Lot 251, a son of Written Tycoon out of Soorena, bred and sold by Gilgai Farm

The best was saved for the closing stages of the opening day of the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale at Oaklands when a colt bred by Gilgai Farm’s Rick Jamieson sold for $675,000.

With two days still to go in the sale, it was the colt by Yulong’s champion stallion Written Tycoon that was predicted to be the day one sale topper.

And he lived up to those expectations – and more.

Team Hawkes grabbed  the Written Tycoon colt out of  Soorena which produced the Group 1 winning The Quarterback (Street Boss).

The training team have had plenty of success with yearlings they’ve bought from Melbourne Premier, including Written Tycoon’s dual Group 1 winning son Ole Kirk which they also bought for $675,000 at the 2019 sale.

Wayne Hawkes said that no-one has one has ever walked out of Oaklands and driven home with a bad one from the yearling sale.

“But I got here the other day and I say on the wall that Rick had 149 yearlings go through for I think about 14 Group 1 winners and we have had three of those,” Hawkes said.

“It’s a pretty fair old stat. There is Black Caviar, there is Ole Kirk, All Too Hard, Masked Crusader. He is a pretty special breeder this guy.

“Whenever you buy a horse off Gilgai, you know you are going to pay a premium. He’s a premium breeder it’s a simple as that.”

Hawkes described the son of Written Tycoon as just a beautifully balanced colt with a “big fat pedigree.”

“And we’ve had some good luck with Written Tycoon in the last few years with Ole Kirk and Dirty Work,” he said.

“This bloke has a stallion’s pedigree there is no doubt about that

“I know the Quarterback well. He beat Chautauqua in a Newmarket. He was a very, very good horse, because it’s not easy to get past Chautauqua.”

As well as the colt being a half-brother to the prolific and Group 1 winner The Quarterback (Street Boss), the mare also produced Vanilla (Host) which raced in Australia as Philippi, winning the Listed Uci Stakes at Flemington and the Group 2 Alister Stakes and the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes before being sold to Hong Kong where he won another seven races

The colt is the last foal out of Soorena which died in December, 2020.
Soorena also produced Octane (I Am Invincible), a winner of seven races and full brother, Born A Warrior won one race. Ra Ikane (Invincible Spirit) was also a seven-time winner, while Rude Warrior (Kempinsky) won five races. The Source, a three-year-old filly by Sebring, was retired last year after one trial.

Gilgai Farm sold Octane sold for a record $1.4 million at the 2017 Melbourne Premier Sale, while Born A Warrior was sold for the same amount at the 2018 Easter Yearling Sale.

Gilgai Farm manager Kelly Skillecorn said the Hawkes, along with the under bidders, the Freedmans, were among the best trainers in the country.

He said it justified what they thought of the colt.

“He’s a gorgeous horse,” he said.

“He’s the last of the mare and I always thought he was the best out of the mare, not a heavy colt like the last two she’s thrown. He is just a real athlete and as good as we can breed, that horse.

“We sold every one of her foals at Inglis. She had $2.8 million in two horses and now $675,000.

“It’s good to have the good horses back here. We went north for a few years, we lost our way, but now we’re back. It’s good to be home.”

Skillecorn understands that the Hawkes bought the colt for prolific owner Rupert Legh who raced Chautauqua and is part of owner of Masked Crusader. Legh has won dozens of top races.

“My boss (Rick Jamieson) and Rupert are good friends, so hopefully we will be in on him and hopefully we can get a big cheque at the end of it.” he said.


The  Written Tycoon colt was chasing the early day one sale topper, a I Am Invincible colt out of Mark Two (NZ) was sold to the Hong Kong Jockey Club for $550,000.

The top price was matched later in the sale for a Snitzel x Reply Churlish (NZ) colt.

A Gilgai Farm-bred colt by Deep Field out of Mossin’ Around loomed as a serious contender to pass $550,000, but the bidding stopped at $520,000. The successful bidders were China Horse Club in partnership with Newgate Bloodstock and Trilogy Racing.

Gilgai’s Skillecorn said it was a great result and always reassuring when two of the best judges in the game were on him. John Hawkes was the under bidder.

“He has been so popular and all the right judges were on him and (Deep Field) is an exceptional stallion who can do no wrong,” Skillecorn said.


“He’s out of a good, young, fast mare and everyone liked him and he made his money.”


China Horse Club’s Michael Smith said it was a great colt that had come off an outstanding farm and they were delighted to have bought him.

And it seemed that $520,00 was the magical figure with another two yearlings being locked in at the figure.

The Musk Creek bred Dundeel (NZ) colt, out of Personalised (Snitzel x Personify) also got to $520,000 – but that’s where the bidding stopped again.

But Musk Creek’s Scott Williamson was delighted with both the price and the fact that the colt will still  be near their Flinders farm after being purchased by Mornington trainer Matt Laurie who is based at Moorooduc.

And he explained that the Dundeel mating with Personalised happened after Musk Creek owner David Kobritz paid $100,000 for the service fee at a charity action to aid injured jockey Tye Angland who was left a quadriplegic after a race fall in Hong Kong in 2018.

Dundeel’s service fee at the time was $66,000.

Williamson said he wasn’t surprised that the cot sold for $520,000.

“He is a cracking colt and the mare is outstanding,” he said.

“It’s a great reward to see him develop on the farm since day one and then to go to a good home like Matt’s and he stays close to home which is good.

“We are delighted. You hope they make that sort of price when you bring them to the sales and he had plenty of interest.”

Williamson said there might have been a bit of karma with buying the Dundeel service fee at the Tye Angland charity auction.

“And we bought the mare off the back of buying that charity nom,” he said.

“We bought the mare for $525,000 and she was carrying her first foal and after we bought her, Personal, her half-sister won the Group 1 so she’d be worth a lot more now.

“And obviously with her first two foals making $575,000 and now $520,000, she is obviously a very valuable mare for us. She has got a Zoustar filly at the farm now that is outstanding and arguably our best foal that she has had so far which is very exciting for a small boutique farm like us.

“It’s our aim to build on that quality of mare. We want to be known as breeders.”

Williamson said that Personalised tends to go a bit overdue when she foals and it was decided not to put her into foal last season but she will have an early service this year.

Personalised’s first foal, by Spirit Boom, was bought by Tony Gollan and John Foote at the 2021 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

The two-year-old colt races as Spiritualised and has finished second at both of his starts.

A Snitzel colt, offered by Widden, out of Prairie Star (High Chaparral x Maryann Jones) was also sold for $520,000 as Lot 163.

Widden expanded to Victoria when it took over Sun Stud.

Anthony Thompson, the proprietor of Widden, said the colt was a real a star.

“A much-admired colt and we were hoping that he would sell for something around that and he sold according to the interest shown.


“He was bred and owned by Sun Stud, he carries their brand, so he had been down here at Widden Victoria and we thought he would be a star wherever he went but that he’d standout here and with Widden Victoria in its first full year of operation it’s really nice thing to be able to sell a lovely horse on behalf of Sun Stud.

“It has been a solid day. Like all the auctions we’ve been to this year, they start slowly while people find their feet but once you get an hour into selling, they really kick on.


“From the buyers’ point of view, if you’ve bought early, you should be happy with yourself and that’s just a pattern throughout the sales. There’s a really solid buying bench for a sale where the trend continues.”


Although there was no million dollar colt on the opening day, some experts predict that Lot 269 – the fourth lot to go under the hammer tomorrow –  will spark plenty of interest.  Again, it’s a colt by Written Tycoon, out of Sunset Affair (Exceed and Excel x Tuscan Sky) and is being offered through Rushton Park’s draft.

Swettenham Stud’s Toronado matched his highest price for a yearling when a chestnut colt offered by  Michael Christian’s Longwood Thoroughbred Farm was sold for $460,000.

The colt is out of Redoute’s Choice mare Smooth Edge.

Written Tycoon had another big number at Lot 29 – $360,000 for a  filly out of the unraced La Paris (Falvelon). The filly, offered by Victoria’s Morningside at Wahring, was bought by Cranbourne trainer Mick Price.

First season sire Grunt equaled his top price for a yearling when  Cranbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock paid $300,000 for a colt out of Not A Single Doubt mare Little Indian (Fidele by Encosta De Lago) that won two races.

Fidele was the dam of eights foals and all won, including the Griffiths-trained mare Fidelia (Not A Single Doubt), a winner of  five races and $405,850 in prizemoney.

The colt, Lot 56, was sold through Blue Gum Farm’s draft.

