The following story by Tony Arrold about Magnus gelding Great Shot and his Victorian breeding background was printed in the Australian following his big Group 1 win in the Railway Stakes in Perth on Saturday.

Rejuvenated Great Shot sees off late surge to seal Railway Stakes

Great Shot (Magnus) was beating huge odds by achieving the unexpected in Western Australia’s premier race, the $1 million Group I Railway Stakes, at Perth’s Ascot racecourse on Saturday.

He had stood idle in his box 12 months earlier when drawn up as the second reserve runner for the Railway Stakes and that was at a time when he had successfully come through a lead-up preparation, having defied a back problem that threatened to end his young racing career.

Great Shot developed a spinal condition after blitzing 14 other three-year-olds in the Listed Belmont Guineas over 1600m at Belmont Park in May, 2016.

But he responded to therapy and a careful exercise program to return to training and reward connections with winning form, which included further Listed wins over 1200m and 1600m at Ascot in the first quarter of 2017.

While missing a place in only the first of four starts in this preparation, Great Shot was dismissed as a 30-1 chance among 16 for the Railway Stakes (1600m) and surprised no one when took up his habitual position of running on the pace to be left alone out at the front.

But at points in the final home straight where he was expected to be swallowed up, Great Shot was up for a fight to retain his lead; and fight he did, holding out a swarm of late challengers, top weighted Black Heart Bart the best of them a short-head margin away at the post.

Black Heart Bart was the high-profile runner of the 2017 Railway Stakes, having returned to his old stamping grounds after trekking east to bag five Group I wins in Adelaide and Melbourne and boost his earnings to near $4m.

But Great Shot and Black Heart Bart may have crossed paths at an earlier time since both were born on a stud at Muchea, 50km north of Perth. Great Shot foaled around the time Black Heart Bart was being prepared in a neighbouring paddock for the Perth Magic Millions yearling sale.

Black Heart Bart was bred on the then Durham Lodge stud in the spring of 2010 and when he was sold as a yearling for $20,000 in 2012, the Muchea property had been renamed Scenic Lodge after its former resident stallion Scenic.

Today it is the home of Black Heart Bart’s sire Blackfriars, seven times leading sire in WA.

Great Shot was foaled on Scenic Lodge in early October, 2012, the stud having bought the future Railway Stakes winner’s mother Satin Covers four months earlier for $26,000 at the Magic Millions National Broodmare sale on the Gold Coast.

Satin Covers was bought from the draft of Eliza Park Stud, at Kerrie, Victoria and she was in foal to Magnus, the former high-class sprinter who was standing at Eliza Park.

Though Scenic Lodge is the ­official breeder of Great Shot, credit for the matching of Great Shot’s parents goes to Lee Fleming, who had developed Eliza Park into a Victorian showpiece before striking financial problems took the operation into receivership in 2013.

Notable among Eliza Park’s bloodstock asset dispersal was a Snitzel-Millrich weanling colt bought for $45,000 by the Marquee Stud from PBB Advisory as official receiver at the 2013 Inglis Easter weanling-broodmare sale.

Marquee Stud resold the colt to Triple Crown syndications at the 2014 Magic Millions yearling sale on the Gold Coast and today he races as Redzel, a $7m-plus stakes winner and with his place in history as the winner of the inaugural $10m The Everest, the richest race ever run in Australia.

Fleming and his Eliza Park also had a hand in another notable thoroughbred, Black Caviar, arguably the finest sprinting mare bred in this country, with an unblemished career of 25 starts to back the claim.

Eliza Park was not only the home of Bel Espirit, the former crack sprinter-miler son of Royal Academy and sire of Black Caviar, but Fleming was the co-breeder, with Victorian Rob Crabtree, of Black Caviar’s mother Helsinge, who was by another Eliza Park stallion, Desert Sun, sire of the celebrated Sunline.

Fleming had entered into a foal-sharing arrangement with Crabtree with the classy Snippets mare Scandinavia.

Helsinge (which did not race) was Scandinavia’s second foal and Magnus her third and first colt foal, by Danehill’s Golden Slipper winner Flying Spur.

Racing for a partnership which included Crabtree and Fleming, Magnus earned more than $1.3m with the Group I The Galaxy his career highpoint and with eight second placings including in the Group I Oakleigh Plate-Newmarket Handicap double to Weekend Hussler and in the Group I Lightning Stakes to Miss Andretti.

Magnus also ventured abroad twice with his efforts including a second to Takeover Target in the Group I Krisflyer in Singapore and to Miss Andretti in the Group II King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, England.

Today, Magnus is on the stallion roster of Sun Stud, formerly Eliza Park, where he is rounding off his 10th season at a service fee of $22,000.

Great Shot is the third Group I winner for Magnus, after Malaguerra (2016 Darley Classic) and Magnifisio (2014 Winterbottom Stakes).

Scenic Lodge sold Great Shot at the 2014 MM Perth yearling sale, with retired Perth doctor Frank Edwards signing the invoice at $31,000 for the now gelded five-year-old, who has returned $1,204,875 from eight wins and 11 placings in 24 starts.

And just as Redzel was the last foal of Millrich, so, too, was Great Shot the last foal from Satin Covers, who failed to get in foal in four subsequent seasons to Blackfriars and with Scenic Lodge retiring the mare after she did not conceive in her 2015 cover by associate sire Snippetson.

The now 21-year-old Satin Covers is a brown mare by Sir Tristram’s Australian Derby winner Dr Grace, her mother the quality racemare Satin Sand, who won the 1986 version of the race popularly known today as the Group I Coolmore Classic at Rosehill.

Note: Magnus had a further five winners around Australia over the weekend. Other city winners were the Windy Hill bred Magnus Knight in Adelaide and the 3YO Magnufighter in Brisbane. He has two sons in Malibu Style and The River contesting this Saturday’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot.

The breeding season is gradually coming to a close at Seymour’s Chatswood Stud, but ‘winning season’ continues it seems for the stud’s stallions particularly Reward For Effort.

Chatswood’s headline sire Reward For Effort has been prolific in terms of progeny wins. In less than four weeks, they have racked up no less than 20 wins around Australia.

On Saturday, it was the Darren Weir trained mare, Brugal Reward winning for the stallion in the opener on Ballarat Cup Day. She was bred by Chatswood themselves.

Weir, a part owner himself of the mare, explained that he was especially pleased to see Brugal Reward breakthrough for her fourth victory, given the owners recently knocked back a $250,000 offer for the mare.

Brugal Reward’s owners include longtime Weir stable clients, the Colac-based Parker brothers (Barry & Noel).

“The Parker boys have been with me right from when I first took out my trainer’s licence. I used to break-in their horses when I was still breaking-in, that’s how long we go back,” Weir said.

