Blaxland's Blue Sky time machine

7 min read
A decade after She's Meaner (Falvelon {Aus}) gave Blue Sky Bloodstock's Julian Blaxland a huge kickstart to his new venture, her colt Lean Mean Machine (Zoustar {Aus}) is giving him another boost as he approaches another stage of his career.

Juian Blaxland, who started Blue Sky Bloodstock in 2006 after working as an agent and auctioneer for Magic Millions, paid $300,000 for She's Meaner as a yearling early in his venture in 2007.

The filly would go on to claim black-type at her third start before being narrowly beaten in the 2008 Magic Millions 2yo Classic, vindicating the faith Blaxland had shown in her a year earlier.

She's Meaner, pictured here winning the 2008 Wyong Magic Millions 2yo at Wyong, was one of Blue Sky's early yearling purchases

Ten years' later circumstances conspired for Blaxland to purchase her final foal, a colt by Zoustar.

"I'd seen the colt at Glenlogan Park in late November. We had an interest, because his mother She's Meaner, was one of our first good two year olds when we kicked off Blue Sky," he told TDN AusNZ.

"At that Magic Millions I was acting for a few clients, Emmanuel Bloodstock was one, Aquis was another and then I bumped into Kyan Yap from Raffles Racing, who said he was interested in the horse as well."

"I kind of said, everyone wants to buy it, so I'll buy it. We split it up three ways at the sale."

The perfect match

Blaxland had taken a particular interest in the progeny of Zoustar at the 2017 Magic Millions Sale, and the connection with She's Meaner meant he was very keen on her colt.

"We tried to buy her brother but we were outbid by Team Hawkes, which turned out to be (G2 winner) Love Conquers All and obviously when She's Meaner had a foal, and had a nice colt by Zoustar, I put the group together and managed to get him for $250,000," he said.

Lean Mean Machine was a $250,000 Magic Millions purchase

"They are very good-looking horses, the Zoustars on the whole, which is what led us to buy three yearlings all up last year."

Of those three yearling purchases, one ended up being star filly Sunlight. who won this year's Magic Millions 2YO Classic and is on the path to the G1 Golden Rose S on September 22.

Sunlight was a $300,000 Magic Millions purchase for Blue Sky and on the path to the Group 1 Golden Rose

"I saw enough at the farm and enough at the sales, you could tell straight away he was athletic and he had a good brain." - Julian Blaxland on Lean Mean Machine

So too is She's Meaner's colt Lean Mean Machine. Trained by Chris Waller, he is now one of the most promising 3-year-olds in the country after his impressive win in Saturday's G2 Run To The Rose at Rosehill.

Blaxland said while Lean Mean Machine was never going to develop into an early-running 2-year-old like Sunlight, he saw great potential in him as a yearling.

"He had a great frame about him but he was probably a little behind the 8-ball compared to some of the other horses at the Magic Millions," he said.

"He didn’t look like a horse who would come back in 12 months and run in the Magic Millions, but he was going through a bit of a growth stage as well."

"I saw enough at the farm and enough at the sales, you could tell straight away he was athletic and he had a good brain."

Lean Mean Machine winning the Group 2 Run to the Rose

A head worth remembering

Blaxland also saw something in him similar to what he had seen in his dam at the same sale ten years earlier.

"He's got the same head as his mother. His mother had a very striking head. At the time we bought She's Meaner, she was by Falvelon, who stood for $15,000 I think, we paid $300,000 for her as a yearling, which is testament to her good looks."

"She was obviously a stunner. He also had something about him, the same head as her and he's got an x-factor."

"She was obviously a stunner. He also had something about him, the same head as her and he's got an x-factor." - Julian Blaxland

Lean Mean Machine's win first-up against the likes of Graff (Star Witness)} and stablemate Zousain (Zoustar {Aus}) on Saturday may have surprised the punters, but it was not surprising for the man who spotted him before the sales, nor the colt's jockey Tye Angland.

"He's got a beautiful action and he's turned into the most magnificent 3-year old. He looks a horse that will train on at four," Blaxland said.

"Tye Angland rode him in a trial a few weeks ago and he said. 'I don’t want to be on anything else for the spring'. That certainly gave me a lot of confidence going in to yesterday. I was confident the horse could win."

A year to remember

Lean Mean Machine joins Sunlight and G1 Tatts Tiara winner Prompt Response as significant on-track successes for Blue Sky Bloodstock in 2018.

Things off the track are also going from strength to strength. As well as being the retained agent for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Blue Sky has also been involved in initiatives such as the Elite Colts' Club and the Premium Racemare Consignment at Magic Millions' National Broodmare Sale.

But whether it be coincidence or serendipity, just like his dam, Lean Mean Machine's 'arrival' as a star has coincided with another period of professional transition for Blaxland.

Julian and fiancé Kacy pictured with Sunlight's Magic Millions trophy

The new adventure

He and fianceé Kacy Fogden have bought Newington Farm in south-east Queensland, a 60-acre farm which has allowed him to 'set down some roots'.

"About two years ago, I started doing a lot of business with Aquis up here at Canungra in Queensland. About then I started seeing Kacy, who is now my fiancé and was heavily involved in the management at Aquis," he said.

"This area is a beautiful area. It's 45 minutes from the Gold Coast and an hour from Brisbane. It’s great horse country. They can breed a good horse here. Kacy and I were looking for about the last 18 months for a block."

"This is why a lot of us got into horseracing, to spend time around horses."

"We bought 60 acres. It was a warmblood stud years ago and we've spent the last four months developing and re-fencing it with horse-rail fencing, but we’ll be spelling and agisting horses from Gold Coast and Brisbane stables here."

With Kacy's work at Aquis as Pre-training and Racing Manager, and Julian busy as ever with Blue Sky, Kacy's sister Leah will manage the day-to-day operations at Newington Farm, alongside Blaxland and his admin staff.

Newington Farm is being set up as a world class spelling and agistment facility

"It's exciting, we've put down roots," Blaxland said. "We travel to so many auctions throughout the year and we go to racing stables and it's nice now to have a base with horses around,"

"This is why a lot of us got into horseracing, to spend time around horses. It’s nice to have some here and hopefully contribute to working with trainers locally, to have their horses spelling well and doing well and getting them back into work and in a very small way contributing to their success."

Big plans for Newington Farm

Blaxland also plans to utilise the location to allow major stables to spell their horses after the major Queensland carnivals.

"We'll cater to the likes of Gai Waterhouse, David Hayes and Tony McEvoy when they bring horses up for the Magic Millions, when they have a spell after that and also after the Brisbane winter carnival," he said.

"We are certainly are going to spell our client's Queensland horses up here and we are open for business for other trainers to use it."

"It's nice to have a base and I'll have a few of my own mares here. It's a great part of the world and we are on the doorstep of the Magic Millions as well which is terrific."