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Azkadellia shines in Sydney

"She's a little ripper, she always was right from the time she popped out as a foal" enthused Craig Linton when discussing the deeds of Azkadellia (Shinko King [IRE]-Raving) shortly after her sensational win in the 1600 metre Group One Coolmore Legacy Queen of the Turf Stakes.

Linton, along with his partner Ilone Kelly, bred Azkadellia and Kelly prepared her to win her first start as a two-year-old in 2014, following which she was sold to Caulfield trainer Ciaron Maher's racing manager Ben Connolly.

"It was so exciting to see her get her Group One this time in, she has got that hoodoo off her back now," said Linton a member of the Taranaki/Whanganui branch of the NZTBA.

"She was a late foal so I think she will be much better next season. She was a no fuss filly. Didn't like her mane being brushed or any attention, that's why she was named Azkdellia after the wicked witch.

"She only ever had two jump outs before she had her first start at two and the way she won that we knew she was something pretty special."

Now a four-year-old, she has won six races, and been Group One placed three times. Prior to her victory in the Queen of the Turf Stakes, she had run a game second to the mighty mare Winx in the Group One Doncaster Mile, on the back of a third in the Group One Coolmore Classic.

Prior to going to Sydney for the autumn and to compete in the rich Championships, she won the Group Three Mannerism Stakes on her home track of Caulfield, after running second fresh up in the Group Three Bellmaine Stakes on the same course.

During the spring she had six starts resulting in two wins as she came through the grades, and a third in the Group One Meyer Classic at Flemington and a second in the Group Three G1.x.com.au Stakes at Moonee Valley both over 1600 metres.

Azkadellia is the fifth and last foal of the Centaine(AUS) mare Raving. Her first foal was unnamed and her second foal is Bavarian by Al Akbar, a winner of two races who ran second in the Listed Tauranga Classic and is retained by Clark, Clinton and Kelly. Her third foal Royal Raving (Royal Gem[USA]) and Hugo (Mr Nancho[ARG]) who raced as My Little Friend in Hong Kong has won four races.

Raving is out of the stakes placed Wild Rampage mare Raging who won four races.

"Ian Clark owned Raging and bred Raving and said if she didn't meet her reserve at Karaka he would give her to Ilone to train," according to Linton.

"She didn't sell so Ilone trained her and won a race with her as a two-year-old and sold her to Australia to former New Zealand trainer John Collins.

"A little later he was over here with the team that owned Maguire when he won the Auckland Cup, and they decided they wanted to buy Raving's half-sister Storming by O'Reilly, so the deal was done on the proviso that they send Raving back to us".

"Raving came home, but Collins's clients and their money disappeared and Storming never left the property but we ended up with Raving back".

"Along with Ian we bred her to Al Akbar a couple of times before leasing her to Stoneybridge to breed from, she had a filly called Royal Rave who won a race, and then returned to us in foal to Mr Nancho (ARG), which was Hugo or My Little Friend".

"When it came to her next mating, we had two mares we wanted to send to stud so ventured north to the Waikato branch annual stallion parade with a view of sending Raving and Chunky Chic (American Odyssey[USA]-Java Silk[AUS]) to the same stallion, and Henk Smit at Paxton Park offered us a great deal to Shinko King".

"Both foals won their first starts. Unfortunately Chunky Chip died, in foal to Raise the Flag(GB) the following season, but her first foa,l I'm Chunky's is in our broodmare paddock".

"When Raving was carrying Azkadellia we offered her free to any stud that would foal her down, she was after all getting on, she would be 18 now. Brian Corbett offered to take her to send to Istidaad, and so she went to him, we got the foal back and the mare hasn't been heard of since".

"Still we have a winning stakes placed half-sister in Bavarian and Azkadellia's achievements will certainly help her."

Clinton and Kelly have two mares they have in foal at the moment. Bavarian is in foal to Shocking and their winning Shamadal(USA) mare Shamtaari, in foal to Keano (Pins[AUS]-O'Really) who stands locally in Taranaki.

Bavarian was sent to Shocking to get the same Street Cry (USA) Al Akbar cross that has produced Winx.

Clinton has an equestrian background and met Kelly who was destined to be in racing over 20 years ago. Kelly's father Michael was a successful owner, while her uncle Peter was a world renowned commentator and auctioneer. Another uncle, Bernard, was head of the New Zealand Racing Conference.

Kelly has always worked in racing and has been either a stable foreman or trainer for over 25 years. She took out stables at Pukekura Park at New Plymouth about four years ago, and has around 15 boxes filled with horses they have bred or bought for themselves or clients at the Select Sale at Karaka and the latterly at the Inglis Classic Sale.

"We spell our racehorses at Mel Cooper's place in Stratford, and she does all our weaning and the work on the young horses. Once the mares are weaned they return to the Kelly family farm in Fielding," added Clinton.

"We love the industry, but the breeding game is hard and expensive, but every now and then you get one like Azkadellia and that makes it all worthwhile." - Michelle Saba