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Stellar Weekend for Waikato Stud

There was plenty to celebrate at Waikato Stud in Matamata last Saturday night, after all its not every weekend a breeder produces two group one winners in two different countries in one day.

Mark and Lisa Chittick at Waikato Stud, Matamata
Photo: Trish Dunell
That's what happened when Daffodil (No Excuse Needed- Spring) took out the Group One New Zealand Bloodstock One Thousand Guineas at Riccarton followed shortly after by Swick (O'Reilly-Crème Anglaise) triumphing in the Group One VRC Patinack Farm Classic. And for good measure Tootsie (Pins- Hyades) won a listed sprint at the local Waikato meeting as well.

With Garry and Mary Chittick still in Christchurch after viewing Daffodil's fine win it was up to Mark and Lisa to host the celebrations at home at Waikato Stud in Matamata , and by all accounts it was a big night!

"It was a pretty exciting time, its not often you get three black type winners, two of them Group One in one day, and what's even more impressive is that one was by O'Reilly(Switch) and the other two are out of O'Reilly mares," said Mark Chittick his voice still buzzing with excitement days later.

"We are so lucky to even have Daffodil, so for her to be achieving Group One status is a real thrill. Now it looks like she will go to the Levin Classic and after that we will make decision as to whether she will head to the Derby or the Oaks."

During the late 90's Chris Turner of Veandercross fame was breeding a number of mares and to cut down on his costs he approached Mark Chittick at Waikato Stud where he had been a good client, if he was interested in entering into a breeding arrangement with his mares. Mark was particularly interested in the Shirley Heights mare Head of the River, who had just left the Champion 2YO Good Faith and came from a good strong European family. Good Faith has subsequently left a group winner in Tully Dane.

"We sent her to O'Reilly and when she produced a filly we were pretty keen to keep her so we offered to buy him out and gave him the opportunity to buy us out of the next one."

That filly was Spring – a promising racehorse she was unlucky in the One Thousand Guineas of her year – prior to that she had had two starts for two wins, and then went on to race in the Group One Levin Classic. Unfortunately she broke down in spectacular fashion, and was saved only after a chapter of incidents prevented her being put down straight after the race.

Mark takes up the story.

"They (the Levin Racing Club track staff) were unable to put her down where she broke down as it was in full view of the public, so they had to move her off the track and way out of sight. By the time they did that our old friend John Kenny of Majestic Horse Floats, was around there and told them to hang on until she had been examined by another vet. By this stage we were on the phone to Massey talking to the surgeons, and John was busy organising a special float to transport her to the university.

"The prognosis once she got to Massey wasn't much better, it was found that she had sustained one of the worst compound fractures they had ever seen shattering her fetlock and splintering her cannon bone. They operated and inserted two titanium screws and the next day she broke them, so they repeated the process and she broke the next two. By this stage the surgeons were starting to see a certain amount of calcification so decided against inserting another set of screws and wait to see what would happen.

"She's a tough breed, but she was a great patient – very sensible and following eight weeks at Massey and a $30,000 vet bill she came home, with the specific instructions that she was to be kept confined in a small paddock, and that all going well in their opinion we may get a couple of foals out of her. Now she has had six foals and lives in a 10 acre paddock and is showing no effects of being an invalid.

Unfortunately Waikato Stud lost her sixth foal, a filly by Pins. Spring's first foal was Spring Dancer by Danasinga – a four race winning mare in Mark Walker's stable. Her next two matings were to No Excuse Needed the first being a colt sold to Bart Cummings for $210,000 who as Rotorua has won one race in Sydney, and the second being Daffodil. Her 2006 colt Savoy by Savabeel is in work with Peter McKay and her Pins yearling colt will be sold in Sydney at Easter.

Harking back to Head of the River, following Spring she left a colt to O'Reilly called River Chief who won four races, followed by a Tale of the Cat filly Heads or Tales who won three and was placed in a listed race – her first foal Headsiwins is already a winner at three this season. Next came Sorgente – a full sister to Spring and Chris Turner exercised his option to buy her and she has produced a colt to No Excuse Needed who was sold at the National weanling sales last May and a filly foal to Pins.

Head of the River's next foal was Putney Bridge (O'Reilly) a winner in Melbourne, Huka Falls (O'Reilly) who is at stud, and Chorus (Danasinga) who is in work with Steven McKee. The mare died in 2007.

Waikato Stud's listed winner Tootsie is also out of an O'Reilly mare with just a dash of European influence. Tootsie is by Pins out of Hyades and is raced by the Couch Family on lease from the stud without a right of purchase. She has now won six races from 12 starts and looks well placed to feature in the major sprint races over the summer.

Hyades first foal by Centaine is Beyond and she is now in foal to Pins, a winner of four races she will continue to race for the stud over the next few months. This is actually the reverse mating of the proven Waikato Stud cross of Centaine mares going to O'Reilly with an O'Reilly mare going to Centaine. Tootsie is the second named foal she has a yearling by No Excuse Needed and a colt by Pins at foot and is back in foal to Pins.

Hyades is a half sister to the Stakes winners La Rose Noir and Urbane, being out of the Habat mare Habania out of the Pakistan II mare Georgina Belle.

"Dad purchased Georgina Belle a stakes placed winner who had gone to the States, he sent her home via England and had her mated to Habat in Southern Hemisphere time.
That foal was Habania who raced in Australia and won seven and was group three placed. Habania was a sweet old thing like part of the family she always left nice types of horses.

"Georgina Belle's first New Zealand bred foal was the Sound Reason mare Celia Leigh, and from that family we have produced some outstanding racehorses.
That's the family that has given us Glamour Puss, Starman, Rare Insight, Crepe De Chine, Arenti and so on.

"It's wonderful to see O'Reilly proving just as good as a broodmare sire, as he is as a sire of racehorses, it really comes as no surprise, when you consider that Garry has spent 40 years developing these families. All the way through he has bred to type and advanced the breed. From the Sound Reason and Centaine cross, then those Centaine mares with O'Reilly, and Pins and now it's extending to No Excuse Needed leaving two stakes winners out of O'Reilly mares – Daffodil his first group one winner, and Takeanotherchance the Wanganui Guineas winner.

"And still O'Reilly continues to leave Group One winners himself with Swick being his eighth individual Group One winner."

Swick is out of the Crested Wave mare Crème Anglaise, a stakes placed winner in Sydney, herself a half sister to the stakes winners Cologne and Sound Gold both by Sound Reason. Garry bought Crème Anglaise privately in Sydney when she had finished racing, primarily because she was a lovely looking mare and she leaves stunning types.

Besides Swick who Bart Cummings bought for $100,000 at Karaka in 2003, Crème Anglaise has left three other winners including the stakes placed Bailey's On Ice (O'Reilly). She is also the dam of Burwood Road, the dam of the stakes placed winners Pins on Parade and Dower both by Pins.

"We haven't got a lot of this family but this year we managed to get a Pins filly out of Burwood Road, thus a half sister to those two stakes performers and we are rearing her on a foster mother, so hopefully we can have a branch of this family to go on with also.

"It's been a fabulous start to the season for us, it's only early November and already we have produced three Group One winners there could be a few more parties on the horizon yet, but it was a very exceptional weekend," he concluded.


- Michelle Saba