Progressive three-year-old Toorak Tower could be on the move to Australia following an impressive win in New Zealand on Saturday.

The chestnut was first-up since December and made the most of a dream rails run to take the Northland Veterinary Group (1600m) at Whangarei in the colours of Rosemont Stud.

“We’ve been talking with Anthony Mithen and there are a lot of opportunities in Melbourne so he may go to be trained over there,” said Chris Gibbs, who prepares the gelding with Donna Logan, told NZ Racing Desk.

Toorak Tower was slow to begin, but enjoyed plenty of luck in the run.

“Alysha (Collet) rode him beautifully and she had to ride him for luck,” Gibbs said.

“They all peeled off the rail and they got a lovely run through.

“We’ve had him in races a couple of times lately, but scratched him because of the wetter tracks.”

Toorak Tower showed his appreciation of the firmer going on Saturday and he let down strongly in the straight to account for his stablemate Marquess Of.

A colt by Rosemont Stud-based Toorak Toff, Toorak Tower has now won twice from seven starts and finished fourth in the Listed Race 4 Life Salver (2100m) at Ellerslie last time out on December 11.

Dual Group 1 winner Toorak Toff (Show A Heart) has sired 22 winners from just 40 runners headed by the Group 3 performer and $280,000 VOBIS Gold Heath winner Toffee Nose.

He is advertised at $8800 at Rosemont Stud in 2017.

Story by Daryl Sherer for

A quiet contender for Victoria’s most prolific small breeding operations this year has to be Nagambie’s Illowra Stud.

The Nagambie property run by Nigel and Meredith Berry has been churning out top quality winners this season and their most recent looks as good as any of them.

Their homebred Royal Order (Commands) looks to have a promising future ahead indeed after proving too good at Flemington on Saturday over 2000 metres.

The Mick Kent trained three-year-old came-from-behind and hit the lead in the final strides.

“He’s shown all the signs at home that he’s a really promising stayer,” the trainer’s son Michael Kent Jr said.

He has now won two of his three career starts for total earnings of $131,700.

Royal Order is the third foal from the Berry’s outstanding producer, Princess Regina.

The Zabeel mare of Illowra Stud only earned $450 on the track, but she has starred as a broodmare.

Apart from Royal Order, she is also the dam of 5YO Oncidium Ruler (Strategic), a city winner who has now earned in excess of $211,000. She has also produced the city placed, four-time winner Za Za Zoom (Strategic).

Princess Regina’s two-year-old filly, Centripetal (Hard Spun) is still maturing before heading to Kent’s stable as well. The mare paid a return visit to Darley’s Helmet last season having produced a lovely weanling Helmet colt in 2016.

Cranbourne based Michael Kent started training for the Berrys after taking on Oncidium Ruler in 2014.

“Mick really is a master trainer and his scientific knowledge of equine exercise physiology and by his use of heart rate monitors and treadmills really is brilliant,” Meredith Berry said.

“We are lucky as we have a really good broodmare, but the other key to our success is time.

“We know they are going to be stayers, so we can be patient and Mick is willing to give them the time to reach their full potential.

“Mick always said Royal Order would be a better horse (than Oncidium Ruler).  Being by Commands, he is more muscular and stronger, he is a very impressive looking horse.”

Nigel Berry said their breeding operation revolved around breeding horses to race over a mile and beyond.

“We have a different formula to many that works very well for us.

“It’s about getting their manner right, their work ethic, it’s not just riding them, it’s about getting them to want to work, to enjoy it and to have a better attitude,”

The Ilowra formula is clearly working. They have had 19 race wins this season from 6 individual gallopers.

Apart from the aforementioned, their winners have included recent Wagga Queen of the South winner Forty Nine Riddles (Lago Delight) and city winning three-year-old Comic Set (Reset). He is now domiciled in Hong Kong following an irresistible offer.

And future winners? The Berrys pointed to Meggsie, a Reward For Effort filly who has had two starts in recent weeks for Wangaratta trainer Christopher Davis.

Victorian breeding through up the trifecta in the Group 1 Queensland Derby on Saturday with Paul Roach’s homebred Ruthven (Domesday) coming away an impressive winner.

Rebel Raider’s Rockstar Rebel was runner-up while Rockmount homebred filly Ana Royale, a daughter of Anacheeva, was third.

It’s hardly unlikely anyone would begrudge the victory of Ruthven in Saturday’s Group One Queensland Derby over the shortened Derby distance of 2200m at Doomben.

Just consider the lead in … at only his second start, the Ciaron Maher trained performer ran second – beaten a whisker – in the Group Two Sandown Guineas, ran second in the Group Two Alister Clark in March, was beaten just on two lengths in the Group One ATC Derby and ran second again in the Group One South Australian Derby in mid May.

Well, the door he’d been knocking on got busted down in Brisbane with the colt racing away to score by nearly four lengths in a powerful display that has got his owners looking forward to Spring.

As of Saturday, Ruthven now has three wins and five seconds from 10 starts for $763,900 in stakes.

Breeder and part-owner, Paul Roach, was mightily impressed by the performance and said the 3YO will now be tipped out and brought back with a Cups program in mind.

“It was a fantastic win,” Roach enthused.

“He doesn’t get much of a break though. He’ll enjoy the Queensland sunshine for three or four weeks and then he’s back into it. He just keeps on improving this colt and it will be interesting to see what he does from here.”

Roach usually has “two or three going at one time” and asked a few mates to come into Ruthven with him, along with a couple of Maher’s clients. We can only assume they are grateful for the opportunity!

A landscaper by trade, Roach has been a thoroughbred enthusiast for quite a while and got into the breeding and racing game around 10 years ago.

“I’ve had a few winners along the way, but Ruthven is my first stakes winner – and a Group One winner at that,” Roach adds.

“Unfortunately, his mum, Ruddigore, died just two weeks after Ruthven was born. Twisted bowel. I had the horse with Anthony Mithen at Rosemont and a nanny ended up raising her. It clearly hasn’t held him back any.”

