TBV member Damon Gabbedy (LEFT) has been passionate about the thoroughbred industry his whole life, which combined with hard work and a high level of enthusiasm, has led to the continued success of Belmont Bloodstock.
“I’m an independent bloodstock agent that deals with every aspect of the thoroughbred industry, starting at a foal’s conception, through their race track career, and into the breeding barn.”
Originally from Western Australia, Damon’s love of horses developed at a young age through his family’s involvement in racehorse ownership, notably the Group 2 winner of the WATC Champion Fillies Stakes, Bynsaab.
While at university Damon was taken under the wing of successful bloodstock agent John Chalmers, gaining valuable experience at Goodwood Bloodstock (now Magic Millions), compiling and tabulating pedigrees for the sales catalogues.
“That was pre-computers, so we physically wrote all the pedigrees by hand. Our desks would be full of studbooks and race books. We would manually compile them all, so it took forever, but it gave me a great understanding of the importance of research and a terrific knowledge of thoroughbred pedigrees.”
However, no matter how comprehensive the preparation before a sale, a quality Damon prides himself on, there are no set rules to buying bloodstock.
“You can’t limit yourself with too many stringent guidelines, as this is an industry where there are no rules. Being able to buy the thirteenth foal from a mare for a bargain that ends up being a Group 1 winner is what keeps the industry as a whole in business. Otherwise, it would only be run by the rich and wealthy.”
“When buying you have to take into consideration the clients individual needs. They may be selling commercially, looking to upgrade their broodmare band or breeding to race.”
A foundation member of the Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia, Damon operated Belmont Bloodstock in partnership with its founder Debbie Evans in Western Australia for ten years, before taking over the reins and making the move to Victoria.
“My focus is to assist breeders and owners make informed decisions, and through our research and experience, maximise the chances of achieving success and financial viability.”
With a long and distinguished list of Group 1 winners that Belmont Bloodstock have either sourced directly, bought the dam of or acquired as yearlings, the famous gallopers Pinot, Encosta De Lago, Palentino, Jezabeel, Foxwedge, Northerly, Alinghi, Scenic Shot and Sheidel are but a few on their illustrious honour roll.
“The Group 1 winners are fantastic for Belmont, but I still get a big buzz when I can source horses for clients that make a real difference. I remember purchasing a mare rather shrewdly, called Vintage Blend, who went on to produce two stakes winners, Cellarman and Cellargirl. My client on-sold the mare this year for a great result. It is so rewarding to help those small breeders attain a positive financial outcome for their breeding operation.”
Now calling Victoria home, Belmont Bloodstock’s relationship with Swettenham Stud goes back many years, to the days of Scenic and Collingrove. Damon has been a great supporter of Swettenham’s stallions through pedigree matches and mare bookings, knowing his clients are in good hands.
“Adam Sangster is a total gentleman of the industry; he is great to deal with and always offers to help in any way he can. He puts so much back into Victorian breeding through TBV and as a passionate advocate for VOBIS. He understands that if everyone can prosper, then together, we will all reap the rewards.”
“Puissance De Lune is a big a chance to make a significant impact, being by Shamardal, who is just an unbelievable influence. All of the quotes from Darren Weir refer to his freakish ability, and that was coupled with his great versatility, being able to win from 1400 metres to 2600 metres. He is a stunning horse, with untapped ability, and his progeny have genuinely impressed me. He has thrown a lot of bone, power and strength into his foals, and they look like they are going to be very tough, hardy racehorses.”
“Toronado has been a popular choice for my bloodstock clients. He was a serious racehorse, a magnificent individual and one of the best walkers you have ever seen. The complete package.”
Keeping his eye on international bloodlines, Damon is French auction house, Arqana’s representative in Deauville, promoting the significant influence imported mares have made on the Australian thoroughbred scene and keeping abreast of global breeding trends.
“While I was in France for the yearling sale last August, I saw around eight of Toronado’s yearlings. They were all really cracking types, and they sold extremely well through the ring.”
“He has a terrific first crop down here and has covered a quality book of mares. Being by the late and great, High Chaparral, people will have to be patient, but we all know what the High Chap’s are capable of.”
The VOBIS Gold and the VOBIS Sires initiatives with the addition of the lucrative “Showdown” race in 2019 have provided a terrific boost to the Victorian breeding industry, and the presence of the VOBIS Sires hip sticker on eligible yearlings will not go unnoticed by Belmont Bloodstock.
“The VOBIS hip sticker is a strong influence on my buying decisions, as my Victorian clients are aware of the financial rewards on offer, and this year the VOBIS Sires hip sticker will also catch my eye, being on the first eligible crop for the million dollar race.”
“If it comes down to a yearling that has the sticker and one without, I will put my hand up again and again to secure the VOBIS yearling, as it supports the industry as a whole, the breeders, the owners and the trainers.”