Ferring Farm, run by Rae-Louise Charlton and Padraig Kelly, recently purchased a Medaglia d'Oro-Yolo Girl colt at the Magic Millions’ National Weanling Sale. The A$300,000 purchase was one of the top 5 purchases of the sale.
The farm offers a range of services, including the management and development of young stock, yearling sale preparation for all the major Australian sales as well as a boutique broodmare management service for a select group of clients.
The Impact spoke to Charlton about their recent weanling purchase as well as about their farm and plans for the future
Q: What are your plans for the Weanlings you purchased recently?
A: We have been pinhooking weanlings with a bit of success for a few years now and the recent purchases will be aimed at next year’s major yearling sales. There are some well-developed, precocious types amongst them, with pedigrees to match so, we are really looking forward to growing them out at Fernrigg and presenting them at the Magic Millions and Inglis yearling sales in 2020.
Q: What do you look for when you purchase a horse? What is your buying process?
A: We look for a well-balanced individual with good action and a powerful hindquarter. We try to inspect most weanlings presented
for sale and find the athlete amongst them as that is the ultimate goal we are trying to achieve. Fortunately, we have had a couple of great successes from our first lot of pin hooks with Krone being Eurozone’s first Stakes winner. She was a beautiful filly and it has given us a great thrill to watch her win two Stakes races and place a further four times in Group races. We also were lucky to Pinhook First Dawn who was Brazen Beau’s first Stakes performer earlier this year.
Q: What are your highlight purchases this year?
A: One of my favourites is a Written Tycoon colt out of La Llorona purchased at the recent Magic Millions sale. He has so much power through his hindquarter, very athletic in his action and such a great attitude. The sales can be stressful for the babies but despite how busy he was, he kept a very level head and presented himself without fault each time we inspected him. Another stand out for me is the Pierro colt out of One More Tequila that we purchased at the Inglis weanling sale. He is an extremely handsome boy with an incredible overstride.
Q: Which sale are you at next? As a buyer or seller?
A: We will be at Great Southern sale next inspecting weanlings. This will be our final sale for the year before taking a well-earned holiday.
Q: You were previously with Widden and then started out on your own. How did this change come about? How did you decide that this was the right time to go solo?
A: Setting up my own farm had always been a dream of mine. I spent five memorable years as the yearling manager at Widden Stud and during my time there I started pin-hooking a few weanlings with my fiancé, Padraig, and selling them through the Widden draft.
We had a few great results and that gave me the confidence to set up my own business and start preparing and consigning yearlings under my own banner. I had been working with main yearlings for the previous 8 years and felt ready to take on more responsibility. I actually love foaling down mares and developing relationships with the babies from the moment they are born.
This year has been very special to me because a lot of the yearlings we sold were born and raised at Fernrigg and the feedback from the breakers and trainers has been extremely positive. We take a lot of pride in educating our horses from the day they are born. In fact, the first-ever foal born at Fernrigg Farm sold at this week’s Magic Millions sale and I was in tears when he made $430K as I always had a special affinity with him. He was the highest-priced Rich Enuff sold this year and I am thrilled for the clients that entrusted us to foal him down first and then prepare him for the sale.
Q: Fernrigg Farm is a very interesting name. Can you please tell us a bit more about the farm and the vision you have for the farm?
A: Fernrigg was the name of my grandparent's property back home in England. They both played a huge part in my upbringing so the name means a lot to me. Padraig and I really enjoy pin-hooking and it is something we will always do but, in the past year, we have expanded and upgraded our boutique broodmare band. We both enjoy studying potential matings with the hope of breeding future champions that will carry the Fernrigg brand.
Q: What’s on your bucket list of records to break or things to do?
A: Like most breeders, the top thing on my bucket list is to breed and sell a Group 1 winner, and if it happens to be carrying our own brand that would be a dream come true.
Q: What are the factors you keep in mind when planning matings?
A: As we offer all our stock at public auction it is important that the mating is commercial. However, matching physicals is also a key factor. We not only want to produce a sale prospect, we ultimately want to produce a racehorse. The property at Fernrigg has a rich history of producing group winners and performers such as Yankee Rose, Accatour, Well Sprung and Tawteen.
Q: Which young sires are you happy to see rising in esteem and which ones do you consider still underrated? And why?
A: Zoustar is a stallion we backed from the beginning and his success as a sire has been phenomenal. To sire the trifecta of the Coolmore this season was very impressive.
Pierro is another stallion we admire and will continue to send mares to. He was a great racehorse himself, who won the juvenile Triple Crown and he can get both sprinters and Classic horses.
I was very impressed with Capitalist’s first crop of weanlings at this year’s sales. He appears to have stamped them well and they look like strong, athletic physical types.
Q: When preparing a horse for sales, what elements do you have to consider? Is this a standard process or is it something you agree with the owners or something unique to Fernrigg Farm?
A: Each yearling prepared at Fernrigg has an individual program. This is a major advantage of having a boutique operation. The same people handle the yearlings from the day they are born or purchased so they know each of their personalities and traits. I monitor each yearling daily and make adjustments to their diet, work program or daily routine as necessary. When preparing the yearlings we offer everything from hand walking, lunging, long reining, ponying, daily turnout and time on the walker to suit each of their individual needs.
Published In The Impact 13 Issue, 2 Vol
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