Friday, November 27, 2009


Words of wisdom from legendary baseball manager, Yogi Berra.

You can observe a lot by just watching

If you don’t know where you’re going, chances are you will end up somewhere else.

You should always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise they won’t come to yours.

I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early.

Never answer an anonymous letter.

90% of the game is half mental.

Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.

The future ain’t what it used to be.

If you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Pair up in threes.

I wish I had an answer to that, because I’m tired of answering that question.

You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn’t enough in the second half you give what’s left.

We made too many wrong mistakes.

We’re lost, but we’re making great time!

It’s deja-vu all over again.

You better cut the pizza in four pieces. I’m not hungry enough to eat eight.

I usually take a two hour nap, from one to four.

Steve McQueen looks good in this movie. He must have made it before he died.

No, you didn’t wake me up. I had to get up to answer the phone anyway.

Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel.

Shut up and talk.

Once, Yogi’s wife Carmen asked, “Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?” To this, Yogi replied, “Surprise me.”

Carmen said “I took Tim to see Doctor Zhivago today.” Yogi replied, “What the hell’s wrong with him now?”

I didn’t say half the things I said.


In a day dominated by world headlines such as:

“US Santas demand priority swine flu vaccine”
“Maybe she should have ducked” (after TV chef Paula Deen was hit in the face by a ham)
“Using your plastic for plastic surgery”
“World’s oldest sheep dies in heatwave”
“Novice Israeli spy gets nicked by Tel Aviv cops”

second prize goes to:

“Japanese cops cross-dress for bag snatch dragnet”
which explains that Japanese black-belt policemen have been cross-dressing in high heels, wigs and designer bags, in a bid to beat off bag-snatchers

However, the winner is:

A flatulent pig sparked a gas emergency in southern Australia when a farmer mistook its odours for a leaking pipe
(and that one comes all the way from Axedale in Victoria).


Dean Fleming’s Tyreel Stud is consistently at the fore of major race and sale results, owning arguably the finest band of broodmares in Australia.
Tyreel has sold eight million plus yearlings (including a Redoute’s Choice colt for $2.5 million at the 2008 Australian Easter Yearling Sale) and its honour roll features a host of Group One winners.
Sadly though, as Breednet’s Tara Madgwick explains, Tyreel has lost one of its stars in Ballroom Babe.

Every spring, thousands of successful foaling stories are told all over Australia, but for some breeders there is no happy outcome as was the case at Tyreel Stud, with Dean Fleming reporting the loss of star broodmare Ballroom Babe.
“Ballroom Babe unfortunately was euthanised whilst foaling due to complications resulting from laminitis,” Fleming said.
“She has been truly a magnificent broodmare over the past 15 years, we will all miss her.”
Rated the Champion 2YO of New Zealand in 1994/1995, Ballroom Babe was acquired by Dean Fleming and joined the elite broodmare band at Tyreel Stud at the close of her racing career, which was highlighted by Group One wins in the AuRC Sires Produce Stakes, Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes and WRC Captain Cook Stakes.
Her first living foal was a colt by Danehill (USA) that went to the 2001 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale where he was snapped up by astute bloodstock agent Anton Koolman for $700,000 on behalf of Hong Kong based clients.
Sent to Hong Kong and named Hidden Dragon, he would go on to achieve stakes success during a lucrative racing career.
Hidden Dragon provided the perfect start to what would be a fine career at stud, Ballroom Babe producing six foals to race all winners including brilliant Group Three winner Tahni Girl and high class Group Two winner Just Dancing.
“Ballroom Babe has left an indelible mark on the racing industry with Hidden Dragon, Just Dancing and Tahni Girl,” said Fleming.
“Her yearling filly by Fusaichi Pegasus, a full sister to Just Dancing, will be presented at the Inglis Easter Sales in 2010 and we have a potential super star with Guy Walter called Celestial Babe, who is an unraced three year-old filly by Galileo from Ballroom Babe that has been retained by Tyreel Stud.”

Ballroom Babe with her 2006 Galileo filly, Celestial Babe


Have to admit that the first time I heard mention of the Darwin Awards, images of thick Territorians on the tear sprang to mind.
However, as it turns out, the Darwin Awards are in honour of the famous evolutionist Charles Darwin and those pin heads who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it.
Lawn Chair Larry’s feats didn’t actually see him depart this mortal coil – well, not in the true sense – but he has got the most ‘honourable mentions’.

Larry Walters of Los Angeles is one of the few to contend for the Darwin Awards and live to tell the tale: “I have fulfilled my 20-year dream,” said Walters, a former truck driver for a company that makes TV commercials. “I’m staying on the ground. I’ve proved the thing works.”
Larry’s boyhood dream was to fly. But fates conspired to keep him from his dream. He joined the Air Force, but his poor eyesight disqualified him from the job of pilot. After he was discharged from the military, he sat in his backyard watching jets fly overhead.
He hatched his weather balloon scheme while sitting outside in his ‘extremely comfortable’ Sears lawnchair. He purchased 45 weather balloons from an Army-Navy surplus store, tied them to his tethered lawnchair dubbed the Inspiration I, and filled the 4’ diameter balloons with helium. Then he strapped himself into his lawnchair with some sandwiches, Miller Lite, and a pellet gun. He figured he would pop a few of the many balloons when it was time to descend.
Larry’s plan was to sever the anchor and lazily float up to a height of about 30 feet above his back yard, where he would enjoy a few hours of flight before coming back down. But things didn’t work out quite as Larry planned.
When his friends cut the cord anchoring the lawnchair to his Jeep, he did not float lazily up to 30 feet. Instead, he streaked into the LA sky as if shot from a cannon, pulled by the lift of 42 helium balloons holding 33 cubic feet of helium each. He didn’t level off at 100 feet, nor did he level off at 1000 feet. After climbing and climbing, he leveled off at 16,000 feet.
At that height he felt he couldn’t risk shooting any of the balloons, lest he unbalance the load and really find himself in trouble. So he stayed there, drifting cold and frightened with his beer and sandwiches, for more than 14 hours. He crossed the primary approach corridor of LAX, where Trans World Airlines and Delta Airlines pilots radioed in reports of the strange sight.
Eventually he gathered the nerve to shoot a few balloons, and slowly descended. The hanging tethers tangled and caught in a power line, blacking out a Long Beach neighborhood for 20 minutes. Larry climbed to safety, where he was arrested by waiting members of the LAPD. As he was led away in handcuffs, a reporter dispatched to cover the daring rescue asked him why he had done it. Larry replied nonchalantly: “A man can’t just sit around.”

Hoofnote: Larry’s efforts won him a $1,500 FAA fine, a prize from the Bonehead Club of Dallas, the altitude record for gas-filled clustered balloons, and a Darwin Awards Honourable Mention. He gave his aluminum lawnchair to admiring neighborhood children, abandoned his truck-driving job, and went on the lecture circuit. He enjoyed intermittent demand as a motivational speaker, but said he never made much money from his innovative flight. He never married and had no children. Larry hiked into the forest and shot himself in the heart on 6 October 6, 1993. He was 44.


