Three CHALLENGE horses with Shaune Ritchie

I visited Shaune Ritchie’s stable this afternoon and inspected three horses which are raced by three different Challenge Syndicates.

CHIQUITITA (2YO filly by Swiss Ace ex Floramour, by More Than Ready)

Is raced by the Challenge No.7 Syndicate and is a half-sister to last season’s Gr.3-winning juvenile Manolo Blahniq.  This filly is progressing well and will go to the Cambridge Jump Outs next Thursday.  From there she is set to trial at Cambridge 11 October.

Manolo Blahniq's Swiss Ace half-sister Chiquitita














VITESSE (4YO mare by Makfi ex Keepa Cheval, by Keeper)

Is raced by the Challenge No.4 Syndicate and was a winner at 1600m last season at three years.  Vitesse was always a bit delicate at three and I’m interested to see her this season with the benefit of maturity and experience.  Vitesse is set to trial over 950m at the Cambridge Trials, 11 October.

Vitesse - her dam is a half-sister to the Champion galloper Mufhasa














BELLE AMORE (3YO filly by Per Incato ex Platinum Belle, by Generous)

Is raced by the Challenge No.6 Syndicate and had an educational trial last season at two.  She is by Per Incanto, the sire of Saracino who has won black type races in both NZ and Australia already this season.  Belle Amore is a strong filly and her trainer tells me she has a nice long stride.  She is likely to trial in the next month or so.

Belle Amore, by Per Incanto - who is currently second on the NZ Stallion Premiership


New CHALLENGE Syndicate launched today

Today I launched the Challenge No.9 Syndicate – full details can be found by CLICKING HERE

One of the two fillies in the brand new Challenge No.9 Syndicate - she is by Jimmy Choux and this photo was taken yesterday at Gordon Cunningham's Curraghmore where the two fillies are being raised

Pimm’s Time produces Adelaide filly

The Group Two-winning mare Pimm’s Time (Pins ex Brampton Lass, by Zabeel) has produced a filly by the W S Cox Plate winner Adelaide.

It is the second foal for mare who was trained by Guy Lowry at Hastings to win 5 races including the 2013 Travis Stakes-Gr.2 (2000m) at Te Rapa.

The first foal for Pimm’s Time was a Bernardini filly.  Now a yearling, the filly will be offered at the 2017 William Inglis Classic Sale.

Pimm’s Time is owned by Nearco Stud and is based at Mike & Kate Fleming’s Bhima property at Scone in NSW.

Pimm's Time (centre with white face) winning the 2013 Travis Stakes at Te Rapa. To her left is another Nearco Stud-owned broodmare, Quintessential.

Syndication is New Zealand racing’s future

This morning I am being interviewed for LOVE RACING NZ about my Syndication business.

It got me thinking about the reasons why I started Challenge Racehorse Syndications at the beginning of 2012 and, really, it’s a simple equation.

Who can afford to race a horse on their own account at a monthly cost of $3,000 to $4,000?

Unless you are very comfortable and/or have outstanding earning capacity, it’s simply out of the reach of the majority.

That’s the very reason why Syndication is New Zealand’s racing future.

So when I set about launching Challenge in January 2012, I knew there was a positive future for my syndication model, but it had to be different from the established competition.

Affordability was a key.  I wanted Challenge to be within the reach of most people who have a passion for racing.

Communication was a vital ingredient.  Not just good communication, it had to be outstanding communication.

And while all of that needed to be in place, at the end of the day results would drive Challenge forward.  With 9 winners (including 4 individual Black Type winners) & 3 placed horses from 13 runners, we’ve got away to a strong start and Challenge is number one in the NZ syndication business for Strike Rate.

The platform has been laid; now – like every other successful business – it’s a case of never taking the foot off the pedal.  Hard work and a whole lot more hard work!

SWISS PRECISION - who made her debut for the Challenge No.7 Syndicate at Wanganui last Saturday


Nearco-bred horse progressive in Singapore

Distinctive Darci - back to back wins in Singapore this season at three













The Mark Waker-trained Distinctive Darci is putting together a pleasing record in Singapore; yesterday he won his second race at Kranji from just four outings.

The three-year-0ld is by Darci Brahma from Distinctive Lass (Orientate), making him a half-brother to Kuro (Denman), a multiple Listed Race winner and twice Group One-placed.

Kuro was the first foal from Distinctive Lass and Distinctive Darci is her second live foal.  Both horses were born and raised at Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore Stud and sold at the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Premier Sale.

Distinctive Lass has an Ocean Park two-year-old coming through which was purchased by Champion Thoroughbreds at this year’s William Inglis Sydney Easter Yearling Sale.

The mare has a yearling filly by All Too Hard which was born and is being raised at Mike & Kate Fleming’s Bhima in New South Wales.

Distinctive Lass has returned to New Zealand and will visit Darci Brahma in the coming weeks.

Proisir filly for Sarajay

My dual Group Two-winning mare Sarajay produced her ninth baby on Friday, foaling down a first-crop filly by Rich Hill Stud’s young stallion Proisir.

Sarajay has been a remarkable producer, never missing in nine years of being mated.  What’s more she still looks in wonderful order despite ticking over to 16 years of age at the start of the month.

Sarajay will be mated with Showcasing in the coming weeks.

Sarajay's latest baby, by Proisir, photographed today (21.08.16) at two days old. Their home is Gordon Cunningham's Curraghmore, situated on the main road between Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

Challenge wins first 2YO Trial in Central Districts

It was very pleasing to learn this morning that Swiss Precision (Swiss Ace ex With Ice, by Snowland) had won her debut trial at Foxton this morning.

