Not many people could point out Lurg on a map of Victoria.
But a devoted Victorian breeding operator is sure playing her part in helping put the farming district on the map.
And a winner at Sandown on Saturday demonstrated the quality that could be bred by Sally Watkins at Lurg’s Willaroon Thoroughbreds.
Willaroon bred three year-old filly Soho Ruby (Northern Meteor) was too strong, leading all the way down the straight to give young trainer Levi Kavanagh a thrill with his second metropolitan win at Sandown.
Watkins bought the mare Red Rapture mare in foal with Soho Ruby from Vinery, in the year Northern Meteor died.
“They were flying at the time and I was just very lucky,” she said.
Being a difficult breeder for the next couple of years, Watkins has kept Red Rapture close to home.
The mare has now got a lovely Zoustar filly on the ground, who is a three-quarter-sister to Soho Ruby and similar, if not better in type. She is now in foal to Rosemont based sire Nostradamus, a stallion Watkins has a share in – a reflection of the commitment Watkins has to the Victorian breeding industry.
“If we don’t support the people who are bringing stallions here, there is no way we are going to get them, so if I get offered a share in a decent horse standing here, I try to take it,” she said.
“Red Rapture is a really lovely mare and as Red Ransom mares click well with the Medaglia D’Oro line, that made my decision to send her to Nostradamus.”
Soho Ruby was sold for $190,000 at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale through Segenhoe Stud and was purchased by Levi’s father and leading trainer Mark Kavanagh.
Watkins’ Willaroon is located, as mentioned at Lurg, about half an hour’s drive east of Benalla.
Horses enjoy the large paddocks set across calming, rolling, green hills and the best possible care and attention with a hands-on approach by Sally and her team and first class facilities.
Running young thoroughbreds in groups in the undulating paddocks provides these future gallopers with significant exercise while in a relaxing environment.
Willaroon was originally set up to cater for horses enjoying a break in-between racing preparations, but they now run also have a broodmare band of thirty mares on the farm.
About half of these are commercial mares owned by Willaroon or in partnership with Willaroon clients with the remaining mares are owned by breeder-owners who are retaining their progeny to race.
Willaroon had their debut draft of yearlings at Premier this year, with ten youngsters prepped on the farm.
“We will we will continue to support Melbourne Premier with the bulk of our yearlings, with a couple of Brazen Beaus going to the Magic Millions due to the support given to first season sires at that sale,” Watkins said.
“I was pleased to see Hilldene and Peter Ford buy the Brazen Beau x Flute of Bubbly weanling for $300,000 as I bought Shigeru Sendan, a half-sister at the Chairman’s Sale in Sydney.
“I paid $300,000 for her, a stakes winning Denman mare, and she has a beautiful Written Tycoon weanling colt on her. It has made her a cheap buy, as I got two for one!”
With the energy and commitment of Watkins, her staff and most of all the quality of her horses, there is a good chance we will all get to know Lurg a lot better!