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Heather and Peter's dream comes true!!

Photo: NZTN website
Photo: NZTN website

Taranaki Branch members Heather and Peter Crofskey feel like they have been catapulted into another universe following the deeds of their unbeaten filly Habibi (Ekraar[USA]-Danny Holiday).

"She has turned our lives around. It was totally unexpected and it's wonderful," Heather Crofskey enthused.

"It's a journey that as little people in the racing and breeding game you dream about, you occasionally see someone like yourself having a lot of success and you dream about it but you never really believe that it will happen to you. After Habibi won her third race I said to Donna (Logan – the filly's trainer) do we dare to dream and she very quietly turned around and said yes."

Habibi debuted at Ruakaka in mid October and won her 1200 metre maiden race by a nose. A month later she lined up at Avondale over 1400 metres and raced about midfield on the outer. She loomed up to the lead with about 150 metres to run and went away to win by a length and a half.

About three weeks later she stepped up to 1500 metres at Ellerslie, and even though she knuckled over at the start she managed to race in second position throughout. Once in the straight the leader put a break on the field and Habibi showed plenty of tenacity to get up and wear her down, winning by a short head. It was after that performance that Heather asked the question of Donna.

She was back at Ellerslie on Boxing Day where she faced her first big challenge in the 1600 metre group two Great Northern Guineas, and passed with flying colours hitting the lead at the 300 and racing away to win by three and a quarter lengths. A week later on the same track she dented a few more egos and enhanced her reputation when she won the group two Championship Stakes by two and three-quarter lengths.

Her main focus now is the group one New Zealand Derby in early March, and before that she may race in the group three Waikato Guineas and group two Avondale Guineas.

Habibi is the third foal from the Crofskey's mare Danny Holiday, and she is raced by them along with Peter's son Gavin and their long time friend Pam McIntyre. Gavin was a jumps jockey in New Zealand and Australia and when he retired from riding he drove floats in the Melbourne area. He now manages the family dairy farm in Taranaki. The Crofskeys have a long tradition in racing in that area for many years.

The close knit Taranaki racing and breeding fraternity has played a big part in the conception of Habibi, as her mother Danny Holiday (Danasinga[AUS]- Ballamanda) was originally given to Heather and Peter by another Taranaki horseman Warren Bolton. About the same time Kristelle Ellice, who also hails from that part of the world, was working at Stoney Bridge in Karaka and introduced Heather and Peter to pedigree aficionado Peter Jenkins.

"We went to Stoney Bridge and saw Ekraar (Red Ransom [USA]- Sucahuista [USA]) parade and we both liked him immensely and we thought he looked like a horse that would leave a Derby winner, and after discussing the pedigree with Peter Jenkins we decided to send Danny Holiday to him."

That mating produced Honest who has won two races in Singapore. Danny Holiday returned to Ekraar and produced another colt Extra Holiday who hasn't performed. She then missed twice before returning to Ekraar again to produce Habibi, and as the Crofskey's have a breeding right to him she will most likely go back to him next season.

Following Habibi, she produced a filly to Thewayyouare(IRE) in 2011 and a colt foal to Mr Nancho(ARG) this season. She is now in foal to Echoes of Heaven (AUS).

Danny Holiday, a winner of one race, is a half-sister to three winners. Her dam Ballamanda (Lord Ballina[AUS] – Mirramanda[AUS]) was an unraced sister to the Western Australian Derby and Perth Cup winner Mirror Magic, the stakes performer Digger'N'Dealer, a half-sister to Bold Mirage (Senor Pete) a stakes winner of 10 races.

"Peter and I really love staying horses and staying races and that is what Habibi was bred for and I think she will keep going over longer distances and she still has a long way to go," Heather said.

"We have four mares - Danny Holiday, Timpin (Pins [AUS]-Tinamou), Replicate (Towkay[AUS]-Replica) and Kasella (Kapstaad – Aswan) and they are all in foal.
We also had three foals this season by Per Incanto(USA)-(Replicate), Sir Percy(GB)- (Timpin) and Mr Nancho (ARG) filly out of Danny Holiday.

"Timpin also has a Tavistock (NZ) yearling colt going to the Festival sale. Two years ago we took two fillies to the sales and we never got a bid on them. We didn't go back last year. I still think that a lot of small breeders are cautious about entering their horses in the sales as we don't really have a place in the sales arena anymore.

"One of those fillies that I had to keep won at her first start last month. She is named I Suggest (Any Suggestion – Replicate), and we also have her younger sister in work, along with a Red Clubs filly. And we have yearlings by Falkirk, Pins, Ekraar, Lucky Unicorn and the Thewayyouare filly. So as you can see our bloodstock numbers are burgeoning and we don't plan to get any bigger," she exclaimed.

"We raced Replicate and Peter's brother has a share in her. She was bred by Lorraine Jameson and is related to Modem (Omnicorp – Replica) who is the first horse we ever raced. Pam McIntyre was in that horse with us as well. He won five races here in the late 90's before being sold to England where he won a further five.

"Over the years we have become great friends with Lorraine and she gifted us Timpin. We have met some great people over the years being involved with horses.

"If this journey with Habibi has taught me anything, it is to keep going with your mares if you believe in them. Everybody who has a mare that they believe in should try and keep going. Get a little bit of advice on the way and," she concluded, "the dream will come true."


- Michelle Saba