It seemed only fitting that the retiring Rangal Park Stud owner Eric Buttler would see a horse he bred – The Astrologist – take out an important race at the Pakenham Cup meeting.
Buttler bred The Astrologist, winner of the rich VOBIS Gold Bullion (1400m), which started as the $2.45 favourite.
“It was a nice win,” Buttler said.
“He got headed and fought back and it was very good.”
Buttler bought the mare Aquada (Flying Spur x Freestyle). Her first product was Spirit of Aquada (Bel Esprit), a winner of three races, but the gelding has finished second 10 times, and third five times for prizemoney of $328,270.
Her second foal, Turn The Tide (So You Think) has had 18 starts for four wins and two minor placings and has won $283,425 in prizemoney.
Her most recent horse, Fields of Aquada (Deep Field) made his debut in September and finished fourth.
Her last foal is a colt by Tosen Stardom (JPN) and according to Buttler it’s a great type.
“The mare is doing a very, very good job,” Buttler said.
“And she has got an absolute ripper of a colt by Tosen Stardom and he’ll be going into the Melbourne Premier sale.
“The Astrologist was bought up at the Magic Millions for $150,000.
“The mare throws nice types and the one going into the Premier sale by Tosen Stardom is, as I said, a ripper. We have four by Tosen Stardom and we are very happy with them.
“He is a well bred stallion and he stands at Woodside Park Stud and it looks in good stead, that’s the way I see it anyway.
“He is getting away from the Northern Dancer line a bit too.”
Buttler said he was always keen on the mare.
“You have a Flying Spur mare of a Snippets’ mare (Freestyle).
“It seems to work quite well.”
Buttler said unfortunately Aquada wasn’t served last season because she was very late with her previous foal to Tosen Stardom.
“So we gave her a year off because we didn’t want to go too late with another foal,” he said.
And with Buttler’s Rangal Park being sold, Aquada will be put through a dispersal sale.
“I have just sold recently and my health is not good,” Buttler said.
“I really didn’t have much of an option.
“It just had to happen unfortunately. It will be a sad day for me when it all happens but when you have to have your affairs in order, you have to get your affairs in order, don’t you.”
Buttler operated Rangal Park for 30 years.
“It was my first venture into the industry in a commercial aspect,” he said.
“Before that I raced a few horses and during the recession I decided to buy Napier Park Stud and that was in 1990. I renamed it Rangal Park.”
Buttler said a local farmer had bought the property and planned to run cattle on it.
He said it was a bit sad when the property had been set up as a horse stud which had stallion yards and barns and plenty of infrastructures which he’d built up over three decades.
“I think he plans to capitalise on the price of cattle and then probably later sell it as a horse stud,” Buttler.
The stud covers 530 acres.
He said no decisions had been made on relocating the stud’s stallions – Boom Time, Danerich, Soul Patch and Cliff’s Edge.
Buttler said he supported Zoustar when the stallion was at Woodside Park Stud in Victoria by sending three mares to him.
“Being in Victoria and having VOBIS and one thing and another made it attractive,” he said.
“The Astrologist is certainly doing the job and according to the jockey, Craig Williams, he expects him to be better even next time in.”
Buttler described VOBIS as a wonderful scheme.
“I have 99 percent of my horses VOBIS qualified,” he said.
Buttler said Tony McEvoy bought The Astrologist at the sales when he had champion mare Sunlight which was also by Zoustar.
“He bought quite a few Zoustars from the second crop,” he said.
“McEvoy was obviously switched on by them and bought quite a few Zoustars and ours was one of them.
“The horse started with McEvoy and is now with Leon and Troy Corstens and has been performing quite well since it’s been eating their grass.
“It’s funny how a change of scenery can switch a horse on.”
After winning by a short head, winning jockey Craig Williams wasn’t sure whether he’d won.
“I thought we fought off a good warhorse (Iconoclasm) outside of me and then Ben Melham (Wild Vixen) seemed to time his run to perfection and we both lunged at the same time like in a running race,” Williams said after the race.
“I asked Ben if he knew (who won) and he said ‘no, it’s pretty close’.
“Congratulations to the Corstens stable and Nathan Bennett from Bennett Racing. They’ve done a really good job with him.”
Williams said that with The Astrologist being a Magic Millions horse, it would be interesting to see what races are targeted.
It was only the second time The Astrologist had raced over 1400m in his 11 race career, the first when he was trained by McEvoy as a two-year-old.
After running second at Ballarat as his last start in the Magic Millions Classic (1100m), trainer Troy Corstens said the aim was to get the four-year-old into the Magic Millions in January and the 1400m at Pakenham’s metropolitan meeting was going to gauge what races are targeted up north.