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First Stakes winner for Kay Hood and partners

Aide Memoire (outside) defeats Anniesstar in the Listed James Bull Rangitikei Gold Cup at Awapuni - Race Images PN
Aide Memoire (outside) defeats Anniesstar in the Listed James Bull Rangitikei Gold Cup at Awapuni

Race Images PN

The recent win by Aide Memoire (Remind [USA]- Explain), in the listed Rangitikei Gold Cup, marked a special milestone for members of the NZTBA Canterbury, Marlborough and Westland Branch Kay Hood, Debbie Clark and Myles Gordon.

The lightly raced four-year-old mare was the first stakes winner for her Canterbury based sire Remind (USA) owned by Clark and Gordon and standing at their Long Acres Stud property in Darfield, and the first stakes winners for her breeders Alan Groves, Iain Gunn and Hood's Hedwood Thoroughbreds Limited.

"We are absolutely thrilled with the result, it's so exciting to breed your first stakes winner" said a delighted Hood, "and thrilled that she is the first stakes winner for Remind (USA). He is a very under rated stallion and his horses are sound and tend to just keep on getting better as they get older."

That sentiment is shared by Debbie Clark.

"Fraser Auret her trainer, has done an amazing job with this filly and has given her the time she has needed. That's what Remind's horses all need, time, they need a trainer that is going to give them an opportunity to be a good three or four-year-old. It's very exciting, it's been a long time coming but we are thrilled," said Clark.

"He only ever had a limited book, and the last couple of years he has only served about 14 mares and they are all our own. He only had three live foals last year. It's a shame really as he has left some good horses. The Gordonian is rising eight and he has won seven races including the Wairio Cup last week. Bechtolschiemer has won seven, and she is still racing well at six along with Lucille who has won six races. Remind (USA) himself raced on until he was six.

In winning the Rangitikei Gold Cup, Aide Memoire was making her first appearance in open class and easily scored her fifth win from only 11 starts. Trained by Fraser Auret at Marton, she won her first race at her second start this time last year, and backed up two weeks later with another win. After one more start, the only one where she has failed to earn a cheque, she was turned out.

She returned to the race track again in October placing twice before winning on the Manawatu track in November, another second placing followed and it was back to the spelling paddock. She resumed in late April with a close second at Trentham over 1300 metres and went into the Rangitikei Gold Cup on the back of a win at Otaki over 1400 metres.

Aide Memoire is the eighth foal and first stakes winner from the winning Success Express(USA) mare Explain, who was purchased by Hood in 2009 with Groves and Gunn, whom she had met at the Levin Breeders Forum.

She is the dam of four winners from five foals to race, including She's A Tomboy (Shinko King[IRE]) who won five races, and the full brothers La Capiche and Baby Han by Felix The Cat(USA) who both won three.

Her dam Nancy's Glory (USA) by His Excellency (USA) was the winner of seven races including two listed races at Meadowlands. Explain was her only winner and was 20 when she foaled Aide Memoire, she left one other foal, a colt by Coat's Choice (AUS) who fetched $18,000 at the 2015 NZB South Island Yearling Sale.

Remind is by the 1981 Champion 2YO Colt in the USA and Canadian Horse of the Year Deputy Minister who went on to be a Champion sire in the USA four times, as well as being the Champion Broodmare sire in 2006 and 2007. He in turn was the sire of 90 stakes winners. He is by Vice Regent from the Bunty's Fight mare, Mint Copy.

His dam Watch The Time (USA) was by the Damascus stallion Timeless Moment. She was a winner herself and a half-sister to a stakes winner in Just Two Blocks. She left nine winners including the full stakes winning brothers War Thief, Watch and Stop Watch. Another half-brother Prime Meridian by The Prime Minister was also a stakes winner.

As a racehorse Remind won five races at three, he won the Listed Storm Cat Stakes at Keeneland over a mile and was second in the Group Two Arlington Classic, the Group Three Churchill Downs American Turf Stakes, Jefferson Cup and Delaware Kent Stakes.

As a four year-old he won one race and was second in the Group Three Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup and Stakes, and again as a five year old, he also added a further stakes placings to his tally.

Hood, an active committee member on the NZTBA's Canterbury-Marlborough-Westland branch, stumbled into thoroughbred breeding quite by default.

Marie, Hood's daughter and partner in Hedwood Thoroughbreds, an accomplished equestrian, was eventing a thoroughbred mare called Smokey Lady. They operate from a property in West Melton on the outskirts of Christchurch.

At the time she was working for the then Wynyard Stud and Edwina Morris suggested that I Conquer was an ideal stallion to cross with Smokey Lady as her grand sire was Vice Regal. That first foal Vapourizer won four races for the family.

"Peter and I then purchased Emerge from Wynyard and she produced Deceptive, a winner of five races and we were hooked. Since then we have bred 15 winners of numerous races both here and overseas, and we consolidated our interests with Marie's and established the successful Hedwood Thoroughbreds brand."

About 12 years ago Hood became a friend of the late Clive Harper after asking him to help with stallion choices and he encouraged her to join the Levin Breeders Forum of which he was a member. This group has been meeting in Levin, every second Sunday of the month for about 30 years and Hood attends when she can.

"Having bred Afghan Hounds for 25 years, and top winning Siamese and Oriental Cats since 1996, pedigree analysis was a natural progression. With this experience I have found that the dam-line is very important and the stallions we choose must be of the same excellent type as our mares who must be from good families.

"With this in mind, I took Alan Groves to see Remind (USA) who is a beautiful type and well suited physically to Explain whom we had purchased in partnership. His pedigree suited her very well with 4 x 4 to Damascus up front. Siblings on whom I base a pedigree are all important and she has 5 x 5 to two brothers Jabneh(USA) and Beau Gar(USA) whose dam Bellesoeur (USA) is by Beau Pere(GB) who works so well in New Zealand.

"Also there are multiples of Hyperion and Sickle via Selene. The pedigree is full of multiple sex balanced lines with six of sex balanced Bulldog and his brother Sir Galahad also has six lines. Alan liked this mating because of the Deputy Minister/Hold Your Peace proven cross. Deputy Minister (USA) through Remind and Hold Your Peace (USA) as the sire of Success Express."

"And that is how we bred and raised our first stakes winner." - Michelle Saba