Grunt was Yulong’s foundation stallion and now stands alongside Written Tycoon, Tagaloa, Lucky Vega and Yulong Prince

The dual Group 1 winner at 1600m had his first crop of yearlings offered at this year’s Magic Millions where they totaled $1.48m in the sale ring at an average of $106,000. Five of the yearlings sold for six figures in Book 1 and the top three were sold for $300,000, $250,000 and $180,000.


Romsey’s Supreme Thoroughbreds’ got the Victorian’s off to a flying start when a Deep Field colt out of Khalama (Starspangledbanner x Sevruga) sold for $300,000 as Lot 14.

Toronado was again in high demand early in the sale and his first colt offered by Supreme Thoroughbreds as Lot 2 was sold to Chris Waller Racing/Hermitage Thoroughbreds for $300,000.

Highlights for Victorian breeders and farms included a $380,000 result for Esker Farm which sold a Camelot x Mrs Bannock colt born in Ireland.

A So You Think colt out of Miss Keepsake (Keeper x Jacilo) was sold by Gilgai Farm to UK bloodstock agent Stephen Hillen for $250,000.

Bucklee Farm at Greta West had a big result with its Magnus colt, out of Simbelation (Bel Esprit x Simulation), which sold for $300,000. The dam is a half-sister to Cliff’s Edge (Canford Cliffs) and Delago’s Lad (Delago Boom).

Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) have launched the Victorian Breeding Academy.

The Academy has been established to entice the next generation into the Victorian Thoroughbred industry.

The Academy will offer both formal and informal educational courses for those who would like to be involved in the industry and will commence in March with a nationally recognised Certificate IV in Agriculture.

Subjects will be focussed on equine breeding, as well as leadership and pasture management.  Students will gain a solid foundation in subjects such as foaling down, nutritional needs for horses, handling horses safely and caring for horses.

Students will be enrolled in the Certificate IV of Agriculture as trainees for one year with Victorian farms. They will spend one-week blocks at Cornwall Park, Toolern Vale, where they will gain the vital hands on experience needed.

The Certificate IV is the first stage of TBV’s strategic plan, with TBV’s vision to qualify existing staff in the industry, if they desire, as well as other formal pathways for students to enrol in.

The Certificate IV complements the existing well received informal educational webinars which TBV have been running for the last few years.

TBV believe that both formal and informal education is vital for participants and are planning to expand on the informal educational webinars mid-year for Victorian breeders.

“The launch of the Victorian Breeding Academy is a very exciting time for everyone at TBV and the wider industry. Everyone at TBV is so passionate about the future of our industry and ensuring we attract new entrants,” commented Charmein Bukovec – TBV Executive Officer.

“There are already so many great options available across Australia and we are excited to provide the first formal hands-on pathway in Victoria,” she said.

TBV are currently looking for expressions of interest from both potential trainees and also from farms who would like to employ a trainee for the duration of the course.

“As an industry, we need to ensure we are giving the next generation, a great foundation coupled with the skills and opportunities to excel and grow. We are responsible for enticing new entrants into our wonderful industry. We can’t sit back for people to turn up at our doors, we need to highlight the benefits and international opportunities which exist,” she said.

To highlight these pathways, which are on offer in Victoria and wider Australia, TBV, in collaboration with the Australian Chinese Jockey Club and Musk Creek, will be conducting an educational pathway event ahead of the Inglis Melbourne Premier sale on Wednesday the 23rd of February at the complex from 4pm. For anyone interested, they can register here.

You can learn more about the Victorian Breeding Academy or to register your interest, by clicking here.

Image: Racing Photos

Mumbai Jewel as a yearling, image courtesy of Magic Millions.

For a filly that cost more than $1.5m and finished her career with one win and prizemoney of $29,735, Rob McClure must have wondered whether he’d ever recoup just some of his outlay.
With no guarantees in the breeding barn when the horse in question Mumbai Rock was retired, Morning Rise Stud’s McClure and his wife Barbara supported the well bred mare with some top quality stallions in keeping with her rather large sale price.
The daughter of Fastnet Rock was out of American mare Mani Bhavan (Storm Boot x Rehear), a winner of three races in the states – one at Group 1 and won a Group 2 level.
While Mumbai Rock wasn’t a success on the track, it’s been a different story at stud.
Her fourth foal to race, Mumbai Jewel (I Am Invincible), shot into Golden Slipper calculations with her spectacular victory in the Pierro Plate (1100m) at Randwick last Saturday.
The last to first victory thrilled McClure.
“She came from last, and I thought no way could she get up, but she put in some big ones in the end,” he said.
“All good and looks good for the future.
“Annabel Neasham has always loved her. She said right from the start that she is one of her best, so we have got a bit to look forward to.”
McClure was quick to point out that Morning Rise still has Mumbai Rock and her first foal, five-year-old mare Splendoronthegrass (So You Think).
“Her second foal Bombay Rocket (Snitzel) is at home and is in foal (Strasbourg), and she didn’t quite make it, but she is a winner,” he said.
“Then there is Jazz Etude (I Am Invincible) who is in Japan and has won three or four races there. They (Katsumi Yoshida) paid $650,000 for her at the Magic Millions Sale and took her straight back and we are just hoping she wins some black type.”
“Mumbai Jewel is her fourth foal.”
Bombay Rocket was sold for $165,000 to Anthony Freedman at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
McClure said they have another Mumbai Rock filly, by Zoustar, and she is headed to the Australian Easter Yearling Sale in April.
“Apparently she is pretty good,” he said.
“She has a foal (colt) to Zoustar and is in foal to I Am Invincible.”
McClure agreed that the quality of stallions that have served Mumbai Rock is reflected in the $1.55m price he parted with at the 2013 Eastern Yearling Sale – the biggest price for a filly that year.
Mumbai Rock started her career with the David Hayes stable where she raced once and then won her only race with Gai Waterhouse before finishing her career with Stuart Webb who got a third out of her before she was retired as a three-year-old.
McClure said that Mumbai Rock had obviously cost a lot of money and he had to keep her going as a broodmare.
“She had a little issue which stopped her really,” he said.
“She started off with David Hayes, and he had a huge opinion of her, but she just had an issue, but won the one race and that was it.
“But she has paid for herself now.
“We retained her first one, Splendoronthegrass, and she is Stakes placed and we retired her last year but she didn’t get into foal. She is coming back for a prep with David Vandyke.”
Splendoronthegrass has won five races and had six seconds from 22 starts for prize money of $281,175.
“We are hoping she can step up to the full black type,” he said.
“She’ll go back to stud this year.”
McClure sold Mumbai Jewel for $575,000 at the 2012 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.
He retained 50 per cent of the filly when she was bought by Warwick Farm trainer Neasham and her bloodstock consultant Brian McGuire.
McClure said it was part of their program to retain an interest of at least 50 per cent if they were selling a really nice filly which they’d bred.
Kia Ora Stud and Coolmore both bought 25 per cent of the filly.
McClure said retaining at least 50 per cent in fillies they’d bred and sold was a good way of improving their broodmare band and at the same time generating cash flow.
“That’s our system, really,” he said.
“With the Zoustar/Mumbai Rock filly, I’d look to keep 50 per cent as well, and there are a couple of others in the sale that we might look at doing the same with.
“We have a quite a big band going to Sydney. We have 12 that are part-owned or fully owned.”
McClure said that it wasn’t always the case that people who bought their yearlings would agree to him retaining an interest, but it was different if trainers were the successful bidders.
Neasham also bought a Morning Rise Stud filly by Fastnet Rock, out of Group 1 winning Argentinian mare Kononkop, for $475,000 at last year’s Easter Yearling Sale.
McClure again retained an interest in the two-year-old filly which races as Birdonawing which was unplaced at her only start and trialled on Monday.
A Justify filly out of Kononkop – the champion two-year-old filly in Argentina in 2016/17 – will also be offered at the Easter Yearling sale by Morning Rise through Coolmore’s draft.
McClure said they’d also offer seven yearlings at Melbourne Premier, including two So You Think fillies out Stakes placed mares Danevade and True Magic.
He said he couldn’t believe the prices yearlings were selling for at all the sales.
“I suppose it’s the reflection of the increase in prizemoney all the time,’’ McClure said.
“Australia is in a fantastic position with the racing industry and I think it’s the best in the world.”
McClure said increased prizemoney was good for the syndicators who put together groups of people as owners, which was great for racing.
He said the immediate plan for Mumbai Jewel was to head to the Reisling Stakes (1200m) for two-year-old fillies in three weeks.
“She’ll need to win that or get significant prize money to get into the Golden Slipper but to my eye she’d be an ideal Sires Produce (1400m) distance horse and I think as she turns three that would be a great campaign for her,” he said.
“Just the way she ran the other day looks like she’d eat up 1400m.”
It’s most likely the three owners of Mumbai Jewel would breed from her in partnership on the same percentage basis as they race her and McClure said she become a valuable broodmare and enhance her family if she can win black type.
McClure said he has about 40 broodmares which are a mixture of some he owns and others are in partnership.
And is also keen to see another horse he has ownership in, Home Affairs (I Am Invincible x Miss Interiors), resume in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The lightly-raced three-year-old colt won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington last October and is expected to stand at stud this year.
He could be first headed to Royal Ascot to have a crack at the big sprint races in June along with champion stablemate Nature Strip.
McClure said he’d be sending mares to Home Affairs, when he does stand at stud, and hopes he gives Nature Strip “a real fright” on Saturday.
Coolmore paid $875,000 for Home Affairs at the 2020 Easter Yearling Sale.
And Neasham said for Mumbai Jewel, which had raced in Group 3 races in both of her previous two starts when she finished fifth and then sixth, it had been disappointing to see the filly again draw a wide barrier.
In her three races she has drawn nine of 12 and then eight of 10 and then 10 of 10 last Saturday.
“I’ve always had a really good opinion of her,” Neasham said in her postrace interview.
“She’s a beautiful physical, always wants to please and has shown plenty of ability at home. It was disappointing to see her draw wide yet again – she had a very torrid run from a wide gate at Rosehill last start.
“We thought about going to Wyong on Tuesday, but she drew wide there too. In the end we decided to come here, ride her quietly and hope they overdid it in front.
“I think she absolutely could be a Golden Slipper horse. She probably has to step up again, but a race like the Reisling Stakes for two-year-old fillies in three weeks’ time would be perfect.”
Neasham said if Mumbai Jewel is good enough, “she can put her hand up there.”

