Lady Zafira retired & changes hands

A Black Type winner this season, Lady Zafira was prepared by John Bary from his private training complex at Hastings











The quality sprinting mare Lady Zafira has been retired to stud and sold in a deal negotiated by this agency.

By Iffraaj – sire of latest 3YO sensation Gingernuts – Lady Zafira won five races from the stable of John Bary, the most important being the 2016 Pegasus Stakes-LR at Riccarton Park in a time of 55.87 seconds for the 1000m.

The mare was also placed third in the 2016 Rotorua Stakes-LR (1400m) and fourth-equal in this year’s Telegraph Handicap-Gr.1 (1200m).

Lady Zafira caught my eye numerous times with her ability to cut out brilliant closing sectionals.

The mare has been sold to an undisclosed buyer and is likely to remain in New Zealand – at least initially – for her career at stud.

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An affinity with the stock of Swiss Ace

I think the next Challenge Syndicate will just have to have a filly by Westbury Stud’s quickly-emerging sire Swiss Ace!

I’ve put five fillies by the sire into various syndicates and have to say that not one of them has let me down.

Here’s a note of the three who have been in previous syndicates and now retired…

* SECRET SPIRIT (Challenge/2) – FOUR BLACK TYPE WINS (in succession)



The Challenge No.7 Syndicate is made up of two more fillies by Swiss Ace and both youngsters are showing all the signs of being just as good (if not better) than those who have come before by the sire…

* SWISS PRECISION (Juvenile with John Bary) – trial winner at placed on debut, back in full work

* CHIQUITITA (Juvenile with Shaune Ritchie) – placed in both trials to date & ready to debut

Chiquitita (Swiss Ace ex Floramour, by More Than Ready) returning to scale after her nice third at yesterday's Avondale Trials

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Realta sale negotiated by Adrian Clark

Realta, a half-sister to last year’s Group One Queensland Oaks winner Provocative, has changed hands in a deal negotiated by Adrian Clark.

“Nearco Stud bred and sold both Provocative and Realta, only to lose their mother Betwixt, so this mare was an attractive proposition to buy back,” said Clark from his Cambridge NZ base today.

“I am on the outlook for further quality young mares off the track for Nearco Stud.  We’ve had success in the past with the likes of Alagant Satin, Floramour, Mill Duckie and Miraculous Miss – they were all bought at the end of their respective racetrack careers,” he added.

Realta has been retired and will be based at Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore operation.  Her initial mating is yet to be decided.

Realta (Red Giant ex Betwixt, by O'Reilly) during her racing career from the stable of Lance Noble

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Challenge now at 10 winners & 3 placed from 14 runners

Belle Amore and Jason Waddell on top today for the Challenge No.6 Syndicate

Belle Amore’s gutsy display to win today over 1400 metres at Te Aroha took Challenge Racehorse Syndication’s winning Strike Rate to 71.42%.

Since being established in 2012, my small Syndication Company has had 14 runners for 10 individual winners and a further 3 placed horses.  Just one horse has failed to either win or be placed.

What’s more, the Stakes Winners to starters strike rate is 28.50%.  Four of Challenge’s fourteen runners have won at Black Type level and collectively that group of fillies and mares has won 9 Group or Listed Races.

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Countdown to completion – Challenge No.9

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New Year Quote

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Per Incanto filly ready to debut for Challenge

Belle Amore seen at the Te Teko Trials, 22 November

The Challenge No.6 Syndicate, which was formed from two purchases at the 2015 NZB Ready to Run Sale, looks set to have its’ first runner at Ellerslie next Wednesday evening.

Belle Amore (Per Incanto ex Platinum Belle, by Generous) has been nominated for the Maiden 3YO 1400m and Opie Bosson booked for the ride.

The filly is prepared by Shaune Ritchie at Cambridge and really pleased me when she ran second at the Te Teko Trials last Tuesday week.

The Challenge No.6 Syndicate also race a filly from the first crop of Cape Blanco.  Named Avid, she had a three month spell after an educational trial and has just returned to pre-training.  She is prepared by Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott at Matamata.



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Per Incanto filly set to trial for Challenge

BELLE AMORE (closest to camera) before a gallop at the Cambridge Training Centre last Wednesday

It’s nice to have a Per Incanto filly in the Challenge Syndications mix as the Little Avondale stallion has been doing a fine job in the early part of his career with 55 individual winners including five at Black Type level.

I selected Belle Amore (Per Incanto ex Platinum Belle, by Generous) at last year’s New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale.  I liked her strength then and as you can see from the photo included she’s a solidly-built girl 12 months on.  Her action at the Breeze Ups appealed too and I got another taste of that when she worked in company at the Cambridge Training Centre last Wednesday.

We gave the filly one trial in the autumn and she was not at home on the rain-affected going.  But you have to find out sometime.  So tomorrow’s second trial at Te Teko on what should be a perfect surface, will give us a good line on what we’re working with.

Belle Amore is raced by the Challenge No.6 Syndicate who also own another three-year-old filly, Avid (by Cape Blanco).

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Vitesse set to resume on Sunday

Vitesse with trainer Shaune Ritchie and stable foreman Noel Waddell after her gallop at the Cambridge Training Centre on Wednesday

Vitesse, a half-sister to the talented Jimmy Choux 3YO with Chris Waller Chaussure, is set to resume at Te Rapa on Sunday provided track conditions are in the Good to Dead range.

The four-year-old, who is by Makfi from a half-sister to Mufhasa, was due to kick off at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup Day, but a pricked hoof put pay to those plans.

Vitesse is raced by the Challenge No.4 Syndicate and was a winner last season at three over 1600m at Te Rapa.  She was tried in Black Type company in the Royal Stakes but a rain-drenched Ellerslie that day told us it was not her favoured footing.

Vitesse is one of four horses Shaune Ritchie prepares for Challenge Syndications, the others being Belle Amore (unraced 3YO filly by Per Incanto), Chiquitita (unraced 2YO filly by Swiss Ace) and Chouxs Wisely (unraced 2YO filly by Jimmy Choux).

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Sam Weatherley to have first ride for Challenge

I’m delighted to have young gun apprentice Sam Weatherley aboard Vitesse at Te Rapa on Sunday for the Challenge No.4 Syndicate.

I have watched his development since he had his first ride at Arawa Park in the mud on Rotorua Cup Day in May.  Craig Thornton kindly gave him that first ride and I have to say the 17 year old’s progress since then has been remarkable.  Not only does he have natural balance and ‘feel’ but he is developing his skills/technique by the week.

Mind you, I shouldn’t be surprised – dad (Darryn) was a jockey, so was grandad (Dan).  What’s more his boss is Lance O’Sullivan (12 NZ Jockey Premierships) and his riding master is Noel Harris, one of the most naturally-gifted jockeys I’ve observed in my long career in this industry.

I watched Vitesse (Makfi ex Keepa Cheval, by Keeper) gallop at the Cambridge Training Centre this morning.  Shaune Ritchie’s stable foreman Noel Waddell rode the mare and said she felt good but wasn’t suited by the rain-affected going.  The close relative of Champion galloper Mufhasa will only run on Sunday if the track is in the Good or Dead range.

A special family photo - Dan, Sam & Darryn Weatherley

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