The fairy tale behind the winner and second placed horses in the 2022 Llowalong Farms Gold Chalice Final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings epitomises what it means to be involved in the harness racing industry for Llowalong Farms.
It is about the people, the relationships, the hard work, the lengthy process involved in breeding and racing a horse and, fortunately for Llowalong Farms, this race on Friday night captured every aspect of this journey.
On September 19 in 2017 the Bettor's Delight mare, Musical Delight, bred, raced and owned by Lauriston Bloodstock, was bred to frozen semen siring sensation Somebeachsomewhere at Llowalong Farms-Northern Rivers Equine Veterinary Clinic.
With a previous successful matings to the both Somebeachsomewhere (resulting in Beach Music) and Well Said (Young Rooster), it was no surprise to welcome a strong colt foal almost a year to the day after the service, on September 20, 2018.
Llowalong principal and NREVC veterinarian Dr Kath McIntosh recalls "I still remember the night we assisted a massive foal into the world".
"He was weaned - almost as big as his mum at that stage - and handled at Llowalong Farms, then prepared for the sales here and sold at the 2020 yearling sales on behalf of Lauriston Bloodstock to Wayne and Julie Loader."
This yearling would come to be named Ripp.
Ripp showed extremely promising form as a two-year-old, winning his first start against older pacers in impressive fashion. He then had a severe paddock accident that sidelined him for the rest of the two-year-old season, much to the disappointment of the Loaders and trainer Bernie Hewitt.
They persevered with his lengthy recovery and he returned as a three-year-old, winning in his first start back on track. This was followed by a third placing and then a further win in a heat of the 2022 Llowalong Farms Gold Chalice, clocking the victory in 1:54.5.
This culminated in taking the Group 1 Final of the Llowalong Farms Gold Chalice in dominant fashion, posting the slick time of 1:53.1. What an amazing achievement for Bathurst locals and extremely popular owners, Wayne and Julie Loader, trainer Bernie Hewitt and driver Doug Hewitt.
And what a thrill for Llowalong Farms - to be involved in this horse’s journey right from conception to winning the Group 1 final of the race sponsored by Llowalong Farms was a fairy tale come true.
This story illustrates the astute breeding by Bill and Anne Anderson of Lauriston Bloodstock, the management of the horse by the Llowalong Farms team to offer a well grown out and mature athlete at the yearling sales, the keen eye of Wayne Loader and Bernie Hewitt to purchase the colt at the sales, and their care and dedication to him through injury to have him return in such incredible form.Wayne and Julie Loader teamed again with Hewitt to purchase Ripp's half-brother, an Art Major colt offered by Lauriston Bloodstock at the 2021 Nutrien Sydney Yearling Sales and again prepared by Llowalong Farms.
Can we have a repeat performance of this super combination in the future? Congratulations to everyone involved - such an extremely proud moment for the Llowalong Farms team!
As if the fairy tale could have an even happier ending for Llowalong as sponsor of the Gold Chalice, as a vet clinic and stud farm, Northern Rivers Equine Vet Clinic and Llowalong Farms also contributed to the life journey of runner-up Commander Buzz. A fast-finishing gelding by Betting Line, Commander Buzz is bred and owned by Dr Hugh and Lorraine Cathels. Star Chaser, his dam, has been an incredible mare giving birth to 14 foals during her lifetime.
She was born in 1993, making her 24-years old when she was bred by embryo transfer with Northern Rivers Equine Vet Clinic and Llowalong Farms in 2017. Commander Buzz was to be her last foal. She has been such an incredible dam and an incredible team effort to obtain an embryo at that stage of her life.
Owned and bred by successful, tenured breeder Helen Head, Star Chaser’s two daughters - Our Star Dust and Stratospheric - had their first foals prepped by Llowalong Farms this year for the 2021 Yearling Sales.
The Bettor's Delight x Our Star Dust filly topped the Melbourne APG sale for fillies this year at $100,000. Watch the legacy of this great mare continue through her well-bred daughters.
Llowalong Farms would like to express a big, personal and very heartfelt congratulations to the connections of these two horses on their success in our sponsored 2022 Gold Chalice Final.
The Llowalong Farms team is so proud and thrilled to have been a part of the journey with these horses and the people they represent.
This is exactly why we do what we do and why Llowalong Farms is where high quality service is our priority for both the people and the horses.
We take great delight in supporting the industry that supports us through sponsorship - and results like this are a dream come true!
Don’t forget to drop in to Barn D at the Inglis Oaklands Complex to see Llowalong Farms and our quality draft at the 2022 Nutrien Melbourne Yearling Sale this Sunday, April 3 - buy yourself a champion and start a brand new fairy tale.
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Bathurst Harness Racing Club