Finance Tycoon ridden by Damian Lane wins the Neds Zeditave Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse on February 26, 2022 in Caulfield, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

While Glen Eden Stud welcomed recently retired colt Finance Tycoon to their stallion roster, it was a case of a farewell for long-time Victorian stallion Master of Design which will depart Eden Park Stud for Tasmania.

The Group 1 winning Master of Design (Redoute’s Choice x Urge To Merge) started his stud career with Swettenham Stud in 2012 and was later leased to Greta West Stud.

Swettenham Stud and a syndicate of individual owners sold Master Of Design to airline captain Gary Liu who purchased Joe and Daira Vella’s Wingrove Park Stud and renamed it Eden Park Stud where the stallion stood.

Liu revealed he liked Master Design, which sired his Group 3 winning gelding Greyworm, so much that he bought the stallion three years ago.

A change of circumstances and a low number of mares – he served 18 last year at a fee of $3300 – has led Liu to move the stallion to Tasmania where he believes the horse will get more opportunities.

“He has gone to Tasmania because at the moment we don’t have the manpower and resources to stand him here so we have moved him down to Tasmania,” Liu said.

With two recent Melbourne city winners, Liu said the stallion had been going well for a “bread and butter” stallion.

“It’s so hard in Victoria where it is very competitive with all the stallions,” he said.

“He can get 20 to 30 a year and it’s quite hard to get more mares to him when there are so many good stallions.

“I don’t think there is another Redoute’s stallion in Tasmania and with him being three grand or even below you could get quite a few people interested there with breeders.

“Hopefully he’ll get a few more mares to him.”

Liu said he still had some progeny by Master of Design and would probably support him with a couple of mares this season, but had sold some of his broodmares to smaller breeders.

The addition of the Group 3-winning Finance Tycoon (Written Tycoon x Darook) to the Glen Eden Stud roster now gives the farm a total of four new stallions.

The rising four-year-old will stand alongside Yulong Prince (which formerly stood at Yulong), Trust In A Gust (formerly Swettenham) and Palentino (formerly Widden Victoria). Giant’s Steps remains on the roster of the stud which is located just out of Kilmore.

After losing the talented Rebel Dane, Glen Eden has been on the hunt for more fresh talent and eagerly sought Finance Tycoon to join their other new stallions.

Rory O’Brien, who bought into Glen Eden and has 50 per cent equity with stud founder and owner Sonia O’Gorman, worked hard to secure Finance Tycoon which won the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at his second start, then won the $1m The Showdown (1200m) in 2021 for trainers Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes.

The colt was then transferred to Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Danny O’Brien where he won the Group 3 Zedative Stakes (1200m) and then had the last of his 10 starts in March. His record stood at four wins, a second and a third for $961,000 in prizemoney.

O’Brien said the Finance Tycoon was set to arrive at the stud early this week.

“We are pretty stoked and it’s a fairly sizeable sort of opportunity to seize,” he said.

“He is the son of a legend and back to the third dam there is quite a bit of stallion power and if you look at her direct descendants it even goes down to Flying Spur.

“If you go deep, you are continually surprised and not disappointed.”

O’Brien said Finance Tycoon’s fee had been set at $13,200 which he believes is a perfect fit for a first-season stallion of his quality.

“He is a big horse, 16.2 and is powerful and good looking and is a speed horse who is precocious, winning the pre-Christmas two-year-old race in the Maribyrnong Plate,” he said.

“He ticks all the boxes, doesn’t he?”

Although he finished fourth in the Blue Diamond, beaten 2.7 lengths, O’Brien said that what he loved about that race was it was won by Artorius, Ingratiating was second and Anamoe third.

O’Brien described the race as top of the class.

“We have already had a great response,” he said.

“And we have got a roster that poses a few options.

“Trust In A Gust is getting winner after winner and had Chicago Storm win again on Saturday (at Gawler). He had three winners in two days (also Ransom Trust in Hobart on Sunday and I Am Winkles on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday).