Unanimous ridden by Jamie Kah wins the The Big Screen Company Handicap at Caulfield Racecourse on February 12, 2022 in Caulfield, Australia. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Victorian breeder Rob Love has had plenty of success with horses he has bred over the years, and another Love Racing horse was an impressive winner of the 1400m handicap at Caulfield on Saturday.
Trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace at Cranbourne, the four-year-old Unanimous (Deep Field x Without Exception) continued his outstanding form which began last September after he returned from a long spell after gelding and throat operations.
In his nine runs this campaign, Unanimous has finished fourth three times, third twice, second twice and won two races, including his first city success at Caulfield.
Love sold Unanimous for $34,000 at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale to Victorian syndicator David Azzopardi of Dream Thoroughbreds.
“He was at the January sale and was in book two on the last day,
“We hung around to buy him and his reserve was a lot higher than what we purchased him for. They put him on the market early, and I purchased him for $34,000, it was cheap, and we liked him.
“It was being in the right place at the right time.
“At that stage Deep Field, I think, was second or maybe third year and probably not as popular as he is today because you couldn’t get one for that nowadays.”
Azzopardi said they had rated Unanimous highly as a three-year-old and thought he could be a Caulfield Guineas type, but he was hard to keep condition on him.
He said they were forced to make the decision to geld the horse and when he returned for an autumn campaign he wasn’t trialling as sharply as they thought and they found he had a throat issue which required surgery.
“He hasn’t looked back and has been up since September and has just improved and initially we thought he was just a run-on sprinter but half-way through the preparation we worked out he was looking for the 1400m and we tried him at 1500m and 1600m but 1400m seems to be his perfect distance range,” he said.
“But he did run second at 1500m at Moonee Valley and they broke the track record that day but the track was lightning quick and he has ran second at 1600m at Flemington.”
Azzopardi said Maher had always had a high opinion of Unanimous and predicted there was a good race in him.
Unanimous won on debut at Sandown over 1000m in February 2020 and has now had 14 starts for three wins, two seconds and three thirds for $181,750.
Azzopardi said he since bought Unanimous’ half-sister, Absolute Puzzle (Rubick) which was also bred by Love and ran a second from its two race starts before being retired.
“I bought her and she is in foal to Hanseatic,” he said.
“And I have got a Zoustar filly out of Without Exception which I am syndicating now.
“The first foal Absolute Puzzle was an absolute speed machine but she broke down after two starts. Gai Waterhouse had her.”
Azzopardi hopes Unanimous can go on and win a Stakes race.
Bloodstock agent James Harron began advising Love and his late wife Donna on horses back in 2013.
He said Without Exception has since been sold by Love and is now owned by Coolmore, which have a Pierro filly out of the mare, and she is in foal to So You Think after missing to Justify and Pierro in 2020.
Harron said Love had a beautiful broodmare band. His racehorses are split between New South Wales and Victoria.
Shamal Wind (Dubai x Firemaid) was Love’s first Group 1 winner when the mare won the 2015 Oakleigh Plate (1100m). Love bred two horses from Shamal Wind – The Driller (Sea The Stars) and Seguso (Redoute’s Choice). The Driller was sold as yearling for $325,000 and Seguso was sold for $150,000.
Love sold Shamal Wind, bred by Widden Stud, for $1.2m to Gerry Harvey’s Baramul Stud at the 2018 Gold Coast Broodmare Sale.
Harvey has bred three foals – the unraced three-year-old The Stone Mason (Redoute’s Choice), unraced two-year-old Laroupe (Fastnet Rock) and has a colt by I Am Invincible – out of Shamal Wind which died in October of 2020.
Harron said Love, who is in the steel industry, had been involved with Harron Bloodstock in horses like Group winners Capitalist, King’s Legacy and Pariah that are now standing at stud.
“And he has had some lovely homebreds as well,” Harron said.
“He has got a nice filly named Pretty Woman which will be resuming soon. It’s by Written Tycoon, but wasn’t quite right last preparation.”
“He has got some lovely stock.”
Pretty Woman was the last horse Donna Love named before she passed away in September, 2019.
Harron said Love has around 15 to broodmares and mostly owns them himself.
“He was a partner in Suspicieuse who we bought privately and her yearling topped the Magic Millions Sale this year (Coolmore paid $1.8 million for the I Am Invincible colt),” he said.
Suspicious has had two foals to race – Group winner and now stallion Dubious (Not A Single Doubt) and unraced two-year-old Dystopian (Russian Revolution). The mare has a filly foal by Pariah and is in foal to King’s Legacy.

Michael and Carolyn after winning the Perth Cup with Cats Fun (Lauralyn Park)

After being prominent identities in the Western Australian racing industry for more than 20 years, Michael and Carolyn Grant are about to show the first results of their relocation to Romsey four years ago.
The husband and wife team are the principals of G&G Bloodstock and established their farm – Lauralyn Park – on 40 acres at Romsey and lease another nearby 100 acre property.
Although the long-time breeders have offered stock at various sales around Australia in the past, they will be selling their first draft of horses under the Lauralyn Park banner at Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale from February 27 to March 1.
They will offer 10 yearlings, including a Harry Angel (IRE) filly out of their broodmare Admiring (Street Cry x Ballet Girl).

“She is the dam of Miss Admiration (Group 3 winner bred by the Grants) who had that $1.7m colt (Not A Single Doubt) up at the Gold Coast,” Grant said.

Lot 339: Harry Angel (IRE) out of Admiring – this filly is the half-sister to Miss Admiration

“We have a nice Kermadec filly out of Sentimental Star, one of those really good families of Bob Peters.
“We have got a couple of So You Thinks and a couple of Impendings. There are quite a few nice ones among them, including a Street Boss colt and a nice Deep Field colt.
“There is a mixture of new and proven stallions amongst them, so there is something for everyone.”
While Grant said they’d been selling and buying horses, including at Melbourne Premier for 20 years, they had gone through under other studs and farm’s draft, and it was pleasing to sell them under their own banner for the first time.
Grant said they decided to make the move interstate when their two children, Jack and Laura, finished school and were both expected to attend the University of Melbourne.
“So we thought it was a good time sell up and move over here and be closer to the kids and that was the main reason for the move,” he said.
“My son is in his last year of law at Sydney University, and my daughter is in our last year of 200 grads and starts medicine and she has got a bit of uni ahead of her.
“They were both coming to Melbourne University but both ended up at Sydney University, but we are closer to them. When they got their offers they sort of ended up at Sydney.”
Grant said the move to Melbourne had its challenges, including when Covid hit and they had to endure the lockdown and everything associated with it, along with everyone else in the state.
“The climate has been a bit of a thing and then we had to build the farm from scratch, so we have sort of had a lot of challenges along the way,” he said.
“But we are pretty happy now and have the farm to where we want it now and all the facilities are all built, and hopefully all those hard yards are behind us.
“It was absolutely starting from scratch. The house was here, but all the infrastructure, the fencing, stables, paddocks, shelters, round yards and walkers, we put the whole lot in. Roads and everything. We did the lot.”
Grant said the property was virtually bare land when they purchased it.
“I think it was part of a cattle farm originally
“We had built everything. It had never had horses on it which was good. We redid the pastures and everything.”
While Lauralyn Park has the facilities, the Grants lease another 100 acre property five minutes away where they keep all their dry mares.

