Progeny treble for Qld mares

Group winning progeny treble from Queensland mares


Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.


THREE Queensland-bred mares – Noondie, Courgette and Serene Lass – have excelled themselves as the dams of a superb Group 1, 2 and 3 winning treble in Melbourne and Sydney on Saturday.

The elite races were:

  • Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), Caulfield – won by 4YO mare Booker (Written Tycoon/Noondie).
  • Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m), Rosehill – won by 2YO colt Time To Reign (Time For War/Courgette).
  • Group 3 Zedative Stakes (1200m), Caulfield – won by 3YO gelding Terbium (Terango/Serene Lass).

In a remarkable double, Noondie and Courgette both carry the BL brand – the brand of  former boutique stud Bellagio Lodge established by Gold Coast builder Paul Sweeney at Tallebudgera. Both were then sold at the Inglis Premier yearling sale in Melbourne, both their first foals were Group 1 winners and both will be represented at forthcoming Inglis Yearling sales. Noondie has a half-brother to Booker by Starspangledbanner listed at the Premier yearling sale being held next week from March 3 to 6 while Corguette has a sister to Time To Reign on offer at the Australian Easter yearling sale in Sydney being held on April 9 and 10.    

Courgette has already achieved national prominence as the dam of the 2017 Group 1 Golden Slipper winning filly She Will Reign (by Manhattan Rain) and was subsequently sold for $2.1 million at last year’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale. Having won more than $3.2 million in prize money, She Will Reign was also sold for an undisclosed amount in June last year to Japanese breeder Katsumi Yoshida who has planned a Northern Hemisphere spring mating to star stallion Deep Impact (Jpn).

The Queensland links don’t end there. Star colt Time To Reign is raced by a syndicate that includes Mackay racing enthusiast Paul Maguire who bred Terbium’s dam Serene Lass. The mare is now owned by Birdsville Race Club president and grazier David Brook who first used Terbium’s sire Terango as a station sire at Murnpeowie Station located near Lake Eyre on the Strzelecki Track 730km north-west of Adelaide.

Birdsville takes on the world

John Allen rides Terbium to victory in the Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday. (AAP Image/George Salpigtidis)

John Allen rides Terbium to victory in the Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday. (AAP Image/George Salpigtidis)

TRY word association with Birdsville and most people in Australia will respond with Birdsville races – the iconic race meeting in south west Queensland held the first weekend in September that began around 135 years ago and generally attracts more than 4000 devotees each year.

However, last Saturday, things were different. Instead of Birdsville being the centre of the racing world, a Birdsville-owned horse Terbium went to Melbourne and won – specifically the 1200m Group 3 Zeditave Stakes for 3YO colts and geldings at Caulfield.

Now unbeaten in four starts in SA and Victoria for trainer Philip Stokes, the 3YO gelding is bred and owned by Birdsville Racing Club president David Brook who also owns his sire Terango and dam Serene Lass. Bought by Brook as a yearling for $6000 at the 2004 Adelaide Magic Million yearling sale, Terango won seven races in SA and was twice Group 3 placed for Adelaide trainer David Balfour.

With his last race occurring in March 2009, Brook ‘bushed’ Terango to Murnpeowie Station in outback SA where he stayed for three to four years with several station mares for company before he decided to relocate him in 2013 to Strathwood Park – a small agistment property at Strathalbyn, SA, run by trainer Greg Lesnikowski who has had a 15 years' association agisting and pre-training several of Brook’s horses. 

“The main reason I moved him was to take advantage of the Grey Sovereign sprinting bloodline in his pedigree. He’s also a great grandson of Danehill and from the same family as Group 1 winner Best Western,” Brook explained. Not marketed for outside use, Terango has – across six seasons – served just a handful of Brook's mares and a few of those of Strathwood's principal Greg Lesnikowski. However, to date only Terbium – reared and educated at Strathwood before joining Phillip Stokes Racing – has been able to win from his 17 registered progeny.

Because of his gelding’s distinctive grey-bay colour, Brook selected the name Terbium which is a silvery-white, rare earth metal while his year younger unraced grey brother has been named Neodium – a truncated spelling of another soft silvery metal Neodymium. Both names continue the ‘good horse’ superstition of a seven-letter name while Terbium also contains the first three letters of his sire’s name.

Other successful horses with seven letter names raced by the Brook family (comprising David, wife Nell and five children) include Rooi Roe (by Bel Espirit) – a winner of seven races for Roma trainer Craig Smith – and Elumino (by El Moxie) who won six races for Melbourne trainer Peter Moody. All of the Brook family horses race under the Saddlers Knife Syndicate – a saddler's knife being a half-moon shaped leather cutting knife which is the symbol brand used on all the Brook family’s 40,000 cattle spread across 3.5 million hectares in the Channel Country plus horses which have won around 100 races in Adelaide alone over many years.

Serene Lass unplaced on track

TERBIUM’S dam Serene Lass never ‘fired’ as a racehorse being unplaced in just five starts in northern NSW.

Bred by Mackay racing enthusiast Paul Maguire, Serene Lass is by Not A Single Doubt from the winning Kenmare mare Ethel and was prepared by Lyndhurst Stud for the 2008 Magic Millions year sale on the Gold Coast where she was bought by Nathan Tinkler’s father Les Tinkler for $13,000. Maguire bought Ethel in foal to Not A Single Doubt privately for $14,000 in mid-2006 with Serene Miss the resultant foal. Having missed to Tsuimai the same breeding season, Ethel was then sold empty at the 2007 Magic Millions National broodmare sale to Ilalia Stud, Scone, NSW.

