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Farm Boy steps up to win the Avondale Gold Cup for farmer Allan Hayward

Farm Boy ridden by Vinnie Coglan wins the Avondale Cup - Photo courtesy of Trish Dunell
Farm Boy ridden by Vinnie Coglan wins the Avondale Cup

Photo courtesy of Trish Dunell

Allan Hayward is a farmer from Rotorangi just south of Cambridge, and is a quiet unassuming bloke who in the past few days has been pitched into the limelight, way out of his comfort zone, due to the deeds of a horse called Farm Boy (El Hermano- Lady of Oakview).

Farm Boy whom he races and bred, is this year's winner of the Group Two Avondale Cup held at Ellerslie, and was an unassuming type like his owner, until he won this event. Now thanks to a a very gutsy win under a superb ride by Vinny Colgan everyone wants to know everything about Hayward and his horse.

"It was a great ride by Vinny, a gutsy ride," said Hayward, "he went early and got to the line first. I think most people thought he was going to get run down, but he didn't and since then I have never had so much attention as I have had in the last three days.

"It makes you feel very humble to think you have got a horse that is capable of something like that. I am just a dairy farmer who does not know a lot about racing, but I love it and I am excited to think where it could go from here."

Hayward raced Farm Boy's mother Lady of Oakview (Diamond Express-Flying Sister) a mare who descends from the same family as the Group One winners Silver Wraith, Silver Nymph, Star Satire and Rays Hope, through her grandam Sister Dora (Crest of the Wave [GB]- Flying Dora)who is a three-quarter sister to Crestello.

"My parents Allan and Patricia bred Lady of Oakview and she was hanging around the farm and I said to Dad if you are not going to race that filly can I have a go? Before that I just followed the races, that's where it all started.

"We farm at Rotorangi Mum and Dad bought Colin Stewart's old farm Balmerino Park, and it's now a dairy and beef farm, but it still produces pretty good horses by the looks of things."

Lady of Oakview raced from the stable of Margaret and Tim Carter but after only four starts including a second placing she fractured a bone in her foot. Encouraged by the Carters who thought the mare had ability he decided to send her to stud.

"El Hermano was just down the road at Frank and Faye Drummond's Cheval Stud, he's got a brilliant pedigree and he's a nice type of horse and was a $500 service fee. So I thought it was worth a try."

El Hermano (Pins[AUS]- Palos Verdes) is an unraced full brother to the W.S.Cox Plate winner El Seguendo and commenced stud duties in 2010, his oldest progeny are now four and besides Farm Boy he has produced six winners from that first crop of 68 foals.

"The mare foaled at Cheval Stud, and Frank rang me and told me I had a filly foal. I was actually pretty pleased about that as I wanted another filly, so I told him to breed her back to El Hermano and send her home.

"We weaned the foal and branded her and the next thing you know NZTR are on the phone telling me that this foal has failed the DNA test. Then Frank rang and said I've got a colt here I think belongs to you, you can keep the filly if you want he said, but I declined and went and got the colt, sent off the new DNA sample and that was Farm Boy.

"We broke him in and sent him off to the Carters, and he began racing at three. He won his first race and followed that with a fifth in the Group Three James and Annie Sarten Memorial but had a few issues and had a few months off.

"He won his second race in May last year, and since then has won on two more occasions before his victory in the Avondale Cup."

Farm Boy has a record of 17 starts for five wins and nine placings.

Lady of Oakview's second foal was also a colt by El Hermano - Laddie of Oakview - and is raced by Allan Hayward senior and his wife Patricia. The next foal is a colt by Battle Paint, called Battle Time and she has a Battle Paint filly at foot and is in foal again to that stallion.

Hayward junior races Battle Time he has had three starts as a two-year-old for a third and two fourths, the last one behind Marky Mark, Maritimo and Showboy in the Group Three Eclipse Stakes.

"I'm a shocker I tell you, I love racing and it's exciting to breed horses," he enthused.

"I follow everything, pedigrees, form,everything, I love it. I find it's not just about performance when you are breeding, with Lady of Oakview no one saw how good she was. The Carters encouraged me to breed from her, I hold them in the highest regard, and they are absolutely fantastic and have done a wonderful job with Farm Boy and Battle Time.

"With Battle Paint, once again I saw the stallion and liked him, I know the Campin boys quite well it was an affordable price, and a good pedigree.

"Racing and breeding is not cheap. In my situation the horses have to cover their costs. If I don't race them and prove them, how do I give the mare a profile so they will be saleable? On the back of Farm Boy we now have a mare who has produced a Group Two winner from her first foal. All of a sudden she is worth something and we have a black type pedigree. It's one step at a time for me."

"It's a great game to be involved in and I love it. For me having the horses is something different from farming. He is a humble wee horse we think the world of him. How far he will go in the future I don't know but at the moment it's pretty amazing," he stressed, "but for now I better get back to baling the hay before the rain comes."


- Michelle Saba