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Singapore Group 1 winner bred in New Zealand

“Green Birdie (NZ) defeats local star Rocket Man (AUS) in the Singapore Turf Club Kris Flyer Sprint (Gr 1)” - Photo credit: NZTM website
“Green Birdie (NZ) defeats local star Rocket Man (AUS) in the Singapore Turf Club Kris Flyer Sprint (Gr 1)”

Photo credit: NZTM website

"The Aussies are trying to claim Green Birdie but he has got that (NZ) by his name and there is no denying that," said a very jubilant Tim Bodle when discussing that horse's win in the Group One Kris Flyer International Sprint recently.

"I was pretty confident going into the race that he would be in the money, as long as he didn't get too far back. He had good form leading into the race and I thought that the only one to beat was the local horse Rocket Man as he was on home ground and had good form in Dubai.

"I watched the race on Trackside and Mark du Plessis settled him around fourth place and just rode him perfectly. It was pretty exciting to see him get the better of Rocket Man one of the best sprinters in the world it's just great and good for New Zealand breeding," he said.

Bodle a member of the Waikato Branch of the NZTBA and owner of Whakanui Stud in Cambridge bred the Catbird gelding from his Last Tycoon mare Mrs. Squillionaire, one of about 20 he runs on the farm.

"I purchased her as a yearling at the Sydney sales, and at the time her full sister Palia (Last Tycoon- Kew Gardens) was a two year old and had won one race and been stakes placed for Bob Emery. She went on to win the Emancipation Stakes. Another full sister Lady Capel was a stakes placed winner, and her brother Just Awesome had won three and retired to stud in Queensland.

"It was one of the best families in Australasia and it has just kept improving. Palia has left the Group One winner Onemorenomore (Red Ransom) and Dr Green(Fusiachi Pegasus) who have both retired to stud, and Lady Capel is the dam of Casino Prince (Flying Spur) the Group One Chipping Norton Stakes winner who has also gone to stud as well as Lord of the Land a stakes winner of seven races.

"That's three full sisters who have all left group one winners, that's not a bad record."

Mrs. Squillionaire won a race before being sent to Zabeel. She produced a filly who won in Australia as Blaze Em, her next foal was by Redoute's Choice named Benidouna and she won twice.

Her third mating was to Catbird which produced Green Birdie, which Whakanui sold at Karaka in 2005 for $230,000 to his Hong Kong owner Roger Li Ka Chun.

"He was a lovely yearling, a strong athletic type. He trialled here before racing initially in Australia where he won a listed race at two, before running second to Miss Andretti in the Schillaci Stakes as a three-year-old, then he went to Hong Kong. There he won a further four races including the Hong Kong Derby Trial and the Premier Bowl.

"We have a really lovely half sister named Exceedingly Rich (Exceed and Excel) who has won two trials and is ready to race very soon, as well we have kept the yearling filly by Elusive Quality. We're still undecided as to whether we will sell Mrs.Squillionaire's Encosta de Lago weanling filly at Karaka or retain her as well. She is in foal to that sire again," he added.

Mrs.Squillionaire will be staying in New Zealand to be mated this season.

"It's getting very expensive to mate mares in Australia now, the stud fees are still very high, and since EI the cost of travel and agistment is over the top. We now have a lot of good proven sires and promising young stallions in New Zealand so I will be supporting them this season.

"When I started mating Mrs.Squillionaire 10 years ago, Zabeel was really the only proven stallion around, which is why I started sending my mares to Australia. At that stage Pins and O'Reilly were not the proven stallions they are now, and we also have the likes of Alamosa, Darci Bharma and now Tavistock to look forward too. We have shares in Alamosa, Tavistock and Zabeel," he added.

Bodle is no stranger to breeding group one winners, he reckons there are about 10 goblets in the pool room - alluding to the trophy given every season at the Waikato Branch Awards dinner to members who have breed a group one winner. Some of the racehorses on the Whakanui graduates list include; Empire Rose, Turf Ruler, Philomel, She's Country and Headturner. Now the name Green Birdie can be added to that list with his win in the Group One Kris Flyer International Sprint and Bodle can look forward to adding another goblet to his collection.


- Michelle Saba