Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The first of the Super Saver foals have touched down in the northern hemisphere. Check out the videos from WinStar Farm, the Lexington base for the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner by clicking here.
Don’t worry … we’ll look forward to showing the first of his Aussie foals when they arrive this spring.

Super Saver foal at WinStar Farm in Kentucky


Four industry stalwarts – Richard Andrews (right), Adam Sangter, Adam Tims (Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria) and Matt Cain (Melbourne Racing Club committeeman) – will participate in the 4Tracks4kids walk on 9 March as part of a fundraiser for charities associated with Doxa Youth and Sporting Chance Foundations.
They’ll walk from Caulfield to Federation Square, on to Moonee Valley before ending up heading down the Flemington straight.
According to googlemaps that’s around a 30 click wander for the quartet – named Team Archie in honour of Adam Tims’ new foal – and while Richard Andrews looks to be in racing nick, form hasn’t been disclosed for the remaining trio.


The following was printed in Friday’s edition of the Herald Sun and written by Michael Manley.

Amid all the hoopla surrounding champion sprinter Black Caviar is another rousing success story: her sire Bel Esprit.
It is not just Black Caviar flying the Bel Esprit banner, because tomorrow at Caulfield his son Bel Sprinter, who has won five of his six starts, is second favourite for the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate.
Bel Esprit sits third on the Australian sires’ premiership behind two NSW Hunter Valley stallions: Fastnet Rock and Redoute’s Choice.
But Bel Esprit is the poor cousin on service fee. He stood at $27,500 last season compared with Redoute’s Choice at $137,500 and Fastnet Rock at $132,000.
Bel Esprit has been Victorian champion stallion four times and a fifth title is already secured.
Only legendary stallions Better Boy and Helios, with nine titles, have won more Victorian premierships.
Bel Esprit, who won the 2002 Blue Diamond Stakes, has defied the trend of promising Victorian stallions such as Testa Rossa and Encosta De Lago being whisked off the Hunter Valley.
The irony of all this is not lost on Bel Esprit’s part-owner, Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy (pictured below with Bel Esprit).
While he is happy to take young Victorian footballers to Blacktown, he is more than content to keep Bel Esprit in Victoria.
Sheedy realises Bel Esprit’s service fee would be much bigger if he was in the Hunter Valley under the Coolmore or Arrowfield banner.
Sheedy said fellow part-owner Michael Duffy, Racing Victoria chairman and the man who selected Bel Esprit as a yearling, had insisted the stallion stay at Eliza Park Stud in Kerrie, near Romsey.
For his part, Duffy said a lot of the credit for Bel Esprit staying in Victoria had to go to the stud because it had bought his standing rights.
“There’s no question about it, Bel Esprit has been a huge boost for Eliza Park and Victoria,” Duffy said.
“But even more than that, he’s a banner horse for the Australian breeding industry as a whole with Black Caviar being crowned world champion and now responsible for taking racing from the sports pages to the front page.
“And yes, we’re certainly not denying she’s pushed Bel Esprit into the top bracket of sires.
“But it’s also important to note that she’s just one of 13 stakes winners by a relatively young sire.”
This season promises to be Bel Esprit’s best on the track because in the equine influenza year of 2007 he served an Australian record 266 mares and had 198 live foals, with that crop now three-year-olds.
Bel Esprit is well represented in the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, which starts on Monday, with 36 lots.
As for this year’s service fee, Eliza Park operations manager David Somers said it would be determined about mid-April.
The best is yet to come in terms of quality from Bel Esprit.
Last year he covered 125 mares, including Black Caviar’s dam Helsinge and the dam of Hay List, Sing Hallelujah.
One of the stallion’s biggest supporters is Mick Price, who has trained the most winners by Bel Esprit.
“He’s still under-rated,” Price said.
“There was a myth he couldn’t get colts but that’s all it is. They’ve got good temperaments. I’ve found no soundness issues.”