Ruddigore, an unraced Octagonal mare, is from the multiple Group placed Operattas, a close relation to former top Sydney sprinter, Cangronde.
According to Roach, Ruthven owes his name to Darley’s Andy Makiv (a TBV Committee Member), who suggested the moniker as a tie in to his mum, Ruddigore.

The original Ruddigore is a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta from the 19th century whose male lead is called Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd.

One thing is for sure, Ruthven put on a good show at Doomben and, unlike the original Gilbert and Sullivan production which allegedly ‘tanked’, Roach and co. are clearly looking forward to the colt’s next act.

Sidenote: Racing Vcitoria’s Executive General Manager of Racing Greg Carpenter pointed out on RSN radio on Wednesday morning that each of the three Derby placegetters also ran in VOBIS Gold Premier Race on the Victorian Owners & Breeders Day at Caulfield in April. The quality form out of this raceday is seemingly increasing year-on-year.

Reproduced from Aushorse.

A horse vet and PhD student has told delegates at an Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) conference in Melbourne that much of the information animal rights activists use in campaigns opposing horse racing is misleading or wrong.

In her address Horse Racing Myths: What role does research play?, Dr Meredith Flash presented findings from her 2005 Victorian thoroughbred foal crop epidemiology study, which disproves myths spread by animal rights groups about two-year-old racing and horse welfare, un-raced and retired racehorses being sent to slaughter, and low racing participation rates among thoroughbred foal crops.

Dr Flash, who also owns a small equine vet practice, is examining the career profiles of Victorian-born thoroughbred foals, and investigating the risk factors for horses from 2006-16 that had a race day health event, for her University of Melbourne PhD.

Her presentation to the AVA conference discussed how misquoting of a 1995 paper by veterinarian John Bourke led to widespread and erroneous claims that only a small proportion of thoroughbred foal crops race.

Dr Flash’s foal crop study showed most horses trained (74%) and raced (65%), contradicting claims by animal activists that the racing industry is responsible for so-called ‘wastage’ due to over breeding.

Dr Flash also examined how the absence of research on horses retiring from racing has led to false claims from animal rights organisations that most horses retiring from racing were sent to slaughter.

Her study found that horses that raced were re-homed (50%), became Australian Stud Book bloodstock (25%), deceased (14%), other pursuits (9%), or were still racing at the start of their 10- year-old racing season (2%). Most rehomed horses went on to pursuits like eventing, pony club, or pleasure riding.

Dr Flash’s presentation also discussed how ignoring over two decades of research has fed the myth that two-year-old racing is widespread and detrimental to horses.

To demonstrate this, she reviewed how previous research supported findings from her study that horses that start racing at two years of age had longer careers, on average, then horses that started racing at an older age.

Dr Flash’s finding that horses that started racing at three years or older were six times more likely to only race for one season, supports previous research that the risk of retirement decreases with a younger age of first start.

Her research also found that while one-third of the foal crop entered training as two-year-olds, only 13% raced, contradicting RSPCA claims that ‘a large proportion of thoroughbreds start their racing careers as two year olds’ (RSCPA

“For the horse racing industry to retain its social license, researchers and regulators need to engage with the community by providing clear, unambiguous and accurate information, and correct the wrong and misleading information some groups use in their campaigns.”

“Some activists have even redefined legitimate research terms like ‘wastage’, claiming it is racing industry parlance for unwanted horses, when in in fact it is a veterinary term to describe a loss of productivity. Veterinarians and researchers need to call out this misleading behavior.”

“In this age of social media, echo chambers and post truth, we need to set our emotions aside and look at what the real facts are saying, not what the meme with the cute picture and catchy line wants you to believe.”

Dr Meredith Flash grew up riding hunter/jumpers in Texas from the age of six. Over time, she developed an interest in retraining retired racehorses for their second careers. To further this interest Meredith attended Virginia Intermont College (VIC) where she began a Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies.

While studying at VIC, Meredith was able to follow her dream of becoming a veterinarian by attending the University of Melbourne where she eventually obtained her Bachelor of Veterinary Science. In 2007, Meredith jumped at the opportunity to undertake more equine work by becoming a racetrack practitioner in the Melbourne area.

Meredith is a member of the Australian Veterinary Association and Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA) since 2008. She is currently the Stakeholder Liaison Chair for the EVA executive committee.

In 2013, Meredith completed her training to become a certified veterinary acupuncturist. Meredith also maintains an involvement in western medicine by providing locum services for equine vet practices in the greater Melbourne area.

Dr Flash’s 2005 Thoroughbred Foal Crop Study won the 2015 Norm Larkin Prize and Australia and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientist Prize for Best Clinical Paper.

Meredith is a qualified FEI Treating Veterinarian and Veterinary Delegate. She lives with her husband and two young children in Melbourne.

With many large commercial vendors able to claim a winner (or winners) from their sales draft each year, private farms offering a smaller number of yearlings are often unable to achieve the same level of success.

But Brian Coyle’s Mornington Peninsula operation, Flinders Park, is certainly have more than a crack at beating the big boys.

Having offered twelve homebred yearlings offered through its 2016 Inglis Premier Sale draft, four of these now two-year-olds have already saluted the winning post.

With 33.3% winners to yearlings sold, Flinders Park are the clear leaders in terms of current vendor success arising from the 2016 Inglis Premier Sale.

The winning two-year-olds include the precocious Western Australian, Nick cox trained pair Driftwood Girl (Not a Single Doubt x Oakmont) and Hard of Heart (Snitzel x Myskina). Both are rated highly are expected to take on stakes races later this season.

Also winning this season has been the Gary Portelli trained Sebring Express (Sebring x Miss Exxi) and, possibly the most talented of the four winners, the John McArdle trained Strela (Smart Missile x Humma Mumma).

Brian Coyle’s son Darren, who has an active role in the breeding operation, said he is enjoying seeing the farm’s graduates achieve early results on the track.

“We had bred with the stallions selected before so we knew what the mares wanted and needed to get the right type of early runner to perform on the track,” Darren said.

“We prepared them well for the sale and had them forward enough for buyers to like what they saw and to give them a chance.”

No doubt the most successful horse to come off Flinders Park Stud has been dual Group 1 winner Pompeii Ruler, but a string of winners this season gives hope they may find another superstar.

