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"WhoRthey?" - Three Generations of a Family Steeped in History enjoy Whoshe's success

Three generations of a family steeped in New Zealand racing history and folklore are celebrating the success of the listed Wanganui Guineas winner Whoshe (Storm Creek[USA]-Lesley Coup), a filly they bred from a family they have bred from for six generations.

Ninety-three year old Elizabeth Waller – grandmother to champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller - owns Lesley Coup (Prized[USA]- Foreign Coin) the dam of Whoshe with her daughters Robyn, Chrissy Cunningham, and Ali Horrocks and grandson Richard Horrocks. In winning the Wanganui Guineas Whoshe became only the second filly in 20 years to beat the colts and geldings in the first of three-year-old black type races for the new season. From six starts she has now won three races. The daughter of Storm Creek his second Southern Hemisphere stakes winner commenced racing in late Autumn and won a maiden two-year-old at Dargaville at her second start. In her next outing she won the listed Great Northern Foal Stakes before failing in the Ryder Stakes at the end of July. Prior to her win in the Wanganui Guineas she ran a creditable fifth behind the older horses at her home track at Waipa. Whoshe is the fourth foal of Lesley Coup and was bred in partnership with Stoney Bridge Thoroughbred Limited who stood Storm Creek. He was subsequently sold in a package of Stoney Bridge stallions and has since been on sold and may continue his stud career in Turkey. "It's pretty exciting breeding a black type winner and the Guineas win was a great thrill for Mum, she is still a keen follower of the races and still keeps up with what's going on every week," according to Ali Horrocks. "With Mum in Palmerston North, Chrissy in Wanganui, my son Richard in Auckland and Robyn and me in the Hawkes Bay there was plenty of excitement all around. It's certainly a family affair, the only one not involved in Lesley Coup is our brother John, Chris's father. "It means so much to us to be able to keep breeding winners from a family that Dad and Uncle Bob had so much fun with. They started breeding from this family in the forties, and when you grow up in a family that racing is a big part of, it is great that we can do this as a family, it's something that can keep you together and you can enjoy it with the next generation as well as we have with my son Richard." In a bygone era when racing was a big part of the fabric of New Zealand and it was rich with personalities, the "Waller Boys" Colin (Ali's father) and Bob were legendary around racing circles especially in the Central Districts. Based at Himatangi, they combined dairying, cattle and sheep farming and were noted stockmen, they bred and raced a host of good bread and butter horses. Their father Fred was also a keen racing man and in the 1930's owned and trained Aurora Borealis the only mare to win both the Grand National and Great Northern Steeplechases. Another uncle "Fats" Waller trained Laramie "When Uncle Bob died in the early 80's and Dad dispersed his stock he only wanted to keep one mare and that was an unraced grey mare called Krone (Sovereign Prince – Hagenaire). He sent her to Amyntor and she produced Foreign Coin. "Dad raced her with my late brother-in-law Ian Cunningham and she won eight races including the Waikato Racing Club's "Greys" race and the Masterton Cup. She was stakes placed, and when it came time for her to go to stud Ian and Dad entered into a partnership with David and Masey Benjamin at Fayette Park." That partnership bred eight foals out of Foreign Coin of which seven were winners including the champion jumper Rand (Omnicorp) who won 11 races worldwide and the Winter Cup winner Shamrock Star (Germano). Lesley Coup was her only filly and was raced by Ray Coupland. "When Lesley Coup came up for sale, Dad had passed away and we as a family, decided to buy her and breed from her. We went back to 'Benji' and entered another partnership with Fayette Park Stud whereby she lived at the stud and she went to Postponed. She had two fillies to him, the first one was injured and has gone to stud, the second Timely was placed out of Andrew Scott stables. "When Fayette Park closed up we then approached Stoney Bridge and went into partnership with them, and produced a Mr Nancho colt Truly Wishful who is in work here in Hawkes Bay with Corrina McDougal. The next foal was Whoshe who was sold at the weanling sales for $5,000. "Once again we were without a home for Lesley Coup so she wasn't served for a season and then we approached Rex Fell at Goodwood Stud and that is where she is now. She has a yearling by Chinese Dragon and is in foal to that stallion. I am not sure where Rex will send her this year," Ali said, The Waller's association with the Fell family goes way back and looking at the ancestors of Lesley Coup they are peppered with stallions from Fairdale Stud. As mentioned earlier Lesley Coup descends from a family the "Waller Boys" started breeding from in 1945. They acquired La Modelle (Arvakur-Modelette) and sent her to stud where she produced five foals but most notably Modernise (Issac of York[GB]) and Modernaire (Instinct [GB]). Modernaire is the fourth dam of Lesley Coup. She is also the grandam of Imperialaire (Amyntor – Sovereignaire) the winner of the Sir Tristram Classic. Modernise on the other hand left a filly called Goldenise (by Golden Abbey [USA]) who in turn left Golconder (Sovereign Prince [GB]) who left the stakes winners Chance For Gold (Ashabit[GB]), Esquire Girl (Kingdom Bay) and Squire Gray (Standaan[FR]), and Golden Donna (Donalbain [GB]) had nine foals including the stakes placed Tip of the Iceberg, Miss Juliet and the well performed Donna's Habit (Ashabit). She in turn has left the stakes winners Lady Madonna, Recurring, and Donna's Gold and is the grandam of Spine Tingler. As well as their breeding interest Ali and her sister Robyn who also lives in Hawkes Bay are on the race day committee at Hawkes Bay Racing. "Racing has been a big part of our life and we have had so much fun out of it, it's great to be involved and meeting people who share the passion. That's one of the things we like most about being involved with Hawkes Bay Racing," she added. Who knows maybe Ali and Robyn may get to look after Whoshe's owner Red MacDonald if she runs in the Hawkes Bay Guineas early next month after all she is a tough filly and isn't afraid to take on the boys. 'Whoshe' with happy trainer Mark Brooks -
Pictures by Trish Dunnell
- Michelle Saba