ALABAR NEWS August 2019
2019 USA Hall Of Fame Inductee one of the most influential and commercial sires in the world today - sire of both the highest priced colt and highest priced filly in new zealand in 2019
power, pedigree, performance
new zealand three and four year old pacer of the year
ULTIMATE BY BETTORâ€™S DELIGHT
NEW ZEALANDâ€™S FASTEST EVER PACER OVER 1950 AND 2200 METRES
MACHETE A FULL BROTHER TO ULTIMATE SNIPER
All photos by Trish Dunell
STANDING HIS FIRST SEASON IN 2019
Ultimate Machete defeating Tiger Tara in the NZ FFA
The Ultimate in Breeding for Graeme and Katrina Walsh Few breeders can say they have bred two Group winning sons and a Group winning daughter from the same mare but in the case of Reality Check, an outstanding broodmare owned by Graeme and Katrina Walsh from Westport, that is exactly what they have done. Alabar and Nevele R are also now part of the Reality Check success story by purchasing the mare’s outstanding pacing son Ultimate Machete for stud duties. Ultimate Machete will stand at Alabar NZ’s base in South Auckland in the new season for a fee of just $3000 plus GST. Nevele R have also purchased an upstanding Art Major weanling filly from Reality Check for racing and future breeding.
How did you come to own Reality Check? Paul Davies had sold us a couple of nice mares and he called one day with a list of mares that Rod Croon was selling, one of which was Reality Check which really appealed to us. The asking price was $100,000 and we paid $70,000. She was in foal to Christian Cullen. What type of mare is Reality Check and how does she care for her foals? She’s a lovely big strong mare with a very dominant personality towards other horses but she is great with people. She is a very protective mother for the first couple of weeks with a new foal then she’s back to normal again. When did you first think that you might have a broodmare gem on your hands? And are there any obvious characteristics which she passes on to her foals? When we first bought her we had high hopes but bad luck was playing its part early on with
her foals and it took a few years before Major Realty arrived on the scene. About a month before she made her debut we actually had Reality Check sold in foal to American Ideal for $20,000 but the sale fell over as the buyer was going through a marriage breakup and the timing just wasn’t right. That was our first lucky break and we haven’t really looked back! She tends to leave big strong foals that mature very quickly. Ultimate Sniper would be her smallest foal, whereas Ultimate Machete would be her biggest. All her progeny have an extremely wide rib cage which sets them apart from other horses we have bred. Reality Check has bred equally well to both Bettor’s Delight and Art Major, producing Group winners to both stallions through her sons Ultimate Machete and Ultimate Sniper and with Art Major, the outstanding Australian-based daughter Major Reality. How did they compare to each other as types
and temperaments? Major Reality was a real strong typical Art Major that loved people but around other horses she was totally dominant and wouldn’t have been much fun for her paddock mates. Ultimate Machete was just a standout from day one; intelligent, powerful, great conformation and with an iron will. Machete behaved like he raced, scared of nothing or no-one and he was always going to make it. Ultimate Sniper was smaller, more compact than the other two but still had the big engine room of the others. He was a real good looker. His temperament was much like Machete’s and to see him following in his footsteps is no real surprise. What have been some of the highlights that you and Katrina have enjoyed as the breeder of Ultimate Machete, including firstly selling
him at the yearling sales and then on to his illustrious racing career? The day Ultimate Machete sold at the sales there was a lot interest and we had a reserve of $60,000 on him. The opening bid was $70,000 which scared a few away, and he was knocked down to the final bid of Phil Kennard for $84,000. The racing highlights were many and seeing him race at the highest level against the best horses is very satisfying. Having bred and sold a horse that is the fastest pacer ever in NZ over 1950m and 2200m is also very special. Which one of Ultimate Machete’s wins gave you the biggest thrill? The biggest thrill racing wise was his 3 Year Old NZ Sires Stakes Final win on Cup Day. The performance he put up was amazing and the way he did it so aggressively and smashing the NZ all-comers record in the process was pretty special. The NZ Free For All win as a 4 year-old when he sat outside Tiger Tara for the entire trip, setting another all-comers record just shows how tough he was. In both those wins he was a class above the other horses and just beat them up really. When things got tough, he just got tougher! I believe you are sending a mare to Ultimate Machete. What is her breeding? We have a Christian Cullen mare Bee Jays Money that will go to Machete. She leaves high speed horses so his toughness and ability to
keep peeling off quick back-to-back quarters should suit her. You breed and prepare your foals and weanlings from your home base in Westport. How many acres do you have and what is so good about your property for rearing quality young stock? We have 8 acres at home and another 5 acres at my late father’s property that we use when we need it. We have free draining paddocks, modern facilities for handling horses and plenty of stables when needed. With our milder climate and higher rainfall we generally have grass all year round, which helps a lot. What mares are you currently breeding from? Reality Check, Ideal Reality and Bee Jays Money. Are you selling any yearlings next year? We only have Ultimate Missile going to the Christchurch sale this year. He’s out of a halfsister to Ultimate Machete, Ultimate Sniper and Major Reality. He’s a cracking first foal, crucially has the big wide ribcage and will look the part come sale day. Who prepares them for sale and how soon do you send them away prior to the sales? David Shadbolt at Broadfield Lodge preps our horses and he usually gets them for 10 weeks. We’ve had some good results together and his no nonsense approach suits us.
Finally, you have already achieved so much through your broodmares. Is there any race you would still like to win as a breeder and what would be so special about winning such a race? It would be great to win a Miracle Mile as it’s a race that has the best horses from both countries available and it’s the pinnacle of racing in the Southern Hemisphere. On a sentimental note, it would be great to win a Westport Cup with a horse sired by Ultimate Machete. That would be very special in our hometown that has been pretty good to us.
