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Gaultier shows his class at Trentham

Gaultier (#7) wins the Levin Classic at Trentham on 17/1/15 - Picture courtesy of Race Images
Gaultier (#7) wins the Levin Classic at Trentham on 17/1/15

Picture courtesy of Race Images

"He is the best horse we have bred by miles, and it's a great pedigree update for his half-brother in the NZB Festival Sale," enthused a very delighted Peter Rattray when discussing the Group One win of Gaultier (Rios-Playacting[AUS]) in the Levin Classic at Trentham.

Although he was a maiden going into the race, and almost the rank outsider in the field, Gaultier had shown some ability in his previous four starts. Two weeks before the Group One event his part-owner and trainer Danica Guy realised the colt was pinching himself and made the decision to geld him in an effort to get him to show his true ability. It worked!

Guy who races the horse with her mother Gayle and friend Leighton Howl will now set Gaultier on a path towards the New Zealand Derby next month.

Gaultier is the first foal that Rattray and his wife Lee, members of the Waikato Branch of the NZTBA, bred from the Royal Academy (USA) mare Playacting (ex Dandy Bury[FR]) that they acquired from noted Cambridge bloodstock agent and breeder Stuey Hale.

"This mare was agisting at Stu's and she hadn't had a foal for a few years, the owner told Stu to find a home for her and asked me if I wanted her. I got her pedigree from Arion and it showed that she was a half-sister to a French Group One winner in Daily Busy.

"Chris Wood is a good friend of ours and at the time he had a Postponed (USA) colt in his stable called Louis The Tonne that he rated and he thought she would be a good mare to get hold of. Louis The Tonne went on to win his first start for Chris before going on to win another five in Australia.

"To sweeten the pil,l Stu gave us a free service to Rios (Hussonet [USA]- Gussy Godiva). I thought that can't be bad, she is by Royal Academy and a lot of Hussonet's winners were out of Nijinsky (USA) or Nijinsky line mares so off she went to Rios and the rest as they say is history," he exclaimed.

Rios was raced by Hale and beat Alamosa in the Group Two 2007 Wellington Guineas. That autumn he ran second in the Group Two Tulloch Stakes at Randwick. He won six races before retiring to stand at Waikato Stud in 2009 where he has served limited books. His only other New Zealand winner, Happy Place, is a four-year-old also trained and owned by Danica Guy.

According to Lee Rattray they took Gaultier to the sales as a yearling along with two others, and he knocked the headboard off and got pretty banged up.

"We didn't get a bid on him. We brought him home and took him back for the Ready to Run sale and sold him there for $17,500 to Danica Guy."

Following Gaultier Playacting has produced the Roc de Cambes yearling and a Dalghar (FR) colt in the Festival Sale, and she is foal again to that stallion.

"The mating with Roc de Cambes (Red Ransom[USA]-Fairy Lights[IRE]) looked good on paper, and a couple of good judges told me they liked them as young stock. They have taken a while to come up but he did have a couple of trial winners last week. I seem to have a monopoly on his stock with his only three yearlings in the Festival Sale being ours," added Rattray.

His other colts are out of Muppy (AUS) an unraced Snaadee mare the dam of four winners, from the same family as the hardy campaigner Indikator and the first foal out of the unraced Keeper(AUS) mare, A Flamingood Time. They are in the draft of Esker Lodge, but are being prepared by the Rattrays at their Mystery Creek property.

"We have ten acres here at Mystery Creek and we do everything here except foal them, and sometimes that happens too. From weaning right through to the sales. It's not worth spending a lot of money on sales preps for the festival sale.

"We bought the property when I was in management as I felt I wasn't doing anything physical," said Rattray a retired scientist with a PhD in animal nutrition, who worked at Ruakura Research Centre just out of Hamilton.

"It's our hobby we like the foals and the hands on contact with the horses," added Lee, "who admits that it was her husband that initially had the interest in the horses.

That interest developed when they took a share in a horse named Vapor Dream (Silver Dream[GB]-Vaporetto), who ran third behind the mighty McGinty and Andretti in the Group Two Dalgety Stakes at Trentham with an American gentleman called Charlie Parsons, who is the father of Kristine Stead, who bred and trained Jacowils to win the 2009 Group One Railway Stakes.

"We bred a few foals with Charlie out of her, then we had a few partnerships with Highview, before we decided to buy the property and do it ourselves with a few cheaper mares. We like to breed horses, and basically we have had a few in the select sale but most end up in festival. This is my retirement hobby but it might become a business at this rate."

Rattray was working with his horses getting them ready for the upcoming sale the day Gaultier won his Group One at Trentham.

"I wanted to watch it on TV so I came in had a shower, but was running a little late, so Lee put the race on live pause, then all of sudden while we were still watching the race the phones starting ringing and beeping, we kept watching and thought he must have at least run a place" he said, "when he won we were too hysterical to answer the phones anyway!"


- Michelle Saba