Written by Bren O’Brien for www.tdnausnz.com.au

The first signs of B. Wayne Hughes’ increased interest in the Australian thoroughbred scene came when he turned up at the 2014 Easter Yearling Sales and brought three yearlings under the Spendthrift brand. Twelve months later, he had bought an entire farm – the old Yallambee Stud at Romsey outside of Melbourne – setting up Spendthrift Australia and installing local bloodstock expert Garry Cuddy to head up the operation.

Fast forward to 2018, and with all of the required parts in place, the breeding, racing and sales arms, the goal remains the same as it did back in 2015.

“The priority for us is to become that household name, especially down here in Victoria,” Cuddy told TDN AusNZ.

“We are not here to be second best. We want to be the best and however we can get there as quickly as we can, that’s what we are going to do.”

All the pieces in place

With the foundations in place, the coming season is a crucial time for Cuddy and his team at Spendthrift Australia.

The first Australian two-year-olds bred from their foundation stallions, Hampton Court (Aus), Jimmy Creed (USA) and Warrior’s Reward (USA), are ready to hit the track, the first foals from Swear, the Redoute’s Choice colt they bought as a yearling back in 2015, have arrived and another Spendthrift yearling purchase, the multiple Group winner Overshare (I Am Invincible {Aus}), is embarking on his first season at stud.

Both Swear and Overshare were Group 3 winners as 3-year-olds giving them the credentials to stand at Spendthrift as part of a strategy to find one of their own colts each year to go to stud.

“The success on the racetrack is a major achievement,” Cuddy said.

“We are only buying a limited number of yearlings each year for the first few years and we are lucky enough to have had a colt retire to stud from each of the crops.”

“We had Swear, which was the first one. Overshare was the next one and we race a pretty handy one called Irukandji (Dundeel {NZ}) who is just a 3-year-old at the moment,”

Irukandji was a Group 3 winner at two and is currently on a path towards the major spring 3-year-old races.

“We are hopeful that there will be something bigger and better for him in the coming months, or even the autumn,” Cuddy said.

The new boys on the farm

Overshare and Gold Standard (Sebring {Aus}), are the new stallions at Spendthrift this season and Cuddy said both have been received very well by the market.

“When you have a multiple-stakes winning son of I Am Invincible that walks out and is the dead-spit of his old man, it helps,” he said in reference to Overshare.

“He’s got such a lovely front end, such a deep shoulder and big girth on him. He moves so well as well. I’ve said all along, he ticks all the boxes. He’s the horse that we are very excited to have on board.”

Spendthrift Australia has a strong broodmare band to support Overshare, as they did with Swear in his first season last year.

New Spendthrift Australia sire Overshare

Foals to Swear by

The foals from those matings with Swear have been hitting the ground at the farm.

“We sent a lot of our own mares to him. I think half of our ten foals are by Swear and we are really happy with what we’ve seen,” Cuddy said.

“He’s a lovely big good-looking son of Redoute’s Choice and he is stamping his stock well.”

“We’ve got a few more to come but we are quite happy with where we are at so far. We are also getting really good feedback from people who have supported him.”
There are also strong reports on the two-year-olds of Hampton Court, the G1 Spring Champion S winner entering his fourth season at Spendthrift.

“We’ve had a few reports that there are some in the stables now and heading in the right direction,” he said.

Spendthrift sire Swear

“There are a couple coming up in the breeze-up sales (Magic Millions) that are going through the ring on the Gold Coast. So if they are doing enough to be in sales like that, let’s hope there’s a few out there ready to hit the track early.”

Spendthrift Australia’s stallion operations have been supported by incentive programs like Breed Secure and Share the Upside, which have been popular with breeders.

“Breed Secure has been a massive hit since we introduced it in our second year,” Cuddy said,

“Breeders love the way that Mr Hughes is willing to take the hit with the breeder if the hit comes. At the end of the day, he just wants everybody to be successful.”

Spendthrift Australia

Doubling it up at the sales

The biggest crop yet of 2-year-old colts snapped up by Spendthrift at the yearling sales are also ready to make an impact.

“This year we ramped it up and we have double the number of two-year-olds in the stable. We are quite happy with the crop that we’ve got and I guess the more yearlings we buy, the more chances we’ve got of getting that stallion prospect,” Cuddy said.

The multi-faceted strategy has also seen Spendthrift active at the broodmare sales, looking for good matches to support Overshare and Gold Standard.

As always, the Kentucky operation is providing plenty of support, especially when it comes to the strength of Spendthrift’s broodmare band.

“We’ve imported mares from Kentucky in foal to Southern Hemisphere time to Into Mischief (USA) and Malibu Moon (USA.) We traded a few of those mares and we retained a few of those mares to add to our broodmare band,” Cuddy said.

“The positive for us is that Into Mischief is a phenomenal stallion and if we can get a couple of his foals down here to hit the track and get running that opens up plenty of new doors for us for us in the future.”

Support from HQ

And the support doesn’t stop there, Cuddy says Mr Hughes is utterly committed to making the Australian operation a success.

“Having someone like Mr Hughes to learn from is a wonderful thing. He is a man that is always thinking one step ahead of the game.” he said.

“We are well guided by and always in communication with Eric Gustavson (Spendthrift President) and Ned Toffey (General Manager, Spendthrift USA). We are always looking to build on our brand and replicate the success of the American division since Mr Hughes took over Spendthrift in Kentucky.”

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