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Hawkshot good trial for Guineas

Hawkshot turned in more than was expected after he was almost tossed over the running rail three times at Sandown last Wednesday.

After what was quite a rough affair he was forced back to last and had to go around every horse in the race to get a reasonable run.

He will not have that problem in running the mile at headquarters, and will be a force to be reckoned with on that win, which would give his sire, Fiorente, his first Group 1 success.            

Fiorente did more than expected in his first season, he had a couple of winners, he is on the threshold of an improved season, his progeny are going to be better with time.

Hawkshot Mobile Hawkshot winning at Sandown

 A CRUEL BLOW FOR RACING FAMILY 

Peter Liston is a guy that could always ride with the punches, he could weather the storm, he was born and raised in the Mallee, they don’t give in easily up that way.

He and his wife, Pauline, with their family, moved to a stud property known as Lakewood in South Australia, in the distance was Narrung Stud where the sensational thoroughbred sire Adraan stood, his first and only season, and further on, the waters of Lake Albert.

After what was a short period Peter and his wife, Pauline, with their family wanted to return to Victoria, it offered more security and an improved lifestyle.

Above all it had to be horse country within reasonable reach of the capitol city that is where much of the racing and breeding industry is centred.

It didn’t take that long for the Liston family to settle on “Three Bridges” on the Loddon River, where the gums grow as tall as they do along the Murray.

A place of peace and tranquillity where time seemed to stand still, as you walked through the lush pastures that were to be known as Three Bridges, not that far away from the small hamlet of Eddington.

When the stud got up and running all new stabling was built, holding yards and paddocks, a veterinary facility, modern feed sheds and brand new home with all modern cons.

Pauline Liston is a remarkable woman, she is a true horse women, she wouldn’t ask a man to do a job she could not do herself.

 

Stryker was the first sire to stand at Three Bridges, he was by Fastnet Rock, he proved a very handy sire, however, he wasn’t really commercial, you needed to do better to remain a going concern.

You don’t find them under gooseberry bushes, the market is extremely competitive, there are a lot of players with the same intentions.

Peter Liston thought he had struck a pot of gold, the horse he was able to secure was the outstanding two year old colt, Unencumbered, who had just won the Magic Millions Classic, it was better than winning the lottery.

However that didn’t last long, Unencumbered died after covering just a few short seasons, he has had 59 runners for 32 winners.

He was leading two year old sire in his first season, with earnings of S1.9 million, winning with a winner at his first starter at Randwick.

His first crop of yearlings sold up to $150,000 in 2017, and that was just the tip of the iceberg, his replacement value is any ones guess, it could run into millions, and you may never replace him.

 

Jim Johnson - A Gentleman Jockey

Jim Johnson, he rode three Melbourne Cup winners on two horses, Gatum Gatum and Rain Lover twice, in 1968 and 1969.

He has just celebrated his 90th birthday a few weeks ago, and is wearing well; he can still crack a joke.

Jim retired from race riding when he reached 47 years of age, generally most jockeys’ call it quits around that age, although the late Jack Thompson didn’t call it a day until he turned 60.

Jim was just a four year old lad when his father, Alf, a successful jockey, was killed in a race fall at Oakbank in 1934.

His mother later married Charlie Cox, a prominent jockey; the family moved to Western Australia where Cox was riding quiet a lot of winners.    

Jim finally returned to Adelaide to be with his grandmother, he was a caring young man and she was good to him, there were no visions of becoming a jockey at that stage.

When a knock came to the door a fellow asked, “is Alf Johnson’s son staying with you?” “Yes he is” was the reply.

It was Stan Chapman, a horse trainer at Morphettville, he invited Jim to go down and see the stables, but that was all, nothing was mentioned about becoming a jockey.

Stan was playing it cool, no pressure applied, they both got on well together, it was just a matter of time before Jim Johnson was apprenticed to Stan Chapman and not long before he out rode his claim.     

Yes, Jim Johnson was a great jockey, however, he seemed to be reluctant to leave Adelaide, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and Jim was very loyal, he didn’t chase rides, they came to him.

Originally Les Coles was engaged to ride Gatum Gatum in the Melbourne Cup, however, after what was a poor run in the Moonee Valley Cup Coles preferred to ride Conference.

Jim didn’t chase the ride on Gatum Gatum, it was the owner, Malcolm Reid, that did the chasing, Jim was a light weight and very strong, plus an excellent judge of pace, and would suit Gatum Gatum.

After the celebration Jim returned to Adelaide doing what he does best, riding winners, the Melbourne Cup was as far away as ever.

Gatum Gatum returned the following year, and so did Jim, but 12 months is a long time in racing and a lot of water had flowed under the bridge, Gatum Gatum was only a shadow of his former self.

When Jim thought the Melbourne Cup could have been only a dream, up popped Rain Lover, he didn’t win once, he won it twice.

The winning margin was 8 lengths the first time, the second time, with an additional stone to shoulder, the margin was a head.

Rain Lover was a great favourite, as was Tobin Bronze, who bowed out of racing in the spring of 1967 having won six races in succession, the Doncaster Hcp, All Aged Stakes, Nulla Nulla Hcp.,Toorak Hcp., the Caulfield Cup was the swansong.

Tobin Bronze was sold to American interests, soon after Jim went across to ride him for one race, the horse failed; no more was heard of him after that.

