Thursday, December 31, 2009


Eliza Park’s sales & noms man, Mark Lindsay, loves a punt. He also loves a beer and the All Blacks, but that’s another story.
Rarely does a racehorse by an Eliza Park stallion do the rounds without ‘Nugget’ casting an eye over his or her performance and he’s given the big thumbs up to Beltonic’s fourth – beaten 0.9 lengths – over 1011m at Yarra Valley on Tuesday (29 December).
I could wax lyrical on how the debutant was further back than Walla Walla at one stage before flying home with a rail hugger, but best you see for yourself by clicking here.
Trained by John Symons & Sheila Laxon (John also trained Beltonic’s sire, Bel Esprit), Beltonic is out of the Kenny’s Best Pal mare Carbonated and was sold to John for $36,000 by Eliza Park at the 2007 Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale at Oaklands Junction.
Bred by Len Rhodes, Beltonic is a half brother to exciting God’s Own 2YO Onamissionfromgod, out of a half sister to stakes winners Intelligent Star and Blaze The Turf (dam of Melbourne stakes winner Soleil), plus the unraced Aerate’s Pick, dam of recent Group Two winner Ortensia.

Sheila Laxon & John Symons


LOT 69: Chestnut Filly, TESTA ROSSA – BALTICS

This flashy filly is built to go – and go early. What’s more, she’s by an in-form sire and hails from what is arguably the hottest family in the Australian Stud Book.
Boasting a good rein and nice head, Lot 69 appears to be very precocious and ticks all the right boxes.
Testa Rossa is the sire of over 270 winners – 24 at stakes level – and, importantly, has produced over 80 juvenile winners.
His honour roll includes Testafiable, Rostova, Vormista, Jiang, Publishing and co. while recent stakes performers include Ortensia (WATC Winterbottom Stakes-G2) and Gold Salute (third VRC Emirates Stakes-G1).
Testa Rossa yearlings sold up to $330,000 in 2009 and averaged $46,122.
The first foal of Fusaichi Pegasus mare, Baltics, the filly has a great deal of upside when her racing days are done.
Baltics has been bred right up (her second foal is a filly by Commands and was covered this spring by Exceed and Excel) and is, in turn, a daughter of ‘blue hen’ mare Scandinavia.
A multiple Group winner (by Snippets) who was 4-times Group One placed, Scandinavia has been simply outstanding since retiring to the breeding barn, producing Group One winning sprinter and sire, Magnus; multiple Group winner Wilander and Helsinge, dam of Bel Esprit’s sprinting sensation Black Caviar, a pre-post favourite for the Lightning Stakes-G1 on 30 January.

For a video and full pedigree information, click here.


The 2010 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale kicks off next Wednesday (6 January) and – as usual – will provide a barometer for sales trade in the coming year.
Eliza Park has consigned eight yearlings to the Gold Coast – including sons and daughters of God’s Own, Bel Esprit, Danbird, Testa Rossa and Elusive Quality – which will be available for inspection at Stable W from tomorrow morning (1 January).
A full rundown of our draft, with comments, pedigree, photos and video are available by clicking here.


“If hockey fights were fake, you would see me in more of them.”

- Hall of Famer, Rod Gilbert

As far as Ice Hockey quotes go, it ranks right up there with the fan who said: “I went to the hockey last night and a game broke out!”


Keep your peepers out for Esprit Lad’s next outing following his fourth at Canterbury on Wednesday (30 December).
Now the winner of six races from 19 starts (and five placings), Esprit Lad absolutely flew home over the 1100m at Canterbury after being near the tail of the field until well after the turn.
Victory today would have seen Esprit Lad become Bel Esprit’s ‘winningest’ horse with seven wins, but will now have to wait until next start (and it can’t come soon enough for the punters in the office!).
Bred by Rod Menzies, Esprit Lad is out of the Geiger Counter mare Lady Marple, a half sister to Group One winning sprinter, Marstic.
This was Esprit Lad’s first run back from a spell so make sure you mark him down in your book.


John Gunning would have undoubtedly have been quite chuffed with the win of Clangalang filly Hi Belle at Kilmore today (30 December): her first victory and just her second start.
John not only bred the mother (Jugah mare Seldom Caught), he trains the filly out of his Nar Nar Goon stables AND is also a part-owner.
What’s more, John bred, trained and owned the half sister, Lady Lyn, whose seven victories included three in Melbourne.
This is also the family of Queensland Group One winners Black Piranha and Court Ruler.
John certainly has plenty of upside with Hi Belle clearly a filly that is going places, while there is also a Danbird 2YO filly out of Seldom Caught waiting in the wings.


Stephen Jones’ nippy Delago Brom 2YO, Mr de Lago broke through for his maiden victory at the Sunshine Coast today (30 December), winning the 1100m scamper by a good 2.5 lengths.
It was the colt’s second start and connections appear to have a handy performer based on the authority of his win.
Bred by GJ Garland, Mr De Lago is out of the Flying Spur mare Spurring, a half sister to Group Two winning filly Ascorbic and closely related to Berberia, Lemon Sorbet, Chattanooga and co.
Mr de Lago is also from the immediate family of Bel Esprit’s recent Moonee Valley winner Bel Shoes.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Esprit de Bullet has capped off another amazing month for his sire Bel Esprit by taking out the Country Showcase over 1100m at Bendigo on Monday (28 December).
Esprit de Bullet is clearly one out of the box and notched up his third win from four starts, having earlier won over the same course and distance on 10 December.
(Click here for a run down on Esprit de Bullet’s remarkable rise)
Bel Esprit winners throughout December include Fast Break, Cascabel, Demonic, Forty Two Below and Diplomatic Strike while, in a two day period, Victoria’s Champion Sire produced a treble on 12 December – Beltrois (Flemington), Second World (Stawell) and Supreme Best (Macau) – followed by a double on 13 December – Bel Shoes (Moonee Valley), pictured below, and Esprit of Eve (Hobart).

