Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Came across this website today – Photoshop Disasters – and it does make you wonder how many slips there are betwixt the lip and the cup in the world of advertising.
Now, living in a glass house, I should know better than to throw rocks, but the advertisement below and the (Disasters) caption are absolute classics.

Hey Blédilait, that's cool. What's it got in it? Toxic waste? Awesome.


Statue of Liberty’s flying machine, Mic Mac, is on target for a triumphant return to racing next week following an emphatic trial win at Cranbourne on Tuesday (30 March).
ANZ Bloodstock News takes up the story:
Group winning sprinter Mic Mac successfully negotiated his first public appearance for the year after posting a comfortable win in his heat at Tuesday’s Cranbourne trials.
The Greg Eurell-trained gelding was spelled after finishing an honourable fifth in the Patinack Farm Classic-G1 over 1200m at Flemington on November 7.
Maurice Messara’s homebred 4YO looked well in himself and showed signs of freshness after initially refusing to head down the chute towards the starting gates before a push from jockey Chris Symons helped him progress.
Mic Mac (Statue Of Liberty) showed plenty of speed early in the trial to share the speed with the honest Melbourne campaigner Mr Sargood for the first half of the 990m heat before quickly assuming control with 400m to run.
Symons kept a tight rein on Mic Mac while the gelding cruised to the line 2.5 lengths ahead of the stakes-placed Jungle Ruler, with Mr Sargood a further two lengths away.
Eurell said the handsome bay gelding pleased him with his effort on the heavy track and would travel to Sydney for the TJ Smith Stakes-G1 over 1200m at Randwick on April 10.


Brian Russell is a veritable vault of information and his weekly news service Australian Thoroughbred is always a good read.
This week he ran a snippet on a missing mare in Muswellbrook, recalling the events of 1983 when Shergar was stolen from the Aga Khan’s stables – allegedly by the IRA – and the time when neddy nappers let a future Melbourne Cup winner go.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


  • 1533 - Henry VIII divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon (five wives would follow … AND five mother-in-laws. Git!
  • 1858 - Hyman L. Lipman patented the pencil.
  • 1867 - The United States purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million.
  • 1981 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded in Washington DC by John W. Hinckley Jr.
  • 1986 – Jimmy ‘You Dirty Rat’ Cagney shuffled off this mortal coil.
  • 1987 - Vincent Van Gogh's ‘Sunflowers’ was bought for $39.85 million. It was also Vinnie’s birthday (1853)


Big day for musos and actors: Frankie ‘Rawhide’ Laine (1913), John ‘Gomez Addams’ Astin (1930), Warren Beatty (1937), Eric Clapton (1945), MC ‘Can’t Touch This’ Hammer (1962), Celine Dion (1968) and, of course, Australia’s favourite son, Rolf Harris (1930).

This is also Shouter Liberation Day in Trinidad and Tobago (heh?) and National Doctors’ Day in the US … so chances are you won’t be able to get a tee time on any golf course east of Hawaii.


“My notion of a wife at 40 is that a man should be able to change her, like a bank note, for two 20s.”
- Warren Beatty

“Honey I forgot to duck.”
- Ronald Reagan to wife Nancy after being shot


After being off the racing scene for just over 12 months, the David ‘Butch’ Bourne trained, Reverberates, has returned in resounding fashion, scoring over 1400m at Cranbourne on Sunday (28 March).
OK, it might not have been Flemington on Derby Day (where once she appeared destined to appear) but Butch and owners (including Simon O’Donnell and Terry Henderson’s OTI Racing) would surely have been thrilled with the performance.
The 4YO daughter of Clangalang hasn’t appeared since running a brilliant fourth to multiple Group One winner Gallica in the VRC Kewney Stakes-G2 in March last year which had followed an equally impressive fourth to the same filly in the Angus Armanasco-G2 a fortnight earlier.
Reverberates (below) had really came under notice in her first trip to town when she produced a truly memorable performance at Sandown, coming from an almost impossible position to score.
Clangalang is quite possibly the most underrated stallion in Victoria and a mare like Reverberates could well be the one to put him on the map.
Out of the Kaapstad mare, Startling Belle, is from the family of Group One winner and sire St Jude.


OK, we’re mixing genders, but the quote ‘Go West, young man’ certainly hit home for Bel Esprit 3YO, Peach Tree, who scored a gutsy dead heat victory over 1100m at Ascot on Saturday (27 March).
Peach Tree – yes, she’s a filly – had raced on five occasions for Peter Moody in this neck of the woods, but sadly without cracking it for a win (she did, however, manage four placings from five starts).
Anyhow, a change of pace appears to have worked wonders for the gal and, in her first outing for Mark Read, flew home with a wet sail to grab Valoura right on the wire. Judges couldn’t separate the pair and Mark was adamant that Peach Tree would have won with another stride.
Bred by Baree Stud and sold for $75,000 as a yearling at the 2008 Inglis Melbourne Premier, Peach Tree is out of the Naturalism mare, Georgia, a winning half sister to Melbourne Group winner Painted Ocean. This is also the family of Group One winners Triscay, La Baraka, Defier and Demerger.

Hoofnote: Probably has nothing whatsoever with Peach Tree’s moniker, but ‘Georgia Peach’ was the nickname of Ty Cobb, one of the most famous baseball players of all time.
Although he retired at the end of the 1928 season, he held 90 Major League baseball records – some which stand today, including the highest batting average and most career batting titles. Until 2001 he had played the most games too (3,035).
Seems though that ol’ Ty was a bit of a nutter and deemed by a newspaper at the time to be “daring to the point of dementia”.
He once beat his son with a whip when he dropped out of Princeton and was roundly disliked by teammates and opposition alike.
During his first season of pro ball, his mother shot and killed his father. Evidently William Cobb suspected Mrs Cobb of fooling around and sneaking up to the window to try and catch her in the act, Ty’s mum put one straight between the eyes, thinking he was an intruder.

“The base paths belonged to me … the runner. The rules gave me the right. I always went into a bag full speed, feet first. I had sharp spikes on my shoes. If the baseman stood where he had no business to be and got hurt, that was his fault.”

“When I began playing the game, baseball was about as gentlemanly as a kick in the crotch.”

