Season Highlights Shape The New Way

1 August

The first day of August marks the start of a new season and with that brings many highlights to look upon from the past season. Westbury Stud has relished a stellar season with the Stud’s stallions celebrating a number of milestones headlined by Reliable Man’s remarkable feat of producing his second daughter to reach the pinnacle of racing with the Danny O’Brien-trained Miami Bound who was victorious in the VRC Oaks, the same race her dam Arapaho Miss won in 2007.

Miami Bound’s success strengthened her sire’s record for producing Oaks fillies following Sentimental Miss’ win in the 2019 New Zealand Oaks for her breeders The Oaks Stud while the son of Dalakhani continues to prosper at stud with 13 individual stakes winners with his most recent southern hemisphere black-type winner the high class Kinane winning at Royal Randwick in the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate, while there have been a number of performers placed at stakes level this season including Battenburg in the ATC Spring Champion Stakes, Gr.1, and the Victoria Derby runner-up, Sully, in the MRC Herbert Power Stakes, Gr.2, and the MVRC JRA Cup, Gr.3.

The 2019-20 season has been a memorable one for the Fastnet Rock stallion El Roca who closes the season as the only Second Season Sire in NZ to produce a Group 1 winner. Travelling Light has been a wonderful advertisement for her sire and an outstanding result for the father-son duo Ian and Coll MacRury who bred the filly in El Roca’s first year at stud and are now reaping the rewards. A winner of five races from her seven starts, Travelling Light won the Group 3 Soliloquy Stakes in just her third start which set her up for further stakes success winning the Group 1 Levin Classic, the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes, second in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas and third in the Group 1 NZ 1000 Guineas. 

The talented Travelling Light will kick start her four-year-old campaign in the Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa followed by Group 1 features at Hastings the Tarzino Trophy and the Windsor Park Plate with the aim to be at Rosehill at the end of October for the A$7.5million Golden Eagle. Another of El Roca’s daughters who is preparing for her four-year-old campaign is Bella Mente who will be looking for her much deserved Group win to boost her pedigree. Trained in the stable of Shaune Ritchie, Bella Mente was bred by Marriott Thoroughbreds who retain a share in the syndicate who race the daughter of El Roca with her current form recording a third in the Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes, Gr.1, and the James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes, Gr.2, and second in the Listed Mufhasa Fastrack Stakes.

The Champion Griffin award traditionally celebrates the most promising youngsters in Hong Kong and this year’s recipient was the Swiss Ace sired Good Luck Friend. Bred at Westbury, out of the Postponed mare Maravilla, Good Luck Friend was purchased at the NZB Ready to Run Sale by his trainer Ricky Yiu, Champion Trainer of 2019-20, who has a lot of time for the promising gelding, “I am delighted to be able to train Good Luck Friend, he has a great temperament, very focused, and well balanced with a good turn of foot,” said Yiu. “I believe Swiss Ace is a genuine sire who can throw good types.” 

Good Luck Friend is not the only son of Swiss Ace to get the accolades this season with sprinting sensation Julius returning to the track stronger than ever to take first prize in the Group 1 Railway Stakes. Trained by John Bell with a host of owners behind him, the much admired gelding suffered a serious tendon injury 12-months prior but some TLC and a stint on a large sheep station on the west coast helped him return to the winners circle now having earned over $400,000 in prize money. 

The progeny of Redwood continue to thrive with Platinum Invador performing his best season to date after a compelling victory in the Group 3 ARC City of Auckland Cup, second in the Group 2 ARC Avondale Cup, the Group 3 Manawatu Cup, and he was a mere one-length from the winner of the esteemed Group 1 Auckland Cup – an impressive result for his owners Neville McAlister and Lincoln Farms’ John Street and trainer Lisa Latta.

Communique and Chief Sequoyah put themselves on the board as new stakes winners for their sire, Redwood, successful in the ARC Sunline Vase, Gr.3, and the CJC Spring Classic, Listed, respectively; while flying the flag in Australia, OTI Racing’s Night’s Watch relished Group 3 success at Rosehill in the Neville Sellwood Stakes, Gr.3, and finished in second place behind the Japan-bred Fierce Impact (Deep Impact) in the Group 1 MRC Toorak Handicap.

The most recent additions to Westbury’s stallion roster – Tarzino and Telperion – eagerly await their first crop to emerge as they officially become two-year-olds. Their highlights come as first season sires in the sale ring with the Rosehill Guineas and VRC Derby winner Tarzino fetching A$230,000 at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale, purchased by Duncan Ramage and Mick Price. Going to the bid of astute buyer John Foote Bloodstock was a colt by the son of Street Cry, Telperion, in Book 1 of the Karaka Yearling Sale while there were many others who took an invested interested in the stock of Tarzino and Telperion including Phill Cataldo, Rogerson Bloodstock, Henry Dwyer Racing, Import Racing, GPI Racing, Pride Racing & Double R Thoroughbreds, Spicer Thoroughbreds, Malua Bloodstock and more.

The Karaka Yearling Sales was one to remember for the farm topping the sale with the highest priced yearling, a colt by Pierro out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Our Squeezer for $900,000 to Hiwi Lodge. Bred at Westbury Stud by his owners Peter Newsom, Mac Whitehouse and Tony Wales, the dam of the star studded yearling is a half-sister to twice-Horse of the Year Bonneval (Makfi) and stakes winners Lord Arthur, Full Of Spirit, Imposing Lass and Lady Cumquat. More recent success for the farm comes in the form of a filly named Smart n Sexy who after four starts had her first taste of success in the Listed Dalrello Stakes at Eagle Farm Queensland for Toby and Trent Edmonds.

While enjoying the success of the stallions, the success of the breeders and the Stud’s own accomplishments on the track the team at home have busy with the expansion of the Matamata operation with Westbury Stud now spanning across almost 800 acres between the Auckland and Waikato region. Alongside such significant development the farm has welcomed a number of senior team leaders and set in place professional development programmes to grow future talent to retain a high level of skill set in the thoroughbred industry.

The team at Westbury Stud wish to thank each and every person who has supported the Stud this past season as the Stud look forward to a brand new season with many more highlights to come. The Stud is excited to launch the first Group 1 race in Australasia for 2020-21 in conjunction with Hawke’s Bay Racing with the Tarzino Trophy Daffodil Race Day on 19th September while the much anticipated foaling season has commenced with Westbury’s first foal - a Reliable Man colt ex Unquenchable – arriving in a timely fashion to have a 1st August birthdate. 

Pictured \ VRC Oaks winner Miami Bound (Reliable Man)