What we do – in a nutshell

Had a think today about my role as a thoroughbred consultant to my client base.

At the end of the day, what I’m doing is striving to breed/create a quality thoroughbred product.  Thereafter it’s doing my utmost to see that it sells to best advantage.  The next stage is looking on and hoping that what we’ve ‘made’ and managed goes on to be a successful racehorse.

BEAUTY GENERATION (aka Montaigne) fits into that very category and I can’t describe the pleasure of watching him develop from a great foal and yearling at Highden Park through to the headline-grabbing horse he has become in Hong Kong.

How many jobs can provide that level of satisfaction?

I’m a lucky man!

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Michael Guerin on Winx; at last a NZ racing broadcaster who gets it!

This piece is not about the Champion racemare Winx.

It’s about a kiwi racing journalist and broadcaster who understands how to relate to the wider audience OUTSIDE of the racing industry.  In my opinion our Trackside presenters use too much racing jargon; they forget that not every viewer or listener understands what the hell they are talking about!  If racing is to grow & prosper, it must at all times reach out to the much wider audience – to the people who may have a slight interest in our business, but can be easily intimidated if they are bombarded with industry jargon.

Today I listened to Michael Guerin on Radio Sport talking to host Guy Heveldt about the Cox Plate victory at the weekend from Winx.  Mick Guerin was OUTSTANDING in his efforts to relate to that wider audience.  He gets it and I would urge every current Trackside Presenter – young and old – to have a listen to that interview and perhaps learn from it.

Am I qualified to judge, yes I am.  I had 15 years with Trackside, making more than 1000 editions of the weekly breeding industry programme The Ford Report.  I did hundreds of live broadcasts too for Trackside and stepped outside that channel on numerous occasions with work for TV3 (including 8 Melbourne Cup broadcasts) and Sky NZ.  I was voted NZ Racing Broadcaster of the Year on 3 occasions.

Well done Mick Guerin, refreshing to hear you today.

Trackside should never forget that wider audience; it is the key to our industry growing going forward

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Secret Spirit produces first foal

The four-time Black Type-winning Secret Spirit (Swiss Ace ex Spirit of Sandford, by Kilimanjaro) has produced her first foal, a filly by Rich Hill Stud’s Melbourne Cup-winning sire Shocking.

Just two years ago Secret Spirit won four Stakes Races in succession.  She won the Great Northern Foal Stakes-LR at Ellerslie as a maiden juvenile before taking out the Ryder Stakes-LR at Otaki.  The O’Leary Stakes-LR as an early three-year-old was next followed  by the Bonecrusher Stakes-Gr.3 (see  photo included) to complete the impressive sequence.

Trained throughout her career by Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott, Secret Spirit was bred by Nearco Stud.  She was born & raised at Bradbury Park before being raced by the Challenge No.2 Syndicate.  When retired, Secret Spirit returned to Bradbury Park and has settled well into the life of a broodmare.  She will be mated with the exciting Westbury Stud stallion Reliable Man in the coming weeks.

Secret Spirit with usual rider Craig Grylls and devoted strapper Umesh Ravi prior to the 2015 Bonecrusher Stakes-Gr.3 at Ellerslie.

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Two trial runners, two winners for Team Challenge

Pleasing day at the office today for Challenge Racehorse Syndications with two trial winners at Cambridge and a Jump Out winner at Hastings.

CHIQUITITA (3YO filly by Swiss Ace ex Floramour, by More Than Ready) won her Maiden 935m by nearly four lengths.  A half-sister to the Karaka Million favourite of his year Manolo Blahniq, Chiquitita (photo included) has developed beautifully between two & three years & will step out on race day in the next couple of weeks.

CHOUXS WISELY (3YO filly by Jimmy Choux ex Purpose, by Falkirk), another prepared by Shaune Ritchie at Cambridge, won her 935m Maiden with plenty in hand.  She had a debut fourth at two years before going shin-sore and looks ready to return to the races very soon.

SWISS PRECISION (3yo filly by Swiss Ace ex With Ice, by Snowland), who is trained by John Bary at his private track, won a Jump Out at the Hastings track this morning in the hands of Timothy Johnson.  A debut 3rd last season at two, the filly has been marking time for better track conditions & is likely to be seen out at the Foxton Trials next week.

Every bit a classic style of three-year-old filly, Chiquitita parading before her easy trial win at Cambridge today. She is raced by the Challenge No.7 Syndicate

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Nearco-bred now A$2m earner

In winning last night’s HK$4m Sha Tin Trophy-Gr.2, Beauty Generation took his earnings to A$2,032,318.

