Rylands Thoroughbreds - That's the Spirit!

Sponsored Content - by Breednet - Thursday August 19

Establishing a commercial stud farm can throw up hurdles at the best of times, but deciding to press ‘go’ in the midst of COVID-19 certainly merits a bravery badge of some kind.

Although boasting a lifetime involvement in the equine industry and having “bred a few to race ourselves,” Luke Ryland and his partner, Bec, posted the Ryland Thoroughbreds shingle last September: offering a wide range of services and - “fingers crossed” - standing some likely stallion prospects.

“Both Bec and I have loved and worked with horses since we were kids and after Bec was made redundant last year we thought that presented the ideal opportunity to really bite the bullet and gear up as a fully-fledged stallion operation,” Ryland points out.

A boutique property based at Lethbridge – between Ballarat and Geelong in Victoria – Ryland Thoroughbreds offers racehorse and mare agistment, foaling down, pre-training and, as of the 2021 breeding season, services to exciting young sires, Spirit of Valor (USA) and Kaspersky (USA).

Kaspersky (IRE) is a Premium stallion,  click for more information.

“After we’d made the decision to go commercial we weren’t sure how much interest we’d generate but I’m happy to say that we got a number of new mares on farm last spring and quite a few more in the months since,” Ryland adds. “We’re not a huge operation by any stretch – just Bec and I really – but I think our enthusiasm and general love for the game rubs off.”

Ryland opened the show with Kaspersky and the immaculately-bred, America – by Snitzel     out of Champion mare, Alinghi – but sadly lost the latter to colic earlier this year.

“That was a huge blow as he’s only had a couple of runners (2YOs in 2020/21), but we’re really pumped about the line-up for 2021,” Ryland enthused. “Kaspersky was a bloody good racehorse in Europe with seven stakes wins. He won his first black type at three and was Group 1 placed at five and a Group 2 runner-up at six. Absolute gun over the mile.

“Kaspersky is the only son of Footstepsinthesand standing in Australia and while he’s had a couple of good runners down under like I Am Superman, who won the (Group 2) Apollo Stakes for the Snowdens this year, and the Group 1 winner, Pure Champion, in New Zealand, he’s produced 66 stakes winners in the northern hemisphere.

“Michelle Payne rode Kaspersky when he ran fifth in the (Group 1) Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and then trained him for his last two starts in Australia. We chased the horse up when Michelle mentioned him on her Facebook page and we’re glad we did - Michelle sent a mare to him last spring and he also covered a Group 1 winner. As you can imagine, we’re really looking forward to his first foals.”

Similarly, Spirit of Valor did his early racing in Europe before heading south of the equator: winning the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes at three (after being Group placed at two) before finishing second to Ball of Muscle in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes at his first outing in Australia. Next time out, Spirit of Valor ran Brave Smash to a lip in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes. A real flyer.

Spirit of Valor (USA) is a Premium stallion, click for more information.

“Spirit of Valor is by the Danzig horse, War Front, who has had 24 Group 1 winners including Homesman (Australian Cup & Underwood Stakes) and Declaration of War, who has gone on to sire a Melbourne Cup winner (Vow And Declare) and Victoria Derby winner (Warning),” Ryland reveals.

“Sam Matthews from Swettenham Stud rang me up before the catalogue came out for the Inglis Digital Sale in March to let us know the horse was entered and when I phoned Darren Dance (Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock) he said ‘go for it’.

“We were over the moon to get him – after all, he was competitive at the very top level in both hemispheres and given he was sold as a weanling for US$850,000 it’s pretty clear just what a good type he is. There’s been quite a bit of interest in him already and there is a still a few breeding rights available.”

Ryland Thoroughbreds was also one of the first to jump on board with Breednet’s Premium Stallion Directory.

“It’s very competitive out there and we don’t have a huge marketing budget like some of the major farms,” Ryland points out. “However, Breednet gets so much traffic coming through its website – incredible amount of available data – and the Premium service really does give your stallion the opportunity to stand out.

“It’s absolutely vital that the information these days is right up to date – year round – but the added bonus for us (and exclusive to Breednet), is the multimedia section (‘Stud Media’).

“We can put up any number of photos or videos for a new horse like Spirit of Valor and we’ll definitely be utilising that to showcase Kaspersky's first foals”.




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