The year that was...

The 2019/20 season has drawn to a close and we now have the opportunity to reflect on what has been a stellar season for Blue Gum Farm stallions, sales graduates, and staff. Even though the second half of the season has been marred by the ever-changing Covid-19 restrictions, we are proud that our success as a farm has continued, despite the hardships the industry as a whole has faced.

The racing season kicked off with a bang for our sales graduates as we registered four individual Stakes winners across the W.S. Cox Plate weekend. Ideas Man, La Falaise and Sartorial Splendor all won Stakes races at Moonee Valley on what was a remarkable and historic day for the farm, before Gold Fields followed them with a win in the Sale Cup a day later. Over the season, we have seen 70 individual winners take out 111 races around the world, with six of these winners victorious at Stakes level. These include three two-year old Stakes winners, the aforementioned Ideas Man, as well as Larimer Street and September Run. 

Blue Gum Farm graduates provided a lot of excitement during the 2019/20 racing season. Nine individual two-year old winners and thirty-one individual three-year old winners came from the farm during that time. One highlight for us has been the success of our good friend Des Pope, who bred and part owns four of our two-year old winners this season. They include the previously mentioned Stakes winners Ideas Man and Larimer Street who have been well supported by Little Town Blues and Tyche Goddess, both of whom impressively won their only start towards the back end of the season.

We were delighted with our results at the 2020 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale where we presented twenty-six high quality individuals for sale at the Oaklands Junction complex. The first day of the sale was highlighted by the Snitzel x Jestajingle colt being sold to Aquis Farm for $725,000 on behalf of long-time friends and clients Neville and Susan Duncan of Oakland Park Stud. At that price he was the highest priced lot of the sale. The second highest priced lot, our homebred Pierro x Pass The Parcel colt, topped day two of the sale at $575,000.

The Premier Sale saw us once again offer yearlings on behalf of Robert and Sylvie Crabtree’s Dorrington Farm. Their outstanding colt by Written Tycoon out of Miss Promiscuity was the fifth highest priced lot of the sale when selling for $400,000 to International Thoroughbred Solutions and Robert Roulston Bloodstock. Their Pierro filly out of Magnagem was the highest priced Pierro filly of the sale when she sold to Robbie Griffiths Racing and Peter Ford Thoroughbreds for $220,000. The overall result saw Blue Gum Farm once again Premier’s leading vendor for the third time in the last five years with a gross of over $4.5million.

Another great result for the farm at the Premier sale was the success of the first Victorian conceived crop of resident stallion Manhattan Rain. His highest priced lot of the sale was our homebred filly out of Personal Ensign who sold to Ciaron Maher Racing for $310,000. At that price she was one of the top five fillies sold. There were a further three Manhattan Rain yearlings who sold for six figure sums to some of Australia’s leading bloodstock agents and trainers. Manhattan Rain finished the Premier session of the sale with an average of $132,500, which placed him in the top three Victorian stallions on average.

A further thrill for the team here at Blue Gum Farm was seeing the early success of former AFL great Denis Pagan’s training career. In the recent past, Denis has gathered a small but carefully selected group of young racehorses, all of whom have continuously spelled here at Blue Gum Farm. We were delighted when Denis’s first runner, Johnny Get Angry, ran third in the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final at Flemington in early July and then followed up with another great run for 2nd at the same track two weeks later. It was just four days on when we were cheering again as Frankie Two Angels gave Denis his first win and first metro win as a trainer when winning impressively at Sandown.

It has not just been the horses that have made this season so special – it has also been the great people who work with us here that have given us so many highlights. Three of our senior staff members were awarded industry voted accolades across the season, which began with Samson Sibanda taking out the NRTSC Courtney Horwood Memorial Everyday Hero Award in August. Our Horse Operations Manager Chris Kent was then awarded the inaugural Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria Rising Star Award at a glamourous event held at Oaklands Junction. The season culminated in our Yearling Manager Wendy Smith being awarded not only the Horsemanship Award, but the overall Thoroughbred Excellence Award at the 2020 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards, supported by Godolphin. The staff at Blue Gum Farm are integral to our success and it was a delight to see them achieve the recognition they deserve.

Whilst it has been a season filled with highlights, the work continues into the new season, with foals already hitting the ground here at the farm. Our stallions are preparing for another busy season of covering mares and we are excited to see what our graduates can achieve on the track. We would like to thank our clients for their continued support this season and we wish them the best of luck for the season ahead.

