I would like to take this opportunity to thank my loyal clients for their support this year and wish them a very Merry Christmas and successful New Year. Limitless Lodge will keep running seamlessly throughout the Holiday period and Tim is available to discuss your horse any time on 0418 475 685. I look forward to catching up with many of you at the Magic Millions sales on the Gold Coast in early January
20th December - MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
18th December - LIMITLESS
Very sadly Limitless has passed away after a very sudden colic attack. He had been a very healthy horse in his retirement in every way. He had retired from eventing in 2004 sound after a distinguished career at the top level. Until 12 months ago he was the front paddock partner of Waratah (Tommy). Tommy himself died after a sudden colic attack. These 2 warriors are now together at rest, buried right next to each other in their favourite sunning positions. It is very strange to drive up the driveway and not see the 2 black boys - Stacey (Limitless) and Tommy. He will be very sadly missed.
Stacey travelled all over the world competing and was incredibly consistent. He was always very sensible on the flat and did a reliable test. His strength was cross country and show jumping. He would never have fences down. I knew it was time to retire him when I had several rails down at Puihinui CCI*** 2003 and then again at Melbourne CCI***2004. He did 1 more event at Sydney CNC*** which he won in July 2004 and then I retired him.
Some of Stacey's best results included winning Melbourne CCI*** in 2003 and Eventing Horse Of The Year in 2001 and 2003. He was 2nd at Puihinui CCI*** in 2000 and 3rd in 2001. He finished 5th at Adelaide CCI**** in 2001. All up Stacey won 22 Advanced or 3 star events. Pretty amazing result and he also had just as many top 3 finishes. He first won a State Championship at Preliminary level at Goulburn in 1992 and won at the highest level CIC*** at Goulburn in 2001. He was Advanced from the age of 7 and retired at the age of 18. I can only hope my current star, Billy Elliott, has such a long run at the top.
17th December - WEEKEND WINNERS
Another great Saturday for graduates of Limitless Lodge. Again half the program were graduates from the farm. Chris Waller supplied 2 of the winners as per usual in She's Clean and Gullible. These 2 high class fillies are also owned by very loyal supporters of Limitless Lodge - The Ingham family and Don Storey. There look to be many wins in store for these progressive fillies. Scream Machine won again for trainer Jason Coyle over 1900m in an amazing display after missing the start by 4 lengths. Yet another 2yo winner from the farm in the shape of Regimental Pride. This son of Regimental Gal is trained by David Payne who is having a marvellous season with his 2yos. Regimental Pride, like his stablemate Criterion and most other David Payne yearlings are broken in at Limitless.
Already we can look forward to the major 2yo races in the Autumn as 60% of the 2yo winners seen in the Sydney metropolitan area this season have been broken in at Limitless Lodge.
15th December - TIM RETURNS FROM INJURY
After being off the road for 2 months I am starting to feel much better and am now out of all braces and plaster. I am still another month away from riding but have started at the gym and swimming. This is by far the longest I have been out of the saddle ever during my riding career. I honestly feel as though I could ride now but it is not worth taking the risk. This is a quiet time of the year for competing and it will be good to be in perfect health for the start of the new season. I am very aware how lucky I have been and am not going to take silly chances now. My Doctors say 3 months after the accident I should be exactly the same as I was before the accident. I can't wait!
10th December - WEEKEND WINNERS
It was a very successful Summer weekend of racing for graduates of Limitless Lodge. At Canterbury on Friday night - That's A Good Idea won for trainer Mark De Montfort. He was broken in, spelled and pre-trained at Limitless Lodge. On Saturday at Warwick Farm Limitless Lodge produced half the program. Of the 8 races, 4 were won by horses broken in, spelled and pre-trained at Limitless Lodge. There were 2 winners for Chris Waller - Hawkspur and Champagne Cath. Champagne Cath was particularly impressive and looks a legitimate contender for the Magic Millions and Golden Slipper at this early stage. Scream Machine won for trainer Jason Coyle and looks an exciting stayer for the future. To wrap up the program, Dances On Stars won for trainer Gerald Ryan who has always been a big supporter of the farm.
9th December - HONG KONG JOCKEY CLUB INTERNATIONAL SALE
Every year we take horses to Hong Kong to be sold at a boutique breeze up sale the day before the International Race Day. Horses are bought in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and America. These yearlings are then prepared by the designated consignor from breaking in to breezing up and then being sold. This is an unreserved sale and the buyers must all have a current permit. Unlike Australia where owners can own whatever they want, in Hong Kong they are restricted to 3 horses at a maximum. This is an unusual situation and that is why some of our biggest owners are from Hong Kong. They will often have 10 to 20 horses that are raced in Australia to see if they are good enough to use the permit.