“Jeremy (Rogers) and John Foote picked her out as a yearling, and I’m always happy to take a share when they pick one out,” Weir said, of the lovely filly found in Chatswood’s 2015 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale draft.

Having already won a Group 3 race, Brugal Reward can one day look forward to a serious broodmare career, particularly with her dam, Tiger Tess being a half sister to the Group 1 mighty Apache Cat (both being out of Tennessee Blaze).

Chatswood’s Greg Willis, who was thrilled with the further win of the mare, said the first crop of Reward for Effort progeny were now starting to enter the broodmare ranks.

“We have now begun to cover Reward For Effort mares this season, and as Exceed And Excel is going well (as a broodmare sire), he will now have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps,” Willis said.

“It is only the beginning, but with Group winner Take Pride going to stud this season, that will hopefully set the ball rolling.”

In the breeding  barn, the sire has had yet another busy year.

“With the combination of quality and quantity, serving close to 200 mares this season, his future crops will be very exciting to follow,” Willis said.

“Just like Written Tycoon, he will get his Group 1 winners, and hopefully take off. We need to offer that standard of stallion here in Victoria, and it’s only a matter of time.

“We have learnt our lesson, losing Flying Spur, Danzero, General Nediym, Encosta de Lago, Danehill Dancer – Victoria has had so many great stallions stand at stud, but they won’t be going anywhere now.”

Note: Another promising runner for Reward For Effort on Saturday was the second place Mick Price-trained, Mactier (from Dowager Princess) in the VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade.

“He’s a promising galloper and as he has only had a handful of runs, he will have his chance,” Greg Willis said of the Eamon McNulty bred galloper.

It is not often a seven year old racehorse wins on debut.

But that’s just what Makahu Boy, a homebred of Euroa’s Cloverlea Farm, did at Wodonga last week.

The Steve Cunningham trained ‘veteran’, a son of former Blue Gum sire Churchill Downs, won narrowly at the grand odds of $31.

“He was a very big foal, that needed time,” breeder and owner Wayne Ross said.

“We didn’t break him in until he was four, and even then, he was prone to splints. He showed he could gallop, and after a couple more years off in the paddock, for personal reasons, he has finally had his chance to race.”

Makahu Boy, named after a river in New Zealand, is out of the Lacryma Cristi mare Mellocello.

“We raced his city winning dam, Mellocello, before injury sent her to the breeding shed. Her first foal, Mywordsaidthebird, won eight races for a group of wharfie mates, they had a lot of fun,” Ross said.

But Makahu Boy almost didn’t make it to Wodonga last Friday. Seeing that he was up against the Hayes short favourite Tata Madiba, the trainer was considering scratching the debutant. Ross however convinced him to run the gelding.

“You are always going to come up against those good trainers where ever you race, there is always a “smokey”. Races are so hard to win these days, and we had already scratched from his last start due to the barrier. We just had to have a go,” Ross said.

Veteran jockey Robert Beattie declared after the race that he thought the late starter to racing was a good chance to win despite his troubling antics.

“He’s shown a lot of ability at home, but he’s got a lot of cockroach in him, fair dinkum, you hang on for dear life every morning you ride him. But he can gallop the bugger, that’s what makes it worthwhile,” Beattie said.

Cloverlea Farm, based on 88 acres in the heart of prime thoroughbred breeding country at Euroa, currently has a broodmare band of eight, all supporting local Victorian stallions.

“I sent three mares to Sun Stud’s Squamosa this year, and have also supported Ready For Victory and Palentino. Mellocello, Makahu Boy’s dam will visit Riverbank Farm’s stallion, Skilled.

“As a breeder, I am a big believer that if you breed with good, tough, well-performed race mares, they will do the job for you in the breeding barn. Most of my mares are that way.”

Mellocello has foaled a Ready For Victory colt this season. She also has two unraced Written Tycoon fillies coming through; Parkside Miss, and another who Ross has just broken in with favourable reports.

“At the end of the day, you have to have faith in your product. It’s tough going as a small breeder commercially, and crack into the market, but we have a very good strike rate. Of what we have sold, around seventy five per cent have won races, and I hope there are a few more in this next bunch.”

One of the industry’s most loyal owners, Barbara Saunders and her husband Barry, enjoyed the thrill of watching homebred Tezlah take out the $150,000 VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade at Ballarat on Saturday.

The Eureka Stockade is the first of 18 VOBIS Gold Premier Races to be run in Victoria this season, with eligible horses chasing more than $3.57 million over the next seven months.

Saunders, who has bred for a number of years in New Zealand, has been wooed back to Victorian soil, currently residing all her mares at Dr Kim McKellar and his wife, Liz’s Wyndjolm Park at Miner’s Rest, near Ballarat.

“It was actually due to all the VOBIS Gold races and bonuses on offer that I decided to bring all my mares back from New Zealand to Victoria, so they could be part of the scheme, as it makes a huge difference as an owner,” Barb Saunders said.

“When we saw it (this race) in the calendar we thought we had to have one of our horses compete in this race, so we selected two and one was Tezlah.”

“Tezlah was a lovely foal. Hallmark Stud wanted me to leave him there, so they could put him through the sales, but we never planned on selling him.”

The three-year-old Ocean Park colt has exceeded the expectations of trainer Robert Smerdon claiming his third win from four starts. Ridden by Ryan Maloney, Tezlah scored a three-quarter-length win over Mactier (Reward For Effort).

“He’s a 67-rated horse, and he walks away with $87,000,” Smerdon exclaimed, which includes $66,000 in first prize money, and an extra $21,000 in Super VOBIS bonuses.

Tezlah won on debut at Moe, graduating to city-company at Moonee Valley before Smerdon raced him in Listed grade at Flemington during Melbourne Cup week.

“We think there’s still a bit left in him being by Ocean Park, so he can go off and have a bit of break now. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves; we will take it step by step. We’ve done that before and you fall flat on your face,” Smerdon said.

Tezlah’s dam, the Bertolini mare Sienna Sunrise, was purchased by Barry Saunders in 2008 at the New Zealand yearling sales.

“We brought her home and raced her. She showed good ability, winning at the Valley, and when she retired, she returned to New Zealand, as she is closely related to Katie Lee, a former New Zealand Horse of the Year,” Barb said.

Sienna Sunrise visited Pins twice, Ocean Park and then Makfi when Tezlah was a foal at foot before the ‘three-in-one’ equine package was shipped to Wyndholm Park near Ballarat.

Sienna Sunrise now has a yearling filly by Reset, a Street Boss colt foal, and she has headed to Sun Stud’s Magnus this year. No doubt, with that trifecta of Victorian sired hopefuls, there will be more VOBIS bonuses on the way!

And Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter agrees, as the return of the series supports the Victorian breeding industry, with participants set to reap the rewards of the popular scheme.

