Sally Watkins and the Willaroon Thoroughbreds fan club were enthusiastically cheering on Soho Ruby racing at Flemington on Saturday as she saluted in The Curragh Racecourse Handicap to land her fifth win from twenty starts.
Prepared by talented young trainer Levi Kavanagh, the Willaroon bred daughter of Northern Meteor achieved a short-head win over the favourite Top Of The Range, after finishing a solid third at her last start.
“I am thrilled that Soho Ruby has turned into such a brilliant performer for Levi. She really started his career off by not only being his first winner but his first city winner,” Watkins said.
The four-year-old mare is now expected to line up in the lucrative Golden Mile at Bendigo on April 7 before a trip to Kavanagh’s hometown of Adelaide to run in the Group 2 Queen Of The South Stakes.
“She has already earned black-type being placed in the (Group 3) Frances Tressady Stakes, but it would be great for Levi and for her to secure a Group win to further enhance her value.”
Watkins bought the mare Red Rapture mare in foal with Soho Ruby from Vinery Stud in 2013 – the year Northern Meteor died – and then sold Soho Ruby for $190,000 at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale to Levi’s father Mark. Her earnings have now surpassed $286,000.
Willaroon recently sold Red Rapture’s yearling filly by Zoustar at the Inglis Premier Sale for $110,000 to Rob Slade from Slade Bloodstock.
“She was a beautiful yearling, being a three-quarter-sister to Soho Ruby and bred on the same cross as Sunlight with the Northern Meteor influence,” Watkins said.
“I don’t think Rob Slade will have any problems finding owners for her and she will be heading straight to David Hayes to train. She will be given every opportunity to succeed.”
Red Rapture currently has a filly by Nostradamus on the ground with Watkins being a proud shareholder in the Rosemont Stud stallion.
“Red Rapture is a really lovely mare and I decided to send her to Nostradamus as Red Ransom mares click well with the Medaglia D’Oro line.”
Watkins has kept Red Rapture close to home as she is a difficult mare to breed with, but such precautions still failed to get her in foal to Zoustar last year.
“We may look at going back to Zoustar this season, but we would rather not travel the mare interstate if possible. Otherwise, we may consider Written Tycoon. I would like her to stay close and go to a Victorian-based stallion.”
Willaroon Thoroughbreds is located at Lurg, about half an hour’s drive east of Benalla.
Approximately half of the mares on the undulating property are commercially bred by Willaroon or in partnership with clients to target the yearling sales with the remaining mares belonging to breeders who enjoy retaining their progeny to race.
Willaroon has one yearling heading up to the Inglis Easter Sale this year. Consigned through the Milburn Creek draft, Lot 282 is bay filly by boom sire I Am Invincible and is from the young Not A Single Doubt mare Passarelle.
“She is a beautiful filly who is very like her mum. There is a lot of Not A Single Doubt about her. She has a fantastic temperament, very correct, a good size, and quite possibly my favourite yearling off the farm this year,” Watkins said.
“Gai Waterhouse trained her (Passarelle) and, after winning a couple of her early trials, she was the favourite for the Gimcrack Stakes. Unfortunately, she sustained an career ending injury in her final gallop.
“I bought her as a two-year-old filly and aim to build a top-quality breeding history for her. Harry Mitchell keeps wanting to know when I will sell her, but she is not going anywhere at the moment. Good mares like that are hard to find.”
View the catalogue page for the Willaroon bred Lot 282 at the upcoming Inglis Easter Sale.