Belflyer, the son of Sun Stud’s sire Bel Esprit, entered the big stage with a surprise win in the inaugural $1.3 million-dollar Kosciuszko at Randwick.

Belflyer charged home from back in the field to win the lucrative 1200 metre sprint by half a length taking his overall record to 13 wins from 55 starts with earnings just shy of $1 million.

Bred in Victoria by John Shannon and foaled at Swettenham Stud, Belflyer was offered at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale through the Swettenham draft, with Shannon retaining the colt and placing him with his regular trainer John Moloney.

Swettenham Stud’s Adam Sangster was thrilled with the result.

“On behalf of Swettenham Stud, we would like to congratulate John and are excited for a long-term, close acquaintance client of the farm. We are thrilled how well the mare has bred for him, having produced the Group 1 winner and sire Flying Artie, and now the Kosciuszko winner Bel Flyer.” Sangster said.

“We are proud to have kicked off her breeding career having foaled Belflyer and his sister, Belsapphire,”

Initially, Belflyer a solid performer in Victoria, winning three of his first six outings. But after he remained winless for 12 months through to early 2016, he was sold and relocated to Grafton in NSW.

Breeder John Shannon said he was sold for “peanuts”, while his half-brother Flying Artie ended up being named Champion 3YO Colt after winning the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes and was later be sold to stud for millions.

Fortunately for Shannon, he will soon race a yearling full-sister to Flying Artie, while Flying Ruby has produced a lovely Snitzel colt this season who will be sure to attract plenty of interest.

“There’s are a lot of highs and lows in this industry, and that was literally a fantastic high for Belflyer’s owners on Saturday. Couldn’t be happier for them,” Shannon said.

For the connections of the Kosciuszko hero, their thoroughbred racing dreams had come true.

Grafton- based John Shelton, a trainer for over 40 years, thought he would never win a $1.3 million-dollar race, while part-owner, Rodney Rideout, a trainer for over 25 years himself, it was the thrill of a lifetime.

Rodney Rideout is the first to admit that lady luck has gone his way with Belflyer.

“I’ve always been a real fanatic when it comes to breeding and I loved his pedigree. He’s by Black Caviar’s sire Bel Esprit, and is related to Australian Horse of the Year and Japan Cup winner Better Loosen Up,” Rideout said. “What’s more, he’s out of a stakes-winning Rubiton mare, Flying Ruby.”

“About two to three months after we purchased Belflyer, his half-brother, Flying Artie, came out and won the Coolmore, so we were very lucky to have bought Belflyer as cheaply as we did, as he would be worth a bit more now!”

Land of Plenty’s win in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap over 1600m, to capture his first win at racing’s elite level, has made sure Victorian breeder Clive Smith hasn’t left cloud nine since the moment his pride and joy crossed the line.

“To win a Group One is truly something special,” an elated Smith points out. “I always knew this horse had a ton of ability, but you never really know what it feels like until the dream becomes a reality. On Saturday it did!”

With a background in information technology and currently developing software for the thoroughbred industry, Smith has always had a keen interest in horses: initially taking a 10% share in a $10,000 horse back in the mid-1990s.

Taking it up a notch or three, Smith purchased a small property at Strath Creek in North East Victoria some five years ago, with the aim to spell his racing and breeding interests.

The farm currently plays host to five broodmares, including the dam of recent Group Three winner Moss Trip as well as a close relation to Group One winner Tavago.

But it’s Land Of Plenty, not surprisingly, which holds centre stage for Team Smith who named the handsome stallion after the Men At Work lyrics from ‘Down Under’.

Bred and sold by the Esplin family (operating under Tartan Fields) for $80,000 at the 2015 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Land of Plenty was subsequently placed in the 2017 Inglis Chairman’s Sale Racing Prospects where Smith secured his majority share for just $32,000.

“I really liked the look of Land of Plenty at the yearling sale and he showed plenty early on winning at his second start over 1400m at Geelong,” Smith explains.

“We had numerous offers from Hong Kong, but I didn’t want to sell him and, after completing his three-year-old campaign, one of the owners decided to put up his 30% share at the Chairman’s which I was fortunate enough to buy. I’ve now got 55% of the horse and the other part-owners are all good friends.”

Despite Smith’s show of faith, Land of Plenty had failed to win for 580 days – 15 starts, 19 months – since Geelong, prior to winning comfortably at Bendigo in April this year.

“He (Land of Plenty) has had a new lease of life with Darren (Weir) and, since that win in April, has won four including the Toorak, the Group Three RA Lee and Listed Chandler Macleod, plus running a lip second to Osborne Bulls in the (Listed) Regal Roller and a head third in the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke three weeks ago,” Smith adds.

“He was actually unlucky in the three Group 1’s he competed in as a three-year-old, but now he’s finally cracked it and hopefully he can double up in the Kennedy Mile (Cantala Stakes) at Flemington on Derby Day (3 November) before heading off for a well-earned rest. A long-range plan would be the ($3 million) Doncaster Mile next April.”

“Given that he’s a 5YO entire by Stratum – who has several sons at stud, I’ve been fielding enquiries from interested farms since he won his Group race in Adelaide. He is going to make a lovely stallion. Not only is he a real standout looks wise, he’s got a wonderful temperament. He’s been in our paddock numerous times and nothing ever fazes him.”

“One stud told me ‘he’ll have to win a Group 1 first’ and I actually saw them in the stand at Caulfield on Saturday and said ‘well, there’s his Group 1, but certainly nothing has been finalised as yet. It would be great to have a Victorian farm stand him when he retires.”

Land of Plenty is out of the Spectrum mare, Dancing, a Group 2 winner in the USA who has had eight winners from eight to race. His Street Cry half-brother, Macduff, is a stakes winner in South Africa, while another daughter is the dam of a Group winner in Brazil.

Dancing is also closely related to dual Group 1 winner Zavite, plus Champion three-year-old and sire, Suave Dancer, along with Grand campaigner Hartnell (GB) who ran second in the Toorak, interestingly shares a family connection with Land of Plenty through the mare Guinevere’s Folly (USA), who is Land of Plenty’s third dam and Hartnell’s fourth.

Darren Weir’s recent record in this race is remarkable having now won four of the past five editions, with two of those winners, Swettenham’s Trust in a Gust and Woodside’s Tosen Stardom now at stud in Victoria.

“He was set for the Toorak, so it’s good that he’s been able to get the win for the owners. He’s a great type of horse, he’s got a nice pedigree, he’s still a stallion and now he’s a Group 1 winner.” Weir said.

A strong international buying bench at Monday’s Inglis Ready2Race Sale at Riverside Stables saw well-bred and well-prepared juveniles in high demand and Victorian vendors dominated.

Victoria’s Musk Creek Farm, based at Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula certainly made the most of it, achieving the top price lot for the sale, and came out the best vendor by average for three or more sold, selling a quartet at an average of $153,750.

Musk Creek Farm Manager Scott Williamson was very pleased with the amount of interest the draft received throughout the inspections and was satisfied to achieve 100% clearance.

Their standout colt was offered as Lot 24, a son of Poet’s Voice (GB) out of Bedizened (Commands) and was purchased for $280,000 by Hong Kong trainer Dennis Yip.

A clever purchase by Musk Creek from the Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale for $55,000, the colt is a half-brother to two winners and a brother to the city-placed two-time winner Bed Talk.

“He was a good-sized colt, well balanced, good bone with a great temperament. He handled everything very well and paraded professionally every time he came out of his box. He really showed himself off well,” Williamson said.

“He was extremely popular as soon as he arrived on the complex, and the genuine interest was backed up with a significant number of x-ray hits. With no issues and a clean scope, coupled with an impressive breeze up time of 10.35, he deserved the attention.”

“We had a lot of the buyers all comment how well our draft looked, which was encouraging for our first ready to run sale. We certainly put in a lot of effort turning out and preparing our horses and are proud of the quality we offer through the ring. Full credit to all the team at the farm and at the sales. We will be back next year,” Williamson said.

Other Victorian farms were well represented among the sales top-priced lots including:

  • Musk Creek sold a Not a Single Doubt colt for $205,000
  • Gnarwarre’s Baystone Farm sold a Written Tycoon colt for $260,000.
  • Eddington’s Stonehouse Thoroughbreds sold an All Too Hard colt for $260,000.
  • Corinella’s Lauriston Thoroughbred Farm sold a Not a Single Doubt colt for $210,000
  • A Rosemont Stud bred Smart Missile colt sold for $170,000
  • A colt by Darley Northwood sire Street Boss sold for $230,000
  • A colt by Blue Gum Farm’s Glass Harmonium in the Baystone Farm draft sold for $150,000

While conceding there was still plenty of room for improvement, Inglis Managing Director Mark Webster was pleased with the overall results of the Ready2race sale which saw significant increases in clearance rate (66 per cent, up from 60 per cent last year), average price ($91,148 up 30 percent), median price ($65,000, up 30 per cent) and sale gross ($8,021,000, a 45 per cent increase).

In total, 11 Lots sold for $200,000 or more, compared to just two 12 months ago, where four Lots sold above $100,000 there were 26 this year, up from 15. There were also several outstanding pin-hook results on the day.

“This sale is all about improving every year and we put a lot of work into that for this year’s sale and I feel we absolutely achieved a significant improvement,’’ Webster said.

“There was more depth at the top of the market, better horses and more buyers in that range which is a good sign.”

Some would describe Sun Stud’s sire Fiorente’s progeny as flourishing, which would be an appropriate term, given this is the English translation of the Italian word.

The second season sire has had great success at the track with his progeny over the weekend, when two runners enhanced their credentials with wins at the weekend. The Robbie Laing trained Stars of Carrum charged home from the tail of the field to place at Morphettville in a Stakes race on Saturday and the Robbie Griffiths trained Alessandro took on the older horses to win at Cranbourne on Sunday.

Stars of Carrum as a yearling (Robbie Laing)

“I was amazed at the natural speed these Fiorentes had early in their careers. I knew once they matured a bit they would come into their own”, Griffiths said.

The trainer of Stars of Carrum was so impressed with Fiorente, when he stepped off the plane as a 3 year-old to run second in the Melbourne Cup, that he has now has bred one of his own from the Sun Stud stallion, with the yet-to-be-named colt recently winning his trial by 10 lengths.

Laing is no novice when it comes to what it takes to make up a good pedigree, having bred and trained his first stakes winner, Bencreato (Powerhouse), when he was just 17 years old and has promised himself that he will buy as many of Fiorente’s progeny as he can.

Fiorente’s connections have been delighted with the recent success of his progeny on the track and cannot wait to see what is yet to come for this promising young stallion.

“Breeders have got behind this horse and it’s great to see them being rewarded with talented gallopers emerging from his first crop.” Mark Lindsay (Sun Stud – Senior Sales and Nominations Manager) said.

“The stallion is already building an impressive team of runners in the early stages of his stud career, with the likes of Alessandro, Stars Of Carrum, Wham, Fariha and the exciting Hawkshot (who is back in work with Darren Weir after a minor setback derailed his spring campaign), plus a steady stream of placegetters.

“The fact that Fiorente’s progeny are performing so well as early spring three-year-olds is highly promising. With natural progression, it’s going to be a really entertaining Autumn!”

Both Alessandro and Stars of Carrum are entered for the Group 1 VRC Derby at Flemington in November and they make up two of the six entries for Fiorente in this race.

Alessandro and Stars of Carrum will both step out on track prior to the Derby. Alessandro is headed to Geelong on Cup day to tackle the Listed Geelong Classic and Stars of Carrum will head to Moonee Valley on Cox Plate for the Group 2 Vase.

There is no doubt that Fiorente’s progeny will continue to flourish and blossom as the Spring continues.

Written by Paul Vettise for TDN Aus/NZ

Victorian vendor Kane Harris is expecting his Warhorse (NZ) (a first crop stallion standing at Bombora Downs) colt to be one of the stars of Monday’s Inglis Ready2Race Sale at the Riverside Stables.

Lot 84 breezed up in 10.62 seconds at Cranbourne and is a half-brother to the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks winner Sopressa (So You Think {NZ}). Their dam is the Group 2 Marsh Classic Stakes winner Hidden Strings(Weasal Clause).

“He’s a real Derby sort of horse. I would be very surprised if he wasn’t a stand-out of the Sale,” Harris said. “He’ll sell himself on type alone.”

He will also offer a daughter, Lot 80, of Fastnet Rock and the former champion filly and the Group 1 Australian Oaks and Group 1 Arrowfield Stud Stakes winner Heavenly Glow (Spinning World {USA}.