Photo courtesy of Slickpix


Living Legends, the International Home of Rest for Champion Horses, is poised to add three more champions to its roster with the arrival – in 2010 – of Takeover Target, 8-time Group One winner Apache Cat and 2008 Cox Plate hero Maldivian.
Living Legends, of which Eliza Park is a principal partner, is really taking shape with residents of yesteryear such as Better Loosen Up, Saintly, Might And Power and Fields of Omagh, but this is by far the most memorable influx since opening its doors at the famous Woodlands property in 2006.
If you haven’t been to Living Legends before then it’s worth taking a hike (just five minutes from Melbourne’s International Airport) and you can check out all the activities available by clicking here.
And if you have been to Living Legends, the new additions will give you plenty of reasons to return.

Takeover Target

Apache Cat



Apart from being a good type – both conformationally and conversationally – Emma Boling is a keen student of the thoroughbred industry, having raced a number of outstanding neddies and serving on committees ranging from the Moonee Valley Racing Club and Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria.
What’s more, Emma’s a more than handy scribe, recently releasing her first novel, Riding High, which – as the Sherlocks among you would have already surmised – has a lot to do with racing and its many intrigues.
A second novel is due to the hit the stands around spring 2010, but for the moment, take the time to read Emma’s treatise on the industry and, in particular, its failure to ‘embrace the future’.
Cop the tip and click here … there’s no murders involved per se, but fiddling while Rome burns will certainly kill off racing as we know it.


Brian Russell is never likely to score a Nobel Prize for Literature, but his depth of industry knowledge is legendary.
Rapidly bearing down on the big eight-0, Brian’s grasp of facts and figures is nothing short of remarkable and the factoids he often unravels are not only informative, but interesting to boot.
The amazing thing is, he pulls most of it from the grey matter sitting between his ears and, unlike yours truly, is not forever falling back on the internet for sustenance.
Providing a weekly email service of industry tidbits – subscription is free: simply email - a couple of Brian’s recent items caught the eye, including one on Written Tycoon’s sire, Iglesia (keeping in mind that the first of the Written Tycoon (below) yearlings are up for grabs at 2010 sales).

Few sires have equalled or surpassed the feat on the one race day of the prematurely deceased Queensland used Last Tyoon sire Iglesia, the source on Saturday (19 December) of seven winners on prominent racecourses.
The contribution came from doubles at Doomben, Morphettville and Toowoomba and a success at the Gold Coast.
It was an achievement that consolidated Iglesia’s current position as Queensland leading sire numerically and pushed him higher up the ladder nationally. Since August 1 he has had 54 individual winners in Australia of 74 races and over $1.2million. He is well on his way to surpass his statistics for 2008-09, a year his oldest were six and included 64 winners of 104 races and earners of $2.1million.
Now represented by his final juvenile crop, including overseas runners Iglesia to date has provided 188 winners (seven SWs,11 SPs) of 450 races and earners of just under $11million. The wins to winners strike rate is typical of Queensland breeding.
Used for six seasons, including books of 185 (2004) and 183 (2005), at Neville Stewart’s Oaklands stud near Toowoomba, Iglesia died at 11 in early December 2006. It was a loss that came only two years after the death at Oaklands of their outstanding Danehill sire Lion Hunter at the same age.
They were losses that followed the deaths in the mid 1990s in Queensland of four sires before their progeny started racing but who left winners up to Group1 level. These sires were Brave Warrior (sire of Show a Heart), Alannon (sire of Falvelon), St Covet and Just Awesome and their losses were a shocking tragedy.
Like Just Awesome, O’Reilly and Magic of Money by Last Tycoon, Iglesia was another brilliant galloper bred and raced by Geoff and Beryl White, Invermien, Scone and trained by Jack Denham. Out of their home bred Marscay mare Yodells, dam also of Brisbane Cup winner and Melbourne Cup second Yippyio, Iglesia ran 20 times for six city wins, including the STC Silver Slipper and VRC Standish Handicap – in 1200m course record time, three stakes thirds and a Golden Slipper fourth.
Iglesia is another indication that a reliable pathway to getting a good sire is the use of brilliant Australian racehorses.

Mustard, the John McNair 12-year-old who was appearing for the hundredth time and recording his 16th win when successful at Randwick on Saturday (19 December), is only a pup and lightly raced compared to Passion Moon, a galloper who ‘lived’ on north Queensland tracks in the 1960s.
As tough as an old boot who has lain out in the paddock, Passion Moon is credited by one authority as having raced a mammoth 281 times and according to details in a 1971 Inglis Sydney catalogue being the winner of 118 races, a score that could be a world record. Seventeen of his wins were as a 14-year-old in1966-67 and 15 at 15 1967-68.
All bar one of Passion Moon’s wins, a Brisbane maiden, were over short distances in North Queensland, mostly at Cairns, Mareeba and Innisfail.These meetings, including those at Cairns, mostly only had three or four races, each with very small fields. In fact Passion Moon often had only one or two opponents and on a small number of occasions walked over for the prize. In other words there were no other runners.
Bred by Herbert Thompson, the great Australian studmaster who stood seven times champion sire Heroic at his Tarwyn Park stud, Bylong Valley, NSW, Passion Moon had quality breeding. He was by the Tarwyn Park Big Game importation Hunter’s Moon and from Nell Gwynne, a smart Sydney juvenile by Golden Sovereign, sire also of Golden Chariot, producer of a queen of Australian racing, Wenona Girl.
Coincidentally, one of the sires that Passion Moon’s dam Nell Gwynne went to was called Rigoletto. Another Rigoletto foaled some 30 years later, a handy Bletchingly Sydney sprinter, got Altezza, the dam of Mustard. She is from the first class Dignitas race filly Princess Talaria, produce of the famous Winged Beauty.
Bred by the late Sir Tristan Antico when he had the Baramul stud in the Widden Valley in the 1990s, Mustard was got there from Altezza when they shuttled the French Two Thousand Guineas winner Vettori.
Mustard’s success on Saturday, one which took his earnings to over $700,000, was the first time he had finished in the first three in the 15 starts he has had since he returned to racing at the end of April this year after 19 months in retirement. His earlier efforts had included four Sydney stakes wins, including two Group 3 sprints at Rosehill Gardens, the Star Kingdom and the Concorde.
Very few horses of 10 or older have raced in Sydney in memory, but, back at the same time Passion Moon was racing in North Queensland, a tough, durable campaigner in Sydney was Grecian Vale. Got at Baramul’s neighbour, the Widden Stud, by the Ajax AJC Epsom Handicap and All-Aged Stakes winner Achilles, he is shown as the winner of 11 races, all in Sydney, in 129 starts. Three of the wins were at 11 and he was placed in four open city handicaps at 12, his final year of activity.
The most historic old timer of Australian racing was ‘colonial’ performer Jorrocks. He won four of eight starts at 17 years, one at 18 and was unplaced in one outing at 19, appearance in the Metropolitan on what was then Sydney’s main course, Homebush.