A Century of Wins Already

Last weekend, Blue Gum Farm sales graduates reached the exciting milestone of 100 race wins for the season. This feat has been achieved by sixty-six individual winners taking out races in every state and territory across Australia as well as international races in New Zealand, Macau, South Africa, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Of those sixty-six winners, six of them are Stakes winners and include the three 2yo Stakes winners Ideas Man, Larimer Street and September Run. Another two of the Stakes winners, Gold Fields and La Falaise (pictured), were sold through the Inglis VOBIS Gold Yearling sale. In fact, over 20% of the winners so far have come from our VOBIS Gold drafts over the past 6 years. Another interesting fact is that over 27% of the winners so far were sold as weanlings, either through the Inglis Australian Weanling sale in Sydney or at the Inglis Great Southern Sale here in Victoria.

These results highlight that Blue Gum Farm is indeed The Proven Source and with another five weeks of the current racing season to go, we look forward to watching the number of winners grow further. No doubt the exciting group of youngsters being presented at next month’s Inglis Great Southern Sale and Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction will add to our success in the years to come.

Wendy Smith is a Dual Winner

On Wednesday night, we celebrated our dedicated Yearling Manager Wendy Smith winning not only the Horsemanship Award at the 2020 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards supported by Godolphin, but also taking out the overall Thoroughbred Excellence Award. Wendy has shown outstanding skills over her eight years with us and her passion for the care of all horses at Blue Gum Farm is inspiring for all of our staff. We think that she is the most deserving winner and congratulate her on this amazing achievement! Wendy is pictured here with her son Josh and his partner Danielle, as well as her beautiful trophies.

Wendy Smith - A Top 2 Finalist

Wendy Smith, our dedicated Yearling Manager, is a Top 2 finalist in the Horsemanship category of the 2020 Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards, supported by Godolphin. This segment on Wendy was shown as part of Bred To Win and the footage was supplied to us by Caroline Searcy. The awards will be announced via a virtual ceremony on Wednesday 17th June. Good luck Wendy! 

BGF on Bred to Win

A segment from the June 2nd episode of Bred to Win, highlighting our recent sales and track success. Video courtesy of Caroline Searcy.

An Amazing Start

In early March 2019, at the completion of the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling sale, we at Blue Gum Farm were over the moon when our outstanding results once again justified the hard work put in by the whole team. We had sold 22 yearlings for a gross of $4.1million, breaking the $4million mark for the second time in the farm’s history and only the third time in the sale’s history. We were leading vendor, again for the second time in the farm’s history, and we had sold the highest priced filly at the sale. They were certainly results to be proud of, but they have been made all the sweeter by the success of those horses from the draft who have competed in their juvenile season.

So far there have been seven 2yo runners from our 2019 Premier draft of which five are winners and three of them are Stakes winners. We did not have to wait long for our first runner from the draft to hit the track, and what a debut it was. Ideas Man, a classy Brazen Beau colt out of Des Pope’s former brilliant racemare Innovation Girl, won the $500,000 Inglis Banner (RL) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day, defeating future Group winner Mildred. Ideas Man was sold to Ciaron Maher Bloodstock for $575,000 and was the third highest priced lot sold at Premier ‘19.

The second Stakes winner from this Premier draft came in the form of another impressive colt bred by Des Pope, this time in partnership with long-time friend Bob Rowett. Larimer Street, also by Brazen Beau and out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Original Choice, won the Listed Valley Pearl at Moonee Valley in March. Larimer Street had been chasing his maiden Stakes success after placing in both the $2,000,000 ATC Inglis Millennium (RL) and the VRC Sires Produce Stakes (G2) at his previous two starts. Larimer Street was sold to Mark Pilkington Management and Busuttin Racing for $450,000.

And our third Stakes winner is September Run (pictured), the Exceed and Excel filly out of Group winner Pittsburgh Flyer bred by Greg and Jenny White, who just last Saturday was the ‘all the way’ winner of the Bill Carter Stakes (LR) at Doomben. September Run made quite an impression at Oaklands Junction where she was sold to Hermitage Thoroughbreds for $380,000, making her the second highest priced filly of the sale. After her maiden race win at Canterbury in early May, trainer Chris Waller sent her straight to Queensland chasing Stakes success and the tough, professional filly got the job done well at her first attempt at that level.