Bred by Nearco Stud, Beauty Generation (Road to Rock ex Stylish Bel, by Bel Esprit) was born, raised & sold by Highden Park.

The five-year-old has now won a Gr.3 and Gr.2 event from his sole runs in this latest preparation and trainer John Moore will no doubt have the upcoming International Meeting at Sha Tin firmly in his sights.

Nearco Stud also had success in Singapore last night with Flash One (O’Reilly ex Sentura, by Volksraad) a 70-1 upset winner at Kranji.

Beauty Generation (pink) taking out last night's Gr.2 Sha Tin Trophy - photo courtesy HKJC

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Waikato Stud opens its’ door to Team Challenge

Members of the various Challenge Syndicates at the beautiful Waikato Stud where they heard from Mark Chittick and veiwed Champion Stallion Savabeel along with newcomer Tivaci

A big thank you to Mark Chittick and his team at Waikato Stud for the opportunity to bring around 120 people to the farm last Friday for the Challenge Syndications Stud & Stable Open Day.

The team loved being there, felt it a privilege to have a private viewing of the number one stallion in New Zealand right now, Savabeel, not to mention the new boy on the block, Tivaci.

The inaugural Challenge Open Day saw visits to three stud farms (The Oaks, Waikato & Bradbury Park), two racing stables (Graham Richardson & Shaune Ritchie), plus heard from another syndicate trainer John Bary, who made a special trip up from Hastings.

My thanks goes out to everyone who made us so very welcome.

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Bonecrusher memories at Challenge Open Day

Frank Ritchie was a welcome surprise speaker when 120 members of Challenge Syndications visited Ritchie Racing Stables opposite the Cambridge Training Centre last Friday.

Frank, of course, prepared the one-and-only Bonecrusher to win 18 starts three decades ago.  The great horse is remembered for his 800m dual with fellow kiwi Waverley Star in the 1986 running of the W S Cox Plate, but it should be noted that the Cox Plate was just one of Bonecrusher’s nine Group One Victories.

For the record, Bonecrusher won – in order of occurring – the following Group One features…

  • 1985 New Zealand Derby
  • 1986 Air New Zealand Stakes
  • 1986 Tancred Stakes
  • 1986 AJC Derby
  • 1986 Underwood Stakes
  • 1986 Caulfield Stakes
  • 1986 W S Cox Plate
  • 1987 Australian Cup
  • 1988 Air New Zealand Stakes

Bonecrusher (Pag-Asa ex Imitation, by Oakville) raced 44 times for 18 wins, 5 seconds, 12 thirds & prize money of A$2.2m.

Frank Ritchie speaking at last Friday's Challenge Syndications Stud & Stable Open Day

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New Syndicate fillies paraded at Challenge Open Day

Part of the proceeding at last Friday’s Challenge Syndications Stud & Stable Open Day was a parade of the two fillies in the brand new Challenge No.10 Syndicate.

The yearling fillies – by Rip Van Winkle & Atlante – were presented to the crowd in attendance at Casey & Michelle Dando’s Bradbury Park.  They have since been turned out at Paul Pertab’s nearby agistment property and will be broken-in, in the New Year.

More photos from the Challenge Open Day will be posted in the coming days.

This filly by newcomer sire Atlante from I Say, is one of the two fillies in the brand new Challenge No.10 Syndicate

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Challenge Syndications group visits Waikato Stud

One of the many highlights for the participants at last Friday’s Challenge Syndications Stud & Stable Open Day was a visit to the Chittick family’s historic Waikato Stud.

The 120 in attendance heard Studmaster Mark Chittick talk about stallion success stories Centaine, O’Reilly and Savabeel, as well as the need to strategically invest in younger colts while racing, a case in point being newcomer Tivaci (photo included).

More photos from the Challenge Open Day will be posted in the coming days.

Newcomer stallion Tivaci parading before the Challenge Team at last Friday's Open Day. Champion Stallion Savabeel was also paraded.

 

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High Class changes hands

The Stakes Performed racemare High Class (Shocking ex Mill Duckie) changed hands today in a deal negotiated by Adrian Clark on behalf of a New Zealand-based client.

High Class – a brilliant debut winner at two years and Listed Race-placed in the Soliloquy Stakes at three years – has been immediately retired and will head to Australia at the start of next week for a mating with Australia’s red-hot Second Season stallion All Too Hard.

“High Class is a horse who has been on my radar from the day she first went to the races,” said Clark this afternoon.

“She was hardy & talented and her mother has produced some lovely types; I have no doubt this mare has a big future at stud.”

High Class seen here in the hands of regular rider Alysha Collett. The 5YO was trained throughout her career by Jenna Mahoney

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