Flinders Park bred winners have included Athena Lass, Storm Master, Kuznetsova and Seattle Boom.

“Over the past 15 years, we have built up our broodmare band from horses we have raced, or taken a punt on, and we continually update the foundation mares,” Darren said.

The Flinders Park Stud pasture panorama

The Flinders Park Stud pasture panorama

The farm is managed by Michael Cumming, a veteran horseman of 20 years experience in the thoroughbred breeding industry.

“From our success racing Pompeii Ruler, we had the opportunity to upgrade our mares and improve the band further,”

“We have developed a good mix of Victorian and interstate stallions to get the balance right, and everything has VOBIS on it before it goes to the sales. All the mares come back to reside and foal down on the farm,”

“Our yearlings target Melbourne Premier, as it suits our broodmare band, and by breeding and racing our own, we develop the stock that way.”

The following obituary was published in Fairfax Press on February 23rd 2017, following the death of Hilton Nicholas in January.

Hilton, among his many other endeavours and achievements, was a thoroughbred breeder operating Shirley Park at Woodend.


Hilton Nicholas, was a son of the founder of the Aspro pharmaceutical business, flew hurricanes during World War II before taking on the running of the family firm.

He was chairman of the Victoria Racing Club, a successful breeder of thoroughbreds and chairman of the St. Vincent’s Institute for Medical Research.

Hilton John Francis Nicholas, who has died aged 91, was the youngest of the four children of Nicholas Aspro founder, George Nicholas, and his wife Ruby (nee Campbell).

During World War I, when medications previously imported from Germany could no longer be sourced, Hilton’s father George, a pharmacist working in his shop in Windsor, and later at St Kilda Junction, had succeeded in replicating the formula for aspirin.

George and his brother Alfred went into business manufacturing the white tablet in pink packaging, which they named “Aspro”. Over time Nicholas Aspro became the most famous Australian product throughout the world’s shops and pharmacies and Hilton was born into a family that, from humble beginnings, had already become a household name in many countries.

Alfred and George Nicholas were determined to share the wealth that came to them through the success of Nicholas Aspro. They were benefactors to many organisations and maintained a particular interest in education and welfare of young people, as witnessed by their contributions to Wesley College, Methodist Ladies’ College and the Lord Somers Camp.

Hilton’s mother died when he was only 18 months old, and the aunts – George’s sister Nell in particular – were called upon to help care for Hilton and his older siblings. Ten years after the death of his Hilton’s mother, George remarried, and there were two children of this second marriage, Michael and Jenifer.

As a student, Hilton attended Wesley College, Melbourne, initially as a day boy and then during his secondary school years as a boarder.

Holidays were mostly spent at “Alton”, the family’s country residence high on Mt Macedon. Cousins and friends would be invited to stay too, and there was a lively interaction among the families who had their summer residences there – tennis tournaments, swimming parties, cricket matches, luncheon and dinner parties were the order of the day. In those days “The Mount” was a hub of social life.

World War II came. Darwin was bombed in February 1942. A year later, on his 18th birthday, Hilton went straight from school to enlist in the Royal Australian Air Force. After training in Australia as a pilot, he was posted overseas before the European war entered a crucial stage with the Allied invasion of France in June 1944. Based in England he flew Hurricanes, eventually being seconded to the RAF as an instructor of naval aviators. Hilton was only 20 when the war ended.

Back in Australia he joined the family firm, Nicholas Pty Ltd, of which his father was head. It was whilst living and working in England that he met his first wife, Brenda Reis. They were married in London in 1951.

Returning with his bride to Melbourne, he bought a property called “Yarrowee” in Lower Plenty.  Nicholas ran cattle, cut hay, indulged his love of dogs and horses, delighted in his large garden and played polo with what has been aptly described as “an enthusiasm bordering on wild abandon”. He and Brenda entertained with gusto a wide variety of guests, both from their Melbourne circle and from afar; their life was full to overflowing.

Hilton’s love of horses was something that he inherited from his father, who was a noted breeder of thoroughbreds and served on the committee of the Victoria Racing Club for nearly 20 years. When George died in 1960, Hilton was successful in a contested election, and for the next 33 years served as a committeeman, vice-chairman and from 1982 to 1986, chairman of the VRC. He retired from the committee in 1993. His wife Brenda died during his term of office as chairman.

A recording of his tribute to the VRC’s 150th anniversary in 2014

Hilton was totally committed to ensuring integrity in the racing industry, and the welfare of both the horses and the humans involved was always at the forefront of his thinking.

As a leader in these fields he was instrumental in the creation of a number of initiatives to further these objectives, including his collaboration with the late Professor Blood of the University of Melbourne in the establishment of the Equine Research Foundation.

For 16 years he was chairman of the Totalisator Agency Board in Victoria, succeeding the inaugural chairman Sir Chester Manifold in this role.

He also served on the board of St. Vincent’s Institute for Medical Research for 30 years, the last five as chairman. He was immensely proud of the discoveries made at the institute and of the growing prestige of Melbourne as a world-class centre of medical research.

He was president of the Athenaeum Club from 1977 to 1979. Warm-hearted in greeting people, he listened carefully when they spoke. His services in many spheres were officially recognised by an OBE and an AM.

Hilton was keenly interested in thoroughbred breeding and, following his father’s death, took on the thoroughbred stud “Shirley Park”, Woodend, which his father had established 20 years earlier. His champion stallion Court Sentence was a legend in his day, as was his exceptional mare, Begonia Belle. The Begonia Belle Stakes, named by the VRC in her honour, is run annually at Flemington Racecourse on Victoria Derby Day. The VRC also recognised Hilton’s contribution to the club and to racing as a whole through the annual Hilton Nicholas Handicap.

Hilton Nicholas inherited his love of horses from his father. Photo-Supplied

Hilton Nicholas inherited his love of horses from his father. Photo-Supplied

In 1989, Hilton married again. Whilst spending more time in later years with his wife Marjorie at their property in the Southern Riverina, he continued to enjoy both city and rural life.