“The VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series is poised to deliver some fantastic returns to owners over the next two to three years. This season, we have expanded to include a $310,000 VOBIS Sires race for three-year-olds (1600m), and by 2020, the two races will be worth a combined total of $1.5 million,” Carpenter said.

“I believe the success of the VOBIS Sires concept, and its involvement as part of the VOBIS Gold Premier Race Series, will generate further interest and investment in Victorian bred horses into the future.”

Note: Barry and Barb Saunders have raced horses under the Aquanita banner for more than 15 years. Notable gallopers have included Paddy O’Reilly, Ashenti, Club Red, imports Verdant & Arch Fire and recent winners Every Faith and Eureka Street.

Barbara Saunders was the first lady in Western Australia to gain an owner trainer’s license in 1973.  She has also been a syndications manager and held various Board positions at the Yarra Glen Racing Club, Australian Racing Museum and Racing Victoria.

Saunders is a fantastic advocate for women in racing, and was presented with the Victorian Wakeful Club’s Lady of Racing award earlier this year for her achievements and services to the racing industry.

With the Inglis Melbourne Premier, VOBIS Gold and Great Southern weanling sales increasingly being the target of pinhookers, a number of Victorian bred 2YOs were put up for sale last week at the New Zealand Ready to Run Sale.

And many attracted good bidding and strong prices.

The most expensive bred Victorian bred 2YO bought at Karaka was the I Am Invincible-Masonette. At $370,000 to the bid of Victorian buyer ABC Bloodstock, he was in the Top 5 prices of the sale.

The colt was bred by renowned Shepparton vet Dr Jim Vasey at Romsey’s Supreme Thoroughbreds.

A half-brother to Group 2 winner Pied A Terre, he was sold via the Supreme draft at this year’s Inglis Premier Yearling Sale for $145,000.

Most notable among those that bred them was perhaps the Rochester based Burnewang North.

The Burnewang North bred Not A Single Doubt-Je T’aime colt sold to Victoria Peak Bloodstock for $210,000. The Rochester breeder had sold him for $200,000 at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Snitzel-Port Isabel colt they had sold as a weanling at the 2016 Inglis Great Southern Sale for $100,000 went through the Karaka ring for $180,000 to the final bid of NSW’s Poletti Corporation.

Other Victorian bred sales of note at Karaka last week included:

  • The Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm bred Shamus Award-Price of Encosta gelding selling to $170,000
  • The Unencumbered-Sadler’s Wish colt, pinhooked out of Avenel’s Hollylodge Thoroughbreds Magic Millions Adelaide sales draft, selling for $150,000
  • A Moorookyle Park bred Written Tycoon-We Belong gelding selling for $150,000

Ideally located in Hesket, surrounded by the beautiful Macedon Ranges, Gary and Helen O’Meara’s Miranda Park has developed and grown into one of Victoria’s premier broodmare farms.

Although growing up in the city, horses were always a big part of life for Gary, through his uncle, Herb O’Meara.

“Uncle Herb was my main horse influence, as he stood Jovial Lad at his property at Warrawidgee, near Griffith in NSW. He bred some excellent bush horses.”

As his love of horses grew, Gary spent as much time as he could at his good mate, Ray Matthews’ farm, who is now a respected horse-breaker at Romsey.

Gary O’Meara of Miranda Park

“Ray’s family had a property called Newman Park, so for most of my teenage years, we were riding stock horses, breaking in youngsters and training trotters. It was a lot of fun.”

When Gary’s family bought Elstree Park at Bullengarook, he stood a couple of stallions with his brother Shane.

“The Manihi bloodlines were popular, and with Manikato at his peak, we initially stood a stallion called Increase, then a couple of years later, from Lee Freedman’s father’s estate, Tony Freedman, we stood the Home Guard stallion, Warmington.”

“He was a Group 1 placed, stakes-winning galloper, so I put my hand up for a $1000. The first year we stood him, we had about 30 mares at $1000, which made him a good investment in the end.”

Gary, having studied Chinese and political science at Melbourne University, left horses for a couple of years and headed over to China, as part of the Australia- China council scholarship.

“It was a great experience, and I met Helen over there, so it was well worth the trip. We returned together and bought Miranda Park about 15 years ago.”

With views overlooking the iconic Hanging Rock, and near to Melbourne, it allows owners easy access to their mares and foals and for the quality band residing on the farm, a convenient location to all stallion farms.

“It was full of cattle and barbed wire when we bought, so we started from scratch. It was a great chance to design the laneways and paddocks to suit the horses and the lay of the land.”

“The flat paddocks are a great asset, staying lush and green during the summer months and the hills at the back of the property are so valuable to help to grow out the young stock.”

“I think that is why we are producing horses with substantial bone, developed muscle and sound wind. They are healthy and robust young thoroughbreds, and off the back of that, we have an exceptional strike rate of success on the track.”

Gary is the Vice President of the Kyneton and Hanging Rock Racing Club, and is a strong advocate for the blossoming breeding industry in the Macedon Ranges.

With 60 mares on the property during the season, Miranda Park also has a boutique broodmare band of its own.

“We are continually in the process of upgrading and improving our mares, and rather than quantity, we ideally would like to have half a dozen high-quality producers. It is a never-ending process, trying to anticipate what the next big thing will be in the covering shed to help make a mare more commercial.”

From this year’s arrivals on the ground, they have been thrilled with the foals produced as a result particularly foals by Swettenham Stud sires Toronado and Trust In A Gust..

Demonstrating its ongoing growth and development, earlier this year, Miranda Park made it yearling sales draft debut at the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.

All four yearlings in the draft were sold including an Artie Schiller-Divine Rubi colt for $140,000, a price which Gary was absolutely thrilled with!

Gary and Helen’s son, Tom, has been on board with the family breeding operation for a year now.

“He is an experienced diesel mechanic by trade but was ready for a change. Since he arrived at the farm, he has been a huge asset, and I wonder how I managed without him. Off the back of our good year last year, I think he may have caught the thoroughbred breeding bug.”

Although not horsey growing up, Tom has been a fast learner and seems to have a natural infinity with thoroughbreds.

“He is just terrific with the horses. Some people just seem to have the knack of how to handle a horse and where to stand, and although he is still learning, he has the patience of a saint, so it is working out perfectly.”

“On the topic of saints, when we came back to Australia I was teaching Chinese, so Helen carried the whole operation herself. It was our passion and Helen continued the farm for both of us.”

“Helen would do all the vetting, the office work, accounts, liaising with clients, studs and vets – it was a massive job. She had her finger on everything and still does. Her role is critical, as it means Tom and I can spend our time on the practical jobs.”

But as any breeder tells you, breeding horses is full of ups and downs.

