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Concord victory for Bluegables Farm

Ego wins the Group 2 Concord Handicap
Ego wins the Group 2 Concord Handicap

The Group Two victory of Ego (E Dubai-Buckling) in the Concorde Handicap has come at a great time for the Henderson's at Bluegables Farm who will be selling his half sister at the 2011 Karaka Select Sale.

According to Monty Henderson, who owns Bluegables with his wife Judy, Ego's half sister by No Excuse Needed is a lovely tall athletic filly, and a bit lighter in bone than her siblings.

"We are delighted that Ego is finally showing the potential he always threatened to show, and it's great for the family. It's a family that has had no luck in the breeding barn and both his mother and grandmother have very patchy breeding records.

"They all went to top stallions, but either had dead foals or missed. Buckling (Redoute's Choice – Miss) bowed at tendon at two, and when you look at the size of her it's hard to understand why she was even tried at two.

"Her mother, Miss Wutika (Marscay), was a winner at two and stakes placed twice, and she has left three winners, while the third dam Miss Lazarus (Sir Tristram – Winning Hit) was placed on several occasions," he said.

Winning Hit is a half sister to Christmas Tree, Euphoria and Jewel In The Crown, and there is a lot of Australian black type in this part of the pedigree, which is where Henderson purchased Buckling from. The bloodlines are certainly there and now much to the delight of Daniel Nakhle, who has kept Ego a stallion, the black type is starting to return close up in the pedigree.

"I bought her in-foal to E Dubai from the Sydney Broodmare sale I think I paid about $30,000 for her. Ego was her first foal, and he was purchased at the 2007 Select Sale by Daniel Nakhle for $62,000.

"After Ego was born I sent her to Pins. That foal was San Souci who was purchased by Te Akau Stables for $85,000 and from three starts she has won and been placed in the listed Castletown Stakes.

"Her next foal was a filly by Perfectly Ready who is now two and in work with Andrew Scott, and she has the No Excuse Needed filly in the Select Sale this year.
She is in foal to Red Giant. I have to be very careful which stallions I send her to as she is a very big mare and leaves very big foals. On the back of Ego's win I will probably send her to Australia to breed next year.

Which brings us to the subject of the Henderson's broodmare band and breeding philosophy. A large number of the mares he has bred and traded with since the establishment of Bluegables Farm are Australian bred, while his breeding philosophy is based first and foremost on type.

"Firstly the horses have to be physically compatible, secondly the stallions have to be commercial as I can't afford to breed on a whim, thirdly I go for proven crosses and nicks, (E Dubai is a Mr Prospector line stallion and so is No Excuse Needed so that should work), and finally I run the proposed matings through the Werk Nick Rating system and make sure they have a significant rating there."

The Werk Nick Rating enables breeders and buyers to avoid crosses that have had little or no success in the past. At the same time, it enables them to duplicate successful sire-line crosses, thus dramatically increasing their chances for success. It was developed by Jack Werk, who established Werk Thoroughbred Consultants in California in the late 1980's. Several New Zealand studs currently offer the ENicks service for their stallions.
As well as the half sister to Ego, Bluegables Farm have 18 yearlings going to Karaka either owned by them or on behalf of clients.

"The best of our yearlings is probably our premier Nadeem colt out of Springburn (Soviet Lad – Lady Violet). He is a half brother to Happy Hippy (Shamardal) a listed winner in Sydney. We have five yearlings in the premier sale, the Casino Prince colt out of Princess Sweet, and the Pins colt out of Bella Stella. We bought both colts as weanlings, and the other two yearlings are for clients.

"The same goes for our Select and Festival drafts they are made up of yearlings from our mares, weanlings we have purchased in Australia and clients horses," said Henderson.

Bluegables Farm has been preparing yearlings for the sales for approximately five years with a pretty formidable record. In 2006 they consigned the top filly at the Select Sale when they sold a Stravinsky filly out of Stilts for $130,000. In 2008 they sold the top priced colt at the Festival sale, a Catcher In the Rye colt out of Laundrette for $80,000.

The graduates from their 2009 draft – who are now three-year-olds - include six winners, five of whom won at their first start. They include San Souci (Pins – Buckling), and Singapore Sling (Starcraft –Gin Sling), the winner of the Soliloquy Stakes.

Monty and Judy Henderson set up the thoroughbred section of Bluegables Farm when they relocated to Ohaupo in the Waikato about six or seven years ago. The 100 acre farm was previously a dairy farm and was converted to an agistment and rearing property by the Hendersons.

Previously they had lived in Kumeu in West Auckland where Judy ran a successful miniature horse breeding farm and Monty practised as a chartered accountant in Newmarket.

"I worked in the city for 20 years, and I decided that was enough so I retired – but I was too young to do nothing so we decided to relocate to the Waikato. I was a bit of a hobby breeder with a couple of mares, but it was too hard in West Auckland. It was a long way to the stallions, and it was difficult to get vets, blacksmiths and the like in that area.

"Judy is the biggest miniature horse breeder in New Zealand so we purchased a property that could handle her ponies and be a viable agistment and yearling farm.

"Before we moved here we had bred our first group two winner in Kapsdan (Kaapstad – Danselvam). She won four races including the Wakefield Challenge Stakes. Her half sister Kherpi (Faltaat) was pretty useful as well and was placed in the group two Matamata Breeders Stakes. We sold her in foal to High Chaparral at the Sydney Easter sale this year for $170,000.

"We also sold Stella Doro in foal to the same stallion at the same sale for $120,000. We thought we would capitalise on the High Chaparral factor. Stella Doro is the dam of Cheeky Red (Volksraad) who has won a couple from the McKee stable.

"We are currently running around eight mares. We have cut our numbers back from about 20 in an attempt to be a bit more commercial. I believe that you should only breed from mares that will produce foals that are viable no matter what their gender. If I breed a filly then she has to be worth keeping. We have around eight foals of our own this year that we will sell as yearlings in 2012.

"In the meantime though we are looking forward to presenting our 2011 yearlings, especially the half-sister to Ego and especially if he goes forward to the group one Railway Handicap," he said hopefully.


- Michelle Saba