Hilton maintained his interest in aviation and with his brother, Lindsay, established Nicholas Air Charter in Melbourne. This company provided the first air ambulance service in Victoria.

Hilton did not have children of his own, but he followed the progress of his extended family with great interest and affection and took much pride in their accomplishments. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie.

By Marjorie Nicholas OAM and Professor Geoffrey Blainey AC.

Straight off the back of the announcement of his recruitment of Master of Design to the Greta West stallion barn, the winners came marching in.

In a great result for the North East Victorian farm and its new sire, no less than four of his progeny saluted the winning post over the past six days.

The wins takes his season total to 32, more than any other Victorian second season sire. His winners to runners ratio of more than 44% is also among the best in the nation for his generation.

The second season sire floated up the Hume Hwy on Thursday morning and arrived in great order.

New Greta West stallion Master of Design

New Greta West stallion Master of Design

“He’s a fine, athletic type with a lovely temperament,” studmaster Laurie McCarthy said.

On Wednesday, Adelaide trainer Lloyd Kennewell prepared his latest three-year-old winner by Master Of Design when Swiss Design saluted at Balaklava.

He cruised up to the leaders in the straight and only needed a reminder from Joe Bowditch to stay focused in the final stages of 1050 metre race.

He started an odds-on favourite after an unlucky second to Alta Stella on debut last month.

“He’s very smart and should have won first-up…They ran a fast time that day and he came from last to be beaten a length,” Kennewell said.

Swiss Design is a half-brother to Kennewell’s stakes sprinter El Magico and their dam Swiss Vault (Secret Savings) has a yearling colt by Master Of Design.

Kennewell trains him for a syndicate that includes Ozzie Kheir and Luke Koumi after buying him for $220,000 at the 2015 Adelaide Magic Millions Sale.

Kheir part-owned Master Of Design in his racing days while Koumi also races last-start Master Of Design winner Senor Gaudi.

Meanwhile at Sandown also on Wednesday, the Chris Waller trained three-year-old gelding Jaminzah scored a last-to-first victory at just a couple of hours after Swiss Design won in South Australia.

“He got there right on the line,” jockey Craig Newitt said.  “He drew wide and jumped well but the speed was on so I went back.  He did a good job and is a nice little horse.”

Jaminzah was bred by Portland couple Ian and Vicki Bell from their mare Sarchi Lodge (Grand Lodge).  She has a Master Of Design yearling filly with Ballarat owner David Speechley and another Master Of Design filly on the ground.

To top it off the great week for the sire, there were wins to a pair of three-year-olds over the long weekend with the Patrick Ryan trained, Rob Salter homebred Waa Master scoring at Hamilton on Sunday. Then on Monday, the Shea Eden trained and Euan White bred Vin Fiz won at Mornington.

Greta West will stand Master Of Design alongside Keep The Faith and King Of Prussia at a $5,500 (inc gst) service fee this coming season.

By Tara Madgwick – Breednet

A modest $5,000 purchase from the Three Bridges Thoroughbreds draft at the 2014 Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale, promising Stryker filly Bay Harmony posted her third win when scoring at Mornington on Monday.

Prepared by the powerful Hayes/Dabernig stable, Bay Harmony backed up from her last start win at Geelong to take the $40,000 Benchmark 64 event by a head after leading throughout on a very heavy track.

Bay Harmony has won three of 10 starts earnings $73,780 providing a great return on her purchase price.

Bred by Three Bridges in partnership, Bay Harmony is the first winner for Absolute Harmony, a three-quarter sister to Group 2 winner Éclair Choice and grand-daughter of Golden Slipper winner Burst.

Stryker has sired 41 winners this season of more than $1.6 million in progeny earnings and stands at Three Bridges this coming season at a fee of $6,600.

Three Bridges are presenting a quality draft of weanlings and mares at the 2017 Inglis Great Southern Sale starting on Sunday June 18. Click here to see the draft.

One of Victoria’s premier breeders has announced the purchase of one of Victoria’s most successful and historic farms.

Robert and Sylvie Crabtree, who operate as Dorrington Farm, are moving into Wood Nook Farm nestled on the Goulburn River at Nagambie.

Rob & Sylvie Crabtree lead Catchy back in after her Blue Diamond win (Sarah Ebbett-Racing Photos)

Rob & Sylvie Crabtree lead Catchy back in after her Blue Diamond win (Sarah Ebbett-Racing Photos)

The move comes off the back of the Crabtrees having recently sold their Hastings property on the Mornington Peninsula. The Crabtrees will keep the name Dorrington Farm.

Wood Nook, developed extensively by former Moonee Valley Race Club Chairman Bob Scarborough and his wife Rosemary, has produced no less than twelve Group 1 winners.  Wood Nook bred stars included the likes of Final Card, Gallica, Gold Ace, Hit the Roof, Leica Guv, Light Fantastic, Marble Halls, Sleek Chassis and Stella Cadente.

The 122 hectare property includes a lovingly restored 1870’s homestead and stately gardens developed by the Scarboroughs since they bought the farm in 1994.

Wood Nook has been a thoroughbred nursery for more than six decaddes. Known originally as The Nook Stud, it was owned by former Test cricketer Jack ‘Slinger’ Nitschke. In these early years it stood a number of stallions including Latin Lover (sire of Rain Lover), High Peak Orgoglio and Brave Lad.

The extensive equine infrastructure includes 45 paddocks, a modern 692 square metre stable complex, a 160 square metre veterinary facility, 23 loose box stables and numerous horse shelters and foaling boxes.

“It is a bit nostalgic having sold the property, but we are thrilled the Crabtrees have bought it,” Bob Scarborough said.

“Rob is the ‘perfect purchaser’ of Wood Nook in that his breeding operation is of a similar scale to ours and operates at the pointy end of the market with some really lovely mares.”

Crabtree said that Wood Nook is a beautiful property which is well laid out for horses.

“The Scarboroughs and Bob Norris did an excellent job of setting out the property, and I’m happy to take it through its next foray into breeding history.

“I liked that it has had a good freshen up without stock on the land for the last couple of years and, along with the extra room, well-developed pastures, large established shade trees and excellent water – it’s a very good horse property.”

