Secret Spirit retired

Secret Spirit seen here winning the 2015 Bonecrusher Stakes-Gr.3 (1400m) at Ellerslie - it was her fourth Black Type victory in succession

The racing career of the four time Black Type winner Secret Spirit (Swiss Ace ex Spirit of Sandford, by Kilimanjaro) is over.  The decision was made yesterday after a below-par performance at Rotorua.  The talented four-year-old mare pulled up sound, but will not be risked any further.

Secret Spirit was bred by Nearco Stud.  She was born & raised at Bradbury Park before being leased to the Challenge No.2 Syndicate.  She now returns to her owner and has been booked to rising star stallion Shocking.

The Challenge No.2 Syndicate enjoyed four Stakes Race wins with Secret Spirit from the stable of Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott.  She won the Great Northern Foal Stakes-LR and Ryder Stakes-LR at two.  She followed immediately on at three with victories in the O’Leary Stakes-LR and Bonecrusher Stakes-Gr.3.


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the story about the syndicate who paid $500 to be involved & have won SEVEN STAKES RACES!

Sometimes the very best marketing angles are staring you in the face.

This morning I was updating my website and suddenly realized just that.  My first Challenge Syndicate enjoyed two individual Black Type Winners.   It gets better.  The second Challenge Syndicate has also raced two individual Black Type Winners.  What’s more, the pair of horses involved have collectively won seven Group or Listed Races.  And to top it off, both horses won their elite races in succession.

The marketer in me wonders why the hell I haven’t made more of this!

The beautiful thing about the Challenge No.2 Syndicate is that around 50% of its’ members were brand new to racing when they signed up.  The paid $500 for a one percent racing interest in two horses.  Horse one was Avisto; she was a Listed Race winner at two and added two more Stakes Race successes at three on the trot.  Horse two was Savanite, a Savabeel filly who won a Maiden race.  Because she was disappointing for the Syndicate and because I have access to some beautiful Nearco Stud-bred horses to lease, I brought another filly into the mix to replace Savanite.  She turned out to be none-other than Secret Spirit, the winner of four black type races straight during the course of 2015.

Some of the Challenge No.2 Syndicate soak it up after their 7th Stakes Race success, Secret Spirit's win in the 2015 Bonecrusher Stakes-Gr.3 at Ellerslie

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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


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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

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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.

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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


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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.

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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.

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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

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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


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