Danbird devotees got a slightly belated Christmas present with Danehill’s Group Two winning 2YO producing an international double on Sunday (27 December).
Tony Noonan’s highly rated, Easy, got the ball rolling with a fine win over 1200m at Mornington, while Maidantus gave Kiwis another taste of Danbird with a comfortable win over ‘the six’ at Arawa Park.
After winning the Pago Pago Stakes-G2 as a 2YO and running second to Exceed and Excel in the Up And Coming-G3 at three, Danbird campaigned in New Zealand where he was twice successful at stakes level.
Maidantus is Danbird’s first runner in New Zealand and was having her second start for the Graham Richardson stable, eventually running away with the Taste of Rotorua by two panels.
Bred by Robert Wren in Victoria, Maidantus is out of the Encosta de Lago mare Maicostus which, as it turns out, didn’t cost her owners that much, buying her for $30,000 and winning over $85,000.
Interestingly, both Danbird’s dam (Fitting) and Maicostus’ damsire (Maizcay) are full relations, being by Marscay out of the Hotfoot mare Corn.
As for Easy … well, her day had to come soon. Tony Noonan has had a big opinion of the Danbird 3YO since she first arrived at his stables and after a so-so performance on debut at Warrnambool last July, she then resumed with a fourth at Pakenham in early December before grabbing the biscuits at her home track.
Bred by Cuillin Hills Thoroughbreds and David Mills, Easy is out of the Woodman mare Forestress and hails from the immediate family of Snippets.
Spied at the 2008 Gold Coast Magic Millions by top notch agent (and even better human being) Louis Mihalyka, the filly was knocked down to Laurel Oak Bloodstock for $60,000.


The Danbird double is certainly welcome news to small, but avid breeder, Ray Nicholson, whose Eagle Eyed mare Devastate produced a cracking colt by Danbird at the end of November.
It’s certainly gives new means to inbreeding given that Danbird is a son of Danehill, while Eagle Eyed is Danehill’s full brother.
But that’s not all: Devastate’s 2nd dam, Dame Margot is a full sister to Devastate’s grandsire, Danzig (Northern Dancer – Pas de Nom).
All up, Natalma (Northern Dancer’s dam) appears no less than five times in the fifth line of betting … through a son, daughter, son, daughter, son.
Astutely, Ray picked up Devastate – who won one of 15 and was four times placed – for just $500 at the 2007 Australian Easter Broodmare Sale.
But that’s not necessarily the story – albeit an interesting one.
Doing some research on Danbird, Ray has notified us of an American singer – all the way from Nashville – called Dan Bird. Now, while Dan Bird can belt out a decent tune (you can hear for yourself by visiting and is not bad looking as far as blokes go, we’re tipping that he hasn’t been as ‘busy’ as Danbird over the past couple of years.


Delzao 3YO, Tops ‘n’ Tails is clearly top shelf after scoring with considerable aplomb over 1200m at Warrnambool on 27 December.
The first cropper was having only his second start for trainer Barbara Marshman, having earlier finished fourth over 1000m at the same track in mid-December.
Bred by Paringa Park, Tops ‘n’ Tails is out of the Pag Asa mare Billie’s Flurry, who has now produced three winners from three to race including Queensland’s multiple black type winner Smart and Mighty.


Delago Brom quickly shook off any Christmas inertia with a resounding two ‘island’ double on Boxing Day following the victories of Roycevale Farm bred Delago Pilli (ex. Grand Lodge mare Pillion) – who won his third race for Maryann Thexton at the Gold Coast – and the Jim Taylor trained Mushala on King Island.
Bred by Alan Watson, Mushala (ex. Revoque mare Chapel Royal) hadn’t raced for almost 12 months before kicking off the King Island carnival with a second on 28 November, followed by a whisker second on 12 December.
Racing on King Island is steeped in history and we’ve reprinted an article – courtesy of Track To Track – which gives some insight to the Island’s industry.

