Barb Ivill was a loved member of Victorian breeding. (Photo: Racing.com)

Barbara Ivill, who passed away last Wednesday aged 89, is being remembered as a wonderful horsewoman who devoted a lifetime to horses, particularly the Victorian thoroughbred industry.

Friends and colleagues say one of her biggest achievements was the mentoring of many women.

Ivill and her late husband Ted established Little Plains Stud on a 100-acre farm at Laceby, near Wangaratta, in 1968.

The Ivills were both well known in the equestrian world before they established their stud which was named after a river in Ted’s New South Wales hometown of Craigie.

They bred thoroughbreds, sold and prepared yearlings and also stood stallions, including Barbara’s beloved Demus.

Back when Barbara celebrated her 80th birthday on May 20 2013, she told of her love of working outdoors with horses and other animals, including her cattle dogs, and said that as long as she was in good physical shape she’d didn’t know when she’d hang up her boots.

“When Ted passed away 17 years ago, he’d been sick for some time, so it wasn’t a huge transition for me to keep running the farm,” she said at the time.

“It hasn’t been easy but it’s been a lot of fun and certainly hasn’t been boring.

“You have to be jack-of-all-trades running a commercial property. I was once a nurse so that’s helped me in the veterinary side of things.”

Little Plains Stud had 15 yearlings go through Melbourne Premier the year Ivill turned 80 and she was certainly no stranger to the sales.

“I remember the first-ever sale at Oaklands when it was owned by Dalgety,” Ivill recalled in an interview.

“It was hot with a howling wind and there weren’t any trees.”

Inglis paid special tribute to Ivill on the opening day of last week’s Great Southern Sale.

Inglis’ bloodstock general manager and auctioneer Jonathan D’Arcy said she had been a great supporter of the company and a constant fixture at the sales.

“I just said that I wanted to mark her passing and send our condolences and wishes to her family and friends and what a remarkable woman she had been,” he said

“She was a great mentor to a lot of young staff that came through the industry.
“She was a wonderful lady and I went up to the farm probably half a dozen times and she was lovely and she will be missed by a lot of people.”

And while Ivill bred many top horses, the Group 3 winning Widgee Turf (Turffontein x Greyhound) was one that she was particularly proud of after selling him for $4,500 as a weanling at the Great Southern Sale in 2014.

Only retired in March of last year, the Patrick Payne-trained gelding raced 42 times for 11 wins, 10 seconds and four-thirds and banked $1.26 million.
Ivill’s long-time friend and neighbour Leeanne Smith, who operates Bucklee Farm at Greta West, between Benalla and Wangaratta, said they were also a show jumping family, which continued with their son, John.

“They were also drovers and Barbara and Teddy would go droving,” Smith said.

“She had been a horsewoman all her life and a very good horsewoman and a very good mentor.”

Ivill sold Little Plains in September 2020.

Smith said that Ivill was well known in the area for foaling down and throughout the industry she was equally well known for mentoring and helping others.

“There was an incentive for Aboriginals, I can’t tell you when but many years ago, but they came to Little Plains and they taught them breaking in and what have you,” she said.

Smith recalls that the Ivills were predominately horse breakers when they first established Little Plains and they then became breeders and stood stallions.

“I was taught years ago by Thelma Harris, she was one of the first stud mistresses in Victoria, and then I went training for a few years and met Barbara up here when I shifted up to Wangaratta,” she said.

“I worked for Barbara doing foaling down and different things during the stud season before going out on my own but she has had many, many good people through her hands.

“She mentored an awful lot of people and I can just picture now some of the girls.”

While Ivill was associated with several top horses, Smith it was Widgee Turf that gave her so much in interest in her later years.

“And earlier Demus was the love of her life. He was a lovely stallion and she sort of reaped the benefits by having him,” she said.

“She truly was a stalwart in the industry.”

Smith, who has operated her stud for more than 25 years, said it was lovely when Inglis recognised Ivill’s involvement in the sales and the breeding industry.

And she said two of Ivill’s grandchildren are also heavily in horses. Matt Ivill has his training licence and sister Grace is an accomplished show jumper. Her other grandchildren are James, Rory, Ned, and Florence.

Smith described Ivill as a quiet achiever, kind, and a stalwart of the industry who was always fair in her dealings and knew the value of hard work.

Stockwell Thoroughbreds’ Mike Becker said Ivill had been a popular figure around the sales for many years.

“She was a wonderful woman,” he said.

“She was unique in several ways and was a great horsewoman in her own right but probably in her later years, and others will reflect on it too, but the number of young girls and women that she employed and taught and imparted her vast knowledge made her a real trendsetter in that area.”

Becker said there would be a lot of women in the industry very thankful for what Ivill had taught them.

It was only fitting that Ivill would be farewelled with a service to celebrate her life in the Grand Oaks Room, Wangaratta Turf Club on Wednesday, June 15 at 11am.

A private cremation will follow the service.

Gold Standard sired his first Group One winner in the JJ Atkins. (Photo: Widden Stud)

They say that timing can be everything.

And there’s been a double dose involving seven-year-old stallion Gold Standard (Sebring x Coniston Gem).

The stallion grabbed the attention of breeders when two-year-old Sheeza Belter (Saxabelle), from Gold Standard’s first crop, won the Group 2 Sires Produce Stakes (1350m) and then won her next start by taking out the Group 1 JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

Sheeza Belter is the first filly to win the JJ Atkins Stakes since Linky Dink (Keeper x Gimmick) in 2009.

The former Perth galloper, now trained at Randwick by Peter and Paul Snowden, has raced seven times for four wins, a second and a third.
The filly has already put more than $1.4m in the bank for owner Justin Warwick who paid $50,000 for the filly at the Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale last year.

Bred by prominent Melbourne breeder Robert Crabtree, the Group 2 winning Gold Standard started stud duties at Spendthrift Farm in Victoria but was relocated to Widden Stud when Spendthrift closed down its Australian operation.

While lamenting the loss of Spendthrift to the Victorian industry, Widden has benefited greatly from Sheeza Belter’s outstanding performances.

Despite serving a modest book of 26 mares at a service fee of $5500 last season, there has been an incredible rush for the stallion whose biggest book was 71 in his second season in 2019.

Widden Stud Victoria’s Adam Henry said the rush has come off the back of Sheeza Belter’s Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm on May 28.

“She started her career by winning the WA Magic Millions in her first prep and then went over to the Snowdens and won the Group 2 Sires and now the big Group 1,” Henry said.

“It’s pretty amazing.”

Henry said there were only 25 bookings now left for Gold Standard whose service fee was increased after Sheeza Belter’s JJ Atkins win.

“His service fee has been increased,” he said.

“He was announced at $8,800 but that has since gone to $17,600 and we are honouring all existing bookings in the system but anything going forward will be done at the $17,600.”

Henry said Gold Standard’s book had been capped at 150. He has served 195 mares in his four seasons at stud.

“Pretty much we announced him on the Friday and Sheeza Belter won on the Saturday and I reckon we took 80 bookings over the next couple of days after that,” he said.

“We made the announcement on the 27th of May that he would be standing at Widden Victoria and then on the 28th, the next day, Sheeza Belter won the Group 2 Sires Produce – the million-dollar race.

“And from there the enquiries haven’t stopped. It’s a pretty amazing feat.”

As of Monday, Henry said Gold Standard ($1,537,640) was only $155,000 short of being champion first season with just six runners.

He said the leader Russian Revolution ($1,692,720) has had 40 runners.

Henry said he wasn’t sure why Golden Standard had a small book of mares last season but says the stallion’s lower profile back then was probably a contributing factor.

“But it’s all about what they can do with their progeny,” he said.

“What he is doing at the moment is off 42 live foals and then he has got another 42 (from 2019) to come for next year and then he’ll be serving 150 mares this season.

“Extreme Choice has shown that you can do it from a small book if you are good enough and it looks like Gold Standard is heading in that direction.”

Henry said Gold Standard was attracting a better type of broodmare and had shown what he could do with limited numbers and probably not the best mares in the Stud Book.

He said they were also excited to have another two former Spendthrift stallions – Dirty Work (Written Tycoon x Maidel) and Overshare (I Am Invincible x Savannah’s Choice) – on the roster.

Dirty Work served 155 mares in his first season last year.

“And then we saw through the Magic Millions sale how mares in foal to him were in high demand,” Henry said.

“There were ten that made two hundred grand or more that were in foal to him.

“It’s high demand for him, a son of Written Tycoon.

“And Overshare has had a great start to stud with three runners for two winners and a placegetter, including Annabel Neasham’s filly (Lady Laguna) which has had a couple of Group 2 placings in two-year-old races.

“Overshare has had a great start as well.”

Henry said they were happy to take the baton from Spendthrift and build on what they’d done with the stallions that had been relocated to Widden.

And Henry believes they’d probably be the only Victorian stud to have three stallions – Magnus, Star Witness and Nicconi – on the roster to each have 100 or more winners for the season.

“I don’t know if anyone else could boast that off the one roster in Victoria,” he said.

Victoria - Thoroughbred Country

She Dances ridden by Linda Meech returns to the mounting yard after winning the IVE > Print Handicap at Ladbrokes Park Lakeside Racecourse on June 11, 2022 in Springvale, Australia. (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

Deanna Pope was at Randwick last Saturday to watch a friend’s horse race but had her eyes firmly fixed on the television to watch the opening race at Sandown.

But it was only after the race that she realised that she’d bred the winner, She Dances, which her family sold through Blue Gum Farm’s draft for $180,000 at last year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

The reason Pope took a special interest in the race was that she has a share in Cusack (Not A Single Doubt x Belle Que) which finished second, beaten three lengths by She Dances (Street Boss x Charleston Dancer).

“The reason I was watching the race because my sister and I are in Cusack and I didn’t know she (She Dances) was in the race because I didn’t know her name,” Pope said.

“After the race a friend text me and  asked if I had bred the winner and I had a look and said ‘oh my God, I did.’