The Dorrington Farm broodmare band of a couple of dozen has already relocated to the picturesque Nagambie acreage, and although the matings for his mares for the upcoming season are not confirmed at this stage, they are in the perfect central location to walk onto nearby Victorian studs.

Crabtree has established the respected Dorrington Farm brand over the past two and a half decades which has included a period as TBV President.

Among many other breeding feats, Crabtree can lay claim to having bred Helsinge, the dam of Black Caviar, through his blue-hen broodmare Scandinavia.

Scandinavia is also the dam of the Crabtree bred and owned Magnus, one of Victoria’s best performing stallions who stands at Sun Stud. He is a prolific producer of winners right around Australia particularly at the elite level.

The Crabtrees have also been having quite the time recently with a number of their fillies and mares on the race track.

This year’s Blue Diamond winner Catchy races for Dorrington Farm, as does Oakleigh Plate winner Sheidel and the consistent Group 3 winning mare Miss Promiscuity.

Crabtree is in no hurry to retire his mares, as he loves to race them, and although they will join the broodmare band one day, he insists he can have the best of both worlds, enjoying the fun on the track with them beforehand.

Star juvenile filly Catchy will be aimed at the Group 1 Thousand Guineas this coming spring while Sheidel’s immediate career is yet to  be decided.

Having often been heard to say that nothing is more important than your children or grandchildren, Crabtree likens the joy generated by breeding and racing thoroughbreds as “another level of family’’.

“It’s a great feeling of satisfaction when you can continue the generations — the grandmothers, mothers and the horses on the track. It’s not just a business. It’s a business with a passion.”

Meanwhile the Scarboroughs, having sold Wood Nook, haven’t removed themselves entirely from racing and breeding.

They still race the odd one in Australia including recent Bairnsdale maiden winner Barchetta. The Ciaron Maher trained homebred filly is out of the Scarborough’s Group 1 Blue Diamond winner Sleek Chassis. Bob and Rosemary also maintain an interest in a small number of broodmares in Ireland and France.

TBV’s Executive Officer Patrick Clancy will soon take up a national role with Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA), while still maintaining his position at TBV.

The new position will see him work between the two organisations from his base at the TBV office in Flemington.

The focus of Patrick’s new role as TBA’s Director of Policy will include a national welfare policy, working on the new research & development levy and driving increased engagement between TBA and Australian breeders.

In addition to this change, TBV are currently in the process of recruiting a new marketing and communications officer. It is expected this position will be filled in July in readiness for a busy Victorian breeding season.

TBV President James O’Brien said the dual role situation to be held by Patrick was a win-win situation.

“Since his appointment in July 2015, Patrick has taken TBV to a new level helping to significantly increase its engagement with members of the industry, attract major new sponsors and grow links with other racing bodies and governments.

“Over the past two years, with Patrick on board, we have worked closely with Racing Victoria and secured the $1.5 m VOBIS Sires scheme along with the first increases to Super VOBIS bonuses in almost a decade.

“Under the change at the TBV office, we will maintain access to Patrick’s expertise and passion for the industry while also employing an additional officer to help promote Victorian breeding and assist TBV members.

“The Victorian thoroughbred breeding sector is going from strength to strength with major new investments by international and local breeders alike in quality new mares and stallions along with the upgrading of properties.

“And the performances by Victorian bred horses on the track this season has been stunning with no less than 14 Victorian bred Group 1 wins across Australia along with international Group 1 winners such as Lucky Bubbles.

“And you can’t go past the fact that the winners of the past two Golden Slippers were sired by stallions standing in Victoria this year.

“The future for Victorian breeding is very bright.”

Victorian operators played a key role once again in Australia’s biggest broodmare sale on the Gold Coast last week.

The Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale had more than 1,100 lots catalogued and dozens of Victorian farms and breeders snapped up new stock.

A number of Victorian breeders were also active on the selling side of the auctioneer’s rostrum notably Yu Long, Musk Creek Farm and Baystone Farm.

TBV member Jonathan Munz, through his GSA Bloodstock operation, snapped up Polska, the dam of Group 2 winners Seaburge and Catch A Fire, for $1.6 million.

Jonathan Munz bought Breccia, dam of Tivaci, for $950,000 in foal to Brazen Beau (pic-Katrina Partridge)

Jonathan Munz bought Breccia, dam of Tivaci, for $950,000 in foal to Brazen Beau (pic-Katrina Partridge)

Chinese investor Yu Long Investments, which has its farm at Bayles in West Gippsland, purchased two million-dollar-plus broodmares including Group 2 winner Gregers and NZ Group 1 winner Soriano.

The most active of all buyers at the sale was Gnarwarre’s Rosemont Stud having successfully bid for 27 broodmare lots

Rosemont’s Anthony Mithen said the sale was a fantastic opportunity to add to their broodmare band.

“In recent months, we’ve expanded the farm having bought another 1200 acres. It gives us more room to move.

“We’ve also assembled a really strong team of staff giving us the capacity to run more stock.

“This is a long term play by Rosemont knowing that prizemoney is increasing, breeding incentives are increasing and the market is buoyant.

“Some of the new mares will go to our own stallions including second season sire Nostradamus while others will be strategically mated with other quality Victorian and interstate stallions.”

Meanwhile the Cable Bay Syndicate which includes Victoria’s Gilgai Farm, Grand Lodge and B2B Bloodstock, brought home 13 specially selected mares to go to their new shuttle sire Cable Bay who will stand at Woodside Park.

Another newcomer to Victoria, Seymour Bloodstock, got in the last bid of $870,000 on Mousai, a daughter of Fastnet Rock who calls multiple Group 1 winner Starspangledbanner a sibling among others.

