FOUR of the past five Group 1 Golden Slipper winners have direct links with Queensland's Thoroughbred breeding industry.
With the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) rated as the world's richest race for 2YOs, the roll call is:
- 2020: Farnan - from Queensland-bred mare Tallow (Malt Farm and Gallery).
- 2019: Kiamichi - by current Queensland resident sire Sidestep (Telemon Thoroughbreds).
- 2017: She Will Reign - from Queensland-bred mare Courgette (Bellagio Lodge).
- 2016: Capitalist - bred and raised in Queensland (Daandine Stud).
This year's winner 2YO colt Farnan, ridden by Hugh Bowman, went to the line 1.75 lengths clear in what was a clean sweep for runners sold at the 2019 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. The first six runners over the line - Farnan, Away Game, Mamaragam, Tagaloa, Hungry Heart and Prague - were all sold at Queensland's pin-up yearling auction about 16 months ago.
The win was the seventh in the Slipper for Gai Waterhouse, but a special one as it was the first she shared with her training partner Adrian Bott. The win was also a first in the Golden Slipper for Bowman who rode Winx to so many famous victories.
Farnan was sold on Day 1 of the 2019 Gold Coast Yearling Sale by Vinery Stud as agent for Phoenix Thoroughbreds and was bought for $550,000 by Aquis Farm with Phoenix Thoroughbreds retaining a share.
He is by former sale graduate and superstar sire Not a Single Doubt from the group winning Street Cry mare Tallow. A winner of the Group 3 The Vanity at Flemington and runner-up in a Magic Millions 3YO Guineas, Tallow is also the dam of the stakes winning juvenile Sandbar - who was fourth in a Group 1 Golden Rose.
Earlier this year, Arrowfield Stud announced that Not A Single Doubt had been pensioned after suffering pulmonary disease which would prevent him from covering mares again. He has 56 live foals born last year and he covered 94 in 2019.
International equine artist bred Slipper winner's dam
STUBBS, Munnings, Malt - I have prints and/or paintings by all three internationally eminent equine artists displayed at home.
English-born George Stubbs (1724-1806) and Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) I know by reputation. The late Brisbane-born Brian Malt I knew on a first-hand basis as an artist, racehorse owner/breeder and the father of former Queensland Country Life work colleague Shannon Malt. Brian died (aged 76) on July 26, 2017 in Toowoomba after a lengthy illness.
Widely regarded as Australia's most eminent Thoroughbred artist, Brian was commissioned by race clubs nationally and internationally to paint famous racing scenes and horses. Some of his work is on display at race clubs including Toowoomba, Moonee Valley, Eagle Farm, Doomben, Tattersalls and at the Eagle Farm Racing Museum, while other works are displayed in Australia, England, Canada and in numerous private collections.
Although originally based in Brisbane, Brian later moved to Southbrook on the outskirts of Toowoomba and became an ardent supporter of the Darling Downs Thoroughbred industry with his involvement including successful horse ownership and breeding.
Now another accolade can be added to his CV - breeder of Tallow, who is the dam of this year's Golden Slipper winner Farnan. In fact, Brian bred and raced Tallow's dam African Queen - a Lion Hunter mare who won five races and then produced six winners including Mr Light Blue (Fantastic Light) who won eight races and was runner-up in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes for Brian's family.
Brian's son Shannon said his father normally kept his fillies and sold his colts but broke with tradition and catalogued African Queen's filly by Street Cry at the 2008 Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling sale where she sold to John Singleton's Strawberry Hill Stud for $30,000. Singleton subsequently sold Group 3 winner Tallow with Farnan in utero for $250,00 at the 2017 Magic Millions national broodmare sale having earlier sold her yearling colt by Snitzel for $650,000 at the Magic Millions yearling sale in January 2017. That was dual Listed winner Sandbar who was also placed fourth in the Group 1 Golden Rose and has won almost $500,000 prize money.
However that is just 'loose change' in comparison to his younger half-brother Farnan (Not A Single Doubt) who sold for $550,000 at the 2019 Magic Million yearling sale and has just passed $2.5 million in earnings with his five wins that include both the Group 1 Golden Slipper and Group 2 Silver Slipper.
RQ industry update on COVID-19
RACING Queensland advised this week that meetings across the state will continue to be conducted under stringent health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The advice comes seven days after RQ mandated patron-free racing across its three codes - along with limiting access to trials and trackwork to essential licensed personnel - while also introducing appropriate social distancing.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said it was essential the racing industry kept across updates around COVID-19, especially in relation to travel and health advice. "It's important participants stay fully informed for their own health and safety, and for the racing industry in Queensland," he said.