“I didn’t know that I’d been beaten by one of our own and if I’d known I would have had a quinella.

“I knew Pete Moody had her but I didn’t know what her name was so it didn’t even occur to me and because I was in Sydney I didn’t have the book but I usually look at the breeding.

“It was a very nice surprise, I must say. It was good to run second and to find out that we bred the winner was pretty nice and we couldn’t have been happier with our little girl.”

She Dances is owned by prominent owner and breeder Gerry Ryan and former World No. 1 tennis player Frank Sedgman.

The two-year-old filly’s granddam is champion mare Innovation Girl (Rubiton x Bright Gleam), bred by the Pope family who also bred Bright Gleam (Jugah x Voodoo Gleam).

Pope recalls that She Dances’ dam, the specially named Charleston Girl (Lonhro), was small but won a 900m maiden at Murray Bridge from her six starts which also included a second over 1000m at Bairnsdale for trainer Ciaron Maher.

“She just didn’t grow but we knew from her breeding that she was valuable to us and was a favourite,” she said.

“Also with her name, our mum passed away and my sisters and I wanted to name a horse after her and she used to tell us that she was a Charleston champion in Adelaide so we named the filly Charleston Dancer.

“We were hoping she was a super star but she didn’t quite get there on the track, but she might as a broodmare.”

She Dances is Charleston Dancer’s first foal after missing to Exceed and Excel at her first season at stud in 2017.

And she again missed to Exceed and Excel in 2019, but the following season had a filly to Snitzel and is again in foal to the stallion.

The Popes, led by father Des and daughters Deanna, Dale and Danielle, are proud of their breeding record with this equine family which started when they bred Innovation Girl’s dam, Bright Gleam.

Innovation Girl, a seven-time Stakes winner, was by 1987 Cox Plate winner Rubiton who Des Pope – who owns Pope Packaging –  later purchased and stood at Blue Gum Farm.

And just two weeks after suffering a fatal colic attack, the mare’s last foal, Ideas Man (Brazen Beau) picked up $302,000 on debut by winning the Inglis Banner for two-year-olds at The Valley in 2019. The Popes sold Ideas Man for $575,000 at the 2019 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale and retained some ownership in the now four-year-old which has new owners and is racing in Darwin where he won his last start by six lengths.

Another of Innovation Girls’ progeny, the Listed winner Chloe In Paris (Exceed and Excel) has had success with her first two foals, fillies Bossy Chloe (Street Boss) and Rue Vivienne (Lonhro) and both are already winners.

The third foal out of Chloe In Paris is the unraced two-year-old colt Devereux (Zoustar) which is trained at Pakenham by Moody.

The mare has a filly by Zoustar and another by Brazen Beau and is in foal to Brazen Beau.

Pope admitted that he father had been a bit down about the breeding caper lately as he’d been putting a lot in but not getting much back after selling only one yearling this year.

Hopefully he’ll be happy with Charleston Dancer’s Snitzel filly which was born last September.

“She is a beautiful weanling,” she said.

“And Charleston Dancer is in foal to Snitzel again and she is going back to him again.

“She was the one we chose to go to Snitzel.”

After She Dances won at Sandown, Pope sent her father a text and said “did you see that.”

She said the victory certainly gave him a lift.

The Popes have been keen to get Snitzel into the pedigree of their broodmares.

And while Campbell can’t talk highly enough of the Snitzel weanling, Pope said they were unsure at this stage whether the filly would be offered for sale.

“There is a good chance we might keep her but we’ll see if the next one is a filly so then we’ve got choices,” she said.

“But the goal is to have a Snitzel filly to add to our broodmare band but if we get another one then we can see where we go with them.”

Pope said it was the first time that her father had decided to send one of his mares to an elite stallion. Snitzel stood for $165,000 during Covid, but his fee this season is back at $220,000.

“After Charleston Dancer had that winner on Saturday, I thought that we had made the right decision to send her to Snitzel,” she said.

“ I thought it was a good choice and that we made the right choice with the right mare to send to him.

“You have always got dilemmas.”

Pope said they had retired their broodmare, Group 2 winner Truly Wicked (Rubiton x Dizzy Lass) which they bred and raced. The mare had the last of her12 foals last year, a Frosted filly. One of the first horses the Popes sold was Exceed and Excel gelding Amber Sky, out of Truly Wicked, which won nearly $2m in Hong Kong.

Another mare they bred, Group 3 winner Tyche Goddess (Teofilo x Cornelia Marie) has been retired from the track and has a booking with So You Think.

Chloe In Paris’ first two foals, Rue Vivienne (Lonhro), which has been retired with a couple of issues after winning a 1050m maiden at Oakbank on Easter Saturday, and Bossy Chloe (Street Boss) could be joining the Pope broodmare band.

“Because we have got three adding to our six, we might look at selling one or two,” she said.

“But we have got Hampton Classic (Exceed and Excel x Truly Wicked) in foal (to Kermadec).

“Dad wants to kind of put a cap on it.

“Dad is almost 87 and he still loves it and asks me to send him a list of what broodmares we’ve got and I’ll sit down with him this week and decide where we are going to send the rest of the mares and which ones we might want to keep.

“He is still working in the business and still doing the horses and I am there to back him up.”

Now with two unraced two-years-olds with Peter Moody, including Lake Agawam (Lonhro x Hampton Classic), the Popes up until recently had five horses with South Australian trainer  David Jolly  but retirements and moving some on, including Ideas Man, have been left with just one – another homebred, Larimer Street,

The four-year-old Brazen Beau gelding started his career in Victoria where he won the Listed Valley Pearl Stakes (1200m) at The Valley.  He has added another two wins to that victory since crossing the border.

Larimer Street is by Brazen Beau and out of the unraced Pope mare Original Choice (Redoute’s Choice x Innovation Girl) which produced prolific winners Waltzing Willie (Street Cry) and his full brother Fulton Street.

The Popes originally came from Adelaide where Des Pope had horses with Pat Barnes.

“We moved to Melbourne and Dad got out of it for a little while and then Pat Barnes was over here with Rubiton and it got us all involved again,’’ Pope said.

“And then when we bought Rubiton and stood him, that’s what got us into the breeding side of things.

“We got the nice broodmares out of him.”

While Pope said they race a few “on the side”, it’s the ones they breed that mean the most to them.

They like to get five or six foals a year, but there are no guarantees and usually they average four.

And last season they had five fillies from their mares. Pope says they love them all but have to make the tough decision of which ones to keep.

Victoria - Thoroughbred Country

Victorian stallion De Gaulle has had seven runners for two winners.

Quilly Park’s Richard Anderson is having success in Macau with two horses, including three-year-old Aeroport which is by the stallion De Gaulle that he part-owns.

Anderson bred Aeroport which is out of Quilly Park’s mare Varone (Holy Roman Emperor x Sorren Tessa).

After five starts in South Australia for a second, Anderson decided to try his luck in Macau.

But it’s been four-year-old Yuanno (Pierro x Volted) that has been the star for Anderson and majority owner Yuan Wenzhong.

The four-year-old won a 2000m maiden at Ararat for Cranbourne trainer Trevor Rogers who raced the horse seven times.

“In Australia, we need the speed on all the time,” Anderson said.

“They stack them up here and because he had a few knee issues, if he is striking the ground hard, he jars up.

“But if he is free-flowing and rolling, he doesn’t feel it so we thought we’d send him up there to Macau and have a go at the Macau Derby.”

Since arriving in Macau last year, Yuanno has so far raced six times for three wins, one second, one third and a fourth and has collected more than AUD$120,000 in prizemoney.

And Yuanno is set to tackle some rich races after his recent victory in the Macau Derby Trial (G3).

The gelding’s next target races are the Macau Guineas on 18 June and the Macau Derby on 17 July.

Yuanno’s Derby Trial victory secured the gelding’s place in the G1 Derby (1800m) which carries prizemoney of around AUD$400,000.

Anderson said Aeroport won his maiden and beat two horses that had won a million dollars in local money.

Aeroport gave De Gaulle, which stands at Bombora Downs, his second winner.

“Madame Du Gast gave him his first winner (in January) at Flemington, so the stallion has had seven runners for two winners and three placegetters,” Anderson said.

“I decided to send Aeroport to Macau because he is a front-runner based on all his track work and everything he was doing. When he was with Jon O’Connor (Morphettville trainer) he had to lead or had to be sitting up on the speed and he just wants to go one speed this horse.”

Anderson said all the attention had been on Yuanno who had become something of a superstar since arriving in Macau.

He said they had to make sure he acclimatised to the conditions and luckily he did.

“If there is a chance of winning the Macau Derby then there is the chance of going to Hong Kong to race because you’ve raced and won,” Anderson said.

“And that’s the dream of Mr Yuan (Wenzhong).”

Anderson is hopeful that Aeroport’s win will attract some local interest in the stallion’s progeny in Macau.

And he said that Warrnambool trainer Symon Wilde had bought Madame Du Gast’s full sister for $115,000 at this year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

Anderson said it was a great return on a $5500 service fee.

John Allen returns to the mounting yard on Colombe D'or after winning the Danny Beranic Conveyancing 3YO Fillies Maiden Plate, at Geelong Racecourse on June 05, 2022 in Geelong, Australia.(Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Race caller Adam Crettenden couldn’t hide his excitement with the scintillating debut win of Colombe D’Or over 1400m at Geelong on Sunday when the three-year-old filly came from last to claim victory by a length.

Starting as the second favourite at $3.10, Colombe D’Or overcame the outside barrier and showed an enormous turn of foot to overhaul the Danny O’Brien trained $2.70 favourite, Shalily.

“By golly, she is steaming home and she gets over the top of them and that’s a remarkable win…..Colombe D’Or, amazing to win there,” Crettenden said during the finishing stages of the race.

And Crettenden’s post-race comments were even more glowing when said he didn’t think the daughter of Swettenham Stud stallion Rubick was any chance with the way the race was being run.

