Bell River Thoroughbreds

What an exciting and busy twelve months it has been for the Ferguson family, an 18 month search for the perfect new property suited to the expansion of their breeding and sales preparation business Bell River Thoroughbreds well rewarded in December 2018.

Much research done, many kilometres covered but the second the Fergusons made their way up the driveway of an 170 acre farm at Dungog they knew they had found “THE” place.

“As soon as we drove through the gate we knew, without even getting out of the car we could just picture what the place could become,” James Ferguson said.

Securing the ideally located property, one which sits in a secluded area some 2 1/2 hours from Sydney and within two hours of all the major Hunter Valley Studs, the new Bell River began to take shape in March as the first barbed wire fencing was pulled out.

“It is land that has been relatively untouched over the last decade or so,” Ferguson said, “which is of huge benefit to us – to be able to grow horses on untapped land.”

Since that time two/thirds of the makeover of the farm that was once part of a vast 30,000 acre dairy property have been undertaken, the Fergusons delighted with the progression so far and looking forward to all being finished by March 2020.

Extreme Choice

In the meantime they are concentrating their efforts on preparing an outstanding group of youngsters for the 2020 Inglis Classic, the first sale for the new farm on the back of great results in years past with graduates of Bell River including the feature race winners Extreme Choice, Ace High, I Am Excited, Prophet’s Thumb, Faraway Town, Flippant, East Indiaman and Bidii Babe.

Little wonder Bell River’s motto is “small farm, big results!”

And how exciting for them that they get to take the progeny of a home-bred Group One winner with the first progeny of the Blue Diamond Stakes-Gr.1m 1200m and Moir Stakes-Gr.1, 1200m hero Extreme Choice making their way into the ring.

Bell River’s Classic draft includes three yearlings (“all cracking types” by that exciting son of Not A Single Doubt, first up being lot 158, an eye-catching filly out of the multiple city winning Mossman mare Frilly Curtain whose grandam is the NZ 1000 Guineas-Gr.1 winner Our Cure. Amongst this filly’s relations are the Group winners Segments, Eastender and Pure Energy.

Lot 276 is a half-brother to the Bell River bred Denmagic who finished in the first four in stakes company on a remarkable 13 occasions including a Myer Classic-Gr.1, 1600m third behind I Am A Star. Also a half-brother to the city winner Club Tropicana, this colt is out of the Viscount mare Magic Zefta, a half-sister to the Group Two galloper
Go The Knuckle from the family of terrific stallion Magic Albert.

Also of great interest to buyers is lot 451, a 3/4 brother to Extreme Choice, a Not A Single Doubt colt out of the Duporth mare She’s Our Choice.

Another talented galloper carrying the Bell River brand is the promising Randwick track record holder Prophet’s Thumb, winner of the Fireball Stakes-Listed, 1100m in March 2019. Lot 445, the third of the farm’s Classic Extreme Choice yearlings, is her half-brother and what a nice page he has, his city winning dam

Set To Skelter by Reset being a daughter of the Listed winner Miss Helterskelter who also produced the Listed winner Module.

The Fergusons are big fans of the late Hinchinbrook, proud to have bred 10% of his stakes winners. Sadly this crop of yearlings is his last, two of which Bell River have at Classic; a half-brother (lot 178) to the Group Three winner Furnaces out of the stakes placed Heat Of The Fire and a son (lot 434) of the proven high class broodmare Schiaparelli, dam of the dual Group winner Rothesay (this colt’s 3/4 brother) and the two times Listed winner Sensei.
These are two horses so exceptional that Ferguson is confident that they “can add to our Hinchinbrook black type tally,” and that would be no surprise with the pair hailing from prolific local families; the first being a descendant of Summoned, the second a grandson of Canny Lass.

Ferguson also has high hopes for the rest of the draft, horses he is very much looking forward to showing off to buyers.

“I have no doubt that these horses are going to be able to compete at the top level, I can see it in their attitudes, in the way they have all progressed through their preparations.”

Bell River are for the first time taking outside horses to the sales ring, proud to present two yearlings “for our good friends at Eureka Stud;” a Spirit Of Boom filly from Star Watch’s family and a Deep Field half-brother to the Group One placed Elusive Treasure.

Other highlights of the draft include a Your Song half-brother to the triple Group winner Invincible Gem, a Pierro colt out of a half-sister to the dual stakes winner Tierqualo and a Shooting To Win half-sister to the stakes placed Commissioner.