At the weekend, RQ initiated temperature testing for jockeys at Eagle Farm before rolling it out across all other TAB clubs in Queensland. Increased segregation has also been introduced, with additional spaces used by on-course participants from standard race meetings.
"The Queensland racing industry is fully aware of the gravity of the situation and that people's livelihoods are at stake," RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said. "The Queensland racing industry sustains 11,570 full-time jobs and provides more than $850 million in salaries and wages and we know that our stakeholders are desperate to continue their operations where appropriate. We will continue to comply with the directives of the government and the respective health agencies in order to limit the spread of COVID-19," he said.
Capricornia yearling sale postponed
THE 2020 Capricornia Yearling Sales has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rockhampton Jockey Club issued correspondence to stakeholders on Monday advising of the postponement with the event to be reviewed at the end of May.
"It is regrettable that the Capricornia Yearling Sales Promoters have to notify you all of the postponement of the 2020 Sale due to be held on Sunday, April 5," the statement read.
"Unfortunately, we have to admit defeat to COVID-19 and the restrictions that have and will be put in place going forward. As mentioned in earlier correspondence the health and safety of all our team, vendors, buyers and other interested parties is paramount to our decision making. The situation will be reviewed again by Friday, May 29, 2020. Further information will be circulated to all Stakeholders shortly after this date."
Qld trainers seek border clarification
RACING will continue in Queensland but participants are seeking clarification about what the closure of the state's border after Wednesday this week will mean for horse and human movement.
ANZ Bloodstock News reports the Murwillumbah, NSW meeting on Monday featured 16 Queensland trainers, while eight NSW-based trainers have horses nominated for Doomben on Saturday. Horses are expected to be exempt from restrictions but the problem will be for trainers and strappers who accompany them. They could face 14 days in lockdown after returning from a cross-border trip as authorities seek to contain the coronavirus.
Queensland on Monday became the latest state to close its borders, joining Tasmania, WA, NT, SA and the ACT in imposing a 14-day quarantine period on any non-essential visitors. So far, the governments of NSW and Victoria have not taken the same action, meaning interstate vendors - including Element Hill, KBL Thoroughbreds and Highgrove Stud (Queensland) - for the forthcoming Inglis Easter yearling sale in Sydney on April 7-8 would still be able to consign their horses at the Easter sale. However, the staff returning to their home state after the sale would be compelled to undertake 14 days of self-isolation where a border ban was in place.
New Zealand has also seen the immediate suspension of racing in the country for at least four weeks due to strict protocols imposed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
"The Queensland racing industry is fully aware of the gravity of the situation and that people's livelihoods are at stake," Mr Parnell said. "We will continue to comply with the directives of the government and the respective health agencies in order to limit the spread of COVID-19."
Non-TAB Thoroughbred race changes
RACING Queensland has approved a number of race date, programming and prize money changes for non-TAB thoroughbred clubs across Queensland over the next month.
RQ has written to non-TAB clubs imploring them to continue - where possible - with their scheduled race meetings. This request was made to ensure:
- Animal welfare is prioritised by providing racing opportunities for Queensland thoroughbreds across the state; and
- Returns to participants can be realised through the distribution of prize money (wages), with clubs serving as the primary 'vehicle' to enable this activity.
To financially assist non-TAB racing clubs who conduct patron-free meetings, RQ has confirmed meetings can be conducted at standard prize money allocations, along with the applicable RQ allocated feature monies.
In total, eight venue changes have been approved over the coming weeks with further changes forecast.
RQ raises minimum riding weights during COVID-19
RACING Queensland has confirmed that minimum riding weights for all TAB and non-TAB meetings across the state will be temporarily raised by one kilogram during the COVID-19 pandemic. The direction will be applied across the board, excluding black-type races, until further notice.
RQ will enact the new policy for any meeting for which weights are declared from Monday, March 23, with the Toowoomba Turf Club's seven-race card on Thursday to be the first to be run under the new conditions.
RQ CEO Brendan Parnell said it was prudent to do so in the current circumstances. "The health and wellbeing of our participants during this pandemic is paramount including our jockeys. By raising minimum riding weights across the board, it's a small but meaningful way we can assist with their welfare during the most unique of circumstances at present," he said.