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Timing is everything in this game and the brilliant win of Upbeat (above) in today’s Group Two BMW Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield is a huge boon for owner/breeder Rob Crabtree.
The victory comes just 72 hours shy of Crabtree selling a Magnus half brother to Upbeat (Lot 230) at the 2012 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
Coming from a wide barrier and hunted up early to run just off the leader, Upbeat surged turning for home and held on gamely to score.
It was a super win by the 3YO who is out of a half to another of Crabtree’s Group winners in Any Rhythm.
Accordingly, Upbeat carried Crabtree’s increasingly familiar colours of red and white checks, as did Magnus – the Group One winning sprinter and close relation to Black Caviar – who is the sire of the colt (below) who will be among the first 25 lots sold at Oaklands Junction on Tuesday.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Tony Cavanagh has waited a long time for Saturday: 27 years in fact.
As a lifelong, and very passionate supporter of the thoroughbred industry, Tony reveled in the 1985 Blue Diamond Stakes victory of his magnificent grey, Let’s Get Physical … a horse he had both bred and owned.
Now, while Tony is hardly the type of bloke – at 65 years young – who would dabble in anything chemical to get his highs, he is definitely of the opinion that there is no greater narcotic than winning a big race.
So, he’s back again for another dose in Victoria’s most prestigious (and richest) juvenile event when Andre Roo Hoo lines up at 4.30pm tomorrow for the $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes.
And, as he proudly points out, Andre Roo Hoo – a son of Eliza Park-based stallion and Champion Australian First Season Sire, Written Tycoon – is also another of his home breds AND is part owned by Tony.
History repeating? Well, whereas Let’s Get Physical was a hot favourite in his year, Andre Roo Hoo is a clear outsider and Tony had quite a few nervous moments waiting on the order of entry.
Still, you have to be in it to win it and the Robbie Laing trained chestnut has at least two things in his favour: another of the part-owners, Chris Rogers (“the most knowledgeable non-racing person I’ve ever met”, according to Tony) also shared the glory of Let’s Get Physical’s victory in ’85 and, as a consequence, Andre Roo Hoo will carry the same colours as the grey on Saturday.
A Andre Roo Hoo victory would mean more to Tony than simply financial gain and the slaps on the back from his multitude of friends and clients.
One of the leading bloodstock agents of the 70s and 80s, Tony has been in the ‘wilderness’ for a number of years, with his business and marriage suffering through a financial collapse, before voluntarily taking on the role of principal carer for both parents in their final years … effectively sidelining himself from the profession he’s loved from day one.
But if you ask him what he’s most proud of as he stands poised to become the first ‘small breeder/owner’ to win two Blue Diamonds, it’s actually more about state parochialism!
“We have the only runner by a Victorian based sire (Written Tycoon) in Victoria’s principal juvenile race and to top it off, he’s the only one that’s Super VOBIS qualified!”
Tony was very specific about the mating and while Written Tycoon is relatively new on the scene – winning last season’s national freshman title and currently heading up Australia’s Second Sires’ chart – Tony has had a long association with the female line.
In the late 80s, Tony travelled to Argentina with industry stalwart, Ted Cockram, securing a number of breeding and racing interests – one of them was the Champion race mare Sumatra, who had twice won the country’s premier sprinting event … the equivalent to our Newmarket.
Although her four winners – from only five to race – had moderate results, her fourth foal, Solar Song, would be mated with Written Tycoon in the spring of 2008 … from which Tony may just get his second Blue Diamond winner!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Having his first run in five months, Eliza Park stallion prospect and Group One winning two year old, PRESSDAY, produced a stellar performance at Santa Anita on Friday (Australian time), running second in a star studded allowance event over 1300m.
Sent to the Californian stables of leading trainer, John Sadler, Pressday was caught wide throughout and had the double whammy of racing counter clockwise for only the second time in his career and became unbalanced when he had to run over a dirt section of the track.
Despite getting on his wrong leg, Pressday fought on strongly over the final stages to just miss by a head – indeed, two strides past the post, the flashy bay entire was in front.
It was an exceptionally strong field: the winner, Carbonite, has now won three of his last four assignments and was fourth in the Group One Big Crosby last year; third horse, Leroy’s Dynameaux is a Group Three winner and multiple stakes placed; fourth horse, Make Music For Me, run placings behind Lookin At Lucky as a 2YO before finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby; while the also rans included Group One placed juvenile Sayif.
Winner of the Group One TJ Smith as a 2YO, following successive victories in the QTC Sires’ Produce-G2 and Champagne Classic-G2, Pressday will now be targeted at the prestigious Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap, a Group One on grass at Santa Anita on 3 March.
Having booked a berth at Eliza Park’s stallion barn when his racing career is done, Pressday is by the successful Red Ransom stallion, Domesday and hails from a rock solid black type family.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Bel Sprinter certainly caught the eye of breeding industry doyen, Brian Russell.