As well as the three Stakes winners mentioned above there has also been two very impressive first up winners recently. Last month Mick Price and Michael Kent sent the beautifully credentialled Snitzel colt National Choice out to win impressively first up and then just last week, Anthony Freedman produced the very smart looking Sebring filly Agreeable and she won equally as impressively. We are very excited to see just how far our 2019 Premier graduates can go in their future careers.

Khoekhoe wins the Showdown

It was the Victorian Owners and Breeders race day at Caulfield over the weekend and it was a chance for Victorian-sired horses to compete exclusively for increased prizemoney through the Vobis Sires and Super Vobis racing scheme. The $905,000 Vobis Sires Showdown promised to be another exciting race for the 2-year old’s, and it did not disappoint, with the fast finishing son of Turffontein, Khoekhoe, breaking through for the biggest win of his short career so far.

Khoekhoe was bred by Susan Keating’s Liverpool Farm and was placed in the capable hands of trainer Matt Cumani to begin his racing career. It was at his second start at Echuca where we were given a glimpse of just how fast Khoekhoe was. After settling back to the rear of the field, he rounded the final turn as the widest runner at the back of the pack, and yet he was able to show an explosive turn of foot to win by more than a length.

Despite his impressive maiden win, he was not fancied by the industry insiders prior to the Showdown. After jumping and settling slightly better than midfield, Khoekhoe had a quiet run until the final turn when it looked like he was going to be blocked for a run at the top of the straight. However, jockey Fred Kersley was able to pull to the outside and let his electric turn of foot carry him to win by a head. Khoekhoe was so quick over the final furlong, he ran out the last 200m in 11.70 seconds, the only horse in the field to break the 12 second barrier. The win took his prizemoney earnings to over $490,000. 

We are so happy for all his connections and congratulate them on a fantastic result. We are extremely excited to see how Khoekhoe will return in the spring for hopefully even bigger and better successes.

2020 Service Fees Announced

On the eve of the Super Vobis Owners and Breeders race day at Caulfield, we at Blue Gum Farm are pleased to announce the service fees for our stallions for the 2020 breeding season.

Manhattan Rain, the sire of 2017 G1 Golden Slipper Stakes winner and Champion Australian 2YO She Will Reign, as well as a host of other Stakes winners, will stand at a fee of $13,200.  “What Manhattan Rain has already achieved is very exciting” said Philip Campbell recently, “but what is around the corner for this stallion is even more exciting to us” he continued. Manhattan Rain relocated to Blue Gum Farm in 2017 and his first Victorian sired crop were in great demand at this year’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale. There his progeny sold up to $310,000, averaged exceptionally well and are now in the care of some of this country’s very best trainers. The future looks exciting indeed for Encosta De Lago’s very best son. Click here to see Manhattan Rain's e-brochure.

The evergreen Turffontein, sire of recent multiple Stakes winners Mandela Effect and Singapore sprint star Bold Thruster, will stand at a fee of $6,600. Turffontein has sired the Group winning millionaires Widgee Turf and Fontein Ruby and the brilliant, multiple Group winning 2YO Fontiton and he continues to produce good solid racehorses in every crop. His two live chances, being Khoekhoe and Cornucopia, in The Vobis Sires Showdown for 2YO’s this weekend is further proof of that. Click here to see Turffontein's e-brochure.

The Theatre of a Thoroughbred Auction

What a week it was for Blue Gum Farm at this year’s edition of the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale. We achieved our second highest gross ever and our highest average ever. We sold the highest priced yearling on day one who remained the highest priced yearling through the whole sale. Then we sold the highest priced yearling on day two who remained the second highest priced yearling for the whole sale. It’s as much fun having excited purchasers as it is having excited vendors. At the end of the two days of selling a radio recap of proceedings was a wonderful way to reflect on what was another remarkable achievement for the Blue Gum Farm team. Bring on Premier 2021!

That's A Wrap!

With all that was starting to transpire back in late February/early March of this year, the expectations for the 2020 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling sale were, it would be fair to say, cautiously optimistic. To say that results exceeded expectations would have to be an understatement. It was a terrific sale and we at Blue Gum Farm were ecstatic with the results. Of the 26 yearlings we offered at the Oaklands Junction sales complex, 23 were sold to some of the industry’s most astute buyers for a gross of just over $4.5 million. But it was the success of our many wonderful clients that ensured the team really had something to celebrate at sale’s end.

