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Flying the flag for the fillies and the Jeffries

5 min read
Three and a half years after buying her dam online, Tauranga farmer Warwick Jeffries and his family will be cheering for Seabrook in Saturday's G1 Golden Rose.

On Saturday, Seabrook (Hinchinbrook) is aiming to become the first filly to win the Golden Rose since the race was upgraded to Group 1 status in 2009. Facing 10 of the most talented and precocious 3-year-old colts in the land, it will be no easy task for Mick Price's Group 1 winning filly, but she won’t lack for support from the Jeffries family on their farm outside of Tauranga in New Zealand.

It was only three and a half years ago that Warwick Jeffries' attention was captured by an online advertisement from Randwick Bloodstock for a broodmare called Midnight Revels (NZ) (Don Eduardo {NZ}), who was in foal to Hinchinbrook.

Looking for a mare to send to Proisir at Rich Hill Stud, a first-season stallion he had a share in, Jeffries assessed Midnight Revels' pedigree and type and liked what he saw.

"I liked that blueblood of Don Eduardo and the Australian speed family on the other side," Jeffries told TDN AusNZ.

"Midnight Revels is not built like your usual Don Eduardo, she's a compact speed type horse. She had that blue blood running through her veins."

The $300 mare

The unraced Midnight Revels had been bred by Stuart Ramsey's Ramsey Pastoral Company and retained as a broodmare, producing a couple of placegetters before being sold at dispersal sale for $300 to Scone vet Richard McClenahan.

Advertised for $22,500 after getting in foal to Hinchinbrook 12 months later, Midnight Revels was sold back to New Zealand.

"From day one, she has been gorgeous all the way through." Warwick Jeffries on Seabrook.

Seabrook

Less than six months later, the Jeffries had a filly on their hands, a filly who is set to contest one of Australia's biggest 3-year-old races on Saturday.

"Midnight Revels has big strong foals, that's what she has," Jeffries said.

"From day one, she (Seabrook) has been gorgeous all the way through. My daughter did a lot of work with her and she said she has got a beautiful temperament all the way through. I can tell you my daughter shed a tear or two when she left."

From the farm, she was sent to Luke and Mags Anderson at Maluka Thoroughbreds in Victoria to prepare for the 2017 Melbourne Premier Sale.

"I sent her over there because I thought it was the best place to sell her. They did a good job, they were good people to deal with and the rest is history," he said,

To the sales and then the track

The filly fetched $85,000 from Blueblood Thoroughbreds and she was sent to trainer Mick Price. She debuted with a fourth in the Inglis Banner on Cox Plate day last year and returned even stronger in the autumn, winning the G2 Sweet Embrace S at her second run back.

"We get a massive buzz as a family to watch Seabrook do what she's doing. And the mum, we are proud as punch of her." Warwick Jeffries

By the end of the campaign she was a Group 1 winner, claiming the Champagne S. at Randwick.

"Anybody that gets a Group 1 obviously has to be surprised but I thought the fundamentals were strong," Jeffries said.

"We get a massive buzz as a family to watch Seabrook do what she's doing. And the mum, we are proud as punch of her."

The rest of the family

Midnight Revels has had two colts to Proisir since, the first of which was sold or $100,000 at the Karaka Yearling Sale earlier this year. The second is a yearling who is also showing great promise.

"Midnight Revels has got a really good temperament and so have the three progeny I have got out of her," Jeffries said. "The one we’ve got in the paddock, he's a cracker".

"I didn’t just chase Snitzel because he was the No.1 stallion." Warwick Jeffries

Having missed a season last year, the plan was for Midnight Revels to head back to Hinchinbrook this season to try and get a full sibling for Seabrook, but after the Yarraman Park stallion was fatally injured in July, Jeffries needed to find an alternative.

Midnight Revels is pregnant to Champion Australian Sire Snitzel

It became clear that Snitzel, as a close relative to Hinchinbrook, as well as Australia's leading sire, was the best option.

"I didn’t just chase Snitzel because he was the No.1 stallion, it was because he was a three-quarter brother to Hinchinbrook, which will make the sibling a 7/8th to Seabrook," Jeffries explained.

Midnight Revels has already returned a 15-day positive and Jeffries and his family are ready for a new chapter in the story.

Of more immediate concern is supporting Seabrook, who is the only New Zealand-bred horse in Saturday's Golden Rose. The Jeffries are boosted by the confidence Mick Price has in the filly.

"If she's on top of her game, she's a huge chance," Warwick said.