The property at Romsey (Lauralyn Park)

Grant said they accommodated up to 90 mares and foals during the breeding season.
“I think last season we bred about 70 mares so we ended up having quite a few horses and it keeps us busy,” he said.
“It’s a mixture of horses with some are ours and some are for clients. A lot of our clients are clients that followed us from WA. A lot are Perth based breeders that have supported us, all of the bigger breeders like Ron Sayers, Tony Patrizi and Ellie Giles who is very well known breeder from WA, and Alana and Grant Williams.”
Grant said they bred to a lot more of Victorian stallions last year, but still sent a few interstate to match the mares with the right stallion.
He said the idea of having the farm at Romsey was to try to support as many Victorian stallions as they could.
“The Victorian stallion market is ever-increasing, the quality is improving and they continue to breed nice horse in Victoria now,” he said.
Grant has an extensive background in Perth where he trained for more than 20 years and had the ultimate success with Cats Fun (Catbird x She’s Zeel) which won the Group 1 West Australian Derby (2400m) under his care in 2006. The gelding also won two Group 2 races, the Perth Cup and WATC Cox Stakes and the Listed Melvista Stakes and WATC Tattersall’s Cup.
He also had Stakes success with Wave Rock, Empire Dancer, and Mighty Rossa and Admiring.
“We had a good run and won Derbies and a Perth Cup and stuff like that and the big races in Perth,” he said.
“But we have always bred. Breeding has always been something that we have dabbled in and then just slowly it sort of became more and more of a primary focus and we decided not to concentrate on training and stop doing that.
“But we still have horses in work. We keep them in work with Lindsey Smith and Grant and Alana Williams, but we just concentrate on breeding now.”
Grant was also heavily involved in administration and racing stakeholder governance in the horse racing industry in WA. He is a former president of the Western Australian Trainers’ Association and executive chairman of the Western Australian Racing Representative Group (WARRG).
The WARRG was established by the three racing codes in WA to negotiate with the government in the proposed sale and privatisation of the WA TAB. It’s still an ongoing process.
“I ran that process and did all the commercials and all that was attached to that,” Grant said.
Grant said at the moment he just wanted to concentrate on their breeding farm and get the business up and running and successful.
He said he’s asked all the time to go on boards and committees, but he wanted to primarily focus on the breeding for a while.
Grant said they have about 12 of their own broodmares.
He believes in the philosophy of sending a horse to a sale where it’s best suited and already this year has sent a couple to Perth, one to Adelaide and last year sent some to the Classic Sale.
“As a rule, we’d sort of like to target Melbourne Premier going forward, but we also think that it’s about putting your horses where they are best placed,” Grant said.
“Part of the success is placing your horses really well. It’s like when you are training your horses that you have to place them really well so they can win races and I think it’s the same and a matter of placing them well in the sales and where they fit in.
“There is no point taking a late-maturing staying type filly up to the Gold Coast, and there’s no point taking horses that aren’t going to stand out at Melbourne Premier which is an elite sale.
“Melbourne Premier is a really strong sale and over the past few years has just gone from strength to strength and people are buying your horse from anything from $50,000 up to $1m.”

Grant said his wife Carolyn was the boss and the backbone behind the whole operation.

Happy horses at Lauralyn Park (Lauralyn Park)


Wayne Hawkes with Jye McNeil after Sebonack won the Lamaro's Hotel Chairman's Stakes , at Caulfield Racecourse on February 05, 2022 in Caulfield, Australia.(Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Spendthrift Australia General Manager, Garry Cuddy hopes race results from the weekend will reflect the bright future the farm has in the Australian breeding industry.

The entire 602-acre Romsey farm, including its four colonial stallions and broodmares, is on the market after its American owners decided to sell the operation.

Cuddy described it as a great weekend for Spendthrift, when a yearling colt bought in partnership with the hope of developing into a stallion, won the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

As well as the victory of Sebonack on debut for Team Hawkes, there was more joy for Spendthrift the following day in Western Australia, when their stallion Gold Standard produced his first stakes winner in devastating style when filly Sheeza Belter came from near last to win the Restricted Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m).

Sheeza Belter (ex Saxabelle) provided Gold Standard with his first win as a sire when she won first-up at Ascot on New Year’s Day. The filly has now had three starts for two wins and a second and it was announced today she has been transferred to the care of Peter and Paul Snowden to contest the Sydney Autumn Carnival.

Cuddy said Sebonack was purchased with the hope of becoming a stallion.

“It was a great weekend for the farm all round,” Cuddy said.

“Obviously you buy yearlings to try and get them onto the stallion roster, and I think Sebonack put one foot onto the roster with the performance like that in his first start and hopefully there is plenty more in store for him in the coming weeks or years really.

“He is only at the beginning of what looks like an exciting racing career.”

Cuddy said the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes was obviously on the radar, but the colt had to pull up well after his debut and continue to do everything right.

“If he does that, yes that’s a race we can target but if he needs a bit of time between runs, the Hawkes are very good at taking horses from Melbourne to Sydney.

“The Golden Slipper is a race that is on any two-year-old colt’s target list as well.”

Cuddy said the way Sebonack put himself into the race on the turn showed that he wanted to be there and wanted to do it.

“Not many horses take the gap that he did on his own accord but to do it in your first race start shows that there is definitely something there, so hopefully it can continue into the future,” he said.

“You’d obviously like to win Group races more often but to achieve that feat with a first starter was very special.”

Cuddy put his hand up for the Capitalist colt at last year’s Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale for $260,000 and admits that alongside Spendthrift’s farm manager Grant Burrill, they are both big on how a horse moves, and were instantly attracted to him.

“He just walked and walked and walked,” he said.

“It’s one of the things that is certainly high on our check list, and he ticked that right from the first time we saw him.

“We went back and saw him every day from the first day and he didn’t change one bit. He was a standout for us at the Sale and we were very fortunate to not have to pay too much for him.

“We obviously liked the horse. I saw John, Michael and Wayne (Hawkes) looking at the horse, so we went over and spoke to John and asked him if he liked the horse as much as I did and we agreed from there that we had to have him, so that’s how we formed the partnership.”

Spendthrift race the colt, which is out of Al Samer mare Profound Wisdom, in partnership with prominent owners Rupert Legh, Bruce Wilson and Gary Lechte.

Cuddy said Spendthrift had raced horses in the past with Legh, but never with Wilson and Lechte, so it was exciting to race with new people and to have immediate success was the icing on the cake.

While Legh has had a huge amount of success with horses he has raced, including 11-time Group winner Chautauqua, Cuddy said they were hoping it’s that luck which will carry them all the way to the top.

“He puts a lot of time, money and energy into the industry and to see people like him have this type of success, it’s a wonderful thing for the sport,” Cuddy said.

“It’s great to be involved and share it with him.”

Cuddy said that Spendthrift had done it the hard way with their stallions since being in Australia.

He said three of the four colonial horses on Spendthrift’s roster last year – Dirty Work (Written Tycoon x Maidel), Swear (Redoute’s Choice x Crossyourheart) and Overshare (I Am Invincible x Savannah’s Choice) were horses that they’d purchased as yearlings and raced to Group success.

“I think it’s a great achievement and old Goldie (Gold Standard), another colonial horse we have, was a purchase we made when injury finished his racing career.

“Obviously he repaid us on Sunday afternoon in the West with Sheeza Belter winning.

“It was an unreal win; a blink of an eye and it was fantastic. Plus, the news today she’s heading over to Sydney for the Autumn Carnival just adds to the excitement.”

Cuddy said it had been an unreal weekend for Sebonack, Gold Standard (Sebring x Coniston Gem) and Sheeza Belter.

Sheeza Belter, sold for $50,000, was Gold Standard’s first runner, first winner and first Stakes winner.

His only other runner to date, two-year-old filly Golden Queen (ex Queens Plaza), has raced twice and was second in her first start at Sandown over 1000m for trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

“Gold Standard has had two runners for two city horses, while Overshare has only had the one runner to date, in Lady Laguna, who has had three starts for two wins and a stakes second-placing on the weekend. I don’t think she lost any admirers finishing second by a head in that race (Lonhro Plate) either.”

