The following is Gai Waterhouse’s latest blog
On the road again, again. This time to visit Steve Morley, the very successful manager of Glenlogan Park Stud which is Queensland’s leading stallion station.
I have had three fun filled days of intensely viewing the Queensland yearlings that are heading to Magic Millions. The stock I have seen it simply outstanding; there is a view this is due to the kind winter Queensland has experienced. The yearling’s bones, muscle tone and size are mind blowing.
As per usual the Lady Trainer was running a touch late to meet Steve. The stud master mentioned to me, that for the following night, I was not allowed to even run one minute late, as Ron Gilbert from Highgrove Stud, had kindly arranged for me to talk to a group of local business people from Toowoomba. Toowoomba of course, is a famous horse town, and the area was the birthplace and the host to the early career of the immortal Bernborough, the Toowoomba Tornado. Hopefully the next Bernborough has been inspected by the team and will be purchased at the Magic Millions sales.
Bruce, Lea and Emma have been working furiously in and around the stud farms. I kidnapped Emma from the Darley Flying Start program, but she seems to love her time with Gai. It is important to train the trainee; I want to show the young industry participants how I selected the best yearlings. There is an art to it. I am not saying I have it perfected, but my results over the last twenty years have provided many great highlights. In Australia, like no other country, a trainer really puts their money where their mouth is. I “spec” a yearling, in the hope that it can be resold to clients. Bruce, Adrian and I have already started generating interest in pre-sale enquires for the upcoming sales. You certainly cannot go in blind! Our team is well oiled and we have very well laid plans. Hopefully it all comes to fruition.
As I have mentioned previously, it is important that the majority of yearlings are inspected before we are on the Gold Coast in January. We all can’t be running around trying to make decisions on the Gold Coast. The team in Sydney at this time of year still need training. We have a very strong team heading towards the 2-y-o and 3-y-o Magic Millions Classic races, and these horses need their final preparations mapped out and supervised. This cannot be done if we are all running from sale yard to sale yard inspection yearlings for the first time.
At this point I have three talented horses in Perth, all who are completing their final preparations for Saturday’s big races. Fat Al heads to the Railway Stakes, Hallowell Belle the Winterbottom and Upon This Rock the Jungle Mist Classic. There were questions about me taking Fat Al to Perth after he bombed in the Group One Emirates Stakes at Flemington. But I explained to the owners that this striking son of Al Maher may have done too well in the lead up to that race. He is not the “quickest thinking” gelding, and the big straight seemed to have fazed him a touch. In the past, I have had horses bomb at their first start under certain conditions, only to show the field a clean pair of heels at their next start under the same conditions. This is what I expect from Fat Al on Saturday. Nash goes onto Fat Al, and he is looking very fit after training hard during the duration of his suspension. I thought it was important to get Nash together with Darren Beadman so they could discuss life at the top of the jockey tree. As Darren so rightly described, once you are at the top, no other jockeys are really your mates. They are all trying to knock you off.
It is important that we as racing people try and learn things from others in the same industry. Rob and I, when we head overseas, try and study the training techniques of other trainers in an attempt to pick up something extra, no matter how insignificant.
Upon This Rock (Fastnet Rock x Joleur) is owned by Laurie Macri, whose wife Kristen has just moved to Perth. Laurie will be moving there soon. Laurie convinced me to take this mare to Perth, and on looking through the program, it is evident that there are several good mares’ races that this horse will be into up to her ears. Hallowell Belle (Starcraft x Bella Inez) will contest the Group One Winterbottom Stakes, and there does not seem to be a more consistent sprinting mare in work in Australia. She won the Group Two Gilgai down the Flemington straights and was running on extremely well in the Group One Manikato Stakes and Patinack Farm Classic. She will be very competitive come Saturday.