Noted with some interest that Mel Schumacher is to be inducted into the Queensland Sports Hall of Fame next week.
Mel was one of the best hoops of his day – which is no mean feat given that he rode against the likes of Moore, Sellwood, Purtell, Podmore, Higgins, Johnson, Williamson, McGrowdie and co.
When he retired from the saddle, Mel had kicked home over 2,000 winners, highlighted by his 1958 Melbourne Cup victory on Baystone and 1961 Golden Slipper with Magic Night.
Still, in true Aussie tradition, Mel Schumacher will best be remembered for his life ban (subsequently reduced to 10 years and then 5½) for pulling Tommy Hill’s leg in the 1961 AJC Derby.
Riding Blue Era, ‘The Shoe’ reached out and grabbed Hill’s leg who was on board the fast finishing Summer Fair, thus impeding his rival’s momentum. Blue Era got up by a whisker.
Unfortunately for Schumacher they had only, literally, commenced using head on footage and, indeed, the cameraman had only got it set up as they turned for home in the Derby.
Talk about dumb luck! As you can imagine they got a bit of a surprise in the stewards room …
“I couldn’t believe it. I couldn't believe they had one (head on camera). It was just one of those things. You see bike riders do it, you see runners do it and this time it just happened to be on film and we got caught. What can’t speak can’t lie.” – Mel Schumacher.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


The Eliza Park draft for the 2010 Gold Coast Magic Millions (6-10 January) is now online, featuring yearlings by God’s Own (4), Bel Esprit (2), Danbird, Testa Rossa, General Nediym, Fastnet Rock and Elusive Quality.
The consignment includes the first foal of a half sister to Magnus, Wilander and the dam of Black Caviar, a half brother to Group One winner Jymcarew, the second foal of a half sister to Group Two winner Doubting, the first foal of a half sister to Champion Filly Angst, a half sister to multiple Group winner Dance The Waves and the second foal of a half sister to multiple Group One winner Al Mansour.
For further information, click here.

Exciting first season sire GOD’S OWN - three yearlings in the Eliza Park draft


Victorian incentive scheme, Super VOBIS, has always been innovative and the monies paid out to owners and breeders of eligible horses since its inception has been a massive boon for industry participants.
And the scheme’s latest initiative smacks of genius … the ideal solution to a problem that nags at many a nominator.
Aside from financial constraints, the largest hurdle to ‘nominate or not to nominate’ has been the question: “What if the horse doesn’t race in Victoria?”
However, as we understand it (and further details will be released tomorrow), is that from the 2008 foal crop onwards, nominated horses which don’t race in Victoria throughout their two- and three-year-old careers (thereby negating any Super VOBIS bonus) will be eligible for a rebate.
In other words, if the 2008 foal doesn’t start on a Victorian racetrack during the 2010/11 or 2011/12 racing seasons, the nominator will be given a rebate to the value of the nomination fee: Category A ($660), B ($1,320) or C ($1,980).
Brilliant! For further information, check out the Super VOBIS website from tomorrow onwards.


Can someone please explain why Tattersalls conduct a February Sale in February, a July Sale in July, three October yearling sales in October and a December Yearling Sale and December Foal Sale in November?
Certainly both the November auctions are part of a series which ends with the December Breeding Stock Sale (November 30 – December 3) and, besides, perhaps one shouldn’t buck tradition when one considers that Tattersalls has been doing business – quite successfully – since 1766.
On the other side of the Atlantic, it was encouraging to see the Keeneland November Breeding Sale – ironically held over 13 days in November – ending on a relatively positive note this week … down just 6.5% on last year’s trade.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


On any given day, up to eight Eliza Park stallions are represented by progeny – somewhere in the world! – but yesterday (23 November) there was just the sole entry: Delago Brom 4YO, The Other Man.
And, in keeping with Delago Brom’s winning run, The Other Man duly saluted over 1700m at Warrnambool … his second win (and second placing) from 11 outings.
Trained at the track by Simon Ryan (whose only other stable runner – Nebuchadnezzar – won in August), The Other Man is out of the Rancho Ruler mare, Raunchy Ruler.
Although he has a long way to go, The Other Man’s name pays homage to his older three quarter brother, Man Of Illusion who would campaign successfully in the USA (Churchill Downs Turf Sprint-G3) after winning at Doomben four years ago.
Another half brother in Really Good would win three Group events in Singapore.
The Other Man is raced by the same connections as Man Of Illusion, having been bred by David Kobritz’s DHK Investments (no stranger to success with Subzero and Danzero), Reuben Benkel’s Footy Racing and Albany Thoroughbreds.

Man Of Illusion (by Delago Brom’s Champion Sire, Encosta de Lago) wins at Churchill Downs

Monday, November 23, 2009


In an industry renowned for its ‘characters’, they don’t come much more colourful than Billy McDonald.
Billy passed away in Ireland last week at the age of 65, but it’s highly unlikely the charismatic bloodstock agent, raconteur and friend of the stars will be forgotten in a hurry.
The following is an excerpt from his obituary in

Based originally in Ireland before relocating to California, Billy McDonald purchased – among others – eventual dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Alleged, as well as Fairy Bridge (Bold Reason), later the dam of Sadler’s Wells.
McDonald was a close associate of Coolmore principal Robert Sangster, for whom he purchased Alleged as an unraced 2YO in training for $US120,000, and counted among his friends celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore.
McDonald, in addition to being a bloodstock agent, spent time as a Rolls Royce dealer in California, where he was a mainstay at the track and at various racing haunts.
“Billy was one of the great characters of the game,” trainer John Gosden recalls. “He is still in the Guinness Book of World Records for selling the most Rolls Royces in a day. He was a man who lived life to the full, and had a great eye for a horse. He was a talented pony rider in his youth, and a fast runner, both into – and out of – trouble.
“He was an immensely popular and loveable man who was totally at ease in all the great watering holes, restaurants and race courses of the world. There will never be another Billy.”
McDonald, who kept a low profile after suffering the effects of a stroke roughly 12 years ago, was a close friend of movie producer David Giler, who secured him a small role in the Richard Dreyfuss horse-racing film Let It Ride.
In addition to providing Sangster and the Coolmore connections an initial Arc victory with Alleged in 1978, McDonald would play a role in the stud’s legendary stallion Sadler’s Wells. According to the book Horsetrader, by Patrick and Nick Robinson, McDonald had joined Sangster, John Magnier and trainer Vincent O’Brien on a scouting mission to Claiborne Farm:
Robert and his men had gone there early to see the yearlings before they went to the sale, and McDonald had decided to short circuit the conventional way of perusing the young horses. Taking the yearling manager aside, he pressed a $100 bill into his hand and said, “Which one do YOU like best?”
“Oh, I’d go for the little Bold Reason filly every time,” he replied. “They always race over to this gate from right across the far side of the paddock, and that little filly is always yards in front when they arrive. SHE is a racehorse.”
Indeed, the filly, Fairy Bridge, turned out to be a fine runner, winning both starts at two before being named champion 2YO filly in Ireland, but her real value would be as a broodmare. Her second foal was Sadler’s Wells, who carried Sangster’s colors to victory in a trio of Group 1 races, then commenced an unrivalled career as Europe’s premier sire.

Following are a collection of quotes and anecdotes honoring McDonald:

Elaine ‘Legs’ Lawlor, Goffs Director of Bloodstock Sales

“There was a restaurant in L.A. called Le Dome, where all the racing people would go to regularly back in the 80s. Billy was friends with Frank Sinatra, and one time Billy had a date at the restaurant, and he asked Frank, who was also dining there, if he wouldn’t mind dropping by on his way out and say hello. You know, to impress the girl. Which Frank duly did, and when he stopped by the table, Billy said, ‘Frank, not now, can’t you see I’m busy?’ That story just sums Billy up.
“He could talk the talk, and there was no better salesman. He could sell ice to an Eskimo.”

Coolmore associate Richard Henry

“I had dinner with (actor) John Forsythe and Billy one day, and John told me that Billy knew more fellas in Hollywood than he did.”

