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NZTBA member Neil Mackie breeds the Group 3 Windsor Park Stud Breeders' Stakes Hammer Down

Hammer Down wins the Breeders' Stakes
Hammer Down wins the Breeders' Stakes

On September 27th 2007 Our Prized Rose foaled a striking O'Reilly colt at Windsor Park Stud. Ironically, some three and half years later, that colt named Hammer Down won the group three Windsor Park Stud Breeders' Stakes.

"I thought it was rather fitting that Hammer Down should win that race especially after he was born there when his mother was visiting Volksraad" said Waikato branch member Neil Mackie who bred Hammer Down.

"He was a cracking foal and I always thought he was going to be a good horse, and this autumn he has come back stronger and much more settled. He always was a bit fiery when I had him at home on my farm at Paengaroa near Te Puke, after he was weaned.

The three-year-old gelding has now won three races and has weighed in seven times from 12 starts for the Homebush Partnership No 2 Syndicate, managed by bloodstock agent Bruce Perry. Two starts prior to his win in the Breeders Stakes he was placed in the listed Starcraft at Arrowfield Mr Tiz Trophy and was third in a three-year-old handicap at Te Aroha prior to running in the Breeders' Stakes.

Hammer Down is the second foal produced by Our Prized Rose (Prized-Avon's Rose) who was raced by Mackie.

"She was a pretty smart racehorse. She won four races, but she had problems with a sesamoid and we had to retire her. In fact when she won her last race at Te Rapa she was already in foal to Viking Ruler.

"I wasn't really intending to become a breeder but she had been a good racehorse and had a nice enough pedigree so I sent her to stud.

Our Prized Rose is a half sister to Crème de Honor who won six races and was placed in the listed Rotorua Challenge Stakes. She is out of a sister to the stakes winning mare Willow Vale, the dam of champion filly Plume.

"I really liked Viking Ruler's pedigree so that was where we started. Then I went to O'Reilly because I really liked him and the horses he was leaving. That resulted in Hammer Down and then I sent her to Volksraad.

"Unfortunately my circumstances changed and I had to sell Our Prized Rose in 2008 when she was in foal to Keeper, but I was able to keep Ruler of the Turf, the Viking Ruler filly, and now I have another nice broodmare in the making.

As the result of the Volksraad mating Mackie also bred a filly. Now as a two-year-old she won a trial this week and she was sold at the Ready to Run sale last spring to Singaporean interests.

Bruce Perry paid $60,000 for Hammer Down and he was one of four yearlings that went into the Homebush Partnership No 2 Syndicate. Perry established the first Homebush Partnership with a few friends, clients and associates and bought a number of colts including the New Zealand Derby place getter Down The Road who was on-sold as was Brave Kid who ran third in the Hong Kong Derby last year and has won six races.

Needless to say, Homebush Partnership No 3 has also been established. All the horses that race in New Zealand from the partnerships have the name 'Down' in their name.

Wellington share broker Max Brown is in all three partnerships and it was on Perry's advice that he purchased Our Prized Rose.

"Every syndicate that Bruce has put us in has come up trumps so when he suggested I buy Our Prized Rose, on the strength of the ability Hammer Down had shown, I thought why not? Besides I have a daughter called Rosemary and I thought that was a bit of an omen so I really bought it because of her.

"Although I wasn't on course when Hammer Down finally broke through for his group win, you can imagine how happy I was," according to Brown.

Brown has been involved in the racing and breeding game in same small way for around 20 years, and has tasted success as an owner but not really as a breeder. As well as the Homebush partnerships he was also in the syndicate which raced the 2004 2000 Guineas winner Clean Sweep.

"To be frank I wouldn't be able to spot a good horse in the paddock if I tried. My interest has been nurtured and assisted by Bruce and he has made some good decisions.

"I have dabbled a little in breeding over the past five years with limited success, and now to get one that comes up and leaves a group winner you get all excited. If you don't kick a few goals you could easily get disillusioned with this game," he added.

Brown keeps Our Prized Rose at Jim Barlow's property near Tauherenikau. She is currently carrying a full relation to Hammer Down, which he is naturally excited about and she has a weanling colt by Falkirk. Her Keeper yearling filly has been retained after failing to make her reserve at Karaka.


- Michelle Sabe