By HARRY CLARKE
BY THE time lot number 1229 goes through the ring at this year’s Magic Millions Yearling Sales on the Gold Coast, the Gleeson family of Chinchilla will be celebrating their growing success as a bush thoroughbred breeding business that’s making its mark on the Australian racing industry.
Lot 1229 will be the last of 10 yearlings bred by Gleeson Thoroughbred Connections (GTC) to go under the hammer at the iconic Glitter Strip horse sales. An 11th horse of theirs was withdrawn because of an injury.
In a sign of the Gleesons’ expanding operation and growing interest in their horses, last year GTC had only one horse sent to the Gold Coast in January and four the previous year.
“This year we bred 13 foals and we’re flattered that Magic Millions has taken 11 of those to the sale,” said Wally Gleeson.
“On this occasion we’re sending our first Gleeson-bred filly from one of our foundation mares, which we raced (Bimini Road). She won in the city and she now has a foal here in this consignment by Impending.
“It’s not something that happens overnight. We think we’re only halfway after 12 years, but we’re developing to the extent where we have sold horses now racing all over the eastern states of Australia.”
The success of Gleeson-bred champion Rothfire, nicknamed “The Thriller From Chinchilla”, is well documented.
Other top performers of late include Alleboom, Love For All and Menari Magic – the sole horse sold by GTC at last year’s Magic Millions which won the Pat O’Shea Plate in its first start at Toowoomba last September.
Wally’s wife Jill and their sons Jacob, Simon and Tom and families make up GTC.
Wally manages most of the hands-on day to day aspects of the business. Jacob and Tom work as doctors in Toowoomba and Victoria respectively while Simon heads up the Droughtmaster Stud Breeders Society from Brisbane.
Come sales time, it’s a full family affair to prepare and process the horses and hopefully watch a year’s worth of hard work pay off in the sales ring.
“We all really enjoy going down to the coast every year, catching up with immediate and extended family,” Wally said.
“Jacob says he works all year just to go to the sales in January, so everyone’s pretty hyped.”
In a pleasing family coincidence, one of the first GTC horses sold this week was purchased by Jim Clarke of Clarke Bloodstock, a cousin of the three Gleeson sons.
Lot number 157 is by Spirit of Boom out of Jefe, and was one of the GTC horses which Wally Gleeson was most excited about.
“She’s really impressed me in terms of attitude, balance and physique. She’s a really nice type coming through,” he said.
Jim Clarke said: “The sire is one of the best in Queensland and wins city races week-in-week-out. The prize money on offer with the QTIS bonus for Queensland-bred fillies is outstanding.”
“I grew up watching and working with the Gleeson family on their horse property. Knowing that they are outstanding horseman gave me plenty of confidence to buy a horse from their draft for the first time.”
From the GTC consignment, there’s also been significant interest in Lot 781, a chestnut colt by Neorealism out of Be Alle Belle.