Tullamaine Castle Stud’s Bob Lanigan, former general manager of Coolmore

“He used to describe himself as, ‘The Purveyor of Champions to Millionaires.’ He was a wonderful man. He introduced Pierce Brosnan and myself, and bought us a mare called Salidar (Ire), who we bred a good horse called Bin Ajwaad out of.
(Bin Ajwaad stood in New Zealand for a couple of seasons and his winners included STC Gloaming S-G2 winner Go Bint).
“Billy also used to have the best letterhead: A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character (Federico Tesio).”

Restauranteur Eddie Kerkhofs, who owned popular L.A. hangout Le Dome.

“One of my favorite stories about Billy is when he turned 40, and he decided to give himself a party at Le Dome. He rented out the whole place. He said, ‘I want pasta, I want caviar, I want Cristal Roederer. I’m inviting 130 people.’ So we made a deal. I told him that, since he was my friend, that I wasn’t going to charge him full price for the Cristal, because that would be very expensive, and that I would give it to him at cost. So 130 people came, and it was a lot of noise, and this and that. All of the sudden, I get a phone call from Palm Springs. It was the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Sinatra himself. He said, ‘Eddie, I know I was invited to Billy’s 40th birthday party, but I couldn’t make it. But, do me one favor: give me the cheque.’ And that’s what I did, and he picked up the cheque for Billy’s party. Of course, I didn’t tell Billy until the day after, because he would have done more damage!”


Eliza Park has enjoyed a successful foray into Apple Isle racing with the sponsorship of two races on the Tasmanian Newmarket program.
The card also saw the Dr Vu Van Tu and Amanda Lockett owned and bred Taiyin score a deserved victory in the Southern Cross over 1200m: yet another winner for Victoria’s Champion Sire, Bel Esprit (click here for our profile on Taiyin who ran second to another Bel Esprit in Ding Dong Denita at Devonport on 12 November).
Congratulations to the connections of Perfect Toy who took out the Danbird@Eliza Park Maiden (1200m) in the third of the day, while the victory of Summers Eve in the Clangalang@Eliza Park Handicap-66 was a special result for all concerned.
Summers Eve is trained by leading Tassie mentor, John Blacker, who sadly lost his wife Maree in the Somoan tsunami in September.
Summers Eve is owned by John, and Maree’s estate, and was John’s first winner since the tragedy which devastated the tight knight Tasmanian racing community.
John finished with a double for the day when Final Words won the final race on the program.

Eliza Park’s Tracey Doolan and Brent Crawford flank winning trainer John Blacker.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


A few of you out there might remember the boxer Max Baer, who won the world heavyweight championship in 1934 and, if you’re a particularly avid movie buff, you may have seen him in a couple of films: eg. The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933) and the Harder They Fall (1956), although a personal favourite was Africa Screams (1949) with Abott and Costello.
And even if you have a life, or weren’t abducted by aliens any time over the past 40 years, you’ll definitely remember his son Max Baer Jnr who played Jethro in the Beverly Hillbillies.
Max Baer got a terrible plug in the 2005 movie Cinderella Man (starring Russell Crowe) although the unflattering portrayal appears to be at odds with a bloke remembered for his terrific sense of humour, who was deeply troubled by two of his opponents dying following their bouts.
Sadly, Max was only 50 when he checked into the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in November 1959 and began experiencing chest pains.
Calling the front desk, he asked for a doctor to which the desk clerk replied: “A house doctor will be right up”.
Even at the end, Max was quick with the jab:

“A house doctor? No dummy, I need a people doctor!”


Bel Esprit notched up a two state double on Friday (20 November) with the thrilling victory of Jaya at Newcastle and an all the way win by My Tinkerbel (see below) at the Sunshine Coast.
Sold by Eliza Park for $145,000 at the 2007 Gold Coast Magic Millions, Jaya is out of the stakes winning Don’t Say Halo mare, My Halo Broke.
A granddaughter of Group winner Hawaiian Rain, My Halo Broke won seven races including the AJC Breeders’ Classic-LR and also ran placings in the Silver Shadow-G2, Angst-LR, Brian Crowley-LR, Research-LR, Magic Millions 2YO Classic and fourth in the STC Coolmore Classic-G1 (beaten just out of third).
Trained by Kris Lees, Jaya has now raced on four occasions for a win, two seconds and a fourth and – based on his performance at Newcastle, it won’t be long before he salutes again.

NB: In a ground breaking measure, Eliza Park will consign a number of youngsters to the 2010 New Zealand National Yearling Sale in February, including a Fastnet Rock half sister to Jaya.


Classy effort on Friday (20 November) by the David Peoples trained Bel Esprit mare, My Tinkerbel who led throughout to score over 1100m at the Sunshine Coast.
Bred by Richard Pietrykowski, My Tinkerbel is out of the Centaine mare, Boondock and hails from the immediate family of Golden Slipper winner Catbird and Group winning 2YO and Eliza Park sire, Danbird.
Bel Esprit Winners Club monitor, Brian Donohoe picks up the tale: “There is a bit of history around this Bel Esprit.
She was sold at the 2006 Inglis June Weanling for $10,000 and then resold at the 2007 MM National Yearling for $175,000.
Off to Tasmania, she had her first start for trainer Dean Wells where she finished 7th of 9 in a 3YO Maiden.
Next, she bobbed up at Coloundra for her present trainer where she was only 3.6 lengths from the winner and 2.5 lengths away at her next start.
She showed today that there are a lot more wins in store and her breeding will make her valuable in the future.


Earlier this year, Eliza Park purchased the At Talaq mare, Cleopatra’s Girl, who produced a lovely Henny Hughes foal in September and has subsequently been covered by Group One winning sprinter Magnus.
Last Thursday (19 November), the Clinton McDonald trained Shabtis – Cleopatra’s Girl’s fifth foal – won her maiden at Seymour after three previous placings from as many starts.
However, as Tara Madgwick, points out, Shabtis will have to live in the shadow of her big (half) brother – Mummify (below) – for a little while yet.

Shabtis, named for the ancient Egyptian figurines in keeping with her dam’s name Cleopatra’s Girl, has a bit to do to live up to the standard set by Mummify, a son of Melbourne Cup winner Jeune (GB).
A very popular member of the Lee Freedman stable, Mummify won nine races and $5.1 million with career highlight wins in the Group One Caulfield Cup, Underwood Stakes, Yalumba Stakes and SAJC Derby as a 3YO, with an international success in the Group One Singapore International Cup thrown in for good measure.
Despite all those memorable wins, the thing most people remember about Mummify was his last start when he carried 57kgs from barrier 17 and led all the way in the 2005 Caulfield Cup before going down by a short neck and a short neck behind Railings and Eye Popper.
Just after the post, Mummify snapped a leg and despite the best veterinary efforts to save him was euthanized the next day ending a glorious career in tragic circumstances.
Mummify held a special place in the heart of his trainer, who offered the following quotes at the time. “Australians love sportspeople like him,” Freedman said. “He didn’t have all the charisma of a Makybe Diva but he had nearly as much ability.
“He was very determined, he ran all his best races from the front carrying big weights, he never did it easy.”
Mummify is buried next to another of Freedman’s greats in Schillaci.


Not sure if Breednet’s Tara Madgwick knew what she was letting herself in for when she penned the piece on Lady Gaga’s win at Mornington last Saturday, but it sure opened the floodgates in terms of horse names.
Do yourself a favour and read the piece on Lady Gaga (click here) and then have a gander at the follow up (click here).
One name that doesn’t get a mention in either is the 1983 Silver Slipper winner Giostra, named by doctor-come-trainer Geoff Chapman.
The Imperial Prince filly’s name had to be changed to Giostra after it was discovered that her original moniker – Merkin – refers to a pubic wig.
We’d be the first to agree that the Registrar of Racehorses has a tough gig, especially when you have wigs – I mean, wags – like Geoff Chapman trying to slip one through your guard, but we’re also reminded of the quote from British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead: “Fools act on imagination without knowledge, pedants act on knowledge without imagination”.
Perhaps you have some names you’d like to add to the list: ... all contributions gratefully received.

