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Kindaleica gives hobby breeder Gavin Saunders the thrill of a lifetime

Kindaleica wins the Listed Westbury Stud Classic 19/9/15
Kindaleica wins the Listed Westbury Stud Classic 19/9/15

For small time breeder Gavin Saunders the win by Kindaleica (Captain Rio [GB]- Leica Gazelle) in the Listed Westbury Stud Karaka Classic was a thrill of a lifetime.

"It was really exciting, I knew the horse had it in him to win a good race, it is by far the biggest win I have had. Heck, to breed a stakes winner when I am only a hobby breeder with one mare, that's a huge thrill.

"I am just a tin pot breeder who thinks it's a wonderful achievement seeing something I have bred on the racetrack let alone winning four races like he has," enthused Saunders.

Kindaleica is a five-year-old gelding, trained at Matamata by Karen McQuade and raced by a syndicate that includes McQuade her husband Hamish and Saunders. He has now won four races and been placed 10 times from 21 starts.

Saunders bred Kindaleica out of the Prized(USA) mare Leica Gazelle, a mare he bred and raced with his late wife Edith. In fact after Edith died he lost a bit of interest in the breeding game and left the mare empty until last season when she was served by Road To Rock (AUS), and when she has foaled will visit Power (GB).

"In the end I thought I've got to get back up and carry on and so I sent her stud again."

"We bred her from Regal Gazelle (Vice Regal-Gazelle Hunter) a mare we got from Don Bell, when she was in foal to Stark South (USA). I was in the market for a mare as I had lost a mare foaling to Sandtrap(USA) and still had a nomination, so we sent Regal Gazelle there and bred Estuary.

"The Stark South foal was Heez Leica and I trained him to win four races, and we sold Estuary and he won two races here and one in Hong Kong. Her next foal was her last and that was Leica Gazelle. Regal Gazelle had 13 foals, they all raced and 12 were winners. She left a good horse in Sydney called Regal Touch (Touching Wood [SA]) who won eight races including the Listed Wagga Gold Cup."

Saunders trained Leica Gazelle to win one race before sending her to Storm Creek(USA), but apparently that foal didn't have the temperament to be a race horse. He then sent her to Captain Rio and she produced Kindaleica.

"Regal Gazelle, was a real colonial bred, lots of stoutness in her pedigree with horses like Le Filou (FR)(through Vice Regal) and Head Hunter(GB) and Balloch(GB) through her dam. So I thought I would put a bit of speed into her pedigree and went to Captain Rio. That's the reason I am so excited about going to Power. If you breed to speed then hopefully they will show something when they are young and get a bit of distance when they are bit older."

Captain Rio stood at Westbury Stud in Karaka for nine years before being sold to Turkey late last year. He is the sire of 23 stakes winners including the Group One winners Terravista, Il Quello Veloce and Brazilian Pulse.

Saunders lives on an eight acre property in Te Puna where he retired too and keeps Leica Gazelle, along with a few other animals. He was a city boy who grew up in Auckland, attending Avondale College and playing lots of rugby on the fields inside the Avondale racecourse where Kindaleica won the Westbury Stud Karaka Classic.

He became interested in horses when he was living in Tokoroa, and had the TAB agency for 30 years.

"It's a small place Tokoroa, and we had a few acres there and the kids had ponies and our neighbour was Brian Cameron who trained the Auckland Cup winner Tamboura and he taught me everything I know. We were quite a tight little racing community in those days.

"When I trained I used to do everything except put the shoes on, I learnt to ride, sure I took a few tosses but I picked myself up and went again. I loved being hands on, I still do, but when Edith died I thought it was a bit silly to keep training, so I chose the McQuades. They are also very hands on trainers and don't mind me going over to Matamata and spending time with the horse," Saunders said.

"They have done a wonderful job with him and now we are looking forward to his next start and hopefully another stakes win over the mile."


- Michelle Saba