“She breezed up very well (10.73s) and did it within herself,” Harris said. “I’d expect her to make good money. She’s got a nice career ahead of her and she’s got that residual value.”

His 13-strong draft will also include Lot 136, a Sepoy (standing at Darley Northwood) colt who is a half-brother to the former champion Singapore Miler and Stayer Better Life (Smarty Jones {USA}).

“He’s a neat colt, a solid-bodied horse,” Harris said. “He’s a pretty laid back customer and breezed well (10.33s). He did it on the bridle, no questions asked, and he’s got an international pedigree.”

Inglis Managing Director Mark Webster is thrilled with the quality of the catalogue for this year’s auction.

“It is the strongest ever offered to an Australian buying bench,” he said.

“It’s a great time of year for our industry in Sydney with The Everest Carnival, highlighted by the running of the $13m The Everest and two days later the Inglis Ready2Race Sale.

“We have deliberately moved the timing of this year’s sale to coincide with the running of The Everest.”
“Among the catalogue of 183 juveniles are horses by the likes of leading sires such as Fastnet Rock, Pierro, So You Think, Sebring, Written Tycoon, Zoustar, More Than Ready, Hinchinbrook, Nicconi, Spirit Of Boom, Tavistock and Not A Single Doubt.

“First season sires represented include Brazen Beau, Deep Field, Dissident, Hallowed Crown, Olympic Glory, Rubick, Sacred Falls, Shooting To Win and Toronado.

“There are siblings to Group 1 winners, 2YOs out of Group 1-winning mares and a quality line-up of juveniles, who have all breezed up well at Cranbourne, Warwick Farm or Taupo.”

Graduates from the past five editions of the Ready2Race Sale have won nearly 875 races between them and collected in excess of $33 million in prizemoney across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Macau.

Click here to view the full sale catalogue.

At 8.15 last Saturday morning, Coolmore’s Tom Magnier called to advise us that our great mate Encosta De Lago had died at 25 years of age.

It was very nice of Tom to call and he thanked us for our part in the success story that was Encosta De Lago. But it was the horse himself who needs to be thanked and deserves all the accolades. What a beauty he was!

Retired off the racetrack to commence stud duties here at Blue Gum Farm in the 1997 season, Encosta De Lago spent the first seven years of his stud career here with us.

In that time, he covered 1036 mares with 932 of them being in foal at 45 days. That’s a 90% conception rate over a large number of mares over seven seasons! He was an exceptional athlete!

Starting off at a lowly $8,500 service fee and rising to a $35,000 service fee for his last season here in 2003, 15 of his 26 Group One winners worldwide resulted from his Victorian conceptions. He certainly upgraded his mares!

Encosta De Lago was the first thoroughbred stallion in Australia to cover 200 mares in a season when he covered 201 in the 2002 season. He followed that up with another 202 the next season. He was the trendsetter for what is now the norm for so many!

Champion Australian Sire, Champion Australian Broodmare Sire, he will be remembered as one of the greatest Australian-bred sires of all time.

Encosta De Lago’s legacy will live on for years to come at Blue Gum Farm, and we are so happy to be standing his Group One winning son, Manhattan Rain who has already sired a Golden Slipper- winning two-year-old amongst his many stakes-winners.

RIP Encosta.

Spring is when Victoria showcases all the very best it has to offer and that is the case this Saturday when racing turns its attention to Guineas Day at Caulfield.

Thousand Guineas offers a great opportunity for Victorian breeding to bag its first Group 1 this season with the Rosemont bred Thrillster, Sepoy’s Anjana and Unencumbered’s Mirette in with good chances.

And then there is a filly that many would ‘dream’ of owning, the Kris Lees trained El Dorado Dreaming, a daughter of Noor Elaine sire Ilovethiscity.

El Dorado Dreaming is already a Group 1 winner having taken out the Sires Produce Stakes at Randwick in April (as well as a 3rd in the Champagne Stakes)…and has continued to show that talent in trials and her return race this spring preparation.

That first up race was the Group 3 Thousand Guineas Prelude where she came home wide with a barnstorming run to finish third (behind Smart Melody).

The benefit to her sire Ilovethiscity of a win in Saturday’s prestigious fillies race is obvious.

Noor Elaine’s Stud Manager Mark Calwell said he had been closely following the filly and would have his eyes glued to the television on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re obviously pretty happy with the filly and what she did in Sydney and going by her first up run in Melbourne it looks like she’s back…(it seems) things going into the Thousand Guineas second up would be almost perfect to be honest,” Calwell said.

If the stars align for El Dorado Dreaming on Saturday, her sire Ilovethiscity, described by Mark “as a bit of an individual”, is likely to receive further attention from breeders.

The Group 1 winning son of Magic Albert had a change of scenery over the winter, moving from his inaugural base at Larneuk Stud (where he spent 6 seasons) to Euroa’s Noor Elaine Farm.

“The thing that we liked about him was that he had a fairly high ratio of city horses. He never had a huge book of mares, but you would think it (another Group 1 win by the filly) would make him quite attractive to potential mares,” Calwell said.

The filly is however not a one-hit-wonder for her sire. His son Savoie is among the favourites for the Victoria Derby while the Matt Laurie trained mare Moonlover lines up on Saturday in a Group 3 race after winning her past two metro starts.

With well-performed horses such as these and more, it is no wonder that Noor Elaine Farm has indicated that Ilovethiscity will serve his best and biggest line-up of mares this breeding season.

Andrew Goulopoulos was a very proud Mornington Peninsula breeder when two-year-old colt Unite and Conquer won in dominant fashion the Listed VRC Maribyrnong Trial Stakes at Flemington.

Trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, the son of Hinchinbrook showed good ability at the official trials at Randwick last month and did enough in a recent Flemington jump out to suggest he could be more than competitive in the early juvenile races.

“It was wonderful, a really professional run. He was always a big, strong, forward colt, that physically he had the edge on some of the other two-year-olds at this time of year,” Goulopoulos said.

Ridden by Steve Baster, Gai was upbeat about the professional way he handled the big pressure, quickly finding the front and cruising down the Flemington straight

“He was in front from the start and never looked like being beaten. We are now hoping to go to the spring carnival next for the Maribyrnong Plate,” Gai said.

