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Sponsored Content - by Tara Madgwick - Thursday October 12

A passion for horses and racing has led Phillip Pollicina into the world of breeding thoroughbreds and his decision to stand a stallion at stud is beginning to get exciting as the first progeny of Fastnet Express head into training and have been showing considerable promise.

Fastnet Express is the stallion writing the next chapter in the thoroughbred adventures of Phillip Pollicina - image Caroline Searcy

“I’ve always had an interest in horses and rode for many years enjoying fox hunting in the Southern Highlands where I live and then about 13 years ago I met Gai Waterhouse at a sale,” Phillip Pollicina reflected.

“We got to talking and she of course suggested I should buy into a few horses and a short time later when she offered me a share in a package of three horses coming out from the UK I said yes and that’s where my involvement in racing came about.”

Among that trio of horses were Group I ATC The Metropolitan winner Glencadam Gold (IRE) and Group III winner Julienas (IRE), but better things were to come as Phillip subsequently took shares in Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente (IRE) and Sydney Cup winner The Offer (IRE).

“We had so much fun and I met so many wonderful people along the way and I was involved with Fiorente up until we sold him to go to stud,” said Pollicina.

“Having had so much success with stayers, I then decided to change it up a little and try investing in more sprinting types. We bought a Not a Single Doubt filly from Magic Millions that ended up a stakes-winner called Sugar Bella and we sold her first foal, a filly by Written Tycoon for $600,000 at Inglis Easter last year to Sheamus Mills."    

That change in thinking from imported stayers to locally bred speed bloodlines led Phillip to invest in a Fastnet Rock colt bought by Anthony Cummings at Magic Millions in 2017 for $250,000.

Fastnet Express was a $250,000 Magic Millions purchase from Tyreel Stud.

“I took 50% of him and we all had high hopes when he went into work and was showing good ability, but then Anthony rang one morning and told me he had done a sesamoid and that was that,” Pollicina revealed.

Not sound enough to race, but recoverable as a stud prospect, Phillip and his partner Anthony Alafaci elected to buy out the other owners and give Fastnet Express his chance at stud in the care of Fiona Mylan at Brisbane Meadows in the Southern Highlands.

Fastnet Express was given his chance at stud, pictured with Phillip Pollicina and Fiona Mylan - image Caroline Searcy

Fast forward four years and the signs are looking promising for Fastnet Express with his first small crop of four foals now three year-olds including Fastnet Warrior, who is in work with Pat Murphy at Goulburn, while two year-old Fastnet Rosie has also had a taste of stable life and has pleased Murphy greatly.

3YO filly Fastnet Warrior.

“Pat has been glowing in his praise of them which is most encouraging,” said Pollicina.

“They have a great temperament and Fastnet Express puts really good bone into them, a lot like Fastnet Rock. They are sound, good legged horses as foals and we look forward to seeing the first of them start racing.”

2YO Fastnet Rosie.

Pat Murphy has been delighted with their progress so far and has taken a patient approach.

“Phillip is great to train for as he’s not in a rush and is happy to allow me the time for them to develop without pushing too hard,” said Murphy.

“They have a really nice attitude and have done everything we’ve asked of them to date albeit without being put against the clock.

“The younger of the two, Fastnet Rosie gives me the impression she may well race at two and she should get through to a trial early next year and hopefully on to the races.”

3YO Filly Tatiana Express.

Tatiana Express is another unraced three year-old filly in work and showing potential with Southern Highlands horse trainer Anthony Warren.

“She’s just come back into work again and I would expect her to get to the trials before the end of the year,” said Warren.

“She was nearly ready last prep, but we just decided to tip her out and give her that bit more time and it was a good decision as she has grown quite a bit.

“I’ve had most of the Fastnet Express horses through here for their early education including the ones that Pat Murphy is training and they are all nice, tractable horses. The stallion definitely stamps them in a good way and he’s yet to throw us a curve ball.”

 

Fastnet Express filly from Unearthed.

Phillip has also been excited by the foals born this spring including a filly from Written Tycoon mare Unearthed and a filly from Dubai Queen, who was recently sent to Darley to be covered by Microphone.

 

 

Dubai Queen and her foal are now at Lime Country Thoroughbreds in the care of Jo and Greg Griffin, who have had a good relationship with Phillip since they first moved from New Zealand and were initially based on the Southern Highlands at Think Big Stud.

Dubai Queen and her Fastnet Express filly at Lime Country Thoroughbreds.

“We’ve seen quite a few of the Fastnet Express foals and they are such good types, better than nice and all style and quality,” said Jo Griffin.

“Any studmaster in the country would be happy to have a stallion that can throw foals like that.”

A full brother to stakes-winner Game Keeper and half-brother to the dam of dual Group I winner Mr Quickie, Fastnet Express is from Group II winner My Tusker, a grand-daughter of Champion NZ mare Horlicks, whose descendants include Group I winners Brew, Fiumicino and Sacred Elixir .

By a proven sire of sires in Fastnet Rock from an elite female family, Fastnet Express offers the budget conscious breeder a great opportunity at a fee of just $1,100.

"For people who are looking to breed a  horse they can race themselves for not a lot of money and enjoy with family and friends, Fastnet Express is well worth an inspection," Pollicina added.

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