Special filly thirty-five years in the making

For the Victorian-sired filly who has graced our tracks four times to remain unbeaten the three-year-old filly sure is ‘something special’.

How Womantic trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace has already earned herself some serious credentials. Amassing over $323,000 in prizemoney and VOBIS bonuses, syndicator Brad Spicer couldn’t have imagined that his $50,000 purchase at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling sale, consigned by Victoria’s Sun Stud, would bring him such success.

How Womantic first stepped out at Geelong on the 13th of December 2019. The filly won her maiden by 1.2 lengths and she has continued her winning streak with her subsequent run at Caulfield on the 4th of January 2020, where she beat home Ocular by 2.25 lengths.

She then took home the $180,000 VOBIS Gold Carat at Moonee Valley on the 24th of January before stepping out last Saturday to win the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes. Not bad for four starts, if you ask us.

But this story started many years before How Womantic graced our tracks last December.

For her South Australian breeders, Rob and Maureen McBryde of Summerset Park Stud, who watched from their Gumeracha home, they were trembling as she stepped across the line to win her fourth consecutive race.

This story started over 35 years ago, when they established their farm located in the Adelaide Hills. Rob describes the farm, where How Womantic was born and raised, ’a beautiful 63 acres of rolling red gum hill country – perfect for raising racehorses.’

Summerset Park, where How Womantic was born and reared.

For Rob and Maureen who originally met when working in Darwin, horses have always played a big part in their lives. Maureen grew up with horses, so they were always going to play a part in her life.

Rob, who met Maureen in 1975, liked horses but didn’t quite have the same amount of passion for them as Maureen, but he learned quickly that if he wanted Maureen to feature in his life, he needed to learn everything about them. This led to Rob buying an entire named ‘Bossie’ and learning how to ride.

After relocating from Darwin, in 1982, Summerset Park was established and in 1984, the McBryde’s purchased How Womantic’s great-grand-dam, Leisure Dollar, who was one of their early broodmares. After her successful racing career, she was sent to stud, where she produced Summer Gambit, who produced How Womantic’s dam, Banderilla.

Banderilla who was sired by Delzao, is a 4-time winning half-sister to the legendary hurdlers Some Are Bent and Black And Bent.

How Womantic as a foal

How Womantic, sired by one-time Swettenham Stud shuttler, The Wow Signal, only had a crop of 12 foals due to fertility issues.

“When we looked at him, he was a good mating for Banderilla and the mating looked good on paper. He was a good sprinter and had the right credentials. We were lucky to get one of his foals and the result is How Womantic,” Rob McBryde said.

Swettenham Stud principal Adam Sangster said How Womantic is a reminder of what The Wow Signal was capable of producing.

“It’s just a shame that we only had him for that one season because of his fertility issues,” Sangster said.

“Who knows how things would have ended if he didn’t have those issues, but he was a lovely horse.”

Staunch supporters of the Victorian breeding industry, the McBryde’s try to use Victorian stallions wherever possible and ensure that their mares are bred back to Victorian stallions every alternate year.

“We generally pre-select Victorian sires first and then generate our mating plans from there. Our main farms who we consistently utilise are Swettenham Stud, Sun Stud and Darley,” Rob said.

“We also like to sell some of our yearlings at the Melbourne Premier sale. Trainers love a VOBIS horse and they search for them. Sun Stud are consigning three for us at the Premier sale this year,” he said.

“We try to ensure that the mating plan generates what we believe at the time, to translate into good racing abilities when our horses hit the track,” Rob said.

Rob credits the strength of the VOBIS program with the additional bonuses on offer and every bit they win, is a welcomed addition.

“While How Womantic was knocked down for $50,000 at the sale, we have won over $20,000 from the VOBIS nominator bonus, so we have effectively made $70,000 from How Womantic. Even if some of that is slightly delayed,” laughed Rob.

How Womantic as a yearling

Spicer tried to recall a horse he’d syndicated that had won its first four starts.

After her third consecutive win at The Valley, Brad remarked, “We have had horses that have won three in a row but not their first three starts,” he said.

“It’s pretty rare and if you look back at the record books there is a certain horse that won her third race at Moonee Valley but we won’t even go there.”

For a story which has been 35 years in the making, the best is yet to come for this ‘special’ filly and her connections.

Hoofnote: Less than a month prior to her daughter stepping out onto the track for the first time, Banderilla passed away due to complications during foaling.