“We, unfortunately, lost the mare Blushing Gem this season shortly after foaling, so we had to go on the hunt for a foster mare for our Americain foal.”

“Through the power of social media, the community response was wonderful, and with the help of Tom Conlon, we found a mare and had her back by midnight. By that time the foal was starving, so we were fortunate that she was placid and accepting. They bonded straight away, and he hasn’t looked back.”

“He is just a lovely colt, and we were grateful that he was able to have 30 hours on the mare and get a good supply of colostrum. He was born a big, strong, robust foal, so typical of Americain, and hopefully, he becomes as famous an orphan as Redzel!!!”

Ben Gunn has indeed been living up to his namesake this season, with excellent results and feedback on the young Stallion Manager throughout the industry.

With this being his first season at Woodside Park Stud managing the covering barn, Gunn has arrived with a wealth of horse experience behind him, having been born and bred into the industry in Newmarket in the UK.

His father was a jockey and his mother was involved in thoroughbreds her whole life, but after working in racing for a few years, Gunn always knew what area of the horse industry would become his focus.

“Dad always hoped I’d be a jockey, but I was probably too heavy by the time I was eight! It was stallions for me from day one. That was my future, and short of riding, it’s the most exciting thing you can do with horses on the ground.”

Gunn has gained valuable experience working in the barn at Darley in the UK, before spending two breeding seasons at Darley Victoria.

Gunn hit the ground running at Woodside arriving in early June, having returned from a busy breeding season in the Northern Hemisphere.

“It was essential that I arrived before the season started, so I could familiarise myself with each stallion, learning about their personalities and their individual routines before I began covering with them,” Gunn said.

“It is exciting to be part of Woodside Park Stud’s overall vision of where they want to go. They want to be an internationally recognised company, and to slowly increase the number and quality of the stallions that they stand.”

As Stallion Manager, Gunn prioritises the individual needs of the stallions. “I believe that combined with the right nutrition, exercise and our experienced handlers, by keeping them fresh, they will cover better throughout the whole season.”

“It is imperative that we let them “be a horse”, and give them adequate downtime. They are turned out every day, no matter the weather, to stretch their legs and get their head down.”

While the horse is king, other priorities that Gunn must take into account as Stallion Manager include keeping a neat, clean ship, efficient cost management and streamlining the covering barn, so the process runs safely and smoothly.

“How the mares are managed, is a big factor in achieving high fertility rates. If a stallion is better with three covers a day, you don’t do a fourth, and we are fortunate our clients understand that. It is important that I can preempt a stallion before he becomes fatigued, so they are as healthy and fertile at the end of the season as they are in the beginning.”

“Ultimately happy stallions mean happy clients, and if the horse is happy they look well, they cover well and their fertility is good,” Gunn said.

And the four stallions must certainly be very happy, all boasting outstanding fertility.

“Written Tycoon is probably the most fertile stallion I have ever worked with. His book has only been limited to look after him as a horse now he is 15, and to ensure that he is covering for a good number of years more. As a stallion, you would love them to all be like Written, he is one in a million to handle, and just a pleasure to be around.”

“Cable Bay is a true professional, and what I would call a “proper” stallion. He is very good at his work and considering this is his first season in the Southern Hemisphere, after covering big books in the UK, he has handled his matings extremely well.”

“Rich Enuff is a enthusiastic young stallion, with fertility almost as good as his old man. He is a lovely big impressive type, and he has covered some standout mares, so I have high hopes for him in the future.”

“If you asked me to draw a stallion, it would be Zoustar. He is an amazing horse to look at. He takes everything in his stride, very laid back, very easy going. He has a huge book this year, and he is handling it like a pro. Anyone you speak to will confirm that he looks even better now than he did at the start of the season.”

But Gunn is aware that he could not have achieved the superb success rate without the support from the team around him, being the first to give them all a big pat on the back.

“I am very lucky with the people I have around me. Murray Tillet, Sam Fairgray and Matt Tillet have been a great support, Emily, our stud secretary, has handled the books brilliantly, and my team of experienced and skilled stallion lads have been a wonderful help.”

“There have been a lot of late night covers, and intense work, but everyone has got stuck in and got it done. There will certainly be a well-deserved knock off drink at the end of the season.”

The last Pattern race of the European season, the rescheduled Group 2 Premio Roma, fell to Helmet’s star three-year-old son Anda Muchacho on Sunday.

Always travelling sweetly in the 2000 metre contest, he battled gamely in the straight to beat Mac Mahon, avenging his only previous career defeat when a non-staying third in the Group 2 Italian Derby.

The winner of the Italian 2,000 Guineas back in May, Anda Muchacho has now won six of his seven starts including five Stakes races this season.

Bred by Thomas Hassett, he is a son of the unraced Shamardal mare Montefino, whose first foal was the Group 3 juvenile Parsley. Montefino is a daughter of Group 2 winner Monturani and granddaughter of Mezzogiorno, who was placed in both the Group 1 Epsom and Yorkshire Oaks.

Anda Muchacho is from the first crop of Helmet which also includes the dual Group 1 winner Thunder Snow and Stakes winners Eqtiraan and Taamol.

Interestingly, Helmet is in the Top 5 European Second Crop Sires for 2017 among the likes of Frankel, Nathaniel and Excelebration.

In Australia over the past 12 months, Helmet has had black-type performers and winners such as Limestone, Archives, Igitur, Sunquest, Coppergate and Malaise while the promising filly Linguist won during Melbourne Cup week at Flemington.

Shadow Glen Stud’s Bill Cockram would have been quietly confident that the five-year-old, Dollar for Dollar would take some beating in the Group 3 Sandown Stakes at Sandown.

He knew the Tony McEvoy trained son of High Chaparral (IRE) had been in hot form, but more certain was the incredible strike rate his dam, Pretty Penny has had with her progeny to race.

Raced by the Cockram family, the Encosta De Lago mare, Pretty Penny was purchased as a tried horse from the Inglis June Thoroughbred Sale for $275,000 to dissolve a partnership, and Cockram continued to race her with her trainer Pat Carey.

“She was beaten a whisker in the family race, the Cockram Stakes. She was a fantastic race mare, and the bottom line of her pedigree were all horses Dad had bred; a real family connection,” Cockram said.

‘She has just been an incredible broodmare. Not many mares have had five foals to race, and all of them are stakes horses. They are so rare, as everything she produces wins at Listed or Group level.”

“Pretty Penny was a fast mare, and I believe if you are going to send a mare to a staying stallion, they need to be quick. Some people don’t agree, but in Australia, when they sit in a race and then quicken, if you don’t have the turn of foot or acceleration, you can’t win races.”

“We sent three sprinting mares to Galileo, and we had two Group winners and a good city winner – so three from three. Just goes to show if you breed speed into these European stayers you can create a successful galloper.”

