WHILE racing at Narrandera (documented in an earlier Tails) was a highlight for the Australian Thoroughbred Breeders' Club bus trippers in June (prior to recent Covid-19 lockdowns), studs in the Southern Districts also proved illuminating for participants including myself.
Leaving the Hawkesbury racecourse at dawn, our coach took us on a wonderful drive via rolling undulating countryside with breath-taking views of the Central Western Slopes to the time-honoured breeding property of Newhaven Park, about 45 kilometres south-east of Cowra.
Principal John Kelly greeted us and was proud to show-off his three stallions on its 2021 roster.
Led by stallion handler Danny Parsons, New Zealand bred champion three-year-old Xtravagant (by GB bred Pentire) and former Newgate Farm I Am Invincible horse Super One, were paraded - now both being represented with winners.
Newhaven's "new boy" is another New Zealand bred youngster Cool Aza Beel, a son of by that country's champion sire Savabeel, which continues the Sir Ivor maleline via his iconic sire son Sir Tristram.
Other family owned and managed farms during our Southern District's jaunt included Twin Hills - located on the outskirts of Cootamundra, John and Helen North's Bowness Stud at Barwang - about 20 kilometres east of Young, and Murray Cod Thoroughbreds just west of Wagga Wagga.
History ridden, and now owned by Olly and Amber Tait, Twin Hills is home to five Australian bred stallions - the proven Denman, Hallowed Crown, Odyssey Moon and Smart Missile, and first seasoner Peltzer, a So You Think horse which began with three starts for three wins as a juvenile, before to a hat-trick of wins at three including to two Sydney Group wins.
Described as "such a dude" by Katelyn Butler - sales and marketing manager of Twin Hills, Denman was her favourite such is his "laid-back" disposition.
Embarking on his stud career at Darley in the Upper Hunter Valley, Denman has proven to be a stud success and which includes Hong Kong champion Hot King Prawn.
With the aid of local conditioner Scott Spackman, Murray Cod Thoroughbreds - located at Euberta, is steered by long time industry participant Noel Penfold. Mr Penfold and Spackman had the "ride of their lives" when their galloper Rocket Tiger made the field of 16 - and ran a credible race, in this year's $3.5 million ATC Golden Slipper Stakes-G1.
Among earlier talented gallopers that Mr Penfold has raced includes O' So Hazy, a daughter of former Victorian based stud success O'Lonhro, now available at Murray Cod Thoroughbreds. Earner of over $300,000, O' So Hazy is among 86 winners by the Lonhro stallion, and which also includes three black type gallopers.
While the marvellous winner-getting sire (to Group 1 level) Bon Hoffa is the stalwart at Bowness Stud, the property now boosts second season handsome grey D'Argento, a Group 1 winning horse by Coolmore high profile stallion So You Think.
Champion Australian three-year-old and older horse, as well as champion older horse in Ireland, So You Think is by deceased Sadler's Wells' sire High Chaparral, which is now a recognised sire of sires - for example Dundeel, Contributor and shuttler Toronado.
MOSSMAN - a horse which began his stud career at his breeder's Peter and Wendy Moran's Noble Park Stud, in south-east Queensland, has died at age 26 at Vinery Stud, Scone.
Trained by Clarry Connors, Mossman was a brilliant juvenile winning a Group 1 in Brisbane after placed twice in two Group 1 events in Sydney. At three he won two Melbourne stakes as well as finishing second in the Australian Guineas-G1.
Instant stud success followed from serving small books of mares, and which resulted in 57 runners of which 43 won (including Group winners Our Sweet Moss, Segments and Pure Energy - second in the 2006 Golden Slipper-G1) from his first three crops racing.
This early success instigated an arrangement that saw Mossman relocate to the Upper Hunter Valley property from the 2004 season. His popularity grew to sire a massive total of 521 winners including 41 stakes winners. Among the latter included tough campaigner Buffering (20 wins and $7.2m) and 2014 Golden Slipper winning filly Mossfun.