Monday, March 29, 2010


Well done to South Australian trainer, Craig Curtis, and crew on their nifty Desert Sun galloper, Storm Brewing, who grabbed another stakes placing on Saturday (27 March) with a rollicking third in the Port Adelaide Guineas-LR at Morpettville.
Storm Brewing became his sire’s 62nd stakes performer when second in the Adelaide Guineas-LR at his previous outing and the 3YO has now compiled two city wins, two stakes placings, two other placings and a stakes fourth from his last seven outings.
Bred by Eliza Park and out of the Mystery Storm mare, In a Teacup, Storm Brewing was purchased by Craig at the 2008 Adelaide Magic Millions, who also snapped up his as yet unraced half sister (by Bel Esprit) in Adelaide last year.
Eliza Park also sold a God’s Own half brother to Storm Brewing at the 2010 Inglis Melbourne Premier for $70,000.
In a Teacup is a half sister to multiple Group One winner Heroicity.


There certainly were some busy boys last spring with the top 20 stallions covering an incredible 3,634 mares – basically 2.2% of the stallion population catering to 13.6% of the mares.
Eliza Park stallions got four looks – the only Victorian stud to figure in the top 20 – and only one behind Coolmore stallions which had five appearances.
There’s some really cool stuff on the Australian Stud Book website – especially for subscribers.
For instance, the ASB lists the top stallions by earnings since 1883-84, taking particular note of Danehill’s sixth consecutive and final premiership in 2004-05 which realised a record $11.4 million in progeny earnings.
The most wins in a season (by the highest earning sire) was Encosta de Lago’s 146 last season, a far cry from Night Raid’s four winners in 1930-31 (Phar Lap obviously helped his cause).
However, it was only as recent as 1980-81 (Bletchingly) where the highest earning sire notched less than seven figures and Danehill – again – in 1999-00 was the first biggest earner to post over 100 winners in a season.


Although he departed this mortal coil in the first weeks of 2002, Snippets was a hugely influential sire in the ‘noughties’, producing 55 stakes winners throughout his illustrious career.
Given that there was only a handful of ‘bulls’ among his Group One winners, the most prominent among his legacy is the Champion NZ Sire, Pins.
The continuation of that ‘line’ would then appear to be a little shaky as runners from his last crop are now 7YOs, however, Snippets will almost assuredly live on well into this and the next decade via his daughters.
As a broodmare sire, Snippets has few peers: 550 winners at 65%, 46 stakes winners, five at Group One level, including recent VRC Newmarket Handicap winner Wanted.
Throw in a Snippets mare, mix it with a sprinkle of Danehill and voila … the perfect recipe: Wanted, Magnus, Snitzel, Crytal Lily, Wilander etc.
According to Sue Ormsby at the Australian Stud Book, there are just six stallions at stud in Australia who are out of Snippets mares: Magnus, Snitzel, Warhead, Stockade, Exceedingly Good and Husson Lightning.
Four are by Danehill line stallions: Magnus (Flying Spur), Snitzel and Stockade (Redoute’s Choice) and Exceedingly Good (Exceed and Excel).
Two are Group One winning sprinters: Magnus (below) and Snitzel.
Snitzel is Australia’s leading first season sire with six winners.
Magnus’ oldest crop are weanlings … watch this space.


A quick test to get you up and running on a Monday morning (and hopefully it won’t spoil the rest of your week!).

Count every ‘F’ in the following text:


How many?

Sunday, March 28, 2010


The proposed introduction of ‘selective’ Equine Influenza vaccinations is bound to raise the hackles of many industry groups, despite Thoroughbred Breeders Australia’s enthusiastic support. This will certainly not be the last word on the subject, but Bill Saunders’ balanced coverage provides a topical look at something that’s bound to become very ‘tropical’.
The following is re-printed courtesy of Bill’s post on Virtual Formguide on Wednesday (24 March).

The Australian horse industry, never united at the best of times, is divided yet again over the issue of what policy to adopt in order to limit the damages bill from a future outbreak of equine influenza.
On one side stands the thoroughbred industry with a pro-vaccination policy and on the other is the Australian Horse Industry Council (AHIC), representing virtually everyone else, who do not endorse the vaccination approach.
A story planted in today’s Australian newspaper suggests that Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke has agreed to allow selective EI vaccination for Australia’s racehorses against widespread advice from experts that such a policy is ill advised.
Thoroughbred Breeders Australia CEO Peter McGauran issued a media release trumpeting the decision while having a dig at the various experts against it.
“The Minister is to be congratulated for his strength of character in reaching his own considered position after months of scientific enquiry rather than slavishly following the antiquated opinions of vets who have no experience of EI apart from the outbreak of 2007. The Australian veterinary profession has largely fallen far behind international developments on the preventative measures used to minimize the risk of EI.”
Interestingly the Australian article is not backed up by an official announcement from Minister Burke’s office. It appears that he has merely “formed a view”, which is not quite the same thing as legislation or a ministerial directive.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