Lady Laguna, bred by Spendthrift and sired by resident stallion Overshare, is currently his first runner and is making the team very proud (Spendthrift).

Lady Laguna (ex Catalina De Lago) was bred by Spendthrift and purchased directly by Terry Henderson’s OTI Racing. Trained at Warwick Farm by Annabel Neasham, she has won at Eagle Farm (1000m) and Rosehill (1100m) and has a nomination for this month’s Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).

Following the announcement of the sale of the farm, Cuddy said there had been plenty of interest from potential buyers of Spendthrift as could be expected.

“I would expect that after a weekend that we’ve just had that I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more people start asking questions because I think it’s clear that we have a young bloodstock portfolio that has the ability to become elite,” he said.

Spendthrift Farm will no doubt attract a lot of interest (Spendthrift)

The sale of Spendthrift’s Romsey property, which includes plant and equipment, is being co-ordinated by Clint Donovan of Donovan and Co Property Specialists, in conjunction with Magic Millions.

Nicolini Vito after winning the Premier Signs Handicap , at Caulfield Racecourse on February 05, 2022 in Caulfield, Australia.(Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Peter Devitt estimates he has bred hundreds of horses over the past 30 to 35 years and the thrill of getting a winner – and he has had stacks of them – never diminishes.
His latest winner Nicolini Vito (Nicconi x She’s Cherryrpe) notched up his third successive victory when he scored over 1600m at Flemington for trainers Ben and JD Hayes at Flemington on Saturday.
And what made the win even more satisfying for Devitt was the fact that he bred Nicolini Vito, bred the four-year-old’s sire Nicconi – now standing at Widden in Victoria – and also raced the dam, She’s Cherryrpe.
Devitt has had a long association with Lindsay Park which started in the 1980s when he his partner in construction firm L.U. Simon Constructions, Les Gordon, decided it would be fun to race a horse or two.
But when they approached Colin Hayes he quickly dismissed the idea of one horse and put them in five horses as partners with Lindsay Park.
They were quickly hooked when their first horse, a colt named King’s High, won a Listed 1000m race on debut at Moonee Valley and almost a year later won the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) and then added another Group 1 the following year with the Australian Guineas.
Swettenham Stud’s Robert Sangster was one of the partners in King’s High who Devitt and Gordon supported with interests in about 45 broodmares when he started his stallion career.
Devitt and Gordon also increased their interests in racehorses at Lindsay Park which continued after Colin Hayes’ death. The Devitt and Gordon families to continue to race and breed horses in partnership with David Hayes and Lindsay Park.
With Nicolini Vito now notching up his fifth win from 12 starts, Devitt said She’s Cherryrpe, a winner as a two-year-old, looks like being a good broodmare. Her first foal Luckywhiskyman (Nicconi) raced in Macau, her second foal Shokorea (Nicconi) won four races, her third Muswellbrook (Denman) has won five races, Chokita (Nicconi) was sold and is a still a maiden. Nicolini Vito was next in line, while three-year-old Boogie Street (Street Boss) is unraced and Cherry’s A Star is an unraced two year-old. She’s Cherryrpe was served by Leneva Park’s Royal Meeting (Invincible Spirit x Rock Opera) last September.
Devitt said what made Nicolini Vito’s win a bit more special was all the links to the breeding.
“We started breeding in the CS Hayes days at the end of the 1980s,” he said.
“My business partner and I were keen to race one or two horses and I spoke to Colin Hayes and he said oh no and we’ll put four of five people into a syndicate in five horses and we’ll do it that way.
“We’ve been breeding over a 35-year period.
“We bred Niconero (Danzero x Nicola Lass) and he won five Group 1s for us and Nicconi (Bianconi x Nicola Lass) won two Group 1s, so we have had a bit of fun with them.”
Asked about his best horse, Devitt said: “The first horse we had, King’s High, won the Derby and the Guineas, but you’d say Niconero.
“But from a money perspective you’d say Nicconi because between the three parties, Devitt, Gordon and Hayes, we kept the majority of him.
“He is a very good stallion.”
While Les Gordon passed away in 2012, his three sons, Craig, Russell and Darren are now involved in racing and breeding horses with Devitt and his son, Kane.
Devitt said it was good to see the second generation of the Devitt/Gordon racing dynasty continue.
The racing and breeding partnership continues between Lindsay Park and the Devitt and Gordon families and together they had around 18 mares foal down last season.
He said they originally had a bigger band of broodmares to support Nicconi when he started at stud but conceded that they didn’t really need to do that.
“We still go to Nicconi with a few of the mares,” Devitt said.
“He has been a tremendous stallion.
“Hopefully this guy Nicolini Vito can go on and win a Group 1 and add to his glories.
“Nicconi would be near the top of the list of top-earning stallions with the prize money won because of Nature Strip, and he’d been in the top ten for the number of winners.’’
Standing at a fee of $27,500, Nicconi served 118 mares last year. He has consistently covered books well into the hundreds and his biggest books were 227 in 2016 and 207 in 2017.
Already with 22 stakes winners and 50 stakes wins by his progeny, Devitt said the stallion needs only a couple more Group 1 victories to be up there with the best of them.
Devitt said the Hayes camp planned to give Nicolini Vito another run over 1600m and would then probably put him away for the spring.
“But the horse will tell us what he wants to do,” he said.
“He has a nomination for the Australian Cup (2000m next month), and we did that with Niconero and threw him in the deep by doing a similar thing and he won the Australian Cup.”
Devitt joked that winning the Derby with the first horse they’d raced “ruined the whole thing.”
“It gets you hooked from day one,” he said.
“Everything just evolved after that.”
Devitt said that Nicconi now pays all the bills.
Widden Stud had more success with another of their Victorian-based stallions when Star Witness galloper Testator Silens took out his second consecutive city victory in Sydney with a win in the Highway Handicap at Randwick on Saturday.
The four-year-old gelding went into the race after winning a Highway Handicap at Rosehill. He has now won four of his five starts and has one minor placing.

King Magnus ridden by Lachlan King returns to the mounting yard after winning the TAB Cranbourne Cup at Cranbourne Racecourse on November 13, 2021 in Cranbourne, Australia. (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

Gippsland farmers Larissa and Peter Joyce would make any politician proud with the amount of campaigning and lobbying they’ve done in the past few weeks.

They have been championing the cause of their homebred King Magnus to make the field in the richest 1600m race in the world – the $5m All-Star Mile – to be run at Flemington on Saturday, March 19.

The top 10 horses with the most votes from the public are automatically guaranteed a start in the race which carries a first prize of $2.75m. Another five wildcards will be named to bolster the field to 15.

There is also a massive prize of $250,000 for one lucky person who is in the running for the cash if the horse they vote for wins the race. Each horse will be allocated an “owner ambassador” for the race through a draw and that owner picks ups $250,000 if the horse they voted for wins. Another lucky racegoer will pick up $250,000 by being trackside and entering the “Raceday Wildcard” competition.

.It’s been a case of travelling far and wide for the Joyce family as they attempt to whip up enough interest and votes for King Magnus (Magnus x Influential Girl) who is trained at Cranbourne by Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock.

Earlier this week King Magnus, a winner of seven of his 22 races, was sitting in 12th position in the voting.

Larissa said all the 14 owners were excited and hopeful that the six-year-old gelding, who was spelled after winning last November’s Cranbourne Cup (1600m), would make the field.

“We are campaigning and trying to get votes,” she said.

“We are doing as best we can until next Sunday (when voting closes).

“We have got into all our sporting groups where our kids are involved, the football club, the cricket club, and we have gone to work places, put it up on Facebook, Instagram and put it on the Horse Racing Australia website.

“One of the boys has created a flyer with a QR code and we have got a copy of it and put it in eight pubs here in Gippsland in their TABs and we are trying to get the publicans to encourage people to vote.”

Larissa said a couple of the owners had gone to some race meetings to spread the King Magnus word and encourage people to vote.

“We have done the same and have gone down to a couple of race clubs to obviously just spread the love,” she said.

“We have obviously got a bit of a catch because we are only a small ownership group and only have 14 people campaigning where the bigger horses have got syndicates and they could have a hundred people campaigning.”

Larissa said that by sitting in 12th position they thought they were going okay, but anything could happen in the last week of voting.

She said they had canvassed votes in the Warragul area, where they are from, but one of the owners, David Kellas, lives in Western Australia and had been putting flyers in local pubs and drive-through coffee outlets.

As well as getting votes from their local Ellinbank football and cricket clubs, votes had also come from Ballarat Soccer Club after a friend did some campaigning in his home town.

“We have got flyers from Korumburra to Warragul, Drouin and Moe,” Larissa said.