Goulopoulos, whose breeding operation is based at Flinders, has a strong connection with ‘neighbours’ Musk Creek Farm who prepare his yearlings for most sales including Unite and Conquer who was offered through this year’s January Magic Millions sale on the Gold Coast.

“I have had a long association with Musk Creek farm. I have to give thanks to David and the team as they have done my preparations over a number of years, and he was a beautifully presented colt,” said Goulopoulos.

“Although we were hoping for a bit more at the sales as we had him rated as a $150 (thousand) plus yearling, we can’t complain as he went into a top stable with one of the most astute trainers in the country.

“Gai (and Blue Sky Bloodstock) grabbed a real bargain, snapping him up for $80,000. She obviously saw something she liked in him enough to warrant her bid, and now she has one of the most exciting two-year-olds in the country.”

Unite and Conquer races under the banner of Carol Walsh’s Blueblood Thoroughbreds, who first identified him as a yearling.

Goulopoulos said Unite and Conquer’s dam Maglissa (Magnus) has a very nice So You Think colt that will head up to the Magic Millions in January. He said she has just foaled a quality colt to Capitalist and is booked in for a date with Pierro.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t kept any ownership in Unite and Conquer, as I seem to keep ownership in the ones I can’t sell,” Goulopoulos said with a laugh.

“Regrettably, we all need to sell for financial reasons. There are a couple of fillies at home that I would love to keep and continue breeding with; a very nice filly out of Beirut, and another filly by Not a Single Doubt, which makes her a three-quarter sister to Secret Agenda, but they are both off to the sales.

“I’m hoping other people will love them as much as I do…fingers crossed they pay for them accordingly!”

Goulopoulos gave due credit to respected bloodstock agent and TBV Life Member Tim Stewart for his recent successes.

“A very clever and astute judge, Tim has bought a number of mares for me, including Leica Light, in foal to Lonhro which produced Beirut; and Maglissa in foal to Hinchinbrook which produced this fellow, Unite and Conquer.

“All the other mares he has bought have all produced winners too and apparently there are a few more good ones to come out of them yet. Let’s hope there will be many more trips to the winner’s circle!”

The good weekend continued for Goulopoulos on Sunday when another one he bred, Free Spirited, won by four lengths at Sale for trainer Matt Laurie. It was a second win in a row for the Pierro 3YO filly who shows more than a bit of promise.

Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell and Jamie Lovett like Victorian bred Princess Posh so much they have set about reviving the breeding career of her dam, The Baroness after the mare gained significant black type when placing in the Group 3 Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle last month.

And with another black type result only narrowly missed over the weekend when she ran a gallant 5th in the Group 3 Harrolds Angst Stakes, The Baroness has visited their own sire Woodside Park Stud’s, Tosen Stardom.

“The Baroness is already in foal to Tosen Stardom, the son of Deep Impact who won the Group 1 Toorak and the Group 1 Emirates last spring for Australian Bloodstock. Deep Impact is such a phenomenal sire. He’s got more stakes winners than Snitzel and Tosen Stardom, was the dearest ever Deep Impact when he was bought, so if he can throw himself, we’ll be cheering,” Murrell said.

Princess Posh was just a $25,000 buy for Australian Bloodstock at the 2015 Melbourne Premier Sale and has since won seven races and over $400,000 for her syndicate of owners.

“We paid nothing for her really and she’s been a great one, and all the owners just love her. She’s one of those consistent horses who have a dig,” said Murrell.

“Before she won the Tibbie, she was already a beauty, having won $300,000. She’s been really well placed by Kris (Lees). We thought she’d come to the end of her preparation three runs ago, but she’s a tough bugger and keeps having a go.”

Murrell and Lovett bought her dam, The Baroness a couple of years ago.

“She was a good one to spec with. We are not massive breeders, but because we thought Posh always had some type of ability, we thought we’d buy her,” he said.

The Baroness, who is by Viscount, has had five foals, including Princess Posh and a very promising colt in New Zealand called Oh Romeo, but her breeding career was put on hold for four years by previous owners Kate and Nick Taylor at Twin Creeks Thoroughbreds when they opted to move away from breeding.

“Nothing against the mare, but my husband and I stopped breeding. We just put all the mares on hold for a couple of years,” Kate Taylor said.

The Taylors have had considerable success as breeders in the past and they bred the current favourite for the Kosciuszko, Care To Think and up until that point Twin Creeks prepared their own yearlings for sale, including Princess Posh, but Taylor admitted that the competition got too much.

“It was difficult to get the return from the yearling sales we were hoping for. The agistment side is much more relaxing. We only breed maybe one mare a year now,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the decision to sell The Baroness was difficult, but one they needed to make.

“She was a very sweet, pretty, black mare, and it was sad to see her go, but it’s business.”

Princess Posh’s older brother, Mega Heart (Foreplay) won his first two races in New Zealand, before heading over to Hong Kong where he remains in training for Michael Chang, while The Baroness’ Foxwedge filly is already showing plenty of positive signs.

“The Foxwedge filly will go through the ring. They are saying she’s the best foal on the farm. Hopefully she’ll make a few bob and whatever Posh can do can only help that,” Murrell said.

With Princess Posh now racing competitively in the best of company, no doubt trainer Lees will be eyeing off the lucrative spring races, with a trip to Melbourne on the horizon.

Excerpts from an article by Bren O’Brien for

Described as a ‘‘a bit of a dude’’ by his trainer Ciaron Maher, Victorian bred Yulong January is certainly taking it all in his stride as the three-year-old now heads towards black-type targets.

The son of Greta West sire King Of Prussia, bred by Wangaratta’s Allan and Cheryl Price, cruised to victory in the Young Members Handicap at Randwick last Saturday keeping his unbeaten record intact.

Greta West’s Laurie McCarthy is thrilled the colt is flying the flag for the stud’s longstanding stallion.

“You really have to take your hat off to King Of Prussia as he only gets his ten or so mares a year, but he sure can throw a very handy horse or two,” McCarthy said.

“We bought King of Prussia off the track and he is part of the furniture now. He may not be the most commercial stallion, but when you look at his runners the last couple of years he has had Prussian Vixen, Entre Nous, Cha Cha King and now with Yulong January he certainly punches above his weight.

“He may be getting on a bit, but he is very fertile, and he wouldn’t mind a few more mares coming his way.”

