Owner-breeders right in the classic frame

By Dennis Ryan

13 Jan 2022

Owner-breeders right in the classic frameWhite Noise (centre) outfinishes fellow NZ Derby aspirant Regazzo in the Gingernuts Salver at Ellers

Results from last Sunday’s Ellerslie race meeting have put the spotlight on owner-breeders in the countdown to feature three-year-old races.
The first three placegetters in the Listed Te Akau Gingernuts Salver – White Noise, Regazzo and Arjay’s Flight – and the first two in the Brookby Stables 1500 – La Crique and The Perfect Pink – all hold entries in the Vodafone New Zealand Derby and/or the Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand Oaks.
Significantly in an era marked by an increasing number of horses graduating through the sale-ring to being raced by syndicates, all five of the above are raced either in whole by their breeders or in partnerships.
White Noise, who preceded his Gingernuts Salver win over 2100m with success in the Gr. 3 Wellington Stakes in late November, was bred in partnership by Aucklander Michael Gatt and Hong Kong-based Kiwi Matt Fenwick under his Mangaone Bloodstock banner. Both remained in the partnership that now races the grey son of El Roca, along with Fenwick’s brother Logan, father Allan and a wide group of friends.
The Murray Baker/Andrew Forsman-trained gelding had always shaped as a stayer in the making, perhaps unexpected as a son of the pacey Fastnet Rock sire El Roca, but he does have immense stamina depth in his distaff pedigree.
Also to El Roca, the dam White Nymph earlier produced the promising stayer El Nymph, who has won three races up to 2200m and finished fourth at that distance in last year’s Taumarunui Gold Cup. White Nymph is by the English Derby winner Sir Percy, while second dam Egeria is by another obvious stamina influence in champion stayer Daylami.
The next sire on the damline is the iconic Sadler’s Wells, followed in turn by yet another champion of his era in Mill Reef. That fourth dam, the Gr. 2 Royal Ascot Ribblesdale Stakes winner Gull Nook, produced among others the star stayer and major New Zealand sire influence Pentire.
Gingernuts Salver runner-up Regazzo, still a maiden but shaping very encouragingly for his breeders, West Auckland couple Garry and Lyn Witters, is bred on the golden classic cross of Tavistock over a Zabeel mare. The Witters have a proud record with Zabeel, having bred the Hall of Fame sire’s Gr. 1 Adelaide Cup winner Cronus along with his Group-winning full-sister Pravda.
Another on the Witters’ list is champion Australian filly Champagne Miss, who they bred by Redoute’s Choice from Cronus and Pravda’s unraced sister Millyet.
Regazzo is from a separate line that traces to the US-bred Northern Prospect stakes winner Simple Luxury, and while the family has yet to produce a stakes winner in this part of the world, after only four starts the Shaune Ritchie/Colm Murray-trained gelding is bidding strongly for that honour.
There are winners aplenty in the pedigree of Gingernuts Salver third placegetter Arjay’s Flight. The Mark Brosnan-trained is by Highly Recommended, a son of Fastnet Rock better recognised for his sub-1600m performers, but damsire Iffraaj combines well with the Coxon family’s ‘Flight’ family that is stacked with genuine and hardy performers at a wide range of distances.
Arjay’s Flight is named after Richard (RJ) Coxon, who passed away at just 56 years in 2015. He fashioned an excellent training record with small numbers, preparing 67 winners headed by the 15-time winner Desert Flight and dual stakes winner Last Flight, who he prepared for some of his 12 wins.
Another notable from the line is Walsburgs Pride, who was sold to Hong Kong after two wins and, renamed Fellowship, went on to add another seven, including three stakes races.
Like Regazzo, Arjay’s Flight is still a maiden after four starts, having finished second over 1600m before stepping up to 2100m at Ellerslie. He was bred in the name of Coxon’s estate in partnership with his widow Anna and brother Wayne, who remain in the ownership along with Anna’s daughter and son-in-law Kim and James Taylor, Wayne’s brother John, and the estate of their mother Norma who passed away last year.
All three Gingernuts Salver placegetters are entered for the Vodafone NZ Derby in early March, while Sunday’s Brookby Stables quinella La Crique and The Perfect Pink, being fillies, hold entries for the Ellerslie classic as well as the NZ Oaks two weeks later at Trentham.
La Crique, who fought back to narrowly defeat NZ 1000 Guineas winner The Perfect Pink in the 1500m race, is raced by her Pukekohe breeders John and Jan Cassin and is by Rich Hill shuttle Vadamos from the Dubai Destination mare Destiny Cove.
There’s plenty on both sides of her pedigree to suggest La Crique will manage the classic distance. Vadamos, a son of champion German staying sire Monsun, has top class international form up to 2400m,while Destiny Cove, who was prepared by La Crique’s co-trainer Katrina Alexander, also won up to 2400m.
The Perfect Pink’s pedigree needs little elaboration, save to reiterate that she is by champion sire Savabeel from the O’Reilly mare The Solitaire, who was a multiple stakes winner up to 2400m. The Jamie Richards-trained filly is raced by a partnership that includes her co-breeders the Dennis Brothers and Tony Rider.