Kornong Station’s Andrew Calvert is born and bred on the farm.
Responsible for running the family farm in Victoria’s Western District township Streatham, west of Ballarat, the 4,000-acre lot is brimming with sheep and grain.
However, with around a dozen thoroughbred mares, he is also pretty good at breeding and selling an outstanding racehorse.
Keeping the breeding operation tight, Calvert began breeding when he gathered a group of ‘pretty average nags’ plucked from a Sydney broodmare sale, who managed to produce numerous black-type winners.
The most successful and well known is the former Hong Kong Horse of the Year and seven-time Group 1 winner, Sacred Kingdom (a graduate of the Inglis Premier Sale).
“The big fella, Sacred Kingdom is here at the farm, happily retired, and he runs with his mum, Courtroom Sweetie in the paddocks, who is about 26 now.”
“His owner Sin Kang Yuk, still comes out at least once a year to see him when he visits his family in Sydney. His trainer, Ricky Yiu, helped organise him come to Australia. He was at Living Legends for the first couple of years, but now he is happy to just hang out here,” Calvert said.
For three years in a row between 2007 and 2009, Sacred Kingdom reigned as the world’s premier sprinter and was named world champion sprinter in the global rankings. He was also named Hong Kong Horse Of The Year for 2009-2010 and won three international Group 1 races including dual successes in the Hong Kong Sprint.
Typical to life on the land, Calvert works long days and remains as grounded as ever despite his racetrack success.
“It’s hard enough to breed a half-decent horse, let alone another one like Sacred Kingdom, we’ve just been fortunate to have had a bit of luck on our side in our time,” Calvert said.
Calvert also produces a few quality yearlings for the sale ring each year and with the recent visit of Inglis to the farm, doing the pre-sale inspections, there are always a couple that catch the interest of their bloodstock agents.
Some graduates of Kornong Stud Farm since Sacred Kingdom passed through Inglis’ Melbourne sale yards in 2005 for just $200,000, are the Singaporean Group 3 winner Holy Empire, 2014 Blue Diamond Stakes-placegetter Jabali and promising Mick Price-trained stayer War Point in recent years.
This year he has four or five hopefuls headed to Premier in March with a couple of nice fillies by Darley Northwood’s Brazen Beau, including a half to Jabali, a nice Dissident colt and a lovey grey Zoustar filly, who is a half to the Gerald Ryan trained 3-year-old, Albumin.
Importantly, all of Calvert’s yearlings are nominated for Super VOBIS, making them eligible to race for almost $20 million worth of bonuses across the state when they make their way to the track.
“We always nominate our horses to the VOBIS scheme, it absolutely helps in the ring, as trainers like buying horses with Super VOBIS,” Calvert said.