Spendthrift and Sun Stud's busy breeding season

Spendthrift and Sun Stud's busy breeding season

Horses
Young I Am Invincible stallion, Overshare and stallion handler Steve Toole arrive back to the horse's day paddock after a breeding shed date with a mare at Spendthrift Farm, Kerrie in Victoria. Photo Virginia Harvey

Young I Am Invincible stallion, Overshare and stallion handler Steve Toole arrive back to the horse's day paddock after a breeding shed date with a mare at Spendthrift Farm, Kerrie in Victoria. Photo Virginia Harvey

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Spendthrift Farm is one of six breeding properties I visited during my recent Victorian stud tour.

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It was interesting to read a report that US champion mare Beholder will be covered by Bolt d'Oro when he returns from his first Australian shuttle season at Spendthrift Farm in Victoria, to his home country and northern hemisphere home at Spendthrift in Lexington, Kentucky USA.

By former Darley shuttle sire Henny Hughes, Beholder was an 11-time Group 1 winner including three US Breeders Cups. Her race record matches the prestigiousness of the time-honoured Spendthrift Farm, which is among the most notable breeding properties in North America.

Beholder is a half-sister to Coolmore Stud's new shuttler Mendelssohn and a US leading sire Into Mischief, while Medaglia d'Oro sire son, Bolt d'Oro, is a three times Group 1 winning juvenile who stood his first Kentucky stud season this year.

Stallion handler Sebastian Domange with Fiorente, a Melbourne Cup winner and now proven sire at Sun Stud, Riddles Creek, Victoria. Photo Virginia Harvey

Stallion handler Sebastian Domange with Fiorente, a Melbourne Cup winner and now proven sire at Sun Stud, Riddles Creek, Victoria. Photo Virginia Harvey

Spendthrift Farm is one of six breeding properties I visited during my recent Victorian stud tour. The Kerrie district property was a hive of activity with its six young stallions, as well as having major building works of a new five-star 14 box stallions' barn and administrative areas.

According to general manager of Spendthrift Australia Garry Cuddy, the farm is aiming to broaden its stallion roster over time.

"We buy half a dozen or so yearling colts a year, but we are doing it the hard way with a horse that has never had a saddle on its back and we are trying to end up with that horse on our stallion roster," Garry said.

"In the five seasons we have been here, it is testament to our team that we have had two horses that we have raced in our colours (of orange and purple) and that are on our roster - Overshare and Swear."

"We are not in a hurry to fill up the new stallion barn, however, don't be surprised if the day comes when it is full, if the American (Spendthrift) farm (standing 24 stallions) is anything to gauge by."

Bolt d'Oro shares the stallion stables with US bred Jimmy Creed (by long ago Australian shuttler and now champion US sire Distorted Humor), and Australian bred horses Gold Standard (Sebring), Hampton Court and Swear (Redoute's Choice), and Overshare (I Am Invincible).

They looked relaxed and happy in their green, grassy day paddocks, but second seasoner Overshare was on the go with a stallion handler returning to his field after a breeding shed cover.

Overshare won two stakes races including the noted Melbourne sprint MRC Zeditave Stakes-G3.

Sun Stud's sales and nominations consultant Adam Henry with the stud's winning NZ bred mare Evasive and her filly foal by Thronum. Photo Virginia Harvey

Sun Stud's sales and nominations consultant Adam Henry with the stud's winning NZ bred mare Evasive and her filly foal by Thronum. Photo Virginia Harvey

Due east on Mount Eliza Road to Riddles Creek, I stopped off at Sun Stud where I was greeted by Adam Henry, a happy knowledgeable fellow I had previously met years prior when employed at Patinack Farm near Sandy Hollow in the Upper Hunter Valley.

A sales and nominations consultant, Adam gave me a guided tour of the property before arriving at the stallion barn.

The property previously traded as Eliza Park, before becoming Sun Stud in 2012 after its current owners of Chinese interests, rebranded it as Sun International Group.

Ten stallions were in service at Sun Stud during my visit, its newest the GB bred Group 1 winning juvenile National Defense (by Invincible Spirit) and second season stallion Thronum, a Snitzel Group 2 winner who served 122 mares at his first season.

Looking in fine fettle was the property's 20-year-old stalwart Bel Esprit, who was happy to stride out around the parade ring. Bel Esprit has sired more than 700 winners, his most important is internationally travelled mare Black Caviar, an unbeaten winner of 25 starts.

Continuing the Northern Dancer sireline via Nijinsky champion Royal Academy, Bel Esprit females are also being sought, a prominent broodmare being Stylish Bel dam of Hong Kong champion Beauty Generation.

Three years younger is Magnus (by champion Danehill sire Flying Spur) another Sun Stud stalwart stallion. He continues to be a leading Victorian sire with 70 per cent of his runners being winners.

Others paraded included promising young Irish bred Melbourne Cup and Australian Cup winner Fiorente (Monsun) sire of Group 2 winners Hawkshot and Stars Of Carrum, as well as gorgeous chestnut horse Palentino, who is now represented with yearlings.

Winner of the VRC Australian Guineas-G1 and Makybe Diva Stakes-G1 at Flemington, Palentino is by Galileo's former shuttler Teofilo, also sire of Sydney's popular galloper Happy Clapper.

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