Lady Gaga (no, not the winner at Mornington!)


There’s a bottle of red in the Eliza Park office with Delago Brom plastered over the front of it and I guarantee it will be M.I.A. by Monday.
The Delago Broms just seem to get better with age and his last three runners: De Fine Lago (4YO), Broms Girl (5YO) and The Rehearsal (5YO) are the proof in the pudding.
Tony Vasil’s De Fine Lago won his second race on the trot at Ballarat on Wednesdsay (18 November) – his third overall – and has only been out of the money once in his last 11 outings.
Meanwhile, a day later in NSW, Slickpix bred and slick on the track, Broms Girl won her fourth race – over the 1614m at Coffs Harbour – and, coupled with 10 placings, has now accumulated over $75k in stakes.
Finally, The Rehearsal was also dressed up with no place to go (in the home straight), just missing out by a whisker over the 1150m at Rockhampton.
Bred by JT Gunning and Shane Gledhill, and hailing from the Rancho Ruler mare, Miss La La, The Rehearsal has won two and finished with a cheque at his last three outings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Intriguing snippet regarding last Saturday’s Sandown Classic-G2 winner, Zipping, from the desk of former Australian Bloodhorse Review editor, Brian Russell.

Zipping’s victory in the Sandown Classic over 2400m could be a unique achievement in world racing history. This 8YO Danehill gelding has won only three of his 17 starts over the past three years and they have been all in the one race: the Sandown Classic. Zipping is the only horse to win the event (formerly known as the Sandown Cup and – prior to the that, the Williamstown Cup) on three occasions since the race was established in 1888. Only one other horse - Second Wind (1930-31), has won it twice. Zipping has now run 39 times for 13 wins and $2.7million. He has been successful from 1300m (at two) to 2400m, finished second and third in the Cox Plate and fourth in the Melbourne Cup.


On the Bel Esprit Winners’ Club blog, Brian Donohoe reports that three Bel Esprit’s have won over 2000m: Spirit of Caplan (2000m), Bel Estar (2224m) and, on Monday (16 November), Ring My Bel became the third when taking out the 2224m Johnstone & Hall Build Handicap at Warrnambool.
Ridden in very fine style by Gary Murphy, Ring My Bel raced three wide shortly after the start, then slotted in two out, moved around at the 1000m to sit just behind the leading pair, then shot to the front to be far enough ahead so he couldn’t be caught.
Another mention goes to the trainer Damian Hunter, who has now produced the 5YO on four occasions for two wins at Warrnambool, a second and a third.
The owners P Collia, J Barret, B Sheridan, W McInerney, S Edwards, T Tracy, S Duke, S Blood, D Quinlan & N Gianopoulos have now won $18,000 in a month and a half : not including money in their back kick from the punt.
Out of the Sober Star mare Smoke There’s Fire, Ring My Bel was bred by Noleen Treloar (wife of Bel Esprit’s jockey Smokey Treloar), Nicki and Danny Quinlan.

Interestingly, while Bel Esprit’s fillies are all the rage – courtesy of Black Caviar and Bel Mer – it’s worth noting that Bel Esprit 5YOs have won 15 races this season, with the boys winning 14 of them!


“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.”


Big day for Statue of Liberty on 15 November … from both sides of the equator.
Firstly, the Jamie Edwards and Bruce Elkington trained Liberty Lazer, was laser sharp in the Thirsty Camel Tour of Victoria 0-72 Handicap over 1125m at Geelong, winning his second race from five starts (along with a second at Ballarat).
Bred by Ampulla Lodge, G Meads & M Keck, Liberty Lazer is out of the Varick mare Varique, the dam of four winners and a 4-time winning half sister to Melbourne 2YO Group winner Serendipity.
Then it was the turn of Brown Colt who, despite a rather unimaginative sobriquet, is a pretty handy individual, winning the Prix du Conseil General over 1400m at Le Mans by two lengths.
It’s the 4YO’s third win and he has now more than doubled his yearling sale price of 24,000 euro when knocked down to trainer Irene Oakes-Cottin.
Brown Colt – and, yes, it’s safe to assume that he’s actually brown – is from the Ela-Mana-Mou mare Olivia Jane and a half brother to the multiple Group placed King o’ the Mana.
Another of his close relations is the French and Irish Derby winner Old Vic.


Temajim has continued Clangalang’s great run in the Apple Isle with a fighting victory over 1660m at Devonport on 15 November.
Despite failing to beat one home at his first two starts, Temajim has matured into a classy individual, winning at Devonport on 5 October, before gutsy performances at Hobart and Launceston.
Bred by W Brown in Tassie – who races the Leon Wells trained 3YO along with several members of his family – Temajim (seen winning below at Devonport) is out of the Foolish Pleasure mare Pleasure Garden, a half sister to multiple Group Two winner Garthorn and the dam of STC Coolmore Classic-G1 winner Chlorophyll.

Photo courtesy of Hayes Racing


Esprit of Eve became Bel Esprit’s second ‘saluter’ in three days with his comfortable victory over 1175m at Devonport on 15 November, but Victoria’s Champion Sire came very close to producing three other winners during the period.
Peach Tree was beaten a neck at Mornington on 14 November, Spirited Halo missed by a whisker at Sandown on the same day while, on Sunday, Royal Saint went down by a lip at Dubbo.
However, Espirt of Eve was not about to be denied her third win – and second on the trot – when contesting the Cash For Shaw Handicap, eventually getting up with a panel to spare.
Bred by Ken Williams and Keith Biggins, Esprit of Eve is out of the Noalcoholic mare Apalachicola, a direct descendant of My Evita (Vitalic etc.) and has now pieced together three wins and a third from 10 starts.
In this campaign alone, the 4YO mare now has a two wins and a placing from three starts.

Photos courtesy of Hayes Racing


Clangalang continues to ‘grow’ his resume with a convincing victory to the Gerald Ryan trained Trebbiano over 2000m at Kembla on 14 November.
It was score No. 21 for the Derby-Epsom winning son of Clang and, even more remarkably, he boasts an 80% money earners to runners strike rate.
Bred by Miss LC Smith, Trebbiano is out of the Dieu D’or mare, Vinifera Lady who has also produced city winner of 5 in Straws Lane.
This is also the family of speedy Quiet Little Drink and the NZ Derby-G1 winner Coniston Bluebird.
Although this was Trebbiano’s eighth outing, he had twice previously been placed in town.
Well named, Trebbiano is arguably the most popular grape variety for white wine and is from the species Vitis vinifera.

The Trebbiano grape


Outstanding Bel Esprit sprinter captured another win at Kranji on 13 November (with another Bel Esprit in Aranda running a gutsy fourth). Singapore Turf Club’s Craig Brennan was on hand to catch all the action.

