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Celebrations at Rich Hill Stud

Photo Darryl Sherer
Photo Darryl Sherer

The champagne was flowing at Rich Hill Stud on Tuesday afternoon with a Group One celebration to toast their major role in a history-making Melbourne Cup result.

Their giant-killing farm graduate Prince Of Penzance (NZ) (Pentire) repelled the international challenge with his rider Michelle Payne becoming the first woman to win the Flemington feature.

Rich Hill principal John Thompson said it was a dream result for the stud and his family, his staff, clients and supporters.

"The place just went berserk, it's a huge thrill and not only for us but also for the New Zealand thoroughbred industry."

The 13th individual Group One winner for Rich Hill's foundation stallion Pentire, Prince Of Penzance was bred by the farm with Katsumi Yoshida of Northern Farm, Japan.

"We established a breeding partnership with them when we got Jungle Pocket here," Thompson said. "I went to Japan to look at a number of mares that came back to Rich Hill.

"When Jungle Pocket couldn't come back here because of the EI (equine influenza) outbreak, I suggested to Mr Yoshida that Royal Successor should go to Pentire and he agreed."

The resulting foal was Prince of Penzance who was subsequently put through Rich Hill's 2011 Premier Sale draft at Karaka and he was knocked down to the $50,000 bid of the respected Queensland bloodstock agent John Foote.

"He's out of a Mr Prospector mare, Royal Successor, and we'll be selling a brother to Prince Of Penzance at Karaka next year so we couldn't possibly have wished for a better result," Thompson said.

While the Darren Weir-trained Prince Of Penzance was at long odds in the cup, there was a degree of pre-race confidence at Rich Hill.

"Darren has always rated the horse and he's told me on many occasions that he was a Group One horse," Thompson said.

"He was ridden a bit upside down when he led in the Moonee Valley Cup and still ran second in a track record time. He didn't deserve to be at such a big price."

While Rich Hill's celebrations will be on-going, Thompson's thoughts turned to another farm graduate when quizzed if the Melbourne Cup victory was their proudest moment.

"It's obviously a tremendous highlight for all of us here, but Mufhasa won 10 Group Ones so it's hard to get any better than that!" he said. – NZ Racing Desk