A PASSION for coloured horses, a Google search, a little white lie and an American import - it might seem an odd mix but it led to Rockley's Winning Colours Farm enjoying a rare racing success.
Late last month, Winning Colours' Peta Oxenbridge was thrilled when the first foal out of her important stallion Moonlark - a two-year-old chestnut called Moonhawk - won his maiden race at Grafton.
Initially she admitted she was not aware just how significant it was that Moonhawk, the $3.40 Paul Smith trained favourite, saluted in that 1,006 metres contest.
"I had the manager of one of the big commercial studs in Victoria ring me and he's actually bought a Moonlight colt off me and now he wants another one," Oxenbridge said.
"He was the one who told me that some of these top commercial stallions like Fiorente and Fighting Sun that they stand at the moment, they have like eight and 10 runners before they had a winner.
"Even the horses in that race, the three top Queensland sires Spirit Of Boom, Falvelon and Rothesay, they had their progeny all in that race too, so it was pretty special."
Having had a love of horses her whole life, that win shows how a passion and hobby has become a successful business for Oxenbridge.
While she owned her first pony as a six-year-old, it was a chance Google search that saw her discover the world of coloured horses.
"I was always into thoroughbreds and delved into the racing side of things as a young adult. We actively started Winning Colours Farm in 2006 when I was pregnant with my first child and couldn't do a regular job," she explained.
"Horses were my love and my passion and when I realised you could get a coloured thoroughbred ... I was blown away and said to my husband 'I have to have one of these, I want one and if I want one, there'll be other people that want one too'.
"It was never intended to be like we are going to start this big business and do this and this, it happened very organically.
"To import our first horse ... we went to the bank and had to get a loan and we didn't think we'd get the loan for a horse, we told them it was for a lavish wedding," she added with a laugh.
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Moonlark is the fifth stallion Winning Colours has imported and is the best credentialed stallion the family business has acquired thus far.
Oxenbridge said she always felt his first foal Moonhawk had potential, and his success has her "really excited about the future."
"Although the other coloured ones were race horses they didn't have quite the credentials that Moonlark does. We knew that he would cross beautifully with their daughters who had the colour as well," she said.
"You always hope, but he was such a stand out as a foal you sort of thought 'If this thing can't run, nothing can'.
"He was such a stand out, but in saying that, the stallion hasn't thrown a bad foal yet, they are all stand outs, which is pretty exciting actually."