Reality Check’s Three Group One Winners: Ultimate Machete (c. Bettor’s Delight) p4, 1.51.9; 13 wins $850,361; 3YO Pacer of Year; 4 yo Entire of Year; 3 NZ Records; 4 Group 1 wins including NZ Sires Stakes Final, NZ FFA, WA 4yo Classic, WA Golden Nugget and Group 2 Alabar Classic. Major Reality (f. Art Major) 1.50.9; 23 wins $461,571; 6 Group wins including WA Oaks, WA Gold Bracelet, WA Golden Slipper, WA Mares Classic. Ultimate Sniper (c. Bettor’s Delight) 1.52.9; $493,693 to date; 3 Group 1 wins to date including: GN Derby, NZ Derby, NZ Sires Stakes Final and Group 2 Alabar Classic.
AN EXCITING START FOR AN EXCITING YOUNG STALLION Vincent retired to stud in 2018 and has received tremendous support from leading breeders in Australia and New Zealand. A winner of 16 of his 19 starts, Vincent was dominant on the racetrack winning four Group Ones on both sides of the Tasman. Mark Purdon is full of admiration for the horse that was harness racing’s brightest rising star: “He was a great young horse, the best of his year as a three-year-old.” “He came back great as a four-year-old and I thought he would eventually take Lazarus’ place and go on to be the best horse in Australasia.” Combine his racetrack performance with his irresistible good looks and dazzling pedigree and it is easy to see why he served 265 mares in his debut season. Vincent
It was not only the number of mares that was impressive but also the quality.
STAKES WINNERS: Piccadilly Princess 1:50.4 - $759,253 (Four time Gr1 winner) Jo’s Dream 1:55 - $159,694 (Gr1 Queen Of Hearts) Lady Toddy 1:57.7 - $176,059 (Gr1 Breeders Stakes) Life Of Luxury 1:51 - $476,604 Little Big Sister 1:56.6 - $226,721 Whereibylong 1:53.8 - $448,910 (Dual Gr1 winner) DAMS OF STAKES WINNERS: Artists Impression (dam of Heez On Fire) Birds Can Sing (dam of Lumineer) EJ Becks (dam of Isaiah) Eyre To The Throne (dam of Cyclone Kate, Cyclone Prince) Hurricane Dancer (dam of God Send) Intrude (dam of Make Mine Cullen) Kim Maguire (dam of Eamon Maguire) Marylyne Bromac (dam of Jo’s Dream) Miss Saxony (dam of Shadow Sax) Silksngems (dam of Motu Meteor, Motu Crusader, Motu Treasure) Suzys Delight (dam of Locharburn) Zenterfold (dam of Tintin In America)
No Win No Feed winning the NSW Breeders Challenge Final
Ashlea Brennan Photo
Andrew Sinclair, Lee Flanagan, Belinda McCarthy & children
Ashlea Brennan Photo
hen Victorian based private investigator Andy Sinclair visited the Sydney APG Yearling Sales on 26th February 2017, his investigative instincts unearthed a gem of a filly for himself and his Victorian partners Jamie Madruga and Lee Flanagan. That decision reached its pinnacle on Sunday 30th June 2019 when the filly with the unusual name of No Win No Feed was a brave and stunning winner of the $150,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Final for 3 year old fillies. So back to that February day in 2017, Andy was walking down one of the aisles in Stable 1 of the beautiful Inglis complex at Randwick when a yearling put her head over the door to capture his attention. She appeared kind and relaxed and so Andy stopped and gave her a pat and then asked her attendants to bring her out of her box for a better look.
ROCKIN ALL THE WAY FROM BACCHUS TO BATHURST with an a rocknroll dance “I was so impressed with her relaxed nature in that sales environment. She was tall, maybe not the prettiest filly in town, but seemed well put together, apart from a splint on a front leg,” said Andy recently. “She was from the first crop of A Rocknroll Dance, a horse who appeared to have a brilliant race record in North America, so I was keen to bid on her.” The filly by A Rocknroll Dance from the Art Major mare Designer Rose entered that spacious selling ring at Randwick as Lot 313. Andy bid to $9,000 for her, which fell just short of the reserve, so immediately followed the filly back to her stable to negotiate with the vendor Dr Reg Walsh. A deal was quickly done at the reserve of $10,000 and so the filly headed on a trip south of the border. Bacchus Marsh, a town about 1 ½ hours north west of Melbourne, was her destination to the stables of her new
trainer and part owner Jamie Madruga. “She looked tall and gangly when she came off the transport truck and took three or four days to recover from the trip. So after a few days I started on the breaking in process,” commented Jamie. “Within 3 or 4 days of starting with her she was pacing free legged around my track and just wanted to work. I told the boys that this filly has been on earth before - she was so smart, just a natural.” Bearing in mind that the filly was rather tall and gangly and with knees rather open, she wasn’t hurried in her early days. However, her natural ability allowed her to have her first race start almost 12 months to the day from when she was purchased. She ran sixth on debut in a $20,000 race at Melton on the 23rd February 2018. Then a month later she won a heat of the Bathurst Gold Tiara, before finishing fifth in the $100,000 Final. No Win No Feed won twice in 17 starts as a 2 year old but with the A Rocknroll Dance filly being eligible for races in NSW a decision was taken to send her to the Craig Cross / Luke McCarthy stable for her 3 year old career. Well that decision has reaped a rich reward following brilliant victories in the $104,000 Bathurst Gold Bracelet Final and now the $150,000 NSW Breeders Challenge Final. The career statistics for No Win No Feed now reads 24 starts for 5 wins , 10 placings and prizemoney of $181,060 - already a wonderful dividend on the initial $10,000 investment HER BREEDING No Win No Feed is the second foal from the Art Major mare Designer Rose and was bred by Sydney doctor Reg Walsh. Designer Rose won only 1 race, that being a heat of the Flying K series, which was a short lived series of races run at Menangle over 1000 metres. However, her dam Koros Legacy won
No Win No Feed as a yearling
13 races including 10 at Harold Park and then became a very good broodmare with her eight individual winners earning over $275,000 between them. A Rocknroll Dance has achieved much of his success as a sire over Artsplace line mares. In North America five of the six leading performers by A Rocknroll Dance are from mares by Artsplace or his sons, including the 2017 Two Year Old Pacing Colt of the Year Lost In Time 1.50.2 and this season’s smart 3 year old Proof 1:48.2 - $476,299. In Australia the same Artsplace factor has been to the fore with three of the leading six earners having that great stallion featuring in their pedigrees: • No Win No Feed $181,060 - from an Art Major mare. • Its Rock And Roll $155,886 - his granddam is by Artsplace. • Lady Rocknrolla $36,350 - from an Art Major mare. Designer Rose has also produced a full brother to No Win No Feed - a current 2 year old with the moniker of Fire And Sword, who has been placed at Newcastle from a handful of starts. AND HER NAME As mentioned at the top of this article Andy Sinclair is a private investigator and he does a lot of work for a legal firm in Melbourne called Arnold, Thomas and Becker. The managing partner of that firm, which specialises in personal injury law, is Lee
