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Fantastic finalists for the Mercedes New Zealand Broodmare of the Year Award

There are four finalists in this year's Mercedes Broodmare of the YearAward. They are Gin Player (Defensive Play – Gin Rhythm), Miss Jessie Jay (Spectacularphantom-Miss Dinstinction), Pentamerous(Pentire – Johnny Loves Jazz) and Triassic (Tights- Astral Row).

Of the four, Miss Jessie Jay (Katie Lee) and Pentamerous(Shoot Out) actually foaled two of their group one winning progeny in Australia but under a criteria change determined by the NZTBA Council before the start of the 2009-2010 season commenced, that progeny as long as it was conceived in New Zealand, is now eligible for consideration.

The new criteria now states "That the Award shall go to the mare whose New Zealand-bred and/or New Zealand conceived progeny, anywhere in the world, in the season under review, most clearly reflect true breeding merit in quality of racing performance."

In there own way each of the broodmares nominated has certainly done that and is worthy of the award. This week we decided to take a look at the mares and follow their paths to nomination.


Gin Player

The first nominee Gin Player was also a nominee in 2008/2009 when her owner Scott Williams won the Breeder of the Year Award.

Scott would be one of the largest private breeders in New Zealand and this year from his farm in Scotsman Valley in Cambridge he will send around 35 mares to stud including Gin Player who will visit Zabeel after she foals down to Pentire.

Gin Player is nominated for the award through the deeds of Zarita (Pentire) and Joy and Fun (Cullen).

Hong Kong based Joy and Fun's winning performance in the group three Al Quoz Sprint at the Dubai World Cup meeting demonstrated the class of this international sprinter. That was his 10th win and his stake earnings equate to just under NZ$5million.

Had he not put his foot in a hole in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Ascot he may well have given Starspangledbanner a run for his money. Joy and Fun is currently recuperating in a veterinary hospital in the England after having his cannon bone screwed after that mishap, but his races days may well be over.

As a three-year-old Zarita won the group one double of the South Australia Derby and the Schweppes Oaks. Since that season she has added to her group tally and as a six-year-old mare Zarita was back in group winning form taking out the group two MVRC Sunline Stakes in mid February.

It was no surprise then that following Zarita's win in February and Joy and Fun's win in March that Gin Player's seventh foal, a Zabeel filly was sold for A$1.3 million at the 2010 Sydney Easter Sales. She was purchased by Lakeview Resources in Victoria and will join the stable of Lee Freedman.

"She may have all this international fame now, but I still can't catch her, she is still a wild spirit at heart," said Scott. The mare is back in foal to Pentire and all going well this spring, will visit Zabeel.

"She has an outstanding yearling filly who is a full sister to Zarita and at this stage I will probably retain her, although I did keep a Pins colt out of the mare which was a full brother to Run Like the Wind who won the group two Concorde and six other races and he looks like a bit of a duffer so just because they are full relations it doesn't necessarily make them any good!

"But the old girl, she's 16 now, has been very good to me and she deserves to be a nominee up there with the others. I am glad I'm not on the voting panel because it's going to go right down to the wire."

Miss Jessie Jay

Miss Jessie Jay foaled Katie Lee (Pins) in Australia when she was there to be mated with Oratorio (IRE) the mating which produced her second group one winner in the season under review in Banchee.

Following on from the success of Katie Lee she is once again in foal to Pins and is due to foal to that stallion on September 3rd, the night of the Mercedes Awards.

"We may be nominated for a few awards but I will be at home with the mare if she looks like being ready to foal," said Hallmark Stud's Denny Baker.

"I will be right here looking after her and waiting for the foal. I'll leave the formalities to Trevor (Hurley) and Mark (Baker)."

"We are delighted that she has been nominated, a mare who has left two group one winners in one season is a worthy contestant for broodmare of the year.

"What Katie Lee did as a racehorse this year winning the New Zealand 1000 and 2000 Guineas is unprecedented and then Banchee came out and showed us how good she is too," said Denny who bred Katie Lee and Banchee with his long term client Trevor Hurley.

Katie Lee finished the season as the Champion three-year-old filly of the year up to 1600 metres and also won the New Zealand Bloodstock filly of the year title.

As a three year old she franked her two-year-old stakes winning form by winning five races, all of them at black type level. In late spring she beat a handy field of three-year-olds in the listed James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes at Te Rapa before heading to Riccarton where she won both the group one New Zealand 1000 and 2000 Guineas.

Following that she ran second in the group three Eulogy Stakes, before winning the group two Eight Carat Classic, then a week later she ran second in the group two Royal Stakes.

In late January she finished third in the group three Desert Gold Stakes to the eventual New Zealand Oaks winner Keep The Peace, and two weeks later trounced another high quality field of fillies in the group two Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Classic.

Katie Lee's half sister Banchee made her winning debut at Ellerslie in December, and backed that up with an unlucky second placing in the group three Eclipse Stakes on New Year's Day. Another unlucky run followed in the listed Karaka Million where she ran third, after drawing and outside barrier, but she made no mistakes in her next two outings winning the group two Matamata Breeders Stakes for fillies and the group one Ellerslie Sires Produce Stakes.

Banchee was weighted as the champion two-year-old filly of the year.

Miss Jessie Jay is also the dam of Éclair Fantastic (Spectatorial) who won four races in Australia before being sold to Hong Kong, where his older brother Ka Ka's Prosperity was also a winner.

A daughter of Spectacularphantom (Spectacular Bid-Imanative) and the Bletchencore (Bletchingly – Sing Again) mare Miss Distinction, Miss Jessie Jay was bred at Hallmark as was her mother, and her pedigree endorses that.

"She's like part of the family around here, we know all the family's idiosyncrasies and we know what's best for her welfare. In fact we haven't made a decision yet which stallion she will visit."



