Not Something You See Every Day!

Breednet - Wednesday November 29

“It’s certainly not something you see every day!” - If you have been in the industry and seen as many foals born as Verna Metcalfe has, that is saying something.

For these two foals, life is business as usual.

Roselyne (FR) with her two foals, one of her own and one adopted!

It is only when you take a look at their mum, the story begins to get interesting.

Their dam is Roselyne (Fr), a recent import into Australia.

At least, she is one of the foal’s mums.     

Roselyne is an exceptionally good mother!

“As can happen in the industry, we lost a beautiful mare called Longport. (Longport was a $800,000 purchase at the 2013 Magic Millions Broodmare Sale, a Group Two winner and consistent Group One placegetter).

"Longport and her foal were sharing a paddock with a mare called Roselyne when Longport died. The two mares were the best of mates, always grazing close by each other and even sharing the same feed container.

"We literally turned around to see the Longport foal (by Bivouac) nursing from Roselyne.  Roselyne was standing quite placidly while the newly orphaned foal drank alongside her own foal,” Verna explained.


“Thoroughbreds are not well known for being overly accepting of other mare’s foals. It might have been different if Roselyne had lost her own foal.”

Verna has been foaling mares for as long as she can remember. Her career blossomed under the tutelage of one of Australia’s greatest horsemen Peter Flynn at the Ingham’s Woodlands property.

Over 350 mares foaled down there each year with Verna at the helm.

That was back in the early 1990’s. Since then, Verna has been managing the well-known thoroughbred nursery at Middlebrook Valley Lodge.

When the opportunity came up to manage the newly formed Alma Vale Thoroughbreds, Verna was the obvious choice for the owners Scott Shann and Nino Tufilli.

Alma Vale was set up as a boutique thoroughbred farm – perfectly located close to all the major stallion farms. Scone Equine Hospital, the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, is a mere five-minute drive.

If life was not interesting enough for the newly formed team, an opportunity at Kitchwin Hills came up and was too good to pass by. Alma Vale was presented with the opportunity to move on to bigger and better things, new client relationships and the ability to expand the broodmare band.

“Steve and Graham Brown approached us after a significant shift in their management structure. We are acutely aware of the extraordinary results of Kitchwin Hills. With ten Group One winners alone produced since 2009 and endless numbers of stakes horses, those hills are quite unique.

"We have entered a partnership with Kitchwin Hills over the land and facilities which has enabled the current clients at Kitchwin to remain on farm and given us the opportunity to expand our own client’s bloodstock.

"There has been incredible investment of late at Kitchwin Hills especially the purpose-built yearling barn with turn out facilities and space for hand walking. We are so grateful to have been offered this opportunity and it really has come at precisely the right time for us.”

Back to the quirky and unexpected skills of Roselyne.

She was a winner at two in France and is a half-sister to Champion DANCETERIA and the listed winning BLOSSOMTIME. Her family oozes with black type including the Group One producing sire LOPE DE VEGA.

Her current foal first foal is her first – an impressive chestnut colt by another Champion in SIYOUNI. Sire of Group One winners ST MARK’S BASILICA and PADDINGTON.

Roselyne and her precious foals!

With a foal of that value, it takes courage to allow the orphan foal to nurse and bond alongside the original foal. Fostering orphan foals onto mares is something Verna has spent many years managing.

Roselyne has just tested positive at 45 days to Champion Sire I Am Invincible.

The mare and her two foals are now in a paddock on their own, receiving a special diet to ensure milk production and body condition remain constant.

The happy family!

And as you can see from the photos, they could not be happier.

All images  from Alma Vale Thoroughbreds

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