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Patience and perseverance finally pay off

A family that the Hawthorne family have persevered with for thirty years finally hit the big time last week when Altered Image easily won the Group One Levin Classic.

Dean Hawthorne better known for his achievements as a horse breaker and preparer of Ready to Run horses officially bred Altered Image from Dented Image a mare he shares with his mother Yo. A mare that descends from a mare that Yo bought as a weanling at the Te Rapa Stud dispersal sale around 30 years ago.

According to Yo she liked the look of the Weyand filly out of Shifnal Belle and took her back to the Hawthorn's newly established Paramount Stud in the Hawkes Bay. Named Curio she wasn't much of a race horse, but did have a bit of pedigree so she was dispatched to the broodmare paddock and Yo has perservered with the family ever since.

According to Dean, Mum's filly was famous for "burying" Norman in the lunge several times when she was being broken in and that was how she acquired her name.

"Curio was a famous champion buck-jumping mare in Australia and as Norm was a champion rodeo rider he felt anything that could dislodge him was worthy of being named after that mare."

It would seem then that she was well named and even if she couldn't claim to be much of a racehorse she has turned into a handy broodmare.

Curio had 10 named foals and produced five winners including the stakes placed Nafarido (Mi Preferido) and the Half Iced mare Shivers a winner of three races. She in turn left seven winners including four by Spectacular Love the stakes winner Ho Hum, Coupling now a producer, Platonic Love and She's Cool. As well she left the stakes placed Reality Check (Pentire).

About the time Shivers was heading off to stud, Paramount was relocated to Matamata, but Yo made the decision to remain in the Hawkes Bay, the mares went North and came under the management and care of Dean and he and his mother began a breeding partnership under the mantel of Curio Bloodstock.

Dean picks up the story.

"Over about the last 10 to 15 years we have been working together, with me looking after the mares and Mum helping out with the stud fees. We have had a bit of success, good years and not so good, you know how it is. Anyway we decided that the family needed some speed and some Danehill blood so we sent She's Cool to Danasinga, and she produced Dented Ambition.

"She went to the Festival Sale and she didn't get a bid – so I decided to race her. She had heaps of speed – so much so that she hit something at such speed in the paddock that she dented her face – hence her name. Anyway in the end the racing fund was empty and she kept locking up in the stifles so we looked to send her stud.

"We approached Scott Williams knowing he is a shareholder in lots of stallions including Strategic Image who suited our speed requirements and we entered into an arrangement whereby we would sell the mare in foal and split the proceeds. Well we didn't get a bid on the mare either, so we paid Scott for the nomination and decided to run with the mare and hope she produced a colt.

"Fortunately that was Altered Image and Paul Moroney was leaning over the rails at the right time – and now we are Group One breeders. I got quite excited in the pub last week when I was watching the Levin Classic – I even had to shout the bar!" concluded Dean.

It wasn't quite as expensive for Yo watching at home in Havelock North but equally as exciting.

"It's so wonderful when you have your own breed and you nurture it, muddle along with it and its successful. I am certainly getting a big thrill out of seeing the success this year," she said.

Another of Curio's descendants is also providing a bit of excitement for Yo and Dean and that is Pencaza a top young stayer in Western Australia. He is by Pentire out of the Mi Preferido mare Yo Cazador a daughter of Curio. This mare also has a Pentire colt in the New Zealand Bloodstock Select Sale next month.

Dented Image has a filly foal at foot this year and is in foal to Any Suggestions, so it looks like Curio's dynasty is set to carry on.


- Michelle Saba