The annual Ontrack Hunter Valley Horse and Wine Tour is over for 2019 after another special week in thoroughbred heaven for the tour party.
The 28 participants returned home after five special days in the Hunter Valley and the chance to see the powerhouse of thoroughbred breeding in Australia.
“It was another fantastic group of people and they all had a fantastic time. While the studs would love some rain we had perfect weather,” said Ontrack’s Grant Morgan.
“The studs were all fantastic and Ontrack owes a great debt to all the farms for their fantastic hospitality.
“Each stud has a magnificent array of stallions but a special moment was being at Coolmore Stud and able to get a close up look at two Triple Crown winners in American Pharoah and Justify.
“Australia has never played host to a pair of Triple Crown winners and it was fantastic to see both stallions.
“This year’s tour was a mix of new and previous tour clients and they proved to be a terrific bunch and it was a pleasure to make new friends and catch up with old friends.
The tour also featured a new dining venue for the Hunter Valley Tour Group.
This years Welcome Dinner was staged at the new Brokenwood Wines Cellar Door restaurant "The Wood".
The next Hunter Valley Tour will be staged in October 2020.
Dates will be released in the coming weeks for this and all the Ontrack Tours for 2020, as well as for Royal Ascot in 2021.
Recent race and sales results have ensured Triple Crown winner American Pharoah will be a major drawcard for this year’s Ontrack Racing Hunter Valley Horse and Wine Tour.
The son of Pioneer Of The Nile shuttles from America to stand at Coolmore Stud in the Hunter Valley and he’s making headlines in the Northern Hemisphere from his first crop.
His first yearlings sold for up to $2.2 million and on the racetrack his first runner Monarch of Egypt bolted in for legendary trainer Aiden O’Brien while Maven was a debut winner at Aqueduct in the US for Wesley Ward and is heading to Royal Ascot.
This week a colt by American Pharoah was sold for 1.1 million euros at the Deauville breeze up sale.
“Last spring was the first time the Ontrack Tour got a close-up look at American Pharoah and the horse didn’t disappoint,” said Ontrack’s Grant Morgan.
“He’s a lovely stallion and a very athletic individual and it comes as no surprise that he’s making headlines with his first Northern Hemisphere crop.
“This year’s Hunter Valley trip will be unique in that Coolmore Stud will present two Triple Crown winners in Justify and American Pharoah.
“That’s going to be something truly remarkable.
“It was interesting that the American Pharoah colt at Deauville was purchased by Coolmore’s MV Magnier.
“Coolmore is never afraid to back their stallions and this colt will head to legendary French trainer Andre Fabre’s famed Chantilly stable.
“The colt was purchased at last September’s Keenland Sale for $US275,000 so it’s a great pin hook result for Grove Stud.
“If you have the right horse for these breeze up sales the results can be very, very lucrative,” said Grant Morgan.
Coolmore Stud stallion So You Think has enjoyed an incredible winning run in April with 20 individual winners so far.
A superstar on the track with his dual Cox Plate wins for Bart Cummings, So You Think is one of the most popular stallions at Coolmore and last spring served 225 mares.
So You Think has already left five Group One winners amongst his 16 stakes performers and this month he has had two stakes winners in the unbeaten Sydney filly Fasika and the impressive New Zealand two-year-old colt Quick Thinker.
“So You Think’s progeny have been in great form this season and in recent weeks he’s left winners left, right and centre,” said Ontrack Thoroughbreds Managing Director Grant Morgan.
“His strike rate in April has been fantastic and he’s looking on track for a great Queensland winter carnival with fillies such as Word For Word and Guise heading towards an Oaks start and yesterday’s Sunshine Coast victor Masstoo heading to the Queensland Derby.”
Ontrack Thoroughbreds purchased a colt by So You Think at the January Karaka Premier Sale and he is currently being broken in by talented young New Zealand horseman Jacob McKay.
“The colt from New Zealand is a beautiful example of the thoroughbred and we will be racing him from Hawkes Racing’s stables in Sydney and Melbourne.
“He is out of a Redoute’s Choice mare and the cross of So You Think over Redoute’s mares has already resulted in Group One winners Inference and D’Argento. It’s also the breeding of unbeaten Sydney filly Fasika and is one of the most prolific crosses in racing at the moment.
“Our colt comes from a great New Zealand farm and is doing everything right at the moment and he will be flown to Queensland later in the year to enjoy some sunshine and pre-training before heading to Hawkes Racing.
“So You Think is always one of the most popular stallions on the Ontrack Racing Tour to the Hunter Valley each year and it was great to be able to purchase a lovely colt by this fantastic stallion,” said Grant Morgan.