“We have got owners from Melton and Keilor and they have all been campaigning around their areas.”

One of the owners went to The Valley on Friday night and reported back to Larissa and Peter they he got about 70 votes which could be crucial in the final count.

“He just got them from going up and asking people if they’d vote,” Peter said.

“He has done a terrific job. We went to the Moe Turfside tabaret, where Larissa’s parents are members, and got 21 that night.

“We are just chipping away and have been stuck in 12th for a while now and were a hundred behind 11th and about 160 or 180 behind 10th spot.

“We are campaigning hard but don’t seem to be making any ground on 10th and 11th.”

With the votes going into camera, Peter said it would be nerve-racking, but they were going as hard as they possibly could and revealed that a friend of their part-owner David Kellas had a horse racing at Pinjarra on Sunday and planned to get some votes.

“We are covering a bit of ground,” he said.

“There are six owners from the Warragul area, including us.

“We are doing our best but whether it will be good enough, we are not sure but are not going to die wondering.”

Besides the prize money, Peter said it was also the thrill of having a horse in such a big race.

“It’s our dream,” he said.

“We bred King Magnus so it is quite special to be competing against the heavy weights with the horse we bred from our mare Influential Miss.

“We didn’t go the Magic Millions to purchase this gelding, he is home grown and bred so it would be very special to just make the race.”

Leading into King Magnus’ Listed Cranbourne Cup victory, the six-year-old finished five of 14 in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) but finished less than a length from the winner, Superstorm.

Asked what they would expect from King Magnus if he made the field, Peter said: “That’s a bit of an unknown.

“He has targeted that race. He had a trial on Monday and then he’ll race on February 19 in a Listed 1400m race at Flemington and then two weeks later there is a Group 3 over 1600m on March 5, also at Flemington.

“And then we are hoping to get into the All Star Mile on March 19.

“In the Cantala, he was in front with 100m to go and got swooped late and got beaten three quarters of a length in a Group 1 and it was a $2m race.

“If he has had some natural improvement and finds a length, he’ll be right in it. We are optimistic and think he’ll run really well.

“Can he beat some of the best horses in Australia, I’m not sure? But it would be a thrill just finding out.”

Peter said they’d be telling people that their vote in the All-Star Mile was rewarded with getting the equivalent of a free lotto ticket.

Larissa and Peter milk cattle on their 210 acre dairy farm in the Strzelecki Ranges, past Warragul in Gippsland.

Larissa explains that they were in an ownership group of six that raced King Magnus’s dam Influential Miss (Carnegie x Perilla) which won four races and had seven minor placings for Mornington trainer Pat Carey.

After the mare was retired, four of the owners, including the Joyces, decided to buy her as a breeding prospect. Influential Miss, the first horses raced by the Joyces, produced Influential Girl (Magnus), followed by King Magnus and then her last foal, the moderately performed Wanted Miss (Wanted).

The six-year-old Influential Girl raced 27 times for five wins, five seconds and three thirds for nearly $200,000 in prizemoney.

Larissa said one of Influential Miss’ owners was breeder John Pratt and he used the late pedigree expert Diane Neylon to advise on matings and did the breeding for Influential Miss and recommended Widden Stud stallion, Magnus.

Influential Miss was served by Magnus last December, while Influential Girl was retired last August and served by Rosemont Stud stallion, Starspangledbanner.

And Griffith said he hoped that King Magnus, a horse he described as coming from nowhere to somewhere, would attract the romance and fairy tale vote.

He said the gelding was impressive winning his trial at Cranbourne on Monday morning.

“The race is a big thing for the owners, getting in and all that,” Griffiths said.

“He is a good galloper and deserves his place in the field but saying that so does so many of them and we’ll just see what happens.

“Every time you raise the bar, he sort of rises with it and he is a sort of a quiet achiever and has always met the challenge and has not let anyone down.

“He probably should have won the Cantala.”

Griffiths said he believes King Magnus has improved since his last campaign.

“Being such quiet achiever he has only ever done what he has had to,” he said.

As of the 8th of February, King Magnus sits in 13th position and can be voted for, by clicking here: https://bit.ly/3B8FjZR


Happy New Year!

I hope that you are all healthy, and that your farms are not too affected by the ongoing challenges of COVID. Many of you may have faced issues getting to the recent Magic Millions sales, with testing requirements to enter QLD and the associated rules and regulations. The theme of this issue is biosecurity, and with COVID continuing to represent the ultimate example of a biosecurity problem being wrestled with on an international scale, it helps remind us of the biosecurity risks faced by commercial equine operations.

Anytime horses move on or off their home property or mix with new horses, disease can spread. When purchasing new stock at the sales, the last thing you want to bring home is a new disease for the rest of your herd. Luckily, there are some simple things that you can do to protect the health of your horses and minimise the risk of disruption and financial loss from a disease outbreak.

‘Biosecurity’ includes the management and hygiene practices which minimise the movement of disease onto, off, or within a venue or facility. Essentially, it is about keeping pathogens such as viruses, bacteria or even parasites where they are, and stopping them spreading from sales facility to farms, or vice versa. Your farm should have a biosecurity protocol – and so should any venue that your horses visit.

Diseases can be transmitted between premises easily and unwittingly, not only is ‘horse to horse’ contact an issue, but people that work across multiple properties (such as farriers and vets) represent additional risk.

A basic scenario may be something like:
Farm A sells a horse “Bug Spreader” at the sales. “Bug Spreader” is transported by the excited new owner to a training facility after the sale, and upon arrival is placed into the first empty box available.

A couple of days later, “Bug Spreader” doesn’t finish his breakfast, and upon examination is found to have a mildly elevated temperature. He is also coughing and sneezing occasionally. “Bug Spreader” is unwell for a couple of weeks, needs vet attention, and his training is delayed. Not the end of the world perhaps? Well, consider the bigger picture – the box that “Bug Spreader” was placed in, was directly next to “Big Money” the Group One winning colt who is mid prep.

When “Bug Spreader” arrived, the two spent the night getting to know each other – checking each other out around the doors, and through the grill between the boxes. There was a lot of snorting and carrying on.

Of course, it was not only the two horses getting to know each other – the virus which “Bug Spreader” had brought from the sales to the stables, was also busy getting to know “Big Money”.

Unfortunately, a week after “Bug Spreader” arrived, “Big Money” and another 4 horses in the stables were all running temperatures and needed to be treated for the same illness, severely curtailing his preparation, and causing him to be scratched from the “Enough to Retire on” stakes.

Of course, we are trying to be funny, and taking things to the extreme, but it illustrates what can happen if you don’t have biosecurity protocols for your facility and you don’t train your staff to follow the protocols.

There is no one size fits all biosecurity plan. Each facility has different circumstances and a different risk profile, so you need to consider your own facility and circumstances when creating your plan. A great resource to help with this is your veterinarian. They will be familiar with your property, your stock and the diseases that are prevalent in your area, or in areas where other horses may be coming from.

Below, I have listed some basic elements you should consider in your biosecurity plan.1-3

  1. Vaccinate your horses for everything possible. Some vaccines are considered ‘bullet-proof’, such as Hendra virus and tetanus vaccines, and others reduce the incidence and severity of disease, but ALL could save you a lot of money and grief. A gram of prevention is worth a kilo of cure!
  2. Monitor the health of all horses daily and record observations. Temperatures are critical, but basic observations like nasal discharges and appetites are easily noted as well. Any deviations from normal should result in the horse being put in isolation until the problem resolves or the vet gives the all-clear.
  3. Allow only healthy horses to enter the facility – preferably with current vaccination status and a recent vet check.
  4. Isolate ALL new arrivals for a minimum of 14 days. During this time minimise handling and observe for any signs of illness. The isolated horse must have no contact (direct or indirect) with other horses, and staff should disinfect themselves and any equipment after attending to those horses. Introduce horses to the general population only after the completion of this 14 day isolation.
  5. House and handle animals according to risk
    1. Horses that travel frequently may be kept separate to those that don’t travel.
    2. Pregnant mares and foals at foot should be separated from weanlings and yearlings which are more likely to be stressed and at higher risk of infectious disease.
    3. Laneways between paddocks are better than having shared fencing, and beware of shared water troughs.
    4. Ideally have separate staff for different risk groups, but at a minimum, staff must thoroughly disinfect between groups.
  6. Use dedicated equipment for each group of horses, and preferably for individual horses. For example, within a training stable each horse should have its own feed bucket, or each paddock of broodmares should have separate feeding equipment to other populations.
  7. Identify an isolation or quarantine area – this should be well separated from the general horse population, with a secure and marked perimeter
  8. Restrict as much as possible, access to the premises. Enact a ‘sign in’ process for visitors that includes disclosure of recent contact with horses, especially sick horses, and only allow access to healthy horses. Consider the risk that farriers and vets present when they visit different facilities in one day. Clean hands, boots and clothes, or foot baths and disposable overalls and gloves can help to minimise transfer from property to property.
  9. Create cleaning and sanitation protocols for all areas and equipment and ensure that you are following the directions on any commercial cleaning products you are using. Ensure that your staff are trained in these protocols and refresher training is performed regularly. A protocol is no use if it is not followed!