“(Breeder) Alan Price keeps his dam Duty With Honour at our property and, although she headed off to Frosted this year, after Yulong January’s success Alan has said that she will certainly be coming back to King Of Prussia next year.”

Ciaron Maher, who trains in partnership with David Eustace, indicated that Yulong January will head to the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes over 1600 metres at Flemington on Derby Day.

“He’s a very genuine horse and just keeps improving. He’s a straightforward no-frills horse. He does his work, he eats up – you wouldn’t know he’s a colt,” Maher said.

Bred by the Prices, long-term clients of Greta West, Yulong January was a yearling sold through the Bucklee Farm draft at the 2017 Inglis Premier Sale.

“He could prove to be a brilliant bargain by the end of the spring carnival,” McCarthy said.

“Leeanne (Smith) and Bucklee Farm are pretty much our neighbours, and they prepare and sell most of our yearlings. We have three heading to them at this stage to the Premier Sale that are all going to be worth a second look. We support each other, and they are a big help with all our walk-ins.”

Back in Victoria at Stockwell Thoroughbreds this spring, Artie Schiller (USA) added a forty-fifth stakes winner to his resume, when his talented son Reykjavik took out the $120,000 Listed Hannans Handicap at Kalgoorlie last week.

Bred by long-term supporter of Artie Schiller, Western Australian-based James Ch’Ng, the Lindsey Smith trained four-year-old gelding has been super consistent with four wins and 12 placings from 25 starts, amassing over $290,000 in prize money.

Stockwell Thoroughbreds’ Mike Becker was thrilled to see him get the win and reward James’ loyal support for many a year now.

“We want to pass on our sincere congratulations to James who has returned the dam of Reykjavik, Gibraltar Storm, to Artie this season. We are now just waiting to get her tested,” Becker said.

“He is such a fan that he even sent her up to NSW last season to visit Artie, and from all reports she has an outstanding colt foal on the ground.”

Glenelg Park’s Danny Swain was also cheering for James, a long-standing client of the farm, who currently has three mares residing at the Euroa property.

James Ch’Ng’s two stakes performers Reykjavik and Spanner Head were both foaled at the Euroa farm so proudly sport the Glenelg brand.

“It was great to see James get such a great result, as he has been doing it for a while and we were are so happy for him,” Swain said.

“It was a brilliant weekend with Spanner Head also coming second in the Listed race at Flemington last Saturday

“We currently have (Reykjavik’s dam) Gibraltar Storm on the property who comes from the family of Group 1 New Zealand Derby winner Rangipo…she has a cracking Artie Schiller on the ground.”

“We also have Spanner Head’s dam Classic Chevron, who has a brilliant little Foxwedge filly. She will now be retired, so that will be her last foal.

“James also has a nice young mare Latin Wonder that he raced with Archie Alexander, who has a foaled a Reward For Effort and will head to Nicconi this season.

“Although the plans for Spanner Head have not been announced, Archie Alexander has always had a good opinion of her. I’m sure there will be something for her in the spring so that James can continue to enjoy the ride.”

The Victorian bred prospects for this year’s Victoria Derby have certainly strengthened after Extra Brut’s thrilling win in the Listed UCI Stakes at Flemington.

He now joins a stellar group of southern state contenders including Ilovethiscity colt Savoie, Victorian bred Muswellbrook, Fiorente’s Alessandro and Masterprint’s Louie the Legend.

Bred by Congupna’s Andrew McDonald, Extra Brut was having just his fourth career start having run second on debut at Geelong in August before peeling off successive victories at Sandown and Caulfield.

A large group of owners syndicated by Brad Spicer loudly welcomed the popular galloper home in a come from behind win over 1800 metres.

The colt is now heading to the Group 3 Caulfield Classic over 2000 metres before a tilt at the $2 million Victoria Derby on 3 November.

Originally offered by Stonehouse Thoroughbreds as a weanling at the 2016 Inglis Great Southern Sale where he was snapped up by Gary Mudgway for $52,000.

Ryan Arnel from Stonehouse remembers him well as a weanling and noted that he certainly wasn’t one that snuck under the radar at the sales.

“He was certainly a nice enough horse and I really liked him myself. I said to (breeder) Andrew that if he didn’t make over $50,000 I would have bought him,” Arnel said.

“He was a very popular horse and plenty of good buyers liked him, but being by Domesday, they couldn’t really put a value on him. In the end, ‘Mudge’ was willing to go that little bit more. He bought based on type, disregarded the stallion, and purchased the horse on his own merit.”

Breeder Andrew McDonald has had a strong relationship with Stonehouse Thoroughbreds since it was established five years ago.

“Andrew even had a horse in my first ever draft…I had two for Qatar Bloodstock and one for Andrew.” Arnel remembered.

“He is a great guy, a true Aussie battler, and while nothing is ever easy for the small breeders, he chips away and he just loves it. He will do everything to make sure his horses are right, well cared for and prepared properly.

“I was with him when he bought the mare Dom Perion. As much as I liked her I was worried about her hit-and-miss breeding history as, for a small breeder, you don’t want them slipping, when you are only breeding one or two a year. Although that has happened, he has still done well and the mare is definitely on the up,” Arnel said.

Extra Brut was taken by Mudgway to the 2017 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale and knocked down to Brad Spicer for $100,000.

“When I saw Extra Brut for the first time at the sales, he just had so much presence about him and was a really good walker; a bit leggy and I knew he’d probably take some time and was more likely a Derby horse,” Spicer said.

“He was the equal most expensive Domesday sold that year, but people like David Hayes and Darren Weir were the under bidders and, in fact, Darren’s crew came up to me straight after and said they’d be keen to train the horse.”

Extra Brut is out of the four-time winning Redoute’s Choice mare Dom Perion, who is also the dam of the Jamie Edwards trained mare Fill The Flute (who won at Moonee Valley last Friday).

One of just six mares at McDonald’s Springfield Park at Congupna north of Shepparton, Dom Perion slipped in successive years after foaling down Extra Brut, but last month produced a full brother, much to the delight of McDonald.

Arnel, of course, can’t wait to help McDonald with this colt and the future progeny of Dom Perion.

“Dom Perion is going to Toronado this spring and we look forward to taking Extra Brut’s full brother to a Victorian sale for Andrew under the Stonehouse Thoroughbreds draft,” he said.