“Goodness she has really let rip in the last 200 metres and when we look at the sectionals out of this meeting, I reckon this will be the best last 600, 400 and 200 out of the meeting, easily,” he said.

“She has just come with a big rush late and got over the top of them and there might be something in this filly.”

David Eustace, who co-trains with Ciaron Maher, said they were a bit cautious before the race with the filly that had taken a bit of time, soon turns four and was having her first start.

“She has strengthened well from her last prep and showed for a horse that should stay that there is a turn of foot there which is a good combination,” Eustace said.

Eustace said he was delighted for the owners of Colombe D’Or, Thompson Creek Thoroughbreds at Modewarre near Geelong, and their other owners, including VRC chief Neil Wilson.

Thompson Creek Thoroughbreds, based out of Glentree South, is a real family affair and is owned by Wes and Sally Ballantine and his sister Marlo and brother-in-law Guyan Stroud.

And Wes and Marlo’s parents Derek, a well-known journalist and former stud master and owner, and Kaye reside at Glentree South where they oversee all the equine activities.

It was Derek who picked out Colombe D’Or at the Magic Millions 2019 Gold Coast National Weanling Sale and paid $32,000 for the filly.

But Wes admits they contemplated pinhooking the filly and had her entered in the following year’s yearling sale on the Gold Coast, but withdrew her.

The filly was bred by Musk Creek Farm in partnership and is out of Lashezz (Zabeel x Lashed). The granddam Lashed (Encosta De Lago x Traffic Watch), was bred by Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan, and won six Stakes races, from 1500m to 2000m, including three at Group 1 level.

Lashezz never made it to the track for Musk Creek, and then her first foal, by Zoffany died after birth, the following year in 2017 she missed to I Am Invincible and Extreme Choice and then produced Colombe D’Or.

Musk Creek’s Scott Williamson said they bred and then sold Colombe D’Or as a weanling through Widden’s draft and then sold her dam in 2019.

After being sold by Musk Creek to Taormina Lodge in Queensland, Lashezz had a colt by Holler, the unraced two-year-old Gallodoro. Lashezz wasn’t served by in 2020 and then was offered in foal to Dubious (Not A Single Doubt x Suspicieuse) earlier this year in an online auction.

Wes Ballantine, who is CEO of Australia’s leading smart meter and energy data supplier Intellihub, said he bought the mare for $10,000. The former Maher-trained Dubious stands in Queensland for $13,200 and was a Group 2 winner over 1200m and a Group 3 winner over 1000m.

“We bought the mare two or three months ago and felt that she (Colombe D’Or) was training well and the mare was passed in for $10,000 in the online sale and we rang up and bought her,” he said.

“If Colombe D’Or can do something, we’ll think about her (Lashezz) mating for the current year but we haven’t thought through where she’ll go.

“And if she can win another one or two then we’ll seriously think about putting her to a top-class stallion.”

He described Colombe D’Or’s win as super impressive.

“She has taken a bit of time to come to hand,” Ballantine said.

“We always thought she had a real little bit of class about her and she certainly delivered on day one.

“We probably didn’t think she’d be that far back and then at the top of the straight we thought she’d come home strongly, maybe for a strong second but she gobbled them up and got the job done.

“She is a beautiful type and it’s the usual thing and if you’re patient and give them time then it usually works out for the best.”

Ballantine said the filly had always thrown to the Zabeel side and her granddam Lashed was a champion racehorse that claimed the ARC Zabeel Classic as one of her three Group 1 victories over 2000m.

“We bought her with half an eye at the weanling sale to potentially pinhook her and sort of went into the next year’s yearling sales and we had some friends who wanted to get involved and we said we have a nice one on the farm and why don’t we keep her,” he said.

“We syndicated her at a good price for a bunch of friends and everyone is going to enjoy the journey.

“And we are not professional syndicators but from time to time we will put a syndicate together with friends and family in different horses.”

Ballantine said they had bought the 120-acre farm and owned the Thompson Creek Thoroughbreds business for five years.

They started off offering agistment to Maher and other trainers but over the past three seasons had focused on broodmares.

“I guess we have become the leading walk-on farm for Rosemont Stud as in a mare feeder farm. Last year we foaled down about 50 mares and in addition to dries, we managed about 75 mares during the season, with the vast majority walking onto Rosemont,” he said.

“We probably would have had about 45 walking onto Rosemont to go to Shamus Award and he is a very attractive stallion in the local area.

“So we manage our own mares plus external clients and I think we have found a niche as there is a real demand for foaling down and broodmare management services.”

Ballantine said they bred a few of their which they race and also go the sales every year and buy some well-bred fillies with the aim to race and later breed from.

This year they have so far bought fillies by Sacred Falls and Capitalist at Sydney Classic Sale and a Deep Field filly at Melbourne Premier.

“We are sort of in the market every year for two or three well-bred fillies in addition to growing our own broodmare band,” he said.

“We have got a broodmare band of about a dozen of our own and we are constantly upgrading both the quality and growing the numbers.

“At any time we probably have about 40 or 50 mares on the farm.”

Ballantine said over the past five years they had taken the opportunity to improve the reproductive facilities at the farm and have a full night watch during the foaling season with the right staffing facilities, the right mare and foal boxes and crushes.

“We can manage dry mares whether it is under lights or with masks on, so we are fully kitted out for the top end broodmare management,” he said.

“Foaling down about 50 is our right number and then when you add usually another 20 or 30 dries, managing that 70 to 80 during the spring is sort of perfect for our farm.”

And Ballantine said they could look at a city race for their three-year filly in July at a distance of at least 1400m or possibly a mile.

The colours that Colombe D‘Or races in are special to the Ballantine family.
“Dad won a Blue Diamond in those colours in 1979 with Star Shower,” he said.

“When we got back into racing about 10 years ago, we were lucky enough to be able to re-register his colours and carry on the tradition.

“He bought Star Shower as a colt at the sales. He had six starts for six wins and was injured in his Blue Diamond win and was the star colt of his generation.”

And Ballantine explains why they named the filly Colombe D’Or.

They had a very good friend’s 50th birthday party which finished at a hotel called Colombe D’Or in the south of France.

“We all remembered it as one of my favourite places of all time, so we said we’d buy a horse together and if she wins a Group 1 we are heading back to Colombe D’Or.”
Ballantine said you have got to have dreams.

Maserartie Bay ridden by Jamie Kah wins the Banjo Paterson Series Handicap at Flemington Racecourse on June 04, 2022 in Flemington, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

Locally bred Maserartie Bay picked up his second city win in three starts and his third win in four starts when the son of Stockwell Thoroughbreds stallion Artie Schiller (USA) won the fourth heat of the Banjo Paterson Series Handicap (2520m) at Flemington on Saturday.

The five-year-old gelding has good options in the coming weeks, including the $150,000 series final over 2600m at Flemington on July 2 and the $175,000 Flemington Cup 1849 (2800m) on July 16.

After winning the Yarra Valley Cup (1950m) in March and then backing it up with a next start victory at Caulfield (2400m), Maserartie Bay struggled on a heavy track in the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m) before bouncing back at Flemington for his eighth win from 23 starts for $430,750 in prizemoney.

Trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, the stable was represented at Flemington by their Ballarat stable’s assistant trainer Jack Turnbull who said the horse had to show he’d recovered from a tough Warrnambool Cup run.

“It was far too soft at Warrnambool, and it took him a while to get over that run. Thankfully the connections have been patient and this race looked ideal for him,” Turnbull said in his postrace interview, Turnbull suggested Maserartie Bay could be targeted at the Flemington Cup.

“He can have a nice breather from now and until then. Hopefully, he can go into that race in as good a form as he was today,” he said after the Flemington win.
Maserartie Bay was bred by Rushton Park’s Kayley and David Johnson who bought the broodmare Navica (Snowland x High Heels) for $30,000 at the 2016 Australian Broodmare and Weanling Sale. The maiden winning mare, sold by Gooree Stud, was in foal to Artie Schiller with what was to become Maserartie Bay.

David Johnson said they were disappointed when they only got $60,000 for him as a yearling at Melbourne Premier in 2018.

“He was a lovely colt, an absolute ripper,” he said.

“And Ciaron (Maher) had seen him up at the farm and when he saw him at the sales he said he bid on him because he thought he was pretty cheap.

“He has been an absolute ripper and is from that really good family. His mum is a half-sister to Desert War (Desert King) and Laser Hawk (Artie Schiller) who were both Group 1 winners.

“It’s a proper staying family.”

After Maserartie Bay, Navica wasn’t served in 2016 and then a mating with Sooboog produced a filly that was purchased cheaply by Adelaide trainer John Hickmott.
The mare remained at Rushton Park to foal down to Sooboog and an attempt was made to put her back into foal to Artie Schiller, but it failed twice and the mare didn’t produce a foal in 2019 or 2020.

Navica was sold again and had a filly to Queensland stallion Knight Exemplar (Exceed and Excel x Charmview).

“She was getting a bit of age on her, the old girl,” Johnson said.

“We struggled to get here into foal again.”

Johnson said Artie Schiller (El Prado x Hidden Light) had been a great sire that had been underrated.

“He is certainly getting on in years now but he has done a very good job for a very long time,” he said.

“He can still get a good horse – he doesn’t know how old he is.

“And Maserartie has been a great horse. Dave Eustace introduced us to the group of owners at Flemington one day and it’s great to see a good bunch of people with a nice horse on their hands.

“They are looking at some cup races and some black-type races going forward. I think he would be a really good country cup type of horse.”

Johnson said Maserartie Bay was a big horse and had taken a long time to furnish.
He said the horse was sold at the Inglis Classic sale branded the Blue Riband session which was for yearlings that based on pedigree would be best as three-year-olds and at distances of 1600m and beyond.

“He has certainly lived up to that,” Johnson said.