References and useful sources of further detail and ideas:

  1. https://www.horsecouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/biosecurity-basics_PATH-International.pdf
  2. https://www.farmbiosecurity.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Farm-Biosecurity-Action-Planner-2019.pdf
  3. https://www.farmbiosecurity.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Horse-Venue-Biosecurity-Workbook.pdf

You can also assess your biosecurity risk at the following website.  https://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/biosecurity_calculator.php

If you would like help developing a biosecurity plan for your farm, or have any questions, reach out to me at Richard.lestrange@zoetis.com




Dr Richard


Don't Doubt Dory at the beach

Jacqui van Bree reckons she knows what it is like for the horse she bred and part owns – Don’t Doubt Dory – to miss out on a bit of love.

The five-year-old gelding was twice knocked back in the same year at different sales after failing to meet his reserve, so she decided to race him with her Pakenham South next door neighbour, horse trainer and breaker Julien Welsh.

With seven wins from 18 starts, van Bree has ambitiously launched a campaign to win enough public votes to gain the horse a start in the world’s richest 1600m race – the All-Star Mile at Flemington on Saturday, March 19.

With a prize pool of $5m, the first 10 horses with the most public votes are guaranteed a start.

Don’t Doubt Dory, by Victorian stallion Fiorente and out of Doubt No More, is currently 16th in the voting and desperately needing public support, according to van Bree who also races the gelding with her husband Mick McNaughton and Welsh’s wife Mel.

And van Bree said by being a “little fish” it was difficult to generate .votes.

She has called on Gippsland’s Mick Harrington, who fought out the final of The Voice, for support.

“His sister is involved in show jumping and her children compete with my son,” van Bree said.

“He is coming out to do a photo shoot with the horse. I have spent a lot of money trying to promote him, I’ll tell you that.

“Mick is doing most of the promotional work on social media for free.”

Van Bree said they wanted to support the fight against breast cancer in the campaign and the VRC had given them 10 discounted tickets to the dinner at Flemington on All-Star Mile day to aid Breast Cancer Network Australia.

She said her son Harley had been touched by the death of a friend’s mother from cancer and seen others suffer from it and was right behind the campaign.

Harley has been going to shopping centres and factories in a bid to spread the word about the All-Star Mile and hopefully get people to vote for Don’t Doubt Dory.

“If we get the horse in, we are donating some of the money to breast cancer,” van Bree said.

“And if we get the horse in, and Julien has agreed to it, he will run in the pink silks and not Julien’s. We just want to honour the breast cancer side of things.

“We are trying every which way possible, including putting out flyers, to get votes.

“My sister’s kids have put up an Instagram profile of him. We put up web pages of him.”

With a first prize of $2.25m, prizemoney of $50,000 is paid down to 11 to 15th.

Van Bree said it would be dream for Welsh’s apprentice Carleen Hefel, who is set to resume race riding after suffering a broken femur when a young horse she was riding reared and landed on top of her last September.

Hefel has ridden Don’t Doubt Dory to six of his seven wins, including at Flemington, Sandown and Moonee Valley.

“All in all it would be a close family thing from the horse that no one wanted to a horse that we are all trying to get there with,” van Bree said.

“We will continue to go from shop-to-shop to ask if they’ll support us. We are trying everything. It is hard by we’ll keep trying. It’s hard work and lots of talking.

“Regardless of whether we get the horse in, we’re still giving 10 tickets to the Breast Cancer Network and they’ll set up a table on the day in the Terrace Restaurant.”

Don’t Doubt Dory was the first thoroughbred bred by van Bree, but the dam Doubt No More has since had foals to Free Eagle and Tosen Stardom. She missed to Fiorente in 2020 but returned to the stallion last season.

And Welsh admits it will be a big task to get enough votes to gain a start.

While he says on form, many of the horses are obviously better performed than Don’t Doubt Dory, it’s more of a wish thing.

“But you have to be in it to win it and if he gets a run, we’ll go around,” he said.

Don’t Doubt Dory last raced in December and will have first run back over 1400m later this month before hopefully tackling the All-Star Mile.

As of the 1st of February, Don’t Doubt Dory is currently in 19th place and you can vote for Don’t Doubt Dory here.


Miss Roseiano ridden by Jordan Childs wins the Neds Blue Diamond Preview (Fillies) at Caulfield Racecourse on January 26, 2022 in Caulfield, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Noorilim Park Thoroughbreds at Arcadia aren’t strangers to having plenty of success with horses they’ve bred or those that have gone through their drafts at various sales.

But recent wins have come in something of a flurry for the farm’s owner Peter Carrick and his son Glen, the operation’s business manager.

The results achieved by their horses have been quite spectacular and started on January 15 when the Mitch Freedman trained Tararua won by eight lengths on debut in a 1000m maiden at Camperdown.

Tararua (Squamosa x Kiwi Charm) was bred by Mills Racing (Victoria) and sold for $5000 through Noorilim Park’s draft at the 2020 Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale.

But it was the results at Caulfield last Wednesday with two-year-old Exceed and Excel filly Miss Roseiano and then at The Valley on Saturday with Midwest and Pinstriped which were the real standouts.

Bred by Noorilim and purchased for $300,000 by Gelagotis Racing at Moe, Miss Roseiano, out of Special Lover (Pins x Special Diamond), shot into Blue Diamond calculations with victory in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Preview (1000m).

The win on debut was enough for Manny Gelagotis, General Manager and Assistant Trainer to his brother Peter, to declare the filly the best horse the stable has had.

Gelagotis said the filly should have sold for $1m but he got her for $300,000 and reckons her price tag is now $2m.

There was more excitement for Noorilim Park at The Valley on Saturday when Pinstriped and Midwest both won.

Bred by Bendigo trainer Brendon Hearps and a group of his owners, Midwest was bought through Noorilim Park’s draft by bloodstock agent Will Johnson for $200,000 at the 2020 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

Midwest, trained at Flemington by Anthony and Sam Freedman, has now won his past four starts with the winning sequence starting at Yarra Valley in late November last year after being gelded.

The son of Zoustar has now raced eight times and also has a second a third to take the gelding’s prize money to $150,875.

The three-year-old is out of Stratum mare Umgeton which won five sprint races for Hearps, including two at The Valley.

And there was plenty of excitement for Cranbourne trainer Enver Jusufovic when Pinstriped won the rich VOBIS Gold Carat (1200m).

After scoring a 5.5 length win on debut at Moe last September, Jusufovic spelled the son of Darley’s Street Boss for 17 weeks before tackling the $175,000 Gold Carat.

Now with prizemoney of $136,500, Jusufovic was keen to nominate Pinstriped for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5. The race carries prize money of $1m.

Jusufovic paid $80,000 for Pinstriped at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Weanling Sale.

The three-year-old is another high class product of Noorilim Park and is out of Snitzel Blitz (Snitzel x Francophile).

Noorilim Park’s Glen Carrick said they had enjoyed the success and hopefully it would keep rolling along.

“We have been trying our best and getting a bit of success as of late,” Carrick said.

“Pinstriped looks like a progressive type and hopefully he can go on with it and I see they are aiming for a Guineas and hopefully they can get there.

“It’s not easy at the top but hopefully he can keep going. You like to see them go on with it after their first prep and he is only very lightly raced.”

Pinstriped is the second foal out of Snitzel Blitz, with the first being gelding Menindee (Unencumbered) which has won one race from 16 starts.

And Carrick praised the Freedmans, commenting: “The Freedmans have done a good job with him,” he said.

“He wasn’t foaled down at our property but he came as a weanling and he was sold through our draft at Melbourne and he looks like he is progressive as well.”

Carrick said the farm had undergone a few changes, including the appointment of Chris Kent as operations manager.

“It’s grown a lot in the last eight months with the changeover with Chris,” he said.

Carrick said their homebred Miss Roseiano was certainly impressive with her Caulfield victory.

The dam Special Lover, bred by Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan, had already produced the winning gelding Easy Single (Not A Single Doubt), also bred by Noorilim Park.

