Tuesday, January 31, 2012


As we all know, ‘pinhooking’ can go horribly wrong … a lot of shattered dreams on that highway!
However, occasionally you get it right, as was the case yesterday at Karaka with the Northern Meteor colt from Espuela (below) which was knocked down to Tony Pike Bloodstock for NZ$160,000.
Three years ago, Espuela’s Tobougg yearling was sold for $14,000 and her Benicio weanling fetched just $12,000.
Last year the Northern Meteor weanling was purchased by David O’Callaghan’s EBA for $40,000 at the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale, effectively quadrupling his weanling price in a tick over six months.

Monday, January 30, 2012


For all the copy generated by Black Caviar’s romp at Moonee Valley on Friday night – and doesn’t she deserve every bit! – it’s worth pointing out that she is just one of eight winners by Bel Esprit in the past 5 days.
Kicking off with a win at Geelong last Wednesday, Victoria’s Champion Sire produced a double on Thursday, another double on Friday (almost a Moonee Valley treble), a winner on Saturday and yet another double yesterday.
For the record …
  • Hinchley Wood (ex. Sheeza Classic by Redoute’s Choice): unbeaten in 2 starts this time in.
  • Twilight Reef (ex. Bold Reef by Kingston Mill) won over 1400m at Murray Bridge on Australia Day, while 3YO filly Unruly Princess (ex. Nas Princess by Our Poetic Prince) has won two on the trot and boasts 2 from 4 (plus a third).
  • Black Caviar’s win in the Australia Stakes-G2 was complemented by Oregon Spirit (ex. Oregon Seal by Oregon) who notched up his third win in 19 days over 1600m at the Valley, having earlier won at Kyneton (8 Jan) and Cranbourne (20 Jan). He too is trained by Peter Moody. Actually Strike The Tiger, one of Bel Esprit’s 12 stakes winners, went close to making it a Valley treble when second over 1000m after having to shift out in the final 50m.
  • Nifty 3YO Arturo (ex. Classy Darcy by Blazing Reality) was making his debut over 1200m at Donald on Saturday and now has one for one after a thrilling finish over 1200m. According to “Mr Everything-You-Need-To-Know-About-Bel Esprit-But-Were-Afraid-To-Ask” Brian Donohoe, Arturo notched up the 100th win in Australia for Bel Esprit progeny this season.
  • Yesterday it was the turn of Ted Huglin’s home bred, Belahi (ex. Manihi Miss by Ark Regal) who won the opening race at Werribee, followed by Strawberry Beau (ex. Danish by Danehill) who showed plenty of dash to win over 1400m at Pinjarra.

Bel Esprit (below) is now 4th on the Leading Australian Sires’ chart by winners (with 75 individual winners for the season). Four seasons back he finished at 82 on the list … remarkable!


Full marks to whomever sketched this caricature. Makes you wonder how long before they do bring out the comic - should sit on the shelves nicely next to Wonder Woman.


This Wednesday (1 February) … don’t miss out!

The closing date for Super VOBIS is fast approaching (February 1) and this year more than ever it is important that you nominate all eligible 2010 foals to Australia’s premier incentive scheme.
If you haven’t nominated to Super VOBIS in recent times here’s some compelling reasons you should:
  • Super VOBIS bonuses are on all 2&3yo TAB races
  •  Super VOBIS rewards slow maturing types via the Stayers Challenge races at MV and on Country Tracks (Less than 30% of bonuses are programmed on 2yo and early 3yo races)
  • Super VOBIS Rebate – voucher to the value of the nomination fee if the horse you sell is trained and races interstate during its 2/3yo seasons

The introduction of VOBIS Gold now gives you even more reason to nominate to Super VOBIS, be it whether you breed to sell or breed to race.
If you are selling a yearling in 2012 ensure it is SV qualified, with two yearling sales already finished the word from trainers and buyers is that they are targeting the Melbourne sales.
If you are intending on racing your progeny then you must remember that Super VOBIS = VOBIS Gold. Nominate to SV and VOBIS Gold awaits you for an additional $1100. VOBIS Gold will have bonuses predominantly on 3yo and older races so don’t rue your decision not to nominate when your 4yo wins a maiden that carries a $20,000 VOBIS Gold bonus on it.
For more information on both schemes and to download a Super VOBIS Nomination Form go to www.supervobis.com.au