Bel Sprinter, the comfortable winner of the $100,000 United Arab Emirates Stakes over 1000m at Caulfield on Saturday, possesses much of the genes that threw up current sprinting world superqueen Black Caviar, and, also, it appears, nearly as good a turn of foot.
Both are by Bel Esprit, one of the best and most brilliant sons of the Nijinsky sire Royal Academy, and both have the outstanding influence Snippets in their immediate pedigrees. Snippets is the sire of Gavroche, the dam of Bel Sprinter, and of the grandam of Black Caviar.
It is safe to say that Bel Sprinter will never reach the exalted stature on the racecourse as Black Caviar, but he is shaping up as another star for Bel Esprit, one which could figure in the top sprints.
This 4YO gelding trained for his Victorian based breeder Glenn Bailey and seven others by Jason Warren at Mornington, has narrowly missed winning all his six starts.
Prior to Saturday’s effort, he won his first four, three of them in Melbourne and two from the front, and then led and got beaten into second by a long neck when favourite in the 18 runner Bobbie Lewis-G3 at Flemington on September 3. Those behind included Phelan Ready, Toorak Toff, Temple of Boom and Aloha.
Bel Sprinter’s dam Gavroche showed good speed at 1000m in provincial racing, her nine outings including a 1.8 lengths win at Bairnsdale, a short half head second at Mornington and two thirds, Sale and Cranbourne.
Gavroche is powerfully bred, being by Snippets and from American bred La Miserable, a daughter of the Mr. Prospector sire Miswaki and Miranda, a Forli mare out of Baronova, by Nijinsky from Tsessebe, by Buckpasser from Monarchy, a noted matriarch and sister to Round Table.
Bel Sprinter and 5YO Black Caviar are among over 270 winners of 700 races and earners of $22 million generated to date by the now 12-year-old Bel Esprit from his use at Victoria’s biggest breeding operation, Lee Fleming’s Eliza Park at Kerrie, a short trip west of Melbourne.
They include 13 stakes winners, nine others stakes placed and winners in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, Malaysia and Macau.
Bel Esprit is currently in the top 10 in the Australian national sires’ premiership by earnings, winners and wins for 2011-12 with 76 winners of 104 races and $3.1million and seems assured of capturing the Victorian champion sire title for the third successive year. In 2010-11, a year he was the fifth top sire on earnings for Australian racing, his Eliza Park sired foals world wide comprised 124 winners (112 in Australia) of 216 races (196) and $7,857,236 ($7,099,233). Black Caviar contributed $2,990,800 of the earnings, but 11 others were each in excess of $100,000.
The principal yearling market for the Bel Esprit progeny is the Inglis Melbourne sale, one to be held this year on February 27, 28, 29 and March 1. The 790 lots catalogue includes 39 by Bel Esprit and, all told, 122 by Eliza Park sires, including Statue of Liberty (USA) (24), Magnus (35) and Astronomer Royal (USA) (17).
Statue of Liberty is a brilliant son of Storm Cat with 235 winners from dual hemisphere use to his credit, including what is arguably Australia’s best male sprinter, Hay List; Magnus, oldest two, is an internationally performed sprinter who is nearly a three-quarter brother by Flying Spur to the dam of Black Caviar; and Astronomer Royal, oldest yearlings, is a Danzig champion French miler whose Group One efforts included a win in the French Two Thousand Guineas, third in the Ascot St James’s Palace Stakes and fourths in the Prix Jean Prat and Newmarket July Cup (a length).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


We suggested Jenny Craig, but Mark 'Nugget' Lindsay reckons there's a better way to shed those love handles ...

