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NZTBA Councillor Vicki Pascoe breeds Group Two Stewards Cup winner in Singapore

Alibi (Glen Boss) holds his rivals at bay in the Stewards' Cup at Kranji. Photo: Singapore Turf Club.

Alibi (Glen Boss) holds his rivals at bay in the Stewards' Cup at Kranji. Photo: Singapore Turf Club.
Gutsy entire Alibi (Darci Brahma - Bound To Impress), toughed out a good win in the Singapore Group Two Stewards Cup recently, the first leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, Singapore's equivalent of the Triple Crown.

Bred by NZTBA Councillor Vicki Pascoe, he was recording his eighth win when he took out the Stewards Cup over 1400 metres. He jumped well settled in the trail, and went to the lead with 300 to run, and doggedly fought off the challenge of four well fancied four-year-olds.

The next event in the Challenge series is the Patron's Bowl over 1600 metres on June 18, followed by the Emirates Singapore Derby over 2000 metres on July 9, and his trainer Michael Clements is confident he can acquit himself in the next two events.

"He was a sitter to get run down, but he toughed it out," said Pascoe, "it was pretty nerve wracking watching it on TV and hoping the winning post would soon come up, but we are super proud of him".

"He is a grandson of Honor Bound, and if it wasn't for her I wouldn't be in the breeding business now, everyone knows how hard it is to breed a winner let alone a stakes winner. It's times like this when you are overwhelmed with phone calls and text messages about the win, that you realise what a great business it is, and I really appreciate how thoughtful all the well-wishers are."

Honor Bound was the first Group One winner produced from Club Med Lodge in Taupiri in north Waikato, which was established by Vicki and her husband Terry exactly 30 years ago this week.

She won six races including the Group One Easter Handicap at Ellerslie in 2002.

"Honor Bound won the Easter Handicap after running fourth in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes the first year it was a group one event," recalls Pascoe.

"Star Satire broke down in the race and nearly put Honor Bound over the rail, she was second to last into the straight and flew home for fourth."

Previously that season Honor Bound had won the Group Two Highview Stud Trophy at Ellerslie (now the Rich Hill Mile) and she had also run second in the Group One Waikato Draught Sprint to the mighty mare Sunline. Following the Easter win she ran in the Group Two Travis Stakes at Te Rapa and faltered in the straight while in the lead, and ended up running second to Conquistar.

"We were turning her out anyway with a big spring campaign in Australia in mind, and when she came home she was slightly sore. The blacksmith couldn't find anything wrong with her foot, so we had her x-rayed, and they found a slab fracture in the knee".

"That same day a fax came through from Coolmore announcing that Galileo(IRE) was retiring to stud and coming to the Southern Hemisphere and I thought wouldn't it be amazing to mate Honor Bound with him".

"At the time it wasn't the norm to send mares to stud in Australia, and I can tell you I had some interesting comments from some of my fellow breeders," mused Pascoe.

Bound To Impress came out a weak spindly looking first foal who would obviously need time. She was passed in at the yearling sales, was raced by the Pascoes and won two races, before being retired to stud to visit the Rich Hill stallion Pentire(GB).

"I am a big fan of Pentire and he makes an ideal first mating for a young mare," according to Pascoe.

"That foal Yellen has won four races out of Chris Waller's stable. He hasn't raced for a year, but Chris tells me he almost has him right again and he will only get better with time".

"The next year I sent her to Darci Brahma, we all now know that Galileo(IRE) over Danehill(USA) is a proven cross, so I just did it the other way with Darci Brahma crossing Danehill over Galileo. That is Alibi, I sold him at the Melbourne Sales in 2014 and clients of Esker Lodge bought him and put him through the Ready To Run sale where he was bought by Michael Clements for $90,000".

"She went back to Darci and we are racing that filly, under the care of Paul Pertab she ran fourth in a trial, and then went on to Tony Pike, she was due to trial from his stable but went sore, so she is home in the paddock".

Bound To Impress has a two-year-old filly by Helmet(AUS) who is VOBIS registered and was passed in at the Ready To Run sale. At her next mating she missed to Savabeel(AUS) but has an Ocean Park weanling that was born in Melbourne. He is at Supreme Thoroughbreds in Victoria and will go through the Melbourne yearling sale from there. She is currently in foal to Exosphere(AUS), and Pascoe is yet to decide whether to send her to first season sire Vadamos(FR) or back to Darci Brahma.

Following her mating to Galileo, Honor Bound remained in New Zealand and visited leading stallions of the calibre of Zabeel, Montjeu, Volksraad, and Pentire leaving five winners and Vicki and Terry with a host of mares by quality sires.

They are currently racing Pushtheboundaries (by Pentire) with a group of friends and she has won one race, they also have her last foal a Rip Van Winkle(IRE) two-year-old colt. Honor Bound is now retired from breeding and serves as a nanny at Club Med Lodge, a role once held by her mother Amrica who Vicki acquired when the mare was 18.

"I was doing a bit of work for Haunui Farm," she recalled, "and Ron Chitty gave me a list of old mares who had served their purpose and that they had kept fillies out of. He said I could choose one on the basis that we send the mare back to one of Haunui's stallions".

"We looked at three mares, and one of those was Amrica. She had been a good mare she had won six races including two at Group Three and was third in the Oaks. She had also left a stakes winner in Greenback.

"She wasn't in foal, I bought her home and used her as a nanny and then sent her up to Honor Grades(USA). I loved him, he was a Danzig line horse and I was a big fan of that line then. She produced Honor Bound, and everyone was taken with her right from the time she was a foal, even though she didn't have the best of legs".

"We turned down a million dollars for her and she became the first Southern Hemisphere Group One winner for Honor Grades, and her legacy has kept Club Med Lodge going since."

So how did the city girl with a career in the bank end up at Club Med Lodge?

"I have had a horse since I was 11," said Pascoe.

"When I was a little child, my grandparents used to live next to Captain Ted Parsons a legendary trainer in Avondale, and I used to spend a lot of time with my grandparents and apparently I would often wander over next door and they would find me sitting in a paddock with a horse. So I was destined to end up with horses".

"I was introduced to race horses by my cousins, Robyn and Michelle Langwell, Robyn used to ride out for Clyde Conway, and was one of the trailblazers in "Powder Puff Derbies", the only races girls were allowed to ride in back in the day.

"Forty years ago I met Terry who was a builder by trade and it was a case of love me love my horse, and he did!.

"My grandfather encouraged my interest in horses, his family had a farm before the Depression. Anyway after we were married my grandfather took Robyn and I to a Waikato mixed sale with the idea of buying a broodmare, we all liked one, so we ended up with three, with each of us buying one".

"My grandfather then purchased a 10 acre property in West Auckland and Terry built a house and we moved in to look after the horses. In time we purchased the property from my grandfather and sold it to buy a bigger block in Silverdale".

"At this stage Terry had his own building company and I was working in banking and we were trying to juggle the care of 18 horses. So we sat down one night and decided something had to change, and 30 years ago this week, on 1 June 1987 we took over the 100 acre dairy farm which is now Club Med Lodge, and we haven't looked back since".

Club Med has produced two Group One winners, Say No More(Pentire[GB]-Our Lucy)- the winner of the Group One New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes and the Thorndon Mile, and Honor Bound. Both were out of old mares which disproves the theory that you can't breed Stakes winners out of old mares. Our Lucy and Amrica hadn't had a foal the previous season when they went on to produce a Group One winner each. – Michelle Saba