This spring Dollar For Dollar had already posted three successive wins in easier grades and stepped up to his first Black Type test at Sandown on Saturday.

“He likes running over a mile, and if you give him his head, I think he can do anything. He has matured and put it all together now, and each time he steps out he improves. He is now a Group 3 winner.” Cockram said.

Ridden forward by the in-form Jamie Kah, who has ridden Dollar for Dollar in all four of his past wins this preparation; he travelled up on the pace and fought hard to the line to win the 1400 metre contest by a long neck.

“I just love this horse. He’s got a heart to win a Group One,” Kah said

A winner of seven of his 12 starts with prizemoney in excess of $270,000, Dollar for Dollar was syndicated privately by Cockram, who happily retains a share in his ownership.

“It’s a such a thrill, the added connection as a breeder, they become part of you. It is a lot more exciting and sentimental, and staying in as an owner, with my dad, Ted, is great for the family. We can enjoy the ride.”

“With his four white socks and a blaze, as a foal he thought he was as good as he looked. A cheeky bugger as a young horse, he gave his mum hell. He had tickets on himself! He was very smart, too smart for his own good.”

From her first five foals, Pretty Penny has now produced five black type race horses.

Cockram offered Pretty Penny at the 2016 Magic Millions Broodmare Sale where she made $570,000, selling to Colm Santry Bloodstock.

“You invest so much, it’s not about the money, it’s the love for the horse, the passion, the time and the effort,” Cockram said.

“It nearly killed me putting her through the ring, I was pretty emotional, it was a hard sale.”

“She made double what I hoped for, but I really thought as a 16-year-old I was going to be bringing her home. I rolled the dice, as it was the last chance I could sell her as a commercial broodmare. She had a great breeding record, and she was such a good producer, they looked past her age.”

Barnawartha breeders Tony and Kellie Smeaton, can now can claim to have bred the new king of Tasmanian sprinters after I’m Wesley won the Listed $100,000 Newmarket Handicap at Launceston.

Having now won five races in a row, the ultra-consistent galloper was given a perfect run just behind the leaders, before proving too strong, to seize his biggest career win for Wesley Vale trainer Glenn Stevenson.

Sold by Shadwell Farm as agent at the 2013 Great Southern Sale, I’m Wesley was purchased by his trainer after talking to Tony Smeaton about the well-bred colt.

“He didn’t have enough money to buy a yearling, so he was looking for an affordable weanling that he could train and have some fun with a couple of mates, so I steered him into I’m Wesley. I thought he would be great fit for Tassie racing,” said Tony Smeaton.

“I had prepped him for the sales at home myself. He always had the right attitude and was easy to handle. He was textbook really; I even pulled him out as a foal.”

“There was nothing wrong with him, except being a little small, but he was chunky and strong, and I knew his dam was super strong. If he was given a bit of time, I always thought he would grow into a good horse. He was a real bargain for $8,000,” Smeaton said.

Stevenson has certainly been patient in his training approach; with I’m Wesley battling a few problems before hitting his purple patch.

“We have had to take our time with him, but we knew that from the start. He’s always been strong but immature and I’m just pleased he’s now shown what a very good horse he is,” Stevenson said.

A son of I Am Invincible, I’m Wesley is out of the Danehill mare Daniela.

“I was very impressed with the first crop of I Am Invincible foals on the ground, so I went out and bought four mares in foal to him in his second season,” Smeaton said.

“Daniela, stood out as she was very athletic and neat, and reminded me of another very good mare I had in stature. I bought the four mares at an average of $6,000 – you certainly wouldn’t get them for that price today, when his service fee is now $110,000.”

“Unfortunately we sold all the I Am Invincible foals about six months too early, as if we had kept them that little bit longer we would have made a killing!”

Tony, who trades with Kellie as Indigo Bloodstock, has been interested and involved in racing all of his life. Based at Barnawartha (close to Wodonga), they now run ten broodmares on their 150-acre horse property, and have another 1000 dedicated to beef cattle near the Murray River.

“The Hong Kong champ they bred, Gun Pit, is happily retired in the paddock, but he still thinks he is a racehorse.

“Every time a truck turns up to pick up a mare, he thinks he is off to the races!  His old buddy Freddy, a laid-back welsh pony and him are just the best of mates.”

The much-anticipated Magic Millions Gold Coast January Yearling Sale catalogue was released last week, and it features the first crop of horses to be eligible for the inaugural running of the $1.5 million VOBIS Sires race series.

A total of 1062 yearlings have been entered in the Sale, which runs from January 10 to 16.

Within the catalogue, 109 lots have been nominated to the Super VOBIS incentive scheme, 76 of which are eligible for the exciting VOBIS Sires initiative.

VOBIS Sires eligible yearlings have been consigned by a number of Victorian vendors, including Woodside Park Stud, Three Bridges Thoroughbreds, Sun Stud, Rosemont Stud, Musk Creek Farm and Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm amongst others.

The most represented VOBIS Sire is Written Tycoon, with 22 of his progeny entered for the sale and also eligible for the inaugural running of the feature races worth $1.5 million.

Brazen Beau, Zoustar, Unencumbered, Street Boss and Toronado will also be strongly represented at the Gold Coast Sale.

Lot 13, a colt by Written Tycoon out of La Paris, will be the first of the VOBIS Sires yearlings to go through the ring on the Gold Coast.

The Woodside consigned lot is a full relation to the impressive Henry Dwyer filly, Je Suis Tycoon.

“It’s a huge thrill to be selling the first yearling eligible for the $1 million VOBIS Sires 2yo race, and we hope to set a strong precedent for the rest of the Victorian sired yearlings at the upcoming sales,” Woodside’s Matt Tillett said.

“Je Suis Tycoon was a winner of the VOBIS Gold Strike earlier this year so she is no stranger to the rewards of the VOBIS incentive scheme.

“Her full brother is bigger, more robust and impressive, and he has the perfect pedigree to line up in the inaugural running of the VOBIS Sires 2YO race in Autumn 2019.

“VOBIS Sires is a wonderful initiative and I hope everyone recognises what a great opportunity it is to buy and race Victorian sired horses.

“We’re also really excited to be selling the very first Zoustars to be bred here in Victoria at Woodside Park. It’s great that his Victorian-bred progeny are eligible for the VOBIS Sires incentive scheme too.”

Established in 2015, VOBIS Sires is a joint initiative of Racing Victoria and Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria, which aims to enhance Victoria’s respected owner and breeder incentive scheme, VOBIS.

VOBIS Sires is designed to encourage further support of Victorian-based stallions and provide those that do invest in their progeny with the opportunity for lucrative returns.