“And Yulong Prince is a second season sire who is by a sire who I am increasingly bullish about – Gimmethegreenlight who did an extraordinary job over there in South Africa and he is an Australian bred horse.”

After serving big books of mares in his first four seasons, Palentino dropped to 18 last year but O’Brien is excited with how many foals the stallion has on the ground.

He said they are waiting for that special one to emerge and are confident with the big numbers that represent the stallion. His biggest book of mares was 155 in his second season followed by 145 and 146 and then 18 in 2021.

O’Brien said he was happy to secure new stallions for the stud.
And he also respects former Chile and Hong Kong galloper Giant’s Steps who he believes can throw a talented horse even though he has only so far served 50 mares in four seasons.

He said Giant’s Steps could have been handled better earlier in his post-race career which would have given him a better chance to make it commercially, but he’s heard whispers that a few of the stallion’s progeny in local stables that are going very nicely.

As far as numbers go, O’Brien said that even though it’s late they’re hoping to attract 100-plus mares to Finance Tycoon for this season.
“I will do anything and everything to get people’s business and make it enticing for them to join us,” he said.

“It’s about securing my future in the industry and the stud’s future in the industry and setting things in place for a great foundation for stronger days in the future.

“I won’t be backward in coming forward speaking about our stallions to anyone. We’ll do everything we can.

“It’s super competitive.”

O’Brien talks about Victoria and the wider economic situation and predicts it will be interesting times for the bottom of the market and believes the much talked about steep increases in interest rates by the end of the year will impact people’s wallets.

He said it was interesting times outside of the horse industry and would have a flow-on effect to impact the participants.

When it comes to reaching a service fee for their stallions, O’Brien said they had to make it appealing by offering value and quality.

“The essence of a good product is value and quality and it doesn’t matter what you are selling,” he said.

And with a horse like Finance Tycoon, O’Brien said he was a stallion that he believes is a fully commercial entity.

He said if the stallion wasn’t, he would have pursued him heavily.

“I think that people would be wise to invest in him early and take on the LBRs (life breeding rights) and they will be available,” O’Brien said.

“And reap the rewards in the future because the depth of work that my friends and partners out there who have been so supportive to me to help to find the right horse will hopefully pay off.

“There is just more than just wanting a son of Written Tycoon and a Group performer or anything like that and I generally think he can upgrade mares based on what I see and what I have been advised.

“Because there are people out there much smarter than I who suggest that.”

O’Brien has been a partner in Glen Eden Stud since last year and says he is nine months into being a stud master and is going for it “hell for leather.”

He hopes that people who know them will give their support and understand what a big deal it is for such a small farm to perhaps accomplish the jump across the divide from a breed-to-race stud to commercial.

“We have got nothing but respect for those who work in the industry and participate at any level but my call is to get to a higher level if possible,” O’Brien.

With a background in sales and a self-confessed entrepreneurial spirit, O’Brien is driven by the passion to succeed in the horse industry.

He used to practice calling races as a five or six-year-old because he was fascinated with horses and as a kid admits his all-time horse crush was Super Impose and admitted he cried when he was beaten Shaftesbury Avenue.

“I came into the horse industry professionally for the first time with the onset of the pandemic and started working with Danny O’Brien (no relation),” O’Brien said.

“I still do boxes a few times a week for Danny at this point of time, just from 6am to 9am just for one to have a bit of a walkabout and it’s also good to stay connected to the horses.

“I like being up close to the animals and it’s something that will never leave me.”

O’Brien said Finance Tycoon will let down into a beautiful stallion but will need a bit of time.

The colt had his last race when he was unplaced in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in March and had just been ticking along until a final decision was made to retire him to stud.

“He hopefully will have a good run around in the paddock and get some of that good food in him and he can have a nice pick of the grass and he doesn’t have to worry about anyone getting onto his back probably ever again,” O’Brien said.

He said they are at the stud to assist all breeders this season.