To say that the past fortnight has been a tough one for Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay would be an understatement.
The fickle nature of the thoroughbred racing and breeding industry could not have been highlighted any better than a thirty-minute period on a sunny Saturday morning just two weeks ago.
The Lindsay’s, their family and some close friends along with all of the staff at the Stud had gathered to welcome their newest stallion arrival, European Horse of the Year Roaring Lion, who would be standing for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere at the Cambridge operation.
“There we were, all looking fantastic in our uniforms and ready to welcome Roaring Lion to Cambridge Stud,” Brendan Lindsay said.
“Thirty minutes later the horse was in serious trouble and we were battling to save his life after he suffered a colic attack. That scenario isn’t something that you can prepare for and what promised to be a really neat day nearly turned into a tragedy.”
Thanks to the expert and quick-thinking work of the Stud staff and the specialists at the Cambridge Equine Veterinary Hospital, Roaring Lion is now on his way to recovery with Lindsay extremely thankful for the positive outcome.
“I can’t say enough about the efforts of all those who came together to save the horse,” he said.
“While it is very disappointing for us and the whole Industry that he won’t be able to serve any mares here this season, the fact that we could save him and start him on his road to recovery is a big positive from a tough situation.
“There aren’t that many positives that you can find in the immediate aftermath of what happened but now we have had a little time to reflect there have been some we can take from it all.
“I believe our relationship with Roaring Lion’s owners has been strengthened as I know they are very appreciative of all that we have done for him.
“I also think it has brought our staff even closer together. They were a good team beforehand but the way every one of them worked together has made them an even closer unit which can only benefit us in the future.”
One of the other positives that Lindsay is focused on is the loyalty shown by the owners of the mares that were booked to be served by Roaring Lion.
“We had the horse fully booked and it is very gratifying to see that a large number of those mares have stayed on and will go to other Cambridge Stud stallions,” Lindsay said.
“We have managed to get Almanzor’s book extended to accommodate some of them while Tavistock has picked up another 25 bookings as well.
“We are very thankful to the broodmare owners for sticking with us and hopefully they will be rewarded for that.”
The Lindsay’s are philosophical about what has unfolded of late as they take it as part and parcel of being involved in the thoroughbred industry.
“It has been an emotional rollercoaster but that is what you sign up for when you get involved in the game,” Lindsay said.
“Jo and I have learned to take each day as it comes and to celebrate the highs when we can as we know a low can be just around the corner.
“For example, we were sitting on the couch at 2.30am on Sunday morning watching a race from Deauville in France where we managed to have a winner. That wasn’t long after the All Blacks had lost to the Wallabies so that took a wee bit of the sting out of that.
“Seriously though, if you had asked us if we thought it would be this tough when we took over at Cambridge we would have said no, but we’re made of pretty tough stuff ourselves and we know that with every bad day you are just closer to another good one.”
On that note Lindsay is definitely looking forward to the new racing season with relish as several of the couple’s best performers from last season get ready to make their racetrack returns, including last season’s Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winner, Probabeel.
“We have a lovely team of horses getting ready to go so we can’t wait to see them back at the track,” he said.
“Probabeel is likely to trial at Avondale on Tuesday as she is getting closer to racing trim.
“Her main aim is the Flight Stakes (Gr.1, 1600m) in Sydney in October. She didn’t have a lot of luck there at the end of her two-year-old season so it would be nice to go back and extract some revenge.
“Bavella is being set for the Gold Trail Stakes (Gr.3, 1200m) on the second day of the Hastings carnival so she isn’t far away as well.
“We also have some really nice horses in Australia so it is an exciting time coming up.” – NZ Racing Desk