Faithful Feat takes transtasman partnership to new heights

By Dennis Ryan

14 Dec 2022

Faithful Feat takes transtasman partnership to new heightsFaithful Feat (Sam Spratt) digs deep to beat Puntura in the Gr. 3 J Swap Sprint at Te Rapa.

Faithful Feat’s front-running heroics in Saturday’s Gr. 3 J Swap Sprint at Te Rapa delivered a milestone moment for a pair of friends based on opposite sides of the Tasman.
Carrying 58.5 kilograms and jumping from the extreme outside gate during a torrential downpour, the chestnut daughter of Per Incanto led all the way and refused to lie down when challenged in the straight. Puntura chased hard and got close through the final 100 metres, but Faithful Feat dug deep and held him out by a head.
Faithful Feat is trained by Peter Lock for the Hart & MacDonald Syndicate, and her 15-start career has produced seven wins, three placings and $227,087 in stakes. Saturday’s 1400-metre J Swap Sprint was the first black-type victory for the five-year-old, who had previously finished second in the Gr. 2 Westbury Classic at Ellerslie in January of this year.
“It really was an excellent win,” said Peter Hart, representing the New Zealand portion of the mare’s transtasman owner-breeder partnership.
“I was very pleased for the horse, for ourselves and also for the trainer, who has put a lot of work into this mare over the last few seasons.
“I bred her in partnership with Ian MacDonald, who has 50 per cent of the ownership. I have the other half, along with my wife and son. It’s been a fantastic journey that we’ve really enjoyed. She’s clearly the best horse that we’ve been involved with together.
“She hasn’t really put a foot wrong in her whole career, but she’s come back particularly well this time in, which has been very exciting.”
MacDonald is a respected name in Australian racing quarters, serving on the committee of the Melbourne Racing Club for three decades and breeding numerous headlining racehorses, including champion jumper Bashboy. He has also been a regular visitor to these shores, attending New Zealand yearling sales since they were held at Trentham more than 30 years ago.
“Ian and I have known each other for a long time now,” continued Hart, “and we’ve raced horses together for a number of years – primarily in Australia initially, but also in New Zealand in recent times.
“Ian already had an association with Sam and Catriona Williams at Little Avondale Stud. Like Catriona, Ian is in a wheelchair – he was injured in a farm accident when he was young.
“So there was an immediate connection there, and when he bought Faithful Feat’s dam On Yer Feet as a yearling at Karaka, he pledged a portion of her prize-money to the CatWalk Trust. I bought into On Yer Feet at that stage as well, and things went from there.”
MacDonald paid $60,000 to buy On Yer Feet from Cambridge Stud’s draft at Karaka in 2011. She is by champion Australian sire Snitzel out of the Stravinsky mare Lady Firebird.
Coincidentally, Lady Firebird is a half-sister to the horse that preceded Faithful Feat as the star of Peter Lock’s Te Aroha stable – Group Three winner and multiple Group One placegetter Hiflyer.
“Peter Lock came on board with Faithful Feat thanks to Sam Williams,” Hart explained. “He suggested to us that Peter might be a good match in terms of personality and experience. That’s definitely proved to be the case, and we’ve got a great working relationship. I’ve been able to call in at Te Aroha quite a few times to see what’s happening.
“Peter also trains a two-year-old half-brother to Faithful Feat – a Time Test gelding that we’ve named Our Time. We’re very happy with how he’s progressing, and he’s likely to come on to the scene some time in the autumn.
“On Yer Feet went back to Per Incanto after that and produced a full-sister to Faithful Feat. She’s a yearling and is still at Little Avondale Stud at this stage.
“We’ve got a lovely Per Incanto colt foal now as well. We’re very happy with what we’ve managed to get from her matings to both Per Incanto and Time Test. It’s all worked out really well.”
The Te Rapa win by Faithful Feat took Per Incanto’s tally of stakes winners to 27, extending a current season list headed by Roch ’N’ Horse’s second Group One win in the VRC Champions Sprint. Also in Melbourne, Little Brose won the Gr. 3 Merson Cooper Stakes, while on the home front Belclare won the Gr. 3 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes.