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Stella burst has Wilf excited

6 min read
Stella Victoria (Foxwedge) is a special horse for owner/breeder Wilf Mula, who is hoping to get black-type with her on Saturday.

Owner/breeder Wilf Mula believes the winter Queensland sun has transformed Stella Victoria (Foxwedge) into a stakes horse and is hopeful she can capture her first piece of valuable black-type in Saturday's Listed Legacy Fillies and Mares Classic at Doomben.

It's fair to say Stella Victoria's racing career was at the crossroads at the end of her 3-year-old season.

She had won just one race and having transferred from David Payne to Robert Heathcote, the usually consistent filly had lost her way, finishing down the track in two starts.

"She was doing alright as a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old but she was still a bit weak." - Wilf Mula on Stella Victoria

"She was doing alright as a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old but she was still a bit weak. I made a good decision going to Brisbane and letting her spend the winter there last year," Mula told TDN AusNZ.

Wilf Mula with Bill Picken

"I sent her up to win a stakes race, but she was over the top, and then she had a nice spell at Washpool (Lodge), which they did a brilliant job. Then she exploded in terms of size and stature and strength and that made a big difference."

Stella Victoria put together a hat-trick of wins in August and September before finishing second in a ratings race on an unsuitably wet track at Randwick four weeks' ago.

Mula and Heathcote now have set her for a pair of Doomben stakes races, Saturday's Fillies and Mares Classic and the Just Now Fillies and Mares Quality on December 8, before reserving her for group races in the Brisbane winter carnival.

Stella Victoria enjoyed a freshen up at Washpool Lodge

All in the family

Stella Victoria's resurgence has been especially significant for Mula, who was involved in breeding both her dam, Vera's Pride (Youthful Legs {USA}) and her sire Foxwedge.

"I raced the mother and I've had the family for a long time. I've had a few horses from her. Really Reilly (O'Reilly {NZ}) won seven races, but she is by far the best I've had out of the mare," he said.

"Robert (Heathcote) always thought she had ability from the moment he got her. I'm hoping, having bred Foxwedge ourselves, with Paul Whelan and a couple of others, with Foxwedge being the father, to get some black type."


Stella and Victoria

She holds extra significance for Wilf and his wife Rosemary, as she is named after two very important people in their lives.

"The name came about because we have an adopted son who used to be our exchange student from Brazil. We got him to live here in Australia, and he had two little girls called Stella and Victoria. That's why I named her that," he said.

"They are now back in Brazil, he works for Jack Daniels, and every time I send them the clip of the races, they hear their names, they go berserk."

"They are four and seven. They understand a bit now, they jump up and down and their mother sends me Facebook videos of them cheering. They love to hear their name."

Stella Victoria's yearling filly half-sister by Dundeel is Lot 801 in the 2019 Inglis Classic Sale, while Vera's Pride recently delivered a foal to Sizzling, a stallion which Mula has a lot of time for.

"I've got a share in Sizzling, and I think he'll make it. He's obviously upgrading the mares," he said.


Artie's foals flying

Of course, one stallion Mula also has plenty of time for is his Group 1 winning sprinter Flying Artie, who currently stands at Newgate and who Vera's Pride has headed to this spring.

"I know everyone says their own stallion is the best sire out." - Wilf Mula

The first foals by Flying Artie have been hitting the ground this spring, and Mula is rapt with the reports.

"I know everyone says their own stallion is the best sire out, but if you look at firstly the foals and secondly the information from other people that have got them, they just all are going back to him. That's a good sign that he is ticking all the right boxes," he said.

Flying Artie

With 18 of his own broodmares plus another 10 in partnership with Luskin Park, it's a busy time of year for Mula's Aston Bloodstock, keeping in touch with the various foals, plus breeding plans.

At the sales

There is also the looming sales season, in which Mula will be an active vendor. He has four of his own going through the ring at Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale along with another six in partnership with Whelan.

Among them is Lot 321, a filly who Mula rates highly.

"Acts of Grace (USA) (Bahri {USA}), a half sister to Invincible Spirit, I bought her in foal to Pride of Dubai, and her sibling, a Frankel (GB), was sold at Easter last year. She is a quite exciting filly," he said.

Luskin Park will sell a Pierro colt out of Foxwedge's full-sister She's a Wildcat (Fastnet Rock) in partnership with Mula on the Gold Coast.

He also has another four yearlings in the Inglis Classic Sale in February and will have at least two at the Inglis Easter Sales, including a colt out of Group 1 mare Dizelle (Zabeel {NZ}), making him a half-brother to last year's VRC Oaks winner Pinot (Pierro).

Importing a strong pedigree

Meanwhile, Mula continues to look at building his broodmare stocks, including a recent Keeneland November Sale purchase of the 3-year-old filly I'm Pretty Strong (USA) (Street Cry {Ire}).

"Her mother (Shared Account {USA}) won the G1 Filly and Mare Breeders' Cup over a mile on turf. Boomer Bloodstock bought her for me, Craig Rounsefell, and I think we stole her for $US220,000," Mula said.

The intention is to race I'm Pretty Strong, who has had seven starts for two wins, in America and she will be sent to Darren Weir to train.

"She was in a stakes race on turf and they had a big lot of rain and they moved it to the dirt and she ran second and because they moved the race, they negated the stakes-race aspect. We are very excited. She is only a 3-year-old by American time," he said.

"We will bring her here in January, give her time to acclimatise then go to Darren and hopefully she can win a stake race for us."

Success rings true

Mula has around 30 horses currently in work all over Australia with trainers such as Heathcote, Payne, Weir and Mick Price.

He has just enjoyed a great run with one of those horses, the 3-year-old Ringerdingding (Sebring), which he has a share in. The Weir-trained colt won the Listed Hilton S, over the Flemington carnival before winning the G2 Sandown Guineas in impressive fashion last Saturday.

"He's still a colt, maybe we might end up with another stallion, which would be great." - Wilf Mula

"He’ll come back, we'll give him a bit of a rest and hopefully he can win a Group 1 for us. He's still a colt, maybe we might end up with another stallion, which would be great," he said.