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Sue and Stuart McGiffert breed a stakes winner at Trentham

Natuzzi returns to scale after winning the Lightning Handicap at Trentham - Photo NZTM website
Natuzzi returns to scale after winning the Lightning Handicap at Trentham

Photo NZTM website

South Canterbury breeders Sue and Stuart McGiffert admit to being "pretty excited" when watching Natuzzi (Coats Choice[AUS] – Monsanto) taking out the listed Sahkee's Secret Melbourne Racing Club Lightning Handicap at Trentham recently.

"We enjoy sitting here and watching our progeny race on a Saturday, and its pretty exciting watching them win a black type race at Trentham. We have been in the industry a long time and so know how hard it is to breed a black type winner, but it shows that the little breeder can still achieve things," said Stuart McGiffert a member of the Canterbury/Marlborough/Westland branch on the NZTBA.

This was not the first black type win for the four-year-old Coats Choice gelding. He also won the listed Southland Guineas as a three-year-old. Trained at Wingatui by Paul Richards, he was put out for a spell after that Guineas win last summer, with three wins under his belt. He returned to the racetrack again in October, and won a 1400 metre race second up, before running down the track at the New Zealand Cup carnival in mid November.

He was freshened and returned to the races on Boxing Day where he finished an unlucky sixth in the Berkley Stud Stakes, and 10 days later won an 1100 metre sprint race at Omakau.

His next start resulted in a third in the listed Timaru Stakes over 1400, followed up by a fast-finishing second in the group three White Robe Lodge Stakes over a mile in early February. He was then freshened for his tilt at the champagne turf and in the hands of South Island hoop Chris Johnson duly won the Lightning with ease in a time of 1.08.29mins.

"As an owner trainer I won a race at Trentham in the 80's with a horse called Pantless – Chris Johnson rode that too, so I have an idea of how excited the Duells and Paul Richards were feeling when Natuzzi won there. It's a big thing for a South Island horse to go up to Wellington and take on the big time. Good on them," added McGiffert.

"I am pleased for the Duells as they have also leased Natuzzi's two-year-old full sister, and will race her in partnership with Paul and his wife Leanne. She wasn't a very big yearling and being a filly I knew it would be a waste of time taking her to the sales, so I offered her to Paul. He is very pleased with her progress, and we still own a full sister to a stakes winner, so that has worked out well all around."

Natuzzi is the second foal of the Kilimanjaro (GB) mare Monsato, a winner of one race and a half sister to four winners including Chime Zam a group one winner of nine races including the Castlemaine Stakes. Their dam Zamaree (Zamazaan[FR]) won two races.

The McGiffert's bought Monsato at the South Island Sale for $500 in foal to Coats Choice. Her first foal, a gelding by Captain Rio(GB), is Distant Glory a winner of five races in Malaysia.

After she foaled Natuzzi, Monsato was sent to Danske and produced a colt, who is now three, and her two-year-old is her last foal. She wasn't served in 2011 and missed to Coats Choice last year, but is safely in foal to Road to Rock(AUS) at the moment.

"He is a promising young stallion and we thought the mare deserved a shot at something different. We are really close friends with Stu Shirriffs from Wellfield, he has been a huge help to us and has helped us buy mares, so I promised Stu I would support him in some way if I could. However this spring she will go back to Coats Choice.

"We just try and breed nice racehorses, we don't have any really flash mares and we don't spend a lot on service fees - we just try and breed a horse that is affordable for someone to buy and win a few races with.

"Last year from our eight mares we had six individual winners, which we were pretty excited about. Natuzzi won a stakes race, Remembrance (Coats Choice – Please Remember) won for Michael Pitman, She's Vain (Coats Choice – Noustone) won for Ben Foote, and his half brother Toy's Boy (by My Halo [ARG]) won in Macau.

"Go With The Flo (Trisaking – What Ho Flo) a horse we sold to Gai Waterhouse through Phil Cataldo, after he had won a race here, won in Australia before becoming ill and dying, and Princess Halo won her fifth race.

"This year we have six mares in foal, Monsato to Road to Rock, Princess Halo has retired from racing and gone to Coats Choice, as have Noustone (Bigstone[IRE]- Nouvain) and Blame The Music a Stravinsky mare out of Noubeel by Zabeel.

"Noubeel is a winning half sister to Nouvain who was a stakes winner of four races, and Olimay (Bigstone [IRE]- Oilvain) is out of a winning full sister to Nouvain. Olimay is in foal to Handsome Ransom(AUS) and Hurricane Strike is in foal to Edenwold(CAN).

"We have a couple of other mares but they foaled too late to get back in foal this season."

The McGiffert's keep their mares and foals on a 700 acre farm at Otaio about 20 minutes south of Timaru, where they run a dairy support unit. They originally farmed sheep and mixed crops but since switching to dairy have more time to concentrate on the horses.

They purchased this property around 20 years ago, and have developed their breeding interests in that time.

"John Parsons and Neil Coulbeck got us involved in the racing game and we have never looked back. Sue was keen on horses in her younger days and as Sue Philpott rode as a jumps jockey. But we just love being involved and love the people in the game.

"We couldn't do what we do with the horses without the support of good people and we are very fortunate that there are plenty of them around here, but most of all we couldn't get by without the help of Kevin Brosnahan and Anna Douglas. You are only as good as the people around you," he emphasized.


Under the banner of 'Three Valleys', the McGifferts sell horses at the South Island Sale and this year will present eight two-year-olds in August. They include colts by Falkirk, Rios, Lucky Unicorn (AUS), Perfectly Ready (AUS) and Elusive City (USA) and Edenwold (CAN) and fillies by Road to Rock (AUS) and Edenwold (CAN).

"I bought five colts at the National weanling sales last year to add to my draft, as you need to have colts by named sires to attract the buyers to your draft," and he added, "I think we have some nice horses this year and they should sell well."


- Michelle Saba