Swettenham Stud’s flashy black Toronado x Enzed Girl colt turned heads at the Inglis Premier Sale earlier this year and, now named, True Serendipity, he again turned heads with an impressive trial win at Cranbourne this week.

Bred by Swettenham’s long-term clients Lyn Armanasco and John Dickson (under the Sandown Lodge banner) and now owned by Victorian based Yulong Investments, the colt is now expected to line up on Cox Plate Day in the Listed $500,000 Inglis Banner.

Swettenham’s Sam Matthews remembers the hugely popular colt being a complete professional during parades and handling the pressure with aplomb.

“He has had an incredible temperament since the day he was born, which is consistent with the Toronado progeny. He was a striking yearling with his four white socks and was a crowd favourite at Premier, so much so that ran a very popular story on him,” Matthews said.

“We are so excited for Toronado and True Serendipity’s breeders, John and Lyn.”

Trainer Matt Cumani was delighted how the colt handled the busy environment and performed on the track, demonstrating that he is a genuine prospect for the spring.

“I thought that he trialled extremely well, and I was happy with his whole approach to the day; he was nice and relaxed, and I don’t think he could have gone much better,” Cumani said.

“He is flashy and strong, with a great stride on him and fortunately blessed with a super attitude. He behaved beautifully at Cranbourne, he didn’t put a foot wrong and was a great advertisement for his sire.”

A $160,000 purchase by Yulong at the 2018 Premier Sale, Yulong’s Racing Manager Sam Pritchard–Gordon commented that Mr Zhang was very pleased to have secured the standout colt and is looking forward to an exciting spring ahead.

“Mr Zhang likes the Toronados as a breed very much, and he was particularly fond of this colt. Yulong is passionate about the Victorian thoroughbred industry, and being Victorian bred, that gives Mr Zhang the confidence to bid knowing that he can take full advantage of the lucrative Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold incentives,” Pritchard-Gordon said.

“I think Matt is doing a brilliant job and has him very well educated. It’s exciting, as he has the Inglis races ahead of him this season and could be a VOBIS Sires horse next preparation. Additionally, we would be delighted to see True Serendipity become one of the many early representatives of Toronado for Swettenham Stud.”

By Tim Auld for the Warrnambool Standard

Recently retired Caulfield Cup winner Jameka has taken her first step towards motherhood.

The multiple Group 1 winner was covered by the impeccably bred Darley stallion Impending, which stands at Northwood Park in Seymour, last week.

Owner Colin McKenna said he was excited with the mating of his star mare and Impending.

“Impending raced in the top company, winning five of his 18 starts including Group 1 races,” McKenna said.

“I’m confident he’ll develop into a top stallion.

“Impending is a magnificent athletic-looking stallion he has a real presence about him. Impending is extremely well bred, being by Lonhro.

“He’s the highest-rated son of Lonhro standing stud in Victoria.”

Darley Northwood’s new sire Impending wins the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap in 2017

He was the first three-year-old in a decade to win the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap.

“We were mindful with the mating that we wanted a bit of speed into the breeding, as Jameka’s performances in staying races were outstanding and I feel Impending fits the bill to offer speed into the progeny.”

From her 24 starts, the Gilgai Farm bred mare Jameka won six races including Group 1 features such as the 2015 VRC Oaks, the 2016 Caulfield Cup and the 2017 BMW Stakes at Rosehill.

The six-year-old mare had her career cut short after suffering a bout of travel sickness on the way back to her Caulfield stable following her resounding victory in the BMW Stakes.

With further racing an unlikely proposition, Jameka was then offered at the 2018 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale where Colin and Janice McKenna bought her outright (from all other owners) for $2.6 million.

Trainer Ciaron Maher was hopeful the lightly raced mare would return to racing (following the sale), but she failed to reach those dizzy heights and was subsequently retired to the McKennas’ breeding operation at Woolsthorpe in south west Victoria.

Breeding and racing a colt to win the 2500 metre Victoria Derby could be compared to climbing mountains so it is appropriate the Victorian homebred winner of Wednesday’s VRC Derby Trial is named Savoie.

Savoie is a mountainous region in the French Alps…and the equine version today scaled one of the significant foot hills, albeit with a very large alp awaiting him over coming weeks.

Bred and raced by Melbourne legal practitioners Garry Livermore and John Efthim, Savoie is a son of Noor Elaine Farm sire Ilovethiscity and spent his formative years at Maldon’s Oakford Thoroughbred Farm.

“I’m a barrister and John’s a lawyer. He’s now an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. We’ve been friends for many, many years,” Garry told TBV after the win.

“Brian McKnight and his family look after all of our horses and they do a fantastic job.

“Our first horse we bought at the sales was Littorio for $12,000 as a yearling. He ran second in the Victoria Derby, won the BMW in Sydney, won a couple of million in prizemoney….so he gave us a bit of money to play with!”

With the Derby Trial win, Savoie now has a guaranteed slot in the Derby and is rated by as genuine $9 chance. With the win he also took home a hefty double VOBIS bonus cheque of $22,000!

The lightly raced 3YO had come off a maiden win over 1600 metres at Swan Hill earlier this month. While that win was completed with a leg in the air, it surely didn’t point to the thrashing he gave his more credentialled opposition at Flemington in the Derby Trial.

Trainer Darren Weir will no doubt be using all of the tools he has at hand to ensure Savoie remains in form and ripe for Classic success.

Ilovethiscity, a winner of the Group 1 Randwick Guineas over a mile, doesn’t immediately stand out as producer of Classics horses.

His best progeny thus far such as Group 1 winner El Dorado Dreaming, black-type performer Chapel City and city winners such as Brisvegas, Moonlover and Ilovevegas have all excelled up to 1400 metres.

However, it is worth pointing out El Dorado Dreaming steamed home for a third placing in the 1600 metre Champagne Stakes last autumn and is being set for the VRC Oaks this spring.

No doubt part of the answer to Savoie’s obvious staying talent is his dam Larissar, a minor winner by the great Street Cry.

Garry Livermore said there was a little more to the dam than meets the eye.

“We owned his mum Larissar. She was by Street Cry. She won three races and she would have won a lot more, but she had some injury problems so we kept hold of her to breed with her.

“She’s in foal to Ilovethiscity at the moment and she’s about to drop within the next couple of weeks so he’ll have a full brother or sister.”