Flanagan and back in early 2017 Andy did a deal with his friend Lee, who had never been involved in any sort of horse ownership. Lee’s leisure pursuits included surfing and playing guitar so this thought of involving himself in harness racing was rather foreign. The carrot to get Lee involved was that he could name the newly purchased filly. So deal done and the filly by A Rocknroll Dance finishes with the moniker of No Win No Feed - a rather strange name to most devotees of horse racing. However behind all interesting names there is usually an explanatory story. As mentioned Lee is employed in a firm dealing with personal injury law and the slogan for that firm is No Win – No Fee. So rather cleverly this slogan has a “horsey” twist to it and hence the name of No Win No Feed. Everyone can rest assured that the filly with this unusual name is looked after like a princess and will never want for anything in her life. For a first time horse owner Sunday 30th June was a special day. We will leave the last word on this exciting filly to Lee Flanagan. “That race at Menangle will be etched into my memory forever.”
ALWAYS B CHARISMATIC
Jimmy Takter training Always B Miki
lot has been written about the exploits of Always B Miki – after all he is a superstar of the sport. A lot also has been written about his trainer, Jimmy Takter – after all he has been awarded US Trainer of the Year more often than any other trainer, he’s been inducted into the Hall Of Fame and has probably also trained more champions than any other trainer. But not until Takter recently announced his retirement has the unique bond between the two been explained. Interviewed by Dave Briggs for Harness Racing Update, Jimmy Takter said “I just love great horses. Most of the great horses have charisma, not all of them but most of them do. It’s like when I’m buying a horse, too many people are a little too focused on conformation and things like that. I agree conformation is important but to me, I try to look for charisma. I’m trying to see something in their eye.”
First Weanlings in New Zealand sell extremely well Always B Miki served a very strong book in his first season in New Zealand. His foals from this crop have impressed their breeders with a regular comment being that they are the best foal the dam has left. Five Always B Miki’s were consigned to the NZB Standardbred All Aged Sale in May 2019. They presented as lovely moving, athletic types of good size. The top priced Always B Miki colt was out of Cougar Bromac (by Art Major) selling to the $26,000 bid of Emilio Rosati while his top priced filly was out of Pacific Glory (by Mach Three) which sold to the bid of Barry Purdon on behalf of Montana Park for $24,000. Always B Miki Cougar Bromac Colt
The article went on to say … Jimmy said perhaps his favourite horse ever was world champion pacer Always B Miki - not because Miki set a 1:46 all age world record, but more for the horse’s personality. The trainer used to go to the barn at night just to visit Miki. “Every night I walked into the stall to pat his head and I loved it.” Always B Miki – not only the fastest but also oozing that magic quality … charisma.
Always B Miki ended the sale with a 100% clearance rate and an $18,800 average - the second leading sire on average – behind only Art Major. An excellent result. No doubt many vendors and purchasers alike will be looking forward to early 2020 when the first Southern Hemisphere Always B Miki’s will go through the yearling sales.
Prior to then though there’s the not so small matter of the North American yearling sales. As the fastest horse ever and a true champion of the sport, Always B Miki has served full books (including many of the best mares in the world) in each of his seasons at stud in North America. The first fruits of these wonderful books will sell in the North American round of yearling sales in September through November this year. All reports are they are tremendous types and will set the sales alight. Just look at the Always B Miki yearlings that some of the major North American farms have to sell … Diamond Creek Farm Toronto – colt out of See You At Peelers, 1:49.2, $1.5 million Adjacent – filly out of Geometry (a half sister to See You At Peelers) Amherst – filly out of Hollyrocker, 1:52.1 Armor – colt out of Fable (a half sister to Pure Country – 1:48, $2.6 million) Instantaneous – colt out of Gettinreadytoroll, 1:49.2, $271,149 Hanover Shoe Farm Angiesmiki Hanover – filly out of A And G’s Confusion, 1:50.2, $1.4 million Ice Nation Hanover – colt out of Ivy League, 2,1:52.2 (a half sister to See You At Peelers) Hurrymiki Hanover – colt out of Hana Hanover, 1:48.4, $1.2 million, dam of Hayden Hanover – 1:47.4 in 2019 Dontpassme Hanover – colt out of Don’t Deny Me, 1:50, $362,382 Blue Chip Farm Stonecold Bluechip – colt out of Ramalama, 1:51, $468,687
WELL WORTH WATCHING H
e’s Watching is the exception to the rule in that he’s a shuttle stallion who stood at stud in New Zealand prior to serving mares in North America. Consequently he has a Southern Hemisphere crop just finishing their two-year-old season and a first Northern Hemisphere crop just getting under way with their first two-year-old season. With his first downunder crop He’s Watching already has 29 two-yearolds that have won, raced and/or qualified and they include five stakes or group placed performers. In Australia his performers are led by the multiple winners Star Hunter (1:57.7, out of an Artiscape mare), Topzavski (1:57.4, What’s Next mare) and Watchinglips (1:58.9, Sutter Hanover mare) as well as Magnifico To Watch (1:58.7, Art Major mare). In New Zealand his best have been Eagle Watch (a Cambridge winner and 3rd in the Gr1 Young Guns Final, out of a Mach Three mare) and Cassius Bromac (3rd in the NZ Kindergarten Stakes on debut, McArdle mare). Trainer Mike Berger has a good opinion of Eagle Watch and reports that several substantial offers for him have been turned down. Likewise, Brett Gray, a leading Southland trainer has become a real fan of He’s Watching’s progeny courtesy of his very promising 2 year old Cassius Bromac. “I really like the horse. He is a physically strong and handsome type of horse with a great attitude,” said Brett. “He will definitely make the grade next season and hopefully keep improving enough so he can run against the top tier of three-year-olds.” Brett sent a mare to He’s Watching on the strength of what Cassius Bromac showed him early in his preparations.
