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Introducing the invaders

This year’s Melbourne Cup promised an exhilarating two-mile spectacle and it certainly delivered!

Vow And Declare proudly flew the flag for our Australian-bred racehorses, claiming victory over a bunch of international challengers right at the post to win by a head, however, 19 of the 24 Cup runners were European trained and bred.

Interestingly, the last time The Cup was won by an Australian-born racehorse was Shocking back in 2009 so it comes as no surprise that we see more European stayers dominating our distance races each year, in pursuit of the excellent prizemoney on offer down under.

While the Australian breeding industry has predominantly focused on producing early sprinting types to chase Golden Slipper riches, there has been a real shortage of genuine staying conveyances on offer at local yearling sales.

International bloodstock agent Hubie de Burgh has been an important part of the racehorse selection process for Darby Racing and this year, was commissioned to look at a select group of horses in training at the Tattersall’s sale.

Having previously purchased a few European-bred yearlings for Darby Racing (including the promising 4yo gelding Canasta who has won 3 of his 7 starts), the horses in training sale presents a unique opportunity to base decision making not only on the physical conformation of the horses and pedigree but also on their racing form, action and ability.

Darby Racing & de Burgh Equine were thrilled to purchase two outstanding individuals from the Tattersall’s sale, Harpo Marx and Spirit Ridge, who fly to Australia later this month. They will commence training with Bjorn Baker and Mark Newnham respectively in December.

It is extremely exciting to be able to add this calibre of racehorse to the team.

Take Spirit Ridge as an example, he has a timeform rating of 104, he is lightly raced with 2 wins, 2 minor placings and 7 top-5 finishes from his 8 starts, he prefers a dry track and he is an on-pace runner – all of which makes him ideally-suited to Australian racing.

His dam, Tate’s Creek is a Group 1 winner over 2000m while sire, Nathaniel is a Group 1 winner over 2000m & 2400m – these types of pedigrees are simply not available here in Australia.

Looking through his racing form, two of the horses he has beaten comfortably in the UK have already been imported to Australia and proven themselves. Loveisili has won two metropolitan grade races here already while Our Candidate is a multiple city winner and was stakes placed in the Group 3 Newcastle Cup.

To be offering quality stayers like these that we can be targeting Cups races with early next year is an incredible opportunity. Both Scott Darby and Hubie de Burgh loved this horse – so much so, they will be racing him along with the ownership group!

For more information and video footage of Spirit Ridge, check out our Available Shares section of the newsletter or contact our team,

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