Just before dawn on Wednesday, at 4.30 to be precise, a contingent of 22 thoroughbred yearlings were loaded onto livestock transports at Oaklands Stud on the outskirts of Toowoomba headed for Rockhampton.
Their destination was the Robert Schwarten Pavilion, Rockhampton Showgrounds which has been transformed into a makeshift satellite stable complex to house 109 horses for Sunday’s Capricornia Yearling Sale.
Neville Stewart’s Oaklands Stud, Umbiram, is the longest serving vendor at the CYS in Rockhampton making its first appearance at the Rocky Sale some 637km north of its base, way back in 1992.
At the 2019 CYS, Oaklands Stud will establish another record by offering the biggest draft of yearlings ever presented since the first yearling sale held in Rockhampton under the Elders Pastoral banner in 1988.
“It is a huge logistical operation all round to bring such a large draft of young horses to Rockhampton. Months of preparation have gone into having them educated and presented in the finest of order.
"At Oaklands we pride ourselves on the preparation of our yearlings. So much work, not to mention costs goes into raising these horses and that’s the way it has to be. There are no cutting corners. This draft of yearlings is educated and presented in the same way as our drafts that go to Magic Millions on the Gold Coast. Without a word of a lie, the majority of these could have made the March MM Sale but I chose Rocky so I hope I made the right decision”, Stewart said.
Stewart believes that his draft this year, comprising 12 fillies and 10 colts, mainly the offspring of resident Oaklands stallions Sidereus and Wicked Style offer great opportunities for buyers.
“The Sid’s (Sidereus) and Wicked Styles have established strong winning records in Central and North Queensland. That goes without saying and facts and figures and race results prove that point”, he said.
Son Alistair Stewart, now in a management ship role at Oaklands chimed in.
“Afterall, Oaklands produced the winners of the last two Capricornia Yearling Sale 2YO
Classics through Wicked Style’s progeny in Stylish Criminal and Wicked Ways. Whatsmore we quinellaed this Classic in 2017 when The Bank Manager a son of Sidereus finished second”, Alistair said.
Such is the success story of the Oaklands Stud draft from last years CYS that it will have three starters in the $125K Classic that runs off at Callaghan Park racecourse on Saturday.
Oaklands will be represented by last start winner Flying Crackerjak (Wicked Style) as well as two of the Sidereus breed in winner Pound for Pound and the consistent placegetter in The Stockbroker.
The Stewarts are justifiably proud of the Oaklands draft of 22 on offer and were loath to declare any standouts.
“Really they are all quality yearlings and we believe it is important to get them up to Rocky early so they can settle into their new environment for the next five days. It’s a big thing for young horses as they have never been off Oaklands before. We want the buyers of these yearlings to know they will be taking home a youngster that has been professionally presented for sale along the highest of standards”, Alistair Stewart said.
By nature, stud breeders are coy when it comes to declaring a favourite youngster that they have been connected with since foaling.
‘’Truly, I have no favourites but I will tell you that Lot 6, the chestnut Wicked Style filly from the mare Antiquity is one of many cracker types we will offer. Antiquity has only had one foal to race and that is the Sidereus two-year-old winner Kodai. She is from a terrific family like the majority in our draft. I think she will make very good buying”, Neville Stewart said.
CYS convenor Jeff Leaver said final preparations were taking place at the Robert Schwarten Pavilion and all was nearly in readiness for Sunday’s Sale.
“The vendors have supplied great yearlings and the sale has been well promoted extensively. All we can do now is wait and hope the buyers arrive in droves”, Leaver said.