John Honeysett’s exciting galloper, Golago, appears to have grown another leg in the 36 weeks he was on the sidelines.
Although the Delago Brom 4YO ran third at Pakenham during his first campaign, he has returned to racing a different horse with his maiden win at Mornington in mid February followed by a city second on 10 March: all of which was capped off with a three length romp over 1800m at Sandown on Wednesday (24 March).
He is clearly above average and won’t surprise to see him competitive in longer events throughout the latter part of autumn and winter.
Bred by Fred Sands and Ken Biggins, Golago is out of the Varick mare, Specks of Gold, a multiple winning half sister to the Freedman trained Group winner, Chong Tong and closely related to outstanding sprinter, Mighty Supremo.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Brewski joined a growing band of Bel Esprit neddies to salute on debut by taking out the Grand Central Hotel Maiden Plate (1100m) at Hamilton on Tuesday (23 March) for local trainers, Bill and Symon Wilde.
Bill snapped up the now 3YO for $32,500 as a yearling from the 2008 Inglis Melbourne Premier, on consignment from Rob and Maureen McBryde’s Summerset Park Stud, who also topped the second session of the 2010 Adelaide Magic Millions with their Bel Esprit colt from Obiqua ($77,500).
Brewski, who hails from the Eagling mare, Summer Magic, is a half brother to no less than eight winners from 11 to race including the stakes placed Surmato and top Sydney sprinter Magical Flight (6 wins).
The McBryde’s have certainly had a lot of fun with Summer Magic, having picked her up for just $4,000 at the 1991 Adelaide Yearling Sale and winning a couple of races in town with her before retiring her to Summerset Park.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Although firmly ensconced in Eliza Park’s stallion barn, Clangalang is rapidly becoming Tasmania’s favourite son with Prince Obama notching up a comfortable two plus victory at Hobart on Sunday (21 March).
Bred in Tassie by Jenny Watson, Prince Obama has now started on four occasions for two wins, a second and a third for trainer Jason Clifford.
Out of the Ark Regal mare Angelika and closely related to Apple Isle stakes winner Mucho Dinero, Prince Obama is the fifth Clangalang to race in Tasmania in 2010, following in the hoofsteps of Tasmanian Derby-G3 winner Geegees Blackflash (also second in the Hobart and Tasmanian Guineas), Bavarian Belle (winner at Launceston in January), Mr Isaac (second in the Ingham Cup in January after twice winning at Launceston in December) and Temajim (fourth in the Hobart Guineas-LR).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Attention all owners of Brief Truce mares …
Following on from the victory of True Persuasion in absolutely devastating fashion at Moonee Valley the previous Friday, New Avenue became the second Bel Esprit winner in three days to hail from a Brief Truce mare.
To date, there have been five Bel Esprit starters out of Brief Truce mares with each of them winning: the stakes placed Royal Esprit (5 wins), True Persuasion (3 from 9), Genuine Stunner (winner of over $50k), All Spirit (1 from 2) and New Avenue who recorded her second career victory over 1000m at Tatura on Sunday (21 March).
Out of Taj Lani – a winning half sister to NZ 2000 Guineas-G1 winner Clean Sweep and related to an outstanding North American/European family – New Avenue was bred by and is part-owned by Doug Blackshaw and is also trained by Gwenda Johnstone (left).
Gwenda’s had a fair amount of success too with the Bel Esprits’ she has trained, including 3-time winner Lotsa Grunt.


Deserved win for Microchip Lad in the Howard and Jan Martin Plate over 1300m at Berrigan on Saturday (20 March), with the Delzao 3YO sent out a $2.70 favourite.
Bred by Richard Pietrykowski, who also raced Delzao, Microchip Lad is out of the Luskin Star mare, Tales of Silence, who hails from the family of Group One winners Wrap Around, Fashions Afield and Ambulance.
Just for the record, Howard and Jan Martin are the breeders of Aussie legend, Better Loosen Up, who did us proud by winning eight Group Ones, including a thrilling Japan Cup.


This one is a classic!


Statue of Liberty has certainly made a mark for himself with his first two crops of racing age, albeit largely through mature sprinters such as Mic Mac, Hay List, Tempest Tost and Solchow.
However, the Storm Cat stallion’s reputation is likely to be ‘enhanced’ with all the activity around his current crop of 2YOs.
Gai Waterhouse has huge wraps on Crystal Empire, who has won two trials at Rosehill and, according to her website’s ‘diary’ has been working the house down. Bred and raced by Gooree Stud and out of the Danehill mare My Little Girl, Crystal Empire is due to make her debut at Warwick Farm next Tuesday (30 March).
But stealing her thunder, of sorts, is the equally exciting Broadway Harmony, who stepped out for the first time in the Valley Events Plate (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night (19 March) and came away with a confident win after sitting just off the pace throughout.
Trained by Darren Weir, Broadway Harmony was bred by Mrs C Sherer and is out of No Peace, a winning three quarter sister to Flemington stakes winner No Mischief (5 wins) and the stakes placed No Mystery (7 wins).
Importantly, No Peace is out of the Danzig stallion Rokosz: anything with Danzig in it seems to work a treat with this stallion!
Broadway Harmony was purchased by Darren and Liz Dance’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock for $18,000 and adds to an impressive tally for the syndication mob whose 19 winners last year were highlighted by Fitoussi who finished third in the SAJC Derby-G1.
Statue of Liberty is currently fourth on the Australian Third Season Sires’ chart: effectively maintaining a top five position against peers since his first crop hit the ground running in 2007/08.


Broadway Harmony wasn’t the only Eliza Park ‘cheer on’ at Moonee Valley last Friday (19 March) with True Persuasion racing away to a 3.5 length victory in the $80,000 Pulse Pharmacy Handicap (1200m) later in the evening.
The son of Bel Esprit, bred and raced by Marion Smart, has now won almost a quarter million in stakes from his three wins and four placings (nine starts overall) and, according to ANZ Bloodstock News, is right up to black type competition.
True Persuasion scored a big win here, used up to settled third one out one back before taking control of the race well before the turn to sprint away in the straight to score a big win. Charbet battled on for well beaten second but the winner was far too good. He should be able to step up to stakes company on the back of this big win tonight.

True Persuasion winning at Moonee Valley in January. Photo courtesy of Slickpix.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Instead of the usual Friday lunch, you might want to head down to Oaklands Junction tomorrow for the March Thoroughbred Sale which now kicks off at 10am (due to the large number of supplementary entries).
This truly is a mixed sale with Eliza Park fielding 20 lots – including in foal mares (one with a foal at foot), breeding prospects and racing prospects.
Included among Eliza Park’s team is:
  • an Encosta de Lago mare, Christiana (in foal to Shinzig)
  • well bred Bluebird mare Blululu (dam of 3-time winner Jack’s Street
  • Spinning World mare, Concoct (in foal to Shinzig)
  • King of Kings mare Queen Cleo (in foal to Magnus)
  • Encosta de Lago mare Perfect Penny (with a Danbird filly at foot and in foal to Shinzig)
  • Carry The Green, dam of Flemington stakes winner Cianara (in foal to Delzao)
  • a Delago Brom colt from Polishing, a half brother to SW Danzippo and closely related to brilliant filly Marveen
  • a Written Tycoon filly from the family of Group Two winner Dolphin Jo
  • a Bel Esprit yearling colt, the first foal of 4-time winner Testabel
  • Ambitious Bride, a lightly raced 3YO filly by Charge Forward
  • a unraced Bianconi 3YO half brother to this season’s Hong Kong winner Super Gentleman


  • 1673 - Lord Berkley sold his half of New Jersey to the Quakers (and the other half to the Sopranos?).
  • 1881 - Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth opened in Madison Square Gardens.
  • 1891 - Britain became linked to the continent of Europe by telephone.
  • 1931 - Schick sold the first electric shaver.
  • 1949 - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was ratified.
  • 1952 - In Philadelphia, PA, the first plastic lenses were fitted for a cataract patient.
  • 1961 - The Poppin’ Fresh Pillsbury Dough Boy was introduced (remember him from Ghostbusters?).
  • 1965 - Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became the first man to spacewalk when he left the Voskhod II space capsule while in orbit around the Earth. He was outside the spacecraft for about 20 minutes.
  • 1986 - Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson.
  • 1989 - 12 paintings were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The value was $100 million making it the largest art robbery in history.
  • 1989 - A 4,400-year-old mummy was discovered at the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt.
  • 1990 - The first free elections took place in East Germany.
  • 1994 - Zsa Zsa Gabor filed for bankruptcy.

Born on this day

US President Grover Cleveland (1837), British PM Neville Chamberlain (1869), Mission Impossible’s Peter Graves (1926) [who also starred in Australian TV series, Whiplash!], country singer Charlie Pride (1938), singer Wilson Pickett (1941), good sort Vanessa Williams (1963) and Queen Latifah (1970).

“I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.”

“How many husbands have I had? You mean apart from my own?”

and, in light of the recent Lara Bingle controversy:

“I never hated a man enough to give him diamonds back.”

9-times married Zsa Zsa Gabor

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


There was clearly some justice at Geelong on Saturday when Danaupair Starlet took out the Laurie & Paula for Breakfast F & M 0 - 68 Handicap over 1705m, the first leg of an amazing treble for both Delago Brom and the Hoffelner family.
The Hoffelners raced Delago Brom throughout his illustrious career and have supported the Group One winning son of Encosta de Lago since his retirement to Eliza Park.
With some 90 winners to his credit, there’s every possibility that Delago Brom has previously produced a treble, as would other stallions of his ilk. However, it would be fairly rare to see one family of owner/breeders have a hand in all three wins.
But back to Danaupair Starlet for a tick. Bred and raced by the Hoffelners and out of the Danasinga mare, Danaupair, Danaupair Starlet was scratched on the morning of the Tasmanian Oaks-LR when pre-post favourite and the Geelong canter is some consolation to the crew.
The filly will now be set for the Schweppes Oaks-G1 at Morphettville this Saturday and attempt to become stakes winner No. 4 for Delago Brom.
Just 32 minutes later after Danaupair Starlet’s Geelong victory, her 5YO full brother – Otto’s Delight – who hails from the first crop of Delago Brom, captured his fifth career victory in the Heritage Hotel Rockhampton St Patrick Days Cup over 1200m in Queensland.
Also bred by the Hoffelners and named after the family patriarch, Otto’s Delight raced without success down south but found the Queensland sunshine more to his liking and has subsequently compiled a very good record in the Sunshine State: 5 wins and 9 placings from 20 starts.
Meanwhile, even further north of Queensland, Ecstatic Macau – nee Classic Brom – snapped up the sixth win of his career when successful in the Rotary Cup at Macau’s Taipa track.
Although stakes placed on debut in the Blue Diamond Preview-LR for the Hoffelners, Ecstatic Macau left these shores a maiden – a situation he soon rectified upon arrival in Macau
Indeed from 23 starts since his departure in May 2008, Ecstatic Macau has won six and placed in eight, including a seconds in the Macau Derby-G1 and Summer Trophy-G3, plus a third in the Autumn Trophy-G3.

Otto and Hanelore Hoffelner

Monday, March 15, 2010


What about Desert Sun, eh? Age might weary but his efforts don’t diminish.
The old fella put the cue back in the rack recently with the announcement that he would be retired from stud duties, although his legacy is bound to continue for many years to come (especially through his daughters: eg. Helsinge, the dam of unbeaten filly Black Caviar).
On Saturday last, Desert Sun 7YO, Dunelight, grabbed his third stakes victory in the Williamhill.Com Lady Wulfruna Stakes-LR (making it a double at Wolverhampton), while on Sunday, another of his evergreen performers in Sunny King (nee Kingsgate Prince) ran third to Happy Zero in the $HK4.5 million The Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup-G1 at Sha Tin. At his previous start (on 21 February), Sunny King ran second in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
A dual stakes winner in the UK, Sunny King has now won over $A1.5 million.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Some interesting trials at Cranbourne tomorrow morning (Monday) with a number of Eliza Park ‘entries’ doing the circuit.
God’s Own’s unraced pair – Seven Squared (Matt Hyland) and Humanology (Peter Moody) – will go around in heats 2 and 3 respectively, while Bel Esprit will have eight trialing including the Robbie Griffiths bred and trained, Beltrois (Heat 16), who is having his first hit out since winning the VRC Doveton Stakes-LR in early January.
Delzao has three running around, including the unraced pair of Delzina and Demi Peche (Heat 9), while Danbird’s half sister to Bel Esprit stakes winners Bel Mer and Mooring – Super Swell – will have a tune up for Robbie Griffiths in Heat 10.
Delago Brom also has a couple of first timers in Robert Smerdon’s Brombed Out (Heat 22) and Candel Nel Vento (Heat 23), trained at Eliza Park by Sue Ellis.
Last but certainly not least is Butch Bourne’s promising Clangalang mare Reverberates in Heat 13. Reverberates (below) has been off the scene since running a brilliant fourth behind Gallica in the VRC Kewney Stakes-G2 last March.


First off, we’ve got no idea why Belfast Boy is called Belfast Boy.
After all, he’s by Bel Esprit – whose about as Irish as Cambridge University – out of a mare called Fast Dolly (did know a girl called Dolly once and she played it fairly fast and loose, but it’s hardly much of a connection either).
Bel Esprit blogmesiter, Brian Donhoe, summed Belfast Boy up pretty well after his victory in the 2YO Handicap at Oakbank on Saturday, saying that: “He’s a Bel, he’s fast, he’s a boy and he ran like a lad wobbling home in Ireland on a late Saturday night after a few drinks”.
Very ‘green’ one might say, especially as he shied at the hurdle uprights from the previous event, but Belfast Boy is clearly a youngster with ability as he overcame his shenanigans to still win convincingly.
More light on his moniker will undoubtedly be shed as he rises through the ranks.


