Fair Trade winning the 2009 C.S. Hayes Stakes
“I love how they give out the Strapper’s award at race meetings and have Scholarships to encourage young females to get involved,” Daira enthused. Wingrove Park’s line to the newspapers and the big screen didn’t come easy, the Vellas have built a reputation for breeding some of the Australia’s best Thoroughbreds and success came early… very early! “Dual Spark was the first horse we raced, the Mare won her very first start in 2002 at Cranbourne, before becoming our first Metropolitan winner two weeks later,” Daira explained. The Maroon and Gold silks with the Maltese Cross were off and running! Dual Spark was a result of purchasing Sparky Miss, one of the Vellas first Broodmares who has been responsible for the famous Sparks family, who proudly display the JAV brand, resulting to date in producing 16 winners and over $500,000 in stake earnings. The Vellas first superstar, Fair Trade, caught everyone off guard, even her owners and breeders. “Well known trainer Mick Kent didn’t tell us much, but when he was entered in a three-year-old handicap at his first start at Flemington, we reasoned they must’ve thought he went pretty well,” recalled Daira. That he did! The son of Danewin, who was passed in at the sales, defied the statistics and the odds, winning on debut at headquarters as a three-year-old. Only one horse has achieved that feat in the nine years since. Not only did he win, he went back a fortnight later and kept his unbeaten record in tact with a three-length thrashing in the Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes. “We were beside ourselves, because it was our first stakes win and Joe’s 60th birthday. That night… we even had Daryl Cotton and Wendy Stapleton to come and sing,” Daira said. The celebrations would last a while longer after connections struck a lucrative deal to sell the emerging star to Hong Kong. In a career plagued by injuries when in the care of Caspar Fownes, Fair Trade would win three races overseas including the Chinese New Year Cup, but would never fulfill his potential. However, he’s still a champion in the eyes of his breeders and has a home for life. “We made sure he would come home after his racing career and sure enough we received a phone call from the airport one night to go and
above: Daira & Lauren Vella opposite: Joe Vella, Michelle Payne, Daira Vella & Briga Fliedner pick him up; he has a lovely temperament and will make a lovely show horse,” explained Daira. The Vellas also bred and raced another above average foal from Fair Trade’s dam, Villa Igea. She was named Hearts and Arrows, who Mick Kent also put the polish on to achieve two wins from three starts before injury curtailed her career. Sold post-racing, Hearts and Arrows has produced boom two-year-old and Wyong Magic Millions winner, Jonker. Villa Igea also produced In Fairness, who was named Bendigo Middle Distance Horse of the Year in 2017. You couldn’t blame the Vellas for thinking that it may have been their last chance to find themselves a Group 1 champion… they don’t come along every day. Such is their uncanny knack to match bloodlines however, along came Royal Symphony; a Domesday colt who took the industry by storm with four straight victories mid 2017.
SPRING 2018 #31