The New Zealand National Yearling Sale series kicks off at Karaka this morning and Eliza Park has again taken a quality consignment across the Tasman.
Although there are only 5 yearlings flying under the Eliza Park banner, the quality is first class.
In the first session, Eliza Park will offer an Exceed And Excel colt from a half sister to Magnus and to the dam of Black Caviar (Lot 58) (see below); a Sebring colt from Champion NZ Filly Bramble Rose (Lot 94) and; a well related Northern Meteor colt (Lot 183); while on Tuesday, there is a Lonhro filly from a daughter of Let’s Elope (Lot 362) up for grabs.
Finally, on Friday, there is a God’s Own half brother to two stakes winners from the stakes winner Sky Watch (Lot 1047).
Pedigrees, photos and videos are available by clicking here 

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Pinched this one from Hebrews (hope HE doesn’t mind …)
Through Her then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to Her name.

And this one we pinched from Andrew Eddy …

Black Caviar mania hit new heights at Moonee Valley on Friday night with the club forced to throw open the gates as an estimated 15,000 people crammed into the track to watch the greatest mare in the world register her 17th consecutive win.
Moonee Valley Racing Club chief executive Michael Browell said the club had expected a crowd of up to 10,000 but when thousands of people were stranded outside the course 75 minutes before Black Caviar raced in the Australia Stakes, all gates were opened and the crowd was allowed to enter for free to witness what was little more than an exhibition gallop from the mare that no horse has been able to beat. Win No.17 was always going to be a glorified work-out for the world’s premier sprinter Black Caviar and so it proved despite it being a group 2 race worth $200,000.
Few of the crowd - many of whom were wearing the mare’s salmon racing colours - wanted to bet on her at her odds of $1.02 for a $1 win investment, but even fewer wanted to back against her.
Betting was stifled but that could hardly be said of the atmosphere, which went from electric when Black Caviar walked onto the track, to manic six or seven minutes later when the mighty champion let down into her finishing sprint.
Black Caviar was happy to sit back in third position as she allowed Zedi Knight and her stablemate Doubtful Jack to move clear, but once jockey Luke Nolen stoked her up with about 500 metres to go, she rounded up the leaders and swept clear into the home straight. The sectional times told the tale of the race as she ran a sizzling 10.83s between the 400 metres and 200 metres and eased up to run the final 200 metres in 11.23s.
On the line, Black Caviar had four and a quarter lengths up her sleeve from Zedi Knight with four and a half lengths to Doubtful Jack in third place.
Her trainer, Peter Moody, said: “It’s great to see her back. Her attitude is great, her action is great. She had really pleased us at home so it was good to see her go out and do it.”
Jockey Luke Nolen said Black Caviar felt as well as ever. “She’s so relaxed and felt so strong underneath me. It's a wonderful privilege to be on her back.”
The five-year-old mare ran the 1200 metre trip in 1.09.44, which was about 0.8 of a second quicker than she took to win the same race as a three-year-old.
Black Caviar’s win last night took her alongside Hong Kong’s former super sprinter Silent Witness as well as with Mainbrace, a New Zealand stayer of the 1950s, on 17 consecutive wins. Now, only Ajax (18) and Gloaming, Desert Gold and US mare Zenyatta (19 straight wins) stand between Black Caviar and a new record for elite racehorses.

Photos by Bronwen Healy


There were plenty of happy faces at Moonee Valley on Friday night as Black Caviar notched up No. 17, but chances are there were none more joyous than the connections of her archrival, Hay List, who has bounced back from death’s door to record a confident trial win at Randwick earlier in the day.
Dreams of Hay List tipping Black Caviar off her lofty perch might well be confined to the big gelding’s immediate team, but on the other hand, a lot of folk reckon that, sans the champion mare, he is the best sprinter in the land.
Regardless of what side of the fence you cheer from, it warms the old heart to see Hay List back on track.
He came very close to being under the turf instead of flying over it and it will be very interesting to see how he goes in the Lightning.
Following is a report from ninemsn.

