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Swiper The Fox sneaks home in the Champagne Stakes

Swiper The Fox is a character from the children's cartoon series Dora The Explorer. He is described as a sneaky fox who is fast and agile, with a penchant for thievery. He is the antagonist in most episodes of the popular series.

Swiper The Fox (Align[AUS])- Canzano [AUS]) the racehorse, demonstrated similar characteristics when he sneakily snuck through the field of two-year-olds in the listed 1600 metre Novotel Champagne Stakes at Ellerslie recently.

In the hands of comeback jockey Jason Collett he settled at the rear of the field and was still last when the field turned for home down the long Ellerslie straight. Collett weaved the horse through the field and with about 100m to run he burst clear to win going away by a neck.

It was the second win in the career of the Align gelding, who suffered the indignity of being gelded two days after his first win at Counties on a slow track in mid February. With his preference for dead and soft ground, Swiper The Fox will now proceed towards the 1400 metre listed Great Northern Foal Stakes in mid May for his owners New Zealand Racing Board Chairman Michael Stiassney, former board member Alistair Sutherland and his wife Charlotte along with their friend Brendan Gibson.

Swiper The Fox is the third living foal of the juvenile winning Canny Lad(AUS) mare Canzano, herself a daughter of Ginzano (Mister C[USA]-All Sterling) the joint second top filly on the 1994-95 Australasian 2YO Classification. She earned the title after winning the group two STC Slipper Trial and she has gone on to be the dam of five winners including Canzano.

Canzano came to New Zealand in 2007 in foal to Royal Academy after producing two foals in Australia including Hell Week, a winner by Fantastic Light(USA). The resultant colt was destroyed and Canzano's next live foal is the subject horse bred by Carter Bloodstock Ltd.

Back in foal to Align, Canzano was sold at the 2010 National Bloodstock Sale and was purchased by Matamata trainer Graham Richardson for $4000. She has since produced a full brother to Swiper The Fox and a filly to Huckleberry Finn(AUS) (Danehill Dancer[IRE]- Imposing Beauty).

Richardson purchased the mare on behalf of an Australian client Michael Drapac, who raced Huckleberry Finn out of his Australian stable.

"Michael was a client of mine when I had stables in Melbourne and I purchased Huckleberry Finn for him for $90,000 as a yearling and he won seven races for me in Melbourne.

"Michael doesn't believe in gelding his colts, and this fellow was so quiet anyway so it was never a problem. When he finished racing he decided to send him over here and he stands at Jess and Peter Brosnan's farm Fieldhouse Park in Matamata.

"I just manage him and Peter and Jess do all the work with the horse. He served three mares the first year and four last year, and is available to outside mares. The filly foal is from his first year at stud.

"Michael asked me to buy him a mare to send to the stallion and I chose Canzano because she was reasonably well bred being by Canny Lad, and she had won as a two-year-old, and was from a family of two-year-old winners. I figured she would leave something that could get up and run quick. And she has."

"She was in foal to Align and I figured he's not the worst stallion so any resultant foal would be marketable or, as is the case, Michael will race him out of my stable. He has shares in a few horses in the stable at the moment.

Michael Drapac is based in Melbourne and is involved in a multi-million dollar property and investment company Drapac Group. He has an extensive bloodstock portfolio in Australia and he is also a fan of bike racing and sponsors a bike racing team which encourages young cyclists to compete at the elite cycle racing level.


- Michelle Saba