Trainer Desmond Koh will look to bigger riches after Perfect Sky (below) took out the $75,000 Kranji Stakes C over 1200m on Friday night (13 November).
Ridden by Ng Kok Keong, Perfect Sky scored by ¾ length over Choisism (by Choisir) with Dynamic Dan (Danetime) the same margin away third.
Desmond Koh said he felt a bit of pressure with two strongly fancied runners on the evening.
Banks’ Gift was sent out favourite, finishing fourth in race five on the program, before Perfect Sky atoned for that defeat.
“The horses don’t know numbers,” said Koh. “We feel the pressure as they go out to race and I must say I’m relieved it is over with.”
“He (Perfect Sky) deserves his win tonight. He’s been very consistent and did run second to that good filly (Mexican Rose) last time out.
“I’ll probably just give him a bit of a break now and then look for a suitable feature race with him.
“I think he has earned that chance. He’s always consistent and should get into a feature race with a light weight.”
A 5YO son of Bel Esprit (bred by GR Bright, ML Bright & C Duffy) from the River Rough mare Time Is Hope, Perfect Sky was an A$70,000 yearling purchase (sold by Eliza Park at the 2006 Adelaide Magic Millions).
He has now raced on 20 occasions, registering six wins and six minor placings with prizemoney just short of S$300,000 for the Arowana Stable.
Click here to watch a video of the win.

Photo courtesy of Singapore Turf Club


Baseballer Rocky Bridges, commenting on his new diet drink in 1971:

“You mix two jiggers of Scotch to one jigger of Metrecal ... so far I’ve lost 5 pounds and my driver’s licence”


Exciting Danehill stallion, Danbird, has produced his first winner abroad with the flashy 2YO colt, Jack Luey (GB) scoring over 1200m (6 furlongs) at English racetrack Southwell on 12 November.
Adding merit to the win, Jack Luey’s jockey lost an iron in the run home, causing the colt to hang out considerably over the final stages.
Out of the Fayruz mare Icenaslice, a dual winner in Great Britain, this is the immediate family of multiple Group winner and sire Primo Dominie, whose Middle Park Stakes-G1 winning sons – First Trump and Primo Valentino – both stood in Australia.
Danbird, with Aussie breds such as Royal Dalton, Western Raider, Hotham Heights, Captain Clayton, Nesting and co. under his belt, stood three seasons in Great Britain and Ireland, with Jack Luey hailing from his first crop conceived at Beechwood Grange in Yorkshire.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It was the classic one-two at Devonport on 12 November with Ding Dong Denita staging a full on battle with Taiyin over the concluding stages of their 1000m contest.
Both combatants are by Bel Esprit and while the winner’s name, one assumes, pays homage to Denise ‘Ding Dong’ Drysdale of Hey Hey It’s Saturday fame, the runner up is so called after an acupuncture term.
Bred by Stephen Standen and Leann Lupson (who also race the mare), Ding Dong Denita campaigned on the mainland, racing on seven occasions without success, while Taiyin was having only her fourth start, having run second on debut as a juvenile at Hobart.
Trained originally by Rebecca Standen, Ding Dong Denita is out of the 3-time winner Miss Congenial (by Snippets) who is also the dam of dual Melbourne winner Brava Brava.

Deciding to send the mare south after a run at Swan Hill in August, Ding Dong Denita is now with Glenn Stevenson.
Taiyin, on the other hand, was bred in Tassie by long term Eliza Park clients Dr Vu Van Tu and Amanda Lockett who retained the filly and placed her originally with Adrian McGregor and Vicki Rhind before sending her to Leon Corstens’ Melbourne stables for a solo performance at Ballarat.
She is now with Michael Trinder and, if you’ll excuse the pun, the connections must have been on pins and needles as she fought out the finish with Ding Dong Denita.
Taiyin is out of the Fraar mare Tonification, in turn a daughter Kiwi matron, Untapped.
Dr Vu and Amanda certainly had quite a bit of fun with Untapped, breeding six winners (from six to race) out of the Straight Strike mare, including Sandown Guineas-G2 winner Sedation and the stakes placed Tonification.
Indeed, the first three foals from the mare were all black typers.
However, back to the name …
According to our scant research on acupuncture (and please don’t try this at home children!), the body is divided into ‘meridians’ and each meridian has test points: a tonification point and a sedation point!
Don’t know if it makes your horse run any faster, but it certainly worked for Sedation and Tonification and, hopefully, in the weeks to come, Taiyin.

Ding Dong Denita edges out Taiyin in thrilling finish. Photo courtesy of Hayes Racing


Bel Esprit colt, Belgietto, has come a long way in a month, having his first start at Bairnsdale on 4 October before winning, three starts later, at Seymour on 11 November.
It was a remembrance day for connections to remember as the colt had been knocking on the door with a length fourth at Cranbourne on 15 October followed by a head third at Ballarat on 2 November after his ‘so so’ debut.
Bred by Manny Gotis, Belgietto was subsequently sold by Eliza Park as agent at last year’s Magic Millions Horses in Training Sale on the Gold Coast for $100,000 and is now in the hands of Moe mentor Peter Gelagotis.
Peter is certainly guiding this colt a treat and a city campaign appears to be on the cards.
Belgietto is a half brother to four other winners including the stakes placed Radio Song while their dam Adagietto (by Sackford), is a dual stakes winner in Melbourne and half sister to Moonee Valley stakes winner and multiple Group One placed, Captiva.


Len Rhodes is no stranger to success, having stood Loosen Up – the sire of champion performer, Better Loosen Up – at his Riverside Stud, while another of his home breds is the Group Two winner Ortensia.
In that regard, Len’s Delago Brom filly, Tescani, has big shoes to fill but her all the way win at Kilmore on 10 November was nevertheless impressive.
Sold to Mick Cerchi at the 2006 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, Tescani was placed on no less than 10 occasions before her Kilmore success and has now, hopefully, turned the corner for her owners.
A half sister to Group One placed 2YO, Tuscanos, Tescani is out of the Palace Music mare, Palace Fire, a daughter of Lady Zillah (stakes placed in Australia and New Zealand) and hailing from the family of Group One winner Aimee Jay.
Palace Music is also the damsire of Delago Brom’s stakes placed filly Class Prevails.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Clangalang, the only horse to complete the AJC Derby-Epsom double in a calendar year, continues his steady climb up the Australian Third Season Sires’ chart.
Leading his peers in terms of winners to runners percentage, enjoyed another solid weekend with his only runner on Saturday – Nerangatang – running a whisker second over 1000m at Emerald in Queensland, while on Sunday, his sole representative, Geegees Blackflash, notched up his second victory in town with a victory over 1100m at Hobart.
Clangalang has enjoyed a marvelous spring either winners since the start of October and a host of placings including – in the space of one October week – 4 wins (3 in 2 days), 2 seconds, 4 thirds and a fourth from 11 runners.
He might not have many to fly the flag but those that do, do it well.


Asked once whether he preferred grass or Astroturf, famous American football quarterback Joe Namath replied: “I dunno, I’ve never smoked Astroturf!”


Danbird 3YO, Super Swell, is closing in on a win following an unlucky third over 1400m at Cranbourne on Sunday (8 November).
The Robbie Griffiths trained filly was a lip second at his previous outing and is gaining valuable experience with each outing.
Prepared for sale by Eliza Park on behalf of breeder Ariel Arnott, Super Swell is a three quarter sister to Bel Esprit Group winners Bel Mer (this year’s SAJC Robert Sangster-G1) and brilliant Singapore sprinter Mooring.
Performing in much the same fashion as his underrated stablemate, Clangalang, Danbird is working his way into the spotlight with October wins to Takookachook and Hotham Heights (who would subsequently compete at Flemington on Derby day).
As a consequence, now heads up the Australian Second Season Sires’ chart by winners to runners percentage (with 5 or more winners), while his overseas progeny are also making inroads with Winning Dan placed at weight for age in Singapore last Friday.


