There could hardly be bigger supporters of Victoria’s thoroughbred breeding industry than Ian and Vicki Bell.
And on Saturday, the couple got their just rewards with no less than four horses they bred or owned (or both) saluting around Australia including a Group winner.
Here’s how it happened for the Bells (who breed and race under the Campolina banner)….
- 11.15am – The Bell’s homebred mare Miss Iano (Equiano) wins at Doomben.
- 12.36pm – Marcel From Madrid, a 2YO they part-own, wins the Group 3 National Stakes at Morphettville
- 1.30pm – Jaminzah, who the Bells bred and sold, wins at Flemington
- 2.31pm – Another one they bred and sold, Praguematist, wins at Wodonga
The win of Marcel From Madrid has particularly pricked the ears of Bell.
“We are hoping that Marcel From Madrid will be the best Sepoy to come,” he exclaimed.
“I bought a share from Mark Hoare from Pacific Bloodstock. EZ Racing always had a high opinion him, but he needed to be gelded, as he was a real show-off. Everyone agreed you either have a racehorse or you don’t have anything,” Bell said.
“We didn’t pay much for him, and he has already paid for himself, so although Hong Kong has been calling, and substantial offers have been made, the owners have elected to knock them back and race on.”
The Bells breed out of their Sutherlands Creek farm Maple Grange, north-west of Geelong. The property comprises of 660 acres of undulating, well drained and sandy pastures.
Ian says the farm is the perfect natural environment to grow and develop his weanlings and yearlings while also allowing his racehorses a merited spell.
“(Farm manager) Eric Foster and my staff do a wonderful job, and the large paddocks and gentle slopes ensure that they lay down their bone and strengthen their joints. I always put the feed bins on the other side of the paddock to the water so have keep walking,” he explains.
Not lacking any enthusiasm, the Bells bred 23 mares last season, but aim to bring that back to 15 this season coming.
“That’s the aim, but who knows, I might still breed a few more,” he says with a chuckle.
Beyond last Saturday, a highlight for the Bells this year has been topping the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale with their homebred Fastnet Rock filly purchased by Godolphin Australia for $500,000.
The filly was out of Lady Melksham (Artie Schiller), a mare the Bells raced to great success including securing a Group 3 win.
“I have been a supporter of Darley for a very long time and she was a beautiful filly, that both Godolphin and Coolmore both said was the best yearling on the complex. I was pretty happy to be recognised by the biggest and best,” Bell said.
“Credit goes to David and Kayley Johnston’s Rushton Park (who prepared the filly) and my stud manager Eric Foster who loved her from day one and gave her all the right attention.”
The Bells are also major investors on the Victorian stallion side with shares in a number of established and new sires.
Going into the 2018 breeding season, they will support stallions which they have shares in including Swettenham’s Puissance De Lune and Americain, Wyndholm Park based Rebel Raider, Spendthrift’s new sire Overshare and Greta West based Master Of Design.
The stallion choices of Ian Bell reflect a wide spectrum of pedigrees.
“I go for both the speed and stayer bloodlines,’ he said.