John Bary trains the filly for the recently-formed Challenge No.7 Syndicate and she looks like a natural two-year-old having recently won a Jump Out at the Hastings track.

Apparently the filly won by two lengths after showing good speed and railing well enough.

She is not screwed down yet so the experience will stand to her going forward.

Swiss Precision is likely to race in the first new season juvenile event at Wanganui, 03 September, though it will be weather dependent.

The Challenge No.7 Syndicate also race Chiquitita (Swiss Ace ex Floramour, by More Than Ready), a half-sister to Manolo Blahniq who joins the stable of Shaune Ritchie today after 5 weeks of pre-training.

Swiss Precision in the birdcage at Foxton this morning - photo courtesy of Mike Sanders of John Bary Racing

Nearco Stud’s 9 Stakes Performers this season to date

For a young breeding entity Nearco Stud feels proud to have bred 5 Stakes Winners and a further 4 Stakes-placed horses this season.
The headline act has been Provocative who provided Nearco with its’ first Group One winner with her authoritative display in the Queensland Oaks.
Amongst the list which follows is two other Group One performers, namely Montaigne (placed in Rosehill Guineas) and Strada Cavallo (placed in both NZ 1000 Guineas and NZ Oaks).
Here is the complete list.  Nearco Stud acknowledges Arion Pedigrees for supplying this information.

PROVOCATIVE (Zabeel ex Betwixt, by O’Reilly)
o    Ist Queensland Oaks-Gr.1

SECRET SPIRIT (Swiss Ace ex Spirit of Sandford, by Kilimanjaro)
o    Ist Bonecrusher Stakes-Gr.3
o    Ist O’Leary Stakes-LR
o    3rd Soliloquy Stakes-LR

MANOLO BLAHNIQ (Jimmy Choux ex Floramour, by More Than Ready)
o    Ist Eclipse Stakes-Gr.3
o    2nd Murdoch Newell Stakes-LR

CELTIC TIGER (O’Reilly ex Miraculous Miss, by Exceed and Excel)
o    Ist Morphettville Guineas-LR

STRADA CAVALLO (Alamosa ex Abenroad, by Danroad)
o    Ist John Grigg Stakes-LR
o    2nd NZ 1000 Guineas-Gr.1
o    2nd Lowland Stakes-Gr.3
o    3rd NZ Oaks-Gr.1
o    3rd Desert Gold Stakes-Gr.3

Montaigne (Road to Rock ex Stylish Bel, by Bel Esprit)
o    2nd Rosehill Guineas-Gr.1
o    3rd Hobartville Stakes-Gr.2

What Choux Want (Jimmy Choux ex Bankside Belle, by Volksraad)
o    3rd Matamata Breeders’ Stakes-Gr.2
o    2nd Welcome Stakes-LR

High Class (Shocking ex Mill Duckie, by Magic Ring)
o    2nd Soliloquy Stakes-LR

Electric Aura (Shocking ex Sentura, by Volksraad)
o    3rd Tasmanian Oaks-LR

Group One performer Montaigne as a yearling. He was bred by Nearco Stud and born, raised and sold by Highden Park


Fascination Street retired

The black type-winning and Group-placed five-year-old mare Fascination Street has been retired after her unplaced effort in today’s Listed Tauranga Classic at Gate Pa.

The daughter of Elusive City won 5 races including the 2015 Rotorua Stakes-LR.  Her most recent win was at Te Rapa in April where she stopped the clock at 1.08.57 for 1200m, just a tick outside the 1200m Track Record.

Fascination Street is owned by the Challenge No.1 Syndicate.  According to the syndicate structure, the mare will now be sold for breeding purposes.

This now concludes the Challenge No.1 Syndicate which was formed in 2012 and also included another black type -winning mare, Dancer’s Tale.

For an overview of the Challenge No.1 record – which numbered 9 wins – CLICK HERE.

Fascination Street - a valuable mare now going to stud

Biggest moment for Nearco Stud – a Queensland Oaks winner!

Today’s runnaway victory by Provocative (Zabeel ex Betwixt, by O’Reilly) in the Treasury Casino Queensland Oaks-Gr.1 (2400m) today is very special on so many levels.

It is Nearco Stud’s first Group One winner and it’s come in a short span of time with Greg Tomlinson’s breeding operation only in its’ sixth year of operation.

It’s special too because of the close connection Nearco has with Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore Stud, the farm where Provocative was born and raised and later sold through their consignment at the Karaka Premier Sale.

And I can’t overlook the special milestone of the Group One victory for Zabeel who now draws level with his own Super Sire dad, Sir Tristram on the score of individual elite level winners.

I purchased Provocative’s mum Betwixt at the 2010 Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale for Nearco Stud.  She was carrying a positive test to Fastnet Rock at the time and she cost A$240,000.

We sold the Fastnet Rock colt (‘Longbeach’) at Karaka and the second foal by Red Giant (‘Realta’) there as well.

Provocative was the third foal and a magnificent filly by Zabeel.  A fabulous judge in Paul Moroney found her & went to $250,000.  We were delighted with the price and knew that the filly would be given an outstanding opportunity when news came through that she would be trained by Tony Pike.

The downside is that we lost Betwixt and, sadly, she was carrying a Makfi foal at the time.

The Queensland Oaks will forever hold special meaning for Nearco Stud.  Quintessential won the race when carrying the colours of Nearco Stud in 2012 and it was our first Group One racetrack winner.  Now the historic Eagle Farm race has provided Nearco with it’s first Group One winner as a breeder.

Provocative as a yearling, part of Curraghmore Stud's 2014 NZB Karaka Premier Sale consignment