Ridgmont Farm ready for its debut season.

Ridgmont Farm

For the first time in a long time, the old Glastonbury Farms along Segenhoe Road, opposite Darley, will head into the breeding season with a new name. It’s now Ridgmont Farm, run by the diligent Andrew Dunemann and his investors, namely Boutique Thoroughbreds.

They purchased the property throughout last year from Duncan and Di Grimley, and fellow principals Yvonne and Mark Clerke, with the deal finalised as recently as June.

“We bought the property last September, so we’ve had plenty of time to work things out,” Dunemann said. “The guys that had it before us did a great job for their model, but we’re going to be doing things a little different for us.”

“The guys that had it (the farm) before us did a great job for their model, but we’re going to be doing things a little different for us.” – Andrew Dunemann

Dunemann and his partners come with plenty of experience. 

They aren’t new to bloodstock by any means, each of them having a signficant stake in racehorse and broodmare ownership over the years. However, Ridgmont Farm will be their first thorough investment into farm ownership.

Since moving in, and relocating from Queensland, Dunemann has been busy with the farm’s facilities.

“We’re spending a lot of money on new infrastructure,” he said. “It’s all getting fenced at the moment with horse rail, and there’s a new entertainment area. There’s a lot (of money) going out obviously, but we’re trying to give ourselves the best chance.”


Gallery: The new post and rail fencing put up between the old farm (Glastonbury, now Ridgmont) and the new farm purchased next door | Images courtesy of Ridgmont Farm

At the height of the breeding season, Ridgmont Farm will have about 160 mares, of which 80 or 90 will foal down. Not all of these will be the farm’s own mares, and Dunemann said the numbers going forward will be a bit more conservative.

“Our goal is to get something like 120 full-time mares on the farm, with at least a third of those being our own,” he said. “We probably want 40 of our own and 60 client horses, and then maybe 20 or 30 seasonal mares. In an ideal world, you’d have a pretty profitable business on those numbers.”

Million-dollar genes

This season, Ridgmont Farm has a run-sheet of 16 of its own mares heading to 12 individual sires. 

Much of the list is made up of bookings to some of the best proven stallions in the land, including three mares to Zoustar, two to Exceed And Excel and the same number to CapitalistWritten Tycoon and I Am Invincible are among them too.

However, there are also a few booked to first-season sires Bivouac and Wootton Bassett (GB), as well as the returning Frosted (USA) at Darley and Newgate’s Extreme Choice

Heading the list for Ridgmont is the 8-year-old mare Shoko (Sebring), who will go to I Am Invincible at Yarraman Park. Dunemann purchased Shoko at this year’s Inglis Chairman’s Sale for $1 million, sold by Yarraman Park already in foal to I Am Invincible, which will be her first.

Shoko when purchased for $1 million from the Inglis Chairman’s Sale

Shoko is a Group 3-winning daughter of the St Covet mare God Love It, making her a half-sister to Mimi Lebrock (Show A Heart). Mimi Lebrock has already produced the stakes winner Barbaric (I Am Invincible) and her daughter Diddles(Snitzel) was a million-dollar broodmare purchase at the Magic Millions National Sale this year for Daandine Stud and Boomer Bloodstock.

It’s a family with plenty going on, and Dunemann said the mating with I Am Invincible was a logical choice.

“She wasn’t cheap at $1 million, so going back to that stallion will give us the best chance of producing on the track, but also getting a sales ring return,” he said. “With I Am Invincible, it’s like anything. You get what you pay for and he can’t be doing anything more than what he’s doing. Be it a colt or a filly with him, you get racetrack returns and you get sales ring returns, so he’s ticking every box.”

Family ties

Ridgmont has kept things in the family when it comes to its purchase of Shoko this year. At the Magic Millions National Sale some weeks later, the farm splashed out $300,000 to buy Mimi Lebrock’s daughter, Oh My Mimi (Snitzel), who was in the draft of Lime Country.

Oh My Mimi is only 6 years old and her first foal was a 2020 filly by Lonhro. She was covered by Zoustar last season and Dunemann has booked her to Capitalist this spring.

Oh My Mimi

“I thought this mare was outstanding value at the price we paid for her,” he said. “She had a half-sister sell for $1 million at the same Sale, and obviously Shoko was $1 million at the Chairman’s, so I think it was very good buying. And we really wanted to get something at that Sale to send to Capitalist, because he’s flying.”

“I think it was very good buying (Oh My Mimi’s purchase price). And we really wanted to get something at that Sale to send to Capitalist, because he’s flying.” – Andrew Dunemann

Dunemann said the Newgate stallion will suit Oh My Mimi very well.

“I think he’ll tidy her up and get a nice foal on the ground,” he said. “It will give her every chance to make her own pedigree. It’s a very progressive family and you’d have to think that by the time this Capitalist foal makes it to the sales ring, the family will only have done more and the pedigree will be looking even better.”

Oh My Mimi is one of two mares from Ridgmont heading to Capitalist in the spring, the other being Light Up The Room (So You Think {NZ}) who will foal to Lonhro this spring, her maiden cover.

Capitalist | Standing at Newgate Farm

Numbers game

All up, 2021 has been a busy period for Ridgmont Farm, which has had a strong sales presence out of necessity. On top of its purchases already mentioned, at the Magic Millions National Sale in May it also bought the 5-year-old mare Urban Rocket (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}).

She was bought from Yarraman Park also, and in partnership with Boutique Thoroughbreds, Clarke Bloodstock (FBAA) and Suman Hedge Bloodstock (FBAA). She cost $440,000 and is a half-sister to the European Group 1 winner Maarek(GB) (Pivotal {GB}).

Urban Rocket was imported in late 2019 in foal to Kingman (GB), of which the result was a filly at Yarraman Park. She was covered by Exceed And Excel last season, and is booked to the stallion again this spring.

Urban Rocket (GB)

“She’s a half to a serious Group 1 horse in Europe,” Dunemann said. “She’s a nice mare and she’s only young too, so whatever she throws from now on will only get better. At $460,000 it seems like pretty good buying in this market.”

Dunemann is aware that Exceed And Excel is getting along these days. The Darley super sire is 21 and pushing his 18th season at stud, a formidable tally by any standards, but the Ridgmont studmaster has a unique spin on that.

“Exceed And Excel got very good sales ring returns this year,” he said. “But on saying that, we’re not selling for two years. Darley has capped him at about 100 mares I think, so we know when we get to the sales we won’t be competing with 200 other mares. That’s one of the good things about using Darley stallions.”

“We know when we get to the sales we won’t be competing with 200 other mares. That’s one of the good things about using Darley stallions.” – Andrew Dunemann

Dunemann said that the sire was a “no-brainer”. Exceed And Excel was still getting winners and still getting good prices in the ring, so it just made sense to use him. As a result, Ridgmont has booked two mares to the stallion, the other being Chachapoyas (Medaglia D’Oro {USA}).

Watch: Chachapoyas parade in 2020

‘Chacha’ was bought from Glastonbury Farms at the Magic Millions National Sale last year, costing $440,000 and purchased by Ridgmont’s partners Cunningham Thoroughbreds (Gary Cunningham) and Dunemann’s BRT Bloodstock. 

She is a half-sister to the Group 3 winner Aramayo (Poet’s Voice {GB}), who was also second in the 2018 G1 Spring Champion S. and several times placed in other Group events.

“Chaca’s got a really flashy Snitzel filly on the ground, which will go to Magic Millions in 2022,” Dunemann said. “We’re really happy with that foal, and for this season it was a choice of either Exceed And Excel or Capitalist with this mare. 

“One is dead-set proven and the other has started off unbelievably so, going to either stallion, there was no downside. But we believe in Exceed And Excel and the big thing with him was we won’t be competing with massive numbers in the sale ring.”

Exceed And Excel | Standing at Darley

Girls on the Avenue

Among the others on Ridgmont’s run-sheet is Unassailed (Fastnet Rock), who was bought alongside Urban Rocket last year at the Inglis Chairman’s Sale. She was purchased from Segenhoe Stud for $275,000.

