Jordan Fletcher and Robyn Parker lead Sunlight to the winner’s circle following her 2018 Magic Millions 2YO Classic triumph.
Dan and Rae Fletcher are country Queenslanders who have been steadily growing their involvement in breeding and racing over the past decade.
Dan grew up in western Queensland with a passion for racing passed on from his father and a work ethic inspired by parents for whom hard work was a way of life.
Rae, also from the West, comes from a family with a deep affinity with horses. Her father was a renowned horseman and stockman. Her mother, despite a lifelong battle with heart disease was an enthusiastic supporter.
The Fletchers started their family in Longreach in the mid-90s. They have two girls, Shannon and Jordan, and Rae has two older boys, Wal and Doug.
Dan enjoyed a successful career as a banker and then financial adviser having joined a major bank as a junior when he left school.
The young family relocated to Emerald in 2001 before going into business there in 2006.
“Somehow Rae juggled enormous hours in the business with everything else that was on her plate as a mum. It was an amazing feat really,” said Dan.
Dan became self-employed in 2007, purchasing his clients to establish a financial planning practice which now comprises himself, two employee planners and several support staff.
Throughout, the family have been enthusiastic country racegoers and, where possible, indulged in ownership although never with any more than very modest success.
By 2011, they were ready to try their hand at making the step from enthusiastic hobbyists to the world of commercial bloodstock. A 15-year-old Marauding mare named Steal My Love would be pivotal for the fledgling breeders.
“We called her Maudy and, truthfully, without her there’d be no Telemon,” explained Dan.
“Maudy was the mare that kept us in the game.”
Purchased in foal for $30,000, Steal My Love produced a colt by Golden Slipper winner Sebring. The successful sale of this colt for $185,000 provided the Fletchers with their first ‘good result’ and started a relationship with Widden Stud that would evolve into a partnership.
“We sold the Steal My Love colt through Widden and following that we decided to try to buy some mares together,” said Dan.
Zoustar won the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes in 2013
The first purchase for the Fletchers with Widden would be star two-year-old Solar Charged. Mated to then first season Widden stallion Zoustar, she produced a filly that was offered for sale at the 2017 Magic Millions.
“She was a handy filly,” recalled Dan.
“She’s an absolutely stunning mare, but as a January yearling she wasn’t the standout of the sale by any means. But she was very strong, had a lot of quality and there was something about her that you could just tell she was tough.
“She was purchased by Tony McEvoy and when the chance to stay involved arose we jumped at it.”
Rae, along with daughters Shannon and Jordan, joined an all-female syndicate to race the filly. Named Sunlight she would soon emerge as a superstar of Australian racing.
Telemon first came into the picture for Dan and Rae back in 2015 about the time Sunlight was conceived.
“We’d inspected a number of potential properties up until that point, and we first looked at the farm we would later name Telemon in late 2015,” said Rae.
“Initially we couldn’t make a deal because it was leased and there were a few things that didn’t quite come together. So, we moved on and thought we might find something else.
“As it turned out, the more we looked at other places, the more we realised nothing could compare to Telemon.”
Completing the purchase in late 2016, one of the principal attractions was the farm’s track record, having produced an array of talent including Buffering, Gold Edition and, in an amazing coincidence, the sire of their star filly Sunlight, Zoustar.
Following the expiry of a lease that was in place when the property was first acquired, the Fletchers relaunched their farm as Telemon Thoroughbreds in June 2018 and installed respected horseman Joe Heather as general manager.
“We needed a foundation sire,” said Dan.
Joe Heather and Dan Fletcher are proud that their foundation stallion Sidestep was crowned Champion First Season Sire in 2019
“I found Sidestep. I’ll never understand why, but he was a horse that was terribly underappreciated at the time.
“He’d been struggling for support and it wasn’t getting any easier for him where he was and we thought we could reinvigorate his career in Queensland.
“Thanks to Vin Cox and Alastair Pulford at Darley we were able to secure him to kick us off.
“I was always confident he was the right horse but you barely dare to dream about a Slipper winner in the first crop.”
The Golden Slipper victory of Kiamichi was the highlight of a season that saw the young son of Exceed And Excel crowned Champion First Season Sire in Australia.
Despite their notable successes, the Fletchers are quick to remind anyone that cares to listen of the inevitable disappointments that are part of ‘the game’.
Never ones to rest on their laurels, the challenge that lies ahead is ever at the forefront for Dan and Rae.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, it would seem Telemon is in astute hands.
The track record of the owners combined with that of their farm makes for an exciting combination and it would be a brave person that would bet against them writing new chapters into the history of an already storied property.