Monday, February 6, 2012


New Zealand has again proven to be a happy hunting ground for Eliza Park with three of its yearlings proving popular with buyers at Karaka last week.
Although only taking across a small draft, the Exceed And Excel filly from Baltics – closely related to Black Caviar – was snapped up by Darley Australia for $300,000 while, in the Select Session, the God’s Own colt from Sky Watch was purchased locally for $40,000.
Perhaps the highlight though was the Northern Meteor colt from Espuela which was corralled by Tony Pike Bloodstock for $160,000.
The colt was originally bought as a weanling last June for $40,000 and has managed to quadruple the investment in a tick over six months … you don’t get that kind of interest from a bank!
Below are Bruno Cannatelli’s photos of the Northern Meteor colt.


Unfortunately, Barysh Quest fell a rung short of taking out yesterday’s $100k Tasmanian Derby-LR in Hobart, but the ultimate victory of Methuselah proved to a fitting legacy for one of the industry’s greats.
Methuselah was bred by the late and VERY great Bertram Wicks (left) who served for many years as the Tasmanian rep on the committee of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and wrote a number of books on breeding and racing.
Bert was one of nature’s gentlemen who selflessly put his shoulder to the wheel for the betterment of Australian breeding and, despite hailing from a state which struggled for recognition on a national scale, he remained a beacon of bipartisanship. A great man.
Fittingly, Methuselah is by Savoire Vivre, a stallion based at Tasmania’s leading farm, Armidale Stud, which is owned by the Whishaw family.
Indeed, Armidale was owned by the late Denis Whishaw and is now run by his wife Robyn.
Hoofnote: You’d have to almost be as old as Methuselah to remember it, but Bert was the breeder of 1972 Melbourne Cup winner, Piping Lane (below) who won the big one at the odds of 40/1.
South Australian jockey J0hn Letts was having his first ride at Flemington and evidently told the media, Piping Lane was only there to make up the numbers!
Bert, who stood Piping Lane’s sire Lanesborough, once told me that during the Tasmanian fires of 1967, the blaze surrounding his property was that bad he was left with the sole option of throwing the gate open to Lanesborough’s yard and letting the stallion “run for his life”.
Those fires would claim 62 lives and, according to Bert, there wasn’t a fence post standing by the time it had run its course.
Fearing the worst, Bert got a pleasant surprise a few days later when he saw Lanesborough walking – very gingerly – across a paddock.
As Bert recalled: “The frogs of Lanesborough’s feet were badly burned and to prove just how close the fire got, there wasn’t a single hair left on his testicles!”


Jason Warren’s Bel Esprit flyer, Bel Sprinter (above), made it four from five in taking out the Listed WJ Adams at Caulfield on Saturday – his only defeat coming in the Group Three Bobbie Lewis last September when a (very) unlucky second to Group One winner Lone Rock.
In this, his first run from a spell, Bel Esprit (ex. Gavroche by Snippets), proved he will be force to be reckoned with this campaign: a campaign that make take him as far as Dubai.

