For Leeanne Smith of Bucklee Farm, yesterday was a special day for the Greta West based operation. The boutique broodmare farm set on 70 acres has a small team of five staff who are dedicated, passionate and go above and beyond for Leanne and the horses.

The fruits of this winning formula were highlighted yesterday when three of Bucklee Farm’s graduates all won at Echuca.

In what started out as a normal day for Leeanne, never could she have imagined what the end of the day would bring.

Leeanne remembers each of these horses fondly from their time on her farm as youngsters. Apple Bay was foaled down at the farm in 2015, Honorellay in 2015, and Pill Box in 2016.

 “When I looked at the card it didn’t even cross my mind, but I did think that each of them had a chance and were good each way bets.” Leeanne said.

Apple Bay is the four-year-old mare who lined up at Echuca for her seventh start. Trained by Renee Hoysted, Apple Bay originally joined Renee’s stable for pre-training but her owner-breeder, Michael Szczesny was so impressed with Renee’s training ability he decided she would be the appropriate trainer to train the mare, who is by ex-Darley sire Reset.

As Michael resides in Orange NSW, Leanne and her dedicated staff will never miss her when she trials or jumps out.

Leeanne said that Apple Bay was always a filly who needed time and that her owner-breeder, Michael was a great believer in giving horses time to let them mature.

Apple Bay ridden by Daniel Stackhouse wins the Signarama Maiden Plate at Echuca Racecourse on May 04, 2020 in Echuca, Australia. (Ross Holburt/Racing Photos)

Another horse which Leeanne remembers fondly is Pill Box. As a foal, he suffered a fracture in one of his growth plates and it was determined that he would only be suitable as a paddock nanny. So Leeanne took him to respected vet, Dr Jim Vasey who said to Leeanne to take him home, put him on box rest and nurse him back to health.

The win was a highlight for Leeanne to watch, as she remembers the time she spent nursing Pill Box back to health. A graduate of the 2018 Inglis Gold sale, the gelding was bred by Dr Chris Gliddon, who retained a share in him when he was purchased by trainer Nathan Hobson.

Leeanne was over the moon with the two wins but could not believe her luck when the last race of the day rolled around, with Honorellay ready to take his place.

“Coming into the last race, we started to think this could really happen,” Leeanne recalls fondly.

“I just kept thinking did this really happen? We always knew that Honorellay was a very honest horse.” Leeanne said.

Honoreally was originally trained in the city for his owner-breeder Tony Penglase. Tony who has had racehorses for many years and has always been a great client of Bucklee Farm and adores his racing.

Honoreally had ability in the city but wasn’t living up to his full potential so was sent back to Bucklee Farm for a spell.

“When he reached the farm, he thought he was the new stallion of the place as he was still an entire. He was pulling the wool over everybody’s eyes in the city and it wasn’t long before he was gelded which seemed to settle him down quickly before he was transferred to country trainer Jim Lake,” Leeanne laughs.

“It is a great achievement because I am sure it has not been done that often from the same farm. While winning the Group 1’s and the big races are great, this is for the grassroots of the industry. It is just a magic achievement,” Leeanne beamed.

Honorellay ridden by Logan McNeil wins the Independent Cranes BM58 Handicap at Echuca Racecourse on May 04, 2020 in Echuca, Australia. (Ross Holburt/Racing Photos)