Focusing on the Melbourne market, Ben & Lizzie Cooper’s Merricks Station will be proud to debut a high-quality draft of six Book 1 yearlings under their banner at Inglis Premier later this month.

Prepared by their farm manager, Dearne Gess-Jones, who has a keen eye for detail, she is excited to offer the inaugural draft for the Mornington Peninsula property.

Merricks Station is a purpose-built equine property that allows yearlings to thrive during their preparation and sale education. With fully renovated pastures, clever paddock layout, and a practical yearling stable complex, the horses can enjoy turn out daily, while the 10-horse covered walker and centre round yard are well positioned to run the preparation efficiently and safely.

The farm has great functionality, so we are free to spend more time on hand walking, grooming and the individual education of our yearlings.

Gess-Jones takes us through her stand out draft, who are either home-bred or hand-selected by Group 1 Bloodstock’s Mat Becker, Ben Cooper and herself.

“Being a Victorian farm that is proud to represent the Victorian breeding and racing industry, we wanted to support the Inglis Premier sale and feature at Melbourne.”

Two of the six yearlings were foaled and raised on farm; the More Than Ready out of Miss Mooney Mooney and the Kermadec out of Hangin’ Tough, while the others were carefully selected from the Magic Millions weanling sale and the Inglis Great Southern Sale.

“We all have input into the selections. Mat does the hard yards, looking at every horse and every page. He considers pedigrees, current families and commercial matings to compile a shortlist. But we all need to agree on the final bid,” Gess-Jones said.

It’s a real balancing act, as we all have our own opinions. I am very particular on how much we spend based on what I can achieve in a preparation. For me, I like to see good skin, a bright eye, a big engine and a strong hind end. It is also important that there is current activity in the pedigree – buyers want to see runners on the track. We knew we would have a couple of updates coming through, which is a real asset moving forward.”

A while ago not a lot of people pin-hooked fillies, but now people are buying fillies with their residual value in mind. The Written Tycoon x Royal Lineup (Lot 423) filly is a great example of this, as she was brilliant value, had a great physique, deep liver chestnut in colour and a good page from one of the best commercial stallions.”

Our flashy Zoustar colt out of Armanjena (Lot 53) is very typical of his sire, with the same head and ears of Zoustar. He is well put together and has plenty of presence about him, being almost flaxen with three white socks. He thrives on his work, great to deal with and he has flourished during his preparation. His half-brother Aurman Zou, who is with Chris Waller is looking for a nice race to win. The mare has produced five to run, for four winners, so you can race this colt with confidence.

The Kermadec x Hangin’ Tough (Lot 210) colt is a brilliant first foal. He is big strong, incredibly athletic with a super attitude. You wouldn’t get a nicer type, and he has a lovely presence. He is just beautiful, and he has handled his prep exceptionally well.

The Deep Field x Khamsa (Lot 244) is a very forward, early horse. Strong and fast, being out of a winning Stratum mare, he looks like he will jump out of the ground at two and go like the clappers. He is a tough bugger too, you can throw the work at him and he takes it happily.

Our home bred More Than Ready x Miss Mooney Mooney (Lot 320) is from the exceptional family of Better Than Ready. A real two-year-old type, he is neat, correct with a great temperament. Showing growth throughout the preparation, deservedly he will have his share of admirers.

Finally, the So You Think x Princess Anna (Lot 384) colt is an intelligent well-grown yearling that is beautifully balanced. He is just structurally sound, agile and cleverly places all four feet. Since the catalogue, So Si Bon has had a good win on the page and he is great to handle, with a good work ethic, easy on the lead and soft in the hand.

Merricks Station will parade yearlings on farm by appointment or will be ready to parade the morning of Wednesday 27th February at the Oaklands complex.

For more information, please contact Dearne Gess-Jones on 0419 216 926.