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Whangarei Cup winner for Glennis Munro

Bechtolsheimer wins the Whangarei Cup - Photo NZTM website
Bechtolsheimer wins the Whangarei Cup

Photo NZTM website

Whangarei Cup winner Bechtolsheimer (Remind[USA]- Sophie Ro) has literally come a long way this year to achieve success in the open 2100 metre handicap event, scoring decisively by three-quarters of a length.

That win completed a hat-trick for the four-year-old mare who is raced by her breeder Glennis Munro, a resident of Avondale in central Southland. She was previously trained in Riverton where she won two races, before Munro made the decision earlier this year to send her north to be trained by her late husband's niece Jo Surgenor, and for more opportunities.

"I never thought I would have a horse race in the North Island. Everyone says it's so much more expensive to have them in work up there, but it's not really and she has won three races now and has so many more options up in the north.

"You have a choice of tracks as well. She seems to like Ruakaka - she has won two races there now, and one at Avondale. The only thing is we are not sure where she will go when the tracks get firm. She will have three weeks in the paddock now and then we will map out a plan. She is tough and needs racing - all that family do- you can't leave them in the paddock too long," Munro said proudly.

When it comes to this family, Munro certainly knows what she is talking about as she has been involved with it for 35 years when she became involved in the racing game by default.

"I purchased a lovely big scopey thoroughbred filly to develop as a dressage horse,. She was by Double Nearco(USA) out of Martin's Pride (Kurdistan[GB]- Robyn' Lass) from an old Southland family with no female tail line so it's ineligible for the stud book.

"Anyway, I gave her to the McKay's to break her in and she showed a bit of ability and they persuaded me to give her a trial to see how she would get on. Peter McKay rode her and she won it and the rest as they say is history. I went on to race her and she won five races before retiring to the broodmare paddock."

Named Kinkajou she did have two attempts at eventing as a six-year-old, and won the dressage section in both of them and finished second overall both times. She then became Munro's first broodmare and she raced all of her nine foals and bred from all of her daughters including Sophie Ro, the dam of Bechtolsheimer.

Sophie Ro won four races including two over fences and is the dam of five foals of which four are winners including Lautenschlager (by Forensic Evidence [IRE]), Schmeckenbecher and Schokemohle and now Bechtolsheimer. Lautenschlager raced until he was an 11 year-old and won 13 races - seven on the flat, three steeplechases and three hurdles. He won the Listed Riverton Cup and a year later ran second in the same event, and won two steeplechases on that course as well.

Schmeckenbecher by Senor Pete [USA] won five races and his younger brother Schokemohle won four before he was sold to Brett Scott in Victoria where he will do his future racing and will most likely be tried over fences next year. Lautenschlager and Schmeckenbecher have retired as hacks in Southland.

After foaling Schockemohle Sophie Ro suffered from recurring colic, and so instead of returning to Senor Peter for a third time went to Long Acres stud to be cared for by Myles Gordon and Deborah Clark where Remind stands, so she went to him instead. Unfortunately that proved to be her last foal.

"Right from the time she was born she was a lovely foal. From the day she was weaned we knew she was different from her siblings as she had a great attitude. She gets that from Remind - his stock have a great attitude, my breed are just tough!" she exclaimed.

Remind is a stakes-winning son of the Champion USA two-year-old and Canadian Horse of the Year Deputy Minister (CAN) out of the Timeless Moment (USA) mare Watch The Time(USA). He is the sire of a dozen winners in New Zealand and Australia with less than 30 starters, and his oldest southern hemisphere progeny are only four. He stands for a fee of $2,000.

"Now I am seriously thinking about sending her half-sister Criquette to him. She has two Edenwold (CAN) colts but is not in foal. The first of these colts - the two-year-old - has been broken and will go up to Jo soon.

"I have had this breed for 35 years and I know how they run, and how they race. They are big horses and you can't put a big horse on the rails and expect him to run home.

"JoSurgenor is my late husband Alan's niece. She is a very accomplished equestrian and has travelled all over the world with horses. We used to take her on riding courses when she was young. I am so impressed with her set up at Clevedon and the way she looks after them."

Jo has a permit to train licence and trains from the picturesque Ashford Lodge, 210 acres of paddocks resplendent with gardens and ponds which is owned by Auckland breeder Peter Walker. She trains mainly for Walker.

"I love to breed horses - I love looking after the young ones. I am still fundamentally trying to breed jumpers and eventers rather than race horses. I have all the facilities and the perfect set up here on the farm and they do very well here," Munro said of the farm situated just 35 kilometres north west of Winton in central Southland.

"When Alan was alive we were beef and sheep farmers, but before he died he leased the majority of the farm for dairy grazing. At least now I can get the opportunity to leave the farm and go to the north and watch Bechtolsheimer race," she added, "and that has to be pretty exciting."


- Michelle Saba