Stockwell Thoroughbreds Mike Becker said Maserartie Bay had become a good horse after taking a while to mature and develop his right racing patterns.

Becker said the gelding is well-bred, out of a good mare and his breeders Gooree Park Stud had always been a good supporter of Artie Schiller, a former shuttle stallion now permanently based at Stockwell Thoroughbreds at Diggers Rest.

“He has taken a while but they’ve been patient and they’re getting the rewards,” Becker said of Maserartie Bay who shuttled to Australia from America.

Becker said Artie Schiller doesn’t get much support – he served 18 mares last year – and conceded his commercial days have finished.

“It’s through my own fault as much as anything,” he said.

Artie Schiller was second to Written Tycoon as Australia’s leading first-season sire with what Becker described as a limited crop of modest mares.

A top crop of three-year-olds gave Artie Schiller the title of Australia’s leading second season sire in 2012.

“I didn’t bring him back to Australia in his fourth year and it turned out to be a terrible mistake. It was going to be hard to get mares in that fourth year with the competition and a bit was happening,” Becker said.

“No sooner than he didn’t come than he started getting winners everywhere, so he missed a crop and then by the time he came back the following year he’d gone through the roof.

“Emirates had bought 50 per cent of the horse and I lost control of him which was a shame.

“The world goes by.”

Becker said that an injury and remaining in America in 2010 virtually cost the stallion one and a half missed seasons in the breeding barn.

He said Artie Schiller had missed his commercial opportunity but the reality is that his strike rate has never altered and the stallion has a high percentage of runners to winners and black type runners to winners.

Becker said the stallion’s statistics put him in elite company.

“But he just doesn’t have the numbers running now but he has got a few nice ones coming through the system that I have been following and they are shaping up well,” he said.

“He had three runners in Hong Kong on Sunday and all had good chances, so they are better than average horses.”

Becker said the now 17-year-old Navica was a big, powerful mare but not an easy breeder and it wasn’t through lack of trying that she couldn’t produce another Artie Schiller foal.

“Getting her in foal was one thing but keeping her in foal was another,” he said.
Becker said Gooree Park Stud bred Artie Schiller’s first Group 1 winner in Australia – Laser Hawk – and supported the stallion with mares.

While Artie Schiller was now “flat out” getting 30 mares a year, he said they were comfortable with it.

“His fertility is still good, his libido is still good and he is still Artie,” Becker said.
“I’ve worked with a lot of stallions over the years but I have learnt more off Artie Schiller than I have learnt off any stallion.

“He is a different beast in a lot of ways. If he thinks a mare is ready to be covered, he’ll cover it with gusto. He doesn’t care what the vet says when they should be covered, he makes up his mind when they should be covered.”

Becker said Artie Schiller’s sire, El Prado (IRE) was an amazing story and at one stage, along with Scenic (IRE), was the only two-year-old winning son of Sadler’s Wells – and both were Group 1 winners.

He said for whatever reason El Prado didn’t go to stud in the UK but instead was shipped off to California where had limited opportunities but after a few years became the champion sire of America which was an extraordinary rise to the top and became even greater when moved to Kentucky.

“Artie was a son of Sadler’s Wells and at that time Sadler’s Wells in Australia was a dirty word because a lot of his staying sons had been trotted out and they didn’t work,” Becker said.

“Bringing a grandson of Sadler’s Wells, which he was, to Australia was a bit of a risk.

“But Artie himself was such a great racehorse. He was a sprinter miler which I think makes a stallion. He had won 10 times from his 22 starts and he only finished out of the first four once and that was as a three-year-old in the Breeders Mile when he got knocked out of the race but came back the next year and won it.

“He was everyone’s dream of a racehorse, a real beast.

“His first three dams were all very tough Group 1 winning mares.”

Becker said Artie Schiller had been a marvellous old stallion but sadly most of the owner breeders had disappeared from the industry and those were the ones best suited to breeding a horse by him.

He said the stud’s other stallion Al Maher was a similar story to Artie Schiller.
“He is still proving he can get a good horse, gets a lot of winners but commercially, like Artie, their days have passed them and we understand that.”

He said Artie Schiller and Al Maher, both 20-year-olds, were wonderful stallions and a lot of the new kids on the block would never emulate what those two had achieved.

Retired builder Peter McLaren thought he was going pretty well when his homebred Grandview Avenue won the Listed Norman Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at The Valley at the end of 2020.
A long time breeder, McLaren reckons that everyone is entitled to a decent horse and for him it was Grandview Avenue which hasn’t had much luck since that Listed win.
In fact, the six-year-old by Statue of Liberty, out of McLaren’s mare Magic By Gosh (Magic Albert x Kashcrop), hasn’t won a race since.
But not all is lost.
A half-brother to Grandview Avenue now looms as the best horse McLaren has bred.
Now trained by Ken Elford at Warrnambool, Ashford Street (Moshe) was a winner at the Warrnambool May carnival over 1100m, was then beaten less than a length at Flemington (1000m) and saluted at Caulfield last Saturday, also over the 1000m sprint journey.
The four-year-old has had 17 starts for 6 wins, four seconds and two thirds and banked $272,825.
And it’s not only McLaren, a retired builder, who believes Ashford Street is untapped and still has the best ahead of him.
He recently rejected a $750,000 offer from Hong Kong and said it was an easy decision to say no as Ashford Street is a horse raced by his family.
“I knocked it back because it’s a family horse,” he said.
“What would we do with the money? I am not a money man and have never been in my life.
“If I did sell him, the kids would get their share – 10 per cent of seven per cent.
“I got offered three-quarters of a million for him and it was a genuine offer and we had a family discussion around the kitchen table here and they said ‘sell, sell, sell, grandpa.’
“And I said listen to me before you finish. I said what are we going do with the money and you’ll get $70,000 each or whatever it is. And I said I’ll go out and buy another horse that probably can’t even trot.
“All the family is involved in the ownership – my daughters, my wife and the grandkids. And that’s what it is all about and we had a great day at Caulfield, it was fantastic.
“My grandson Will (McKenzie) strapped him.”
While Ashford Street has become the stable star, not all is lost with Grandview Avenue who has been unplaced in his past nine starts.
McLaren said the gelding had joint issues which they hoped to ease with the gelding doing beach work, plus swimming which can cause problems with horses that have bled like Grandview Avenue.
“Unfortunately he bled at Terang (two years ago) and we’ve always been very cautious about swimming at the beach,” he said.
“But we’ve put in a bit of an effort to swim him and then we scope him and see if there is any bleed but there hasn’t been anything.
“We couldn’t get him fit because of his joints and feet, but you can swim them here at Warrnambool in the bay.
“He is not an old horse and is only rising seven.
“He has been a ripper and I think his brother will be the equal of him.”
Grandview Avenue has raced 45 times for nine wins, four seconds and seven thirds for $369,216.
Ashford Street is the last of six foals from Magic By Gosh who died in a paddock accident in 2019 when she was about to foal to Squamosa. Magic By Gosh’s dam Kashcrop (Kashani x Diamond Snip) won three races, all in the city,
Magic By Gosh’s first foal was a filly by Written Tycoon that raced as Steve’s Choice and won three races. The filly was sold through the Adelaide sale and McLaren admits he would have liked to have kept her to breed from to keep the family going.
Steve Choice has a filly by Wayed Zain and was served by another Riverbank Stud stallion, Boulder City, last season.
Magic By Gosh’s second foal was the unraced Tycoon Mia (Written Tycoon) which was injured in a paddock accident and never made it to the track.
McLaren rarely sold the horses he bred but the mare and her Statue Of Liberty foal were at Eliza Park and they told him there was plenty of interest in the colt and he said he wouldn’t take under $50,000.
The colt was sold for $50,000 and went on to win the two-year-old Clockwise Classic at Ballarat for trainer Jason Petch whose clients later bought the horse which was on its way to Macau as Claro El Banco. The gelding raced as Peace Get Joy when it picked up the $120,000 first prize at Ballarat and was Magic By Gosh’s third foal.
McLaren then bred Kednelly (Bushranger), a winner of two races, out of the mare. Then came Grandview Avenue (Statue of Liberty) and Ashford Street (Moshe).
He said he hasn’t been surprised with the way Ashford Street has progressed, but admitted he hadn’t originally thought of putting Magic By Gosh to Moshe.
“To be honest with you, I couldn’t get back to Statue Of Liberty,” he said.
“The next option in my mind was something that was close to Black Caviar and with my limited money there was no way known I could buy anything around the half a million-dollar stuff, so I went to her full brother ((Moshe) and that’s how it worked out.
“I had always been connected with Eliza Park originally and then Sun Stud the whole time with the breeding. Even when the Flemings had the place, I started there way back.”
McLaren said he started breeding horses the same year he got married in 1968.
He was originally from Warrnambool and then moved to Melbourne before returning home where he has a property just outside of the town.
Last Saturday’s race was heat four of the 2022 Santa Ana Lane Sprint Series which culminates with the final over 1200m at Flemington on July 2.
Although Ashford Street hasn’t won beyond 1100m, McLaren isn’t concerned about tackling another 1200m race and said they considered this year’s Wangoom (1200m), but it would look at contesting the race next year.
And what he says is a big advantage, is track rider Tennielle Onyett who he said can tell you when a hair is missing off the side of the horse’s neck.
She has now established Tower Hill Lodge, near Warrnambool, where she agists and pre-trains horses.
And for trainer Ken Elford, he said they don’t know what Ashford Street is capable of doing.
“He is still learning everything and he’s still a young horse,” he said.
“He goes to the beach once or twice a week, to the track once or twice a week and does most of his work out at Tennielle’s place at Tower Hill Lodge.”
The 68-year-old Elford, who was 14 and a half when he started working for Warrnambool legend Kevin Lafferty, said he doesn’t know how long he has held a trainer’s licence.
“I had a go, went away and then came back,” he said.
“I’ve only got a couple of horses now and that’s all I do.”
Elford Ashford Street would return to Melbourne in two weeks for another heat of the Santa Ana and then go into the final.
He said the gelding looms as his best horse.
It was also a special day for jockey Theodore Nugent who outrode his metropolitan weight claim with his win on Ashford Street.
“To finally finish my apprenticeship and on a horse of this ability, it means a lot,” Nugent said in his postrace interview.
“It’s been unreal. I’ve known Kenny (Elford) pretty much all my life down at Warrnambool.”
Nugent said the best was yet to come from Ashford Street and the “world’s his oyster.”

