A triple Group 1 winning gelding and Moonee Valley legend is relishing his new career at one of Victoria’s premier breeding farms.
Enjoying the sun on his back and the lush pastures of Woodside Park Stud, popular galloper Bomber Bill (Air De France) is now relishing his post racing career as a nanny, supervising the next generation of gallopers.
He was initially retired to Living Legends at Oaklands Junction, the home of former champions, but the evergreen gelding was not ready for the quiet life and was thus loaned out for assistant duties in the breeding sector.
An important job, Bomber keeps the youngsters relaxed and secure with his presence in the group. Having only just been separated from their mothers, the weanling foals have each other for company and Bomber Bill as a calming career making the process less stressful.
While Bomber is keeping the weanlings in line, we can reminisce on his magnificent racing career that saw the warhorse remembered as the sprinter who gave everything whatever the weight, distance, company or weather.
Beginning his career in Perth, he won his first seven races straight for local trainer Hec McLaren, including the Group 1 Karrakatta Plate. Clearly a class above the Western Australian sprinters, owner Vic Schlesniak (Jnr) decided to send the gifted three-year-old east.
Arriving at Caulfield, he was trained by Aquanita trio, John Sadler, Russell Cameron and finally Robert Smerdon over his racing career.
“An old marvel, a class sprinter, horses like him don’t walk into your yard every day – it’s more like once in a lifetime,” Sadler said.
“What a great kind old horse he was, we had some fun with him, and if he had been blessed with sound feet, one wonders how far he would have gone. He loved his racing, and he loved to compete,” Cameron said.
“He was a real racehorse, you’d love to have a few of them, that win a couple of hundred thousand each year. He could lead with taxingly big weights, or sit on the outside and grind them into the ground. He would be the only horse in history to have had three different trainers without leaving his stable,” Smerdon said.
A three-time Group 1 winner, including the Australia Stakes, Goodwood Handicap and Karrakatta Plate, he also won at Group 2 level twice, and an amazing seven times at Group 3 level.
After 98 starts, Bomber Bill retired at 11 years young, having filled the top three placings 34 times with 23 outright wins over nine racing seasons. He amassed an incredible $1.89 million in prize money. Bomber Bill won in four states and competed internationally in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint and the Group 3 Golden Shaheen in Dubai.
In his last career win, Bomber Bill finally secured the Group 3 Rubiton Stakes. Running last at his first attempt six years earlier, third in 2001, second in 2002, and at ten years-of-age Bomber Bill lined up for the fourth time at his 87th race start for a hard earned victory.
A crowd favourite on track, horses with a constitution similar to Bomber Bill’s may belong to a bygone era. A tough, unswerving and reliable warrior, he always gave his all.
Let’s hope Bomber is whispering into the ears of the next generation of future gallopers, and they take note, as they have much to learn from one of Australia’s most loved (and still loved) thoroughbreds.