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Queensland Derby Duelled's first group one winner

Shootoff (NZ) and Michael Rodd (centre) hold off Heidilicious (NZ) and Jim Byrne (inside) and Shez Sinsational (NZ) and Opie Bosson (outside) - Picture thoroughbrednews.com.au.
Shootoff (NZ) and Michael Rodd (centre) hold off Heidilicious (NZ) and Jim Byrne (inside) and Shez Sinsational (NZ) and Opie Bosson (outside)

Picture thoroughbrednews.com.au.

The irony of Duelled leaving the group one Queensland Derby winner Shootoff (ex Athenri) was not lost on the partners in Duelled, Denise Howell and Graham Rogerson.

Last week prior to the Derby, they had failed to find the right place to stand the son of Redoute's Choice either here or in Australia and decided to stand him once again at Dormello Stud, just out of Hamilton, and set his fee at $2500.

"We couldn't get mares to the horse last season, and after the yearling sales we decided to hold the dispersal sale and get out of the breeding game. I can say we are feeling a lot happier about standing the horse at stud now after the results in Queensland," said Dormello Stud representative Murray Gregory, "and the people who bought at our dispersal sale will be feeling a lot more confident about their purchases now."

Last month they held a dispersal sale selling a major bloodstock portfolio consisting of around 45 broodmares, 40 weanlings and around 30 yearlings. A large number of those weanlings were by Duelled, with a smattering by Savabeel. The broodmares were for the most part in foal to Duelled, with one or two others being in foal to Savabeel and other stallions.

"We believe that at a fee of $2,500 he can attract a good number of mares, and combined with the good books of mares he has had over the last four years, there should be more group winners in the pipeline. He is now down at a level where people can breed racehorses," said Gregory.

Duelled has now left 14 winners in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Korea. As well as the Group One Derby winner Shootoff, he has also left the group two placed Endor. He is only the second son of Redoute's Choice to leave a group one winner - the other, Stratum stands at $60,000 in Australia and has been at stud a year or two longer than Duelled.

Shootoff headed up a Kiwi-bred trifecta in the Derby with the New Zealand-trained filly Shez Sinsational (Ekraar-Original Sin) finishing second ahead of Heidelicous (Zabeel- Kekira). He has now won four races with the Derby being his second group win. He previously won the group three Frank Packer Plate over Easter. He has also been group placed running third in the AJC Spring Champion Stakes like his father.

His win capped off an amazing week for his trainer Graeme Rogerson as the previous Saturday he had won the group one Queensland Oaks with Scarlett Lady (Savabeel-On Call).

Rogerson not only trained the double but he also trained both the stallions Savabeel (sire of Scarlett Lady) and Duelled when they were racing, and he holds a substantial shareholding in both of them. Savabeel won the group one WS Cox Plate as a three-year-old, and Duelled's best win also came at Moonee Valley in the group two AAMI Vase.

Shootoff was bred by the Dormello Partnership Number One Syndicate and according to Murray Gregory when Duelled first went to stud Dormello Stud purchased around 18 mares and with a group of breeders mainly based in Australia formed the Dormello Partnerships, to ensure the stallion got a good spread of mares to enable him a good start.

He is out of the Zabeel mare Athenri who in turn is out of the Tights mare Intrim out of the Sir Tristram mare Tristihill, and thus carries three lines of Sir Tristram in his pedigree - one through his third dam, one through his dam sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram-Lady Giselle) and one in his paternal line through Duelled's dam Leica Pretender (Sir Tristram –Pretend to Leica).

Duelled is the third foal produced by Athenri who had four starts as a three-year-old for a win and three placings. She has left two winners by Keeper - Tanalise and Cinnie who is also in the Rogerson stable. Athenri visited Duelled twice and the second foal, an unnamed two-year-old colt, was sold at foot with her at the 2009 National Broodmare Sale at Karaka to Hawkes Bay NZTBA members Tim and Briar Macphee.

The Macphees are naturally delighted at now being the owners of the dam of a group one winner.

In fact, Tim Macphee is surprised that his cheering wasn't heard all the way to Australia when he and Briar watched the Derby on television.

"It was pretty exciting and nerve wracking it's a long straight at Eagle Farm and those two fillies were gaining ground," he said after the win.

"We bought Athenri because we owned her full sister Inzabeel, so to have a group one winner appear in the pedigree now is a great boost for us. All of a sudden we are now looking at sending a Keeper half brother to a group one winner to Karaka next year to sell which is a pretty good position to be in.

"The two-year-old brother to Shootoff is now with Greg Lambert down at Lambourn Stud in the Manawatu, and Athenri is at home here safely in foal to Nom de Jeu. She also has a booking to Ifraaj and we are pretty excited about that too," he added.

Coincidently, Athenri descends from a family that has been in the Chitty family of Haunui Farm for three generations. Her third dam is the Royal Stakes winner Rosehill (Test Case – Foxona), the dam of the champion filly Rosie's Girl and Prince Ruling, who was bred by Geoff Chitty, father of Ron and grandfather of the current General Manager Mark Chitty.

Tim and Briar only have the two mares and their foray into the breeding industry started with the purchase of Inzabeel in 2007. About 20 years ago Tim worked at Fairdale Stud in the Manawatu and has always had a yearning to get back into the horse business.

"Our girls had ponies and were into show jumping and now that they have grown up and left home, Briar and I can further our interest in breeding. It's starting to look pretty exciting I can tell you," he added enthusiastically.


- Michelle Saba