Neville and Susan Duncan from Oakland Park Stud in WA have been sending a small but select group of yearlings to us each year to be presented at this sale. This year was certainly no exception. Their striking Snitzel colt out of the beautifully credentialled Lonhro mare Jestajingle was the talk of the complex during inspections. When he finally entered the sale ring, there were bids coming from every part of the auditorium. The colt was eventually knocked down to Aquis Farm for $725,000 after a spirited bidding duel with Craig Rounsefell representing the Hong Kong Jockey Club. At that price the colt was easily the highest priced yearling at the sale and he also broke the Blue Gum Farm sales record, just besting the $700,000 previously achieved for another Oakland Park offering in Ducimus. Ducimus went on to become a Stakes winning and Group placed 2YO and is now standing at stud.

Blue Gum Farm again had the privilege of presenting the draft of yearlings on behalf of hugely successful breeders Robert and Sylvie Crabtree’s Dorrington Farm. And what a sale they had! One of the most popular horses during inspections was the classy Written Tycoon colt out of the Group 3 winning mare Miss Promiscuity. Robert Roulston, one of Australia’s most respected bloodstock agents, in partnership with International Thoroughbred Solutions snapped up this colt for $400,000. At that price he was the highest priced yearling by Written Tycoon sold at Oaklands this year. Another terrific result for the Crabtrees was the Pierro – Magnagem filly that sold to Robbie Griffiths and Peter Ford for $220,000. There is real history with this connection as Crabtree bred a filly that would be named Helsinge whom Ford purchased for breeder Rick Jamieson. Helsinge of course became the dam of the incomparable Black Caviar and her four time Group One winning half-brother All Too Hard. Nine Dorrington yearlings averaged a tick over $153,000 at this sale.

We were able to achieve wonderful sales for other great friends of ours too. Phil Wilton’s Panda Bloodstock had two yearlings offered and both made quite an impact on the buying bench. His More Than Ready (USA) filly out of the winning mare Flying Gigi was sold to Tricolours Racing in NSW for $130,000, the highest priced lot for her sire. Phil’s Pierro colt out of the winning mare Sticky Beak was another that attracted a lot of attention from the industry’s best. It was Willie Leung from Magus Equine in Hong Kong that was the eventual buyer after going to $280,000, the second highest priced lot sold by Pierro. Last year we sold two cracking colts by Brazen Beau for Des Pope. Both are now Stakes winning 2YO’s in Larimer Street and Ideas Man. This year we sold a lovely Exceed and Excel colt for Des out of his wonderful race mare and producer Truly Wicked. This colt took the eye of many but it was David O’Callaghan representing Sun Stud who best the rest with a bid of $280,000.   

One of the fairytale moments of the sale came at lunchtime on Day 2. The Pierro colt out of the winning More Than Ready (USA) mare Pass The Parcel was the most inspected horse on the Oaklands Complex and his breeders, Brendan and Ben White, Keith and Pam Brown and Phil and Patti Campbell were excited to see him presented in the ring. An exciting bidding war ensued and it was First Light Racing, in partnership with in-form trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young and Paul Willetts Bloodstock, who were victorious when securing the impressive youngster for $575,000, the second highest priced lot of the sale. With a ready to run frame and a Group-placed half-brother racing now, the team is excited for his future. 

The process of selling a yearling begins long before the horse enters the ring. From the breeders choosing a stallion for their mare, to raising and educating the resulting progeny, there are many factors that determine the success of a sale. Having a dedicated and professional team supported by wonderful clients and a network of industry experts such as vets and farriers has ensured that Blue Gum Farm’s sales success is no fluke. We look forward to many more years of presenting high quality youngsters and achieving great results for our valued clients.

A Premier Partnership continues...

In just a short period of time, the combination of Blue Gum Farm selling young stock on behalf of Neville and Susan Duncan’s Oakland Park Stud in West Australia has proven to be a very successful one. Beautifully reared juveniles have been sent to us for sale preparation and subsequently purchased by some of Australia’s leading trainers and thoroughbred breeding operations. At the 2020 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, this partnership struck again at the highest end of the market, taking the total Blue Gum Farm/Oakland Park Stud sales receipts to $4,250,000 for 17 lots sold at an average of $250,000. And that’s from 17 lots offered!

