The Campbell family’s Blue Gum Farm has set a high standard since it began standing the Nonoalco horse Noalcoholic at its newly founded property near Euroa in central Victoria in 1984.
The Champion European Older Miler of 1983 and a winner of the Group 1 Sussex Stakes Noalcoholic played a significant role in the stud’s development by becoming a leading sire.
Over the intervening years Blue Gum Farm has stood other eminently successful stallions such as Rancho Ruler, Rubiton, Umatilla and Encosta de Lago.
The stud is currently entering into a new phase with resident stallions Red Arrow and Turffontein about to have their first runners and the outstanding performer Canford Cliffs having his first foals.
In the first of a two part series Stallions questioned Blue Gum Farm principal Philip Campbell about reports on the first northern hemisphere foals by Canford Cliffs, the horse’s appeal to breeders and other matters.
Q.: No doubt you have been looking forward to the first foals by Canford Cliffs
A.: Very much so. He is a most exciting horse who put together an exceptional record on the racetrack. Apart from his maiden win, which was by seven lengths at Newbury, he only raced in Group-quality races. He won five Group1 miles in succession. They were very, very high quality Group 1 races and legitimate stallion-making races. Having said that we are very excited about his first babies because Canford Cliffs with his racing record and his physical attributes is the complete package. For those reasons I am sure his progeny are going to be yearling sale friendly. Breeders are looking for horses they can take to a sale feeling they have the physical attributes that people are going to want to buy. Let’s face it buyers want, first and foremost, to buy athletes. Canford Cliffs was as good an athlete that has come to this part of the world for many, many years and I truly believe he will pass these wonderful attributes on to his progeny.
Q.: Do you have reports on his first northern hemisphere foals
A.: We’ve been sent photos of about a dozen of them and the reports we have been receiving from Europe are very positive. He is a solid bay, brown producing stallion and from what I’ve seen in the photos I’ve been sent Canford Cliffs is putting his own terrific shape on the foals. They are all very similar looking horses and they are all of the same colour. I am rapt in that. Added to that he is a horse that was highly respected in Europe and his first book of mares was particularly strong. For example there is a half-sister to five-time Group 1 winner Alexander Goldrun, who was such a wonderful mare. I have a picture of that filly and she looks an absolute cracker. Their dam is the Darshaan mare Renshaan, who was a stakes winner at Longchamp. After covering a big book of mares in his first season over there he received a solid book of mares in his second season.
Q.: How is his second Australian book looking
A.: We are happy with the way its all going. I think one of the feature attractions of Canford Cliffs is that the Hail to Reason sireline has been tremendously successful in Australia. It’s responsible for horses like Red Ransom, who has been a major influence and his influence is continuing through his sire sons.. It’s also responsible for a champion sire in More Than Ready, who has now had a leading first season sire in Sebring. In fact it is a sireline that has probably worked better in this part of the world than it has in the northern hemisphere. Obviously it provides a valuable outcross for the Danzig-Danehill saturated broodmare band that we seem to have out here now.
Q.: Do you think the record of Canford Cliffs is fully appreciated in Australia
A.: I’d say not. For the record he won the Irish Two Thouand Guineas, Sussex Stakes, St. James’s Palace Stakes, Queen Anne Stakes and Lockinge Stakes at Group 1 level. If he had won the same calibre of races in Australia that he won in Europe and he was by Fastnet Rock he would be standing at a $100,000 service fee. We are standing him at $13,750.
Q.: Can you name any mares going to him this season
A.: I’d rather not at this stage. We have a number of breeders who have taken bookings but have yet to confirm which mares they will will be sending to him.
Q.: What plans do you have for Blue Gum Farm’s mares
A.: Obviously we support our own stallions but we also have mares in-foal to outside stallions and we have mares going to outside stallions. I think that it’s important to do that. We have mares due to foal to Redoute’s Choice, Sebring, High Chaparral and Wanted and we have mares going to stallions of that ilk again this season. We are looking forward to all the foalings coming up . . . especially those from mares who were mated with Canford Cliffs last year.
For just on 30 years Blue Gum Farm has been playing a notable role in the Victorian thoroughbred industry.
Over that period the stud has developed a thoroughly deserved reputation for being able to select and secure horses that have gone on to become successful stallions.