Equine talent abounded at Randwick’s barrier trials on Friday but there was no star bigger than comeback sprinter Hay List.
The powerhouse gelding reminded the racing public of his talent with a four-length victory over 1000m in his first appearance since he was struck down with a life-threatening leg infection last winter.
“He’s a super horse,” jockey Glyn Schofield said after the trial.
“He’s just a gentle giant. He’s come back fantastic from his injury-enforced spell which was longer than any of us wanted.
“But he’s back now and he’s feeling good. He did it without much fuss this morning and he’s right on track.”
Hay List was one of 11 Group One winners to trial at Randwick and trainer John McNair said he was confident the horse was on target for the Lightning Stakes (1000m) on February 18.
“I was very happy with his trial and Glyn was happy which is the most important part,” McNair said.
“He’s a lot more relaxed this time in. Even out of the barriers he just jumped and was happy to do whatever Glyn wanted him to do and I suspect that’s probably because he’s free of pain in his front feet.
“We’ve still got a few little niggly issues with his back feet but I’m expecting and hoping in the next 14 days they’ll come right.”
McNair plans to trial Hay List again before the Lightning.

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Friday, January 27, 2012


The Keeper of the Australian Stud Book, Michael Ford, reported that Thoroughbred mating figures for the 2011 season are significantly lower than those for the 2010 season.
To date, 21,550 mares have been reported as being mated for the covering season which officially commenced 1 September 2011. In 2010, 24,140 mares were mated while in 2009, 24,610 mares were covered. While the 2011 matings are currently 10% less than the 2010 figures, Ford expected the difference to be 7% after late reports are lodged for a total of 22,500 mares to be covered by 700 stallions.
The indications are that the breeding industry will not return to the pre-global financial crisis days when over 26,000 mares were mated year after year but Ford does not see this as detrimental: “There are sufficient coverings to produce enough foals for racing purposes,” Mr Ford stated.
Some interesting facts:
  • 45 shuttle stallions covered 4,356 mares or 20% of the 21,400 reported matings compared with 4,566 (20%) in 2010 and 4,238 (17%) in 2009;
  •  Only one stallion, Fastnet Rock with 224 mares, covered more than 200 mares. In 2008, six stallions covered more than 200 mares so what was perceived as a worrying trend then has now diminished;
  • There were 66 stallions with more than 100 matings in 2011 compared with 77 in 2010; 442 or 68% were Australian-bred stallions, the same percentage as in 1990 when 2,500 stallions covered 35,500 mares. USA stallions are favoured next at 16%; 17 of the top covering 20 stallions were Australian bred, continuing the vote of confidence in the local product; 47% of mares were covered in NSW (up 2%), 24% in Victoria (up 1%), 15% in Queensland, 10% in Western Australia, 3% in South Australia and 1% in Tasmania.
Written Tycoon - covered 152 mares in 2011 (highest in Victoria)


Ultimately, 14 stallions from 7 Victorian farms covered more than 100 mares in 2011.
Eliza Park was the ‘busiest’ by far with six of its stallions: Written Tycoon (152), Bel Esprit (125), Magnus (120), Wanted (112), Sharkbite (106) and Astronomer Royal (106) reaching triple figures.
Bel Esprit (below) has now covered 100+ in each of his nine seasons at stud.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


The 2012 Inglis Sydney Classic proved to be a happy hunting ground for several Eliza Park stallions: Written Tycoon averaged $67,500 (for 2 sold); Astronomer Royal followed on a successful launch at the Gold Coast with 2 sold at an average of $53,500; God’s Own sold up to $75,000 and; Shinzig fetched $51,000 for his sole offering.
But special mention also to the stakes winning son of Redoute’s Choice in Sharkbite, whose flashy colt from the Armidale mare Leenahorn was knocked down for $60,000.
Not surprisingly, given his pedigree, performance, physique and price, Sharkbite has proven to be very popular since retiring to stud and now it appears can you can add another P to the list … progeny.
They’re good sorts!

PS. Sharkbite has five yearlings entered for the Melbourne Premier, including a half sister to NZ stakes winner Travino (Lot 75) and a colt out of Zabeel stakes winner Thousand Veils (Lot 296), while in Adelaide, four Sharkbites will be up for grabs including a well related colt from another Zabeel mare in Close Embrace (Lot 154).