I heard the funniest expression while travelling yesterday; actually, on the road you hear many funny expressions, many of which cannot be repeated on this all-ages friendly blog. But this one was a gem. A young chap was leading out a yearling, and he was walking backwards, which I thought was just a bit odd. Anyhow, the lad got bitten on the nipple and curled over as if shot and had to be relieved. Steve said that this fella thought manual labour was a Mexican tennis player! And with that the crowd burst into laughter, and on replaying the story in the car, the entourage burst into laughter. It certainly takes all types to keep this business ticking. I personally cannot stand when people are lounging around, not working, especially when it is work time. Young Tommy Berry knows what I mean. Just before trackwork the other morning, Tommy was cracking jokes and laughing away, when he should have been concentrating on what was a very important session. Well, as I reminded him with a well-timed burst, his persona changed and he had a very sullen look on his face. This is not to say, that I don’t love cracking a joke; but there is a time and place for everything. Anyone who works for me knows I like to keep up a very solid pace. I don’t like lapses in the work day. If these lapses do occur I seem to get tired or goof off. Not good.
One of the other great joys of the stud farms are the morning teas, lunches and afternoon teas. The Queenslanders present these at Group One level. And the Nolan Clan from Raheen Stud just may be the best. Well maybe they have dead-heated with Mary from Noralla Stud and her Vanilla Butter Cake. All the studs are buttering up the Lady Trainer with the most desirable treats, but I must say, I do love it. The treats are served in very close proximity to the parading of the yearlings. Coincidence? Keep the Lady Trainer happy with delicious food and I will be in a better frame of mind while inspecting yearlings, seems to be the consensus.
Basil and Natalie’s boy William is starting to grow rapidly and is looking mighty robust. He has lived the most torrid life due to a heart complaint that has plagued him from birth. I remember his grandmother Di cradling him in her arms when he was really struggling, and it just broke my heart to see him so sick. Now however, his rosy checks and mischievous grin having him looking like a million dollars. His brother James, who can’t be much older than four, is destined for greatness in the racing / breeding industry. They told me that this young boy was going to lead out a yearling. Not just any yearling, but a colt by the magnificent stallion Show A Heart. I thought they must have gone mad. But sure enough at the end of the parade, young James, looking as proud as punch, led out this handsome looking colt. It was just a delight.
Heart-warming stuff… Until tomorrow, good night.
Star Thoroughbreds Rockafellacentre (O’Reilly x Frankish) got his tongue over the bit on Friday night at Canterbury and therefore produced a poor run. But a tongue tie will certainly fix this, and based on his work, he will be very hard to beat at Canterbury on November 30.
Celtic Sea (Fastnet Rock x Wickham) appeared to be gliding over the turf this morning. I am simply delighted with this young girl.
Star Thoroughbreds Oceans (Fastnet Rock x Kapalua Bay) is flying and I am very confident she will continue on her winning way.
Almighty Charge (Charge Forward x Redoute’s Fever) has continued to come right on since an impressive trial victory. He is improving every day.
Valerio (Strategic x Dianthus) is owned by Stuart Ramsey, a man who is not shy about coming forward when something is bugging him. He messaged me and mentioned that he was not happy in regards to this filly. I called him and his response was “lucky you called young lady.” Happy owners are good owners, and I will always try to keep every owner as satisfied as I possibly can.
The Great Snowman (Brilliance x Penelope Pitstop) was ridden by Nash this morning, and the report back indicates this gelding is going as good as he possibly can.
Psycho (Redoute’s Choice x Milliyet) is owned by Singo and champion boxer Garth Wood. This colt is flying and getting closer to his racetrack debt. Psycho and boxing are two terms that could be used to describe mine and Singo’s relationship of late.
Power Broker (Zabeel x Power And Grace) and Hippopus (High Chaparral x Straight Eight) both head to Newcastle on Saturday after working the house this morning.
Star Thoroughbreds Maskahiko (Haradasun x Saffie Darling) heads to a maiden plate at Newcastle in terrific order.
Niagara (Encosta de Lago x River Song) put in a lovely piece of work.
Magic Millions graduate Divine Calling (Stratum x Rubicall) heads to 2-y-o classic at Ballarat. And what a brilliant move it is allowing this race in the heart of Victoria to be run the Queensland way of going. This will prepare the horses brilliantly for the rich Magic Millions races on the Gold Coast in January. Bravo.
Source : www.gaiwaterhouse.com.au