Dave Landry Photo
In North America, He’s Watching is off to an excellent start with his debut crop. As at 11 July they already feature: Tattoo Artist (1:52.2, ONSS Gold winner, Artsplace mare) One For Julius (1:52.4 winner on debut, Jereme’s Jet mare) Dontblvemejustwatch (1:53.2, ONSS Grassroots winner, Astreos mare) Watch Me Boogie (1:56.4, stakes placed, Artsplace mare) Examiner Hanover (1:55.3, Rocknroll Hanover mare) Kendall’s Cousin (1:58.1, Dragon Again mare) Sheldon Seelster (1:55, Bettor’s Delight mare) Watch Me Neigh (1:59.4, Mach Three mare) Interestingly, Sheldon Seelster is out of a half-sister to Mr Feelgood – so his 3rd dam is Leah Almahurst – giving him three strains of this great mare as He’s Watching already carries a duplication of Leah Almahurst close up in his pedigree. He’s Watching, the equal fastest three-year-old of all time, is now well on the road with his siring career. In 2019/20 he will be available at NZ$5,000 (plus GST) in New Zealand and A$5,000 (incl GST) in Australia.
Clive Cohen Photo
OUR UNCLE SAM - A GREAT SPORTS STORY
Caite and Anthony Frisby
he handsome son of Artsplace called Sportswriter is having his best ever year as a sire in Australia and a lot of it is due to his smallish Bathurst trained son Our Uncle Sam. Remarkable as it is, Our Uncle Sam has only won one of his fourteen starts to date this season (as at 9th July) but with runner up cheques in the Inter Dominion Final and Hunter Cup at Melton and the recent Len Smith Mile at Menangle (timed in 1.49.6), this 5 year old gelding has become a major contender in any Group One or Grand Circuit race conducted in Australia. For the record his career statistics now read 61 starts, 17 wins and $405,726 in prizemoney (at 9th July) - a hefty dividend on the $3,500 purchase price at the 2015 Bathurst Yearling Sale. Our Uncle Sam was bred by Neville Ismael’s Ashdon Valley Racing in northern Victoria and is the third foal of the Village Jasper mare Rooftop Fairy. Rooftop Fairy had two starts as a 2 year old in Victoria for Michelle Wight (Kerryn Manning’s sister) and did show some exciting ability before going amiss. She is a half sister to 8 winners including two smart Victorian pacers
Ashlea Brennan Photo
Smoothers and Tatiana Long Legs. Now back to the Chris Frisby chapter of Our Uncle Sam which began that March day in 2015 at the Annual Bathurst Yearling Sale. “I had previously bought a Sportswriter yearling which I didn’t like and this colt from Rooftop Fairy was small and under prepared for a Sale but I did like the breeding cross (3 X 3 to Jate Lobell) and something about him made me want to bid on him” said Chris describing the purchase. “My son Anthony couldn’t believe I had put my hand up for him and he was a handful to start with.” Nevertheless he hit the hopples pretty quickly and wanted to get out and run and so he lined up in one of the first races for two year olds at Bathurst on 21st February 2016, finishing 4th on debut. By the way, two colts he competed against that night also ran in the 2018 Inter Dominion Series in Melbourne - they being Conviction and Joes Star Of Mia. Just five days after that debut performance, Emma Turnbull steered Our Uncle Sam to his
maiden win at Bathurst in 1.59 - last half in 57.9. He finished his 2 year old season with 3 wins including victory in the Vicbred Silver Final. Our Uncle Sam had a busy season as a 3 year old winning 6 races albeit that none of them were feature races. He did however show some glimpses of what lay ahead in his career. In mid May 2017 he was narrowly beaten by Atomic Red at Menangle in 1.51.3. Chris and Anthony Frisby have never been afraid to travel with the Sportswriter gelding and maybe some devotees of harness racing were a little surprised to see him line up in the 2018 Inter Dominion series in Melbourne. However this carnival proved the making of him as a Grand Circuit horse. He steamed home in the final set of heats to run Tiger Tara to a metre - last half in 54.8. A week later he again finished runner up to Tiger Tara in the $500,000 Final when the “Tiger” recorded an amazing mile rate of 1.53.9 over the 2,760 metre journey. So this small and under developed yearling has now blossomed into a genuine top class racehorse and is giving the Frisby’s the ride of their lives.
We recently asked Chris for some more thoughts on his own career and that of his little champ. How long have you been training horses? My Mum and Dad had a couple of broodmares when I was growing up so that was my initiation. Being a Bathurst boy, I worked for A D and Steve Turnbull for quite a while and that experience was invaluable. They must have thought I was ok as Steve married my sister Jenny. I started training some of my own as an early 20 year old and my first winner was Im N Oakey on 5th October 1985. Dinki Di was a terrific horse for me about 12 years ago and now I have been lucky enough to find a horse like Our Uncle Sam. When did you think you had something special with Our Uncle Sam? John McCarthy drove him for me as a three year old in a Vicbred heat and after the race told me that he thought he might be as fast and as good as Bling It On. That was a surprise to me but it would be great if he can earn something like Bling It On.
