As far as days go, West Australian breeder/owner, Troy van Heemst reckons they don’t come much better.
On Saturday morning, the stud manager for family-owned, Lynward Park Stud, opened the gates for the exciting stallion prospect, Mahuta, while in the afternoon, van Heemst cheered on with the rest of the family as homebred, Fontainebleau, captured the Listed Belmont Oaks over 2000m at Belmont Park in a thriller.
“It would certainly be my biggest day in the industry,” van Heemst enthused. “Mahuta won five races as a 3YO, including the (Group Two) Sandown Guineas … he’s by a Champion Sire in Flying Spur, who has a number of successful sons at stud … from a Zabeel mare… and he’s from a black type family.
“And then for Fontainebleau to come out and win the Belmont Oaks with the whole family trackside, well, that was pretty special.”
Established by successful businessman (and former Thoroughbred Breeders Australia Chairman) Ted Van Heemst in 1985, the Bullsbrook based, Lynward Park Stud has been managed by Ted’s son Troy since 2001 and has produced numerous stakes winners in the past 30 years.
However, Fontainebleau adds another dimension in that she is not only by Lynward Park based, Alfred Nobel, a Group One winning son of Danehill Dancer, but is also out of a mare, Aunt Lydia, who was bred by the van Heemsts too.
“We purchased Aunt Lydia’s dam, Summer Silence, from Robert Holmes ‘a Court’s Heytesbury Stud back in the mid 1990s and not only did she produce six winners, including Aunt Lydia, a winner in Perth and stakes placed, Aunt Lydia herself has produced four winners from as many to race.
“Fontainebleau’s half brother, Uncle George won nine races and close to half a million, and now this filly has earned black type.
“She’s a lovely horse and hopefully has a few more stakes wins in store.
“Aunt Lydia is back in foal to Alfred Nobel and has a nice weanling colt, an athletic, scopey type like his big sister, and he will be offered at next year’s Perth Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
“We’ve only recently started selling our horses. Historically we would retain them to race and usually end up with about eight racehorses from each crop.
“Lynward Park’s focus as a leading stallion farm is another reason why Alfred Nobel winning with Fontainebleau is so exciting.
“He (Alfred Nobel) averaged around 60 mares per season for his first three years at Lynward Park, shuttling between Coolmore in Ireland and Western Australia, but due to travel sickness we didn’t risk him in 2014.
“With shuttling no longer a viable option, we negotiated to buy him and keep him here. In 2015 he covered 88 mares and last spring proved his most popular to date, serving 112 mares.
“Apart from Fontainebleau, he has also produced WATC Sires’ Produce winner, Showy Chloe, from his first crop, along with Stored Energy and Dickey who were both stakes horses at two.
“He’s now got over 60 winners and nearly $4 million in progeny earnings from fairly limited numbers, so with his bigger books over the last two years, inevitably the best is yet to come.”
With her Belmont Oaks victory, Fontainebleau takes her record to three wins and three placings from 11 outings, for $148,150 in stakes, and according to trainers, Grant and Alana Williams, the filly will now take on the Listed Belmont Classic over 2200m on 22 July.