Red Buttons named Victorian Country Horse of the Year

Former Vinery shuttler Red Ransom received another posthumous award when Red Buttons was named Centrebet Victorian Country Racehorse of the Year on Saturday night.

Victoria’s Minister for Racing Denis Napthine was special guest at the Victorian Country Racing Awards and he acknowledged everyone involved in country racing, from the jockeys, clubs, trainers and, of course, the horses.

Red Buttons (6g Red Ransom – Funster by Rory’s Jester) is a homebred for Wakefield Stud proprietor Brian Agnew.  

Red Buttons completed a country cups double in 2010-11 with wins in the Moe Cup and Kyneton Cup.  He also won at Morphettville and Sandown and was most unlucky not to win the G3 Hobart Cup in February after striking interference on three separate occasions.

Red Ransom died in November 2009 and his final southern crop of 41 foals arrived last year.  The breed shaping son of Roberto sired his 100th stakes winner when Emmrooz claimed the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes in January.

He joined Northern Dancer, Mr Prospector, Sadler’s Wells, Sunday Silence, Storm Cat, Sir Tristram and Danehill among sires to have broken three figures for black-type winners.

Red Ransom began stud duties at Vinery’s Kentucky headquarters in 1991 and arrived in Australia to become its Australian foundation sire in 1999.  

“Red Ransom did so much to establish Vinery as a commercial stud farm in Australia,” general manager Peter Orton said.  “He proved an instant success and provided the ultimate outcross for the vast number of Northern Dancer and Star Kingdom-line mares in Australia.”

The Red Buttons family has been a winner for Agnew going back 30 years.  It started when he bred Scala (Bold Aussie) to Golden Slipper winner Vain.  The result was Alshandegha who won stakes races at Caulfield and Flemington in 1987.

Alshandegha had 10 foals that raced and all 10 won including Funster who was owned by Ted Cockram’s Group 1 Racing Syndicate.  She won races at Victoria Park (2), Cheltenham and Oakbank before retiring to stud.

Red Buttons was her last foal and he followed winners by Hurricane Sky, Snippets and Danzero.

Trainer Mick Kent has Red Buttons back in harness for another campaign.  He has been a marvellous money-spinner for Agnew winning 10 races from 1800m to 2400m and over $480,000.