Country champs begin

Country championships begin


Life & Style
Trainer Jenny Graham with Victorem, partner Shane Conroy, her daughter Melinda Turner, and jockey Ben Looker after the win in the first Country Championship qualifying race at Port Macquarie. Photos by Virginia Harvey.

Trainer Jenny Graham with Victorem, partner Shane Conroy, her daughter Melinda Turner, and jockey Ben Looker after the win in the first Country Championship qualifying race at Port Macquarie. Photos by Virginia Harvey.

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“I was hoping to get one (horse) in the final, but to have two, just amazing." - Jenny Graham

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JENNY Graham scored a momentous achievement as a trainer last Sunday when preparing a historic treble - with Victorem, Awesome Pluck and Portatorio, in the $150,000 Mid North Coast Racing Association Country Championships qualifier at her home track at Port Macquarie. 

I Am Invincible gelding Victorem and Awesome Pluck (by Pluck) – both three-year-olds, have now gained a start in the $500,000 Country Championship final scheduled on Randwick’s $10 million program on April 7. 

While not having previous success in any earlier Country Championships, now in its fourth running, Jenny became the first trainer to prepare a trifecta in a qualifying event. 

“Just awesome”, Jenny said after the event.

“I was hoping to get one (horse) in the final, but to have two, just amazing.

“I did not know where to look during the running (of the race) and lost them all, then at the post they were all there.”

Classic grand upscale 

IT was not only a change of venue with Inglis relocating to its state-of-the-art Riverside Stables at Warwick Farm, but the grand upscale of its third tier auction Classic Yearling Sale, its book one posting a massive 34 per cent increase in the average to $94,486 – up from $72,342 last year. 

Buyers spent a total $48.188 million ($36.02m last year) with a remarkable clearance rate at 92 per cent.  A total of 53 vendors (from 95 in book one) enjoyed 100 per cent clearance, which was led by Treen and Royston Murphy’s Sledmere Stud, Scone, who sold all of their 21 yearlings.

A massive 187 lots sold for $100,000 or more, compared to 107 at last year’s sale, and 10 in 2013. 

While this year’s top price was the $480,000 for the Brazen Beau colt sold via Tyreel Stud, Agnes Banks, leading book one sale vendor by average for three or more lots – at $199,375 - was Carramar Park, Grose Wold, while Newgate Farm led the way for aggregate at $2.89m.  

Newgate also grab headlines as the home of leading sire Deep Field by aggregate, his 29 first crop yearlings collectively fetching $3.474 (for average $119,810). 

Yarraman Park’s hot sire I Am Invincible topped the sire averages for three or more sold at $260,455. 

Queensland located Eureka Stud, owned and operated by the McAlpine family for over 60 years, led the way in book two of the Classic Sale as leading vendor by aggregate ($707,500) and average $117,917) and sold all of their six youngsters. 

Eureka Stud’s star juvenile sire Spirit Of Boom topped the leading sire lists for book two for aggregate ($675,000) and average for three or more sold ($135,000).  These included the top of book two for the Spirit Of Boom – Laurinel Argie filly at $200,000. 

Clearance rate was 88 per cent, for the 157 sold lots for gross sales of $7m, and average of $44,914.

I was hoping to get one (horse) in the final, but to have two, just amazing. I did not know where to look during the running (of the race) ... - Jenny Graham

Bill Bradly passes 

OLDER generations would recall Bill Bradley from numerous years of taking trackside photography prominently at Sydney racecourses, who passed away at age 76 last month. 

Son of the Camden dairy farmer, Bill began as a carpet layer for Streets Furniture in Moss Vale, before venturing to Sydney to begin work as a copy boy, then a cadet photographer for the Daily Telegraph newspaper. 

Returning to the Southern Highlands, Bill commenced his own business Bill Bradley Photographic Studios in the early 1960s, and which is still successfully operating today via his son Mark Bradley and associates, from its “Willow Wood” location near the Illawarra Highway, Moss Vale. 

The business expanded to include weddings and parties and as well taking on numerous other on-course race photography, which included a stint at the Moss Vale greyhound races.  

Vendor, Jenni Cesnik of Riverina Downs, Tarcutta, with the flashy “Apache Cat” look-a-like Nicconi colt (from Cathie’s Lane) which sold for $54,000 at the Classic.

Vendor, Jenni Cesnik of Riverina Downs, Tarcutta, with the flashy “Apache Cat” look-a-like Nicconi colt (from Cathie’s Lane) which sold for $54,000 at the Classic.

Courtney Kaboard of Middlebrook Valley Lodge, Scone, with the Deep Field – Crystal Rock colt which fetched $160,000 at the Classic.

Courtney Kaboard of Middlebrook Valley Lodge, Scone, with the Deep Field – Crystal Rock colt which fetched $160,000 at the Classic.

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