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2012 New Zealand Broodmare of the Year finalists announced

Three broodmares have been nominated for the prestigious NZ Broodmare of the Year Award. They are Sheila Cheval (Mi Preferido [USA]-Silver Sheila), Sunday Joy (Sunday Silence [USA]- Joie Denise) and Triassic (Tights [USA]- Astral Row).

The award is given to the mare whose New Zealand-bred and/or New Zealand-conceived progeny, anywhere in the world most clearly reflect true breeding merit in quality of racing performance in the season under review,

Sheila Cheval is amongst the nine mares owned by the father and son partnership of Colin and John Thompson of Rich Hill Stud. She was purchased by Colin Thompson, a renowned veterinarian, in 2002 and was bred by Matamata breeding identity Bill Schaare.

Sheila Cheval is the dam of the former Horse of the Year Mufhasa (Pentire [GB]), who has also won the Sprinter of the Year title on two occasions. In the past season he added a further four group one victories to his already impressive tally, but this year had the distinction of winning two of those on Australian soil, proving to those across the Tasman that New Zealand-bred sprinters can foot it with the best on Australian soil.

In an eight race season campaign he won four times, was second three times and fourth once. In the spring he won the first leg of the Hawkes Bay triple crown, the group one Hawke's Bay Challenge Stakes before running second in the second leg. In a one start raid to Melbourne he won the group one Toorak Handicap. On his return he ran second in the group three Tauranga Stakes and followed that with a win in the group one Captain Cook Stakes.

In the autumn he was second in the group one Waikato Draught Sprint, before returning to Australia to take out the Futurity Stakes, and finish his season with a fourth in the group one Ryder Stakes.

The second nominee, Sunday Joy, is currently based in Australia at Strawberry Hill Stud. She is owned by Australian entrepreneur John Singleton who races her outstanding daughter More Joyous (More Than Ready), and it is through her deeds on the racetrack that Sunday Joy has been nominated.

As a five year old More Joyous asserted herself as one of the smartest mares in Australasia. In only seven starts in the season under review she won five races, three at group one level and took her winning total to 19 wins. This season she won the ATC Queen of the Turf Stakes for the second year in a row, the Doncaster Handicap and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. She also won the ATC Canterbury Stakes and MRC Tristarc Stakes at group two level.

More Joyous was foaled in New Zealand in 2006 when her Oaks winning dam Sunday Joy came to visit Zabeel.

Triassic makes up the trio of mares nominated. She is owned by Alex and Cecile Smith trading under the banner of Piper Farm and won the title last year. Once again the deeds of her international group one winning son So You Think (High Chaparral [IRE]) have propelled her into contention for the title.

So You Think, who was bred by Piper Farm and Michael Moran, raced entirely in the Northern Hemisphere in the period under consideration and recorded three wins, a second and two fourths, all in group one races.

He carried on from the previous year's exploits by winning the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown before finishing an unlucky fourth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and second in the Champion Stakes at Ascot. He opened 2012 with a fourth in the Dubai World Cup before ending his racing career with two victories, the first in the Tattersall's Gold Cup for the second successive year, at the Curragh and his final start in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting.

So You Think will commence stud duties at Coolmore Australia this spring.

The Smith's also bred Now You Know (by Elusive City [USA]) from Triassic who this season won three races and was placed in the group 3 ATC Carbine Club Stakes.




- Michelle Saba