Canning Downs

published: 17 Mar 2015 in Inglis Easter 2015 - Vendors

CANNING Downs on the Darling Downs of Queensland near Warwick is the oldest thoroughbred farm in Queensland, having produced racehorses since 1842. This is proven horse country and from reasonably small foal crops Canning Downs has produced winners of 29 Gr.1 races.

CANNING Downs on the Darling Downs of Queensland near Warwick is the oldest thoroughbred farm in Queensland, having produced racehorses since 1842. This is proven horse country and from reasonably small foal crops Canning Downs has produced winners of 29 Gr.1 races. 

Joy & John Barnes own Canning Downs, a thoroughbred breeding property that has been in the Barnes family since 1917. Stud manager Rob Petith oversees and co-ordinates much of the breeding and yearling preparation at Canning Downs, and I caught up with him to discuss the stud’s draft ahead of the 2015 Australian Easter Yearling Sale. 

“Consistency and dedication play a large role in the continued success at Canning Downs,” explained Rob. From well before conception and all the way to yearling sales, Rob and his team work tirelessly to ensure their horses want for nothing. “We aim to produce well grown, good boned, well handled, sensible horses who will go forward from the day the buyer gets them home,” Rob said. This solid grounding sets the farm’s yearlings forward into their breaking preparation and helps nurture an attitude and temperament suited to the demands of stable life and racing. 

You can be confident a yearling offered by Canning Downs will be a well raised and hand crafted product. All horses are reared in large, well-fenced paddocks, where they have ample room to move and grow. “Due to the size of our property and our low stocking rates, our paddocks are rotated and spelled for six months of the year,” Rob said. This “attention to detail” approach, coupled with the generous rearing is as much about ensuring the yearlings are allowed to develop physically as it is about them having the right mental attitude to become a racehorse. As Rob says, “we can’t turn them all into stakes horses, but we can give them all the best opportunity early in life.” 

When we asked Rob about Canning Down’s approach to selecting sires he suggested it is probably one of the more difficult tasks faced each year. “On one hand we see the benefits in using proven stallions, but we also recognise the demand for the better performed new season sires. As a result we try to use one or two new sires each year, otherwise we tend to stick to the proven sires.” 

Canning Downs has been selling and purchasing horses at William Inglis since the 1920s, and in 2015 will offer four well bred fillies and two quality colts at the Australian Easter Yearling Sale (April 7-9). The stud has colts by leading sire Snitzel and exciting freshman sire Foxwedge, with fillies by proven sires Not a Single Doubt, Commands and Testa Rossa, as well as an athletic filly by Foxwedge. 

The “first cab off the rank” is early on day one when Lot 18 enters the historic ring at Newmarket in Sydney. This filly is by Not a Single Doubt and is out of the Parramatta Cup-LR winner Laguna Lake (USA) (by Alleged son Odyle). “She’s a great mover, is athletic and a real jump and run type,” suggests Rob who thinks she will be very popular with buyers. This filly’s half-brother by Commands made $250,000 at the 2014 Inglis Easter sale. 

The mare has had five to race for four winners including multiple stakes winner Hot Butterfly (Fastnet Rock) and the Gr.3 placed Beaucoup (Choisir) and she is a half-sister to Fernhill Handicap-Gr.3 winner Yes Boss. This yearling also belongs to a great family, tracing to exceptional broodmare La Troienne (her eighth dam), whose family members include leading sire More Than Ready (and his dam sire Woodman). 

The next of the Canning Downs’ entries is Lot 29, a colt by Snitzel and the first foal of city-winning Zabeel mare Lost For Words, a daughter of Gr.2 winner What Can I Say (NZ). “This colt has a big, loose stride and plenty of scope, he will turn some heads,” Rob said. He is from a very strong winning family as What Can I Say produced eight winners including multiple Gr.2 winner Only Words and Gibraltar Campion as well as a daughter who produced Gr.1 placed, Gr.3 winner Darci Be Good. Third dam, Plans Awry, was a stakes winner in the US and left 10 winners (2SW). Sadly, Lost For Words died not long after giving birth to this colt. Both Only Words and Lost For Words were raced by Canning Downs and it is a family in which the stud has great faith as a source of quality performers. 