The gelding, Special Lover’s first foal, was bought by Ciaron Maher for $200,000 at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

The four-year-old gelding has won three races and also had three seconds from eight starts. Noorilim Park retained an interest in the horse.

“He had an injury early days but they always liked him,” Carrick said.

“Miss Roseiano has it all ahead of her. She has got a huge pedigree and hopefully it will go on for the Gelagotis’ and she can do something in the autumn.”

Carrick said Miss Roseiano’s sale price of $300,000 was actually her reserve. He said they were thinking her price range was somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000.

He said they didn’t want to give her away because of her pedigree which he described as super.

“But it probably looks like we have given her away at the moment,” Carrick quipped. “You can’t keep them all.

“We usually stay in the ones we do like but unfortunately we didn’t take a leg in that one, but we probably should have.”

Special Lover missed after Miss Roseiano and now has a filly foal to I Am Invincible which Carrick says is a really nice type.

Unfortunately she is not in foal having missed to Snitzel last year.

“It’s hard going but I think we will have another crack at Snitzel this year or Exceed and Excel,” Carrick said

“The filly will be heading to one of the sales next year and the reserve is going to be a lot higher and I’ll let them all fight over her.

“It’s been a good couple of weeks for us.”

Carrick said they would offer a draft of 20 yearlings at Melbourne Premier and were some nice fillies and colts types among them as well as some “trainer’s horses.”

He said they were selling six yearlings for Mill Park Stud.

Among the yearlings that Carrick rates highly is the Noorilim Park bred half-sister to their stakes winner Crystal Bound (Not A Single Doubt x Crystalised) which is by Impending.

Bred in partnership with Noorilim Park, Ciaron Maher paid $400,000 for Crystal Bound which has raced five times for two wins, a second and a third and $406,250 in stakes.

“The half-sister is a really nice type and there is also Rubick filly out of Vuitton which has a good family. She is a beast of a filly and I think the buyers will like her,” he said.

“We need the favourite for the Blue Diamond, Jacquinot (Rubick x Ponterro) to show a bit before the sale.

“We also have some great yearlings, which our clients have entrusted to us. They are sired by the likes of I Am Invincible, Dundeel, Shamus Award and upcoming stallions such as Russian Revolution and Merchant Navy,” Carrick said.

Carrick also said they foaled down 109 mares last breeding season and they still have about 60 mares who reside on the farm.

Midwest ridden by Logan McNeil wins the Rendr Handicap at Moonee Valley Racecourse on January 29, 2022 in Moonee Ponds, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

It was something of a case of what comes around goes around for Bendigo trainer Brendon Hearps who decided to “experiment” with breeding a horse from a mare he’d trained.

Hearps and a group of his mates raced the handy sprinting mare Edgeton (Racer’s Edge x Croutons) which they bought for $5000, but she was worth much more when she retired a stakes winner and sold on as a broodmare.

The racing mates noted that Edgeton’s second foal by Stratum was coming up for sale as a weanling at the Magic Millions National Sale back in 2008.

“We were always going to go the Gold Coast to look at buying her but forgot all about it,” Hearps recalled.

“We were at the Swan Hill races where a mate had one going around there in one of the legs of the quaddie which he got and he said come on we’ll fly up to Queensland tomorrow and buy that filly. We booked the tickets.

“I think the quaddie paid fifty-something thousand and we got home and the missus said you’re wasting your time; the filly has already been sold, you fools. We had to cancel the tickets.”

Hearps said Chatswood had bought the filly for $18,000 and he rang to ask if they’d sell, but they told him no and that they’d be putting her through the sales.

He fronted up to Melbourne Premier the following year and paid $72,500 for the filly which was named Umgeton and went on to win five races which included two at Moonee Valley and one at Caulfield.

And this time around they decided to keep the mare and bred from her and so far her third foal has been her best and was sold through Noorilim Park Thoroughbreds’ draft at the 2020 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale for $200,000.

Named Midwest and trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman, the three-year-old has won his past four – including at The Valley last Saturday – since being gelded, Hearps admits that Midwest is going great.

“We only kept the mare (Umgeton) because we sold her mother Edgeton because a couple of the blokes wanted to get out of her so we put her on the market,” he said.

“We didn’t breed the mare (Umgeton) and bought her at the sales and she started winning a couple and I said to the boys we might breed from her when she is finished racing and they all agreed.”

Umgeton’s dam Edgeton won seven races – five at 1000m and two at 1100m – for Hearps and his mates.

Also a speed horse, Umgeton won three times at 1000m, once at 955m and once at 900m. Two of the wins were at Moonee Valley and another at Caulfield

Edgeton won at Flemington twice and four times at Moonee Valley.

“Umgeton was quicker than her mother but she started eating the rubber on the walls,” Hearps said.

“She had been eating the rubber off the wall for about a year and the vets found like a brick in her intestines.

“We never thought she’d get back to the races but she did but only had a few more starts and still won at Caulfield on a Saturday.”

Hearps said they were lucky when they sent Umgeton to stud when her racing career finished early in 2014 when they got a service fee to Written Tycoon for $10,000 at Woodside Park.

They then sent the mare to Zoustar for a modest $33,000. His current advertised fee is $154,000.

The first foal, Sacred Tycoon, was sold to O’Brien Thoroughbreds for $170,000, but has failed to produce on the track and is still a maiden after 12 starts and is with his third trainer.

The first mating with Zoustar produced Zoutons which was retained by Hearps and his mates, and so far the four-year-old gelding has raced 11 times for two wins, two seconds and a third.

“The same bloke who we got the service for $33,000, his mare died or something and he wanted to keep the service fee but he didn’t buy a mare in between one year or the other so he said you can have the service fee for $33,000. So we got it again for $33,000 the following year and it’s the little bloke, Midwest,” he said.

“We got $200,000 for Midwest, but he was a beautiful colt.

“We sold the first one out of the mare, kept the second one and sold the third one and kept the fourth one and she is her now a two-year-old by Rich Enuff and I have given her one trial and she goes like her mother. Her blood line is unreal.

“And we have got a Foxwedge just being broken in by Julien Welsh.”

Hearps said Umgeton is in foal to Swettenham Stud stallion Rubick. She missed to IIovethiscity in 2020.

He said Mark and Levi Kavanagh have a Rubick gelding – Heroic Chief – which was the last foal out of Edgeton which died in 2017.

Now a four-year-old gelding, Heroic Chief has had a win, two seconds and a third from six races.

“It goes pretty good and I told the boys we’d send it to Rubick and get a close relation,” he said.

“The main bloke in the horses, Max Grieve, told the Freedmans when we sold Midwest in Melbourne that he wouldn’t mind keeping a quarter so he stayed in it.

“He has had 35 per cent of the horses with me for 25 to 30 years. He says we breed these horses to race but you keep selling them, but I told there are others in there as well.

“Max is the backbone behind it all and it’s good to see him reaping some rewards.

“We’ve been lucky with the two we’ve sold, and I wanted to sell the Foxwedge but Max said we’re selling no more and we are keeping the fillies.”

Hearps said they only bred from Umgeton as an experiment with the 10 shareholders in the horses and says a lot of money goes into breeding.

“But we’ve been pretty lucky,” he said.

Midwest was bought by Sydney based bloodstock agent Will Johnson.

It didn’t take long for Johnson, along with Rosemont Stud’s Anthony Mithen and the Freedmans, to fill the ownership of horse.

There are so many owners, including Geelong footballer Tom Hawkins, that Johnson isn’t named in the official ownership – but his mother Lisa’s name is in the racebook.

“He’s working his way through the grades nicely and has been well placed by Anthony and Sam and there are plenty of happy connections,” he said.

“A lot of the guys are in Warning (Victoria Derby winner) with me and they dug up a few more friends to get involved from school.

“They having a good time, along with one of the breeders Max Grieve who is still in the ownership and he also raced the dam.”

Johnson said that with Zoustar being a is a topline stallion they were looking for a horse that could go as a two-year-old and Midwest met that criteria physically.

“And he did end up running in the Blue Diamond preview,” he said.

“His mental aptitude probably lent itself to gelding sooner than later.

“Once we made that call, it was the right decision and haven’t looked back.”

Johnson said there weren’t too many options at the 1000m to 1100m coming up so it might be just be a case of just letting Midwest tick over or go out for a little spell to freshen up.

Johnson said he predominately buys for Peter and Paul Snowden, but every year likes to put some friends from school and his family into a couple of horses.

Johnson selected Warning (Declaration of War x Livia), along with his friend, Sam Freedman who he attended Melbourne Grammar with, for $65,000 at the 2018 Adelaide Yearling Sale. The five-year-old has won $2.2m.