaled down late in October and had just turned three which made his Derby performance even more admirable.

“It was an enormous effort,” he said.

“A lot of the people who have got the Puissance horses have said that they’ve got leg, but they have got speed. As Bart Cummings always said, be patient and as an industry we sometimes lack that but when you are patient you do get results.”

Sangster said Puissance de Lune, which started his career overseas before Ryan bought him, was always  a lovely style of stallion while his sire, Shamardal, was absolutely smashing it around the world.

The grey stallion served 90 mares in his first season, and this season he is limited to a book of 100-plus because Sangster says they are looking after the 12 year-old as they know he’ll be a valuable and more  popular horse from 2020 and beyond.

“His fertility is very high at 92 percent and I have got a very good team here at the farm,” Sangster said.

‘’My reproductive vet, Dr John Hurley, has been here for 28 years and he boosts a very significant on farm fertility.  And my manager Jason Robinson does a particularly good job with the team around him.

It’s very much a team effort.”

Sangster said Ryan had supported the stallion in his second season, investing significantly in brood mares.

“He has subsequently sold the mares but he has some very nice yearlings out there,” he said.

“It’s all about breeder support and Gerry supports his own and hopefully he’ll be rewarded which he is at the moment.”’

Sangster said Ryan and Sutcliffe, now had a very valuable mare.

“It’s something to look forward to and it’s what breeding is all about,” he said.

Swettenham Stud sire Puissance De Lune

‘’Breeding, especially of middle distance horses, is a very satisfying venture and I would recommend it to anyone.’’

And while Ryan provided the stallion, Sutcliffe provided the mare Manhattan Maid who he bred and raced and the end result is Moonlight Maid.

As Sangster says, that’s what friends are for.