We have sold some fantastic horses to Hong Kong since 2005 when I started doing the job. Most notable are Captain Sweet (who ran 3rd in the HK International sprint on Sunday), Algarve, Taverner, Fun Rider, Penglai Xanzii and Noble Conqueror. This year we sold 5 horses and our top lot was Encosta De Lago/Sharp 3yo gelding. He went to the bid of Richard Gibson for HK$5,000,000. This will be a serious race horse. Our other horses were purchased by clients of trainers John Size, Tony Cruz, Derek Cruz and Danny Shum.
Our next shipment of horses goes into quarantine on January 27 and will fly to Hong Kong on February 18 and will be sold on March 16 to coincide with Hong Kong Derby day. This team will be about 8 horses and will be headed by the Exceed and Excel/Mirror Mirror.
25th November - GV BILLY ELLIOT IS CROWNED AUSTRALIAN EVENT HORSE OF THE YEAR
In recognition of Billy's great performances during 2012 he was awarded the Peppermint Grove perpetual trophy at Adelaide 3 Day Event. This prize is judged by the Australian Eventing selectors and is a fantastic award to win. Billy narrowly missed out on selection for the London Olympics following winning Melbourne CCI*** and coming 2nd at Sydney CCI***. He finished his season with a great run at Blenheim CCI*** where he came 9th. Billy is now spelling and will start work shortly in preparation for the 2014 Eventing season. His short term goal will be Sydney CCI*** in late April. I hope to be selected on the Australian Team to take on the Kiwis in the Trans Tasman Event.
27th October - BILLY ELLIOT RETURNS SAFELY FROM ENGLAND
At midday today my best horse arrived back at Limitless Lodge after a 4 month round trip to England. Despite not making the final Olympic team it was a very successful and worthwhile trip. I was sure this experience will stand him in good stead for our next overseas adventure - Badminton 2014 then the World Championships in August 2014. I will now give Billy a good break and kick him back into work when I am ready to start riding again in the middle of January. He looks fabulous and is very happy to be out of his box and to see some sunshine. He weighs 482kg which is really good. I will aim to get him back up to 530kg before January 1. His 2 goals next year will be the Trans Tasman at Sydney in late April and Adelaide CCI**** in late November.
15th October - GOULBURN HORSE TRIALS
The premier ODE of the NSW season this year combined with a CCI***. This was put on by Neil Kennedy as a final qualification for Adelaide CCI****. Competitors on Friday morning were greeted by snow, rain and freezing temperatures. Typical Goulburn actually! I should have seen the writing on the wall and turned around instead and driven home. As an eventer that was definitely not an option. Hindsight is a wonderful thing as I will get to later.
I had four horses to run and was looking forward to my first outing in Australia for 4 months. The weekend started well with all horses performing very good dressage tests. In the CIC* after the dressage and showjumping, I was 1s( (Lord Limmerick), 2nd (Umunga) and 6th (Gorsehill Star) on my 3 horses. In the preliminary I was 9 points in front after dressage. The next day was a day I won’t forget in a hurry. Umunga and Gorsehill Star were terrific cross country, with Umunga finishing 2nd. I went slowly on Gorsehill Star as this was his first run for 12 months. On my dressage leader Lord Limmerick, I had probably the worst fall I have ever had cross country early on the course at fence 5. The result was a badly broken wrist, cracked shoulder and the worst fractures were in my back at T1 and T2. This has resulted in a premature end to my eventing season. I will be in a brace and cast until the end of November before I am reassessed by the Doctors.
I honestly feel lucky to be alive after such a terrible fall. He landed on me after somersaulting. Stupidly as I hadn’t showjumped Dynamic I decided I had better do that after and hour of getting my breath back. She was winning and proceeded to jump a clear round no thanks to me as I was riding one handed and not very well. I then drove home to Wyong Hospital and realised the extent of the injuries. The Doctors confirmed what many already know and that is that I am an idiot. One wrong move and I would be aiming for the Paralympics in Rio. My horses now get another holiday to get even fatter. At this stage I will resume riding in late January.
14th October - WEEKEND WINNERS
Graduates from Limitless Lodge have got off to a flying start to the new 2yo season. In the first 2yo race in NSW for the season, the Listed Gimcrack stakes was won by Brilliant Bisc. This filly by Elvstroem is trained by Peter Moody and owned by Stuart Ramsey. Like all of Stuart’shorses this filly was broken in and educated at Limitless Lodge. On the same day at Randwick Jolie Bay won the Group 2 Roman Consul stakes for Michael, Wayne and john Hawkes. Jolie Bay was broken in and is always pretrained at Limitless Lodge.