The Delago Broms are proving to be the model of consistency with Maryann Thexton’s Delago Pilli scoring confidently at the Gold Coast on Saturday (7 November), while L’abaine just missed out on scoring his second win on the trot when second over 1200m at Morphettville.
Bred by Roycevale Thoroughbred Farm and out of the Grand Lodge mare, Pillion, Delago Pilli is the great grandson of Sandown Guineas-G2 winner Blixen.
Delago Pilli has now raced on seven occasions for two wins and three placings.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the sons and daughters of Delago Brom were to the fore when Rondanini just missed out on doubling up her Seymour win 10 days earlier after grabbing a neck second over 2000m at Ararat and, best of all, Ecstatic Macau added even more black type to the shelf with a third in the Autumn Trophy-G3 at Taipa (Macau).
Since his brilliant second in the Macau Derby-G1 in March, Ecstatic Macau was second in the Summer Trophy-G3 and has won three races in the region.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing ... but none of them serious
- Alan Minter

Good to see Alan kept all his marbles!


Interesting stats on the eve of Mic Mac’s tilt at today’s Patinack Farm Classic-G1 (1200m) at Flemington.
With his oldest progeny now 4YOs, Statue of Liberty is now fifth on the Leading sires of 4YOs chart and will improve that position considerably if Mic Mac (below) scores at headquarters.
Currently working his way through a full book of mares, interest in Statue of Liberty is massive and only continues to grow with the stakes win of Kolokol in France at the end of October, plus the wins this week of Keno Mary, Madame Bartholdi (Tuesday) and Truly Ablaze (Wednesday).
Solchow, winner of five and over $200k, also ran Very Discreet to a length when fourth in the Crown Promenade Stakes-LR at Flemington on Thursday.
Go Mic Mac!


Danbird is poised to snare a win in Singapore following the performance of Winning Dan in the weight for age Initiation over 1400m at Kranji last night (6 November).
Forced on the pace throughout, the lightly raced 3YO fought on well and was actually making a second run as the post loomed, eventually finishing third.
Bred by the Hong Kong Breeders’ Club, Winning Dan is out of the Zabeel mare, Zealous Star, and was sold as a yearling in New Zealand before heading to the Singapore stable of Chua Choon Bok.
A great grandson of brilliant Kiwi mare, Tudor Light (16 wins), this is the immediate family of dual Oaks winner Our Tristalight, and Danehill’s NZ 2000 Guineas-G1 winner Danske.
View a video of the race by clicking here.


One thing about Delzao filly Banderilla is that when she wins, she wins well!
Racing at Morphettville on Oaks Day (5 November), the 3YO was in devastating form, taking out the Coffee Club Handicap (1400m) by over four lengths.
Trained by Jon O’Connor, the filly won by five lengths over 1250m at Morphettville in June at only her second start.
Bred locally by the McBryde’s Summerset Park, Banderilla has now raced on six occasions – all at Morphettville – for two wins, three placings and a fourth.
Delzao might not have too many runners but the likes of Banderilla are certainly bringing the Encosta de Lago stallion under notice.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Eliza Park is offering you the opportunity to race a God’s Own ¾ brother to brilliant sprinter Magnus, in partnership with exciting Aussie test cricketer, Phil Hughes.
“This is a huge milestone for Eliza Park,” CEO Cameron Croucher enthused. “Phil Hughes is a genuine talent and clearly one of the rising stars of Australian cricket.
“Similarly, God’s Own is poised to leave an indelible mark on the nation’s thoroughbred landscape with his first crop of two year olds now with leading trainers throughout the country.
“As for the colt in question … what a super prospect! Currently in the process of being broken in at Eliza Park under the supervision of Darren Mackereth (who also ‘educated’ Horse of the Year, Weekend Hussler) and, while it’s still early days, the colt is doing everything asked of him and progressing nicely.
“One thing is for sure, he’s certainly bred to be anything: his sire, God’s Own, is a Caulfield Guineas-G1 winning son of Redoute’s Choice, while his dam – the blue hen mare, Scandinavia – was a multiple Group winner whose progeny include Group One winner and sire, Magnus, another multiple Group winner in Wilander, plus the dam of unbeaten Bel Esprit filly, Black Caviar.
“Importantly, this home bred was not designated for yearling sales as we had always intended on racing him with a stud career at Eliza Park if he is as successful on the track as his breeding and athleticism would indicate.
“Another huge plus is that the colt will be trained at Caulfield by Mick Price, who has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Eliza Park, having trained Shinzig to Group One success, whilst our racing division has also pre-training a number of Price horses, including multiple Group One winner Gallica.
“I’m particularly proud to announce that Phil Hughes has come on board with his part-ownership of the colt, and will act as Eliza Park’s roving ‘ambassador’.
“Eliza Park has always taken great pride in promoting both the equine and human talent associated with the operation and recognises the tremendous synergy of this racing partnership.
“After all, both Phil and God’s Own are rising stars in their respective fields and watching them develop over the next couple of years will be very rewarding.
“Best of all, Phil is a great, young bloke and loves his horses. Phil grew up on a farm in Northern NSW (Macksville) and is very approachable: the ideal member for any syndicate … passionate, enthusiastic and easy going.”
Eliza Park looks forward to racing the colt with Phil and anyone interested in taking a share should contact Mark Lindsay on 0416 334 338 or click here for further information.


They are now arguably the most famous silks in racing: black and white checks, yellow sleeves, black and white checked cap.
They were the colours carried to Caulfield Guineas-G1 success by God’s Own (below) in 2005, Wonderful World in the Guineas a year later, by Horse of the Year Saintly (1996), Catalan Opening (Doncaster Handicap) and, of course, last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Viewed.
But this spring, the owner of those silks – Dato Tan Chin Nam – has had a run of phenomenal success with Viewed winning the Caulfield Cup, So You Think taking out the Cox Plate and, today, Faint Perfume snaring the Crown Oaks.
And it would have been interesting to see how much Viewed would have improved on his Melbourne Cup seventh given a trouble free run.
While we’re still on the subject of Viewed, his dam Lover’s Knot has produced a lovely God’s Own filly (17 September) for breeder Ian Johnson and you can be fairly certain that if this baby goes to a yearling sale, the first one knocking on the stable door will be Bart Cummings!
Dato Tan Chin Nam has raced some 200 horses with Bart over the past 30 years and, while it sounds like a lot of neddies, the strike rate at the highest level would warrant such numbers.
Dato Tan Chin Nam has been a huge property developer and one of the richest man in Malaysia and, it seems, has a passion for chess, setting up the Big Dragon Project in China.
He certainly seems to have all the right moves in racing!

(Dato Tan Chin Nam, along with Bart Cummings, Yallambee Stud and Eliza Park, is a major shareholder in God’s Own who has stood at Eliza Park since 2006).


Smithfield Farm, Eliza Park’s dedicated yearling preparation facility – will have three ‘graduates’ compete in the first Group Two juvenile race of the season, the Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington on Saturday (7 November).
Still on a high after the victory of Run For Wilson in the Breeders’ Plate-LR – the first runner from Smithfield – we’ll be cheering home Indisputably, Onamissionfromgod and Enzed Girl in the Maribyrnong.
Alicia Macpherson’s Onamissionfromgod, as the name might suggest, is a son of God’s Own from the Kenny’s Best Pal mare Carbonated, a half sister to Group winners Intelligent Star and Blaze The Turf (sold Melbourne Premier), while Matt Laurie’s Indisputably (Undoubtedly x Zakuska) was consigned to the Perth Magic Millions.
Meanwhile, just to mix it up a bit, the Robert Smerdon trained Enzed Girl (Stravinsky x Nella Dane) was consigned to the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.
Good luck to all connections … and their breeders!