What are his best traits? No doubt his tremendous will to win stands out. This will stand him in good shape for racing in the Grand Circuit races. He is also a great traveler and has an incredible constitution. For example after racing in the Len Smith Mile on Sunday 30th June, Anthony loaded him on a float about 24 hours later and drove straight through to Brisbane and he stepped off the float bucking his brand off and then licked his feed bin clean. Which do you consider his best performance to date? It was a massive thrill to finish second in an Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup but his win in the group one Bohemia Crystal Free For All at Menangle on Miracle Mile night was my proudest moment. He rated 1.52.3 that night over the 2400 metre journey - that was huge. SPORTSWRITER - HIS BEST SEASON YET He was almost an ANZAC - born on 24th April – and he has now well and truly earned his stripes downunder.
Sportswriter is having his best season ever in the southern hemisphere with current sire earnings in Australia sitting at $3,083,475 (to 9th July). This places him in seventh position on the Australian Sires List and 25% better than his previous best seasons earnings, with 7 weeks of the season to run. Obviously Our Uncle Sam has been his headline act with seasonal earnings to date (9th July) of $258,100. He has also sired 10 individual two year old winners (from a crop of 76 foals) including the group one winner Manning in WA and the group three winner The Tiger Army. Tangoingwithsierra, a 3 year old filly and similarly bred to Our Uncle Sam (from a Village Jasper mare) has shown she can mix it with the best with a group three win at Melton in December and a runners up cheque to the champion Kiwi filly Our Princess Tiffany in the NSW Oaks. Sportswriter returns to Australia this season and will take up residence at the Echuca farm in mid August.
BETTERTHANCHEDDAR - HE LOVES THOSE DIRECT SCOOTER MARES Leading Canadian trainer Casie Coleman has enjoyed amazing success with the progeny of Bettors Delight and in 2012 she was as high as a kite on a colt by the name of Betterthancheddar. He lived up to all her expectations that year, winning nine of his eleven starts and setting World Records in the process on half and five eighths of a mile tracks. Now Betterthancheddar is on the road to establishing himself on the leading sires lists in Australia and to date much of his success has been derived from the breeders who have supported him with their Direct Scooter line mares. To date (10th July) the three richest pacers sired by “Cheddar” in the Southern Hemisphere are all are from mares by Christian Cullen or In The Pocket - Caviar Star 1.55.2 - $136,993, My Sweetchilliphilly 1.52.1 $106,910 and My Harmony Blue 1.52 - $105,253. There have been other smart performers in Victoria including Watch List 1.55.7, Betternbetter 1.54.3 and Frankincense 1.55.3 who are bred on this same cross, whilst Nandolo 1.56.7 - $78,128 in New Zealand is another who is from a Christian Cullen mare.
Jodie Hallows Photo
A lightly raced two year old filly in NSW is another from a Mach Three mare. This filly named Vincenzina, rounded up Pelosi in a Semi Final of the NSW Breeders Challenge.
Now mentioning Betterthancheddar over a Mach Three mare, there is a horse racing in USA at the moment called Mach N Cheese (1.49.8), who recently ran one of the fastest closing quarters ever clocked in North American history. Although finishing runner up to another Betterthancheddar horse, Trump Nation, he rocketed home in 24.6 seconds for the last quarter. The first crop of Betterthancheddar in Australia in 2014 totaled 67 foals and of these 28 have now won, a 42% winner / foal percentage which places him in exalted company. The second crop are current 3 year olds and to date (10th July) he has sired 25 individual winners of $420,116 whilst his 12 individual 2 year old winners of $221,709 places him in ninth position on the Australian 2 Year Old Sires list. Betterthancheddar will have a Service Fee of $4,000 plus GST in both Countries this coming season and will be included in the Gold Supporter scheme. So if you have a mare by a Direct Scooter line stallion then you should be booking her into one of Casie’s all time favourites. STOP PRESS: Better Be Donna, a Betterthancheddar mare from an In The Pocket mare, bred by Alabar NZ, won at Mohawk in Canada on 8th July in 1.49.8.
Trish Dunell Photo
Colin and Nancy Hair – living the dream It proved to be the best $1500 Clarkville breeder and owner Colin Hair ever spent. That is what Colin paid for Chiquita Dee at a broodmare sale back in 1996. Chiquita Dee, by Pernod Eden, produced for Colin a Sundon filly named Stardon who is now assured a place in New Zealand’s breeding history as the dam of the outstanding Group One winning, Majestic Son four-year-old trotter, Sundees Son. Along with his partner Nancy, Colin has enjoyed a remarkable season as an owner, winning 10 trotting races, eight with Sundees Son, and also two races with the highly promising five-yearold Woodstone.
ongratulations on what has been an amazing year for you and Nancy breeding and owning such a wonderful trotter as Sundees Son. Take us back to how you first became involved in horses, and in particular breeding and racing trotters, and which horse was your first major success story? When I returned to Canterbury in 1994 I approached Bevan Heron, who trained Nigel Craig, and asked him if he would train a horse for me. We went to the Yearling Sales and tried to buy a Yankee Reb filly but were over bid by Bill Bishop. That filly was Solar Fire.
brood mares, two retired horses, Yuri (a spelling 2 year-old), two yearlings and a weanling. Three horses are away in work. Do you have any special feeding regime for your mares and young horses? I have always hard fed the mares in the last few months of pregnancy and also the young horses and spelling race horses. I relied upon grass and hay for the balance until a few years ago when John Dunn reviewed my feeding regime, changing the hard feed, and arranged for a supply of good quality baleage.
I was given a pacing mare, Glenmark Drive, and bred a few pacers which were of no account. I turned to breeding trotters. Stardon was the first trotter I bred and she was my first winner.
Who does your weaning and breaking in? We wean the foals at home, with assistance with the separation process from John Dunn. Gavin Burgess has done the initial preparation with a number of our horses but now they are all handled by John Dunn’s team.