Statue of Liberty’s flying machine, Solchow would have to be one of the best NON stakes winners in the country!
Although she put in another brilliant performance down the straight at Flemington on Saturday, she was denied by a short half head by Devil May Care in the ATA / Bob Hoysted Handicap over 1000m.
A winner at Caulfield on 20 February, the Kel Chapman trained Solchow then finished third in the WJ Adams Stakes-LR at Caulfield on 27 February before her run on Saturday.
The model of consistency, Solchow has now raced on 19 occasions for six wins, three seconds and four thirds, but the telling point is that she hasn’t finished out of the money in her past 13 starts: all of them in the city and four at stakes level.
One thing about Statue of Liberty, his sprinters Mic Mac (7 wins), Hay List (8 from 9) and Solchow all know how to find the line.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Eliza Park’s Asian rep, Lyle Plumb, gave us the heads up on Friday morning, saying that Diplomatic Strike – an outstanding sprinter by Bel Esprit trained in Singapore by Stephen Gray – would go very close in the eighth at Kranji that night.
Lyle, as usual, was spot on the money in that he couldn’t go any closer without actually winning, missing out to Powerful Tree by the thinnest piece of bark after having to travel from a wide barrier and carrying 7.5 kilos more than the eventual winner.
A winner in December, Diplomatic Strike (below) is one of six Bel Esprit winners in Singapore.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Well done to Brian and Peter Donohoe, part-breeders of the prolific Bel Esprit first cropper, Spirited Halo, who recorded his fifth career victory at Sandown on Wednesday (10 March).
As Brian points out in very up-to-date blog – the Bel Esprit Winners Club – Spirited Halo, was the second Bel Esprit winner for trainer Stephen Theodore in the past fortnight.
Monitoring Bel Esprit’s success is becoming something of a full time endeavour for Brian given that his pride and joy produced 21 winners in January (four at stakes level), winners of 17 races in February (including exciting 2YO stakes winner Strike The Tiger and three winners in Hong Kong) and, thus far in March, has produced the winners Bondi Lad (Hong Kong), Shiago, La Bella Roo and Targa Lady (both winning last Saturday), All Spirit and Spirited Halo.

Spirited Halo winning at Sandown. Photo courtesy of Slickpix.


There is a pervading belief among industry pundits that Bel Esprit’s fillies are superior to his colts. And, to a point, they are right: out of Bel Esprit’s nine stakes winners to date, Group One winner Bel Mer and the unbeaten Black Caviar – both of the female variety – are his two best horses.
However, a quick look at Bloodhound reveals that Bel Esprit has had 76 winning males (62%) and 67 winning females (58%) with the stakes winners split 4 (males), 5 (females).
What’s more, of the $9,081,647 Bel Esprit’s progeny have accumulated, $5,199,728 has been won by males (57%), while females have dragged in $3,881,919.
In other words, Bel Esprit fillies make up 48% of the runners for 43% of the stakes.
So, what does it all prove? Breed or buy yourself a Bel Esprit – colt OR filly!


While we’re on the subject, Bloodhound also shows that Bel Esprit’s first crop – of which Spirited Halo is a member – has now won over $4.1 million in stakes.
If you had paid the service fees for each of his 94 live foals, it would have set you back $1.7 million (although chances are we would have given you a discount for that many bookings!).
And, if you had snapped up each of the 52 first crop yearlings sold in 2006 that would have cost you $2.8 million.


  • 1302 Romeo and Juliet were married (according to Bill Shakespeare)
  • 1847 Johnny Appleseed died (and is now known as Johnny Appleseed Day)
  • 1930 Babe Ruth signed a two-year contract with the New York Yankees for the sum of $80,000 (the average cost of a new house in 1930 was $7,000)
  • 1969 Levi-Strauss started selling bell-bottomed jeans 

When  baseball legend, Babe Ruth, was told that he earned more money than the President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, the ‘Sultan of Swat’ replied: “I’ve had a better year!”


Following on from his sale topping average in the first session of Magic Millions Adelaide, Bel Esprit recorded the best average for session two yesterday (Wednesday) … and achieved the session’s highest price with his colt from Obiqua.
In what was deemed to be a highly successful sale – with monumental increases on last year’s take – Bel Esprit (below) sold up to $77,500 with leading Victorian trainer John Ledger taking home the topper.
Bel Esprit’s session average of $39,833 was more than three times higher than the overall sale figure and, following on from a big result in Melbourne, he has clearly become one of the most sought out yearling sires in the country.
Also making an impact on the second and final day of Adelaide ’10 was Written Tycoon with two of his colts figuring in the top 10 sellers with the colt from Sister Cinderalla bringing $42,000, while the colt from Chapent – knocked down for $30,000 – appears destined for a Ready To Run sale later in the year after being snapped up by one of the most astute pin hookers in Washpool Thoroughbreds.


Statue of Liberty’s sprinting sensation, Hay List (below), is poised to follow in the hoofsteps of his paternal sibling, Mic Mac, by making a huge name for himself on the eastern seaboard.
The winner of his first eight starts before running midfield in the Colonel Reeves Stakes-G3 last November, Hay List has just shifted from the Perth stable of Jim Taylor to John McNair’s set up on NSW’s Central Coast.
(McNair is also the trainer of evergreen sprinter, Mustard – a multiple Group winner who, as a 12YO, had his 105th career start at Rosehill on 27 February, finishing third).
Word on the street is that Hay List is being targeted for the $300,000 Group One The Galaxy at Randwick on 17 April, a race won three years ago by Eliza Park based Magnus.
Meanwhile, Statue of Liberty has been firing on all cylinders of late with Solchow winning at Caulfield in late February (fourth city win) before running a game third in the JRA Stakes-LR, while the Storm Cat stallion also notched up a double in both hemispheres on Sunday with Statue of Glory (a half brother to 2YO stakes winner Rossa Glory) winning in South Australia, while Call Me Liberty romped home in Germany for trainer Christian Freiherr von der Recke (gotta love the name!).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Admittedly it’s out of season but two new foals – both fillies – arrived in the last 24 hours: the first, Emma Shannon Wilkinson at 3pm yesterday (9 March) and the second – Sophie May Lindsay – just after 1pm today (10 March).
Emma is the daughter of Luke ‘Lucky’ Wilkinson and partner Liane Shannon (pictured above at the Gold Coast Magic Millions), while Sophie is by Mark ‘Nugget’ Lindsay (a lot of Kiwi black type),  out of Janine Hunt, who hails from fine British stock.
Luke, now the head of thriving syndication company Luke Anthony Bloodstock, was formerly employed at Eliza Park in the nominations department, while Mark has filled those shoes admirably for the past couple of seasons.
Janine also works for Eliza Park – although she has been absent from her desk for the past couple of weeks!
Hearty congratulations to both new sets of parents.

Does make you wonder though … a former and current member of the nominations team both becoming proven sires within 24 hours of each other?
Obviously wasn’t much on telly last May!


After a solid day of trading, which saw the sale average increase by 36% on last year, Bel Esprit has topped the 2010 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale, selling up to $100,000 and averaging $50,875 for eight lots sold.
Lemrac Lodge’s Bel Esprit colt from the Anabaa mare Cadillac got the ball rolling, fetching $65,000 as the first lot of the day, while 16 lots in, Peter and Cheryl Sutcliffe forked out $100,000 (the second highest price of the session) for the Mittigas’ Bel Esprit colt from Kenny’s Best Pal mare Concluding.
The six figure colt is a half brother to 4-time stakes winner Moment in Time (by Archway).
Interestingly, Bel Esprit’s third top lot – a $62,000 purchase for up and coming trainer Jason Petch – is out of the Archway mare, Archie’s Magic – and was sold by Eliza Park on behalf of breeder and AFL legend Kevin Sheedy.
The sale concludes today with another three Bel Esprits on offer: Lots 257, 275 and 313.

Bel Esprit x Archie’s Magic


Big effort by the lightly raced Clangalang 4YO, Lakedro, who ran Sea Hunter to within half a length in the Slater & Gordons Lawyers Handicap over 2040m at Moonee Valley on Monday (8 March).
Lakedro, who was having only his third run back from a spell (and seventh run overall) over raced early and ended up wide through the last half of the race. He swooped in the straight and looked the winner before Sea Hunter nipped him on the inside.
Lakedro appears to be improving with each run and it’s worth noting that his last two runs before the spell resulted in a six length romp at Geelong and another win at Kyneton.
Clangalang (below) is having a good year with Geegees Blackflash winning the Tasmanian Derby-G3 on 30 January (following successive stakes placings) and while Lakedro has a long way to go before attaining black type status, he certainly appears to be right up to city class.
Although clearly a staying type, Lakedro is linebred to Luskin Star through two daughters, while his third dam is a half sister to Group Two winning 2YO, Lady Seymour, in turn the dam of 4-time Group One winning sprinter, Marwell (dam of Group One winning sprinter/milers Marling and Caerwent) and Group winning juvenile Lord Seymour.
Standing in Victoria for 10 seasons, Lord Seymour produced 16 stakes winners including dual Group One winning sprinter, Never Undercharge, and VRC Sires’ Produce-G1 winner Simbolico.


Eliza Park’s General Manager Operations, David Somers, is as Irish as Gaelic and Guiness, but is the first to have a laugh when an ‘Oirish’ joke crosses his desk, mobile or laptop.
Which is a darn good thing – to be sure, to be sure – as rarely a day passes without several Irish jokes brought to his attention.
The following is our pick for the first week of March …

Paddy and Mick are walking down a street in London.
Paddy happens to look in one of the shop windows and sees a sign that catches his eye.
The sign said: “Suits £5.00 each, Shirts £2.00 each, Trousers £2.50 per pair”.
Paddy says to his pal: “Mick, look! We could buy a whole lot of dose, and when we get back to Ireland we could make a fortune.
“Now when we go into the shop, you be quiet, OK? Just let me do all the talking, cause if they hear our accent, they might not be nice to us. I’ll speak in my best English accent.”
“Roight y’are, Paddy, I’ll keep me mouth shut, so I will,” replies Mick.
They go in and Paddy says: “I’ll take 50 suits at £5.00 each, 100 shirts at £2.00 each and 50 pairs of trousers at £2.50 each. I’ll back up my van and ...”
The owner of the shop interrupts: “You’re from Ireland , aren't you?”
“Well ... yes,” says a surprised Paddy. “How der hell d’ y’ know dat?”
The owner replied: “This is a dry cleaners!”

Speaking of Irish …

During last week’s Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, three leaders from the Emerald Isle crewed for Eliza Park, assisting with the promotion of our 41 strong draft.
On a working holiday down under, Patrick Kerwin, Nicole Joyce and Conor O’Brien caught the eye of Irish Field contributor and industry photographer Stuart McCormick who, in turn, caught the trio on film.
Stuart, apart from being one of the best snappers in the business, writes a weekly column for Irish Field and his most recent piece is sure to give the delighted trio their ’15 minutes’ when they eventually return home.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


John Wathen-Berry is well known to many Winning Post readers but his pen extends to a more global audience via the Thoroughbred Internet, a website containing news and views from throughout the racing world.
John recently gave our very own Bel Esprit the ‘treatment’, nominating the son of Royal Academy as the site’s Stallion of the Week and providing an excellent run down on the stallion’s career to date.
To read the full story, click here.


Eating dinner in the stallion barn at Eliza Park is nothing new.
The permanent inhabitants do it every day, not to mention it being a regular occurrence for the stallion handlers (especially with the hours they keep during the season!).
But The Night Sparkles is a horse of a different colour, so to speak.
Organised by Macedon Ranges Wines, The Night Sparkles promises to be an evening of ‘pure decadence’ in Eliza Park’s stallion barn, commencing at 6.30pm on Saturday 20 March.
This black tie event will feature sparkling and table wines, paired with a gourmet degustation menu prepared by recognised Melbourne chef Andrew Blake (a far cry from the steak sangers and Lucerne normally degusted in the stallion barn).
And just to top off what sounds like a night to remember, there will be commentary by the suitably appellated, Jeni Port, a leading wine journalist.
Cost of a ticket for The Night Sparkles is $165 per head and for further information, visit or phone 03 5428 2228.


