Heywood thoroughbred breeder Russell Troeth seems happy with his lot at his sheep farm in the Western District of Victoria.
Breeding a few foals a year…selling the odd one, keeping the rest to race…he enjoys the hobby of examining pedigrees and watching the young horses develop.
And one he bred has certainly developed extremely well and is among the better young horses in Singapore.
Augustano, a son of Hard Spun bred by Russell at the Heywood farm, racked up his fourth win in the past six starts on Sunday.
“I always thought he was a nice colt…maybe I’ve sold the wrong one!…but if you breed a few you’ve got to sell something,” said Troeth.
“When you own the mare and relations, you don’t really mind that they go well.”
The win on Sunday gave the three-year-old gelding’s legendary trainer Lee Freedman food for thought about chasing the riches of Singapore’s Three-Year-Old Challenge.
That three-legged series, through March and May, incorporates the Group 3 Singapore Three-Year-Old Sprint (1200m), the Group 2 Singapore Three-Year-Old Classic (1400m) and the Group 1 Singapore Guineas (1600m).
“He was impressive at his last win, but it was not the plan to lead today as I wanted him to come back for us since he was getting back in trip,” Freedman said.
“Still, it was a very good effort from him, as I’ve learned here that it’s a big ask for those three-year-olds to go to Class 3 level and win.”
Jockey Glen Boss is also a fan of the Victorian bred youngster.
“He is a good-looking individual. He wants to please all the time,” Boss said post-race.
“I told Lee he’s an impressive sort, but he’ll become more impressive when the class gets better. He has an amazing turn of speed which I think will be better utilised if we put him away in a race.”
Troeth has been in the breeding side of things for about ten years, albeit he grew up in a family which has bred and worked horses of one kind or another for a number of generations.
In terms of stallions, he has sent mares to the likes of Camelot, Toronado and Fighting Sun while he now has two mares in foal to Darley Victoria’s new shuttle sire Frosted.
But he can’t forget the former Darley Northwood sire of Augustano. Hard Spun no longer shuttles to Australia but has left the likes of multiple Group 1 winner Le Romain alongside Group 2 winners Text’n’Hurley, Gatting, Tarquin and San Nicasio. He also sired South African Group 1 winner Ertijaal from his Victorian base.
“Hard Spun, value for money-wise, was one of the better of the sires you could send a mare to,” Troeth said.
Troeth sends his mares to Maldon’s Oakford Farm, operated by the renowned McKnight family, for foaling down.
“He’s (Brian McKnight) very good at handling foals and going on further with them,” Troeth said.
And like Augustano, the yearlings are also prepared by the McKnights if they are heading to the sale.
The then yearling Hard Spun colt was taken to Oaklands Junction for the 2016 VOBIS Gold Sale where he sold for $60,000 to trainer Kane Harris. Harris then prepared him for the Inglis Ready to Race Sale later that year where a Thai buyer bought him for $110,000 to race in Singapore.
Augustano has now in excess of $187,000 for his connections and will no doubt be racking up quite a bit more if his recent talent on show is anything to go by.