A strong Commands filly out of the winning Fushaichi Pegasus (USA) mare Squalls is Lot 203 for Canning Downs. The farm owns and races her winning three-quarter sister Wind Shift (Exceed and Excel) who is trained by Peter and Paul Snowden in Sydney. This filly also has a promising half-sister Pamperos (Lonhro) in the stables of Gerald Ryan. 

The first of the yearlings by Gr.1 winner and first crop sire Foxwedge (Fastnet Rock) to be offered by Canning Downs is Lot 223. He’s a quality colt, from the Gr.2 winner Te Akau Coup (by Gr.1 winner and champion NZ sire Thorn Park). Rob describes him as having “a great action, huge deep girth, heaps of bone and a strong hindquarter and gaskin.” This colt is a half-brother to the Gerald Ryan-trained Heavenly Hand (Exceed and Excel) who was an exciting debutant winner in late 2014. Rob is looking forward to watching Heavenly Hand race during the autumn carnival as she attempts to earn black type already won by family members like Don Garcia and Alzora. This colt has great depth in his pedigree and it’s worth noting his second, third and fourth dams are by Gone West, Sadler’s Wells and Secretariat. 

Lot 519 is the second of the farm’s Foxwedge yearlings and she is from Gr.3 placed Bruges (NZ) (Groom Dancer), dam of two winners. She is a “great-bodied filly and has a brilliant action,” Rob said. This filly’s dam won seven races and is a half-sister to VRC Derby-Gr.1 winner and sire Amalfi. A half-sister to Bruges, Petit Verdot, produced talented NZ performer Antonio Lombardo (Pins), a Gr.2 winner and Gr.1 placed runner who has won 10 races. 

Lot 228 is last but not least in the Easter draft of Canning Downs. She’s a forward and precocious Testa Rossa filly out of Ten To Midnight (Fastnet Rock), who won two races and is a daughter of Listed winner Tennessee Magic (Bletchingly), dam of Gr.2 winner Trezevant (Flying Spur). “She has heaps of bone, is a good mover and is powerful,” Rob said of this filly who has great residual value. This filly’s half-sister by Lonhro sold for $350,000 at last year’s Australian Easter Yearling Sale and Rob is excited to be taking her to the sales as she is from the famous “Tennessee” family, whose recent members include 2011 Coolmore Classic-Gr.1 winner Aloha. 

The Stud has received exciting reports on a number of juveniles sold at the 2014 sales, which are now in the hands of some top metropolitan trainers. They are confident this year’s draft will elicit the same encouraging response. 

When pressed about why buyers should be looking at the yearlings from Canning Downs Rob said, “Consistency is the key to everything we do.” With access to specialised veterinary, chiropractic and farrier services and a small but dedicated team, Rob is confident the team at the historic Darling Downs property can raise the best yearlings possible.

Session 1 lot list - click on the $ sign to see sale history for that mare

Year Sale Lot Name Sex Type Sire Dam Sire of Dam Price Buyer Vendor
2015 ISE 18  Unnamed (AUS) F Y Not a Single Doubt  $ Laguna Lake  Odyle (USA) NS NULL Canning Downs Stud
2015 ISE 29  Unnamed (AUS) C Y Snitzel  $ Lost for Words Zabeel (NZ) NS NULL Canning Downs Stud
2015 ISE 203  Unnamed (AUS) F Y Commands  $ Squalls  Fusaichi Pegasus (USA) NS NULL Canning Downs Stud
2015 ISE 223  Unnamed (AUS) C Y Foxwedge  $ Te Akau Coup Thorn Park (AUS) NS NULL Canning Downs Stud
2015 ISE 228  Unnamed (AUS) F Y Testa Rossa  $ Ten to Midnight  Fastnet Rock (AUS) NS NULL Canning Downs Stud