With strong positivity and high interest in Leneva Park stallions following the 2021 season, both Fierce Impact and Royal Meeting will stand at unchanged fees in 2022.

Fierce Impact, the exceptional three-time Group 1 winning son of Deep Impact, will stand his second season at stud at $16,500 (inc GST) after covering a quality book of over 140 mares in his first season.

Following the phenomenal success of Japanese bloodlines in Australia in season 2021/22 with Deep Impact siring Group 1 winners Profondo and Glint Of Hope, Fierce Impact represents outstanding value with high fertility during his first season.

In an exciting announcement, early bird breeders will have the chance to win a nine-day trip for two to the Japan Cup simply by booking a mare to Fierce Impact in 2022 – for details follow this link to the Leneva Park website.

Royal Meeting progeny have turned heads at weanling sales around the country and the Group 1 winning two-year-old returns for his third season at stud at an unchanged fee of $11,000 (inc GST), giving breeders an undeniable chance to capitalise on this son of Invincible Spirit.

Enjoying a significant increase in covers in 2021, Royal Meeting is extremely fertile and has been supported by some of the smartest breeders in Australia; with his stunning first crop weanlings on the ground it is not hard to see why.

With weanlings averaging $64,900 at public auction this year with a top price of $160,000 for the colt ex Mistress McDowell at the Magic Millions National Sale, Royal Meeting is the number one bull for breeders looking to turn serious profit with commercial weanlings and yearlings.

To book your mare or to discuss details on limited early bird deals on both Fierce Impact and Royal Meeting, speak to the Leneva Park nominations team today.

Mitchell Brown: 0447 366 790 // mitch@lenevapark.com.au

Tom Havers: 0459 482 176 // tom@lenevapark.com.au

Easton Angel caught the eye of Yulong Investments who purchased her for $1.35 million.

After a relatively quiet middle day – at least by their high standards – at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, Victorian behemoths Yulong ramped up the spending on the final day at the Gold Coast after shelling out close to $5 million on a quartet of mares in foal to Frankel.

Having outlaid $1.35 million for Stakes-winning mare Easton Angel (Dark Angel x Staceymac) under their Written Tycoon Syndicate banner, Yulong promptly purchased another imported mare in Elvic (Siyouni x Magical Romance), who was also in foal to Juddmonte’s champion sire Frankel.

Yulong’s Lucky Vega Syndicate then launched into Group performed mare Excellent Sunset (Exceed and Excel x Sunset Avenue), buying her from the Newgate Consignment for $1.05 million. They then trumped that purchase by splashing out a cool $1.7 million on the appropriately-named Fantasy (Invincible Spirit x Cassandra Go), a half-sister to Aidan O’Brien’s seven-time Group 1 winner Magical.

Yulong’s Chief Operating Officer, Sam Fairgray, was glowing in his assessment of Fantasy, who is set to give birth to a Frankel foal on Victorian soil later this year after producing a colt by Coolmore’s former champion sire Galileo in her native Ireland last year.

“Obviously her pedigree page speaks for itself, but she’s also a beautiful-looking specimen,” said Fairgray.

“She was a Group performer and she’s in foal to Frankel, so that’s not a bad combination. She’s an outstanding addition to our broodmare band, and if we can get some fillies from her then you keep building the family in the years to come.

“If she has a colt who goes on to win a Group 1 race, you’ve got a top-line potential stallion on your hands so that’s why these mares sell for a lot of money. We haven’t decided where we’ll send her yet, but at this stage I would think she’ll probably go to Written Tycoon.

“We’ll have just over 350 mares on the farm, so we’ve got great scope to support our own stallions. We think Tagaloa has got huge potential, so we’ll support him with some quality mares and I’m sure we’ll be adding to our roster of stallions in the near future.

“Written Tycoon isn’t getting any younger so we’ll have to look after him; but he’s still fit and well and his fertility is still fantastic, as evidenced by last season. We’ll keep managing him, but we’re very confident he’ll get through another large book of mares this upcoming season without any problems at all.”

The third day purchases saw Yulong extend their streak of buying mares in foal to Frankel, having paid $700,000 each for both Under Wraps (Kingman x Confidential Lady) and Bawaady (Dubawi x Rifqah) on previous days.

Seattle Dancer was a highlight lot for Blue Gum Farm.

With more than $1 million raised from the broodmares that went through the ring this week, Blue Gum Farm can reflect on another very successful visit to the Gold Coast.

Headlined by their Redoute’s Choice mare Seattle Dancer, who was sold in foal to Written Tycoon, Blue Gum’s six-strong team of broodmares fetched $1.115 million to complete a very satisfactory week’s work.

Widden Stud shelled out $525,000 for Seattle Dancer (Redoute’s Choice x Fleur De’here), which came as little surprise to Blue Gum’s owner/manager Phil Campbell, who had expected the well-bred mare to catch the eye of some of the sale’s bigger buyers.

“We thought she’d be very popular when she went through the ring,” said Campbell.

“She was always the standout, and she sold accordingly. She’s got a great pedigree and she is such a great style of mare. She’s very easy on the eye and has a great pedigree, she paraded beautifully and plenty of people came back for second and third looks, so I thought she’d sell for around that figure.

“I’m not sure who she’ll be served by, but Widden have a terrific roster of stallions on their books so I’m sure she’ll have every chance with her matings going forward.”

Friar Fox (Blackfriars x Pearlesque), Cop a Clip (I Am Invincible x Dylan’s Promise) and Let’s Dazzle (So You Think x Personification), who like Seattle Dancer is also in foal to Yulong’s superstar Written tycoon, also sold for six figure sums.

With no yearlings on sale on the Gold Coast next week, Campbell is heading back to their farm at Euroa to prepare for the Great Southern Weanling Sale, which brings the curtain down on the 2022 sales season at Oaklands Junction from June 9-10.

“We have nine weanlings going through the ring at the Great Southern, including a lovely Tivaci filly, a very nice Fiorente colt, a Blue Point colt and a colt by Manhattan Rain,” said Campbell.

“They’re all lovely types and I’m sure they’ll prove popular, so hopefully we can end the season on a high note.”

Frankly Savvy sold for $360,000 at the National Broodmare Sale.

Sullivan Bloodstock backed up an exceptionally strong draft at the weanling sale with an equally robust sale of their broodmares, headlined by the $320,000 sale of Frankly Savvy on day three.

After fetching in excess of $750,000 for their select draft of weanlings last week, Sullivan Bloodstock enjoyed another profitable day on the Gold Coast with their two broodmares selling for a combined $520,000.

The headline act was Frankly Savvy (Savabeel x Frankly), who was sold in foal to Japanese superstar Maurice to Paul Galloway for $360,000.

The mare was purchased by Bevan Smith Bloodstock for just over $100,000 last year for Sullivan Bloodstock’s loyal client Jamie Withers, and she turned a very tidy profit today which was backed up by the sale of Laeta (All Too Hard x Happy Hippy).

Laeta, who was sold in foal to speed machine Anders, was picked up for a very competitive price through the Inglis online sale, so Sherah Sullivan was understandably delighted to see her sell for $160,000 to Paul Willetts Bloodstock.

In 2019, Laeta produced Capitalist filly Capital Elle, who runs at Randwick this weekend and has already shown plenty of early promise in her career with trainer Annabel Neasham.

“Both broodmares were fantastic results for the team today,” said Sullivan.

“Laeta in particular really exceeded our expectations. Capital Elle has shown some early ability and I thought Anders was a really good match for Laeta at the time, however we didn’t expect her to return that price today.

“We bought Frankly Savvy at this sale last year for just over $100,000, we set a reserve price of $200,000 for her so to get $360,000 was fantastic.”

Having set up Sullivan Bloodstock last year, Sullivan has no regrets about casting off her security blanket and going out on her own.

“It’s been a big year for me and the team,” she said.

“You feel a fair bit of pressure and nervousness when you set up your own business, but we’ve received great support and I’ve got an excellent team around me, so it’s worked out really well.

“We had some great results at the weanling sale last week and that’s continued into the broodmare sale, we just need to see it through next week with our five yearlings. After that, I can relax and take a short holiday in New Zealand before heading back to the farm and getting ready for the upcoming breeding season!”

CREDIT: Darren Winningham.

Buoyed by the $1.6 million sale of Mac ‘n’ Cheese to Yulong at the end of the opening day of the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, Spendthrift Australia enjoyed further success on day two with their combined lots selling for more than $3 million.

Group 1 winner Santa Monica (Per Incanto x Monarch) got the ball rolling early on the second day at the Gold Coast, selling to Corumbene Stud for $500,000.

Like Santa Monica, Solar Star (Zoustar x Petty Cury), who signed off from her racing career with victory in the Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic, is in foal to Dirty Work and she was sold for $520,000 to Glenlogan Park.

But Spendthrift saved the best for last when they sold Baccarat Baby (Casino Prince x Meerlust), who is also in foal to the striking son of Written Tycoon, to Dermot Farrington Bloodstock for $900,000.

The David Vandyke-trained mare reeled off five wins in a row at the start of her career, before adding a pair of Stakes wins over a mile – firstly in the Listed Ascot Princess Stakes, and later in the Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas.

Spendthrift bought the mare off the track for $650,000, turning a tidy profit and showing the esteem in which Dirty Work – who now stands alongside the likes of Nicconi and Russian Camelot at Widden Stud’s Victorian farm – is held.

