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Dan Myers and Kevin O'Hara look forward to New Zealand Cup week

The Justice League
The Justice League

Taranaki based breeders Dan Myers and Kevin O'Hara, are looking forward to New Zealand Cup week, and the prospect of more black type for their promising young broodmare L'Artiste (AUS)(Peintre Celebre [USA]-Glittering Girl).

Just recently the pair bred their first stakes winner out of the mare, The Justice League, and he is headed to Riccarton for the Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas, and his four-year-old half-sister Vive La Difference (by Choisir[AUS]) is nominated for the Group Two Couplands Mile.

A son of the Australian based stallion I Am Invincible(AUS), The Justice League won the Listed Tavistock Northland Breeders Stakes over 1200 metres at Ruakaka, at only his fourth start.

As a two-year-old he raced three times, decisively winning his first start at Ruakaka in late December. He went out favourite in the Listed Karaka Million in March After jumping in the air at the start he was five-wide and fourth last plus deeper across the top only to try and run off near the home turn, he kept going to finish ninth beaten just over eight lengths, after covering a lot more than the 1200m.

He was gelded and turned out and had another start at Te Rapa in May where he finished fifth, before being spelled again. Racing fresh up, he won impressively at Ruakaka, beating a hot field of top Guineas contenders.

Myers and O'Brien purchased L'Artiste from a mixed bloodstock sale in Scone, when she was in foal to Testa Rossa(AUS) in 2009, and left her at Yarraman Park. That foal a filly is Prosperina a winner of one race. She visited Stratum and left a colt, and the following year went to Choisir and produced Vive La Difference a winner of one race and Group Two placed in the Valachi Downs Championship Stakes.

With that foal at foot and in foal to I Am Invincible, she returned home to New Zealand.

"L'Artiste was originally booked to go to Magic Albert(AUS) and when I saw him I didn't think he would suit the mare physically," according to O'Hara, "I had seen I am Invincible the previous year when we were there and I asked if we could swap, of course they didn't hesitate as it was his second year."

"We have sold all her foals at Karaka, and the Choisir filly went to David Ellis for $67,500 and a year later The Justice League was purchased for $50,000 by Nigel Tiley.

"L'Artiste went to Tavistock and had a difficult birth and the foal died, and she ended up going to Little Avondale as a foster mother. She got in foal to Nadeem(AUS) and has a lovely colt and is due to foal soon. She has a history of difficult deliveries, and needs to be on a stud with a resident vet, and after The Justice League's win we will be rethinking where she is going."

L'Artiste won two races in South Australia, and is half-sister to three winners. She is out of the Marscay (AUS) mare Glittering Girl, herself a winning half-sister to Crowning Jewel the dam of the group winners So Gorgeous, Tipungwuti, and Sterling City. Their dam is the well related stakes winning mare Jewel In The Crown (Mighty Kingdom [AUS]).

"We liked her as soon as we saw her, she is a pretty and elegant, a chestnut mare, like her stallion Peintre Celebre, and he is really shaping up as a broodmare sire, the first two place getters in last year's Melbourne Cup Protectionist and Red Cadeaux were both out of Peintre Celebre mares."

Dan Myers is a member of the famous Taranaki Myers family, a brother to master trainer Kevin and uncle to the successful jockeys Rosie and Kelly. He was a one-time race caller and a successful trainer, training in partnership with O'Hara.

Around six years ago the pair decided to give training away and concentrate instead on breeding and set about buying themselves some nice mares. They now have 20.

"We trained a few winners together, and then decided we wanted a change of direction and about five years ago decided to start breeding," said O'Hara.

"We mainly purchased our mares from Australia but we did have a rush of blood to the head and go to Newmarket one year and bought a Pivotal(GB) filly called Pipette(GB). She was a winner and stakes placed in the United Kingdom and raced here, before going to Chris Waller and winning three and placing second in the Listed Dark Jewel Stakes and third in the Listed Dark Crown Stakes at Hawkesbury.

"She is among the six or seven mares we keep in Australia at Holbrook Farm in Scone, and is in foal to I Am Invincible and is going to Sebring(AUS). There is more variety of stallions in Australia so we will continue to have some mares there. All the weanlings come back to New Zealand and along with our New Zealand bred youngsters run on the dairy farm here in Hawera. The mares run at the bull farm down the road.

"We are finally getting a few winners around us. It takes such a long time, by the time you get the mare, mate her, then the foal has to get to the races it's such a long process, but getting that first stakes winner that is exciting."


- Michelle Saba