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Mangaroa Flo Jo runs to victory for owner-breeder John Wood

Mangaroa Flo Jo (Anna Jones) sweeps to victory in the Manawatu Breeders' Stakes at Trentham

Mangaroa Flo Jo (Anna Jones) sweeps to victory in the Manawatu Breeders' Stakes at Trentham
Around thirty years ago Northland based breeder John Wood, a young farmer with a desire to own a broodmare was given a mare to try his luck with, and three generations on Mangaroa Flo Jo(High Chaparrall[IRE]-No Fibs) has become has become the latest stakes winner from the family.

The six-year-old mare, who is trained at Cambridge by Graham Thomas and Nick Smith, for Wood, was recently successful in the Gr.3 Manawatu Breeders Stakes over 2000 metres, and is now being aimed for a tilt at the Gr.3 Rotorua Cup next month a race Wood won with her mother No Fibs.

She has now won six races and this is her first black type success.

Mangaroa Flo Jo is the fifth foal from the aptly named Casual Lies mare No Fibs and is her third winner along with her full siblings Mangaroa Flyer (aka Sacred Flyer) and Ethical. At 22 No Fibs is no longer breeding but she is a special mare for Wood and a win in the Rotorua Cup by her daughter would mean a lot to him.

"I haven't mated her for a couple of years she deserves a good retirement now," said Wood of the mare who won nine races before going to stud.

"I am quite attached to this family, and it's a thrill to get another stakes winner, I have plenty of other mares from this family that I am breeding from as well but there will be no more foals from No Fibs."

Wood rode horses as a child and was a young farmer in the Waikato with a small holding when he was gifted an old broodmare by an esteemed Cambridge horseman in Bill Wills. The mare was Kaiponu and at the time she was 21 and not in foal.

"I put her on some lush grass and out with the cattle away from other horses and she picked up," he recalled.

"I had a friend who lived around the road and had a stallion Dealer's Choice(Balios[GB]-Picco's Pride) that had won the Adelaide Cup and came back to New Zealand. So I walked her around to his place and she got in foal and produced Madam's Choice. I think he only had two foals in New Zealand."

"I bred quite a few out of her with the best two being Classic Spirit and No Fibs. No Fibs was her last foal and the smallest of the lot and unfortunately Madam's Choice got colic and died. When I was burying her I promised her I wouldn't race her little foal until she was big and strong enough. And I didn't race her until she was four and she won nine races".

"I haven't mated her the last two seasons she deserves a good retirement now."

Classic Spirit won 11 races including the Gr.3 Cornwall Classic and Rotorua Challenge Plate, he was also placed twice in a further two Cornwall Handicaps. Harking back to Kaiponu she herself went onto leave quite a legacy of stakes winners through her descendants and is the third dam of the Group One winners Hello Dolly who was raced by the late Bill Wills and of Art Success, as well as the Group Three winner Big Chill.

These days Wood lives in Kerikeri and runs a couple of farms in Northland, which he farms under the Mangaroa banner. He did however leave all his bloodstock in Waikato before he made the move north, leaving his mares and young stock at Wentworth Grange. He has also had a long association with Windsor Park Stud, with 98% of the stallions he has used in the last 20 odd years being based at that stud.

"Mangaroa means long ridge and naming the race horses with the Mangaroa tag is a bit of a branding exercise for me. It also lets all my friends and family know that when they see a horse with Mangaroa in its name that it's one of mine. When you come to name a horse you know you are going to get the name approved as no one else would want to tag their horses with it," he added. - Michelle Saba