Another Spendthrift lot which attracted plenty of interest in the ring was Skaggerak (Dawn Approach x Itameri). The mare only enjoyed moderate success during her racing career, but as a half-sister to Rosemont stallion Hanseatic she was in high demand and was eventually sold to B2B Thoroughbreds for $400,000. A $250,000 purchase by Spendthrift, Skaggerak again represented an outstanding result for the farm which was purchased by David Moodie’s Hesket Thoroughbreds operation earlier this month.

Josh Rix, of Spendthrift Australia / Hesket Thoroughbreds, was understandably delighted to secure such premium prices for their dispersal.

“It’s been enormous for the whole crew,” he said.

“They have put in an awful lot of work, and we’re seeing the fruits of their labour. The preparation work started months ago, and the results so far have made all that hard work worthwhile. We bought most of these mares at the sales over the past couple of years, we knew their pedigrees would make them attractive propositions and that’s been proved in the sale prices, which have been even bigger than we could’ve hoped for.

“I was very confident Yulong would buy Mac ‘n’ Cheese, that result gave the team a lift and got them up and about and it’s rolled into today. Yulong are getting their hands on every mare with a pedigree, and if she goes to Written Tycoon it gives her the best possible start to her broodmare career.

“Dirty Work covered 155 mares with us last year, he’s now well on his way and he’s found a fantastic home with Widden. They’ll support him with some great mares and they have a reputation for a reason, so interested parties could buy our mares in foal to him with confidence knowing that Dirty Work is proving his worth at stud.

“Skaggerak was a huge result for the team after we paid $250,000 for her. She looked incredible and the guys at the farm did an outstanding job with her, as they did with all the mares.

“We’ve been smashed this past week, the grass down our aisle has been wrecked which goes to show how popular our weanlings and mares have been during the inspections, and thankfully that has translated into some spectacular results.”

Including Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Spendthrift have so far raised more than $4.5 million in sales and still have 16 lots to go through the ring on the final day on Thursday.

Of the remaining mares, Rix expects their multiple Stakes winner Madeenaty (Exceed and Excel x Set for Fame), another mare in foal to Dirty Work, to fetch the highest price.

With a return of just under $1 million for the four mares that went through the ring at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, Bennett Racing has again proved that the residual value of race fillies cannot be underestimated.

Group 3-winning mare Zou Dancer (Zoustar x Investigates) was the highlight of Bennett Racing’s consignment, which were all sold by Newgate Farm.

Having been bought for $150,000 at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Zou Dancer was sold for precisely four times that figure on the opening day of the broodmare sale, giving her owners an outstanding return on their initial investment – particularly as she earned $230,000 on the racetrack.

The highlight of her racing career came at Flemington last February, when she demolished a smart field of fillies – which included subsequent Group 1 Kennedy Oaks winner Personal – in the Vanity Stakes.

Whilst she may have struggled to reach those same heights again, that five-length victory and her pedigree page suggested she would be a very popular proposition as a broodmare, and so it proved with a price tag of $600,000.

“I’m obviously delighted with the results,” said Bennett.

“We had fairly high hopes because the interest in Zou Dancer had been strong, but we were pretty excited to see her sell for that sort of money.

“It gives the owners a very nice return on their investment, hopefully they put it towards a share or two in some of our other horses and it should also help us attract new customers when they see what they could potentially make for a filly at the end of her racing career.

“Part of our business model is to buy fillies with a view to selling them on as broodmares, and this year in particular I think we’ve found some super value at the sales. We bought the three-quarter sister to the highest-selling lot at the weanling sale. They’re both by Zoustar, we picked up our filly at the Inglis Easter Sale for $160,000 and the weanling went for $750,000 last week, so whilst there are no guarantees in racing it’s a very good sign moving forward.”

The next highest seller at the broodmare sale for Bennett Racing was their city winner Royal Obsession (Written Tycoon x Royal Season), who handsomely repaid her owners when she was sold for $230,000 to Yulong, with Mr Zhang and Sam Fairgray identifying Tagaloa as her ideal match.

Eureka Farm will send Bennett Racing’s mare La Croft (Foxwedge x Croft) to their first-season sire Jonkers after paying $90,000 for her, whilst Hot In Paris (Sizzling x Paris Blu) went for $30,000 in a private sale.

Away Game became the fourth most expensive Australasian broodmare in history when she was sold to Yulong for an incredible $4 million on the opening day on the Gold Coast.

The extraordinary figure sent a surge of excitement through the sale ring when the hammer eventually dropped, with only three mares in history fetching a higher price than the daughter of Snitzel.

Milanova, who was sold for $5 million to Coolmore in 2008, still sets the benchmark with Sunlight ($4.2 million) and Avantage ($4.1 million) the next two in line.

Coolmore’s deep pockets saw Tom Magnier go toe-to-toe with Yulong in an intense bidding war for Away Game, but it was owner Mr Zhang and Chief Operating Officer Sam Fairgray who emerged victorious after outlasting their big-spending rivals in the ring.

“She’s been a fantastic race mare and is a beautiful-looking specimen, so we’re really pleased to take her home to Victoria,” Fairgray said.

“She’ll have at least one more start for us, and then have a date with Written Tycoon. She’s already done enough but if she happened to pick up a Group 1, then obviously that’s a bonus.

“We’ve seen the market is so strong with these fillies that have been very dominant, especially with her two-year-old form so you’ve got to front up.

“If she leaves progeny looking like she does, then they will definitely do well in the sales ring.”

Away Game (Snitzel x Elusive Wonder) has compiled a remarkably consistent racing career, winning five of her 23 starts and finishing in the minor placings on 11 occasions.

Whilst a Group 1 has proved elusive, she has a pair of Group 3 victories and a Group 2 triumph on her resume, but perhaps she will be best remembered for her explosive display in claiming the $2m Magic Millions 2YO Classic in 2020.

That speedy turn of foot as well as an iron constitution have been the hallmarks of her career, with co-trainer Ciaron Maher paying tribute to the mighty mare.

“She hasn’t done much wrong in her career so far, I’m sure she’ll find a great home at Yulong and I look forward to seeing her progeny go through the ring in future sales,” said Maher.

“She’s very adaptable and has done everything we’ve asked of her, the only thing missing from her CV is a Group 1 but hopefully she can tick that box in the Kingsford-Smith Cup on Saturday.”

Away Game will have her work cut out after drawing barrier 18 in the 1350m contest at Eagle Farm, where she will race for the first time in Yulongs distinctive green and white colours.

But with “Group 1 Johnny” [Allen] in the saddle and the all-conquering Maher and Eustace stable having her in peak condition, few would bet against her signing off with a fairy-tale victory.

Anticipation was high ahead of the Magic Millions Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale, and the opening day didn’t disappoint with Yulong Stud splashing out a combined $7.1 million on Tofane and Away Game.
Persistent rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of bidders in a feverish ring at the Gold Coast, with four-time Group 1 heroine Tofane (Ocean Park x Baggy Green) fetching $3.1 million before Away Game (Snitzel x Elusive Wonder), a winner of three Group races for Ciaron Maher Racing, topped the sale at a mind-boggling $4 million.
A date with Yulong’s super sire Written Tycoon now awaits Tofane, who was originally scheduled to be sold at this sale 12 months ago before connections chose to press on with her racing career for one more campaign.
That decision bore spectacular fruit after Tofane added a trio of Group 1s to her CV, starting with back-to-back victories in the Stradbroke Handicap and the Tatts Tiara at Eagle Farm last June, before a dominant display saw her land the C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield in February.
Those wins elevated her value as a broodmare into the stratosphere, and it is anyone’s guess how much the potential progeny of a match between Written Tycoon and Tofane would fetch at a future yearling sale.
Yulong’s Chief Operating Officer Sam Fairgray, who is on the TBV Board, was understandably delighted to secure a mare of Tofane’s status and he revealed that she may continue her racing career before embarking on her new life as a broodmare.
“[Yulong founder] Mr Zhang has really liked her for a few years and we’ve tried to try to buy her on several occasions, so it’s great to finally get her today,” said Fairgray.
“I’d say Written Tycoon will be high up on the cards, but after the sale, we’ll sit down and have a look at what we do.
“We might give her a couple of runs through the spring and breed her, so she’s no certainty to go to stud this year. She showed in the last year that she’s getting better as she gets older, so if she’s still got an interest then we may race her on.”
Another figure in the room who was rightly proud of Tofane’s head-spinning sale price was her trainer, Mike Moroney.
Moroney put the polish on the daughter of Ocean Park throughout a 29-start career which yielded more than $3.5 million in prizemoney for an ownership group led by Rupert Legh of Chautauqua fame.
The Kiwi admitted to experiencing mixed feelings when witnessing his prized asset go through the ring, but after a stellar racing career Tofane had more than paid her way even before she became the eighth-most expensive Australasian broodmare in history.
“I actually got pretty nervous before she went through, it almost felt like a Group 1 race today,” he said.
“I thought she’d make $3 million but until the hammer drops, you’re never sure. But she looked fabulous and when you combine her race record with her looks, it’s no surprise she made as much as she did. If she was a human she’d be a model, she’s just got everything you look for in a mare and she’s very feminine.
“We thought she’d make around $2.5 million if we sold her last year, so she’s only gone for $600,000 more after three Group 1 wins, but there’s always a ceiling on these things plus she’s earned more than $2 million on the racetrack in that time and taken her owners on an amazing ride. She thrived on travelling and the owners loved following her around the country, so the last year has been hugely enjoyable but all good things come to an end.
“I’m really pleased she’s gone to Yulong, we knew they were very interested in her and I’m really happy she’ll stay in Victoria and be served by Written Tycoon. I don’t know if I’ll be able to afford her progeny in future years, but I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for them. Alabama Express went to Yulong and Rupert [Legh] also sold Grunt to them, so we have a good association with them. Who knows, I may even qualify for a discount!”