It was a quiet enough beginning with just the one yearling being sent across the Nullabor for the 2014 Inglis Premier Sale. “Neville and Susan were looking to market their best yearlings on the east coast and have them given every opportunity to realise their full potential from the best stables in the land,” Blue Gum Farm’s Philip Campbell recalled recently. “They put their toe in the water sending us a New Approach colt for the 2014 sale. He was a cracking good colt who prepped beautifully and exceeded expectations at the sale and the mould was set from there I guess you could say. Unfortunately that colt had an accident and died not long after that sale but there have been a steady stream of racetrack successes since then,” Campbell continued.   

In 2016, Oakland Park sent us five yearlings to be prepared for the Inglis Premier Yearling sale. One of those horses was a striking colt by Champion sire Snitzel out of the wonderful producer Beauty World. He would sell for $700,000 to L.Hung/Bahen Bloodstock, at the time the second highest priced yearling sold in Victoria, and would go on to race as Ducimus. Ducimus won the Listed VRC Talindert Stakes and ran a close second in the Group 3 ATC Pago Pago Stakes as a 2YO. He now stands at Rivercrest Park in WA and covered his first book of mares there last season.

Another lovely colt from this 2016 group was another Snitzel colt, this time out of the Stakes winning mare Jestatune. After selling for $200,000 to Ciaron Maher Racing, the colt named Jukebox went on to be an undefeated Stakes winning 2YO and winner of the Group 3 MRC Vain     Stakes as a 3yo. He now stands at Aquis Farm in the Hunter Valley and covered his first book of mares there in 2018.

There have so far been eight runners sold by Blue Gum Farm for Oakland Park Stud for seven winners. Other winners to be sold include the multiple Hong Kong winners Fantastic Show and Handsome Bo Bo, the multiple South African winner Deerupt and this season’s promising John Sadler trained Melbourne 3YO winner Beehunter.

In 2020 the partnership reached new heights with the classy Snitzel colt out of Jestajingle, making him a three-quarter brother to Jukebox, being knocked down for $725,000 to Aquis Farm. With an additional two fillies by Pride of Dubai and Star Witness selling for $100,000 each, it was another sale to remember for the Duncans, their Stud Manager Adrian Brown and the whole team at Blue Gum Farm. We look forward to selling more outstanding yearlings on behalf of Oakland Park Stud in the future.

2020 Inglis Premier Preview

New Stakes Winner for Turffontein

Turffontein sired his sixth individual Stakes winner last Saturday when the ever consistent Mandela Effect took out the Listed Tasmanian Stakes over 1600m. The victory takes his record to 10 wins from 21 starts and earnings of over $425,000.

Mandela Effect was bred by long-time friend Mandy Gunn of Motree Thoroughbreds in Tasmania, being the first foal from her West Quest (CAN) mare Morell. He was sold at the 2016 Magic Millions Tasmanian Yearling sale for $18,000 to Scott Brunton, who trains him from his Seven Mile Beach base near Hobart. After winning three of his first eight starts in Tasmania, Mandela Effect made a winning debut on the mainland, easily winning the Ladbrokes Info Hub Handicap at Caulfield.

His stakes career began in the 2019 edition of the Listed Weekend Hussler Stakes before running a close second in the Listed Sale Cup. He followed that up with a win at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, beating Group 3 winner Ranier. His next start was in the Listed Conquering Stakes where he flew from the back of the pack down the home straight to finish second by a whisker. On Saturday night, Craig Newitt gave him the perfect ride from an inside barrier, sitting just behind the front runner. He claimed the race with his trademark fast finish, winning by just under a length going away.

Mandela Effect has a full sister being presented at the upcoming 2020 Magic Millions Tasmanian Yearling Sale. Morell currently has a full brother on her and is back in foal to Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign’s sire, Manhattan Rain. We congratulate Mandy, Scott and all the connections of Mandela Effect and look forward to watching his career continue to blossom.

On To Yearling Prep

With the winding down of the breeding season, the emphasis here at the farm quickly turns to yearling prep and in particular, the preparation of our 2020 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale draft. We believe we have once again assembled an exciting group of yearlings for this sale and know that they are in the very best of hands, those of our wonderful and very talented Yearling Manager, Wendy Smith.

Wendy commenced work at Blue Gum Farm in January  2012 after long, loyal stints at the Hayes and Sangster families' Collingrove Stud, and then as manager of Goulburn Park Stud. Her experience and knowledge in all aspects of a young thoroughbred's life, from foaling and post foaling care, through to weaning and then growing out the yearling, is second to none and a huge part of our success in the sales ring and on the racetrack these past several years.