How much land do you have and how many horses do you raise on the property? I have 10 acres and currently there are four
Why did you choose Majestic Son as a stallion choice for Stardon? I was looking for a stallion that would be
capable of “adding” to a Sundon mare’s progeny and considered Majestic Son, with his pedigree and race performances, would suit the bill. I was also impressed with the Majestic Son trotter King Denny (1.55.9) as a young horse. Did Sundees Son stand out as a foal in any way and what was he like to handle as a young horse? He did have a bit of presence about him but he was not a large foal. He had an impish, playful personality, was fairly quiet and there were no real issues as a foal. Who broke him in and what was the trainer’s early impression of him? John Dunn decided that his team would do all the early prep work with him. Ross Houghton broke him in. When being broken in he had his moments, particularly initially getting him out onto the track, and there were a few issues getting the cart on for most of his early races. The early impression was that he was a nice horse who should make it as a racehorse.
Why did you send Sundees Son to be trained by Robert and John Dunn? By that stage Robert and John were training all of my horses and had some success with Uncas. When did you first know you had a trotter with such enormous potential? There were a few signs early on that he might be something special. At his first workout at Rangiora, in a two horse field, he trotted all the way and looked impressive. Immediately after the race I was approached by an agent wanting to buy him. Then at Ashburton in a 2 Year Old Sires Stakes race he broke and then made an incredible run down the outside to finish third. How did you rate Sundees Son’s two-year-old season… What were the highs and lows? It was a whole new experience for Nancy and I, as we had never had a two-year- old race before, and Sundees Son won all his workouts, trials and then his first two races. The lows were his gallops, particularly in the feature races and of course causing the only false start at the Jewels at Ashburton. What about his three-year-old season… any stand out races or disappointments? As a three-year old he showed he had incredible ability; he just needed to put it all together on race day. His run on NZ Cup Day 2018, when he broke early and stormed home from a long way back to win, was a stand out. His breaking in the Harness Jewels and the other three-yearold features were the disappointments. We all know how Sundees Son could sometimes be unreliable in some of his races. What has turned him into a more consistent trotter able to withstand the pressures of open class racing? The collective brainpower of John Dunn, Robert Dunn, Ross Houghton and Craig Edmonds was put to work to make a plan. Their belief in the horse was important. Craig spent a lot of time with him in the cart just walking him around, changed his shoes and suggested the use of half hopples. All were convinced that the penny would drop one day. John suggested racing him with two poles and this proved to be a master stroke. Which race or races this season won by Sundees Son have been the highlight for you and Nancy and why? The Anzac Cup, being our first ever Group One, out of a mare that was our first ever winner, made it very special, along with the way he won from the outside of the second line as a four-year-old. The Rowe Cup was another highlight, winning over two miles against open class horses from the unruly position.
And then winning this season’s Harness Jewels, especially after galloping in the two and threeyear-old editions. At last a Jewels winner!
will be her last foal. Gemstone, the mother of Woodstone, unfortunately didn’t get in foal. We are still considering where to go to this season.
How have you handled the accolades that have come with the success of owning such a trotting star? I am not comfortable with the attention being on me that comes with Sundees Son’s successes. To me it is about the horse and the accolades should be directed to the team who have turned this “problem” child into a star - to John Dunn for his horsemanship, driving ability and sheer hard work, to Robert for his faith in the horse and to Craig Edmonds for his perseverance and one-on-one work with him.
Do you have any exciting weanlings and what are their breeding backgrounds? We have a Majestic Son yearling that is a half to Woodstone, and a Majestic Son weanling out of Lara Lass, a full sister to Stardon. And then we have a Live or Die yearling out of a Tinted Cloud mare that is one of the Kerslake breed.
What plans do you have for Sundees Son for next season? Which race or races would you most like to win? We will target the big races such as the Dominion Handicap, Anzac Cup, Rowe Cup and the Inter Dominions in Auckland. We will also consider the Great Southern Star race in Australia. You have a younger full brother to Sundees Son named Tamenund. How does he compare in type and ability and what are your plans with him? Tamenund is quite different from Sundees Son. He is a big Majestic Son with a very quiet temperament. The team is quite impressed with him. The decision was made early on not to push him, and let him be himself. We are trying to put out of our mind who his brother is! He is currently in work at the Dunn’s place with a view to the three-year-old racing. You also have another excellent open class trotter in Woodstone. What was his injury, how have you cared for him and what are his plans for the next season? Woodstone broke down in Auckland when preparing for the pre-Christmas features. He was assessed at Matamata Vets who, whilst unable to ascertain the cause of his lameness, advised it should be treated as though he had a hairline fracture of the sesamoid. He had a month’s box rest and a month in a small paddock. He then had a month on the water walker at Lesley and Brian Court’s place and he has been back in work since the beginning of June. He also will be aimed at all this season’s trotting features. On the breeding front, how many mares are you breeding from, who are they and which stallions are you considering booking to? We aim to breed two mares a year and our practice is to give them a year off between foals. Stardon is in foal to Majestic Son and we are hoping for a filly to carry on the family. This
What are your thoughts about the current state of the industry and what, if any, improvements would you like to see happen firstly on the breeding front and then with racing? On breeding I think there are incredibly exciting opportunities now available, particularly with trotters, to access bloodlines from both North America and Europe. The challenges remain to make breeding viable and to improve breeding performance. Our in foal rates are still far too low. With racing we need to improve the appeal of racing to punters and spectators. We need to put on races of a type and at locations and times that will attract interest from these two parties. How can we attract and keep new and younger breeders in the harness racing industry? This remains a challenge and there is no easy answer. To me it’s about the sense of achievement that flows from the various stages of the breeding decision, stallion selection, achieving a positive, the foal being born, weaning and early development, and then through the various stages of turning your dream into a race horse. What advice would you give to anyone interested in owning a racehorse either individually or as part of a syndicate? Go into it with your eyes open and don’t expect that all horses will make it. Celebrate all the good milestones, first workout, qualifying, first race start. It’s okay to dream that one day you will be yelling yourself hoarse as your horse races across the line first. To me it’s all about being involved in something that provides you with memories to cherish. It’s hard to describe but I for one will never forget my first win at Nelson in a maiden trot on a cold wet winter’s day and then again 17 years later, on another cold wet winter’s day at Addington when that mare’s foal crossed the line first in the Harness Jewels.