With her non-performing race record, Serene Lass was virtually unwanted at the Patinack dispersal sale in October 2012 selling for just $2000 to David Brook who selected the mare specifically because of her Grey Sovereign bloodlines which he believed would ‘nick’ successfully with Terango who also has Grey Sovereign in his pedigree. On the plus side, Serene Lass was later found to be in foal to Patinack’s Group 1 winning sire Monaco Consul with Brook keeping the resultant filly foal. Named Gracena, the 5YO mare has now raced 15 times for four wins and four placings for trainer Phillip Stokes who was then entrusted with her younger half-brother Terbium.

Group 1 winner has Queensland parents

AUSTRALIAN Stud Book (ASB) records show last Saturday’s Group 1 Oakleigh Plate winner Booker is a 4YO mare bred in SA. But go back another generation and the ASB pedigree shows both her sire and dam were bred in Queensland!

A year ago, Written By became the second juvenile Group 1 winner for his Queensland-bred sire Written Tycoon when he won the Group 1 Blue Diamond and his 3YO daughter Booker ran fourth in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate. Jump forward 12 months and the now 4YO mare Booker became Written Tycoon’s third Group 1 winning daughter. Indeed the Oakleigh Plate is her third black type win at Caulfield having earlier won the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude and Kevin Hayes Stakes as a 3YO filly.

Booker’s dam is the Queensland-bred Noondie. By Golden Slipper winner Flying Spur from the Umatilla (NZ) mare Creatrix, Noondie was bred at Paul Sweeney’s Bellagio Lodge on the Gold Coast and then sent to Tooloonganvale Stud, Scone to be prepared for the 2010 Inglis Premier yearling sale in Melbourne where she was sold for $50,000 to Belmont Bloodstock Agency.

In fact, two years earlier Belmont had paid $300,000 at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling sale for Creatrix’s first foal – a filly by Redoute’s Choice. Named Tranquility, the filly – racing in Bob Peters’ colours – subsequently won the Listed WATC La Trice Classic, was twice Group 3 placed and ran fourth in the Group 2 Perth Cup. In earning black type, Tranquility emulated Creatrix who won a Listed race in Perth before being sold off the track for $90,000 to Paul Sweeney who sent her to Redoute’s Choice for her first mating. 

Noondie didn’t reach the same lofty heights recording a solitary win at Seymour and three placings in Victoria and SA. With her last start occurring at Gawler in March  2013, she was subsequently offered for sale at an Inglis August sale but was passed in at $18,000.  It was a wise decision as her first foal was Booker who was subsequently sold at the 2016 Inglis Melbourne Premier sale for $230,000.

Slippers fit for Courgette’s progeny

“IF only we had a crystal ball when we raced her a few years ago” is the wistful comment made by former part-owner and Warralong Park principal Wayne Pepper underneath a photo of elite broodmare Courgette on the Warralong Park website after she sold for $2.1 million at last year’s Magic Millions National Broodmare sale.

Key reason for the second top sale price was the fact Courgette was the dam of 2017 Golden Slipper winning filly She Will Reign. Offered by Yarraman Park Stud, the daughter of Charge Forward offered in foal to I Am Invincible was bought by Evergreen Stud Farm in the Hunter Valley, NSW with Gerry Harvey’s Baramul Stud as under-bidder.

Evergreen may have got her cheap! She Will Reign by Manhattan Rain was her first foal. Her second foal Rosina Kojonup – a filly by Cox Plate winner Shamus Award sold for $425,000 at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter yearling sales – has recently won two races from four starts. Then last Saturday, her third foal Time To Reign – sold for $325,000 at the 2018 Magic Millions yearling sales – won the Group 2 Silver Slipper at Rosehill, Sydney, to make it three wins from four starts for the Time For War colt.

Although foaled in NSW, Courgette was bred and reared at Bellagio Lodge – a former boutique stud established by Gold Coast builder Paul Sweeney at Tallebudgera and managed by Wayne Pepper. Bellagio Lodge later relocated to Innisplan near Beaudesert as a spelling and agistment property and has now undergone a name change to Warralong Park offering broodmare care and yearling preparation.

Courgette trained by Gerald Ryan

COURGETTE is from the Marscay mare Our Farm Girl who was bought by Paul Sweeney from John Singleton’s Strawberry Hill Farm for $80,000 at the 2008 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

Having being reared at Bellagio Lodge, Courgette was sent as a yearling filly to Tooloonganvale Stud, Scone – where she was foaled – to be prepared for the 2009 Inglis Premier yearling sale in Melbourne. There she caught the attention of prominent Sydney trainer Gerald Ryan who paid $25,000 for her and later syndicated the filly to a group of owners which included Bellagio Lodge manager Wayne Pepper.

Under Ryan’s guidance, Courgette won two races at Canterbury and Kembla Grange before being on-sold to a syndicate that included Scott Darby – head of racehorse syndication company Darby Racing – and Gary Bachell. Courgette then moved to central Queensland where she had two unplaced starts at Mackay and Rockhampton for Stuart Kendrick before having another change of stables moving to Terry Robinson at Shoalhaven Heads, NSW. However, a further two unplaced starts at Canberra resulted in her retirement from the track for future broodmare duties.

With Gary Bachell listed as the owner, Courgette was sent to Encosta De Lago’s Group 1 winning son Manhattan Rain – a half-brother to champion racehorse and sire Redoute’s Choice – for her first mating with the resultant filly foal prepared for the 2016 Inglis Classic yearling sale in Sydney.  Keen to maintain the association with Courgette, Darby Racing bought the filly for $20,000 with the syndicate owners again including her breeder Gary Bachell.

Many of the same syndicate including Bachell are involved in the ownership of Time To Reign plus Glenlogan Park, Kitchwin Hills, Neil Wherrett (senior co-owner of Black Caviar) and Paul Maguire.


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