Examining that success more closely makes a very interesting study. In the last five years at Melbourne Premier Blue Gum Farm has been, by gross, the leading vendor twice, 2nd leading vendor twice and 3rd leading vendor once. Our drafts at these sales were not the largest by any means. Our aim is always to concentrate on quality rather than quantity, and the racetrack results of our graduates recently prove that they haven’t just been pretty sales yearlings.

In the four years 2015 – 2018 Blue Gum Farm offered 114 yearlings and sold 103 of them. Our ratio of winners (68) from lots offered is 60% and our ratio of winners from runners (93) sits at a very healthy 73%. And of course Ideas Man has provided the perfect start for our class of 2019 by already winning the $500,000 MVRC Inglis Banner!

At Premier 2020 we will offer 30 quality yearlings by the likes of All Too Hard, Astern, Brazen Beau, Cable Bay (IRE), Capitalist, Dundeel (NZ), Exceed and Excel, Flying Artie, Frosted (USA), Manhattan Rain, More Than Ready (USA), Nicconi, Pierro, Pride of Dubai, Savabeel, Sebring, Snitzel, So You Think (NZ), Star Witness, Tavistock (NZ), Turffontein and Written Tycoon. It is extremely satisfying to know they are in excellent hands with Wendy and her team.

2020 Inglis Melbourne Premier Draft Revealed

Hot on the heels of recent Spring Group and Stakes wins by our graduates La Falaise, Sartorial Splendor, Gold Fields and exciting 2YO Ideas Man, we at Blue Gum Farm are thrilled to announce our draft for the 2020 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

Once again we feel that we have a beautifully balanced draft of yearlings by proven stallions, up and coming stallions and exciting first season stallions. Consistent Group 1 producing stallions Dundeel, Exceed and Excel, Manhattan Rain (3), More Than Ready , Pierro (4), Savabeel, Sebring (2), Snitzel, So You Think, Tavistock and Written Tycoon are all represented as are the young, brilliantly credentialled newcomers Astern, Cable Bay, Capitalist, Flying Artie and Frosted.

“We are tremendously excited about our draft for the 2020 Premier Sale,” said Philip Campbell recently. “Not only do we have yearlings by a fantastic array of stallions but they are from remarkable females and female families too. They have been raised here at Blue Gum as well as the farms of some of the most respected breeders in the country and they have all undergone thorough physical inspections, x-raying and scoping. I believe we have again come up with another terrific group of yearlings to prepare for Oaklands.”

Head to our Sales page to find the link to our full draft.

Terrific Recognition

Last Saturday night at the William Inglis Oaklands Junction Sales Complex, Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria held their 2018/19 Industry Awards. It was at this gala function that our very own Horse Operations Manager, Chris Kent, was awarded the TBV Industry Rising Star award sponsored by Digital Media Creations. Winning the award was a shock for Chris, who was unaware that he had been nominated, but an easy decision for the TBV Board who were unanimous in their endorsement of him.

Chris graduated from the Marcus Oldham Agricultural College with Distinction honours in the Horse Business Management course. His results saw him awarded the Lanwades Stud Scholarship which enabled him to travel to the UK and work at the renowned Lanwades Stud. On returning from overseas, Chris took up the position of Racing Manager with then trainer Greg Bennett before he started work with Blue Gum Farm in 2013.

As Horse Operations Manager of our farm, Chris oversees all aspects of the day to day running of the Broodmare and Stallion divisions. Along with our Yearling Manager, Wendy Smith, they are responsible for our sales preparation routine. In the last five years Wendy and Chris’s combined efforts, along with the staff under them, have seen Blue Gum Farm leading vendor by aggregate twice, 2nd leading vendor twice and 3rd leading vendor once at the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.

Chris is very well respected by both the staff he works with on a daily basis, as well as the many industry professionals he deals with in his role. We congratulate Chris on winning this award and thank him for his passion, dedication and hard work.

A Spring to Remember for Gold Fields

The 2019 Victorian Spring Carnival was certainly a lucrative period for the Logan McGill trained Gold Fields. During that time the Churchill Downs gelding, who was bred by our great friend the late Kevin Heffernan from his Encosta De Lago mare Gold Delta, won the Listed Sale Cup and the Group 3 Sandown Stakes in succession.