The win of Faint Perfume in today’s Crown Oaks was Bart Cummings’ 81st Group One winner at Flemington.
Bart Cummings, who is 82 next week, quipped after the Oaks that he and Flemington have run a dead heat!
As Tara Madgwick points out in her excellent A to Z of the Melbourne Cup, Bart Cummings is the Yardstick … here, here.
And if you haven’t signed up for Breednet at this stage, I suggest you give it a try: Tara is one of the industry’s most informed writers and co-hosts the Thoroughbreds show on TVN.


Well done to Slickpix photographer and keen breeder, Ross Holburt, whose homebred Broms Girl (below) won her fourth race at Grafton on Wednesday (4 November).
Another win for Delago Brom, Broms Girl is out of the Snaadee mare Simulation who won eight races including three in town. This is also the family of Aqueduct Classic-G1 winner All Along and a host of North American and European stakes winners.
Ross, who bred Broms Girl with his brother Brett, has a full brother to Broms Girl being consigned to the 2010 Inglis Melbourne Premier, while another full brother - the 3YO Delagation - is about to go into work. Let’s hope he’s as fleet footed as his sister.
It’s been a big 10 days for Delago Brom with a winner (Back Chattin’ Miss) and a second on 26 October, a third on the 27th, a win (L’aubaine) and a second on the 28th, a winner (Rondanini) on the 29th, a third on the 30th, a winner (Wynarae) and a third on the 31st, a winner (De Fine Lago) and second on 2 November, three thirds on the 3rd and a winner (Broms Girl) and two seconds on the 4th.
That’s 23 runners in 10 days for five winners and 10 placings.


Following the victory of Suitably Connected at Parkes on Sunday, Bel Esprit statistician Brian Donohoe pointed out that the 4YO wasn’t the first of the Champion Victorian Sire’s progeny to win first up for a new trainer.
Brian, who has a vast array of Bel Esprit data at his fingertips, reveals that no less than 17 sons and daughters have won at either their first or second start after switching stables.
Two of those runners – Esprit of Eve and Spirits in the Sky – were placed first up and promptly won at their next start!
For a full list – and an interesting read – visit the Bel Esprit Winners Club


You have to admit that Aussies love their racing and on Melbourne Cup Day, there were 49 race meetings staged throughout Australia.
(NSW 18, Queensland 15, Victoria 8, WA 3, Northern Territory 2, SA, Tasmania and ACT one apiece).
And, although everything, understandably, is overshadowed by the actual Melbourne Cup, Bel Esprit had something of a field day with runners in three states plus the Northern Territory : all up, six starters for two wins, a second, a third and a fourth.
Royal Saint won his four races from 10 starts when successful at Dubbo, while Cosmic Vision notched up his second win by scoring comfortably at Alice Springs.
Spirited Halo ran second in the last of the day at Flemington, while earlier on the program, Snip Esprit – looking for his seventh win – ran them to a long neck when fourth in the $100,000 MSS Security Sprint.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


In a stallion lineup which includes Victorian Champion Sire, Bel Esprit, boom stallion Statue of Liberty and exciting prospects such as God’s Own, Magnus and Shinzig, it’s easy to overlook a horse like Delzao.
However, despite limited representation, the Encosta de Lago stallion boasts remarkable consistency with his progeny.
To date, Delzao has only had 20 runners with 15 of them returning a cheque, while horses like Banderilla have won by five lengths at Morphettville and Miss Phromily who has only had the five starts for two wins and three placings.
Purple Zone has raced on six occasions for four seconds and a gallant sixth in the Geelong Classic-LR and Microchip Lad has two placings from three starts.
And then of course you have a filly like De Lago’s Choice who even caught the eye of Blind Freddie at Ascot on Saturday (see below) and is bound to get her name in black type shortly.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Delzao’s oldest performers are only 3YOs and he himself didn’t win until he was a spring 3YO, with his benchmark victory over Makybe Diva in the Feehan Stakes-G2 came as a 4YO.


Do yourself a favour and put Delzao filly, De Lago’s Choice, in your little black book.
Trained in Western Australia by Ken Williamson, De Lago’s Choice was near the tail of the field for most of the journey in the 1400m Burgess Queen Quality-LR at Ascot on Saturday (31 October), but absolutely flew home to grab fourth.
Out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Rel’s Choice, De Lago’s Choice now has two placings and a black type fourth from four starts and, based on her Burgess Queen effort, is bound to improve that record before too long.
Keep an eye out for her in races like the WA Guineas-G2 on 14 November.


Tony Vasil’s consistent 4YO, De Fine Lago, has continued the great run of his sire, Delago Brom with a five length romp over 2200m at Ballarat yesterday (2 November).
Delago Brom has had five winners in the space of the week, but none more emphatic than De Fine Lago who has now put together three wins and four placings from 12 outings.
Bred by Diana Anceschi, De Fine Lago is out of the Flying Spur mare, Fine Glass, who unfortunately died last year but has left four winners from four to race.
Fine Glass was a half sister to the Flemington stakes placed Smidgin, while other close relations include North American group winners Pocket Zipper, Jungle Blade, Prince Forli, Pocketful in Vail and Ramazutti.


Enormous performance by King Pulse in Saturday’s Coolmore Stakes-G1 at Flemington, running a whisker second to multiple stakeswinner and Golden Slipper runnerup, Headway.
King Pulse was having only his third career start at Flemington, having earlier won at Geelong at the end of September and at Caulfield on 10 October.
It’s an amazing effort by Mike Moroney and his team to bring this horse so close to Group One success in such a short time and it was certainly a huge day for the stable, winning the Victoria Derby just two races later with Monaco Consul.
Mike has been a great supporter of the Eliza Park and, indeed, placed King Pulse with our breaking in and pre-training division after he purchased the son of Canny Lad at the 2008 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale.
Head breaker, Darren Mackereth, who also put the educational polish on Horse of the Year, Weekend Hussler, said that King Pulse was “a very tough colt and it’s obviously a trait that’s made him such a good horse”.
Following the breaking in process, King Pulse was spelled at Eliza Park, eventually going through pre-training before entering the Moroney stable.
Below are some photos of King Pulse during his time at Eliza Park.

Monday, November 2, 2009


It’s amazing how a change of scenery can make such a difference to some racehorses.
There are few better trainers plying their trade than Robert Smerdon who has shown on more occasions than he cares to remember that he has the ability to get the very best out of horses in his care.
However, despite a trial win at Bendigo in July, Suitably Connected did very little (apart from a Geelong third) in five starts hence, switching to the Dubbo stable of Garry Lunn around six weeks ago.
It did the trick though and Suitably Connected scored comfortably at Parkes yesterday (1 November) winning by two panels over the 1300m journey after starting a $2.80 favourite.
A 4YO by Bel Esprit, Suitably Connected is certainly well named.
Bred by Peter Cameron, Suitably Connected is out of the Godswalk mare, Seaside Attraction, an outstanding Melbourne sprinter who won six races who has subsequently produced seven winners since retiring to stud.
Importantly – well as far as Eliza Park is concerned – her multiple city winning daughter, Weekend Surprise, is in turn the dam of Moonee Valley Champagne Stakes-G3 winner Dan Baroness who just happens to be a daughter of Statue of Liberty.
An outstanding family, other members include Group One winner Pride of Rancho, Golden Slipper winner John’s Hope and Sydney Cup winner Count Chivas.
The Bel Esprits are making a habit of winning first up for new trainers so keep your eye out!


