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Yeah Nah finally fronts up for Nicole Smythe

Viadana (Towkay - Yeah Nah) takes out the Group Three Eagle Technology at Ellerslie - Photo NZTM website
Viadana (Towkay - Yeah Nah) takes out the Group Three Eagle Technology at Ellerslie

Photo NZTM website

Ask any thoroughbred breeder and they will tell you that patience and perseverance are probably the two most vitally important characteristics required to be involved in the business.

The win by Viadana (Towkay[AUS]- Yeah Nah) in the group three Eagle Technology Stakes at Ellerslie recently is a testament to this. According to her trainer Lance Noble she has always shown ability but until now has lacked the maturity to fulfill her potential. He and the mare's owners have shown great patience and allowed her to mature and have been rewarded with a group three win and a hint of bigger things to come.

However, the fact that Viadana was even actually bred by Little Avondale Trust in 2007 is a testament to patience and perseverance in itself.

"Nicole Smythe who owns Yeah Nah sent her to us in 2005 to go to Towkay but she didn't get in foal. She took a while to get settled here so I decided to lease her and sent her back to Towkay the following season," said former NZTBA councilor Sam Williams of Little Avondale Stud.

"By that stage she had destroyed a crush or two, but we had worked her out and she got in foal and produced Viadana and we got her back in foal to Towkay again and sent her back to Nicole. She returned a couple of years later and it looks like she will live here permanently now, as she is not a preferred client by any of the transport companies either. She is a little bit claustrophobic, was a barrier rogue and doesn't like travelling," he added.

Nicole on the other hand is not quite so complimentary.

"I love her to bits, but she is an absolute mole! She has had so many warnings, it's been curtains for her a few times. She is lucky Viadana has come up and that she is in foal, because earlier in the season I had told Sam that I was finally giving up on her!" she told the NZTBA recently.

Nicole's journey with Yeah Nah started in 1998 when she was living in Mercer, and she wandered up the highway to Karaka for the afternoon to the 1998 National Weanling, Broodmare and Mixed Bloodstock Sale, and bought herself a weanling.

"I was standing in the auditorium when I ran into my former employer and good friend Joe Yorke, and he asked me what I was doing there. I said I was going to buy a horse, and he said 'well 'Bluie' if you must buy a horse buy this one' and it was Yeah Nah. At that stage Joe had Ships Belle (Kinjite – Jelignite Jen), the full sister and thought a bit of her. So for $300 I bought Yeah Nah.

Nicole an accomplished horse-woman, who has been involved with horses all her life, took the weanling home to Mercer and put her in a paddock to grow. It soon became obvious that the Kinjite filly was a bit of a handful.

"She was a shocker. After she had almost killed the farrier, we knew we had to get her broken in and try and teach her something. I used to ride her all the time. She was actually awesome to ride, but she took ages to mature. She couldn't be trusted and wasn't that keen on men. She was either all body or all legs and she didn't actually go to a trainer until she was a five-year-old.

"She had one start for Lisa Latta and developed a shin splint and had to be put out for a year! Back she went a year later and had two starts and still didn't cope. She was claustrophobic - she wanted to lie down in the gates so had issues there, and she nearly destroyed a Majestic horse truck and was deemed to need three spaces to travel anywhere.

"I was going to give up on her then, but persevered and as a seven-year-old she won a maiden over 2100 metres at Hawera. When she got back to Lisa's she escaped and I think she had out worn her welcome there so I sent her to Sam, and basically he has looked after her ever since."

In the intervening years Jelignite Jen ( Crested Wave [USA] – Pop Art[AUS]) had gone onto produce a very smart mare in Singing Star(Danasinga [AUS]), a winner of eight races including the group two Waikato Gold Cup and the listed Manawatu Breeders' Stakes. Singing Star's full brother Brave Flyer was a stakes placed winner of three races and another half sister - Written By A Queen (Masterclass [USA]) - was also a stakes placed winner.

On the back of the success of Singing Star and Brave Flyer Nicole had hoped to send Yeah Nah to Danasinga (Danehill [IRE]-Princess Tracy[IRE) but that was the year he relocated to Australia.

"With Danasinga out of the picture I decided the next best thing was probably Towkay (Last Tycoon [IRE] – Princess Tracy[IRE]) and that was how she came to go to Sam. She didn't get in foal that first year as she took so long to settle in down there so Sam asked if he could lease her and that is how he bred Viadana and sold her at Karaka for $25,000.

"I bred the next foal. a full sister to Viadana. and she is four now and racing on lease out of Lisa Latta's stable. She has got to trial stage but went shin sore so she will resume again next month. Yeah Nah came back to me for a year or so and then I sent her back to Little Avondale. She took a while to settle in again but they got her back in foal to Towkay. Sam and I have a full brother to Viadana in the Select Sale next month and she missed last year but luckily for her and for me she is in foal to Per Incanto (USA) so I won't be giving up on her yet," she mused.

And if you want to know why Yeah Nah was named after that quintessential kiwi phrase – it was due to the fact that when Nicole's nephew Andrew Scott was starting out as a trainer and was frequently interviewed on Trackside he would always answer every question with 'yeah nah' much to the aggravation of his extended family. They constantly had him on about it so much so that Nicole gave her recalcitrant filly that name.

- Michelle Saba