On Saturday, Limitless Lodge again produced the 2yo winner again in the shape of Regimantal Pride.This big, strong colt by More Than Ready was broken in, spelled and prepared to race at Limitless Lodge, like most of David Payne’s. Also on this same program Limitless Lodge produced 2 winners for leading trainer Chris Waller, Hoylonny and Nocturnelle. Both these horses were broken in, spelled and pretrained at Limitless Lodge. At Caulfield on the same day Snitzerland was able to win the Group 2 Blue Sapphire stakes for trainer Gerald Ryan in a very gutsy display. Snitzerland was broken in, spelled and is always pretrained at Limitless Lodge.
5th October - PLANS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SEASON
With Billy in quarantine in England, all of my attention will now be focussed on my younger horses. I will have 3 horses to ride at Adelaide CCI** - Umunga, Gorsehill Star and Lord Limmerick. As my horses have had several months off I will kick them off slowly at Goulburn then try and be competitive at Canberra and then it will be 3 weeks until Adelaide. I think that these are 3 pretty exciting 2 star horses who should be very competitive at Adelaide and ready for 3 star early next year. The only other two young horses that I have to compete at pre-novice are Nevada Ned and Dynamic. These two are potential superstars. They will only compete at Goulburn and Canberra and then have another break. They will then showjump at ag shows from mid January until the eventing season starts in late February.
4th October - LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I have just arrived back from my "Olympics" trip and hope that I may be able to use The Horse Magazine to pass on some thanks and clarify some issues.
Firstly I would like to publicly thank all at Equestrian Australia for their part in organising the travel arrangements for Billy and myself to support the Australian Eventing team as reserve for London. The training camp at the Unicorn Trust at Stow was fantastic in every way. The venue, the coaches and the support staff made it memorable and was a perfect launch pad for the games. Unfortunately the Australian team didn't have a great week, but they were well prepared and will surely feature at the pointy end next time. The London Olympics were truly spectacular and it was great to be there and part of the action.
For the record, Billy Elliot was sound, fit and in excellent form at all times prior to the 3DE Olympic trot up. He was simply not selected for the team. Of course this was disappointing but I feel his form thereafter and before will make him a legitimate contender for Normandy in 2014 and beyond. I would also like to publicly thank the many people that contacted me and supported me in the lead up to the Olympics. The Olympic preparation is a very narrow, focussed and often lonely road. It is nice to know that your fellow competitors and friends acknowledge this and support you anyway.
Billy arrives back at my farm, Limitless Lodge, at Wyong on October 27. His paddock is empty, slashed and waiting for him. My plan is to give him 10 weeks off and kick him off in the first week of January. He will remain in Australia and compete here during all of 2013. Whilst away there was plenty of time for thinking and planning. There is also the obvious discussion point about competing in Australia vs competition internationally.
I feel well qualified to speak on the merits of both from an eventing point of view. I have competed in England and Europe many times over the last 20 years, while always having a stable based in Australia. In my opinion there are several key areas to discuss. I am absolutely certain that the winners in Australia will almost certainly translate that form to winning in Europe. Top level horses and riders are the same everywhere. The only difference is that in Australia there are probably 5 or 6 legitimate winning chances in a big class, whereas in Europe there are probably 20 winning chances. ie in Australia you can probably have an off day and still feature in the minor prize money but in Europe you will finish 50th. There are more horses, more riders, more events and more opportunities in Europe for sure.
In Australia we have few opportunities to compete and generally all the hot shots will go to the same few events which provides very competitive top level eventing. I guess this is all obvious to most people but it does need saying. Our winners can win anywhere. The best example is Chris Burton who is winning everything right now in Europe, after only being there for 12 months. What Australia does need most definitely is more positive dressage judging which is prepared to reward the really good and punish the ordinary. That sitting on 60% for almost the entire field is cringeworthy and seems to exist only in Australia.
Our showjumping courses in eventing I reckon, courtesy of John Vallance and several other leading designers, are the best and most challenging that you will see anywhere in the world. Our cross country courses in general are behind the rest of the world in variety and degree of difficulty. I feel that any funding that eventing gets would be well spent on sending our designers overseas to see what goes on at the big events. This money could also be spent on cross country courses directly. This of course, all a generalisation. The course at Adelaide CCI**** last year was truly fantastic and very much in line with what is happening abroad.
These views, of course, are my personal thoughts and I thought this letter might provoke some discussion. I look forward to seeing everybody at Adelaide which is a great event in every way.
3rd OCTOBER - SUPER SATURDAY AT RANDWICK
This Saturday is the premier day of Spring Racing in Sydney with four Group 1s. The favourite for the big mile race - The Epsom Handicap - is Shoot Out. He is trained by Chris Waller and will be very hard to beat after winning first up over a mile at Randwick in the Group 1 George Main Stakes. Shoot Out was spelled after his last preparation and pre-trained on the aquacizer at Limitless Lodge this preparation. We wish the Huddys the very best of luck!
Graduates from Limitless Lodge have been winning everywhere recently and we will now keep you more up to date more regularly.
Billy and I set off for England on 4th July as travelling reserve for the Australian Eventing team at the London Olympics. We were joined on the flight by Shane Rose (Taurus) and Megan Jones (Kirby Park Allofasudden). The flight went well and the horses arrived in great shape to a cold, wet English summer. It is fair to say that for the month of July the temperature never rose above 20 degrees and it rained 4 days in every 5. We didn't come for the weather anyway. The training camp at the Unicorn Trust in the Cotswolds was first class in every way. The venue and accomodation for horses and riders was super. The training and support were spot on and had the team in good shape for a shot at Olympic glory.
We now know what happened to Shane and then Megan before the Olympics even started. What a rollercoaster the sport of eventing is! It is fair to say that these guys were unbelievably accepting and good spirited about the whole disappointment. Billy was not required for the team, so we relocated to Surrey to prepare for Burghley. The results of the Olympics are now well documented as was Australia's bad luck.
To see the full results at London go to http://www.london2012.com/equestrian/eventing/
I was based at Bryony Holloway's yard at Shillinglee which was fantastic. I was right next to Kevin McNab and Emma Dougall and just around the corner from the young Kiwi superstar Jock Paget. Our main attention was now Burghley. There were very few advanced events to do before Burghley except Wellington, which was just before Burghley. Billy ran 3rd in the Advanced after winning the dressage. He went super in every way. Unfortunately he pulled off a shoe and ripped off some foot with it. The trot up at Burghley was two days later. The rest is unfortunately history. I was interviewed shortly after the trot up and this can be viewed here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utNjlWOijPA .
While Billy was at his peak leading up to the Olympics, he was now starting to lose condition. When he left for England he was 510kg. When he competed at Blenheim he was 442kg. His coat was starting to go off and he was eating hardly anything. As everyone who has done this trip before will testify this is all normal. They land and for the first two or three weeks they feel bulletproof and perfectly normal. This is why Olympic teams and horses going to Royal Ascot arrive two to three weeks prior to the competition. Horses jetlag is delayed.
With Billy's foot now fully recovered we set off for Blenheim one week later. This is a beautiful event that brought together a very tough field of over 100 top horses and riders from all over the world. Billy was leading the dressage after day one only to be overtaken by another Australian Chris Burton on Underdiscussion on the Friday. I watched Chris's test and felt it was probably the best eventing test I have ever seen and he fully deserved the score of 31.8. Ingrid Klimke was third on Tabasco on 35.8. The cross country course was the toughest 3 star I have seen and the scoreboard probably proved that. Billy went super but unfortunately added time penalties after running on empty late in the course. He showjumped super the next day and ended up 9th. William Fox-Pitt won his 50th 3 day event and beat another legend in Mark Todd into 2nd.
For the full results go to http://www.bdwp.co.uk/cgi-bin/3dif.pl?fn=ble12.csv&nav=left
The next day Billy Elliot went to quarantine at Newmarket and flies back to Australia on the 4th October and arrives back at the farm on October 27. It was quite a trip but it is great to be home.
24th MARCH - QUIRINDI HORSE TRIALS.
In my first event in a month and with only 3 days work since returning from Hong Kong, I fronted up to Quirindi with low expectations and a desire to have a gentle hit out prior to Albury. My horses could not have been better and clearly show that they are much better when I don't ride them. Umunga won the 1* and Lord Limmerick was 3rd in the same class. Dynamic, having her first start for me, was an absolute pleasure in every way. It is the first time that I have competed a mare in over 15 years and she went really well and finished 2nd in her preliminary class. I have big plans for this exciting mare.
18th MARCH - HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SALE - A BIG SUCCESS
This year's sale set new records in every way. The average was $HK4.4 Million ($AUS550,000) and for our Australian draft of 6 horses was $HK5.5 Million ($AUS687,000). The two sale toppers were both by the new superstar Fastnet Rock and will be given every chance as they went to leading trainers, Richard Gibson and Ricky Yiu. We will follow these horses and keep everyone up to date with their progress. For my team of staff it was a great trip and we all eagerly await the next trip that combines with the International Races in December, 2012.
