Prominent Victorian thoroughbred identity Bob Scarborough has a long and decorated career as a breeder, but his lengthy list of achievements was surpassed when Magna Grecia (Ire) (Invincible Spirit) demolished his rivals in the Group 1 English 2000 Guineas.

A former Moonee Valley Racing Club Chairman, Bob Scarborough currently has a boutique band of broodmares based at Norelands Stud in County Kilkenny in Ireland.

Scarborough previously owned with his wife Rosemary the historic 122-hectare Wood Nook Farm near Nagambie for more than 20 years, the birthplace of Group 1 winners Gallica (Redoute’s Choice), Hit the Roof (NZ) (Maroof {USA}), Leica Guv (NZ) (Deputy Governor {USA}), Light Fantastic (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), Marble Halls (NZ) (Nassipour {USA}), Sleek Chassis (Flying Spur) and Stella Cadente (Centaine).

Having sold Wood Nook Farm in 2017 to Rob and Sylvie Crabtree, who operate under their Dorrington Farm banner to concentrate their European breeding efforts, they still maintain a small presence in Australia.

“I’ve got a Street Cry mare called Barchetta, who is in foal to So You Think and St Swithuns, a Fastnet Rock mare who won a few races,” Scarborough said. “She’s got a Written Tycoon foal and is back in foal to him.

“I’ve just got my toe in the water and will probably race these ones here.”

Bob Scarborough former Monee Valley Chairman

However, Scarborough admits that his real focus are the mares I’ve got in Europe and selling into the European market.  

Among them is the Aidan O’Brien-trained colt’s mother Cabaret (Ire) (Galileo {Ire).

“I’ve bred or raced 14 Group 1 winners so I’ve had plenty of highlights, but I reckon breeding an English 2000 Guineas winner would have to top them all,” Bob Scarborough said.

“I stayed up until 12.35am Australian time and I don’t normally stay up that late anymore,” he said. “It was very, very exciting and he absolutely bolted in. It was a serious win of a high-class horse.”

Scarborough purchased Magna Grecia’s mother Cabaret (Ire) for 600,000 guineas at the 2011 Tatts December Mares’ Sale. She was the winner of two races, including the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes and is also the dam of the multiple winner Invincible Ryker (Invincible Spirit {Ire}).

Cabaret is a half-sister to the Group 3 Solario Stakes winner Drumfire (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) and the Listed Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup winner, Ho Choi (GB) (Pivotal {GB}).

Magna Grecia was subsequently sold through Norelands Stud’s draft at the 2016 Tatts December Foals’ Sale to MV Magnier, Peter and Ross Doyle and Mayfair Speculators for 340,000 guineas.

And it was the Magna Grecia that made Scarborough think better of selling the mare, admitting he came close to parting ways with Cabaret.

“I was getting a little bit frustrated. The only hope was this colt who I’d sold. He was an absolute cracker,” he said.

“I thought she was still commercial to someone and thought I’d stick her back in the ring and try my luck with something else, but then Magna Grecia came out and won what used to be called the Racing Post Trophy so I withdrew her from the sale.”

Cabaret now has yearling colt and a foal by Siyouni (Fr) and is in foal to Invincible Spirit (Ire).

“She’s at Norelands, a lovely, lovely farm. I’ve got five mares there,” Scarborough said.

Magna Grecia has now won three of his four starts and his Guineas triumph took O’Brien’s tally in the race into double figures.

Ridden by O’Brien’s son Donnacha, Magna Grecia was one of only three horses to race on the stand side when the field split and he strode clear to win by two and a-half lengths.

“I’m delighted. He is a lovely, straightforward horse and he has done well over the winter,” Aidan O’Brien said.

O’Brien confirmed Magna Grecia was likely to remain at a mile for the Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas. @

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