A lot has changed on King Island since they first commenced racing in 1892.
For starters, winning owners get a cheque these days instead of wallaby skins.
The obvious incentive for changing the ‘stake’ – aside from political correctness – is that you’re likely to get more horses at your race meeting if the owners can put something in their hip pocket.
But the main thrust of King Island racing is having fun. Always has been.
And let’s face it, by the King Island Racing Club’s own admission, it wouldn’t have survived the past 117 years if racegoers didn’t have one helluva time.
With King Island stuck out in the middle of Bass Strait, they have to fly in the bookmakers, stewards and jockeys, while a good number of patrons also head on down from the mainland.
Ironically, while King Island is famous for its beef and Crayfish– and especially cheese – horse racing gets little fanfare.
However, believe it or not, they have seven race meetings between the end of November and January, including one on Boxing Day, New Year’s Day (King Island Cup) and the Fly-In program on 23 January.
Rather uniquely, King Island’s race programs are ‘dual code’: a mix of gallopers and pacers which BOTH race on the one mile (1600m) grass track. A number of clubs throughout the world could lay claim to staging dual meets, but it’s unlikely many of them would have them both running on grass.
(Anyone who has munched on a King Island steak would attest they have the best grass too!)
But while racing on King Island is all about having a punt, a good feed, a few drinks and as much fun as you can standing up, the Islanders are focused on getting their neddies cherry ripe for race day.
Come September, around 80 odd horses go into training and Ian Johnson from King Island Travel reckons most of the trainers ride their own work or drive their own horses.
Ian, who claims to weigh in around 120 kilos and would surely be the biggest trackwork rider in Australia (could even be another world record for King Island) has a couple of gallopers in work and also puts a standardbred through his paces.
“Having both codes has drawn in people from all across the Island. It really is a family affair and, let’s put it this way, if you don’t own a horse, you’re related to someone that does.”
Ian is particularly proud that a bloke like Cranbourne trainer, Ken Keys – an ex Islander – has done so well in the big smoke: “Ken’s brother Codge (Robert) still lives on the Island and has 10 horses in work.”
Next year, for its Saturday 23 January meet – the Fly-In program – the King Island Racing Club has taken the bit between its teeth and will offer over $10,000 in prizes, totally separate to stake money.
With around five gallop and three pacing events scheduled for the day, King Island will also stage its first Human Hurdles event.
Ian explains: “The heats commence at 8am and the final will be run between the fifth and sixth races where eight finalists will jump out of the starting stall carrying a champagne flute full of liquid (hopefully not the real gear!).
“They have to jump five hurdles and finish in the fastest time with the most liquid left in the glass.
“You don’t have to be a skilled hurdler – just have a good balance and a sense of fun.”
Everyone gets a prize, while the winner will be awarded a holiday to the value of 10 grand.
That’s better than a flick on the backside with a wallaby skin.
Additionally, private plane owners (it takes around 45 minutes to fly in from either Tasmania or Victoria) will have landing fees waived for the day and have the opportunity to convert their plane registration to a horse running in the race.
“The registration winner of each race will be presented with a King Island Produce Hamper and, those registering prior to 21 January, will be eligible to win a three night accommodation package to Broome. Registration is free,” Ian adds.
“It should be a great day – we’ve also got a jazz band and you can sample our cheeses or have one of our lip smacking steak sandwiches.”
For information relating to any of the King Island race meetings, phone Lucinda Dengerink on 0408 546 469 or email for further information.
Lucinda will be able to help you out will travel, accommodation, dining and entertainment, registrations, what hat you should wear ...
For another good source of info on King Island visit
Evidently the average temperature on King Island throughout November, December and January is in the early 20s which, if like most of Australia, you’re currently sweating your way through what could be a long, hot summer, sounds like a godsend.


Clangalang continues his steady rise up the national Third Season Sires’ chart with a host of winners and placegetters throughout December.
Currently eighth in the premiership in terms of winners, his strike rate is clearly superior to that of his peers which include Lonhro, Exceed And Excel and Reset.
With two days racing remaining in the month, Clangalang (below) has been represented by 24 runners with six winners (Mr Isaac [twice], Luvbite, Clanger Count, Geegees Blackflash and Dingaling) and seven placegetters.
Not exactly blessed with ‘numbers’, his last six runners have produced three wins and two placings between them.


Well done to the Hoffelner family who not only raced Delago Brom, but now breed and own a number of his winning progeny: not the least of them being stakes placed 2YO and Macau’s Group winner and Group One runnerup Ecstatic Macau (nee Classic Brom).
Closer to home, their home bred filly Danaupair Starlet notched up her maiden win at Warrnambool on 14 December after seconds at three of her previous four career outings.
And the Patrick Payne 3YO didn’t just win either: romping home with 4.5 lengths to spare over the 1400m journey.
Hoffelner patriarch, Otto, also bred the full brother to Danaupair Starlet – the appropriately named Otto’s Delight – who delighted Queensland punters in October with successive victories in eight days.

Hannelore and Robert Hoffelner


Diana Anceschi is one ‘fine’ breeder and has managed to produce herself an outstanding performer in De Fine Lago.
Racing out of the Tony Vasil stable after being sold for $32,500 at the 2007 Inglis Melbourne Premier II Yearling Sale, De Fine has since trebled the asking price with five wins and four placings from just 14 starts.
Importantly, and seemingly typical of the Delago Brom breed, De Fine Lago is improving the more he matures: the 4YO has now won four of his last five starts this time in, culminating in his first city win at Moonee Valley on 13 December in the PFD Food Services Handicap over 2500m.
Out of Diana’s Flying Spur mare, Fine Glass – who sadly died in September of last year – De Fine Lago is linebred 3 x 3 to the influential Mr Prospector mare, Rolls, dam of Flying Spur and grandam of Encosta de Lago.

De Fine Lago scores at the Valley, much to the delight of his owners. Photos courtesy of Slickpix.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Not sure if he planned it that way, but leading Tasmanian businessman, Dudley Clark, had the rare honour of winning a race at Hobart on 13 December which was, basically, named after himself.
Actually, the race was called the Dudley Clark Industrial Land Supplies 0-75 Handicap over 1550m and methinks the joy of watching his bonny mare, Esprit of Eve, romp home for her fourth career victory far outweighed the thrill of getting his money back.
Bred by Ken Williams and Keith Biggins, Esprit of Eve is out of Apalachicola which, incidentally, made her the second Bel Esprit city winner out of a Noalcoholic mare to win in two days.
It’s a pretty solid ‘nick’ given that only three Bel Esprits out of Noalcoholic mares have raced thus far, which each of them winning a combined total of nine races.
By the by, Apalachicola is a half sister to Group Two winner Tears Royal and closely related to Vitalic, My Evita and co.
Meanwhile, Dudley, a great supporter of Apple Isle racing and breeding, evidently has high hopes for a God’s Own he is racing with syndicator to the stars, Denise Martin.
God give him speed, Dudley.