Born and raised at Blue Gum Farm, Gold Fields was prepared for sale and offered at the 2014 Inglis Melbourne VOBIS Gold Yearling Sale. It was here that astute judge Mark Riley took a shine to the colt and he was knocked down to Riley’s Glenhuntly Lodge for $42,000. “He was a very neat, tidy sort of yearling,” remembered Philip Campbell recently. “He wasn’t a big colt but he was correct, easy on the eye and he could walk too.”  

Gold Fields was no stranger to the country cup circuit having previously won the 2017 Ballan Cup and the 2018 Wodonga Cup. However it has been his 2019 Spring campaign that has really seen his star rise. He took out the $200,000 Sale Cup the day after Blue Gum Farm’s extraordinary Cox Plate Day, taking the farm’s weekend tally of Stakes wins to four. He had to do a lot of work early from a wide draw, but after sitting just outside the leader for most of the trip, he still found another gear down the straight to win by almost a length from the quality Turffontein gelding Mandela Effect. Three weeks later Gold Fields stepped up to Group level giving popular jockey Stephen Baster a fairy tale ending to his long and successful career when the pair prevailed in a tight finish.

Gold Fields has now won 11 races and $633,265 in stakes representing a fantastic return on investment for his connections. Trainer Logan McGill has said that a trip to Dubai in January and February is now on the cards, after he was approached by Dubai racing officials to campaign the horse over there. Everyone at Blue Gum Farm will be wishing Logan and Gold Fields every success as he goes international. Kevin Heffernan would be exceptionally proud of his homebred!

Cox Plate Day Stakes Treble

What a day 2019 MVRC W S Cox Plate day was for Blue Gum Farm. Once the final race had been run and won, three Blue Gum sales graduates had won Stakes races on one of the biggest days of the racing calendar.

The success began early when the Des Pope bred Ideas Man (Brazen Beau x Innovation Girl by Rubiton) won the first race on the card, the $500,000 Inglis Banner (RL). It was the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace trained colt’s first start and he showed his class by chasing down the front runners in the final 200m and winning well. He was a member of our 2019 Inglis Melbourne Premier draft and was purchased by Ciaron Maher Bloodstock for $575,000. “He was a very special colt from day one this bloke,” remembers Blue Gum Farm’s Philip Campbell. “Always strong and forward looking, he prepped beautifully for this year’s sale and sold accordingly. He has started his career sensationally and I’m sure he will scale even greater heights in the future.”

Two races later and the Blue Gum homebred La Falaise (Canford Cliffs x Exceedingly French by Exceed and Excel) shared the spoils in the Group 2 $300,000 Fillies Classic, dead heating in a desperately close finish. The Henry Dwyer trained filly sat one off the fence for most of trip before pulling out in the home straight and attacking the line strongly to force the dead heat right on the line. La Falaise was a member of our 2018 Inglis Melbourne VOBIS Gold draft and was knocked down to Forest Lodge Racing for just $5,000. “This filly was a stretchy, athletic filly who moved well but her sire was out of favour at the time and she was back in the knee,” recalls Campbell. “Darren Weir took a fancy to the filly in the back parade ring at Oaklands, followed her in to the sale ring and purchased her. She has proven a very good investment for the Roll The Dice Syndicate and being well handled by Henry, there could be plenty more to come with her yet.”

The stakes treble was completed when another Blue Gum Farm home bred in Sartorial Splendor (Brazen Beau x Personal Ensign by Rubiton) easily won the Group 3 $200,000 Red Anchor Stakes. Jumping beautifully from the barriers, the John Sadler trained colt lead throughout and kicked away late to win the 1200 metre contest by a comfortable one and three-quarter lengths. A member of our 2018 Inglis Melbourne Premier draft, the colt was sold to John Sadler Training Services for $130,000. “He was another cracking good sort by Brazen Beau,” said Philip Campbell. “He was deemed to have some x-ray issues at the sale though and that affected his sale price. Credit to John Sadler who overlooked that and backed his judgement on the colt. My understanding is that the so called x-ray issues amounted to nothing and John is very much looking forward to further rewards with this colt.”

This was certainly a Saturday that family, friends and staff at Blue Gum Farm will remember for many years to come!

Brilliance All Round

Blue Gum Farm’s Samson Sibanda is the proud winner of the inaugural Northern Region Thoroughbreds ‘Courtney Horwood Memorial Everyday Hero’ award. The award was presented at the 2019 NRTSC awards dinner at Fowles Winery Avenel. We are so proud of Samson for all he has endured and achieved these past four years of our association. Courtney would be overjoyed for her dear friend. 

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