5th MARCH - HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SALE 2012
I travel to Hong Kong this week to oversee the final gallops and preparation before the breeze up next Saturday and the international sale the following Saturday, 17th March. The 6 horses that we have taken to Hong Kong this year are an outstanding bunch. The highlight lots appear to be Encost De Lago/ Devil's Gold and Fastnet Rock/ Verdict Declared. Sophie has been very happy with how they have settled in following the travel. Unlike everywhere else in the world, the Hong Kong economy is booming so we are hoping for a strong sale.
For all information about the sale go to the HKJC website /racing.hkjc.com/racing/english/
4th MARCH - PREPARATIONS FOR OLYMPIC SELECTION
The pressure is now starting to mount as there is less than 8 weeks until our final trial at Sydney during the weekend April 27/28/29. There is one CIC*** at Albury in the last week of March and a CIC*** at Kihiki, New Zealand, a week later. These will be the final runs before everybody's last chance to gain selection. The course at Sydney has this year been designed by Mike Etheringtion-Smith, the most well known and decorated course designer in the world. This will ensure the track is up to height and a significant enough challenge to compare combinations from both hemispheres.
At this stage we have been told that there will be 8 horse/rider combinations going into camp in the week before London. There appear to be 3 very solid European based combinations. This leaves the final 5 places to be chosen from a very competitive Australia based contingent. I think the chances are already listed on national squads and include in no particular order Stuart Tinney/Panamera, Shane Rose/Taurus, Tim Boland/Billy Elliot, Christine Bates/Adelaide Hill, Natalie Blundell/Algebra, Sonja Johnson/Illicit Liason, Craig Barrett/Wendela Jamie and Emma Mason/F1 Pharanelli. An interesting few weeks ahead........
For all the details about Sydney 3 day event go to www.sydneyeventing.org/
2nd MARCH - DYNAMIC-NEW HORSE ON THE TEAM
I was very fortunate this week to purchase a new horse to add to my team for this season. Dynamic is the first mare that I have purchased to event in 20 years. I rate her very highly. This mare has been beautifully produced by Aaron Moyes. I imagine I wiil have my first start on her at Quirindi on March 24/25.I can't wait to ride this horse.
26th FEBRUARY - SYDNEY WEEK OF EVENTING
As if I didnt have a stressful enough week being President of the committee who runs more events each year than any other eventing club in NSW, I decided to ride 6 horses mid-week and 3 on the weekend. The event was very fortunate to run as the weather gods finally smiled on us for long enough to prepare the rain soaked cross-country course. All credit must go to the SIEC ground staff and my committee.
On a personal note I had a good event during the week. In the CNC** I was able to win on Billy Elliot, 2nd on Umunga, 3rd Mercator Du Ry and 5th on Untouchable. My new ride Lord Limmerick finished 4th at his first 1* start. On the weekend Billy upgraded to 3 star and ran 4th, Umunga ran 2nd in the 2 star and Lord Limmerick 3rd in the 1 star. Shane Rose would have been delighted to jump a clear round and win the 3 star on his notoriously tricky showjumper Taurus.
For all results go to www.sieceventing.equestrian.org.au/
31st JANUARY - WALLABY HILL
I had a great start to the season at Wallaby Hill in the last week of January. This beautiful property has come ahead in leaps and bounds and produced an absolute first class event in every way. This is the home of Alex Townsend and her husband Derek. It seems as if no stone has been left unturned to make it a horse paradise. The only downside is the Southern Highlands weather. In the 1 star I was able to win on Umunga and run 2nd on Untouchable. Lord Limmerick ran 2nd in the pre-novice. I wish all events were this smooth and easy.
For all information about Wallaby Hill go to www.wallabyhillfarm.org.au/
17th JANUARY - MAGIC MILLIONS
Each year we look forward to going to the Gold Coast as a bit of a holiday, but also to socialsie with our good clients. This year we ended up with about 30 horses from this sale to break in. The Hong Kong Jockey Club purchased 10 horses that we will prepare for next year's International Sale. Other trainers that we have horses for from the sale are Chris Waller, Gerald Ryan, John Hawkes, David Payne and Matt Smith. We have also ended up with the sale topper, Fastnet Rock/ Rose of Cimmaron that was purchased by one of our good clients, Coolmore Stud.
For full results for this sale go to www.magicmillions.com.au/