Steve Richards can always manage to find himself an above average galloper and he didn’t have to extend his arm too far when going to $20,000 for the Bel Esprit filly Encosta de Lago mare Costa Grande at the 2007 Melbourne Autumn Yearling Sale.
That outlay has now been repaid some nine times over with Bel Shoes scoring her fifth career win when successful over 1000m at Moonee Valley on 13 December.
Steve’s managed to recruit a notable team of owners as well, including AFL legend Kevin Sheedy who raced both sire and daughter.
Hailing from the family of Opening Twist, Lemon Sorbet, How Proud, Berberia and co., Bel Shoes was bred by Brenda Hawking and Wayne Ross who will consign – via Eliza Park – a half brother (by Elvstroem) at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale in March … Lot 61 in fact.

Bel Shoes wins at the Valley (above) while owners gather to celebrate. Photos courtesy of Slickpix.


Cranbourne trainer, Robbie Griffiths, has had a fair share of success through purchasing Bel Esprit yearlings, but his greatest triumph with the Champion Victorian Sire’s stock could well arrive through one he bred himself.
Beltrois is an outstanding 4YO sprinter who won his fourth race (along with three placings) from 10 starts when scoring well over 1200m at Flemington on 12 December.
Now this flashy son of Bel Esprit is on target to become his sire’s seventh stakes winner when he lines up over the same course and distance on Friday (1 January) in the $200,000 VRC Standish Handicap-G3.
Owned by a great bunch of folks, including Brian and Peter Donohoe, Don Healy and Robbie’s wife Shiranee, Beltrois is out of the Noalcoholic mare Vaingt Trois which has thrown five winners for the trainer, including 7-time winner Ruby Trois.
This is also the family of Golden Slipper and AJC Doncaster winner Tontonan.

Update: Vaingt Trois is back in foal to Bel Esprit and the resultant progeny will be raced by Robbie and Kevin Sheedy.

Beltrois scores at Flemington. Photo courtesy of Slickpix

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Fantastic return to racing for Bel Esprit 4YO, Esprit de Bullet, who won very impressively over 1100m at Bendigo on Thursday 10 December … his first run in 46 weeks.
Never touched with the whip, Esprit de Bullet ran to the line hard held, winning by a length and a half.
Esprit de Bullet – a half brother to VRC Oaks-G1 winner Hollow Bullet and stakes winning 2YO Red Hot Mama – won on debut at Cheltenham on Boxing Day last year, but then put in what was seemingly a shocker at Morphettville a month later.
Turns out the horse was far from chipper and was subsequently operated on – delaying his return for nearly a year.
It now appears that the decision to persist will pay dividends for Esprit de Bullet’s owners and trainer who are likely to chase bigger fish in the coming weeks. Indeed, winning jockey Craig Newitt responded with a “no doubt” when TVN’s Shane Templeton asked him if the horse was headed for town.
Bred by Alistair and Patty McFarlane’s Tori Park Stud, Esprit de Bullet was consigned by Eliza Park to the 2007 Australian Easter Yearling before the colt was passed in for $190,000.
Alastair and Patty decided to retain a share and race Esprit de Bullet, placing the horse with Mark Lewis.
Mark, who has stables in Ballarat and Morphettville, said that Esprit de Bullet is one of the best horse’s he has ever trained and: “like most Bel Esprits, he (Esprit de Bullet) has a match winning turn of speed and, when he lets down, he lets down quick”.

Photo courtesy of Slickpix


Demonic kicked off a very big week for Bel Esprit, taking out the 1500m Look Tapware Maiden Plate at Sale on 9 December – at only his second start.
With the John Moloney stable – who is also the trainer of city winning Bel Esprit filly Music in the Park – Demonic appears to live up to his name, racing erratically on both occasions.
However, the 3YO clearly has ability and, once balanced, flew home to capture the race with a panel to spare.
Bred by raced by Jerry Pilarinos, Demonic is out of the Nothin’ Leica Dane mare, Not Indeed, who is line bred to Sir Tristram through a daughter and son.
Got no idea where Demonic comes from, but his granddam is the Military Plume mare, Seraphide – and perhaps it’s drawing a long bow – but Seraphine Louis was a French Painter famous for her religious works and, as it turns out, a good couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.
But even more spookily, in the midst of our research, there was another horse called Demonic which last raced in 1995 after winning his second race … at Sale!
OK, it’s hardly X-Files but still a little bit different.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Although he had six runners in four states on Sunday (6 December) – for a winner and three placings – Clangalang is rapidly becoming something of a pin up boy in the Apple Isle.
Mr Isaac got the ball rolling with another game performance over 1200m at Launceston, while Geegees Blackflash went within a whisker of notching up his third city win in the last on the program.
Mr Isaac and Geegees Blackflash have again proven there is little rhyme and reason to this breeding caper: neither horse has won beyond 1200m, while their sire won an AJC Derby-G1 (2400m) before creating history with an Epsom-G1 (1600m) victory in the spring.
Meanwhile, the King Loc Holdings bred and owned Mr Isaac is out of the Tasmanian Oaks-LR winning mare, Wavishing, while Geegees Blackflash is out of an unraced half sister to SAJC Derby-G1 (2500m) winner Cheviot.


‘The Father of American Literature’, Mark Twain was a prodigious author and noted for the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
But he was also quick off the cuff with a number of memorable one liners, particularly his response to a newspaper article stating he had slipped off this mortal coil.