Northwood based Seymour Bloodstock bought Mousai, a half sister to Starspangledbanner for $870,000

Northwood based Seymour Bloodstock bought Mousai, a half sister to Starspangledbanner for $870,000

2017 Magic Millions Broodmare Sale
Major Victorian buyers

BuyerMares boughtGross ($)
Yu Long Investments 104,531,000
Rosemont Stud273,694,000
Cable Bay Syndicate132,585,000
Spendthrift Australia21,250,000
RIFA Mustang 51,210,000
Makybe Racing & Breeding101,086,000
Seymour Bloodstock1870,000
Dorrington Farm3585,000
Group 1 Bloodstock2370,000
Burnewang North2325,000
Phoenix Broodmare Farm2260,000
Baystone Farm2205,000


Other Victorian farms with multiple purchases included Laceby Lodge, Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm, Warrnambool’s Michael Rea, Millford, Ridgeview Park, Shadwell Farm, Stonehouse Thoroughbreds, Supreme Thoroughbreds and Rushton Park.

Rushton Park’s buys included the I Am Invincible mare Modesty for $100,000

“We were not coming home without her!” said Rushton’s David Johnson.

They also secured the Tale of the Cat mare Kuching for $45,000. Closely related to Golden Slipper winner She will Reign (Manhattan Rain), David has indicated she will be visiting new Blue Gum sire Manhattan Rain this season.

Cable Bay and his Australian rights holders will certainly never die wondering about the hard work going into his first southern hemisphere season at stud in Victoria.

A collaboration of Woodside Park Stud, Gilgai Farm, Grand Lodge and B2B Bloodstock, are ensuring the Group 2 winning son of Invincible Spirit will have every opportunity for a successful first season in the breeding barn at Tylden.

The Cable Bay Syndicate joined forces with highly respected bloodstock agents Damon Gabbedy and Dermot Farringdon at the recent Magic Millions Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast to bring home 13 mares that fitted into the syndicate’s highly researched mating model.

In seeking out the ideal genetics, Cable Bay sent renowned breeder Rick Jamieson into a pedigree spin across Australia and the far reaches of the globe as he sought the right stallion.

Cable Bay will stand at Woodside Park

Cable Bay will stand at Woodside Park

With Rick, through his Gilgai operation, and the other shareholders committed to sending dozens of their very best mares the young shuttle sire is being a very good chance of success.

The Gold Coast sale last week provided a further opportunity to boost Cable Bay’s female suitors.

All up, the syndicate’s spend on the 13 mares $2.585 million.

The buys included Group 1 winner Miss Cover Girl, for $500,000 and $360,000 for the Myboycharlie mare, Butterboom, a sibling to Group 1 winner Foxplay.

Breeders seeking more information about Cable Bay should Matthew Tillett on 0423 074 249 or visit

By Brad Bishop,

Horse sales, like the Magic Millions offerings that are taking place on the Gold Coast, can often come across as just being big business.

Headline lots are regularly the subject of spirited duels by some of racing’s biggest names bidding against one another.

But Woolsthorpe based Colin McKenna showed the emotion attached to it on Thursday. The Victorian owner/breeder was on-site to see his mare Gregers go through the ring early on the third day of the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

You’d think he’d be overjoyed at seeing her sell for $1.75 million, which made her the new top lot of what has been a record-breaking sale.

Especially given the other high-profile lot he brought to the sale, Petits Filous, sold for $1.15m on opening day.

But it has been a week of mixed emotions for he and wife Janice.

“Of course it is,” a clearly emotional McKenna said. “We don’t like selling them, but you have to sometimes sell them.

“It’s not about the money, it’s just that they get too valuable to be walking around at home in some cases.

“Some of the owners wanted out, they were all quite prepared to back us and stay in, but there’s got to be a day when somebody makes a decision (on their future).

“Janice will be very disappointed.”

Gregers was a special horse to the McKennas from the time she won on debut at Moonee Valley.

Col McKenna, Ciaron Maher & Hugh bowman after Jameka won the BMW

Col McKenna, Ciaron Maher & Hugh bowman after Jameka won the BMW

She finished fourth in the Blue Diamond at her next start and contested another 10 Group 1 races for top-four finishes in the Thousand Guineas, Oakleigh Plate, William Reid, Sangster Stakes (twice) and The Goodwood.

The daughter of Commands never won at Group 1 level, but counted a Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude and Group 3 Cockram Stakes among her six career victories. It is therefore easy to understand why she was such a popular subject at Australia’s leading broodmare sale.

Yu Long Investments won the battle for the six-year-old, who is in foal to Golden Slipper producing stallion Written Tycoon, who stands at Woodside Park in Victoria.

“Mr (Yuesheng) Zhang just loves the family,” said bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills, who buys for Yu Long. “It was his favourite mare in the sale.

“He had to push for her, but she’s a rare offering I guess.

“(Witten Tycoon) is one of his favourite stallions, so that was probably the icing on the cake I’d say.”

Reproduced from the Racing Post. By Martin Stevens.

Plenty of sledging goes on between England and Australia but when there is collaboration instead of contempt, great things can happen.

So it proved in the third session of the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on the Gold Coast on Thursday, when friends from different sides of the world united to turn a big profit on a mare.

Matt Houldsworth, partner with Geoffrey Howson in his British-based bloodstock agency, searched high and low in Germany to find the five-year-old Medaglia D’Oro mare Lady Oracle for Sherah Sullivan, operations manager at Noorilim Park in Victoria.

Mission accomplished, Sullivan then sold Lady Oracle, in foal to popular Arrowfield Stud sire Not A Single Doubt, to Phoenix Thoroughbreds for A$400,000 (£230,000/€263,000) at Magic Millions.

It made a change for the mare to find herself in demand.

Darley-bred Lady Oracle made two starts for Andre Fabre and Godolphin in 2015, finishing a close third in a Saint-Cloud three-year-old maiden on her debut – behind only future Prix Saint-Alary heroine Queen’s Jewel and Group 3 scorer Taniya and one place in front of subsequent Group 2 second Lady Of Kyushu.

Lady Oracle disappointed on her next start when a warm favourite, and two months later was discarded by Darley and sent to the Tattersalls July Sale, where she was bought by Armando Duarte for just 14,000gns.

She later joined Andreas Woehler and then Silke Brueggemann in Germany, where she managed another placing at Munich.

Lady Oracle was sent back to Tattersalls for the December Breeding-Stock Sale in 2015 among the draft of Ronald Rauscher and – here is where bloodstock agents should kick themselves – she was bought back by the vendor at 3,000gns.