Brian Donohoe does a fantastic job with his Bel Esprit blog and is arguably the Victorian Champion Sire’s greatest fan.
Sure, he part-owned Bel Esprit and has raced several of his progeny, but the sheer attention to statistics relating to his pride and joy are nothing short of amazing.
Brian couldn’t resist when leading industry publication, The Thoroughbred, were offering race ownership of Bel Esprit filly Belleluia to anyone who coughed up $50 for a subscription.
The Thoroughbred had leased the filly from Eliza Park, and based on pedigree, this is not just any filly.
This is a daughter of the stakes placed Desert Sun mare Song of the Sun, a half sister to four stakes winners including blue hen mare, Scandinavia, dam of Group One winner and sire Magnus, sprinting sensation Wilander and Helsinge, dam of unbeaten filly Black Caviar.
Well, Belleluia (below) showed she may well be a worthy addition to the family with a three and a half length win on debut at Traralgon on Saturday (31 October).
In his blog, Brian was quick to point out that due to his 50 bucks ‘investment’ he:
  1. Became a part-owner
  2. Received the following report from trainer Robbie Griffiths’ on race eve: “Belleluia is in great order and this looks a nice race to kick off her racing career. She has only had one trial and still looks a little wooly in the coat but her track work has been excellent and I think she will run a nice race here with further room for improvement in the future. She has drawn a nice barrier in three and with her natural ability she looks one of the better chances in this event. I am optimistic that she will finish in the first three. Good luck.”
  3. Had the thrill of watching Belleluia hit the front in the straight
  4. Backed her and got his $50 back
  5. Got an email from The Thoroughbred stating they would secure mouting yard passes for members.
Cheap way to race a horse Brian!


I’m not too good at the tipping caper, but you wouldn’t be too far off the mark suggesting that Zenos Zintilis hails from Cyprus!
The owner/trainer of Cyprus Storm, Zenos notched up his first winner as a trainer with the victory of his Bel Esprit 5YO at Berrigan on Saturday (31 October).
Zenos has shown great persistence with Cyprus Storm, having purchased the colt at the 2006 Melbourne Autumn Yearling Sale for just $6,500 before passing him in at the Inglis Breeze Up the following year.
Although Cyprus Storm would win his first trial in November last year, the form since has been mixed with an ordinary debut effort at Wangaratta, followed by a third at Albury and a mediocre sixth at the Healesville Picnics. This was all in the space of 25 days.
Given a 42 week break, Cyprus Storm has bounced back better than ever and his win at Berrigan was performed with aplomb.
Well done Zenos!
Out of the Bluebird mare, Ucello, Cyprus Storm was bred by PE & PA Campbell Investment, Yarraman Park & E & J Rea.
The winner of four races in Melbourne, Ucello is a half sister to 2YO Group winner Ashkaleta and closely related to Sentimental Lady and Natural Tycoon.

Hoofnote: Cyprus is the Mediterranean’s third largest island and one of its most popular tourist destinations. One of the most advanced economies in the Middle East, there’s been human activity on Cyprus since around 10,000 BC and, on a sporting level, is best known of late for the prowess of tennis player Marcos Baghdatis, an Australian open finalist and Wimbledon semi finalist in 2006.


Delago Brom is clearly one of the unheralded performers of Eliza Park’s stallion lineup and a quick check of his stats following Wynarae’s victory at Dubbo on Saturday (31 October) shows that the Encosta de Lago sire has a 67% winners/placegetters to runners strike rate.
Delago Brom (below) ended the week with wins to Back Chattin’ Miss, L’aubaine, Rondanini and Wynarae, with the latter scoring confidently at the NSW country track.
Trained by Andrew Palmer, Wynarae was bred by Flower Hill Stud and is out of the Rory’s Jester mare, Yule Smile.
Winner of three races, Yule Smile is a half sister to stakes winner Underplay and both are out of a sister to another stakes winner in Regal For Me.
This is also the immediate family of Eremein, the 5-time Group One winning son of former Eliza Park resident, Timber Country.


Unfortunately, Hotham Heights couldn’t follow up on his Horsham victory on 18 October when contesting the Inglis Carbine Club Stakes-G3 at Flemington on Derby Day, but Takookachook flew the flag for their sire, Danbird (below) at Port Lincoln on Friday (30 October).
Trained by Darryl Carrison, the 3YO fought on strongly to score over the 1000m and appears to have a promising future.
Bred by C Kopelke and P Morrish, Takookachook is from the Keltrice mare Takook and, while we’re not 100% about the name, the relationship to stakes winners Husson Lightning, Niarchos, Cordon Rose, Armed For Action and Flying Sparks would indicate more wins are in store.


Statue of Liberty has notched up his sixth stakeswinner with a resounding victory to French colt Kolokol in the Criterium de Vitesse-LR at Longchamp on 29 October.
The sire of Mic Mac, Tempest Tost, Dan Baroness, Elysees and unbeaten Perth flyer, Hay List, Statue of Liberty’s black type performers in Northern Hemisphere include Black Mambazo.
Out of the Hector Protector mare Hecterine, Kolokol has now raced on nine occasions for three wins and two placings, never finishing further back than fifth.
Interestingly, Kolokol was bred by Russian International Bloodstock and, evidently, Kolokol is Russian for ‘bell’.
Furthermore, Kolokol-1 is an ‘incapacitating agent’ whose chemical structure is evidently unknown to anyone outside of Mother Russia.
Kolokol-1 is thought to be the chemical agent used by a Russian Spetsnaz team during the Moscow theater hostage crisis in October 2002 where at least 129 hostages died: nearly all of these fatalities were attributed to the effects of Kolokol-1 being pumped into the theatre to subdue the militants.

The Tsar Kolokol (Emperor Bell) rests on a pedestal at the foot of the Tower of St. Ivan in the Kremlin, Moscow. Fire damaged the bell while it was still in the casting pit in 1737, and the bell has never been rung.


There are few more consistent performers than Mark Loft’s Delago Brom mare, Rondanini.
Winning over 2015m at Seymour on 29 October, Rondanini has now started on 11 occasions for two wins and five placings – her only two ‘non money’ starts including a tilt at black type at only her second start.
Bred by South Australia’s prolific, Mill Park, Rondanini is from the Clay Hero mare Pieta, a city winning half sister to brilliant mare Divine Madonna (8 wins, including 4 at Group One level) and Group winner Blessum (7 wins).
Rondanini’s win was the third for Delago Brom is four days with Back Chattin’ Miss winning at Pakenham on Monday and L’aubaine at Balaklava on Wednesday.


It was hard to know who to cheer for at Seymour on 29 October: the Clangalang 4YO – Clanger Count – that Eliza Park sold at the 2007 Melbourne Autumn Yearling Sale on behalf of breeder the late Noel Butler – or the ultra consistent Delzao 3YO Purple Zone?
Clanger Count would continue Clangalang’s winning run however and score over the 2215m journey with Purple Zone fighting on well for second.
Trained by Shannon and Lee Hope, Clanger Count had put in an encouraging third at Wangaratta earlier in the month and there was no denying him at Seymour.
Out of the Seattle Dancer mare, Medium, Clanger Count is a grandson of Group winning British mare, Piney Ridge and hails from the immediate family of Sydney stakes winner Shannon Bank. It’s also the family of successful sires Dignitas and Knightly Manner.
Clangalang had 34 runners in Australia throughout October for seven winners, eight placings and six more money earners, resulting in a cheque to starts ratio of 62%.
But how unlucky is Purple Zone? The John McArdle trained Delzao has now had six starts for four seconds … surely a win isn’t too far around the corner?

Actually, office supremo Glenn Gillan, who largely keeps the cogs turning at Eliza Park, had no problem re whom to cheer for: he owns Medium along with partner Raymond Butler.