“The report of my death is an exaggeration”

But there was also:

“Go to Heaven for the climate. Hell for the company”

“Not all horses were born equal. A few were born to win”

And, of course:

“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt”


Long time Eliza Park client Les Colbert has raced a number of classy performers over the years and you can add his 3YO colt, Choilin to the list.
Trained by Philip Stokes, the lightly raced Choilin broke through for his first win at Morphettville on Saturday (5 December), but based on this command performance, it won’t be his last.
Choilin is by former top sprinter Choisir, from the Eire mare, Candelina and it’s hardly surprising he runs like the clappers, being line bred to Biscay through a daughter and son.
Closely related to juvenile stakes winner Queen of Angels, Choilin was part of Eliza Park’s 2008 Gold Coast Magic Millions draft, but was subsequently passed in and Les decided to race the horse himself.
If Choilin keeps running like he did at Morphettville, it might prove to be a VERY wise decision of Les’ to retain the colt.


Leading Victorian trainer, Tony Noonan, appears to have unearthed a very good sprinter in the shape of Paganini’s Soul, a winner at Caulfield on Saturday (5 December).
Bred and part-owned by the ever astute, Roger Langley, Paganini’s Soul has now raced on four occasions for three wins (2 in the city) and a head second at Moonee Valley.
Paganini’s Soul is out of the Magic of Sydney mare, Magic Bow, multiple stakes placed in New Zealand and a half sister to Queensland stakes winners Plume D’or Veille and Strike Sparks.
Eliza Park will consign a Magic Albert half brother to Paganini’s Soul at the 2010 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale and the way the 3YO is going, they’ll be beating a path to the stable door.

Cultural hounds will already know this but Niccolo Paganini was an Italian violinist of the early 19th century, famous for his caprice in A minor, Op. 1 No. 24. That said, it’s not a tune you’d find on many iPods at Eliza Park!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


We’re tipping that Bel Esprit Winners’ Club author, Brian Donohoe, had a couple of bucks on Forty Two Below at Stony Creek yesterday. He takes up the story …

“Anybody who saw Forty Two Below win his first start at Bendigo (in April) – where he was backed off the map – had to be impressed.
Next start (3 May), he went to Sandown, drew barrier 14, raced wide and came sixth to Thorn Park. The stewards that day reprimanded jockey Danny Brereton for not using enough vigor.
I wonder if they said anything to him today when he won the Diesel Richards Crew (C1) over 1100m in a canter, by a length from Tremolo with another Bel Esprit in Stately Spirit, a further length away in third place.
He was just as impressive as his first start: Forty Two Below jumped second last, raced in the back half of the field early, moved up on the turn and found space as the horses outside the leader, Stately Spirit, spread. He then went to the line untouched, easing up.
Trainer Colin Little now has another exciting Bel Esprit to put beside Work The Room (two wins from two starts).”

Bred by Ariel Arnott – who also bred Bel Esprit Group winners Bel Mer (G1) and Mooring – Forty Two Below is out of the Danehill mare, Danish, stakes placed in Melbourne and hailing from the immediate family of Group One winner Vapour Trail.
Sold as a weanling by Eliza Park, Forty Two Below is raced by the Eight Stars Syndicate and while I’m not sure whether the syndicate has eight stars, it looks as if they having a budding one in Forty Two Below.
It appears that Forty Two Below is named after a vodka made it New Zealand and if you have five minutes check out their website: it’s very, very well done and absolutely hilarious. Imagine Kiwis being funny … who would have thunk!
The youtube video gives you a small taste!

While on the subject of Bel Esprit, two of the trainers who have had a fair amount of success with the stallion (and great supporters of Eliza Park) are Mick Price and Robbie Griffiths.
Both Mick and Robbie ended up with three winners’ apiece yesterday – doubles at Caulfield, while Mick also had a winner at Morphettville and Robbie with one at Stony Creek.
Well done.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Gutsy performance by Statue of Liberty filly, Manhattan Angel, who took out the 1100m sprint at Ipswich yesterday – her second win from seven starts after winning at Doomben earlier in the year.
Statue of Liberty has certainly inspired some terrific names: eg. Tempest Tost (part of the poem at the foot of New York’s Statue of Liberty), Bartholdi (after French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who designed the Statue of Liberty) and Kolokol (Liberty bell in Russia) to name but a few.
Eliza Park doesn’t have any Statue of Libertys in the upcoming Gold Coast Magic Millions draft but we do have yearlings by God’s Own, Bel Esprit, Danbird, General Nediym, Fastnet Rock and Elusive Quality.
Some people spend an inordinate amount of time thinking up names for horses and Eliza Park is offering you a bottle of wine for the moniker we deem to be the best relating to any of the yearlings we have entered for the Gold Coast. Click here for the entries.
Of course, you’ll have to buy the yearling if you want actual naming rights, but I’m sure the new owners would appreciate your handiwork when it comes to registering the horse.
C’mon … have a bottle of plonk on us for Christmas. Email your suggestions to


Soccer coach John Lambie was informed that his striker was concussed after a heavy hit and didn’t know who he was:

“That’s great … tell him he’s Pele and get him back on.”


In the words of Guiness Book of Records racecaller, Jack Styring, Clangalang filly, Luvbite, “bared her molars to the breeze” at Mount Gambier yesterday, racing away to win the 1550m maiden by a shy short of four lengths.
Bred and part-owned by Paul Heward, Luvbite had shown plenty of promise at her previous two outings – including a second at Naracoorte on 26 November – and she was sent out a firm $2 favourite at Mount Gambier.
A half sister to Melbourne Anti Miyaki, Luvbite is out of the stakes placed Yeats mare Does She Bite, in turn a half sister to Sydney stakes winner Georgia Belle.
Clangalang (below) continues to rack up the winners with recent ‘saluters’ including Geegees Blackflash, Nerangatang, Trebbiano and Temajim.


Try and tell me that this wouldn’t bring a tear to a glass eye!


Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria’s informative weekly email has plumped for Bel Esprit 3YO Baltic Spirit in the first at Caulfield today.
Having just his fourth start, Baltic Spirit comes into the $70,000 Acryn Plate (1000m) hot from a resounding third at Moonee Valley on 20 November (beaten just 1.4 lengths), his first run back from a spell.
Trained by Robbie Griffiths, Baltic Spirit was bred by Denis Malcolm’s Nangawooka Park and sold for $60,000 at last year’s Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
Winning on debut – as a 2YO – in June, Baltic Spirit is the third winner (from three to race) out of the Anabaa mare, Curvaceous Spirit, in turn a daughter of SA Oaks-G1 winner Heavenly Body (also the family of Uncle Remus, Cossack Prince and Cossack Warrior).
Curvaceous Miss has a Delago Brom yearling colt, foaled a cracking Magnus filly at the end of September and was covered by Bel Esprit … with hopefully a full brother or sister to Baltic Spirit arriving next spring.

Curvaceous Miss has a lovely Magnus (above) filly at foot

If you live south of the Murray and you’re serious about breeding, you should be a member of Thoroughbred Breeders’ Victoria.
Annual membership, for individuals, will set you back $132 ($330 for stallion farms and $275 for broodmare farms) and for that you receive a host of goodies, including industry publications, weekly and quarterly newsletters, discounts on transport and software, functions and racedays, plus general advice on all matters breeding.
Most importantly though, membership gives you a ‘voice’ as Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria is the officially recognised representative of breeders in the state. And, let’s face it, with a lot of industry stuff that has been hitting the fan of late, now’s the time you want to be heard.
For further information, visit or phone Richard Andrews on 03 9258 4233.

PS. Mike Becker has stood down from the TBV committee after 11 years service: seven years as chairman of the board. Often put in the hot seat over a range of industry issues, Mike has worked tirelessly on behalf of EVERY breeder and deserves a big thank you for his efforts. Well done Mike.


Bel Esprit has been the success story of Singapore racing in 2009 with Mooring capturing the rich Singapore 3YO Challenge-G3 in June (his fourth win in Singapore), 6-time winner Perfect Sky (who won the Kranji Stakes in mid November), multiple winner Hybrids and Bel’s Ringer just some of the ex-pats to fly the flag in the region.
As a consequence, Bel Esprit has shot to the head of the Singapore sire charts and it’s little wonder Victoria’s Champion Sire is the darling of Singapore’s owners and trainers.
Certainly the track record performance of Diplomatic Strike at Kranji last night has only added to Bel Esprit’s reputation.
After having no luck at his Singapore debut on 18 November, Diplomatic Strike was all business this time around with his Eliza Park owner, Lee Fleming, on hand to catch all the action. Singapore Turf Club’s Craig Brennan takes up the story.

Former Melbourne galloper Diplomatic Strike equalled the 1100m course record when successful in the S$75,000 Class 3 Stakes at Kranji (tonight).
Tracking the speed throughout, Diplomatic Strike scored by a 1.25 lengths over Bionic Boy with Lucky Wish 0.5 lengths away third.
Diplomatic Strike was formerly prepared by Mick Price in Melbourne and is the first horse to race for Eliza Park in Singapore.
Eliza Park’s Asian representative Lyle Plumb said Diplomatic Strike, in the care of trainer Stephen Gray, was one galloper specifically picked to come up and race under the Eliza Park banner.
Also on hand was Eliza Park principal Lee Fleming.
“He was going to be sold but then we thought it would be a good idea to send him up and race ourselves,” said Plumb.
“He’s the first horse to race for us up here and Stephen thought he had a real good chance tonight.
“And that’s why Lee has come up here to be a part of the success tonight.”
Diplomatic Strike was sent to Singapore in May, but Gray took his time with the 5YO, allowing him to acclimatise.
“At his first start here he drew off the track and was wide throughout before knocking up late,” said Plumb.
“With that run under his belt and a little more work, Stephen was confident he would run well.”
Diplomatic Strike had won two of his eight starts in Melbourne and around A$42,000 in prizemoney and tonight’s victory added around S$37,000 to his stakes.
Diplomatic Strike is by Bel Esprit from the Straight Strike mare Mill Lady.

Bel Esprit flyer, Diplomatic Strike, equals the track record at Kranji last night. Photo courtesy of Singapore Turf Club.

Friday, December 4, 2009


It was never going to take long …

These are some of the jokes doing the rounds since Tiger hooked his car into the fire hydrant and tree this week.

Tiger Woods is so rich that he owns lots of expensive cars. Now he has a hole in one.

Tiger Woods wasn’t seriously injured in the crash, but he’s still below par.

Ping just offered Elin Woods an endorsement contract pushing her own set of drivers. They are said to be named: “Elin Woods … clubs you can beat Tiger with.

News travels fast. The Chinese are already making a movie about Tiger Woods’ crash. They are calling it, “Scratching Swede, Lying Tiger,” or how about “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Hydrant”?

What do you buy a Tiger for Christmas? A new windshield!

Tiger is now in trouble with his sponsor Gillette because he said that “this was the closest shave I’ve had yet.”

Phil Mickelson contacted Tiger’s wife to pick up some tips on how to beat Tiger.

Just because you’re the world’s No. 1 golfer, it doesn’t mean you can’t be beaten by your wife.

Tiger Woods crashed into a fire hydrant and a tree. He couldn’t decide between a wood and an iron.

And a personal favourite …

What’s the difference between a car and a golf ball? Tiger can drive a ball 400 yards.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Oh so close! The aptly named Onamissionfromgod went within a whisker of becoming God’s Own first winner when second to Lady Davinci over 1000m at Ballarat yesterday (2 December).
The Alicia Macpherson trained 2YO raced greenly throughout and appeared as if he’d finish midfield, but put his head down over the concluding stages to just miss out on the line.
This was the colt’s second start and he is clearly on the improve.
Onamissionfromgod is from the Kenny’s Best Pal mare, Carbonated, a half sister to Group winning sprinters Intelligent Star and Blaze The Turf.
Fans of the Blues Brothers will remember the line “We’re on a mission from God” and, not surprisingly, Eliza Park’s marquee stallion has inspired a host of ‘heavenly’ names.
Of the 35 God’s Own progeny ‘monikered’ thus far, 10 have ‘God’ in the name and, while Onamissionfromgod remains our favourite, Halo’d Be Thy Name (from Blazing Aura) deserves a mention.