These include foundation stallion Noalcoholic, Rancho Ruler, Rubiton, Umatilla, Encosta de Lago and Statue of Liberty.
Now in a new stage in its history Blue Gum Farm has three tyros – Canford Cliffs, Red Arrow and Turffontein – on its roster along with the consistent winner producing Elvstroem.
In the second of a two part series Stallions questioned Blue Gum Farm principal Philip Campbell about the prospects for Red Arrow and Turffontein, Elvstroem’s achievements and other matters.
Q.: It is an exciting time for Blue Gum Farm with Red Arrow and Turffontein having their first yearlings going through the sales this year
A.: Both horses had really good results at this year’s yearling sales. The Red Arrows sold up to $68,000 and the Turffontein’s made up to $77,000. The both averaged very well at the Melbourne Premier sale and had good results at other sales.
Q.: How would you assess them
A.: They are both actually quite different. All the Red Arrow yearlings look very much like Red Arrow. He is a big, long, loose style of a horse. It was really interesting with the Turffonteins to have people like Tony Vasil and Troy Corstens telling me at the sales that they were drawn to his yearlings by the way the horses moved. Tony bought a filly by him for $50,000 and Troy had a real crack at the $77,000 colt. I took that as a real positive.
Q.: What reports are receiving about their progeny
A.: We have kept in touch with the people who have bought them and are working with them. The reports are very good and the horses are in the right stables. For example Gerald Ryan has a Red Arrow colt, Danny O’Sullivan has a very, very nice filly, I think David Jolly in Adelaide has two of them, Mike Moroney has a filly, BC3 bought a filly in Adelaide and John Hyam has one. With the Turffonteins they are in the stables of people like Liam Birchley, Anthony Cummings, Mick Kent, Lindsay Smith, over in Perth, Anthony Freedman, Stephen Theodore, Tony Vasil, Darren Weir, Joe Pride, Patrick Payne, Mark Kavanagh and John McArdle. Being in those stables represents a pretty nice start for both horses.
Q.: You must be pleased with Elvstroem’s winners-to-runners ratio
A.: Because he was such a wonderful racehorse he went to stud with a fanfare but at this point in time he hasn’t got a horse anywhere near his own level of success on the racetrack. As such a lot of people are passing him by. I understand that because it’s the way of the world but the fact of the matter is that he was ninth on the Australian sires’ list by winners with 116 winners of 176 races in the 2012-13 season, which is a bloody terrific effort. I know he hasn’t had the real big horse and although I don’t like the term bread-and-butter stallion there are a lot of horses going worse than Elvstroem and he is standing at a fee of only $4,400. Compare that with those of the horses around him on the sires of winners list.
Q.: Does BGF have any sire acquisitions on the horizon
A.: The answer to that would be no. To the best of our ability we watch what is going on and what might become available. We are in a phase now where we have four stallions of which three of them haven’t had runners yet. All three have exciting credentials and Elvstroem is continuing to produce a terrific winners-to-runners ratio so they are interesting times for us at the moment. We don’t have the headline proven horse but we are still working towards achieving that again and we continue to talk with our contacts and keep our eyes open to see whether there is a horse that will suit us going forward. We feel we have put together a pretty darn good record for a stud that stands the numbers of stallions we do, because we’ve never stood big numbers. Through the years we’ve had Noalcoholic, Rancho Ruler, Rubiton, Umatilla, Encosta de Lago and Statue of Liberty, with Hay List coming from here and Tempest Tost coming from here. We believe we have a fantastic farm, that we have terrific people working here and we feel that we offer a very good service
Q.: You must value the stud’s connection with Coolmore.
A.: Yes we do. We have stood a number of stallions here that have done very, very well.
Q.: Do you have any runners in training
A.: We have an Elvstroem filly called Beautiful Pleasure with David Hayes. She won at Swan Hill at her first start and although a lightly framed filly she has a good heart and motor. We’ll give her time to strengthen up so we won’t be seeing her in the spring. We also have a colt who has just turned two by Encosta de Lago. He is from our good race mare of a few years ago called Inkster. The people who raced Inkster with us were keen to be in the horse so we’ve put together a partnership. The colt will be going to Mick Price, who trained Inkster. He is a cracking colt and we are very excited about him. Inkster is also in foal to Redoute’s Choice so we are anxiously looking forward to that foal after she’s given us such a cracking first foal.