Couple just love their breeding and racing

5 min read

Sydney couple Rob and Donna Love have enjoyed Group 1 success as owners with their Oakleigh Plate winner Shamal Wind (Dubawi {Ire}) and they also share in the ownership of the Golden Slipper S. winner Capitalist (Written Tycoon).

They have built up a quality broodmare band with their interests managed by prominent bloodstock agent James Harron, who spoke about their association, with TDN AusNZ’s Paul Vettise.

Owners Donna and Rob Love

TDN AusNZ: How long have you been managing Donna and Rob Love’s thoroughbred operation?

JH: The association with Donna and Rob goes back to the 2013 Magic Millions Broodmare sale.

TDN AusNZ: How did the association begin?

JH: They were a shareholder in a mare who was being sold and Bruce Slade put them in touch with me for some advice as they were thinking of buying her back as a broodmare. Our conversations led to us letting that mare go and instead Donna and Rob bought 2-year-old stakes winner Real Stolle (Elusive Quality {USA}) for $325,000 from Patinack.

Real Stolle winning the G3 Maribyrnong Plate

She has been a great foundation mare for them. Her first foal was the Snitzel filly Nomothaj, who sold to Shadwell for $420,000, and was herself a 2-year-old stakes winner. Real Stolle's latest yearling was another Snitzel filly, who went to Jon Kelly and Reg Inglis for $380,000 and she has a particularly impressive Capitalist colt on the ground.

"She has been a great foundation mare for them." - James Harron

TDN AusNZ: What were the next steps?

JH: Following the purchase of Real Stolle we set about executing a strategy targeting fillies in training, with the aim of developing them further and eventually becoming breeding prospects. The first filly we bought in conjunction with these aims was Shamal Wind (Dubawi), who was a Listed winner at the time of purchase. She was a dream result as she went on to win the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate as a 5-year-old.

Watch: Shamal Wind winning the G1 Oakleigh Plate

The next such purchase was My Poppette (Snippetson), who was also purchased as a Listed winner as a 2-year-old. She went on beautifully as a 3-year-old and won the Group 2 Moonee Valley Fillies’ Classic. During this time, Donna and Rob also became an integral part of the JHB colt syndicate as a great way of racing a lovely group of horses, while hopefully producing stallion equity that can work in tandem with their broodmare band. As such, they're shareholders in champion 2-year-old Capitalist at Newgate, as well as the very exciting prospect at Arrowfield, Pariah (Redoute's Choice).

TDN AusNZ: What was the thought process about investing in New Zealand?

JH: We were at the yearling sales in New Zealand in 2017 and it became apparent that there was a bit of a gap in the market at that time. There seemed to be a huge emphasis from buyers on the colts at the sale and the well-bred fillies seemed to be a touch overlooked. I spoke to Donna and Rob about the possibility of trying to capitalise on this and we secured two fillies at Karaka that year.

"It became apparent that there was a bit of a gap in the market at that time." - James Harron

Espresso Martini (NZ) was a NZ$150,000 purchase and was the first to hit the track, a daughter of High Chaparral (Ire) out of Group 1 winner Keepa Cruisin (NZ) (Keeper) , who is a half-sister to multiple Group 1 winner Seachange (NZ) (Cape Cross {Ire}). For her to win a Listed race last preparation really cements the project as a success, as she is now a very valuable breeding prospect.

The other filly we bought for NZ$200,000 that year is named Caribbean Rose (NZ), a daughter of Tavistock (NZ) from the Eight Carat family. Since the sale her half-sister Crystal Fountain (NZ) (Stravinsky {USA}) has come out and got some black type, which all helps. Caribbean Rose herself was a very good second on debut this month and is one to look out for once she gets out to a mile. A big part of the project in New Zealand has been the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable. They are obviously a world-class operation and have done a tremendous job with these two fillies.

TDN AusNZ: Tell us a bit about their breeding operation?

JH: Donna and Rob currently have a broodmare band of thirteen quality mares, focussed on breeding for the commercial yearling market. So far this year, they have had a good year in the sales ring with a pair of Deep Field colts making $450,000 and $310,000 off $22,000 services, along with the previously mentioned Snitzel filly from Real Stolle who made $380,000.

As I mentioned earlier, we have also developed fillies purchased off the track into breeding prospects and they also take a long-term view to trading mares in and out of the portfolio as things evolve, as evidenced by their selling of Shamal Wind, in foal to Redoute’s Choice, for $1,200,000 to Gerry Harvey at Magic Millions last year. They retained Shamal Wind’s yearling colt by Redoute’s Choice, who is a stand-out colt to be offered at Inglis Easter next month.

Lot 255 Redoute's Choice x Shamal Wind

TDN AusNZ: And your future aspirations?

JH: The aims are to always strive for an upgrade of the portfolio, both through strategic investment and management, and for the stallion equity produced by the colt syndicate and the broodmare band to work in synchrony to build into a world-class portfolio of quality bloodstock.