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VEECEE STORMS INTO BLUE DIAMOND CONTENTION


Ethan Brown returns to the mounting yard on Veecee after winning the VRC Summer Fun Sprint at Flemington Racecourse on January 14, 2023 in Flemington, Australia. (Photo by Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Victorian breeder Danny Swain expected his Capitalist colt would make about a third of the $750,000 that it eventually fetched at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.


Bought by astute trainer Ciaron Maher for stable clients, including high profile owner Ozzie Kheir whose colours the colt races in, the two-year-old made a spectacular debut in the opening race at Flemington on Saturday.


After scoring by 2.5 lengths in the 1100m sprint, bookmakers were quick to install Veecee as the $10 third favourite behind Kings Gambit ($4.50) and The Instructor ($8) in next month’s $2 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Sandown.


Swain and his wife Sarina own and operate Glenelg Park, a 360-acre horse property at Euroa and although they have drastically reduced their personal broodmare band, they were proud of Veecee’s efforts at Flemington and what is yet to come.


Bred in partnership with their friends Scott and Helen Cameron, Swain said he had his fingers crossed that the colt would get his chance after an impressive debut.


“He made very good money and we were obviously rapt with the way he sold up there last year,” he said.


“He far and away exceeded our expectations.


“We went up there looking at the sale average and being happy with that.


“Obviously as the sale went on he became more and more popular and that’s how he sold.


“It was fantastic and we were rapt when we saw he was knocked down to Ciaron and David (Eustace) and they’ll give him every chance and it gives our mare every chance.”


The sale average for the Gold Coast sale was $240,253.


Swain bought Veecee’s dam Isabella (Poet’s Voice x Duelling Girl) off the track from Godolphin for $46,000 at the 2017 Inglis December Sale. She was unraced but had two trials in Sydney.


Her America dam Duelling Girl (Dayjur x Carduel) produced two Listed winners, Keep The Faith (Sunday Silence) and Pistols (Dehere). Keep The Faith sired dual Group 1 winner Trust In A Gust which started his stud career at Swettenham Stud and now stands at Glen Eden Stud.


Isabella, whose American family has plenty of Stakes winners, had her first mating with Invader (Snitzel x Flame of Sydney) which produced a filly, but her sale price was disappointing.


“We sold that first foal as a weanling for $4,000,” Swain said.


“So we weren’t so good about things at that stage, but it’s an amazing industry and we can see how things can change so quickly.


“It was when COVID was at its worst as far as disrupting the sales and from memory she was going through the Great Southern and it was the year that the sale actually sold up at Sydney at the end of the Sydney weanling sale.


“She went through the sale and was a nice neat filly but just wasn’t very big and was just very much a first foal.”


Swain said they were extremely disappointed to only get $4,000, especially when Invader’s advertised service fee was $27,500.


He said at that stage they battled on for a few years selling all of their own stock as weanlings to see how it went but that was the last year they did it and then sold most of the broodmares they’d been involved in.


“We kept Isabella and just kept poking along and are just down to her at the moment,” he said.


“We were just slowing down and honestly were starting to deal too much with the tail and the quality of the mares wasn’t good enough so we took it as an opportunity to move those mares on and just reassess what we were doing.


“At that stage I think we had about seven mares in partnership.”


The Swains breed from Isabella in partnership with Cameron and his wife Helen who live in Batemans Bay and the couple been involved in the farm from “nearly day dot.”


“They have been great supporters, friends and partners for a fair while,” Swain said.


Despite the enormous difference in the sale price of Isabella’s first two foals, Swain is hopeful the mare’s third foal, a filly by Kings Legacy (Redoute’s Choice x Breakfast In Bed) will have her value enhanced by Veecee.


Not served in 2020, Isabella is in foal to Farnan (Not A Single Doubt x Tallow).


Swain said the plan at this stage is to offer the Kings Legacy filly at next year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.


All of Isabella’s foals have been born in August.


It was good timing for the breeders to send Isabella to Capitalist in 2018 when the stallion stood for $55,000. Although his service fee dropped to $44,000 the following season, he has stood at $99,000 for the past two years.


But it was a case of good luck in sending the mare to Capitalist after it was originally decided to have her covered by Rubick.


“To be honest we got quite lucky with Capitalist and with her,” Swain said.


“I’ve always liked Capitalist and I’d sent mares to him since he first went to stud but I have to admit to it, but Isabella was supposed to go to Rubick that year but we couldn’t get a cover.


“But there was a spot free to Capitalist and we swapped her over there and the rest is history.


“I say I was a fantastic breeder and spent hours looking at breeding but the truth was that Capitalist had a spot free and although as I said we’d always liked him and supported him, but hadn’t had any real luck with him.


“So it just goes back to show.”


Rubick, which now stands at Swettenham Stud, served his biggest book of mares – 263 – in 2018.


And Swain said while it was at the front of his mind to send Isabella back to Capitalist, they would just wait and see what happens with Veecee.


“He was a nice foal from day dot,” he said.


“He was one of those lovely looking colts and had a fantastic attitude.”


While the Swains have backed off on their own broodmares, the farm continues to offer an abundance of services and have just finished up on the breeding season with the visiting mares that will slowly head off.


“We will just work into the weanlings now,” Swain said.


“We are busy enough.


“But we have actually slowed down and have stopped selling and are just mainly really an agistment farm with the mares.


“We have 360 acres and it’s a nice sized farm and is big enough for us, but we are sort of cutting our numbers back a bit because it’s time to start looking after the farm a little bit more.


“Typically over the past five years or so, we have normally walked out somewhere between 60 to 80 mares. We have obviously got a permanent client base and we have taken on seasonal mares as well.”


Swain said it was just really the sales side of their business which they had cut back on.


“We have got a young family and it’s just a matter of trying to find a bit of balance and being able to spend some time with the kids basically,” he said.


The Swains bought their farm in 2011 after Danny spent most of his time in the Hunter Valley when he left Victoria and worked for Segenhoe Stud when he was 21, then Yarraman Park and later Vinery. He was assistant manager of Cressfield Stud before becoming Reavill Farm’s manager.


“I did the rounds up there a little bit and finished managing Reavill for a period of time but my wife, Sarina, and I decided to go out on our own and we are both from Victoria and decided to come back here and set up,” he said.


Asked whether the big price they got for Veecee might have tempted him to breed from a few more mares, Swain said: “It just helped to pay a few bills and we won’t get too carried away.


“Obviously it’s fantastic to get the pay day but to think that he might be a good race horse as well, that’s really exciting and that’s what we are all in it for at the end of the day.”

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