Since then, several relatives to Lady Oracle – who is out of the Australian-bred Loup Sauvage mare Wild Queen, who won six stakes races in her native country and has a deep antipodean pedigree – began to shine.

Telperion, a grandson of Wild Queen, finished fourth in the Golden Slipper and second in the Inglis Sires’ last year, while Regent, Lady Oracle’s half-brother, has won two races and performed promisingly in Pattern company at two this season.

The icing on the cake was the incredibly impressive four-length victory of Telperion’s two-year-old half-brother Kementari in a Randwick conditions stakes on the Saturday before Lady Oracle’s appearance in the sales ring at Magic Millions.

Sullivan takes up the tale: “Matt’s a good friend of mine – we became acquainted three years ago when he came over to Australia – and he put the idea into my head to buy a few Australian pedigrees out of Europe.

“He did the legwork over in Newmarket. The mare had been through a sale and was not sold but I’d been following Telperion closely, and watched him get into the Slipper and then go on to the Sires’, so I sent Matt on a mission to find the mare in Germany and take a punt on her.

“She was still a bit weak and needed to fill out coming off the track, so we brought her home, fed her up and got her straight in foal. Everything has just fallen into place with the covering stallion and Kementari – it’s been brilliant.”

Asked whether the sale represented a fair profit she replied: “Fair profit? It was a huge profit! I’m super rapt. I took the punt myself, and thought I’d back my own judgement.”

The result gilded the first visit to the National Broodmare Sale for Houldsworth, who also oversaw the private purchase of Up To You on behalf of YuLong Park, which sold the Giant’s Causeway half-sister to George Strawbridge’s top-class stayers Lucarno and Flying Officer to Rosemont Stud for A$460,000 (£265,000/€303,000) on Wednesday.

“Sherah has done an incredible job with the mare and all the credit really goes to her,” said Houldsworth, who has also been signing for lots on behalf of Australian clients this week.

“They picked the right stallion, they got her looking fantastic and ready for this sale. I just couldn’t be happier for her really. Hopefully there’ll be a few more missions to come.”

Although Lady Oracle had a fine Australasian pedigree – her dam is also a half-sister to Group winners Cumbria and So Gorgeous, the latter also the mother of Golden Shaheen winner Sterling City – Houldsworth said it was the physical that was key to finding a mare who will be popular in the southern hemisphere.

“It’s not easy finding them, you’ve got to be quite selective in the type of mare you bring here from Europe and there’s a high attrition rate in Europe trying to find the right type,” he says. “But if you do buy the right one, there is such a strong middle and higher market in Australia that it can be lucrative.

“The type is most important. If you have a nice pedigree that’s fine, but buyers aren’t going to keep them on their lists if they’re not a good type, and Lady Oracle luckily had both.”

The riches to rags, and back to riches, story of Lady Oracle may just inspire a few more people to try finding the right type to pull off another Euro-Australian coup.

There is rarely a weekend that passes without a Magnus winner, but having a two state treble and a stakes placing over the weekend is certainly something to write home about.

The day started at Doomben with 2YO Magnufighter running home to claim third in the Listed Phoenix.  Out of the Bel Esprit mare, Le Bel Away, he was sold through the Eliza Park International draft for $85,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast.

Showing significant promise in his four start race career, he has been nominated for this weekend’s Group 1 J J Atkins Stakes.

Further glory came via Ellerton-Zahra’s ever-reliable mare Whistle Baby at Moonee Valley. Bred by Peter Moody and Neil Werrett, the win at took her record to seven wins and ten placings for nearly half a million in stakes.

An astute $60,000 purchase at the Inglis Premier Sale from the Yallambee Stud draft, Whistle Baby will head to stud this season at new Mornington Peninsula breeding operation Merricks Station run by Ben Cooper.

Other winners for the Sun Stud sire on Saturday included Wez Hunter’s Magnesprit and Northern Storm by a whopping seven lengths at Mt Isa.

Rob Crabtree who bred, raced and maintains ownership of Magnus said the stallion’s weekend winners were reflective of the quality of his stock.

“That’s the strength of Magnus – it’s his incredible consistency,” Crabtree said.

Magnus at Sun Stud stallion parade

Magnus at Sun Stud stallion parade

“Figures from May show he was Australia’s leading winners to runners stallion at 70% – it’s absolutely extraordinary. If anything really underlines a stallion, it is that statistic.”

“Nearly all stallions have a claim to fame through their sire line, but it is the depth of his female pedigree that makes him stand out.

“He has an incredible female family, through Song Of Norway, Scandinavia and being a half brother to (Black Caviar and All Too Hard’s dam) Helsinge,”

By Kristen Manning

Thoroughbred breeding can be a numbers game, making it hard for stallions not serving hundreds of mares a year to compete with those who do.

Which is why the great run of form enjoyed by the Larneuk Stud pair O’Lonhro and Ilovethiscity is impressive, neither horse represented by big numbers but both well and truly getting the score on the board.

Between them the sons of Lonhro and Magic Albert (themselves both reliably consistent winner getters) have sired the winners of 45 races since the start of the year – much to the delight of Larneuk’s Neville Murdoch.

“Both stallions are doing the job,” he said, “quietly but efficiently!”

“They are terrific owner/breeder horses whose progeny stand a great chance of getting to the track and they sire tough, honest performers who are giving their owners a lot of fun.”

More than 80% of O’Lonhro’s 112 named foals to date have made it to the track and 73.4% of those have won or placed with 50 being winners.

Amongst that tally are the smart last start winners Rose Of Capri (who broke her maiden by two lengths at Echuca at just her third start), Zeusman (back to his best with a dominant victory at Geelong) and Cutting Torch (too strong over 1200m at Perak in Malaysia).

And then there is the flying Mamzelle Tess, a home bred of Geelong’s Margaret Naismith, who has been so impressive winning her last three for the Leon & Troy Corstens stable.

Rising in distance from 1100m to 1300m to 1411m and up in class to BM78 level at Sale, the talented mare looks set for bigger and better things having proven four lengths too strong for last start city winner Divine Chills.