The progeny of Victorian stallions nominated to VOBIS Sires will be eligible to compete in two exclusive races on the annual Victorian Owners and Breeders Race Day, including:

  • A $1 million 2yo race over 1200m to be run for the first time in Autumn 2019; and
  • A $500,000 3yo race over 1600m to be run for the first time in Autumn 2020.

The 2016 foal crop is the first eligible for the $1.5 million VOBIS Sires feature races, should they be nominated to Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold, and their Victorian-based sire be entered into the VOBIS Sires scheme.

To see which Victorian based stallions have been nominated to the VOBIS Sires incentive scheme, visit the VOBIS Sires website.

Sun Stud’s Squamosa is having a great run of late, with not only the impressive Mick Price trained three-year-old Sun Quan making it three on the trot on but Derasa, another top three-year-old saluting over 1100 metres in Hobart.

The second season sire is currently enjoying a solid November with three individual winners from a talented group of six individual runners.

Sun Stud’s Dave Grant is quick to point out some impressive statistics on the popular stallion.

“It took Not A Single Doubt 101 runners to get his first stakes winner, whereas Squamosa achieved his first stakes win with only his twelfth  runner, from a conservative crop of 50 foals,” Grant said.

“Off the back of the consistent stream of quality gallopers he is producing, at the start of this year we increased our shareholding in Squamosa, giving us the vast majority. This shows our confidence in him, and knowing that he has bigger foal numbers coming through,” Grant said.

A product of Squamosa’s first crop, Sun Quan played a part in the Sun Stud stallion being crowned Champion Victorian Freshman Sire last season.

“He is a very progressive horse, and with the ease he has gone through his grades and won his last three he looks like he will easily step up to city class as the very least,” Grant said.

Sun Quan’s victory in the BM70 race over 1200 metres at Pakenham’s Park, was effortless following an explosive acceleration as he ran up the straight. Rising in grade from a country 64 to a provincial 70, the $160,000 yearling powered away late in the fastest 1200-metres on the night program.

Days later, the Barry Campbell trained filly Derasa was too good in the feature 3YO Vase at Hobart.

Among the better Tasmanian juveniles last season, Derasa scored at Launceston upon her return as a 3YO earlier this month. Derasa is raced by Denise Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds, who also raced Squamosa to stakes wins and a Group 1 Golden Rose placing.

“Derasa was probably the most consistent two-year-old last year, unfortunately running second in the Magic Millions and the listed two-year-old race. She should have won one of those, but now with Newitt riding her she is able to show her class,” Grant said.

Additionally the recent two-year-old galloper, Yulong Monoceros has been competitive in Group and listed company.

“They ran him in a stakes race at only his second start, so the Purcell stable must have a very good opinion of him.”

Squamosa covered a large book of 121 quality mares in his fourth season and looks on target to cover the same again in 2017.

Squamosa stands at Sun Stud Victoria for the value fee of $6,600 inc. GST.

Ampulla Farm pinhook, Seasons Bloom, triumphed in the Group 2 Jockey Club Mile over 1600 metres at Sha Tin Racecourse.

Seasons Bloom

Danny Shum’s charge stepped up to open company with aplomb under Joao Moreira, storming past the two-time Group1 winner Helene Paragon, making Seasons Bloom a leading candidate for the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile over 1600 metres on 10th December.

“Based on what he’s done today, he will run well in the Group 1 Mile because he beat some of the best horses in Hong Kong today,” Moreira said.

“He’s not the biggest horse, so I’ll try to keep him fresh and happy now. He has a big heart, and he’ll run a good race in December – we’ll try our best,” Shum said.

Ampulla’s Stephen Jostlear bought the Captain Sonador colt, out of Pyramisa’s Lass, for $26,000 at the 2013 Magic Millions National weanling sale.

“As he was just a bit immature and small, so we decided not to put him through the yearling sales and race him instead with a few friends,” Jostlear said.

“He really showed how quick he was in the paddock with the other colts. He could be 10 metres behind them, and in the blink of an eye, he was 10 metres in front!

“He used to look like a speedboat, dropping his hindquarters and just powering away. He still does it in his races; he just accelerates – it looked unreal!”

Originally sent to Peter Moody to train, his first start was city level on a Saturday at Caulfield, where he ran a good fifth before being tipped out.

Not liking the stable environment, Seasons Bloom refused to eat and on his return to the stables, Moody handed over the reins to Brendan McCarthy to take over his training.

“McCarthy couldn’t get him to eat either, so we agreed that he wasn’t happy on the track, so he ended up training him out of McCarthy’s property on Heath Hill,” Jostlear said.

“Once he was in the country, he flourished, ate like a horse and put on 80kg! By the time he had his next race he was huge – a real fatty.”

McCarthy was worried he had tipped him the other way, and he was too heavy to gallop but the talented gelding still managed to salute.

After that win, the group was offered big money for him to go to Hong Kong.

Keeping him in Australia for the six weeks before departure, Jostlear decided that they needed to turn him into a Hong Kong horse so that he would eat once he arrived.

“As soon as I put him back it a stable he stopped eating again. We tried mates, fillies, ponies, all feeds, everything, until Kerrie, my wife suggested that I open a window – and guess what, it worked. Season’s Bloom was claustrophobic!!

From then on they would put the feed bin under the window, and he was as good as gold, so it was no surprise to get a call a month after he left, from Hong Kong, worried that the horse was not eating and dropping weight.

“I just told them to find him a room with a view, and sure enough, he came good.” Jostlear said

He has now regained his weight, started eating normally and with five Hong Kong wins on the board, he has won nearly $2 million in prize money!

Nicknamed “The Captain” or “El Capitan”, as he was always in your face, he is now racing at a good weight of 470kg, and loving all the attention.

“Based on the way he is winning, he must be very happy looking out of his window in Hong Kong.

“Kerrie and I would have loved to head over for the Group 1 Mile but, unfortunately it is in the middle of our yearling prep.”

Ampulla Lodge has a nice little draft of yearlings headed to the Inglis Premier sale next year including a couple of Written Tycoons.

They have a standout  Written Tycoon from the mare Depasse, a very special Bel Esprit and a lovely Fighting Sun colt.

Let’s hope there is another Season’s Bloom amongst them – and a room with a view!

The Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale will feature a total of 109 Super VOBIS nominated yearlings, making up an impressive 10% of the of lots entered into the catalogue.

Ten Victorian farms are heading to the January sale and will be selling 53 lots under their own banners.

Those vendors include:

  • Ampulla Lodge
  • Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm
  • Musk Creek Farm
  • Noorilim Park
  • Rosemont Stud
  • Rushton Park
  • Sun Stud, Tarcoola Stud
  • Three Bridges Thoroughbreds
  • Woodside Park Stud.

A number of other Victorian breeders will be sending their youngsters up to the Gold Coast via interstate vendors’ drafts.