“SUNNY WAS PROBABLY THE SMARTEST HORSE I’VE TRAINED” T
his is what Ontario , Canada based horseman Mark Steacy had to say about his star 3 year old of 2013.
had this to say in an ontrack interview after Sunny Dee had won the $165,000 SBOA Final at Mohawk in May.
“He also had a great set of lungs and an effortless gait to go along with his determination to win” he added.
“She’s phenomenal. Last year she was extra special but unfortunately kicked a stall wall and cracked her coffin bone or else you would have heard a lot about her.”
The colt he was discussing was of course Sunshine Beach, the tall and athletic son of Somebeachsomewhere. His first crop in Canada are now making a serious impression as three year olds in 2019. Sunshine Beach currently (at 15th July) sits in ninth position on the North American 3 Year Old Sires List with earnings of $826,000 and this crop will certainly double what they earnt as 2 year olds in 2018 (bearing in mind there is still more than 5 months of the season to go in Nth America). The star of the show for Sunshine Beach in Canada this year is the Bob McIntosh trained 3 year old filly Sunny Dee. To date (15th July) she has had 11 starts for 9 wins and a second placing - taken a record of 1.51 and added $216,000 into the owner’s bank account. Bob McIntosh, who is a Hall of Fame trainer,
“But she’s come back and made amends for that this year. I couldn’t ask for much more - I know its going to get much tougher but I’ve got a lot of faith in this filly. She’s not going to win every time but I wouldn’t trade her for anything I can think of.” Now that’s a pretty big statement from a guy who has trained many champions including Artsplace and Camluck. Sunshine Beach has now sired 19 three year olds to take sub 1.55 records in Canada including the 1.50 colt Moonshine Kisses $62,553. His second crop which have just commenced racing include a 1.53 filly called All Day Sunshine, who has won over $47,000 in her first couple of starts.
Sunshine Beach’s first crop in this part of the world are about to conclude their debut season. The crop numbers 57 in Australia and 41 in New Zealand. He has sired 6 individual winners in Australia, headed by the Glen Douglas trained colt Ozzie Battler 1.57.7 $36,380, who early in the season won both the Premiere and Sapling Stakes at Melton and the Group One placed filly in WA in Moon Goddess 1.58.2. He has also sired a smart filly in New Zealand named Miss Ruby Sunshine 2.00.7 who was runner up in the Group Three Leonard Memorial at Addington in March. It is worth remembering that Sunshine Beach went from winning $36,680 as a two year old (6 starts) to $909,283 as a three year old (20 starts) and there is evidence that his progeny in Canada have improved sharply as they mature into 3 year olds. His dam, Light Up, is a broodmare gem thirteen live foals, thirteen winners of almost $3 million and of course is from the same maternal family that has produced outstanding sires such as Safely Kept, Grinfromeartoear, Rocknroll Hanover, Panorama and Real Desire.
Clive Cohen Photo
Trish Dunell Photo
THE EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE ON A SHOESTRING Sweden’s Elitloppet is regarded by many as the world’s pre-eminent trotting race. The atmosphere of being in the massive crowd where the horses and their drivers are feted as heroes makes it a harness racing experience of a lifetime for those lucky enough to have attended - and on the bucket list for many who haven’t. It’s a champion’s race and was this year won by the French trotter, Dijon – a son of the twotime leading sire of France, Ganymede out of a daughter of Cocktail Jet. This breeding will be of interest to Southern Hemisphere breeders as the Alabar based sire Peak is a most promising son of Ganymede and Cocktail Jet is the sire of the hugely influential sire Love You. It introduces the attractive scenario of breeding a Love You mare to Peak – and possibly matching the successful European cross. Peak is certainly starting to grab the attention of trotting breeders. His first crop of foals, which are just coming to the end of their threeyear-old season, number only 28. This is from the year prior to him coming to Alabar and prior to his semen being available in Australia. From this small crop Peak has to date left 5 individual winners including the dual Menangle winner The Golden Lion (2:00.5) and the $30,624 winner Doff Your Cap. His two-year-old crop features the exciting New Zealand bred, New South Wales trained Gimondi – the winner of his first three starts in a row at Menangle – and it would have been four in a row if he hadn’t made a mistake when looking to have a Gr3 event sown up. With four individual two-year-old winners from this crop, Peak is right up amongst the leading trotting sires in Australasia. Peak is available via fresh semen at NZ$2,500 (plus GST) in New Zealand and A$2,500 (incl GST) in Australia.
Trish Dunell Photo
MOHAMMED COMES TO THE MOUNTAIN
It has long been the philosophy at Alabar to, where possible, stand stallions in the country where they receive the majority of their mares. For that reason, both Auckland Reactor and Sportswriter will be based at Alabar’s Victorian farm this season. This move will also mean that VicBred eligibility is now possible for all progeny resulting from mares served by Auckland Reactor and Sportswriter this season. Auckland Reactor has recently ticked over 100 individual winners which, with his first crop only four-year-olds, is quite an achievement. He is also approaching the $3 million milestone in progeny earnings. As a multiple Gr1 producing sire who has already has had a Miracle Mile starter from his first crop (with Chase Auckland a fast finishing fourth this year) his influence as a successful sire should only continue to grow as his progeny mature. It’s worth noting that, after an interrupted season as a four-year-old, Chase Auckland is being prepared for a five-year-old campaign with his early targets being the New Zealand Cup and the Interdominion at Auckland. Victory in either of those will take Auckland Reactor’s siring career to another level. Sportswriter has had a successful three-season sojourn in New Zealand and the initials fruits of this will be borne out in the 2019/20 racing season where he has 139 two-year-olds in New Zealand – second only to Bettor’s Delight in terms of numbers. As an exceptional juvenile sire, Sportswriter is expected to really make his mark in New Zealand with this crop. In Australia, Sportswriter is having his best ever year with Art Major and Bettor’s Delight being the only sires ahead of him on the Australian three-year-old siring premiership. Sportswriter is much more than an elite sire of juveniles as he has one of the best free-for-allers in North America in Jimmy Freight (1:48.6, $1,078,266) and in Australia he has one of the top Grand Circuit performers in Our Uncle Sam (winner of the Bohemia Crystal and second in both the Interdominion Grand Final and Hunter Cup in 2019/20). Both Auckland Reactor and Sportswriter will still have fresh semen available throughout Australia and New Zealand – with the added benefit of VicBred eligibility.