“She is a really good example of how being patience can pay off,” Troy Corstens said, noting that Mamzelle Tess has “really come into her own given a bit of time.”

Meanwhile the Larneuk Stud bred O’Lordy is already proving herself at metropolitan level, overcoming trouble in running to salute in tough fashion at Rosehill recently.

“She is a talented mare who can win better races,” said trainer Danny Williams with jockey Jay Ford confident that the four-year-old will be all the better over further – “I think she is going to make a really nice miler,” he said.

Group One Randwick Guineas winner Ilovethiscity is also proving his worth with his last two runners both in the winner’s circle.

Ilovethiscity (AUS)

Ilovethiscity (AUS)

Racing away to a soft victory at Echuca on Sunday, the Robbie Griffiths trained Son Of City impressed jockey Brad Rawiller who noted that “he was terrific… he is still raw but I like the way he quickens, he is a nice horse.”

Two days later Ville Chanson created a good impression at Pakenham, the Marita Lawson trained three-year-old saluting at just his second start.

Meanwhile the talented Chapel City earned black type with a close up third in the Listed Adelaide Guineas at Morphettville whilst Tony Krushka homebred The Passage scored a big maiden victory at Warrnambool followed by a unlucky run at Flemington and then a second at Moonee Valley.

On the back of an impressive trial victory City Of Dreams was sent out an odds-on favourite at her recent Tasmanian debut and she was never going to get beaten, racing away to win by four lengths.

With his first runners being just three, Ilovethiscity has done a great job. From just 29 runners siring he has had 11 winners and nine placegetters.

“Breeders are really starting to take note of Ilovethiscity now,” Murdoch said, “though his success is no surprise to us – he was a high class racehorse and a terrific type from a great family, the same one that produced the outstanding stallions Lonhro and Grosvenor.”

For further information on O’Lonhro and Ilovethiscity who this season will stand alongside Cluster and Wolf Cry contact Neville Murdoch on 0418 105 706 or visit

It seems that being put up for online auction can help a sire find a slew of winners.

Not long after Sun Stud put Wanted, a Group 1 winning son of Fastnet Rock, up for auction with Gavelhouse mid last week, the winners came rolling in.Two city winners and two country winners to be precise.

A beneficiary of this was prolific syndicate Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock run by Darren and Liz Dance.

Their homebred daughter of Wanted, Wanted Diva, landed the 1200m 2YO race at Moonee Valley on Saturday

This result continued the successful city-winning run of ATB’s own broodmare Rock Diva.

“She’s the third foal we’ve got out of Rock Diva and most of the owners that raced the mare have stayed in this filly,” Darren Dance said.

Wanted Diva’s metropolitan win equals the success at that level previously delivered by her half brother and half sister.

The ill-fated We’re Sure (Not A Single Doubt) won over $170,000 including two city races, while the stakes winning mare, Rockolicious (Fastnet Rock) – now a ATB resident broodmare, won over $250,000 during her five win career.

Homebreds are a big part of the ATB regime with 35 mares heading to the very best stallions, providing well-bred, well-priced stock for prospective owners to get involved in.

“With the yearling prices the way they are it’s good to have a few at home,” Dance said.

“This way it keeps the prices reasonable and we can get a few people involved.”

Based at Sun Sud in Victoria, Wanted has sired over 80 winners and his progeny have earned in excess of $4.7m thanks to black type performers such as Wazzenme, Rough Justice, Shaf, Dead Or Alive, Surf Seeker, War Point and Sort After to date.

As of Monday night, the bids for Wanted had reached $50,000 and he was passed in. No doubt Sun Stud will have many suitors at their Kerrie door this week seeking a proven stallion in the form of Wanted.

Group 1-winning sprinter Master Of Design has a new home in Victoria at Greta West Stud.

He is a Top 10 second-season sire in Australia by individual winners with 21 winners of 28 races this season while his offshore winners include A Star Of Patch (Hong Kong) and Creative Genius (NZ) who has also been stakes-placed at Ellerslie.

Master Of Design is a regally-bred son of Redoute’s Choice from a sister to Champion South African filly Tracy’s Element.

“He’s an emerging sire and is getting right among the winners. Now we’re looking ahead for some stakes wins next season,” Greta West studmaster Laurie McCarthy said.

His first-crop youngsters Kinetic Design and Creativity were stakes-placed at Flemington while his second-crop filly Miss Wahoo earned black-type in the Debutante Stakes at Caulfield.

Melbourne will see another untapped Master Of Design when Adelaide trainer Lloyd Kennewell floats Senor Gaudi across for the spring carnival. He created a huge impression winning on debut after sitting wide at Morphettville last Saturday.

“Senor Gaudi is a pretty serious horse…he was shinny when he won the other day,” Kennewell said.

“He sprinted from the 600 metre mark and put them away even though Zac (Spain) said he was floating in front at the finish.

“He will have a month off and then we will take him through the grades.”

Senor Gaudi is a homebred for South Australian businessman Luke Koumi who has been involved in racing for 30 years.

He owned a slice of Hall Of Fame champion Better Loosen Up and more recent feature winners such as Deiheros (Magic Millions 3YO Guineas) & Rialya (Group 2 Adelaide Cup).

Master Of Design covered nearly 100 mares in his third book at Swettenham Stud and their foals attracted Mat Ellerton & Simon Zahra, Troy Corstens, Matt Cumani, Shane Nicols, David Payne and Yu Long Investments at this year’s Inglis Premier Yearling Sale in Melbourne.

Payne trained the Greta West newcomer to a Group 1 victory at weight-for-age in the 2012 T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick. He paid $50,000 for a Master of Design colt from Tale Of Harmony at the Inglis Premier sale this year that has just been registered as Kentford.

“Master Of Design had been a good thing beaten in the Oakleigh Plate that year,” Payne recalled.

“Then he lost two shoes in the Newmarket so the T J Smith was a just reward.”

Greta West Stud will stand Master Of Design for a $5,500 (inc gst) service fee. He will stand alongside Keep The Faith ($3,300) and King of Prussia ($2,200) at the North East Victorian farm.

Laurie McCarthy can be contacted for further information on 0410 476 196 or