Elwood: “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.”
Jake: “Hit it.”


When interviewed on Sky Sport, Irish soccer legend George Best had to fend off the following:

“So, this movie you star in, The Life Story of George Best, tell us what it’s about?”


Delago Brom mare, Broms Girl, continues on her merry way, recording a sixth career win when scoring over 1600m at Grafton on 29 November.
Bred by Slickpix’s Ross Holburt, Broms Girl (below) has now won three of her last four outings and also has 10 placings to go with the half dozen victories.
Broms Girl now joins black typer Butzie and Seal Lago as Delago Brom’s most successful progeny in terms of wins.
Out of the Snaadee mare, Simulation – who won three in town and eight overall – Broms Girl’s residual value increases with each performance given that it’s a strong North American and European black type family.
Fortunately, Ross has a full brother heading to the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale in March and will naturally be hoping Broms Girl increases the tally over the next three months.


South Australian trainer/owner/breeder, Craig Curtis, has had some decent horseflesh go through his stable in recent years with the 4-time stakes winner On Focus springing to mind.
Storm Brewing might have a way to go to catch up, but took a fair leap forward with a command performance at Morphettville on 28 November, winning over the 1600m after a pair of placings at the track at his previous two outings.
Well named – Storm Brewing is by Desert Sun from the Mystery Storm mare In a Teacup – the 3YO was bred at Eliza Park and sold to Craig at last year’s Adelaide Magic Millions for $43,000.
Also the dam of Melbourne winner Tassology, In a Teacup is a half sister to multiple Group One winner Heroicity and hails from the immediate family of top Kiwi filly Highflying.
Craig has sent several mares to Eliza Park over the past couple of seasons and, word has it, there’s a cracking Magnus foal at foot out of his winning Al Awir mare Not Always, dam of Hong Kong Group winner Always Flying.

Storm Brewing scores at Morphettville, while below Craig Curtis (far right) poses with a bunch of happy owners.


If you took the $1.40 about Alesprit in the CSR Monier Roofing 3YO Class 3 Plate over 900m at the Gold Coast on 28 November, your heart was probably well and truly in your mouth after she was slowly away.
You probably weren’t feeling much better when she was dropped back to last and couldn’t buy a run turning for home.
Finally there was daylight on the rail and the Bel Esprit filly went like the clappers to the line, scoring by a neck.
Out of the Rory’s Jester mare, Rory’s Babe and bred by Neville Stewart in Queensland, Alesprit has now won three of her six outings (including a second) and has yet to finish out of the money.
As Bel Esprit guru, Brian Donohoe points out, Bel Esprit has had a winner over 900m out of each of the first three crops: Gabbidon (1st crop) (on debut and Bel Esprit’s first winner); Bel Said (2nd crop) (also winning on debut) and Alesprit (3rd crop) has won two of her last three starts over this distance and her time of 49.8 at her last win is two seconds faster than Gabbidon ran.
At the Gold Coast Alesprit (below) ran the journey in 51.19 seconds: not bad given the tardy start.

By the way, the term ‘goes like the clappers’ gained prominence during World War II in reference to fighter pilots’ maneuvering skills. The clapper, as you can see from the accompanying diagram (no. 9), is the thingamajig (not the technical term) that rotates from side to side, with the phrase originating from the vigorous shaking of the school bell.


Clangalang, winner of the AJC Derby-Epsom double, was renowned for his ‘tractability’ and it’s a trait he’s passing on to progeny.
A case in point is Queensland war horse, Nerangatang.
A winner over 1000m at Emerald on 28 November, the Clangalang mare has now started on 13 occasions this time in, racing every month since May.
Indeed, the 4YO has only once been out of the money in her past seven outings which include two wins and three seconds.
Hailing from the Our Maizcay mare, Misdirection, Nerangatang was bred by Eliza Park and sold at the 2006 Gold Coast National Weanling Sale.
Misdirection is a half sister to NSW stakeswinners Zephyrz and Cloudlet, both bred by leading agent and bloodstock authority, Les Young.


“Whip rule! What whip rule?” remarked an ecstatic Rob Crabtree following the victory of his Distant Music filly, Scarletta, at Warrnambool on 23 November.
The Jason Warren trained 3YO had just scored over 1100m at the ‘bool, winning by four lengths … “untouched”.
Rob, who has raced many a fine neddy over the years, is not about to get carried away with a maiden victory (albeit at the filly’s third start after running third at Sandown on debut) but marvels at the sheer pre potency of Scarletta’s family.
Rob bred Scarletta’s grand dam, Scandinavia, racing the mare in partnership with Eliza Park’s owner, Lee Fleming, and cheering on as the ‘blue hen’ won four of 17 starts (including the QTC Cup-G2) and placing in four Group Ones.
Since retiring to stud in 1999, Scandinavia has produced seven named foals:
  • Danavia (placed at Flemington; 2 winners from 2 to race including Scarletta)
  • Helsinge (unraced; dam of unbeaten filly Black Caviar)
  • Magnus (won or placed in 12 Group One events; standing at Eliza Park)
  • Baltics (one start; dam of 2 foals yet to race)
  • Ibsen (winner of 3 city races)
  • Wilander (4 wins including MRC Schillaci S-G2)
  • Vasa (unraced)
Unquestionably one of the ‘hottest’ families in the Australian Stud Book.

Magnus (ex. Scandinavia), G1 winner & Eliza Park based stallion