A great way to celebrate 80 years

By Dennis Ryan

22 May 2024

A great way to celebrate 80 yearsFall For Cindy delivers the ideal birthday present to her owner-breeder Garry Chittick

Birthdays are a time for celebration as well as a chance to contemplate what would be adequate to mark the event.
Last weekend Garry Chittick was faced with that mostly welcome conundrum, solved in part by a gathering of family and friends at his home away from home, Mount Maunganui. It was, after all, the Waikato Stud patriarch’s 80th birthday, reason enough to splash out after eight enjoyable and rewarding decades on this planet.
The unknown element was what else the big day might hold, and that unexpected dynamic known as horse racing delivered in spades when, just as the party was about to get underway, another feature race win was added to the long list of Chittick achievements.
No chance of being in two places at the same time, with the racing action taking place far away in the Australian equivalent of the Waikato thoroughbred breeding hub, the Hunter Valley. Scone’s biggest raceday of the year was headlined by the Gr. 3 Dark Jewel Classic, and who should win the fillies and mares’ feature but the Garry Chittick-owned and bred Fall For Cindy.
Reflecting a day later, the birthday boy was still enjoying his latest win, which was not in the least diminished by I Wish I Win’s narrow defeat an hour afterwards at the hands of Bella Nipotina in the Gr. 1 Doomben 10,000.
“Group Ones anywhere can never be taken for granted, and the way it panned out on that track he didn’t have a lot in his favour,” he said of the fan favourite raced by son Mark and co-trainer Peter Moody. “Fall For Cindy has really stepped up. She went through the system here and I sent her across (to John O’Shea) to give her the chance I felt she deserved.
“Winning a race like that is what you aim for, it sets her up nicely,” he says with a view to further racing and ultimately a broodmare career. “The thing with studs is that the fillies you keep to race have to justify the cost that goes with it, otherwise you look at the option of breeding from them.
“This filly had been just quietly paying her way before this win. Just the other day I was running through her costs to date and even with stakes of around $230,000 I was still only about $80,000 in front.
“The balance sheet is looking a lot healthier now of course, plus she’s a valuable breeding prospect, but you need those good wins to make the whole thing viable.”
Fall For Cindy’s sire is another Waikato Stud home-bred, O’Reilly’s star son Sacred Falls, while the bottom half of her pedigree is likewise embossed with the names of horses that have made the Matamata nursery such a force over the years.
Her dam Cindy Cee is a daughter of reigning champion stallion Savabeel, second dam Pin Up is by former champion Pins, and the great-granddam is Flying Floozie, whose sire was Pompeii Court, a resident stallion when Garry and Mary Chittick made their lock, stock and barrel purchase in 1993.
Flying Floozie was born that same year (as was Golden Slipper winner Courtza’s Last Tycoon colt O’Reilly) and after being placed in a brief racing career, she went on to become a champion broodmare. All six of her foals to race were winners, headed by Starcraft, whose sire was brief Ra Ora Stud shuttle stallion Soviet Star and a truly global performer with Group One wins in New Zealand, Australia, England and France.
When the big chestnut won the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp in Paris in 2005, he was in fact the first New Zealand-bred horse ever to win a European Group One race. Mainly through the deeds of her champion son, Flying Floozie won a hat-trick of New Zealand Broodmare of the Year titles through the mid-2000s.
There’s more than a touch of coincidence between Flying Floozie’s great-granddaughter Fall For Cindy and the race she won on Saturday, named after one of the great broodmares of Australian thoroughbred breeding.
Dark Jewel, foaled in 1953 in the second crop by Star Kingdom, who was to dominate Australian thoroughbred bloodlines through the latter half of last century, won three minor races before producing 10 foals. All nine that raced were winners, five of them at stakes level. Her best foal was the Rego colt Baguette, the champion two-year-old of 1969-70 and the first to complete the juvenile triple crown of the Golden Slipper and AJC Sires’ Produce and Champagne Stakes.
Baguette’s older siblings included the Epsom and Stradbroke Handicap winner Cabochon and VATC One Thousand Guineas Heirloom, while the full tally of stakes wins by Dark Jewel’s progeny amounted to 28.
Flying Floozie’s full produce record stood at six foals who all won, two of them stakes winners of 16 races – the other was Danasinga filly Forum Floozie, a Sydney Listed winner who was three times Group One placed. By adding her name to the family honour roll, Fall For Cindy continues a legacy founded in New Zealand exactly a century ago by the 1924 Tractor filly Differential.
Her great-granddaughter Entrancing Belle was an outstanding producer as the dam of the Group One-winning trio Taras Bulba, Taras Regent and Turfcutter. A daughter, Lucky Heiress, left the Group One winner Zephyr Magic, who in turn became the dam of the South African Group One winner Dahlia’s Legacy.
In the context of this article inspired by Fall For Cindy’s weekend win, that particular circle was completed when Lucky Heiress produced Flying Floozie.
As for the subject’s owner-breeder, New Zealand racing’s newest octogenarian thoroughly enjoyed the party that he describes as the perfect way to “cleanse the arteries”.
“No, it was great to share the occasion with so many people you’ve worked with and shared so much with for so long, some of them going back 50 years,” says Chittick. “People like Buzz and Susie Williams, who we’ve known since it all began for us in the 1970s down in the Wairarapa.
“We’ve been great friends and partners in a lot of good stallions starting with Sound Reason, Centaine and Pins, and to this day with horses like Per Incanto and Savabeel. They would have to be unique, those relationships that have lasted so long, and 50 years later are now being carried on through our next generations.”