Bob Scarborough may have sold his showpiece Wood Nook Farm in Nagambie, but the former Moonee Valley Racing Club chairman and passionate Victorian breeder is still making his presence felt in the breeding world.
At Doncaster on Saturday, the Wood Nook Farm bred colt Magna Grecia won the final Group 1 of the British Flat season, the Vertem Futurity Trophy (formerly the Racing Post Trophy).
The Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Invincible Spirit was making his third start after a dominant maiden win Naas by three and a half lengths before finishing second to the promising Kingman colt Persian King in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes over a mile at Newmarket.
“It was a wonderful result and although I didn’t see the replay of the race till the next morning, it was a great way to start the day when all the text messages came through from friends abroad congratulating me on the win,” Scarborough said.
While trainer Aidan O’Brien was full of praise for the progressive galloper. “I’m delighted with him, he’s still a bit babyish but he’s coming forward lovely,” O’Brien said “We think a mile will be his thing next year.”
Scarborough sold Magna Grecia through the Norelands Stud draft for 340,000gns at the 2016 Tattersalls December Foal Sale to MV Magnier, Peter and Ross Doyle and Mayfair Speculators.
He had purchased Magna Grecia’s dam Cabaret for 600,000gns at the 2011 Tattersalls December Mares Sale. A daughter of Galileo, Cabaret won the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes over seven furlongs as a juvenile. Cabaret is catalogued in the Norelands draft for the upcoming Tattersalls December Mares Sale but will be withdrawn, with Scarborough understandably changing his mind on selling.
“I own Cabaret outright, and she will definitely not be going through the sale now. You just can’t buy a Group 3 winning Galileo mare that has produced a Group 1 winner. She would attract every Sheik and leading breeder around the world, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to buy her. You have to hold on to the good ones when you have them,” Scarborough said.
Still passionately involved in breeding, Scarborough has been breeding in the Northern Hemisphere for around twenty years and manages a high-quality broodmare band of six mares aboard.
“I was always interested in breeding globally and selling into the international market at their bloodstock auction houses,” Scarborough said.
“One of the mares I own, Blissful Beat is the dam of Godolphin’s Group 2 winning Home of the Brave, and I sold the half-sister by Le Havre for 850,000gns to Blandford Bloodstock on behalf of Sheik Mohammed a couple of weeks ago at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale.”
“No doubt that nice return will go straight back into the thoroughbred industry and will pay for the agistment and nominations fees for the next year. You certainly don’t pay off a mortgage, it all just goes back into the game that we love to be involved in.”
And while there are many success stories for Scarborough, there are also a few green monkeys, and more than one great stories to share about the tough game of breeding.
“My first mare I bought in 1997 abroad was called Race The Wild Wind, a 50/50 purchase with Coolmore at Keeneland that we paid US $750,000 in foal to Nureyev. She ended up producing a colt three months later, and on Coolmore’s direction was sold as a foal. As it turned out, he claimed the record for the highest priced weanling ever sold at US $1.5 million and was bought back by Coolmore. That colt ended up being the Deauville Group 1 winner and stallion King Charlemagne.”
But as for Magna Grecia, through Scarborough, she will continue to fly the flag for Victorian breeders abroad, with the illustrious Wood Nook brand fortunate to add another Group 1 winner to their distinguished honour board.
“You can definitely claim her as a Victorian breeder-bred winner, and they will continue to be bred, sold and raced under the Wood Nook Farm banner no matter what country they originate in. There is a Victorian connection to them all.”