feeling is tempered by their loss to our industry as future influential broodmares. In this regard Alabar are thrilled to have been able to purchase and return to Australia the two excellent racemares, Nike Franco and My MacKenzie – and hope that this sets a precedent for others to follow. Nike Franco was bred in New Zealand by Spreydon Lodge and sold by them to Australia after just one start. She was a multiple Gr1 winner there winning the Queensland Oaks as a threeyear-old and the Queen Of The Pacific at Melton in her last start prior to going to America.
SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE Australian and New Zealand mares, headed by the phenomenal Shartin, are distinguishing themselves on the racetracks of North America at a level not seen before.
Nike Franco is by McArdle and is the first foal from the top racemare Nearea Franco (11 wins, $439,736, Gr1 Queen Of Hearts). My MacKenzie is a half-sister to the Alabar stallion Vincent so is impeccably bred. Both her dam and grandam are Gr1 winners and outstanding producers. After being a smart filly in New Zealand as MacKenzie she raced well in Australia as My MacKenzie running second in the Breeders Crown Final 3yo Final in her last start prior to being exported to North America. In the USA My MacKenzie became a force to be reckoned with in the mares ranks at Yonkers Raceway, taking a best time of 1:52.4 around the half-mile circuit and amassing $487,263 in earnings. Her defining moment being victory in the $310,660 Best Company Mares Final.
It’s wonderful to see these mares performing at the best levels in North America – but this
In America she took her earnings to over $800,000 and was one of the best mares of her time. Her 1:48 record was taken at The Meadowlands, sprinting home in 25.4 to beat the $2.6 million winner Pure Country, and her biggest wins were in an elimination of the Breeders Crown, in the $201,000 Golden Girls (over the $2.2 million winner Lady Shadow) and in the $105,000 Allerage Stakes at The Red Mile again defeating Pure Country and Lady Shadow.
PLAY WILL NOT RESUME
SIR LINCOLN ROYAL FLUSH
On the 7th of July 2019 Art Major was inducted into USA’s Harness Racing Hall Of Fame.
Sir Lincoln (or Lincoln Royal as he is known in Australia) has been flush with winners in Australia recently – and many of them have been New Zealand exports.
Sadly, after nine years at stud at Alabar Australia, Shadow Play will not be returning for a tenth season. Alabar has made this difficult decision based on the commercial reality of the income derived from a stallion standing at a moderate fee not being able to overcome the expenses of shuttling. These expenses are huge and more and more dual-hemisphere stud duty will surely become the domain of stallions with high service fees and/or stallions serving large books. A stunning black stallion, Shadow Play brilliantly won the US Pacing Ch’ship in 2009 and travelled to Australia to commence his Southern Hemisphere career the following year. He has received strong support from breeders and has not disappointed, leaving a continual flow of winners headed by Shadow Sax (23 wins, $541,830). However his service fee settled at a level that now makes him a single-hemisphere stallion.
Bred and foaled at Brittany Farms on 11 June 1999, Art Major was a $65,000 yearling. He went on to be US Three-Year-Old of the Year and then US Older Horse of the Year as a four-year-old. Syndicated to stand at stud at Blue Chip Farm he commenced stud duties in 2004 and first shuttled to Australia later that same year. Art Major has become one of the most influential sires in harness racing and he follows his sire Artsplace into the Hall Of Fame. Art Major now permanently resides at Alabar where he continues to be superbly commercial - siring both the highest priced colt and filly at the New Zealand Yearling Sales in 2019. It’s an honour for Alabar to be involved with this great horse.
Alabar will miss Shadow Play and we’re sure Shadow Play will miss the Australian summer as opposed to the chill of the Canadian winter. Any breeders with return services to Shadow Play this season are asked to contact Alabar to discuss the options available
ALABAR AUSTRALIA PO Box 129, Tongala, Victoria, Australia, 3621 Tel: (03) 5859 2201 Fax: (03) 5859 2206 email@example.com
Stu McCormick Photo
Consequently, the demand from North America for our quality fillies and mares is at an all-time high.
With Art Major having already been so successful with this family through the production of Vincent, My MacKenzie will be bred to him this season.
The four-year-old Lincoln Road heads the list with ten Queensland wins for over $50,000 this season, all in sub-2:00 with nine at Albion Park. He has four victories in sub-1:55 including a pair in 1:53.1. He’s a talented horse. Other four-year-olds include: • Lincs Tiger, five wins in WA for $47,000 with a best time of 1:56.7 taken at Gloucester Park. • Glens Of Tekoa, five wins in WA for $22,986. • Morroch Bay, three wins in Queensland with a best time of 1:55.3. The three-year-olds include: • Rupert Of Lincoln, six wins in Victoria for over $30,000 with a best time of 1:54.9 taken at Maryborough. • Lincoln’s Girl, four wins in Queensland, all at Albion Park and all in sub-1:57 with a best time of 1:53.3. Sir Lincoln (Lincoln Royal) certainly leaves plenty of winners for the number of foals he has and – by the look of these results for the Kiwi ex-pats – there’s a ready market for his progeny in Australia.
ALABAR NEW ZEALAND 480 Seagrove Road, RD4, Pukekohe, 2679, New Zealand Tel: (09) 232 1800 Fax: (09) 232 1799 firstname.lastname@example.org
Plenty of news including interviews with Chris Frisby, Graeme Walsh, Andy Sinclair, Colin Hair, etc.