Dan leads Jungle Cat around the parade yard at Telemon after the stallion’s recent arrival at the farm.

By Dan & Rae Fletcher

Last week, for the first time, we made the time to attend the stud open house weekend across the Hunter Valley. In past years we haven’t been able to make time for a trip like this, but now that we’ve done it once we’ll definitely make it an ongoing part of our calendar.

At Widden Stud we dropped in on Sunlight’s mum, our beloved Solar Charged, as well as Sunlight’s baby brother. It was a bit of a ‘goosebumps’ moment to see the photo of the yearling colt taken from a similar angle to the one that followed of his old man – Zoustar. We don’t want to get our hopes up too much, but he’s certainly a great looking colt!

(left) Zoustar parading at Widden last week. (Right) Rae & Dan with the Zoustar x Solar Charged yearling colt at Widden.

It was a truly amazing weekend where we saw spectacular farms and a galaxy of rising star stallions.

Over three days in the Hunter Valley we saw 67 stallions. If you sent just one mare to each at their advertised fee, your cost would be something like $2,587,000 + GST (and by no means did we see every stud or stallion in the Hunter)!

When you see the sheer number of people involved and think about the economic scale of our industry, it brings into context the huge contribution racing and breeding makes to our economy.

Throughout the weekend the continuing theme was our industry’s obsessive pursuit of the Golden Slipper, the trophy for which was often on hand as a visual reminder of the most coveted prize for every farm and any commercial breeder.

What a humbling moment to reflect that across our travels we’d seen just four other Golden Slipper producing sires – Snitzel ($220,000), Exceed And Excel ($88,000), Lonhro ($77,000) and More Than Ready ($55,000). Our very own Sidestep is the new boy on the block at $22,000.

Our final stop was a brief visit to Telemon on Sunday morning.

It was a huge moment to take the rug off Jungle Cat. He launches his career at Telemon in a few days time. He’s an absolute speed machine. We know he’s just about the best 1200m horse retiring to stud anywhere this season, and our ratings data has him as the best sprinter to retire to Queensland in over 20 years!

We think you’ll agree from the photos, he wouldn’t be out of place anywhere in the Hunter Valley. We’re sure he’s going to throw horses that will match it with the best of them when the time comes.

A special moment taking the rug off Jungle Cat for our first viewing since he arrived at Telemon.

Jungle Cat standing at Telemon in 2019 at $13,200 (incl. GST).