Sharkbite colt from Armidale mare Leenahorn

Monday, January 23, 2012


Always knew Shinzig would be a good stallion! OK, we’re only joking about our ‘vision’, but the performance of Psychic Mick at Morphettville certainly augurs well for the future of the Danehill Group One winner.
After all, this was Shinzig’s first runner … and his first winner – and what a winner at Breednet’s Mark Smith points out ...

Looking the consummate professional despite making his first race start, Physic Mick tracked the early speed before holding on strongly to win Saturday’s Distinctive Homes Plate (1000m) at Morphettville to credit Eliza Park Stud's young stallion Shinzig with his first winner.
Ridden by Mark Pegus for Morphettville-based trainer Dan Clarken, Physic Mick (Shinzig x Super Fund (Bianconi) defeated Clearwater Bay by a half-neck with Miss Intensus (Hard Spun) two and a quarter lengths back in third.
A bargain $10,000 purchase by part-owner Michael Duffield at last years Adelaide Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Physic Mick is the second foal of the Melbourne winning Bianconi (USA) mare Super Fund.
Eliza Park Stud will offer a half-sister to Physic Mick by Bel Esprit at the upcoming Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling sale.
Physic Mick is the first runner for the CF Orr Stakes (G1) winner Shinzig, a full brother to Strada.
A son of Danehill out of the Coolmore Classic winner Shindig (Straight Strike), Shinzig covered 88 mares last year at a fee of $8,800.
Remarkably, Shinzig (below) has just one yearling on offer at both the Inglis Classic Yearling sale and Inglis Premier Yearling sale, while he has four at the Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling sale.


Black Caviar (photo by Bronwen Healy)
As if Friday wasn’t already shaping as the biggest date (thus far) on the Australian turf calendar, it appears Black Caviar’s return at Moonee Valley is part of a double whammy for 27 January.
Undoubtedly all eyes will be focussed on Black Caviar (be it live or on TV) when she chases the big 17 in the Group Two Australia Stakes at the Valley, but there will be a (albeit smaller) contingent rocking up to Randwick on Friday morning for a bopeep at the wonder mare’s archrival, Hay List, who will trial at Randwick’s Kensington track.
This will be the first time most of us have seen Hay List since he was knocked out by a life threatening illness seven months ago and it will be VERY interesting to see how the son of Statue of Liberty has come back.
Yes, he’s got a licking every time the pair has met, but Hay List (below) has run second to her the most times and his camp is very confident that they can turn the tables in 2012.


Another double for Bel Esprit (below) on Friday with the ‘cruise’ of Loveyamadly at Mornington and a win to Oregon Spirit at Cranbourne.
Stepping out for the first time, 3YO filly – Loveyamadly – was highly impressive over 1013m at Mornington, scoring by 3.3 lengths after sitting just off the lead until turning for home before scooting away over the final stages.
The Mick Price trained youngster was bred by Patrick Yii and is out of the Danehill Dancer mare, Beauty World, now the dam of 3 winners (from 3 to race), including Group One placed American Crew.
A multiple winner, Beauty World is also a half sister to stakes winning 2YO, Firenza.
Meanwhile, across town the Peter Moody trained Oregon Spirit produced his third win (along with six placings) from 14 outings when flying home for a comfortable win over 1500m at Cranbourne.
This is now two on the trot for the 4YO who is out of the Group winning Oregon mare, Oregon Seal.


Bronwen Healy is one of Australia’s finest horse photographers and clearly has a passion for her work.
Still, she obviously has a special affinity for Black Caviar and is ready to track her down at work and play.
Recently Bronwen caught up with the wonder mare having a frolic at the beach.


Given that I’m always on the lookout to widen my vocabulary, I came across a couple of new words on the weekend:

Kummerspeck (German): Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
(Clearly I get very emotional over Christmas)

milliHelen: The quantity of beauty required to launch one ship.
(Obviously they don’t launch a lot of ships in […..])

Paper-belly: A person unable to drink liquor straight, or one who grimaces after drinking.
(Assume I’m not Robinson Crusoe when it comes to Paper-bellying the morning after)

Karoshi (Japanese): Death from being overworked.
(You’d get a lot of that in the Australian public service)

Lawn mullet: A neatly manicured front yard and an unmowed mess in the back.
(Clearly mullets are still alive and well)

Clearly a Paper-belly