One of the truly unsung heroes of racing passed away this morning (9 March).
Most of you wouldn’t have met – or know of – Marian Lo-Nigro, but would be familiar with the fruit of her tireless efforts.
Marian has been one of the behind-the-scenes toilers at Winning Post since Tony Kneebone was in short pants, filling many roles and seeing it through stumbling infancy to its pre-eminent industry position.
Marian eventually succumbed after a long, long battle with cancer, but not before she’d dragged herself off the canvas more times than we’d care to remember.
Our condolences go out to Marian’s family, including her daughters Grace and Lina.
Rest in peace, Mags.


The inclement weather (that’s putting it mildly) which struck Melbourne on the weekend not only played havoc with the Group One racecard at Flemington … it also caused the postponement of Living Legends’ Family Day at Woodlands on Sunday.
The day was all set up to introduce the two latest arrivals to Living Legends – Takeover Target and Apache Cat – but fear of further thunderstorms and possibility of injury to residents and fans, necessitated the delay.
This is certainly a bumper year for Living Legends with Takeover Target (below) and Apache Cat two of the most popular racehorses to grace Australian tracks in recent years.
Apache Cat won eight Group Ones – including two William Reids – while Takeover Target won acclaim on both sides of the equator with his 21 victories achieved in Australia, Japan, Singapore and England.
Along the way he has dragged his Queanbeyan taxi driving trainer from relative obscurity, had a book written about him and is about to be the subject of a Hollywood movie.
Fortunately for disappointed fans, the Family Day will now be held on Sunday 28 March according to Living Legends’ Facebook page.
A great opportunity to get up close and personal to two genuine champions of the turf.

Photos courtesy of Living Legends


One of the finest ‘pedigree analysis’ tools on the market is G1 Goldmine: an online resource which a rapidly growing band of buffs now consider to be invaluable in determining matings.
Among the many disciples is Eliza Park’s nominations guru, Mark Lindsay, who swears by its ease of use and capability of highlighting top racetrack performers from similar pedigree matches.
Well, Leo Tsatsaronis and his G1 crew have taken it a step further by adding ‘Aptitude Profile Graphs’ …
“Have you ever looked at a mating you are considering and wondered: ‘Is this the pedigree of a sprinter, middle distance horse, or stayer?’, ‘Will this horse be an early 2YO, or more of a Derby horse?’,” Leo muses. “The Aptitude Profile graph answers those questions, showing the age and distance range of stakes winners bred with this pattern. The larger the red dot, the more winners in that category.”
Check it out for yourself by heading to our stallions pages and clicking on any of the Eliza Park stallions to conduct your own search.


Sadly for the connections of Eliza Park ‘graduate’ King Pulse (pictured below), the after effects of Saturday’s massive storm in Melbourne will linger long.
After competing in the VRC Newmarket Handicap-G1 – and running a thrilling fourth (beaten just over a length) to Wanted – King Pulse was injured in the Flemington tunnel after taking fright during the storm.
AAP’s Robert Windmill, spoke with leading trainer Mike Moroney, after the incident.

Trainer Mike Moroney has called for protocols to be put in place to avoid repeating the risk of a disaster when adverse weather threatens a race meeting.
Moroney said he was amazed the Newmarket Handicap was run on Saturday when lightning was flashing and thunder claps could be heard on the course.
Moroney's runner, King Pulse, finished fourth but his future is uncertain after he was seriously injured on the way back to his stall after the race.
Stewards have stood by their decision to run the Group One race which was made after direct contact with the weather bureau.
Chief steward Terry Bailey said that 20 minutes before the Newmarket the bureau had told stewards the storm was 30 minutes away.
“I said let’s go and run it, but it turned out to be the worst storm in 40 years,” Bailey said.
“It is easy to make these decisions in hindsight but the horses were up the top of the 1200m straight (when lightning could be seen) and they had to come back somehow.”
The 19 runners in the Newmarket raced towards the storm which was coming from the north-west before rain and hailstones flooded the track moments after the race finished.
King Pulse, a Group One placed three-year-old, took fright in the tunnel as he was being led back and a number of other horses, including the winner Wanted, also broke away from their handlers.
King Pulse fractured his off-side shoulder and has a dropped off-side hip after he skidded in the tunnel and got loose. He also has lacerations and bruising.
“We won’t know much more for four or five days,” Moroney said.
“He’s comfortable but under a fair bit of treatment and we just have to wait and see if there is any infection.
“He has got cuts everywhere.
“Now this has happened, surely they will put some protocols and order in place when there is a storm coming,” Moroney said.
“If the weather bureau tells us a storm is half an hour away and we will have 10 minutes to race we just don’t run.
“We don’t take the risk because if you are out by five minutes it could cause a complete disaster.”


Following on from Radha Rani’s stakes victory on 30 January, Delago Brom had a memorable Febraury with both Danuapair Starlet (third Wrest Point Stutt Stakes-LR) and De Fine Lago (second AAMI Hobart Cup-G3) adding to the stallion’s black type roster.
Fittingly, they were joined by winners throughout the country and, importantly, a winner in Singapore with Day of Empire (formerly Brom Flyer), trained at Kranji by Michael Freedman.
Indeed, the progeny of Delago Brom are really making a name for themselves in Singapore with Lago Bay (4 wins), Hot Brom and Day of Empire all flying the flag, while John Meagher’s Oblivion joined the team on Sunday (7 March) with a gusty win over 1600m at Kranji.
The Singapore Turf Club’s Craig Brennan writes: Oblivion (pictured below) is an Australian bred galloper who Meagher believes will get over a bit more ground after scoring by a head over Zac Detonator with Brzee 4.25 lengths away third.
Oblivion raced up as though he was going to score a comfortable win after heading Zac Detonator who responded gamely to make a race of it.
Meagher said Oblivion’s dam – the Scenic mare Maid In Monaco – was a “10 furlong winner at Caulfield” and that a step up in distance won’t be against him.
“He’s a relaxed type who should get up to 2000m,” said Meagher. “If he can produce his best at 1800m and 2000m then that will open up his options.”
Oblivion is owned by the Big Valley Stable whose Japanese-bred galloper El Dorado has won the past two Singapore Gold Cups.
“I joked with Masa (Otani – Big Valley principle) that there is still plenty of time to get this bloke to the Gold Cup,” said Meagher. “Afterall, Masa has won the past two Gold Cups with El Dorado.”