Breednet’s Mark Smith filed this report:
Four-year old gelding Bel Sprinter lost his unbeaten tag when second to Lone Rock in the Bobbie Lewis Stakes (G3) at Flemington last September but that proved a minor blip on his career which is on the rise again following victory in Saturday’s United Arab Emirates W J Adams Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield.
The Jason Warren trained sprinter’s dramatic rise up the ladder of Australia’s best sprinters will be taken up a couple of notches with the intention of starting the son of Bel Esprit in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield on February 25th and Warren has also not ruled out an overseas campaign.
“I think we would have to seriously think about that,” Warren said. “I’d love to go to Dubai.
“Options are everywhere, I think he gets into the Oakleigh Plate with no weight and that has been our plan all the way through.”
“Now that we have got a run under our belt, it will be a better way to take on the smart horse Sepoy,” he said. “We’ll still have a crack at the Oakleigh Plate.
“I think we are better placed now we have had that run.
“I spoke to the handicappers today and we get in with 53.5(kg) because today is only a Listed race and our plan was to give him three weeks between runs so we are right in it.”
With his victory over Kulgrinda (Exceed And Excel) and Faster Son (Fastnet Rock), Bel Sprintern takes his overall record to 5 wins from 6 starts for earnings of over $300,000.
A homebred for part-owner Glen Bailey, Bel Sprinter is the first foal of the Snippets mare Gavroche who was sold at the 2009 Inglis August Mixed Sale for $11,000 when carrying a filly by Shinzig.
Gavroche has a yearling full-brother to Bel Sprinter and was bred back to Hussonet (USA) last year.
A half-sister to the stakes-placed Azelna, Gavroche is out of the imported Miswaki mare La Miserable who is a half-sister to the smart import Always Aloof who defeated another import Istidaad in the 1997 Underwood Stakes (G1).
With the undefeated champion Black Caviar flying the flag, Bel Esprit is enjoying another successful season.
The son of Royal Academy covered 125 mares at Eliza Park Stud last season for a fee of $27,500.

Footnote: Jason Warren purchased the full brother to Bel Sprinter for $140,000 at the 2012 Gold Coast Magic Millions, which is starting to looking like a very cheap buy!


Ray Thomas (left) is the long-time turf editor of Sydney’s Telegraph and we liked the intro to his Bel Sprinter ‘wrap’ following Friday night’s victory:
“It is unfair to company any racehorse to Black Caviar, but Bel Sprinter does share a few things in common with the Champion Mare.
Both are by the same sire, Bel Esprit, they have talent to burn – and they don’t mind winning!”
Champion trainer, David Hayes, wasn’t backward in coming forward about Bel Sprinter either, declaring PRIOR to Friday night’s race that: “I do have a bit of respect for the topweight (Bel Sprinter). I think he’s a bit of star. If the great mare (Black Caviar) wasn’t around, he’d be the No. 1 (sprinter) in Australia.”


Bel Esprit continued his rise through the Australian sires ranks with a steady flow of winners throughout December and January and it looks as if he’s not going to spend February resting on his laurels.
In the first four days of the month, Bel Esprit has produced a winning quartet, kicking off on Wednesday with Vicki Rhind’s 3YO filly, Bel Price (ex. Kel Price by Keltrice), who produced a commanding win over 1100m at Launceston. The filly has had no luck in three previous outings, finishing fifth on debut before grabbing successive thirds at Launceston last August.
It was a nice win for long-time client Graeme Gathercole who bred and races the filly who is, in turn, out of a three time winning half sister to stakes placegetters High Academy and Fire Vain.
Bel Price has three strains of Vain (below) and is the fourth Bel Esprit winner out of Keltrice mares … from four to race!
Please note: Eliza Park will sell, on behalf of Windy Hill Thoroughbreds, a Bel Esprit colt from Keltrice mare Sheedy’s Sheila (Lot 218) at the upcoming Melbourne Premier.
Meanwhile, Bel Esprit notched up a double on Friday leading into Bel Sprinter’s stakes victory at Caulfield on Saturday.
First cab off the rank on Friday was the speedy, Winsum Lad (ex. Thunderstick by Umatilla) at Albury, followed up by Busy Doin’ Nothin’ (ex. Sunday Bliss by Bubble Gum Fellow) over 1350m at Ipswich.
Bred by Edgecombe Holdings at sold by Eliza Park, Winsum Lad has now won three of his outings and appeared to have plenty left in the tank on Friday, winning by two panels.
Winsum Lad is linebred to Nijinsky through a son and daughter and his dam is a half sister to three time stakes winner and AJC Flight Stakes-G1 runnerup Berberia.
Busy Doin’ Nothin’ was busy doin’ plenty at Ipswich, recording his second win (and six other placings) on the heavy surface.
Bred by Goodwood Park in Queensland and trained by Harold Norman, Busy Doin’ Nothin’ is a full brother to Moonee Valley winner Bon Marche.