Better days for Lyndhurst and Yarramalong

6 min read
Richard Foster and Jeff Kruger have played major roles in Better Than Ready's stud career and are enjoying the flood of early successes from his first crop.

The two key men behind Better Than Ready's stud career admit they are excited but not surprised with the impression his first crop are making on the racetrack.

It may be only December, but Better Than Ready, who stands at Lyndhurst Stud Farm in Queensland, is already a runaway leader on the first-season sires table with five individual winners with six wins, the latest coming when the Toby Edmonds-trained Betaima won at Doomben on Saturday.

The early success is satisfying not only for Lyndhurst Stud's Kruger family but also for Yarramalong Park's Richard Foster, who played a major role in getting the star sprinter to stand in Queensland.

"I got the offer from Julian Blaxland to buy him and I was looking around where to stand him and syndicate him," Foster said. "Lyndhurst had just lost Sequalo so it was an obvious choice. I got Jeff and Griff (Kruger) to come down with me and have a look at the horse and we all agreed that he would fill the bill."

"I paid for him and syndicated him into 40 shares. I kept about 26 per cent of him and the guys took a bit of him and we filled in the rest in about four or five weeks."

Better Than Ready

That was back in 2015. Fast forward three years and the speed in which he was syndicated has been matched with the speed his first crop have jumped out of the blocks.

"To have five winners and hopefully a few more before Christmas is a dream start." - Lyndhurst Director, Jeff Kruger

"To have five winners and hopefully a few more before Christmas is a dream start. Especially with three metro winners who have all looked good," Lyndhurst Park's Jeff Kruger said.

"I've always expected them to go early. He won as a 2-year-old himself with Kelly Schweida in Brisbane. He was only a lightly raced horse himself, but a fast horse."

"The signs were that they would run early and they duly have."

Foster's support reaping rewards

As the major shareholder in the stallion, Yarramalong Park have supported him with upwards of 30 mares a season, lifting that to 40 this season.

Foster saw very early that Better Than Ready's progeny had the athleticism and mentality to make a considerable early impression in their careers.

"When those foals came along I said to the guys at Lyndhurst and all the people who work here at Yarramalong as well, if one of these runs, they will all run, because they were so athletic as foals and as yearlings," he said.

Betaima pictured as a yearling

"They never lost a derby against other breeds in the paddocks. I thought, if they do that with jockeys on they will be fine."

"The next thing was that their temperament was so amazing and they were such quick learners. Nothing ever fazed them and when we took them to Melbourne and Adelaide, they didn’t turn a hair. They travelled better than most racehorses ever travel."

"Their temperament was so amazing and they were such quick learners. Nothing ever fazed them." - Richard Foster

Yarramalong Park-bred Betaima, one of three Better Than Ready winners already from the farm, is the perfect example of the breed, according to Foster.

"You only had to see her in the pre-parade at the back of the track there on Saturday. She was the only one walking around like she was an old stager. Not a hair out of place or an ounce of sweat on her," he said.

"He seems to be dominant on that particular side, not just the colour, but temperament and constitution as well."

Following the Boom

It is the second season in a row where a rookie Queensland stallion has shaken up the usual state of affairs in the first-season sire rankings. Spirit of Boom's successes last season were well-documented, but by comparison, he only had two winners by this time of year as compared to Better Than Ready's five.

But while 22 Spirit of Booms sold at the Magic Millions last January at an average of over $116,000, there are only two Better Than Readys in the 2019 catalogue.

One of them is a colt out of La Mamma Rosa (Testa Rossa) offered by Lyndhurst Farm on behalf of Yarramalong Park as part of Book 2.

"He's a big strong colt. He's a half to several city winners and everything out of that mare runs and wins, I would be confident he’ll do us proud," Foster said.

"When you see him, he's up in the top quartile of the size of the Better Than Readys. They are not all big horses but most of them have got reasonable size. He'd be a little bit bigger than the average Better Than Ready."

His full sister, now named Fashionetti, was sold at last year's Melbourne Premier Sale for $42,000 to Rebecca Waymouth and recently won a jumpout impressively before being put out for spell. She is nominated for the G1 Blue Diamond S.

Fashionetta as a yearling

Lyndhurst's Magic draft

Lyndhurst Park will take a total of seven yearlings to the Magic Millions Sale, four of them on behalf of others and three of them they bred themselves.

Among that trio is Lot 472, the full sister to stakes-placed performer Oink (Sebring), out of the mare Coogee Coozifa (Danzero).

"She's a beautiful filly. Oink has been beaten a nose his last two starts. He's a bit of an unlucky sort of horse, but he is a stakes horse," Jeff Kruger said.

Lot 472 is the full-sister to stakes-placed, Oink

"This filly is just lovely. She deserved her spot in the catalogue. She's a feminine type, but a very racy type. She looks like an early runner, probably a little bit different in make-up to Oink and a few of the other colts that the mare has thrown."

He also has high expectations for Lot 815, the Nicconi colt out of Miss Le Nord (Northern Meteor), who is from the family of A Time For Julia and Time Thief.

"He's a typical Nicconi. A rock-solid colt. While he's not tall, he's big everywhere else and has a lovely hindquarter and lovely shoulder. He's the first foal of a Northern Meteor mare, I'd expect him to sell well," Kruger said.

The third one, lot 1022, is one of 18 from first-season Arrowfield stallion Real Impact (Jpn) in the catalogue.

"She's the only Real Impact I've laid eyes on, but she's a very forward filly, very well grown and I like her a lot. She's certainly well put together and very correct," he said.

Lot 1022 is by first-season Arrowfield stallion, Real Impact