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Blood Brotha gives the Anderton family much to celebrate

The winner of the group three Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup Blood Brotha (Danzighill[AUS] – Laura Dee) stems from a family rich in strength and endurance and it is no surprise to his breeders Brian, Lorraine, Hec and Pat Anderton that he has achieved success in the ultimate staying distance of 3200 metres.

"We were thrilled to see him win and it certainly was great to see the old family get another Cup winner and staying success," said Brian Anderton, the proprietor of White Robe Lodge Stud where Blood Brotha was bred.

"He makes it three New Zealand Cups from that family after his third dam Princess Mellay won it twice in the early seventies. Descendants from this family have also won five Great Northern Steeplechases between them as well, so there is no doubt there is plenty of endurance there.

"Two of those jumpers, Our Jonty (Random Chance – Lal's Gift) and Hypnotize(Yanamin Vital – Auburn Rose), were owned by the Connors family who, of course, own and train Blood Brotha, and they also owned the Derby place-getter King Johnny who in recent years was probably the smartest member of this family."

"It's not surprising that Raymond has done well with Blood Brotha. He is a good stockman and he has a wonderful farm. His horses get every opportunity. You know if your horses don't go to a good stockman or horseman, when you sell them well there is no hope and it doesn't take long for a family to fail.

"We tried to sell Blood Brotha at the South Island sale in 2007 but he failed to reach his reserve. Knowing they had an affinity with this family my son-in-law Wayne Stewart, got on the phone to Raymond and negotiated a sale," he said.

The win in the New Zealand Cup was the sixth for the six-year-old son of Danzighill(AUS) (Danehill [USA] – Stater [AUS]). His previous best win was also at Riccarton at last year's New Zealand Cup carnival when he won the group three CJC Metropolitan Handicap.

Blood Brotha is one of a handful of stakes winners from the Danehill sire Danzighill who commenced his stud career at White Robe Lodge in 2003.

"He had one mare booked this season and she is in foal. He seems to have lost favour lately which is a bit of a shame as he has a great 'winners to runners' strike rate. We do have quite a few mares in our broodmare band by him and we are mating them with Raise The Flag (Sadler's Wells[USA]- Hasili[IRE]) as he is a half brother to three stakes winners by Danehill so that will be an interesting cross."

The Danzighill mares include Tiger Rose (ex Auburn Rose), a half sister to group three winner Ranger (Random Chance) and Hypnotize; and Flyby, a full sister to Blood Brotha and a winner of one race. Just to add to the celebrations at White Robe Lodge Flyby produced a filly to Raise The Flag a couple of hours after the New Zealand Cup.

Their dam Laura Dee (Personal Escort [USA] – Lal's Gift) was an unraced half sister to the stakes winners De Montfort (Random Chance [NZ]), King Johnny (Seasonsed Star [AUS]) and Our Jonty. De Montfort, the winner of 10 races up to 2500 metres including the group three CJC Challenge Stakes, is in the broodmare band at White Robe Lodge while King Johnny who was also owned by the Connors family dropped dead from a heart attack at four. As a three-year-old he won the Manawatu Classic and was placed in the New Zealand Derby, New Zealand Derby Trial and the AJC Derby.

Laura Dee has left one other winner, Mini King (Seasoned Star [AUS]) also owned by the Connors family and she has a two-year-old by White Robe's Montjeu stallion Gallant Guru owned by – you guessed it – the Connors family, and is due to foal to that stallion again at anytime.

Her dam Lal's Gift (Noble Bijou [USA]-Princess Mellay) was also unraced, and besides the aforementioned stakes winners, she has also left six other winners including the well performed Tomorrow's Party ( 8 wins) and more recently Notable (by Danzighill).

She in turn is out Princess Mellay (Mellay [GB]–Princess Ermine) and is a full sister to the multiple group one winner Prince Majestic (19 wins) and the South Island Championship Stakes winner Bi Noble (9 wins). The Bandette (Noble Bijou – Princess Orchid ) is a three-quarter sister. He won six races including at VATC Herbert Power Handicap and a Thompson Handicap. The Great Northern Steeplechase winner Rock Crystal (Native Turn[USA]) was also out of Princess Mellay.

As well as her two New Zealand Cup's Princess Mellay won 18 races in all including the New Zealand Oaks when it was still run at Canterbury. She was also second in the Wellington Oaks and the Wellington Cup before going on to produce a prolific family of top class performers.

Her dam Princess Ermine (Beaumaris) was a daughter of one of the Anderton's foundation mares White Robe (Sir Galloway – Pink Robe).

White Robe Lodge was established in 1956 by Hec Anderton senior and his wife Alice (nee Powell, another strong South Island racing family) and is situated on the Taieri Plains inland from Dunedin. Over the years it has developed from the original 300 acres to include a 175 acre agistment property Ardgown, west of White Robe and a further 180 acres further inland at Middlemarch. Training facilities are also situated on the main property.

In the past they have stood the champion stallions Mellay and Noble Bijou, and more recently the ill fated stallion of stayers Yamanin Vital. At present they stand Seasoned Star ( Green Desert[USA]-Moon Circle[USA]), Danzighill, Gallant Guru (Montjeu{IRE}-Proud Halo[AUS]) and Raise The Flag.

Gallant Guru's progeny are only three and Raise The Flag has his first foals on the ground now.

"We are really chuffed with the results from Gallant Guru. We thought they would come into their own as autumn three-year-olds like the Montjeu's did, so this earlier success is a bonus. His two winners at Wingatui on Melbourne Cup day will both go on to be much better horses in the autumn. He has had some nice mares and has a full book again this season.

"Raise The Flag's first foals have been really exciting. They are mainly bays with either a star or a snip or both – a bit like Northern Dancer! We are really pleased that we were able to secure him for stud duties down here and he has a full book again this season. I am sure that when the Juddmonte Farms representatives see the foals when they come down this summer they will be pleased too," he added.

With confidence like that it would be a pretty safe bet to assume that the future of White Robe is secure and there could be plenty more good winners out of the old family yet to come.


- Michelle Saba