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Bluebloods : April 2010
Ron and Debbie Gilbert's Highgrove Stud enjoyed one of its most satisfying days on VRC Newmarket day 2010 since it commenced operations at Westbrook on Queensland's fertile Darling Downs over a decade ago. Wanted (Fastnet Rock-Fragmentation by Snippets) scorched to an all-the-way win in that toughest of Gr.1 sprinting tests, the Newmarket having the cream of the nation's speedsters in his wake. He had been one of Highgrove's success stories at the yearling sales, fetching $800K at the 2008 Inglis Australian Easter Sale. He was a winner first time out as a juvenile, going on to establish himself as one of Australia's top sprinters with a series of placings at the highest level before recording this well deserved success in the Newmarket. To make the result even sweeter for Highgrove, Ron Gilbert had been one of the first approached to take shares in the horse he had sold when Widden Stud syndicated Wanted as a stallion in the weeks leading up to the Newmarket. Ron Gilbert never one to do things by halves had also "gone long" on Wanted's female family, liking the dam Fragmentation and her offspring so much that he also purchased her half-sister Figmentation, by Commands, to add to his superb broodmare band. But wait there's more. The previous week, Wanted's half-brother Shrapnel (by Charge Forward) won the Breeders' S-Gr.3 in Adelaide following an unlucky SP debut at his first start. Wanted and Shrapnel as Fragmentation's first two foals to race elevating her to one of Australia's most valuable broodmares in the space of a week. Shrapnel's win in Adelaide added a nice touch to the Fragmentation story, closing the circle as it were, because this particular female family had been developed in South Australia by Florian and Martha Stumpf at their Paumah Stud, the property later being renamed Lakewood Stud. The Stumpfs have since retired from the business but their thoroughbred family is still active. Ron Gilbert entered the industry with a clear aim to operate at the top of the commercial market, being under no illusions that high prices at the sales needed to be matched by results on the track to ensure Highgrove's future. There have been both triumphs and disappointments on the way, as there are for all breeders with Highgrove regularly being among the top breeders in the nation by average at the majors, recording sales up to and over a million dollars on a regular basis. Their four millionaire babies were spearheaded by the Danehill-Verocative colt that failed the scope in 2002, giving Ron his biggest letdown, but one which he accepted with good grace, becoming even more determined to achieve his goals. The Highgrove yearlings not only sold well, but they ran well too. Notable performers bred and raised on the farm include Porto Roca, Jet Spur (now a promising young sire), Stella Artois, Omnitrader, Stockade, Espurante, Get To Work, Legally Bay, Pure Joy, Fravaashi and now Shrapnel and Wanted. The farm's record of producing 40% stakes winners from the horses sold is one that any breeder in the world would be proud of. The Highgrove offering for Easter 2010 consists of two colts and two fillies which can be expected to carry on the tradition established by the top performers that have gone before. The first colt to go into the ring as Lot 86 is by Arrowfield's hot young first season sire Snitzel, sire of the flying Chance Bye, out of the SW More Than Ready mare Stormy Miss. This is her first living foal and is bred on the Danehill/More Than Ready cross which has been so successful (when initially tried in reverse) with Golden Slipper winner Sebring, Perfectly Ready and Benicio all high class winners among its best representatives. The second colt to go into the ring as Lot 235 is by Danehill's Gr1 winning successful sire son Exceed and Excel who has been a leading sire of each crop for Darley since going to stud. This chestnut colt is out of a winning half-sister to Timbourina, Media and Cardinal Virtue her third dam being the Gr.1 winner and influential mare Bravery. The first Highgrove filly into the ring is also by Exceed and Excel, being Lot 89 out of the five times winning Brief Truce mare Pause, who has produced three winners from her first four to race including the SWs Hesitates and Super Lacuna. Her third dam is the Sandown Guineas winner Blixen. Not to be outdone, the second of the fillies to be offered as Lot 152 is by multiple champion Australia sire Encosta de Lago out of the stakes producing Lure mare Sequin. This filly is a half-sister to two winners including the very smart SW Get To Work, but even more significantly her dam is a three-quarter sister to Shania Dane and Hong Kong multimillionaire Scintillation. There will be few fillies in the catalogue with greater residual value than this miss. Ron Gilbert will go to Easter with high hopes and reasonable expectations of a strong sale, but if he has a little time to reflect he will probably be thinking just what a fine line there can be between success and failure in this industry. Good luck can be as important as good planning. There can be no better illustration of this point than going back to where we came in, Wanted's win in the Newmarket. As the runners were assembled behind the stalls, a huge black pall descended over the track, the race itself being run against a dark background of sky that would have passed muster for a scene from Dante's inferno. Just minutes after the race all hell did indeed break loose, a white hell of hailstones that covered Flemington, and much of Melbourne forcing the remainder of the meeting to be postponed. But Wanted had run and won, Widden and Highgrove were content with the result and Ron Gilbert can look back on this particular Newmarket as the one that didn't get away. April 2010 INGLIS AUSTRALIAN EASTER YEARLING SALE Wanted (Flying Spur-Categorical (USA) by Hennessy (USA)) M.K. THE ONE we Wanted 22
Inglis Sydney Classic
Tyreel Easter Yearlings