The colts’ fund, spearheaded by Rosemont Stud and involving a host of other Victorian breeders, including Noorilim Park, Musk Creek, Iskander Racing and Glentree Racing, has 11 named horses heading into their 2-year-old seasons and those names are amongst the most famous to wear the ‘Big V’ Victorian guernsey.

Dunstall (I Am Invincible) and Brereton (Zoustar) are named after Hawthorn’s dominant key forward-pairing of the 1980s and early 1990s, Daicos is a Capitalist colt carrying the moniker of the mercurial Collingwood forward, while Whitten (Written Tycoon) is named after one of the greatest Victorian football figures of all time, ‘Mr Football’, Ted Whitten.

Tom Hafey, one of the most revered coaches in VFL history, has an I Am Invincible colt in his name, while brilliant Geelong rover of the 1960s, Bill Goggin, is honoured by a Written Tycoon colt. Rosemont’s close proximity to Geelong is also reflected in the naming of Bews (I Am Invincible), a colt who shares his name with one-time Cats skipper and All-Australian defender, Andrew Bews.

Hafey as a yearling

Brownlow medallist Bernie Quinlan, who held the nickname Superboot, and kicked 817 goals in a 366-game career for Footscray and Fitzroy, has an I Am Invincible colt named after him, while Neitz (Brazen Beau) carries the name of former Melbourne captain David Neitz.

Then there is the iconic Carlton defensive duo Stephen Silvagni and Bruce Doull, who have colts by Siyouni (Fr) and Snitzel named in their honour.

“Those who the horses have been named after have, at one stage, worn the famous ‘Big V’ in their careers.” – Anthony Mithen

The idea was sparked from a conversation at Rosemont a few months ago, where principal Anthony Mithen and his team were thinking about a theme they could follow with the Victorian Alliance purchases.

“It’s been quite a fun exercise,” Mithen said. “Myself, Ryan (McEvoy), Ted (Mithen) and Nige (Austin) had a bit of a spitball session over a beer, thinking about what are we going to do about naming these colts.

Anthony Mithen | Image courtesy of Inglis

“I thought we should probably try and find a Victorian theme for the names. Given we all love footy, what about for the first batch, let’s kick off with a naming theme around our next great passion, which is Aussie Rules. So we named them after famous ‘Big V’ footballers.”

State Of Origin football was a huge part of Australian Rules until the establishment of the AFL from an expanded VFL in the 1990s. Those who the horses have been named after have, at one stage, worn the famous ‘Big V’ in their careers.

“We put the idea to the partners in the Alliance and they liked the idea and gave us the license to work our way with Racing Australia to come up with names that were available,” Mithen said.

That wasn’t an easy task with several names unavailable or rejected. Among them was Skilton, after triple Brownlow Medallist Bob Skilton, who had a horse named after him by Rod Douglas a week before Mithen and his team spoke to Racing Australia, while there was no luck naming a horse Lockett, after record-breaking goalkicker Tony Lockett.

“We would have loved to have named a horse after Plugger,” Mithen said.

What’s in a name?

Matching the available names to the horses was the next part of the journey, with a few of them finding natural fits.

“We looked up Tommy Hafey’s Wikipedia page and he was described as the benchmark of elite coaching in the ’70s and ’80s. T-shirt Tommy gets a good run there with the I Am Invincible-Beat The Benchmark colt named after him,” Mithen said.

Doull, known as The Flying Doormat, was a legendary player for Carlton, playing 356 games and winning four premierships for the Blues. He was also known for his reticence with the media and when the $1.2 million colt by Snitzel out of Bulbula (Shamardal {USA}) ended up at Anthony and Sam Freedman’s stable, Mithen felt the name had particular relevance.

Doull as a yearling

“Anthony is a bit of a recalcitrant when it comes to speaking with the media and the like, so it’s a bit of a nod to Anthony and his grumpiness. I reckon it’s more than appropriate,” he said.

Among the former footballers to already know that he has a horse named after him is Neitz, who Mithen was able to contact through mutual friend, Russell Robertson.

“He was on TV doing a promo with him and I texted Russell to get him to tell Neita we have named a horse after him. Robbo came back and said he was quite delighted about that,” he said.

