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Keeneland 2: Esplin Filly & Colt
Phillip Esplin of Twin Palms Stud is another Australian breeder with US bloodstock interests & will offer 2 yearlings at Keeneland: a Dixie Union filly from Cabiria; & a Mr Greeley colt from Summer Voyage. Esplin commented: "I take holidays each year to coincide with the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Other people go overseas to look at cathedrals & stuff, but I like to go there & see the horses, talk to the people & keep in touch with what's going on in the international world of racing & breeding." Esplin has a small number of mares based in Kentucky & said he is keen to pursue the idea of breeding for an international market: "For the 1st few years we were really feeling our way, but more recently things have come together & we have a few better quality mares to play with." He noted Summer Voyage (dam of the Mr Greeley colt) is 1 mare likely to find her way to Australia, where she will join the broodmare band at Twin Palms: "She is a half-sister to the dam of French Braids, from the family of Flying Spur & Encosta de Lago, so she's one that would be really well suited down here." Among Esplin's 1st forays into the international market was the purchase of Australian-bred South African stakes-winners Sydney's Dream & Super Sheila: "We sent Sydney's Dream to Australia & Super Sheila to America, as she had more of an international pedigree. Her 1st foal Gone On Sheila (by Gone West) ended up stakes-placed, so we brought her back to Australia"; Gone On Sheila's 1st foal (a Viscount colt) made $230,000 at the Magic Millions Sale earlier this year & the mare is booked to Redoute's Choice this spring. Esplin said: "International breeding is the way the market is heading & what John Messara is doing with Alinghi has the potential to create great upside for our whole Australian breeding industry. If she can win a Gr1 in America, it will completely change the way they view & more importantly value our horses." And Esplin emphasised rapid improvement in communications & technology has made international breeding a far more appealing proposition in recent years: "When we first started, America seemed so far away; but with the quality of pictures you can now see through photos & video on DVD, it is almost as good as being there & seeing the horses for real."