Ex-mayor’s breeding dream receives a boost

Former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has long held a dream of breeding a top-class horse and he has taken a step in the right direction with two-year-old Spurious.

A son of sire Jet Spur out of Quirk’s broodmare Empress Of Rome, Spurious will tackle the Functions @ Tattersall’s Handicap at Eagle Farm (1500m) on Saturday.

Spurious went within a centimetre of pulling off a huge upset when second at $101 at Doomben two weeks ago.

Quirk, who was Lord Mayor of Brisbane for eight years, was recently appointed to the Racing Queensland board.

It was testament to the widespread respect for Quirk that a Labor state government would appoint a former Liberal mayor to one of its most important boards.

However, he was a natural fit for the board because of his long history with racing.

Even as a boy Quirk joined the Maybe Lad fan club which was formed to support the super two-year-old colt of the mid 1960s.

Maybe Lad won nine races as a two year old carrying up to 69kg and is rated with the filly Eye Liner, who raced in the same season, as the best juveniles to race in Queensland.

It gave Quirk a love of racing he has carried for 50 years and also inspired him to breed horses.’

But with money tight when he was in his 20s he first bred successful greyhounds but about 20 years ago he branched into thoroughbreds.

“I started off dealing in weanlings and then I had a broodmare named Valour To Valour who got a good horse Zamboni who won six races,” Quirk said.

“I then bought a mare by Zabeel from John Singleton called Big Pretzel who had some handy horses including Empress Of Rome who won at Doomben.”

When it was time for Empress Of Rome to go to stud, Quirk sent her to his friend Greg Ramsay’s property and they now race her second foal which is Spurious.

“Her first foal is called Brutus and he won in Toowoomba on Saturday night,” Quirk said.

“Spurious was very green at his first two starts but he is improving each week so like all breeders we are hoping he can go on to be a smart one.”

Credit: AAP

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