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INDEPENDENT HORSE RACING NEWS
Victorian-based Glentree Thoroughbreds are building an enviable collection of well-bred fillies, highlighted by Saturday’s G3 Quezette Stakes debutante Lomandra.
It’s no great secret what initially stood out to Glentree Thoroughbreds manager Luke Simpson about Lomandra when he first saw the filly ahead of the 2021 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.
A year prior, her half-brother Tagaloa had won the G1 Blue Diamond Stakes, Victoria’s richest two-year-old race, putting a massive bold uppercase stamp on her pedigree page.
Finding fillies with big pedigrees at Easter is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel and the daughter of Not A Single Doubt was one of 12 fillies sold at that sale out of a Group 1-producing mare, in her case, the imported Japanese mare Vasilissa.
Vasilissa, by Heart’s Cry, had arrived from Northern Farm to Arrowfield in late 2016 in foal to Lord Kanaloa. The colt she foaled down the following year would win the Blue Diamond for trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young and set up an opportunity to further the influence of Japanese bloodlines in Australia as a stallion at Yulong.
Given the sudden prominence of her family, Lomandra was always going to court attention in the sales ring, and it was clear the spectacular chestnut filly with the global pedigree was a popular member of Arrowfield’s Easter draft.
Lomandra (Not A Single Doubt x Vasilissa) was a $900,000 Easter purchase. (Photo by Arrowfield)
The pedigree and type all added up, but even more importantly for Simpson, it was the way in which Lomandra handled the hustle and bustle of sales time which led her to stand out from the bevvy of bluebloods on offer.
“She was a filly that caught our eye straight away out of Easter for racing, and breeding purposes down the track. She had the physical make-up and pedigree that we wanted to add to our team,” he told the Report of the $900,000 purchase.
“She was a well-muscled filly with great movement and we kept a close eye on her over the whole sale. Her temperament held up well each day and she just had a nice demeanour about her, which we felt gave her the attributes to be a good racehorse and then let down into a lovely broodmare down the track.”
Temperament is as much valued by many trainers as talent, as the former so often dictates the ability to realise the latter. In the broodmare barn, it is also a very valuable quality as the most experienced studmaster will tell you that the ‘black cat, black kitten’ heritability analogy applies equally to mental strength and resilience as it does to athletic ability.
A pair of strong recent trials in Sydney indicate Lomandra is showing strong signs of all those qualities having just turned three. As a November foal, she has been given time to show she is ready for the track, as tends to be the custom for trainers John, Michael and Wayne Hawkes.
Co-trainers Michael and Wayne Hawkes. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images for Australian Turf Club)
However, the Hawkes have now wasted little time testing the filly in deeper waters, debuting her in the G3 Quezette Stakes, a race which is a traditional spring starting point for three-year-olds headed towards October’s G1 Thousand Guineas, for which she holds a nomination.
“She has had a typical Hawkes preparation where they have been patient. They haven’t been afraid to tip her in and out as needed and giving her time to be ready,” Simpson said.
“From what we have seen at the trials, it has given the Hawkes team the confidence to put her in there. She’s obviously a very inexperienced filly compared to what she meets on Saturday.”
Glentree, owned by successful businessman Bruce Wilson, has pursued a well-proven strategy of buying well-presented fillies with big pedigrees in order to bolster its broodmare band in the future.
It is not a cheap way of doing business and they have spent over $3.1 million on four yearling fillies since the start of 2021, including $1.35 million at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale for a filly by Snitzel, who is now named Madeira.
At that same 2021 Easter Sale as they bought Lomandra, Glentree, in concert with bloodstock advisor Badgers Bloodstock, purchased a Lonhro filly for $550,000. Now named Lovetta, she debuted with an impressive win at Bendigo in June and also holds a nomination for the Thousand Guineas.
Lonhro filly Lovetta scored on debut at Bendigo. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos via Getty Images)
“It’s just another commitment from the Wilson family to the industry towards building up high-quality fillies with the plan of racing them and then coming into our broodmare band down the track,” Simpson explained.
“It’s been the aim to get our colours out there and enjoy them and hopefully get some success.”
Those colours, aqua with pale blue diamonds, have become a regular fixture in the winners’ enclosure in Australia in the past couple of years.
Some of that success has been sourced out of yearling sales, and some of that through homebreds from the farm at Modewarre, a town more famous at this point as the birthplace of Australian Rules football champion Gary Ablett as opposed to athletes of the equine type.
In the case of emerging weight-for-age contender Sinawann, a Glentree-led syndicate purchased him privately overseas from his breeder, the Aga Khan. A son of Kingman, he was a Group 3 winner in Ireland for Michael Halford before being brought to the stables of Anthony and Sam Freedman.
Sinawann carried the Glentree colours with distinction last spring. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)
His first Australian campaign saw him win the G3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes impressively last November before he ran second in the G2 Australia Stakes and then eighth in the G1 CF Orr Stakes.
Saturday’s Listed Regal Roller Stakes is his first-up run in a campaign that holds some grand ambitions, including a nomination for the G1 Cox Plate.
“It’s great to see Sinawann back. He trailed really well. Whether he might just need this run or not. Over 1200, they might be a bit sharp, but it’s a good platform to springboard off,” Simpson said.
“They (the Freedmans) are delighted with the way he has come up this time around, hopefully we can see the best of Sinawann the next month or two.”
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