Interestingly, Livermore and Efthim have provided her with every chance to produce staying types. Apart from Ilovethiscity, she has visited Melbourne Cup winner Americain twice and is booked in to be covered by another Melbourne Cup winner in Fiorente this season.

There has been plenty of debate recently about the Australian breeding industry being able to produce Caulfield and Melbourne Cup winners.

You certainly couldn’t blame Savoie’s breeders Messrs Livermore and Efthim for not trying!

Statue Of Liberty, a stallion much loved by Victorian breeders, has been retired to live out his days at Sun Stud headquarters at Kerrie in the Macedon Ranges.

The proven sire, a brilliant speed source, is perhaps most famously known as the sire of the triple Group 1 winner (and five-time runner up) Hay List.

Originally shuttling from Japan’s East Stud on behalf of Syndicate Manager Mr Nakajima to the former Eliza Park, he was a real boost at the time for the Victorian thoroughbred industry.

He stood in Australia for 12 seasons from 2004, albeit with breeding duties at Eliza Park interrupted in 2007 due to travel restrictions brought about by the Equine Influenza crisis.

His first two crops made every post a winner. They included 2009 Magic Millions 3YO Trophy winner Tempest Tost, Group winner Dan Baroness, juvenile stakes winner Elysees, multiple Group winning sprinter Mic Mac and the aforementioned champion sprinter Hay List.

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty was among the top five leading first season sires in Australia in 2008/2009 and was leading such sire in Victoria that racing season.

Mark Lindsay, Senior Sales and Nominations Manager at Sun Stud recalls how thrilled they were to get a stallion of his calibre.

“What a tremendous stallion Statue of Liberty was. Apart from being an absolute stunner, he turned out to be a real gun at stud with over 500 winners and 47 stakes performers.

“He was versatile too with Group winners from 1000 metres to 2400 metres and, quite remarkably, ended up with winners in twenty different countries!”

“Despite ending up with a Perth Cup winner like Star Exhibit, he was best known for his sprinters such as Mic Mac and, of course, Hay List who would have ended up with a whole lot more Group Ones except for running into Black Caviar on several occasions.”

“He has certainly made a lot of breeders and owners happy over the years and he is also making his presence felt as a broodmare sire, so I’d imagine you’ll still be hearing about Statue of Liberty for some time to come.”

A son of the legendary Storm Cat, he provided a tremendous outcross for Danehill mares for breeders around the country.

“He has one of the best pedigrees in the Australian Stud Book being out of the Seattle Slew mare Charming Lassie, and a half-brother to the four-time Group One winner Lemon Drop Kid,” Lindsay said.

“Charming Lassie is a half-sister to multiple Group winner Weekend Surprise (USA), the dam of Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and successful sire, A.P. Indy and the Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall.”

In all, Statue of Liberty produced 730 live foals in Australia. His last crop in Victoria included 35 live foals (now yearlings) while in his one (and final) year stint at the former Sun Stud property in Queensland her served 32 mares with those subsequent foals now dropping.

Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria wishes Statue of Liberty all the best in his retirement…no doubt he will be watching the races as he progeny continue to win across Australia in future years.

There is nothing quite like the anticipation that surrounds the first two-year-old races of the season, and for Victorian operation Yulong there was plenty to get excited about when their filly Catch Me lived up to her name when winning the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes on Saturday.

The blue-blooded filly represented a red-letter day for Yulong and perhaps a preview into the success they hope for in Australian racing in coming years. Apart from her win, over the weekend they had a Listed winner at Mornington, a winner at Morphettville and two Group 1 placings in different states.

Yulong Investments’ Chief Operating Officer Sam Fairgray was very optimistic by the manner in which Catch Me was able to secure the Group 3 victory in her debut.

“I think Mr Zhang was by no doubt the happiest man on Saturday. It’s been four years that Yulong have been in Australia and it’s so pleasing to see his careful planning and unwavering passion starting to deliver the results,” Fairgray said.

“She was a cracking filly at (Inglis) Easter (sale) from a great family going back to Eight Carat. She looked sharp, fast, walked well and just caught the eye.

“While Catch Me will be heading off to the paddock (in readiness for an autumn campaign), we have a good number of juveniles coming through before Christmas, and our older horses and imports are stepping up at the right time to become significant players. There is plenty to get excited about.”

Also performing for Yulong at black-type level on Saturday was the Darren Weir trained Haripour (IRE), who claimed the Listed Ansett Classic at Mornington. He maintains a Melbourne Cup entry.

Perhaps Yulong’s big cups chance though is through Tosen Basil who was a brilliant runner up in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on Sunday. With the performance, the entire has jumped into the position of equal favourite for both the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups.

“It was a brilliant run, and we couldn’t be happier with how well he is working. He is definitely looking for more ground, and he will now have a run over 2000 metres in the Caulfield Stakes before being set for the Caulfield Cup,” Fairgray said.

The weekend success didn’t stop there. The Lindsay Park trained Sikandarabad (IRE) got up for third in the Group 1 Metropolitan at Randwick while the Mick Price trained gelding Holy Command saluted in Adelaide.

“Mick Price has done a great job, and he is very consistent. He is a progressive sort of horse with plenty of upside, and he looks to be a nice stakes horse in the future,” Fairgray said.

A major player in mainland China’s flourishing thoroughbred industry, Yulong is set to become one of the big players in Australian racing breeding.

Their breeding operation is focused in Victoria having acquired Nagambie properties Limerick Lane (450 acres) and Hillside Thoroughbreds (250 acres) in the past twelve months.

Yulong has the intention of standing ‘high end’ stallions from the 2019 breeding season at its Nagambie base.

Darley’s new resident stallion at its Northwood farm, Sepoy, already has produced a star filly in Alizee, but he may now also have a star colt in Native Soldier winner of the Group 3 Guineas Prelude (1400 metres) at Caulfield.

The Darren Weir trained colt, who won the race in dominant fashion, will now get a shot at the prestigious Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.

On Saturday, he bounced well from the gates and, showing all the speed expected from a son of Sepoy, he took control of the race and cruised to the line two lengths clear.

A chestnut colt who looks much like his sire, Native Soldier is the third Australian-bred stakes winner for Sepoy.

He had been consigned to the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale by Baramul Stud, where he sold to the bid of his trainer Darren Weir/John Foote Bloodstock for $160,000.

Native Soldier is the fourth foal of the hugely popular race mare Belong To Many, whose eight wins included the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at Randwick.