This is a heavy black-type family, with Unassailed a half-sister to the stakes winners Great Esteem (Redoute’s Choice) and his full brother High Esteem. Further down is Central Park (Ire) (In The Wings {GB}), the 1998 Champion 3-Year-Old Colt in Italy, and Moon Ballad (Ire) (Singspiel {Ire}), the 2003 Horse of the Year in the United Arab Emirates.

“Unassailed has an I Am Invincible on the ground that will go to Magic Millions next year and she was rested last year,” Dunemann said.

The mare is 11 and has had four foals to date by such stallions as GarrisonDeep Impact (Jpn), Sebring and Shalaa (Ire). Unassailed is booked to Zoustar, one of the three from Ridgmont that will visit the Widden stallion, and Dunemann has tickets on this sire.

Unassailed when sold at the 2020 Inglis Chairman’s Sale

“I think most good judges think he’s going to be the next big thing,” he said. “He has outstanding books of mares off of his going up in price. We went to him two years ago when he was $154,000, so we see no reason not to go back to him now.”

Zoustar entered stud in 2014 with a fee of $44,000 (inc GST) and has steadily risen from that. He peaked at $154,000 (inc GST) in 2019, and dropped slightly in a COVID-affected season last year to $121,000 (inc GST). He is back to $154,000 (inc GST) this spring.

Dunemann said Zoustar will suit Unassailed very well on type and pedigree, and it’s worth remembering that the mare herself cost $1 million as a yearling in 2013. She was sold by Cressfield Stud to Peter Moody that year.

Additionally, Ridgmont Farm has the old hen Avenue (Anabaa {USA}), who is 15 years old behind a brilliant career. Avenue won four Group races during her racing days, and was purchased by Boutique Bloodstock and Paul Willetts for $400,000 at the Inglis Chairman’s Sale in 2019.

Avenue is booked to Darley’s new sprint sire Bivouac, who will debut at Kelvinside for $66,000 (inc GST).

Bivouac | Standing at Darley, image courtesy of Darley

“If it’s not the best family in the Stud Book, it’s got to be pretty close,” Dunemann said of Avenue. “It’s the Emancipation family and she’s (Avenue) a full sister to Virage De Fortune. It seems to be the progeny of the progeny that produce in this family, more so than the mare themselves, and you can see that through Emancipation.”

Dunemann opted for Bivouac in part because of pedigree, but also because of age.

“We thought sending her to a young first-season stallion would be the go,” he said. “She’s in foal to Deep Field at the moment and has a Zoustar colt going to Magic Millions, and that one is a serious, nice-bodied horse.”

“We thought sending her (Avenue) to a young first-season stallion (Bivouac) would be the go.” – Andrew Dunemann

Of Bivouac, Dunemann said the fact that the stallion trained on during his career was a big plus. 

“It gives you confidence that you’re not just buying something that will run on as a 2-year-old,” he said. “But also just the way he won his races up the straight, he was a seriously good horse. When you go to Bivouac, if you get something any way near as good as he was, you’re going to give yourself every chance.” 

Of the rest

Ridgmont Farm is expecting foals this spring by an array of excellent stallions. 

Mia Diva (GB) (Exceed And Excel) is carrying to Night Of Thunder (Ire) and will visit Frosted (USA), while Face Forward (Charge Forward) went to Frosted last year and is booked to Trapeze ArtistShantou (Sepoy) is due to foal to Dundeel(NZ) this week, and she is booked to Coolmore’s shuttler Wootton Bassett.

There’s also Bowie Bluebird (Choisir), who will visit Spirit Of Boom at Eureka Stud for her maiden season. Dunemann was among the ownership during Spirit Of Boom’s racing days, so his interest is vested.

See Me Rock

Additonally there is See Me Rock (Sepoy), whom Ridgmont also purchased at this year’s Magic Millions National Sale. She cost $200,000 in partnership with Clarke Bloodstock (FBAA) and Suman Hedge (FBAA), and she will foal to Pierata this spring. See Me Rock is booked to Extreme Choice, who was recently crowned Champion First Season Sire in Australia.

Table: Some of the Ridgmont Farm coverings for the 2021 season

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