Jim has long retired to the western suburbs of Melbourne, rarely goes racing these days, but has wonderful memories of an excellent career in racing.

Jim Johnson MobileJim Johnson with one of three Melbourne Cups

 

Better Than Ready

Better Than Ready is off to a flying start leading, the way at this stage on the first season sire’s list, with seven winners of ten races, including two stakes winners to his credit, he has got away to away to a brilliant beginning with his first crop to race.

He was a very good colt having raced 15 times for 8 wins, and was only out the money 5 times, winning up to 1200 metres, with 80 per cent of our races at 1600 metres or less.  

Better Than Ready went to stud early in 2015 and is producing results in his first season, he was not over raced, that is now a proven formula, local sires have never had it so good.

He has been very well marketed, nothing has been left to chance, it is a very competitive market, if he hadn’t performed in the first couple of seasons it could have been an uphill battle.

It is no surprise really, he has a lot going for him, lovely foals developing into strong yearlings, and from there it’s just a natural progression.

Richard Foster selected the right stud when his choice was Lyndhurst, a great slice of sound horse country, with Jeff Kruger at the helm, with 2500 acres at his disposal on the rich rolling Darling Downs, at Warwick, in Queensland.

Better Than ReadyBetter Than Ready- Champion first season sire

Lyndhurst is a renowned piece of horse country dating back as far as the last century, when the previous owner, John McDougall, was in search of a new stallion for the stud.

It had to be a staying horse, as Lyndhurst had a reputation to uphold of breeding stayers, and that had to be retained.

John took a fancy to a horse named The Bastard, he was by Spion Kop who had won the English Derby, he was ridden by an American jockey, Frank O’Neill, he demanded 200 pounds for the ride and if he won a 1,000 pounds, that was back in the early twenties.

It was a time consuming exercise, no plane travel in those days, you selected an agent and you had to be guided by that agent, you didn’t have much option, and travelling time was around 8 weeks if you were lucky.

John was not getting anywhere, he couldn’t get a picture of how the horse looked, in desperation be cabled back to the agent, saying,” I will take The Bastard”

That soon brought the pot to the boil, John was in trouble when he had some explaining to do, sending a cable with that wording was an offence, and he could face a charge.

When the Postal Master General became involved it was serious matter involving John, who was the innocent party, but still was held responsible.

Finally, it all blew over when it was proven the horse was registered in England as The Bastard, a name change sufficed, he was renamed The Buzzard.

The name change made no difference to The Buzzard, he was an amazing horse, the greatest sire of stayers worldwide, he sired 22 major cup winners.

 

Brazen Beau’s first Winner

Brazen Beau sired his first winner, from four life time starters, when Tassport led all the way over the 1100 metres, creating a class record of 1-03.88 at Royal Randwck.

Tassport is a highly promising colt, he could even be Golden Slipper material, there will be a lot of other trainers thinking the same, each time a two year old wins a race at this time of the year.

Brazen Beau has a lot going for him; he won the Newmarket Handicap and the Coolmore Classic, 5 wins and 4 placings from 12 starts.
He is really sires material, he won the good races yet was never over raced, he has a great future, he is an outstanding stud prospect.

Both Brazen Beau, and his sire, I Am Invincible, were both sparingly raced, the results the stud farms are now reaping the rewards.

His sire, I Am Invincible, is flying at present, he is having a great season, he has three unbeaten fillies in Melbourne that could play a prominent role in the autumn.

And Voodoo Lad added to the score when he came from behind in Perth to win the Winterbottom Stakes, the last Group 1 race of the calendar year.

 

A Formidable Team

Racing was beginning to get back on its feet again after the 1914 -1918 conflict of war, the popular sportsmen Ernest Clarke, James Scobie and Bobby Lewis, renewed their interest in racing again.

They had had a successful relationship, each trusted the other, Clarke, the owner, Scobie, the trainer, and Lewis the jockey.

Clarke was a very wealthy man with a large string of racehorses, he would not accept there was any better trainer than Scobie, or a jockey as good as Bobby Lewis, that was surely proven.

At that time Clarke had a very good horse by the name of Emir, he was a class galloper, however, he could be wilful when least expected.

He had been known to savage an opposing horse during a race, or even attempting to grab the reigns of another runner.

Clarke built a stud farm, known as Melton Park, with the intention of standing Emir as a sire, but that was a disaster, he hardly left a foal, and those he did leave were worthless, he hardly sired a winner and was very difficult to manage.

Clarke had practically abandoned the idea of establishing Melton Park, when fate took a hand in the person of Jim Brewer, the one time famous steeplechase jockey, a contemporary of Tommy Corrigan, James Scobie and Andrew Ferguson, when steeplechasing was booming in the western district.

Jim Brewer persuaded Clarke to give him a cheque for 5,000 guineas and let him purchase a stallion, and a few mares for Melton Park

Brewer was away a full year, 3 months travelling, 6 weeks each way by steamer, the remainder of the time was spent looking at horses, the reason he was in England.

He purchased The Welkin, who proved to be a good two year old by Flying Fox, who had won the Two Thousand Guineas, Derby and the St Leger.

The Welkin at one stage had sired winners of 684 races, included among those purchased, was Light, the dam of Gloaming, Lady Roberts and Teppo, who was one of the finest mares ever imported into Australia

 .Ernest Clarke seated, with James Scobie and Bobby Lewis

P1030425 2 Mobile

 

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