An emerging partnership between Morningside and James Harron Bloodstock will see multiple Stakes winner Rubisaki head to Nagambie to begin her new life as a broodmare.

Rubisaki (Rubick x Senro Kisaki), who amassed more than $1.2 million in prizemoney for Prime Thoroughbreds’ John O’Neill and fellow owners, could be sent to Australia’s reigning champion sire Written Tycoon in her first season.

After stumping up $1 million, Harron and the Rowsthorn family who run Morningside will discuss their options in the coming days but regardless of which stallion she is served by, there’s little doubt Rubisaki will prove a very valuable addition to Victoria’s expanding band of quality broodmares.

The highlight of her career came in a purple patch at the start of 2020, when she notched six straight wins including back-to-back victories in the big-money Inglis Sprint at Warwick Farm and the Group 2 Kewney Stakes at Flemington.

A pair of Group 3 wins at Randwick swiftly followed, and whilst that was the last time she saluted the judge the mare did add an all-important Group 1 placing to her CV with a valiant third behind Instant Celebrity in the 2021 Robert Sangster Stakes.

“It’s really exciting to take a mare of her quality back to Victoria with us,” said Morningside’s General Manager, Will Rowthston.

“The association with James [Harron] is pretty new but we’ve already bought two mares together, so hopefully it’s just the start of a long and successful partnership.

“We haven’t confirmed the plans just yet but I think Rubisaki will probably go to Written Tycoon, which would be a great result so we’re very excited to see what the future brings.”

O’Neill, one of Victoria’s more prolific syndicators having raced more than 300 horses in his Prime Thoroughbreds colours, felt a mixture of pride and relief when the bidding reached seven figures for Rubisaki.

“Some of the bigger farms were bidding which is always a good sign, and when we got to $800,000 I was pretty confident we’d make it to the million mark,” he said.

“We were hoping to get to $1 million because the interest in her had been strong, but it’s difficult to predict the strength of the market and you never want to get too far ahead of yourself.

“It’s a fantastic result for the owners, the mare deserved it because she’s got a great pedigree and a fantastic temperament. We only paid $85,000 for her so it’s an incredible return for the ownership group, who are a great bunch. It’s a big relief, and hopefully she can go on to enjoy a great career as a broodmare.”

Later in the day, Morningside and Harron again teamed up to purchase Glistening (Zoustar x Beethog) for $775,000.

The Michael Freedman-trained filly won the Group 2 Riesling Stakes in March 2021, when the beaten brigade included Swift Witness (who sold for $1 million). Glistening subsequently put more Black Type on her pedigree page with victory in the Listed Moomba Plate at Flemington in March.

Lot 345, by Royal Meeting sold for $160,000 today.

Day two of the Magic Millions National Weanling saw the first weanlings from both I AM IMMORTAL and ROYAL MEETING hit the ring, an exciting period for the Victorian breeding industry.

Of course the day also saw some of Victoria’s big time stallions in WRITTEN TYCOON, SHAMUS AWARD & TORONADO present some beautiful types.

A colt by SHAMUS AWARD (lot 204) went through the ring early, realising $210,000 for Victoria’s Sullivan Bloodstock, purchased by Suman Hedge Bloodstock.

Lot 238 saw Darley Victoria’s BLUE POINT produce a filly, sold to Suman Hedge Bloodstock from Victoria’s Three Bridges Stud for a whopping $220,000.

Spendthrift Farm produced a slashing chestnut colt (lot 243), out of a half-sister to the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes second place getter in Reemah, selling for $220,000.

Swettenham Stud’s main man in TORONADO produced a colt (lot 268), selling to Merrick Staunton for $200,000, produced by Taghadoe Stud.

I AM IMMORTAL caught the eye on the track and has certainly captured attention in the barn, producing a colt out of Insurgent (lot 277) selling for $40,000, presented by A List Stud, now in the care of Cornerstone Stud.

Lot 345 saw a son of ROYAL MEETING sell to Baystone Farm for $160,000, coming from Silverstream Consignment. A great start to the young sire’s career.

Lot 137 is by Australia's champion sire in WRITTEN TYCOON. (Magic Millions)

The Victorian’s were off to a flyer on Day One of the Magic Millions National Weanling Sales, with a daughter of Darley Victoria’s BRAZEN BEAU (lot 4) selling for $45,000 to KBL Thoroughbreds. Viewers did not have to wait long to see the first six-figure colt go through the ring with Sullivan Bloodstock’s WRITTEN TYCOON colt selling for a whopping $170,000 to Red Diamond Bloodstock, another amazing result for Yulong’s Champion stallion.

A son of OMAHA BEACH (lot 29) realised $50,000, selling to Widden Stud, while lot 32, a colt out of Savaan from the Sullivan Bloodstock draft, reeled in $85,000, selling to Victoria’s Stonehouse Thoroughbreds.

Lot 48 saw a daughter of Widden Victoria’s OVERSHARE sell for $210,000 to Bahen Bloodstock, a filly coming from the family of Group One superstar ZARITA.

Things got a little quieter during the back-half of the day with plenty of withdrawals, but nevertheless, that did not stop some super weanlings going under the hammer for big money, with Victorian interest.

Victorian buyers Rifa Mustang sought after a colt out of Sublime Dancer (lot 71), paying $67,500 to Noralla Stud, while Milburn Creek sold a filly by WRITTEN TYCOON (lot 112) to Taylor Bloodstock & Marketing for $120,000.

Yulong Investments went to $250,000 for lot 137, a WRITTEN TYCOON colt from the draft of Vinery Stud, out of a daughter of multiple stakes winner SUGAR BAY.

Swettenham Stud’s TORONADO hit the board with lot 147, a colt out of Asheerah, sold by Caithnes Breeding for a large $300,000 to Sledmere Stud.

On day two of the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale, Victorian’s should keep an eye out for the progeny of Victorian sires Royal Meeting & I Am Immortal who are both heading into their third season at stud.

Adele Amour provided Woodside Park Stud owner Eddie Hirsch will another winner when three-year-old filly Adele Amour, out of Group 2 winning mare Divine Rebel, picked up her third win from 10 starts for Pakenham trainer John Sadler.
The filly has won all three races at 1400m and has been placed at 1300m and 1600m.
“It was a really good win,” Woodside Park Stud’s Mark Dodemaide said.
“She was ridden a bit more quiet, dropped back and she was really good.
“John Sadler has always had an opinion of her.
“She is out of Divine Rebel who Eddie bought on the Gold Coast for $80,000 when she was in foal to Hinchinbrook but that horse had a few issues.
“But then she had Adele Amour and she has got a Hallowed Crown colt and she is in foal to Foxwedge.”
Before being bought by Hirsch for $80,000 at the 2017 Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale, she was sold for $450,000 at the 2011 Australian Easter Broodmare Sale.
Divine Rebel (Don Eduardo x It’s My Sin), now 17-years-old, won six races for trainer Michael Moroney and a group of high profile owners headed by Rupert Legh. The mare started her racing career in New Zealand and her greatest triumph came in successive races, winning the Listed Epona Stakes (1900m) and then the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick.
And she twice finished second in the Sydney Cup, beaten less than a length both times.
While the Hirsch family celebrated the victory of Divine Rebel, they are also looking forward to the breeding season where their Woodside Park Stud now has five stallions on the roster – Vancouver (Medaglia d’Oro), Foxwedge (Fastnet Rock), Delaware (Frankel), Rich Enuff (Written Tycoon) and Tosen Stardom (Deep Impact).
Vancouver and Delaware are the new boys on the block for Hirsch and his stud and Dodemaide is sure they’ll attract plenty of interest from breeders.
Vancouver was purchased by Hirsch from Coolmore, where he began stud duties in 2016, earlier this year.
“Vancouver’s oldest are only four,” Dodemaide said.
“He has nine Stakes winners, five Group 2 winners and from his first crop, he is leading third season sire from that crop.
“We all know he won the Golden Slipper and is a good looking horse and they paid a fortune for him but we own him 100 per cent and he is doing quite well with nine Stakes winners already and if a Group 1 popped up, he’d be the flavour of the month again.
“You only have to look at Shamus Award. A couple of years ago when he came down, he wouldn’t have been going as good as what Vancouver is going now at this stage.”
While Dodemaide said Vancouver, who will stand at $15,400, was an ideal VOBIS horse, he believes the stallion is also capable of producing progeny that will get over more ground.
“He is a son of Medaglia d’Oro,” he said.
The Group 3 winner Delaware, a son of wonder racehorse and sire Frankel, was purchased by Hirsch in America last September and is an exciting addition to the stallion roster at Woodside. The horse has just been retired from racing.
“Frankel was the quickest horse ever to get to 50 Stakes winners and is up to 95 and is on schedule to be the quickest to get to 100,” Dodemaide said.
“It will most likely only take him a month to get up to 100.
“Under normal circumstances with a stallion like Frankel and his profile and being a champion sire in Great Britain, there would be a dozen of his sire sons in Australia.
“The trick to them is a lot of them tend to excel at 2000m and beyond which doesn’t always suit the Australian market.”
But Dodemaide said Delaware was different.
He said Hirsch had always been a big Frankel fan and was at the stallion’s final race at Ascot in the UK in October 2012 when he ended his career of 14 races with victory in the Group 1 Champion Stakes (2000m) to remain undefeated.
“Eddie has been a Frankel fan and what we tried to do was to find a Frankel that would suit us in Australia,” Dodemaide said.
“Delaware won a 1200m race as a two-year-old at Deauville which is like winning at Caulfield. And as a spring three-year-old in the lead up to their Guineas he won a Listed race by five lengths on speed with a real good kick.
“And then he won a Group 3 race (1600m) which was virtually a mirror image when he was on speed and kicked away. He got beaten in the Guineas and didn’t have much luck but got knocked down.”
Bred and raced by Juddmonte, Delaware was sold and finished up in America where he holds the Aqueduct track record for 1600m on turf with a time of 1:33.67 seconds.
“So at least he is a quick one,” Dodemaide said.
“He is just a nice running horse that might even get a two-year-old.
“While is a son of Frankel, he is out of an Oasis Dream mare and Oasis Dream upset Choisir in the July Cup after he’d won those two sprint races at Royal Ascot.
“And Oasis Dream is a very good stallion as well.”
Dodemaide said Oasis Dream is the broodmare sire of Cox Plate winner Sire Dragonet and Melbourne Cup winner Twilight Payment.
Foxwedge, bought by Hirsch from Newgate Farm in 2019, has covered more than 100 mares in each of the past two breeding seasons. His fee remains at $11,000.
Dodemaide said it was a case of dealing in facts with Foxwedge.
“It’s all about facts,” he said.
“He was the third top-priced colt at Easter and a very good looking horse. He goes to the races and runs in those good three-year-old races and beats Hay List and Buffering in the William Reid.
“There are a lot of horses and things that are going to do something, but now that he is at stud and he is only 13 and he is up to 24 Stakes winners and five Group 1 winners.
“No matter which way you want to spin it, every part of his career he has done the job. He is very good looking, a good racehorse and a proven sire.
“And he again is a good VOBIS horse.”
Dodemaide said they chased Foxwedge and when he first came to stud in Victoria he’d sired 11 Stakes winners – he now has 24.
Dodemaide said that Rich Enuff continues to make an impact on the track and at the sales.
“He has got that two-year-old Bubble Palace that has had two starts for two wins and they reckon it’s a gun,” he said.
“And even last week at the sale at Sydney to prove it, a lady (Fionnuala Timoney) bought the dam (Tiz My View in foal to Hanseatic) online for $15,000 and eight months later put her in the sale and made $350,000 last Sunday.”
Dodemaide said Rich Enuff was good value at $8000 and was a stallion that might produce a spike for breeders.
“He had one that made $200,000 at Classic and one made $170,000 at Premier and one made $140,000 at Adelaide,” he said.
“He also had four in at Premier and they averaged $92,500.
“Where there is smoke there is a bit of fire and there are a few trainers that are quite happy.’’
Tosen Stardom’s service fee remains unchanged at $7,700.
Dodemaide said they never expected too much as two-year-olds from Tosen Stardom, winner of the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) and the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
But the Matty Williams trained Stardom Awaayts, from the stallion’s first crop, came from last to finish fourth in the recent $1m The Showdown (1200m) for two-year-olds at Caulfield.
“Matty told me that his horse will come back and believes he will be a nice miler at three,” Dodemaide said.
Bred and offered for sale by Noorilim Thoroughbreds, Williams paid $70,000 for Stardom Awaayts at last year’s Inglis Classic Yearling. The gelding’s dam, Awayeed (Hard Spun x Nufoos), raced 22 times for three minor finishes.
Tosen Stardom served 87 mares last season.

Our Best Pal (pink cap) nearly caused a boil-over on Friday night. (Racing Photos)

Three-year-old Our Best Pal went close to doing the unthinkable at Cranbourne on Friday night when the son of Palentino finished third at the massive odds of 300-1.
Having just his third start and the first for Pakenham farmer Tom Scanlon, the gelding paid as much as $31 for third place by some of the corporate bookmakers who offered the massive odds.
Our Best Pal, bred by Eamon McNulty, is out of the unraced Dowager Girl (O’Reilly x Dower).
Scanlon explained that he attempted to buy the gelding from McNulty but he wanted to keep the horse and instead leased it to the trainer but also retained a share.
“It was a little bit exciting, I can’t believe it,” the long-time Pakenham trainer said.
“We were shocked really. He only trialled up at Pakenham in the jump-outs and he had been second and third but nothing outstanding.
“He was blowing out at the 100 metres of his trials, but then ridden from behind he seemed a lot better
“I wanted to buy him but Eamon said he’d lease him which suited me.”
Our Best Pal was originally going to make his debut for Scanlon at the Balnarring picnics over 1100m on March 11, but he decided not to accept.
It worked out well as on the day of that race the horse pulled a shoe off with a nail going through his frog which sidelined him for a month.
Scanlon has been well known over the years not to hesitate in backing up his horses and while he had Our Best Pal entered for Moe on Tuesday – where he was rated an $8 market chance – he decided against the quick backup.
“I was going to back him up on my famous five-day back-up, but decided not to,” Scanlon said.
“Stokes and Moody had horses entered in the race, so I’ll keep him back.”
Our Best Pal is the only horse in Scanlon’s stable and he is hoping to have a bit of fun with him.
“If he keeps on improving, we should have a bit of fun with him, shouldn’t we,” he said.
“They ran a good time on Friday night and he sort of got lost a bit coming around the turn and wobbled off the track a bit.”
Nicconi mare, Elegant Queen, was a prolific winner for Scanlon. She raced 55 times for 9 wins, four seconds and six thirds.
“I lost her about three years ago,” he said.
“She reared up at the racecourse and went over backwards and hit her head. She was coming in for her last preparation before going to stud.
“She won nearly $200,000.”
Scanlon said his brother Kevin got a thrill to see the colours – purple and pale blue quarters and pink sleeves – go around again on Friday night. They were the same colours that Coroner wore when Kevin trained the horse to back-to-back Pakenham Cup victories in 1979/80.
For the breeder, McNulty, it was a good watch with Our Best Pal finishing third, especially as he had $20 each way on the gelding as he never lets his horses go around without even having a little wager – no matter what the odds.
The expatriate Irishman is a retired property developer who has about 16 broodmares on his Traralgon farm, Erin Park Lodge.
And as for those odds, he was surprised they were so massive.
“He is far from useless,” he said.
“I knew he wouldn’t be city class and we didn’t go on with him and we breed quite a few here and some we keep and some we don’t and I was happy to lease him out and good luck to them.
“And I hope he wins quite a few races for them.
“He was unlucky he didn’t run second and to be honest, I think he looks like he could do with another 100 metres.”
McNulty breeds up to a dozen foals a year, some he retains and others he sells.
And in the tradition of the luck of the Irish, McNulty bought New Zealand mare Royal Raine (Thorn Park x Instantly) with a Shamus Award filly at foot for $37,500 online.
And with great timing, Royal Raine’s first living foal, Decent Raine (Dissident), was stakes-placed three times with Ciaron Maher and David Eustace just a couple of months after McNulty’s purchase.
McNulty sold his Shamus Award filly for $440,000 at last month’s Inglis Easter Sale.
The broodmare, which he bought to breed with Toronado, is now in foal to the Swettenham Stud stallion.
“We have had a good season and I sold a Russian Revolution filly for $370,000 at Melbourne Premier,” McNulty said.
“My luck is running a bit hot at the moment. At the broodmare sales last week I bought a mare in foal to Written By who is a half-sister to the horse (Mazu) which won the Doomben 10,000 on Saturday.
“I bought it and her half-brother by Maurice (out of Chatelaine) comes out and wins that race. I gave $110,000 for her and I’ve booked her into Maurice so that should give me a three quarter to that very good horse on the weekend.”
McNulty admits it’s been a good year.
With negotiations in their final stages for Palentino to relocate from Widden’s Victorian Stud to Glen Eden Stud, the performance of Our Best Pal at Cranbourne sparked the interest of Glen Eden’s Rory O’Brien.
“I threw him into the multiples,” O’Brien said.
“No, I didn’t get it.
“Our Best Pal – I couldn’t believe my eyes myself.”
O’Brien said they were finalising contracts for Palentino to stand at Glen Eden and he was 99.9 per cent sure it was going to happen.
Yulong Prince is also relocating to Glen Eden and will stand at $7,700. Palentino will stand at $6,600 and another stallion to relocate, Trust In A Gust, will stand at $4,400. Giant’s Steps will stand at $3,300.
“I think there is plenty of upside with what we’ve got,” O’Brien said.
“Without going into too much, I am a big believer in Canny Lad being the dam gran sire and I think there is precedence for that. I Am Invincible and Redoute’s Choice both have Canny Lad in the same position.
“Yulong Prince just happens to have Gimmethegreenlight’s pedigree. And a lot of people don’t realise that Gimmethegreenlight is really ridiculously credentialed and just leaves stakes winner after stakes winner.
“He is under the radar and I do think Yulong Prince could do something pretty serious.”
Eden Park lost Rebel Dane after the stallion’s owners decided to move him to another stud after interest in him soared after he produced Fireburn, winner of this year’s Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes and Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes.
“We got a record book for him and it didn’t turn out for us, but that’s okay and I think it put some runs on the board to attract these other stallions,” O’Brien said.
“There is still another one who I have my eyes on and I’m not sure where he’ll end up and he is a smoky and he raced on the weekend.
“He is one that I’m going to my neck on the chopping block and tell everyone he is the next big thing. I’ll either be seen as an idiot in four years or I’ll be right.”
O’Brien said he was hopeful of adding the mystery horse to Glen Eden’s stallion roster.
He said he was looking forward to Palentino.
“I do a lot of work and I take out biases, I take out opinions,” he said.
“Women and men lie and numbers don’t – that’s my favourite saying.
“If you just reflect on the sheer numbers that he has on the ground, he is worth having at stud.
“I guess the hard work is done. He has 359 live foals and if you play the odds and probability, the chances of him producing an above-average horse, him being an above-average horse himself, are probably better than 50 per cent in our favour. It’s better than a flip of a coin.”
O’Brien has been keeping a close watch on two-year-old Palentino gelding Solar Blast which was third on a debut at Morphettville but was unplaced in his second start last Saturday in the Group 3 Sires Produce (1400m) at the same track.
He said the winkers were applied on Saturday and the horse pulled.
“I think there is a bit of promise there,” O’Brien said.
“Palentino is a beautiful looking son of Teofilo and it’s all there and there is no serious reason why he can’t get one.
“If I could find that reason, and I have made that decision on a few, that they don’t have a good chance going forward, I wouldn’t stand him.”