Russell Lehmann – a feeder of animals and a breeder of winners

By Duane Ranger (courtesy of Redcliffe Paceway)

If you ever visit ‘the ‘Outback Spectacular’ or ‘Paradise Country’ on the Gold Coast, then don’t be surprised if you run into prominent Queensland standardbred owner and breeder, Russell Lehmann.

The 62-year-old Minden resident frequents the popular Gold Coast tourist attractions twice a week supplying hay for the horses at ‘Outback’ and the many animals at ‘Paradise Country’.

“I’ve had my own hay and chaff business for 20 years now and I really enjoy providing hay to the many animals at those two popular attractions. I also supply hay to the many horses at Westvets Marburg and the loads of trotting stables throughout the State. Some I’ve done for about two decades.

“Business looks after itself really. I buy in the hay and then turn it into chaff and sell it. I love the work. I’ve never really bothered with the galloper industry because I’ve found the harness racing people so loyal and friendly, and give me what I need. Mind you I’ve been hooked on the trots for as long as I can remember,” Lehmann said.

“I bought my first horse when I was 17 (1978) and have owned and bred many since,” he added.

The father of two-and-grandfather-of-three, bred and owned yet another winner at Redcliffe Paceway on Thursday (April 11)when the John McMullen trained Rancho Man notched up his 17th win in 168 starts in race five – the Wolf Signs NR Up To 40 Pace.

Sixty-two-year-old Minden owner/breeder, Russell Lehmann, who is a former president of the Marburg Pacing Association

The brown 8-year-old gelding, who has also placed 52 times and banked $94,440, was driven by Taleah McMullen. Lehmann said he watched the 1,780m mobile on TV at the Caloundra Hotel.

The talented 22-year-old reinswoman drew nine with the son of Mr Feelgood, and sat one-out-and-three-back on the outer, before making a solo bid three-wide at the 500 metres.

Rancho Man then stuck on tenaciously to win by a neck with a 2:01.5-mile rate, which was 5.1 seconds slower than his personal of 1:56.4 set at ‘The Creek’ on January 18, 2022.

Rancho man was $7.50 fourth favourite in the nine-horse field.

“The drop-back in grade suited him nicely and Taleah drove him a treat. He’s a real credit to both John and Taleah. They do an amazing job for me.

“I’d say Rancho Man would now be right up there with Gifted Red as the best I’ve bred and owned. His dam Peppalee (By Vanston Hanover) was gifted to me by a good friend of mine named Rod Hill. Hence the name Gifted Red (2007 six-win Rollon Bigred gelding).

“Rancho Man just keeps trying, which is all you ask for in a horse. There’s nothing like watching a horse fall out of its mother and then develop into an equine athlete. It’s just that bit more special breeding them. This fella had his first race in July 2018 and even though he’s eight and had nearly 170 starts. There’s still plenty of racing left in him.

Taleah McMullen brings Rancho Man back to the Redcliffe winner’s enclosure last Thursday (April 11) after the 8-year-old Mr Feelgood gelding notched up his 17th career win. DAN COSTELLO PHOTO.

“That was his third win this season. The other two were also at Redcliffe within a week of each other in January (see photos),” Lehmann said.

The former Marburg Pacing Association President and treasurer spanning over 15 years, said Rancho Man was the fourth and last foal out of the 2000 Perfect Art maiden mare, Itsoktobeperfect.

“She had already left two foals for breeder Chalky (Wayne Chalk) and Dale and Nikki raced the first foal, which won eight races with her. I’ve bred the last two. Chalky virtually gifted the mare to me,” Lehmann said

That first foal was the 2006 Atom Way eight-win ($31,547) mare, Anxietynecstasy. Lehmann also bred 2012 Tell All filly, Tell It As It Is.

“Rancho Man is the only one I bred from the mare to make it to the races. I gave the mare away and sadly that family has come to an end with me via Rancho Man,” Lehmann said

Taleah McMullen again getting the best out of Rancho Man at Redcliffe Paceway on January 25. DAN COSTELLO PHOTO.

He said he was also breeding from a 2006 Lotsa Clout mare he got through Kevin Seymour, via his former client, Grant Dixon.

“Her name is Bonnies So Good and she won four races, and left eight foals for Solid Earth Limited and I’ve bred the ninth foal – a Tintin In America weanling colt and I also have a 2-year-old Ohoka Punter filly who was still on the mare when I bought her. She is being broken in by my good mate, Jason Carkeet

“The first two racehorses out of the mare won 34 races and more than $200,000 between them, so here’s hoping,” Lehmann said

Bonnies So Good’s first two racing foals were the 2013 Mister Big 13-win ($49,359) mare, Bonnies Beauty (1:56.8), and the 2014 Rock N Roll Heaven 21-win ($158,960) gelding, Major Generaljujon (1:53.6).

Foal Five, the 2017 Rock N Roll Heaven mare, Bonnies A Rockin (1:54.8) won seven races and $46,314.

Born and educated in Lowood, Lehmann was raised in nearby Minden – a 1,204 populated rural town in the Somerset Region, 64 kilometres west of Brisbane.

Peter McMullen gets the John McMullen trained and Russell Lehmann bred and owned, Rancho Man, home to win at Redcliffe Paceway on January 18. DAN COSTELLO PHOTO

“My parents liked the trots and we used to go to Albion Park as a family on a Saturday night. I bought my first horse at 17 – Dougie Massam broke him in and trained him for me he was named Ginger De Oro (1979 Del De Oro gelding) who won two races for me.

“I remember my first being at Toowoomba in August 1983. And through that made great friends with the Massam family. I’ve had horses with lots of people going back to the late Max Towns days,” also Greg Elkins, and a lot of nice horses with Darrel Graham as well.

“There’s been a few winners and a lot of water go under the bridge since,” he added.

Prior to setting up his hay-making business in the early 2000s, Lehmann also spent 10 years as a weighbridge worker for a gravel quarry in Ipswich

“I felt like a barmaid with all the questions thrown at me daily, every day. I’ve always been an outdoors man. I’ve enjoyed playing sports like cricket and footy, so getting out of what seemed like an office job was a blessing,” Lehmann said.

Minden owner and breeder, Russell Lehmann, pictured with his “favourite” and one of the greatest standardbreds to have ever come out of Australia – the brilliant Blacks A Fake.

It was about that time 2000 Lehmann joined the Marburg Pacing Association and spanning about 15 years as treasurer or president helping the club to what it is now

“Harness racing has always been a passion of mine for more than 50 years now, and I believe owning and breeding a horse is the pinnacle. I really enjoyed my time at Marburg.

“We had a very progressive committee which has led to the strong and family-orientated club it is now. I wanted to give back to the industry and I’m glad I did,” Lehmann said.

Lehmann said he hoped Rancho Man had a few more wins left in him yet.

“I love the horse but also had a lot of time for Gifted Red. Ricky and Lola Gordon trained him and he was runner-up to the ‘Redcliffe-Horse-of-the-Year. We never saw the best of him,” said Lehmann.

A brilliant Taleah McMullen drive ensured career win number 17 for the the John McMullen trained Rancho Man (9) at Redcliffe Paceway on Thursday (April 11). The 8-year-old Mr Feelgood gelding was bred and is owned by Russell Lehmann of Minden.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *