Ontrack Thoroughbreds’ smart Tavistock colt Tavisan made a hugely impressive start to his Australian career when he ran away to win at Cranbourne.
A powerful colt prepared at Caufield by Mick Price, Tavisan was purchased at the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale by Ontrack Managing Director Grant Morgan for $135,000.
Like all the Ontrack purchases in New Zealand, the colt was broken in and left in New Zealand to grow out and develop.
“We like to give our Kiwi purchases all the time we can on the magnificent pastures over there because they grow great bone on farms that are perfect for developing a young thoroughbred.
“Young Matamata trainer Jacob McKay broke the colt in for us and he was so impressed with him that he encouraged us to aim him at the Karaka Millions at Ellerslie.
“Basically, little went right for him in four starts there and he struck a couple wet tracks which he hated.
“He showed his ability when fifth in a listed race at Matamata followed by a nice effort at Group 1 level at Ellerslie, ” said Grant Morgan.
“Since getting here he hasn’t missed a beat, winning two trials and then scoring first-up at Cranbourne.
“Tavisan strikes me as a brilliant colt and he might be like Tavistock and be a sprinter.
Tavistock was a son of Montjeu and was actually his fastest son around the world, clocking 1.21 over 1400 metres in winning a Group One in New Zealand.
“The other thing that makes me thing he’s like his old man is a dislike of rain affected footing and he was able to win at two.
“This colt could be a candidate for a race like the Coolmore Stakes at Flemington in the spring, but we will take our time and let Mick develop a plan once the dust settles,” said Grant Morgan.
Ontrack followers would have noticed that Tavisan didn’t sport the usual Ontrack gold livery. That’s because the Dubai-based thoroughbred investment fund Phoenix Bloodstock purchased a significant interest in the horse as a yearling and he’s the first horse to race for Phoenix under Ontrack management.
Congratulations to our owners: Ontrack Thoroughbreds No 1 Syndicate, Phoenix Thoroughbreds, Adrian Abrecht, Jim Lagos, Lewis Prince, Eric Newsome, David Worthley, Vin Harink, Mark Snowden, Mark Ostermeyer, Neil Evison, Mark Horn, Lisa Saxton, Bebe Mawer.
Darley stallion Lonhro is a cult hero of Australian racing and breeding and he continues to create headlines in spite of turning 20 next week.
Lonhro is always one of the star attractions on the Ontrack Hunter Valley Horse and Wine Tour each October and on the weekend the stallion with the superstar looks had his first Group Two winner in the USA when War Heroine won the San Clemente Stakes on turf at Del Mar.
In 2012 Darley announced Lonhro would shuttle from his Hunter Valley base to their Kentucky base and War Herione is one of nine stakes winners from his three Northern Hemisphere crops. So far, his US progeny has recorded 96 winners from 187 starters or 71.7% winners to runners with 6.6 % stakes-winners to runners.
“When the Ontrack Tour goes to Darley’s Kelvinside property each year, Lonhro is always one of the most popular stallions,” said Ontrack’s Grant Morgan.
“He’s such a magnificent specimen of the thoroughbred, but his fans also remember a brave and talented racehorse who had that x-factor during a stellar career on the track.
In fact a couple of years back we had one Lonhro fan who would have been up to Mastermind standard with Lonhro as her chosen subject.
“In a time when stallion prospects rarely race beyond their three-year-old year, fans of Lonhro remember a horse who raced through to five and had 35 career starts for 26 wins and 8 placings.
“He won 11 Group Ones and nine Group Twos and at stud he has become a sire of sires with his son Pierro the champion second season sire in Australia while his sons Exosphere and Denman stand alongside him at Kelvinside.
“The Hunter Valley Tour is a fantastic chance to see horses such as Lonhro and Pierro up close and I’m certain that as Lonhro prepares to start his 15th season at stud he will be as popular as ever with the Ontrack team,” said Grant Morgan.
If there was a free handicap for Australia’s racing administrators, New South Wales supremo Peter V’Landys would head it by a huge margin.
This week’s announcement of massive stakes rises for all New South Wales races was just another magic moment in a month of triumphs for V’Landys and Racing New South Wales.
At the same time, the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko was announced. The race will be restricted to only NSW country trained horses who will get a chance to compete on the biggest day of racing in Australia with more than $16 million of prizemoney on offer.
Racing New South Wales increase of $25 million a year in stakes was great news for the whole racing industry said Ontrack Thoroughbreds Managing Director Grant Morgan.
“The new stakes regime will see a minimum Saturday stake of $125,000 in Sydney with all other race days offering stakes increases of 10% to 25%.
