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Snipza Gold comes up 'trumps' with Dugan

Photo: NZTM website
Photo: NZTM website

Around 16 years ago Waikato NZTBA branch member Steve Marriner joined a Te Akau racing syndicate to have a bit of fun racing a horse. Also joining that syndicate to race a horse called Te Akau Class were Doug Ansford, Bruce Fisher and Trevor Lee, none of whom knew each other at the time.

These days the fun is still continuing and not only have they become successful race horse owners but they are successful breeders as well, with Dugan (Darci Brahma – Snipza Gold) being their latest stakes winner.

Dugan recently won the Listed John Turkington Forestry Castletown Stakes over 1200 metres, on the back of a last start win in a 1200 metre two-year-old event at Awapuni a fortnight earlier. The Darci Brahma colt was tried early in his two-year-old season where he ran a fourth behind Recite, a fifth, and a sixth behind Ruud Awakening, before being put aside to mature. Back from a spell in late April he recorded a solid third in a 1200 metre race at Te Rapa before going on to his Awapuni win.

The Darci Brahma gelding is raced by Spicer Thoroughbreds Darci No 1 Syndicate managed by Victorian Brad Spicer, who purchased the colt from the Phoenix Park yearling draft at the 2012 Premier Sale. He is the first foal of the Pins mare Snipza Gold who was bred and raced by Marriner Bloodstock (Steve and Lyn Marriner) Doug Ansford, Bruce Fisher and Trevor Lee.

So how did it all begin? According to Steve Marriner, who hails from a family that were keen on racing and is a cousin of noted Sydney-based racing writer Jack Petley and former trainer Barry Petley, (their mothers Zillah Duke and Joan Petley are sisters). When Te Akau Class was a stakes winning two-year-old they all got a bit carried away and decided to buy his half sister at the forthcoming yearling sales.

"Te Akau Class won his first start at Cambridge, before running second in the Listed Ford Fairview Stakes at Te Rapa, and then won the Group Three Eclipse Stakes at Ellerslie.

"We saw that his half sister by Gold Brose (AUS) was in the forthcoming yearling sales and thought she might make a nice breeding proposition long term and so we commissioned David Ellis to buy her for us as well.

"Well, as Golden Dawn, she won two races before going to stud and leaving five winners from six foals including Bridgestone (Pentire [GB]), a stakes winner who ran third in the West Australian Derby, and Snipza Gold who won seven races and was placed in the Group Three Darley Plate, Stewards Handicap, the Listed Timaru Stakes and Canterbury Breeders' Stakes.

"She also left Our Gold Bullion (Pentire) who won four races, Volkza Gold (Volksraad [IRE]) who won five races in Macau and Super Shadow and Darci's Gold who are also by Darci Brahma and closely related to Dugan."

Super Shadow has won three races in Singapore and is in the same stable as Darci Brahma's wonder horse in that country Super Easy, while Darci's Gold is raced by the partnership and has won three races also.

Unfortunately Darci's Gold was to be her last foal as she dropped dead in the paddock while in foal to Darci Brahma.

Naturally Golden Dawn and Snipza Gold remained in the Te Akau stable during their racing careers and Steve's association with the stable also lead to him becoming a shareholder in the Te Akau Breeding Syndicate that raced Darci Brahma.

"That was a really exciting time in my life and thanks to Darci I have managed to be able to stay in the business and he has funded the rest of the bloodstock in the Marriner Bloodstock portfolio. It's pretty lean at the moment though with just Darci's Gold and Snipza Gold and I often wonder if it is worth it. For three years it cost $35 a day to have a horse trained and we raced for six or seven thousand dollars, now it's about $65 a day and we are still racing for six or seven thousand dollars, then you get a nice colt, and breed a winner and you stay in. I also have a share in Encosta Diablo (Encosta de Lago [AUS]-Devils Lair) who has won five races in Singapore out of Mark Walker's Te Akau stable.

"I have a majority shareholding in Snipza Gold so I plan the matings. So far she has only been to Darci Brahma with Dugan being the first foal. As he was a colt we just followed the so called rule of selling your colts and keeping your fillies. However, obviously we are wishing we didn't sell him now!

"We do have a lovely full brother at The Oaks now and they think a lot of him. He will be entered in the yearling sales next year, but who knows what will happen by then. If Dugan comes up in the spring he could fetch some good money, and the reality is you have to take it, you can't win it here in New Zealand.

"The mare isn't in foal, she missed to Darci but in all probability she will return to him this season," he concluded.


- Michelle Saba