Continuing our weekly series on the region's thoroughbred studs.By Alan McLean
In the first week of September the Seymour and Nagambie districts normally display golden wattle and lots of spindly-legged foals. While wattle is evident, Chatswood Stud and most other equine properties report a slower than anticipated start to the foaling season.
Greg Willis of Chatswood said: ‘‘The cold weather and regular frosts have the mares ‘hanging on’ to their foals beyond the nominal 11-month gestation period. There may be other factors but the cold is the generally accepted issue.’’
A long-standing contributor to the district identity as ‘‘Horse Capital of Victoria’’, Chatswood sits on Hume and Hovell Rd, just south of Seymour.
The original Chatswood was created in the early 1970s near Avenel by Alan Willis, Greg’s father, before relocating to its current position in 1996. The stud expects to oversee the arrival of up to 140 budding champions during the August to November foaling period.
‘‘With only 16 births in August, we face a hectic few weeks as the weather warms up,’’ Mr Willis said.
‘‘Avenel vet Terry Lowis will spend a lot of time with us.’’
Twenty six mares belong to Chatswood, with the other 114 belonging to owner-breeders who have either used the services of a Chatswood stallion, or a stallion off-site. The latter group of mares have been positioned at the stud for the birth and infancy period.
Chatswood stallions are relatively recently retired racehorses. Reward for Effort won the 2009 Blue Diamond Stakes, Victoria’s premier sprint race for two-year-olds. He sired 150 foals in 2011 and 173 in 2012. Only now are his earliest offspring eligible to be entered for races. Their success or otherwise will be keenly studied, a key element in future decisions by breeders.
Stallions Anacheeva and Purrealist are other Chatswood stars. Purrealist sired Bold Senator, a gelding which raced at Mildura on Friday. His most successful progeny is Hawkspur, prepared by leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller.
Chatswood was the birthplace of successful sprinter Apache Cat, possibly the most easily-recognised horse of the past 20 years, with his curious white face and four white feet. The popular Cat now lives in retirement at the Living Legends complex adjacent to Tullamarine airport, after winning 19 of his 43 races. He won an extraordinary eight Group One events, the highest level in racing.
‘‘We also hand-raised Pompeii Ruler after he was left orphaned by the death of his mother,’’ Mr Willis said.
Pompeii Ruler went on to win the 2007 Australian Cup at Flemington and the 2008 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick. He ran third in the Cox Plate, amassing $2.2
Chatswood employs 15 staff, and engages vets or farriers as needed. The stud is a long-term supporter of Seymour Racing Club.
Chatswood Stud proprietor Greg Willis and stud manager Luke Anderson with Victoria's busiest thoroughbred stallion last year, Blue Diamond Stakes winner Reward For Effort. Chatswood is also the state's oldest surviving commercial thoroughbred stud.
Caulfield Guineas winner Anacheeva is among the stallion roster at Chatswood Stud.
Former Shepparton veterinarian Angus Cunningham died last week after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Around 600 Yarrawonga people are believed to have been caught up in the collapse of a punters club that saw local members lose up to $73 million.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
A new group will look at the behaviour of Murray River users following reports of loud, rude and dangerous behaviour on houseboats last month.
A local swim class is teaching children what to do if they get into trouble in the water.
Kyabram Bombers' football coaches have begun planning for next year.
Families came together to celebrate Christmas at the Kids Christmas in the Park at Puckapunyal.
The Finley Regional Care Christmas fundraiser is on again. The Monster Christmas stocking raffle is filled with Christmas gifts and goodies including hampers, chocolates, wine, gift certificates and more.
Recreational facilities at Lake Eppalock have been upgraded to include new barbecues and tables and improved access to existing boat ramps.
The alfresco area at Cobram's Bottom Pub, known as The Palms, will be relaunched on Friday night after an eight-month closure.
Tim Hillier became the first Deniliquin Rhino to notch up a century in the Murray Valley Cricket Association with a sterling 104 against Cobram on Saturday.
The costs of growing grain in the southern cropping region don’t look like falling any time soon, meaning farmers and business managers need to be mindful of keeping farm expenses in check.
Residents are encouraged to shop locally this festive season while getting invovled with celebrations across Benalla.
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