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Brampton Legs leaves a Group 2 winner for Eric and Moyra Johnston

Pimms Time (white with black spots) holds on to win the Travis Stakes last weekend. - Photo NZTM website
Pimms Time (white with black spots) holds on to win the Travis Stakes last weekend.

Photo NZTM website

Mosgiel breeders Eric and Moyra Johnston only have one broodmare, Brampton Legs (Zabeel- La Suffragette), on their 30 acre property, but in their eyes she is pretty special especially after her first foal Pimms Time became a group two winner.

Pimms Time, a four-year-old mare by Pins (AUS), recently won the group two Travis Stakes, taking her winning tally to five wins from 12 starts. In fact, this time last year she was still a maiden, winning her first race at Otaki in late May before having a winter break.

Fresh up at the same track in November she won a 1200 metre race and topped that off with a nice second later in the month at Tauherenikau, before another break. She returned to the track again in March and won second up at Waipukurau over 1400, before running fifth at Otaki in rating 85 grade. In mid-April she won in that grade on her home track over 1600 metres, before stepping up to 2000metres in the Travis Stakes.

Pimms Time is trained at Hastings by Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen for members of the extended Whyte Family, Charlie, Anna, Malcolm, Elizabeth, Hamish and Sarah, along with friends Pip and Dean McCarroll, who purchased the mare through Bruce Perry at the 2010 Karaka Yearling Sales.

"She didn't have the best x-rays at Karaka so we were a little disappointed with the price we got for her," recalls Eric Johnston. "In fact the two-year-old filly by O'Reilly had a similar issue with her x-rays so we withdrew her – the vets down here tell me there is nothing wrong with her now so we will push on and race her.

"We have another one going to the sales next year so hopefully there will be no issues there! In the meantime I am left with an O'Reilly filly out of a Zabeel mare (same cross as the champion filly Silent Achiever) so that can't be too bad."

Johnston had been around horses all his life. His father Corey trained trotters in Gore. His wife Moyra is an accomplished equestrian rider and coaches and judges dressage. They have nine horses on their property besides Brampton Legs and they are nearly all sport horses.

He has raced a couple of horses over the years, and had a couple of broodmares in partnership with Brian and Lorraine Anderton. They bred the group three Churchill Stakes winner Hilton Jewel (Truly Vain [AUS]- Clarendon Jewel) together, and Johnston also previously raced and bred from Brampton Lady (Personal Escort[USA] –Lal's Gift) a granddaughter of Princess Mellay and full-sister to Laura Dee, the dam of Blood Brotha.

However he always wanted a well-bred racehorse that he could develop into a broodmare, and in 2001 he picked up Brampton Legs as a weanling for $120,000 at the Ra Ora Dispersal sale.

"She was all legs, and that is how she got her nickname Legs, and we combined that with our farm name Brampton to give her her racing name. She stands at 16.3 hands high now," said Johnston.

Her dam La Suffragette, was an unraced daughter of Palace Music (USA) and the champion Australian mare of her time, Emancipation (Bletchingly [AUS]-Ammo Girl), a winner of 19 races six of which were group one, and Brampton Legs was her first foal.

Her next foal was also by Zabeel and he became the group one Caulfield Cup winner Railings. Emancipation had already left a stakes winner in Royal Pardon and was the grandam of one other in Magneto. Since that time you can also add Raid (Pins), Virage de Fortune, Avenue, Slapstick, and Raihana to the list of stakes winners that are among her descendants.

"Brampton Legs only had nine starts. She won two races and was an out-and-out stayer always coming from the rear of the field. We were setting her for the Auckland Cup but she did a tendon about a month before the race. On the advice of Andrew Scott I sent her to Pins and that was when my association began with Waikato Stud.

"Mark has been brilliant, really helpful with pedigree advice and has become a great friend. The horses always look fantastic when they come home from Waikato Stud. It was Mark and Garry that convinced me to go to O'Reilly with Garry maintaining that the O'Reilly – Zabeel cross was going to be the next best thing. I hope they are right because I have got three of them at the moment, with the two-year-old, the weanling and the mare being back in foal to him!"

"Brampton Legs always had a mind of her own and even though she has mellowed with her foals, she will still tow you around the paddock if she feels like it, and only yesterday she lifted Moyra off the ground. She lives here on our property and this spring we will send her back to Pins.

"We can put up with her antics if she can leave foals like Pimms Time though. We got a great thrill seeing her win like that - I couldn't believe the run she got, we were all very excited and all my mates and I got a lot of money off the tote, so we certainly enjoyed that," he concluded.


- Michelle Saba