Leean Bell still shakes her head at what the progeny of Washington Lass has been able to generate over the last few years.
Leean – wife of Egmont Park Stud Manager Peter Bell – recalls Washington Lass arriving at their property, which is situated 20 minutes west of Toowoomba, and her conversation with the mare's owner, Taree dairy farmer John Polson.
Washington Lass was a decent race horse, starting her career in New Zealand before she put together a strong run of form in NSW, eventually ending up in the Sunshine State.
While she won her share of races, she was certainly no world-beater.
“When John first brought her here, he said she is not the prettiest horse in the camp but hopefully she can be the best producer for me and he has certainly got his wish,” Leean remembers with a smile.
“She has shone.
“She has done a terrific job for John.”
Awarded as the 2020 Queensland Broodmare of the Year by Racing Queensland for the feats of Blacksadance, Big Wheels and Awaywego, another of Washington Lass’ colts is set to go through the APG Gold sales ring at the Magic Millions complex on the Gold Coast this Sunday.
A colt from Sunshine Beach – being lot 78 on Sunday – is set to be a popular yearling on the Glitter Strip, Peter expects.
“This fella will no doubt achieve the same type of thing, I hope, he is a nice colt,” Peter said.
“He has a good athletic look about him; he is good to handle and works well.
“The team has done a great job with him and I think he will come along really well.
“This one is a little bit lighter than the other three, but they are pretty similar, they are athletic and look like they will run a bit.”
On the new colt, Leean described him as a “delight” to prepare for the sales.
Big Wheels and Awaywego are both Group 1 QBRED TRIAD Final 2YO Colts and Geldings champions, Big Wheels first and then Awaywego the following year.
Leean has been blown away by the three colt’s success on the track and has high hopes for the new yearling.
“A mare to produce two colts who have won over $100,000 (Blacksadance and Big Wheels) and another fella being on the way to getting to $100,000 (Awaywego) there is not many mares that have done that in three foals,” Leean said.
“That is all she has had – with this fella her fourth.
“She has done an amazing job.
“I think she would have to be in the running for the Queensland Broodmare of the Year again.”
Countless mares have been through the Egmont Park Stud operation over the decades and while Peter did not know it when she first arrived, Washington Lass has been a dream to deal with for the Bell’s and their staff.
“Washington Lass is trouble free; she fits in with other horses well and is good with the foals,” Peter said.
“She is good to foal out, she does not give us many problems at all.
“Nobody knew much about her when she first came in, she was an unknown quantity.
“We just try and pick good looking horses – it is very hard to pick exactly what they will do.”
The Bells have been in the breeding game in the harness industry for decades and believe through the initiatives of the QBRED system and the increased quality on offer at the APG Sales every year, there is not a better time to be involved in the code.
APG have declared the catalogue is the greatest in the 33-year history of sales in Queensland and Peter thinks the quality of yearlings being sold at the sales annually improves.
“It is very big, the QBRED system we have got running now is the best in Australia and people are starting to realise that,” Peter said.
“We are getting quite a bit of feedback from people looking to get involved in a horse through the QBRED system.
“We have a long way to go to get people interested in breeding, with more incentives to breed, but I think QBRED certainly helps with the selling of our stock.”
Almost 90 yearlings – including around 12 trotters – are set to go under the hammer on the Gold Coast this Sunday.
“There is more interest in the yearlings going through the sales through the QBRED bonuses,” Leean said.
“It has helped the industry the whole way around.”
Graduates of the sale will be eligible for the $150,000 Group 1 Albion Park Gold Final to be run during the Constellations Carnival in 2023, which has become the third richest harness race in Queensland.
The majority of lots set to be sold on Sunday are QBRED and will be eligible for the big bonuses and features races on offer.
In recent years, the Queensland APG Sale has produced some of Australia’s best juveniles, including Muscle Factory and Expensive Ego, and continues to go from strength-to-strength.