Pentamorous

The tale of Shoot Out being conceived in New Zealand and foaled in Australia is a little more involved and spans right across to Australia's west.

Triple group one winner Shoot Out won four races last season including the AJC Derby, Rosehill Guineas, Randwick Guineas and the group two Schweppes Royal Sovereign Stakes. He is the second foal of Pentamorous the first being Cassandara Shadow the winner of four races including the group three Western Australian Oaks.

Pentamorous (Pentire-Johnny Loves Jazz) was bred in the Hawkes Bay by NZTBA member Chris Russell, and sold at the Sydney Yearling Sale to Western Australian trainer Shane Edwards for $60,000 who bought her on behalf of his client John Roberts of Multiplex Construction fame.

"When I got her home I discovered she had a cyst the size of a football on her stifle and that restricted her a little. She won a mile maiden and ran fifth in the WATC Derby behind Mr Sandgroper who was trained by my dad David.

"We trained a lot of horses for John and looked after some of his broodmares as well. Straight off the race track we sent Pentamorous to Johannesburg and while she was in foal we shipped her across to Windsor Park.

"I had seen High Chaparral race in England when I worked over there and I liked what I saw. I was quite good mates with Mike Moran at Windsor Park and he encouraged me to send her there.

"Pentamorous came back here with her Johannesburg filly – Cassandara Shadow who I went on to train - and in foal with Shoot Out. Unfortunately that was around the time John died and a large parcel of his bloodstock including the mare went through the ring at the Gold Coast Magic Millions Broodmare sale in June.

The mare was purchased by Neville Stewart of Oaklands Stud on the Darling Downs and foaled Shoot Out the following August. She missed the next season and then produced two fillies to Ferocity (Lion Hunter-Chiara) who stands at Oaklands Stud.

Last September she was purchased by Linda Huddy who had purchased Shoot Out at the Magic Million Yearling Sales in 2007, and is now due to foal to Encosta De Lago before returning to High Chaparral.

"Last spring when Shoot Out was still only the winner of two races, I was told that Pentamorous was on the market and decided to buy her. I only have two mares foaling this year. By the time I bought her it was too late to send her to New Zealand to High Chaparral so I sent her to Encosta De Lago instead, now that High Chaparral stands in Australia I can go back to him," Linda said.

Linda Huddy always liked horses and as a youngster had worked on various stud farms in Australia. However marriage, a family and a business in Mt Isa intervened.
Along with her husband Graham they ran a successful plant hire business in Mt Isa which grew into a mining contracting business before selling out to mining company Industrea. They are now involved in the local racing club with Linda being the Treasurer and Graham the Club patron.

"We had decided it was time to buy a few nice yearlings and Shoot Out was among four I selected out of the catalogue. It was just after the Equine Influenza outbreak and the Magic Million sales were held at Easter, I thought we wouldn't have to pay much for him, as I thought most people at that sale were looking for quick two-year-olds and sprinters and I wanted something that would go on and stay.

"He was from the first crop of High Chaparral and I think that helped to keep his price down to a mere $15,000. I bought four colts that year; the most expensive one has won $500. Another one, Fleet 'N' Famous is a good sprinter and has won over $100,000 and the fourth one won a maiden at Townsville a couple of weeks ago.

"Never in our wildest dreams did we think Shoot Out would be such a fantastic race horse and we would be tripping all around Australia to see him race and be nominated for all these awards around the place," she is delighted that Shoot Out is a nominee for Queensland Horse of the Year and Pentamorous for the New Zealand Broodmare of the Year Award.

Triassic

The High Chaparral factor also features in the third nominee as he was the consort of Triassic(Tights-Astral Row) when she produced the outstanding So You Think winner of the southern hemisphere's ultimate group one weight-for-age event the W.S Cox Plate.

So You Think's race career began in May 2009 when he won a two-year-old maiden on debut at Rosehill. Trained by the legendary Bart Cummings he was put aside and commenced racing the following September in the listed Ming Dynasty Handicap where he was narrowly beaten into second place. Still in Sydney he won the 1800 metre group three Gloaming Stakes impressively before heading to Melbourne.

After finishing fifth in the Caulfield Guineas, eyebrows were raised when Bart Cummings lined him up in the W S Cox Plate, but with a daring ride from a lean mean Glen Boss carrying only 49.5 kilos he served up a stunning galloping lesson to lead all the way and win by two and a half lengths.

In only one other start in spring he finished second in the group one Emirates Stakes behind All American.

According to Windsor Park Stud's Marketing Manager Mike Moran who part owns Triassic with his wife Helen and Cecile Smith Triassic is a worthy nominee for broodmare of the year.

"She is entitled to be there, it's a huge achievement to leave a Cox Plate winner especially a horse who can win it at three. She has had seven foals to the races for seven winners.

"Triassic was a class racehorse herself, she only had six starts and won the group two Sir Tristram Classic at her last start. She also won the listed Soliloquy Stakes and was second in the group two Royal Stakes and the group three Lindauer Rose Handicap.

"We purchased her for A$16,000 from the Sydney sales in 2005, she probably should have cost more but was in foal to an relatively unwanted sire in Nuclear Freeze even though he is a brother to Danehill. That foal La Souvenir was a winner last season and was served by High Chaparral the Monday before So You Think won the Cox Plate.

"After La Souvenir was born we sent Triassic to High Chaparral and that foal is So You Think. To me it was a logical mating two class racehorses and a lovely cross of Sadler's Wells and Nijinsky.

"She missed to him the following year, and then produced a colt to Elusive City. We sold him last January for $260,000 to Danny O'Brien. She is safely in foal to High Chaparral again and will visit Mastercrafstman.


- Michelle Saba