He isn’t the only talented progeny of Sepoy running around this Spring. The likes of 3YOs Marcel From Madrid and Anjana will no doubt also win good races during the carnival.

And then there is the latest generation. The Mark Newnham trained Mesmer was impressive at a 2YO trial in Sydney last week as were Seporto and Saint Ambrose while Thousandkissesdeep won a 2YO trial in NZ last month.

Sepoy, the champion three-year-old sprinter of his generation in Australia, is standing at Godolphin’s Northwood Park in Victoria at a fee of A$11,000 including GST.

A low-profile breeding operation, run by TBV members Anthony and Christina Roberts, has hit the veritable jackpot with a stakes winning two-year-old now on their list of successes.

Operating as Chesapeake Thoroughbreds, the Roberts, together with Brian Toohey’s Winton Bloodstock, bred Breeders Plate winner Dubious, a colt trained by Caulfield’s Ciaron Maher and David Eustace partnership.

A son of Not A Single Doubt, Dubious stole the limelight at Randwick with a record-breaking win in the Group Breeders Plate over 1000 metres.

“Our humble background started about fifteen years ago when we were just fledgling breeders. Introduced by the late Nick Columb, known for his larger than life personality, we started buying some reasonably bred fillies that we could race and add some value to, forming our broodmare band today,” Anthony Roberts said.

“That was the start of the journey, and I was fortunate to be introduced to (bloodstock agent) Sheamus Mills about eight years ago who became the most significant influence on my current breeding decisions.

“Sheamus performed a commercial valuation on our mares to assess our four-legged assets and from there, we reset our breeding program.

“Following that review, I think his words were ‘we will have to rip off a few band-aids here!’”

Chesapeake Thoroughbreds now has about eight mares in full or majority ownership, spread throughout Victoria and interstate.

Roberts secured Suspicieuse (FR), the dam of Dubious, in partnership with Brian Toohey four years ago through Mills after a trip to the Arqana Breeding Sales in France.

“He (Mills) thought she was a good value mare, had upside in her pedigree and being only a three-year-old, we actually bought her back and raced her with Jason Warren.”

However, the breeding barn beckoned after a few starts and Suspicieuse headed up for her first date with Not A Single Doubt.

“Dubious is certainly a horse of firsts – he was her first foal, this was his first start and thrillingly, this was his first victory and his first Group win,” Roberts said.

“He was a very nicely put together weanling, and after being scrutinised by Sheamus, he got the pass mark and we decided to grow him out to a yearling. The scoreboard said he made what he deserved.”

Dubious was taken to the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in January this year and bought for $350,000 by Aquis Farm and Ciaron Maher Bloodstock.

“We are thrilled that he has shown early, mature form on the track, and I’m even more excited that I still own the mare (along with Toohey),” Roberts said.

“Murphy’s law, Suspicieuse missed the next season, but she has just foaled a thumping big Foxwedge colt and is booked under Sheamus’s advice into either Russian Revolution or back to Not a Single Doubt. As she provided a great first foal, we will keep investing in her.”

The Roberts Family, having come from a farming background, operate Angus farms with Villa Brae Pastoral based at Creighton’s Creek (right next door to Lindsay Park).

“I grew up riding stock horses, and both my grand-dad and my father raced horses, so it is in my blood.

“The dream is to scale up our breeding operation one day to the size that we can bring our mares home and increase the numbers to justify investing in our own infrastructure. Let’s hope that Suspicieuse is the start of making that dream possible.

“My back story is no different from other breeders, we have had our fair share of bad luck. We have lost foals due to accidents, one of my best fillies became a wobbler only a month before the Magic Millions, and I lost a top mare in foaling, so as a breeder you appreciate how much effort goes into producing these horses.

“Having raced over thirty horses the feeling of watching one you bred win is just the ultimate satisfaction.”

A large number of Victorian bred horses have given themselves every opportunity to win the lucrative $13 million Everest and the $1.3 million Kosciusko at Randwick on Saturday week.

On the Everest front, Redzel (last year’s winner), Santa Ana Lane and Le Romain, all products of the state’s breeding industry, have snapped up slots.

And in the new Kosciousko race for NSW country-trained horses, at least four Victorian bred horses will line up including Care To Think, Snitz, O So Hazy and Belflyer.

Twins Creeks bred & Koscisuko favourite Care To Think (Magic Millions)

A proud Victorian product, the Anthony Freedman-trained galloper Santa Ana Lane is now a TAB co- favourite for the Everest. He will be aiming to make it two wins for two editions of the Everest for Victorian products with Redzel having won the inaugural event last year.

The favouritism followed his determined victory in last Saturday’s Group 2 Premiere Stakes at Randwick, a win which no doubt would have pleased his Everest slot-holder Inglis!

Santa Ana Lane is owned by the William Street Syndicate, a bunch of mainly Melbourne-based passionate racing fans who have raced horses for 40 years, and along with Rosemont Stud’s Anthony Mithen, who prepped him as a yearling, they were blown away with his tough and tenacious fight in the final metres.

Santa Ana Lane was bought as a six-week-old foal at foot to his dam Fast Fleet by Melbourne barrister Dyson Hore-Lacy for $60,000 at the Patinack Farm Reduction Sale in 2012.

Hore-Lacy placed the young foal in the care of Rosemont Stud, where he was grown out and prepared for the 2014 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, where he was knocked down to Justin Bahen and Troy Corstens of Flemington Bloodstock.

“He made a modest $80,000 in the ring but had plenty going for him. I remember him well…he was such an uncomplicated type of horse,” Mithen pointed out.

“He’s a Lope de Vega and was just the kind of athlete you could recommend to anyone. Trouble free and very correct. He looked as if he’d go on with it and that’s certainly proven to be the case. Bring on the Everest!”

Santa Ana Lane is the second foal of the winning Fastnet Rock mare Fast Fleet from the family of Group 3 winner Blimey O’Reilly and Listed winner Flag Officer. She was covered by Tapit’s triple Group 1 winner Frosted last spring, before being sold this year at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

And while the Everest is the pinnacle, the hotly contested Kosciusko, for top-line country gallopers is also set to deliver major returns to as many as four Victorian bred horses.

The quartet is headlined by the Matthew Dunn trained Care To Think, the TAB favourite for the race. He was bred by Twin Creeks’ Kate and Nick Taylor based in the Samaria Valley.