Photo courtesy of Singapore Turf Club

Motts on the spot

Full marks to Bendigo trainer Sean Mott and his wife Deanna, whose promising Delago Brom 3YO, Verdasco, ran a head second at Echuca on Sunday (7 March).
This was Verdasco’s first run back in six months and he clearly has a future with the lightly raced gelding scoring easily on debut and running a close up fourth at Moonee Valley during his last prep.
Deanna snapped up Verdasco for just $17,000 at the 2008 Inglis Melbourne Premier: a figure this bloke will bloke will well and truly eclipse in the weeks to come.
Sean has only got a small team but boasts a solid strike rate and was right on the ball at last week’s Melbourne Premier when he and Deanna purchased the Canny Lad – Born Western colt for $80,000 from Eliza Park’s draft.


Eliza Park’s drive to develop stallion prospects paid dividends at Flemington on Saturday (6 March) with the victory of Dissolved in the Moomba Plate-LR over 1100m.
A bred in the purple son of Lonhro, Dissolved took the step up to black type in his massive stride and has now three of his five starts, with a second and third thrown in.
Purchased by John Hawkes for $300,000 at the 2008 Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Eliza Park quickly snapped up a share in the Lonhro colt to ensure he would spend his stud future south of the Murray.
Dissolved is out of the Grand Lodge mare, Yarralumla, a winning half sister to Grand Armee (13 wins – 7 at Group One level) and closely related to STC Rosehill Guineas-G1 winner Dealer Principal.
Interestingly, both Lonhro (11-time Group One winner) and Grand Armee staged a number of racetrack tussles, with the latter being successful in Lonhro’s last race, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes-G1 at Randwick.

AAP and Breednet both had this to say about Dissolved following his Flemington romp …

Dissolved proves too good at Flemington

Dissolved, a dead-ringer for his sire Lonhro, brought back memories of the 11-time Group One winner when he won the MSS Security Moomba Plate at Flemington on Australian Cup Day.
Wayne Hawkes, who trains the colt in partnership with his father John and brother Michael, had a bit to do with Lonhro when John trained the now-stallion during his stellar career which included a memorable win in the 2004 Australian Cup.
“He’s the spitting image of his old man,” Wayne Hawkes said.
“He’s a lovely horse and he’s done everything right. He overraced in the early stages and I think he’s a dead-set sprinter.
“He’ll go to Sydney now. I’ve been looking forward to seeing how he goes the reverse way.”
Ridden by Steven King, Dissolved ($9) settled second with the entire field of nine runners racing down the crown of the track in the straight 1100m Listed Race.
The striking looking 3YO forged clear to score by 1.25 lengths from Kwassa Kwassa with Rarefied the same margin away third.

New stakes winner for Lonhro

Lonhro was expected to sire a stakes winner at Flemington on Saturday with his star colt Denman hot favourite for the Group One VRC Australian Guineas, but with that race washed out by a freak hail storm it was left to lightly raced colt Dissolved to fly the Lonhro flag.
Prepared by the Hawkes racing team, Dissolved emerged victorious from his first attempt at a Black Type event, racing up on the pace and surging clear at the finish to take the 1100 metre Listed VRC Moomba Plate by more than a length.
Taken along quietly, Dissolved has won three of five starts and placed on the other two occasions, earning $155,775 in prizemoney.
Dissolved is the latest stakes winner to emerge from a very strong Black Type family that has produced Group One stars such as Anamato, Absolute Champion and Drum.
Interestingly, Dissolved has a 3 x 3 double cross of Sir Tristram (IRE) in his pedigree and while most pedigree watchers would associate that with stamina, it has obviously produced a more speedy outcome with Dissolved.
Yarralumla has no yearling this year, but had a colt last spring and was then covered by Commands.
Dissolved is the 11th stakes winner for Darley based Lonhro and is his eighth Australian stakes winner this season.

Photos courtesy of Slickpix

Monday, March 8, 2010


Eliza Park consigned its largest ever draft for the 2010 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale and departed Oaklands Junction with a record return for clients.
With 41 yearlings offered and an overall sale clearance of around 79%, the quality of the Eliza Park draft was underlined with a personal clearance rate of 93%.
Open for inspections from the Wednesday prior to the sale, there was a steady stream of trainers, agents and prospective owners casting a close eye over the consignment which contained youngsters by no less than 24 different stallions.
Testimony to Eliza Park’s decision to establish a state of the art sales preparation complex at Nagambie (Eliza Park Smithfield), while offering the most competitive rates in the market place, our client base has widened considerably: hence the diversity.
Congratulations to yearling manager, Jenny Saunders, Smithfield manager Frank Oliver and their respective teams on bringing together a team of young horses that not only garnered praise from inspectors, but passed the test where it counts most: in the sale ring.


One of the undoubted ‘hits’ of this year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale was Eliza Park’s first season sire, Written Tycoon.
During the Premier’s first session, two Written Tycoons were offered with the yearling from Grammy Award – a smashing colt on offer from Eliza Park – selling for $85,000, while another colt – this one from Balsamico – bringing $65,000.
Another four were sold in the second session on Thursday, averaging a more than respectable $30,375 and selling up to $54,000 for the colt from Imogen Grace.
Although only 13 of his first crop have sold thus far, the appeal is fairly universal with a Written Tycoon selling on the Gold Coast for $55,000 while his filly from Bondi Beauty brought $56,000 in New Zealand.
A very promising start when you consider Written Tycoon’s fee for his first season at stud was $8,250, dropping to $6,600 last spring.
All up, Written Tycoon has covered 323 mares since retiring to stud in 2007 - books of 118, 87 and 118. Obviously a lot to be said for his types!

The Written Tycoon x Grammy Award colt which sold for $85,000