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All Blacks legend joins racing syndicate

Her ownership ranks might include All Blacks legend Stephen Donald, but the naming of social racing's latest filly will not be left to Beaver.

Stephen Donald, best known by his nickname Beaver, has joined the ownership of a two-year-old Darci Brahma filly out of Evana, raced on a shared lease between her breeder The Oaks Stud and the Social Racing No 3 Syndicate.

The filly will be trained at Cambridge by Brendon Hawtin.

"I'm very excited about it and I can't wait for it all to happen. It's still early days, but it's exciting times," Donald said.

"She's a beautiful horse - she's got champion written all over her. I was a little bit nervous when I had to lead the filly around the stable though."

Handpicked by The Oaks Stud general manager Rick Williams from six two-year-olds the stud had retained to race after jockey Craig Grylls had ridden all six and given his opinion, the filly will get her name from public entries submitted to the Social Racing Facebook page as part of a competition launched on Radio Live by broadcasting personality Andrew Gourdie on Sunday.



The person who submits the successful name wins a share in the syndicate ownership of the filly for her racing career.

"It's a bit of humour but obviously with my nickname and the connotations from it, we've got to be a bit careful as far as getting it past the racing authorities," Donald said.

Donald, whose successful penalty kick won the All Blacks the 2011 Rugby World Cup and secured him a place in New Zealand sporting folklore, will make a shortlist of 10 names from the public submissions, with the final decision on naming lying with Williams and dependent on New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing approval.

The Social Racing No 3 Syndicate, managed by Brent Cooper, already races successful gallopers Aotearower and Celtic Cross.

The syndicate is restricted to 100 members and Cooper expects the remaining shares to be quickly swallowed up with Donald's involvement.

"We're thrilled to have Beaver involved and it's already generated a lot of interest and will only continue to do so, especially when it comes time for the filly to race," Cooper said.

"He's a real sporting icon in New Zealand, thanks chiefly to one kick. But as well as that, he's just a really genuine guy, really easy to get along with, and he's instantly clicked with the horse.

"We had him out to take some publicity photos with the filly and it was obvious he loved her. He's always wanted to own a racehorses and he was totally relaxed around her - he's a natural."

Cooper said Hawtin already had a good opinion of the filly.

"She's a good-sized filly, really mature and a great relaxed attitude. Brendon really likes her," he said.

Cooper has loved running the social racing syndicates, especially because the small-time owners involved never had any inflated expectations of what to expect and had cherished the wins.

"We've always had something on the go and all but two of the syndicate horses have won a race so we've had a great run of it," he said. - NZ Racing Desk