A total of 12 Victorian sires will be represented at the sale with Written Tycoon leading that group with 22 lots.

Additionally, the progeny of three Victorian first crop sires will be offered. These include Toronado with 6 lots, Brazen Beau with 27 lots and Spendthrift’s Jimmy Creed with the single lot.

All Victorian sired yearlings are eligible for the world leading, multi-million dollar VOBIS scheme, with most eligible to race in the inaugural $1.5 million VOBIS Sires race series.

Click here to view the full Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale catalogue.

Makybe bred sprinter Mr Stunning (Exceed and Excel) has stamped himself as the horse to beat in next month’s Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint over 1200 metres, easily winning the traditional local lead-up event, the Group 2 Jockey Club Sprint at Sha Tin.

Mr Stunning wins On Sunday at Sha Tin

A Group 1 sprint win in Hong Kong would add to other Victorian bred speed horses who have won at the elite level including Sacred Kingdom and Lucky Bubbles.

“Mr Stunning seemed to dominate today, and if he pulls up well, he should be able to repeat the run,” trainer John Size said.

“This preparation, he has done everything perfectly. He’s obviously a nice horse to train, he’s relatively straightforward and similarly, on raceday, he’s pretty good for the jockeys too.”

Bred by renowned Victorian owner breeder Tony Santic under his Makybe banner, other Group 1 success stories include Starspangledbanner, Pear Tart and Amicus along with our cups queen, Makybe Diva.

Mr Stunning was sold by Makybe as a weanling at the Inglis Great Southern Sale for $110,000, he is the fifth winner from With Fervour (USA), who died in 2014. She was a half-sister to five-time Group 1 winner With Anticipation.

Lauriston Park’s exciting young stallion Rock Hero continue to impress with breeders keen to send their mares back to the well credentialled son of champion stallion Fastnet Rock on the strength of his foals.

“We think she is gorgeous,” said breeder Bob Zappone of his filly out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Echo Princess.

Meanwhile Scott Wickham was full of praise for his filly of first time mum Mrs The King – “we are so excited, we can’t wait to breed to Rock Hero again. He is producing such beautiful natured foals and everyone who sees our filly is overwhelmed – I cannot recommend this young stallion more, he is going to be an absolute superstar!”

“We are ever so grateful to have the opportunity to breed to such a magnificent stallion with such purple bloodlines.”

Fellow owner Loue Nolen agreed.

“Thank you for our wonderful filly. She is a big beautiful foal, we are so very happy with the result. We will be back next year,” Nolen said.

Just as excited is Lauriston’s Chris Bakker who was happy from the moment the first progeny of Rock Hero appeared.

“They are all strong, bold foals with great temperaments. They have scope, size and athleticism,” Bakker said.

“I have seen most of them and there isn’t one I would say will not make a racehorse.”

LP Stallions’ Julie Nairn agreed, “the Rock Hero foals have both strength and quality and we are so looking forward to seeing them on the track.”

Being a descendant of the legendary Mumtaz Mahal from the same branch of this prolific family as the legendary Nasrullah, Rock Hero is out the multiple Group winning daughter Gallant Tess who produced another impressive winner just recently.

The five times Group 1 placed mare has an Oaks candidate in the shape of All Too Soon who, like Rock Hero, is trained by David Payne.

“I like All Too Soon a lot,” he said of the All Too Hard filly who impressed saluting at Randwick over 1800 metres recently.

“She looks like she wants further, the longer that race went on the stronger she got. She has an exciting future, we will give her a month off and have a look at the ATC Oaks in the autumn.”

Payne is still celebrating his VRC Derby victory with Ace High who races in the same orange, black and white colours of Rock Hero’s owner and breeder John Cordina.

A brilliant winner of the Listed Dulcify Quality, Rock Hero is one of 124 stakes winners for Fastnet Rock who is proving his worth as a sire of sires with eight of his sons including Foxwedge (sire of Group One winner Foxplay), Stryker (Rangipo),Hinchinbrook (Press Statement) and the promising young horses Your Song and Smart Missile.

“If your mare is not in foal give us a ring,” Chris Bakker said, noting that Rock Hero’s exceptional fertility is a big tick for the owner/breeder.

For further information on Rock Hero contact Lauriston Park’s Chris and Kathie Bakker (0427 903 353) or LP Stallions’ Julie Nairn (0402 901 910).

Impressive Mick Price trained three-year-old Sun Quan, a son of Sun Stud’s Squamosa, made it three on the trot on Thursday night at Park, Pakenham.

The victory in the BM70 race over 1200 metres was effortless following an explosive acceleration as he ran up the straight.

Rising in grade from a country 64 to a provincial 70, the $160,000 yearling always travelled strongly throughout, powering away late in his action to score by an easy 1.5 lengths in the fastest 1200-metres on the night program.

Sun Quan is a product of Squamosa’s first crop and a horse that played part in the Sun Stud stallion being crowned Champion Victorian Freshman Sire last season. He is a son of Not A Single Doubt.

Sun Stud’s Squamosa

The second season sire is currently enjoying a solid November with three individual winners from five individual runners and could easily add to that impressive statistic in the coming week.

In particular, another top Squamosa three-year-old, the Barry Campbell trained filly Derasa lines up in the feature 3YO race at Hobart tomorrow. Among the better Tasmanian juveniles last season, Derasa scored at Launceston upon her return as a 3YO earlier this month. Derasa is raced by Denise Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds, who also raced Squamosa to stakes wins and a Group 1 Golden Rose placing.

Squamosa, who covered 121 mares in his fourth season and looks on target to cover the same again in 2017, has been advertised for the value fee of $6,600 inc. GST this year and stands at Sun Stud Victoria.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival certainly did not disappoint in its ability to generate beautiful stories of struggle and success.

70 year old Cranbourne trainer Udyta Clarke and her homebred sprinter Rich Charm maybe was the most touching yarn of the famous week at Flemington.

But in terms of raw performance, at the most elite level, you couldn’t beat the Victorian bred Redzel cruising to victory in the $1 million Darley Classic on Stakes Day.

After Saturday’s win and, before that, success in the $10 million Everest at Randwick, surely Redzel now lays claim to being the world’s best sprinter?

Only a few years ago, another Victorian bred sprinter held that title. Remember Black Caviar.

Interestingly, the two sprinting stars have a common thread. And that is Eliza Park.

Redzel is a product of the farm which was headquartered in Romsey but also stretching to properties in Nagambie. Famously, Redzel was an orphan foal having spent just a few weeks with his dam Millrich before she succumbed to laminitis.

Redzel and his dam Millrich at Eliza Park (pic-Shaodw Hill Thoroughbrfeds)

Black Caviar’s heritage is linked inextricably with Eliza Park.

Her extraordinary dam Helsinge was bred by Rob Crabtree and Eliza Park’s then owner Lee Fleming. And her sire, Bel Esprit was six times champion Victorian sire while standing at the Romsey stallion barns.

Of course, Eliza Park has since been taken over by Sun Stud, but remains the source of quality bloodstock and home of a super roster of young stallions plus the proven, Group 1 producing Magnus (a close relation of Black Caviar).

The Darley Classic was Redzel’s sixth win in succession and his second Group 1 win after  winning the Doomben 10,000 earlier this year.

And with $7,797,750 in prizemoney now, we hazard a guess the Snowden trained gelding is the highest earning orphan foal of all time.

Breeding note: Redzel is a half-brother to Rangal Park Stud sire Danerich. Danerich was Millrich’s third foal while Redzel was her eleventh foal (and last).

Saturday’s WATC Fairetha Stakes in Perth for three-year-olds was taken out in brilliant fashion by Money Maher giving Wangaratta breeders Allan and Cheryl Price every reason to celebrate.

A distant tenth at the 400 metre mark, the colt reeled in the opposition and was eased down to win the Listed event by two lengths in the extremely fast time of 1.22. 86.

The story began when Allan purchased Financial Rescue, a sister to AJC Oaks winner Panama City, for just $3,000 at an Inglis broodmare sale in 2003.  Financial Rescue would go on to produce four foals for the Prices, including city winners Cash Advance and Treasury Notes.

On retirement to the breeding farm, Treasury Notes was served by Al Maher and Money Maher was the resultant foal.

He was offered through the draft of Leanne Smith’s Bucklee Farm at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale in 2016 and sold for $58,000 to young West Australian trainer Ben Pearce.

The Prices fortunately bought back a ten per cent share in the colt and have thus enjoyed both breeding and racing the promising young stakes-winner.

The Pearces set Money Maher for the WATC Sires Produce Stakes as a two-year-old and he didn’t disappoint in finishing a close third.

The colt was then immediately spelled with the 2017 Perth summer carnival in mind, and now looms as a major chance in upcoming the $500,000 Group 2 WATC Guineas.

Money Maher was the second stakes-winner bred by the Prices who began a small breeding operation on 45 acres just outside Wangaratta in 2003.

The other stakes winner for them was the dual stakes-winner Justify That (King Of Prussia – Duty With Honour), winner of 13 races and $520,000 in prizemoney.

“It’s been a financial, physical, and emotional challenge at times, but producing two stakes-winners from just thirteen foals of racing age is certainly an incentive to keep hanging in there,” Allan said.

Money Maher’s dam Treasury Notes has a striking yearling filly by young Riverbank Farm sire Skilled, and was recently served by Sun Stud’s Group 1 winning first-season sire Palentino.

Meanwhile Justify That’s dam Duty With Honour currently has a yearling colt from the first crop of Group winner Cluster who stands at Neville Murdock’s Larneuk Stud at Euroa.

The Prices give a lot of credit to local farms in North East Victoria.

“Over the last decade or so we’ve had horses served, agisted or prepared for sale at Barbara Ivill’s Little Plains Stud, Laurie and John McCarthy’s Greta West Stud, and more recently at Leanne Smith’s Bucklee Farm,” Allan said.

“They’ve all been terrific and we can’t recommend them highly enough.”

For Liverpool Farm’s Susan Keating, breeding a Group 3 winner on Derby Day is a dream come true, but doing it with a $2,000 graduate is truly astonishing!

Thanks to the sharp eye of buyer and trainer Darren Weir, he was able see the filly’s quality, turning the small outlay of a ‘couple of thousand bucks’ into $437,900 (so far).

The filly that made this possible, Lyuba, had her biggest day at the races when capturing the Group 3 $200,000 Skip Sprint over 1100 metres at Flemington.

Hitting the lead in the shadows of the post she was tough through the line to hold off a last gasp challenge from a fast finishing Savanna Amour.

Not only can he train ’em, Weir can definitely pick ’em out, snapping up Lyuba as Lot 69 at the Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale in 2014.

Offered for sale through the Swettenham Stud draft, Lyuba was knocked down to Forest Lodge Racing for only $2,000 on behalf of breeder, Liverpool Street Investments.

The honest five-year-old mare is a model of consistency, being runner-up six times in nine starts since scoring back to back wins at Flemington and Moonee Valley. Lyuba advanced her record to 6 wins and 7 seconds from 17 starts with earnings of $437,900.

“I was at the sales, poking around out the back and when she walked passed, she just caught my eye, to be honest. I just loved the way she moved. She’s a very good type of horse, and I bought her for a couple of thousand bucks,” Weir said.

Keating remembers that, unfortunately due to a haematoma on her rump, she didn’t realise the price she deserved.

“As the haematoma looked ugly, although superficial, it put the buyers off,” said Keating.

“It was a shame as she was a great type, and had a big beautiful walk. But that’s racing, and who knows, maybe if she went for more, Darren wouldn’t have taken the gamble.

“She had a feisty attitude, a real handful to handle from day one, and apparently she still is.

Her dam wouldn’t let us get near her and if she had gone to anyone else to train she might not have made it to the track.

When I put her in my bullring, she would try to leap out, and Weir’s stable still says “she has her moments”. There is a good reason why there are two people on her in the mounting yard!” Keating said.

Lyuba becomes the third stakes winner for Blue Gum Farm’s Group One winning Johannesburg sprinter Turffontein, and is unfortunately, the first and only foal of the General Nediym mare Dancing With Amy, who Keating also bred.

There was further breeding success for Liverpool Farm at Wycheproof on Derby Day with Cystic Fibrosis namesake, Forsixtyfiveroses taking out her maiden over 1050 metres with CF ambassador Harry Coffey in the saddle. H

aving bred and raced her dam, listed level galloper, Grandiva, Keating was thrilled to get the win on the board.

“Grandiva was nine times second by half a lip; she would have won half a million dollars had she been a little bit bigger, her neck just a little longer,” Keating said.

“I have a brilliant Kuroshio heading to the Adelaide Magic Millions that is a half to Forsixtyfiveroses, and I have sent Grandiva to Spendthrift to be covered by Swear this season.”

“I have sent all my mares to Victorian stallions this year, and all are VOBIS nominated, and having now bred a Group 3 winner, it certainly helps make all the 4am mornings in the middle of winter worth it.”

“I’m kicking goals here, for a breeder that does it by themselves, everything that has left the farm that is of racing age, has won a race. It’s a pretty good strike rate, and I believe I owe that to the land.”

Liverpool Farm, based in the Strathbogie Ranges, has wonderful hills, beautiful granite outcrops, spring water aplenty and lush green pastures.

It seems the perfect recipe, along with Keating’s dedicated care and management, to breed the next Lyuba, but there certainly won’t be another like her from Liverpool Farm going as cheap!