“Hopefully there are one or two that do the names justice and there is a proud footballer looking on from the grandstands at some stage, doffing their cap to us.” – Anthony Mithen

“Hopefully there are one or two that do the names justice and there is a proud footballer looking on from the grandstands at some stage, doffing their cap to us.”

To the track

With the names in place, the challenge is now to get the horses to the racetrack. The 11 named colts are with eight different trainers, with at least three of them showing positive early signs.

“There’s a couple that will make early trials, and hopefully the early stakes races in Sydney and Melbourne. That’s encouraging,” Mithen said.

“The Precious Lorraine colt by I Am Invincible, Quinlan, is showing signs with Gai and Adrian that he wants to get to something competitive early. Whether that’s a trial or two, or through to one of those early 2-year-old races in Sydney, we will see.

“There’s a couple that will make early trials, and hopefully the early stakes races in Sydney and Melbourne.” – Anthony Mithen

“We’ve actually got a new Irish lady at the farm called Lorraine, and given the connection with the name and that colt, Quinlan, she’s been dubbed Superboot around the farm. She’s got no idea why that is that case, but she likes it.”

Hafey, who is being prepared by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, is another colt making bold progress towards a possible appearance in the early 2-year-old races.

Brereton, the Zoustar colt out of Fuddle Dee Duddle (Red Ransom {USA}), which cost $1 million through the Widden Stud draft at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, had a jump-out for his trainer Peter Moody earlier this month.

Brereton as a yearling

The Victorian Alliance-owned horses will all carry a variation of the Rosemont red and white silks when they do get to the racetrack.

“It will be the Rosemont colours with a navy blue armband and the Victorian alliance logo sitting on the bicep,” Mithen said.

The ‘footy’ theme is not guaranteed to continue to future crops of colts purchased by the Alliance, with Mithen saying they would keep an open mind.

“We’ve got to come up with another theme for next year, whether it be great Victorian rivers, buildings or landmarks; we will see,” he said.

Dunstall I Am Invincible x Petition (Foxwedge) Jason Dunstall – 269 games, 3 for Victoria TBC $950,000 MM Gold Coast Coolmore Stud
Brereton Zoustar x Fuddle Dee Duddle (Red Ransom) Dermott Brereton – 211 games, 9 for Victoria Peter Moody $1,000,000 MM Gold Coast Widden Stud
Whitten Written Tycoon x Jester’s Girl (Commands) Ted Whitten – 321 games, 29 for Victoria Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr $300,000 MM Gold Coast Edinburgh Park
Bews I Am Invincible x Overstep (Exceed And Excel) Andrew Bews – 282 games, 12 for Victoria Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr $400,000 MM Gold Coast Yarraman Park
Quinlan I Am Invincible x Precious Lorraine (Encosta de Lago) Bernie Quinlan – 366 games, 4 for Victoria Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott $600,000 MM Gold Coast Baramul Stud
Daicos Capitalist x Silk Sheets (Exceed And Excel) Peter Daicos – 250 games, 5 for Victoria Peter and Paul Snowden $350,000 MM Gold Coast Attunga Stud
Goggin Written Tycoon x Shaaheq (Redoute’s Choice) Bill Goggin – 248 games, 14 for Victoria Danny O’Brien $200,000 Inglis Easter Yarraman Park
Hafey I Am Invincible x Beat The Benchmark (Speightstown) Tom Hafey – 67 games, 522 as coach Ciaron Maher and David Eustace $525,000 Inglis Easter Coolmore Stud
Doull Snitzel x Bulbula (Shamardal) Bruce Doull – 356 games, Victorian representative Anthony and Sam Freedman $1,200,000 Inglis Easter Yarraman Park
Neitz Brazen Beau x Balaclava Lady (Charge Forward) David Neitz – 306 games, 2 for Victoria Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott $200,000 Inglis Melbourne Premier Shadow Hill
Silvagni Siyouni x Bouquet de Flores (Streey Cry) Stephen Silvagni – 312 games, 7 for Victoria John O’Shea $520,000 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yulong

Table: The Victorian Alliance 2-year-olds

Article Courtesy of TDN.