“The other great news is that from 1 September, is the major boost in prize money for horses finishing fourth to tenth in Saturday races in Sydney. The new regime sees stakes between $6,500 and $3,500 for unplaced horses.
“The reality is that with the enhanced prizemoney back to tenth, horses can nearly race for free in Sydney on Saturdays.
“It makes it even more attractive to have a horse trained in Sydney and Ontrack owners have already enjoyed the fantastic prizemoney in Sydney with the likes of Test The World and Girl Sunday.
“The other option that appeals to Ontrack is our Queensland-trained horses being able to run for bigger purses across the border. All races at country tracks in the northern rivers area run for a guaranteed $22,000 while all provincial meetings will have a minimum of $30,000.
“The major upgrades of the highway between Ballina and Coffs Harbour is in full swing and once that’s completed it will make trips from Queensland to tracks on the mid-north coast a lot easier.
“The lifeblood for our owners will always be stakes and this week’s increases are tremendous news and there’s never been a better time to own a horse that’s trained in New South Wales or is able to compete on tracks in that state,” said Grant Morgan.
Ontrack Racing Tour to the Hunter Valley this spring will have a sombre moment with the news that Yarraman Stud’s popular stallion Hinchinbrook has died after a tragic mishap.
Yarraman Stud is one of six leading Hunter Valley studs on the annual Ontrack Horse and Wine Tour each October and the stud is always a highlight on the tour.
Hinchinbrook was a product of Yarraman and after a successful racing career he returned to the Mitchell Brothers property in 2011 to stand alongside champion stallion I Am Invincible.
“While Hinchinbrook stood in the shadow of I Am Invincible to some extent, he developed off a slow start to be a tremendous success in his own right and was forging a terrific career,” said Ontrack Thoroughbreds Grant Morgan.
“He was champion first season stallion in 2014-15 and was really starting to charge up the ranks of Australian stallions with over 100 winners in Australia this season earning in excess of $6.2 million.
“His progeny worldwide have won 369 races and $22 million from only 261 runners and there’s no doubt those numbers will grow dramatically in the next few years.
“Hinchinbrook left the Group One winners Seabrook and Press Statement and his career was on an upward spiral. He was a three-quarter brother to Snitzel and the Mitchell Brothers did a magnificent job as he had some fertility issues and could be a bit of a character to handle.
“The Ontrack tour to Yarraman is always a treat as the Mitchell Brothers are great hosts and it was always great to see I Am Invincible and Hinchinbrook in the flesh.
“Both were lovely horses physically but Hinchinbrook was definitely a bit of a lad and Harry Mitchell was justifiably proud of the great records I Am Invincible and Hinchinbrook built up.
“The loss of Hinchinbrook is also very sad as he was raced by a good friend of Ontrack in Francois Naude, who also bred the stallion and retained an interest in him.
“We have enjoyed the company of Francois and partner Agnes on Ontrack tours and we extend our deepest sympathy as they were justifiably proud of the achievements of this magnificent horse,” said Grant Morgan.
A winning double at Thursday's Cranbourne pushed stallion Written Tycoon to 151 winners for the season.
Impressive first starter Pippie from Chris Meagher's Mornington stable and Jealous Tycoon were Written Tycoon's winners in what has been a magnificent 2017-18 season for the champion Victorian stallion.
A chestnut filly, Pippie is the first foal of the six race winning Coupe Express and she was purchased by John Meagher from the 2017 Inglis Classic Sale for long-time stable clients Heran Brothers from Queensland.
She was consigned by Queensland's Eureka Stud and was knocked down for $60,000.
Ontrack Thoroughbreds Managing Director said Written Tycoon has been one of the shining lights in the current season, thanks to the exploits of his brilliant son Written By, winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes.
"To be fair, Written Tycoon has probably had the biggest mountain to climb of all the leading stallions in Australia. He started off a fairly modest service fee of $8250 and it's fair to say his early books were average mares.
"It's extremely hard for a horse to make such an impact off a low fee base, but first crop youngsters such as the Group One placegetter Masthead, Written Consent and Trump pushed their sire ahead of much higher profile stallions.
"Since then he has been a revelation and he's achieved a phenomenal 73% winners to runners, including five Group One winners and two champion two-year-old colts in Capitalist and Written By.
"I've had a liking for the Written Tycoons for a while and came close to buying Winning Rupert as a yearling and bought a stunning Written Tycoon colt at the Inglis Sales this year.
"He's a real head turner and will go to Bjorn Baker at Warwick Farm after being broken in by Paul Blattman at Whispering Pines in New South Wales.
"He reminds me very much of Brazen Beau at the same time and is from a mare who has thrown two promising horses so far at stud," said Grant Morgan