Sparky turns hand to thoroughbred breeding

Paul Sturt with his Elusive Quality mare, Polar, who is currently in foal to Astern.

Paul Sturt with his Elusive Quality mare, Polar, who is currently in foal to Astern.

When Geraldine’s Jewel met the judge first in race one at Sandown in a two-year-old maiden on March 27, not many people would’ve made a huge fuss.

Supporters were few and far between when the Tumut-bred filly bolted in at the ripe old odds of $75.

Yet, in our little corner of the world, local thoroughbred enthusiast Paul Sturt was quietly celebrating.

Sturt had just witnessed his first metropolitan winner as a breeder and his first winner that had been sold out of his burgeoning breeding establishment.

“It was a pretty good feeling to see something you have worked on and raised then come off your property win a city race,” said Sturt.

“It really gives you confidence that you can breed good horses that can win metropolitan races.”

Sturt has been involved in thoroughbred racing for 20 years and has always had a nag or two racing around the traps.

“My mum and dad (Shirley and Peter Sturt) always went to the races when I was growing up and we’ve always had one racing,” he said.

Four years ago Sturt decided to take it to the next level, setting up his own standalone company, Sturt Thoroughbreds.

Incredibly, Geraldine’s Jewel was the first of Sturt’s stock that he has sold to actually hit the track.

“She was the first one we have watched race and now she is a city winner,” laughed Sturt.

“We sold her at the sales for only $5,500 and than she comes out and wins a $50,000 race first up.”

 “We have eight out there that we have bred and sold at the moment and more of them should start racing soon.”

In those four years that Sturt has bred horses under the Sturt Thoroughbred name, he has sold eight of his yearlings with the first one sold in 2017, three more in 2018 and four sold this year.

Sturt won’t be selling them all though and has a few nicely bred types on his property and some others currently breaking in.

“We have the sister to Geraldine’s Jewel breaking in right now with Kerry (Weir),” he said.

“We sold the mother and decided to keep the next filly as a bit of insurance, which is starting to look like a good move.”

Sturt has taken a unique approach to choosing which broodmares make their way to his establishment.

“We sometimes look for mares that have impeccable breeding but have had issues coming into foal,” he said.

“There can be some value there if we are patient enough.”

Sturt’s approach has already reaped dividends with a Redoute’s Choice mare he purchased in Melbourne.

The mare was struggling to get into foal and since arriving at Sturt thoroughbreds, has produced two fillies.

“They were both cracking types; absolute stunners,” said Sturt.

“We sold the first one because we had to move some stock on at the time but I’ve kept the next one and she is really nice.”

Sturt has some blueblood types on his property but his Elusive Quality mare, Polar, is one of the more interesting commodities.

The grey mare has already seen three progeny hit the track and win; her best performed being Greselin who won over $100,000 in prize money.

Polar also shares the same broodmare (Dubai Ice) as Fratianne, who is the broodmare of the exciting two-year-old, Tenley.

Tenley has won three from five and over $300,000 in prizemoney and most recently competed in the Inglis Sires.

The talented colt has already won the group two Reisling and when finishes racing, looks to have a beckoning stud career.

Polar is currently in foal to the young sire Astern, who won the 2016 Silver Slipper, Kindergarten stakes and Golden Rose.

Sturt will look to balance his stock moving forward with an eye for the future.

“We prefer to keep fillies in the hope that one of them will turn out to be handy and then we can breed on with that line,” he said.

“We currently have three yearlings with Kerry (Weir) and another five foals rearing up with us.”

Sturt will probably be looking to lease some of them when they are ready to race.

“We can’t race them all but we might lease some for their racing careers and bring them back for breeding purposes,” he said. 

“I’ve always got a few mates keen to go in on a horse, so who knows, they might all be leased locally.”

Sturt’s property is only located a few kilometres out of town on Orrs Lane and it has proved to be the perfect spot.

A terrific 30-acre lot amongst his 120 acres, Sturt has invested heavily in to his breeding establishment with new fencing and facilities.

The property is very picturesque when driving through and with Sturt’s keen eye and hard work, it is no wonder he is already reaping the rewards.