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Terry McDermott elated with prize

Terry McDermott didn't believe he'd won a free service to top stallion Keeper when he was told at NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes day at Te Aroha.

The Matamata breeder put his name on the entry form and the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Association tent and then went away because he had a horse contesting the race after the Breeders' Stakes.

He was shocked when a friend told him he'd won the prize. "He'd been going backwards and forwards to the tent saying he was going to win it," McDermott said. "But when he told me I'd won I told him to stop bullshitting me because I never won these sorts of things."

McDermott, 71, admitted he didn't even know the format for the prize – all people who entered went into a draw for a runner in the Breeders' Stakes, and the person who drew the winning horse won the prize.
"I just put my name in the hat and went away," he said. "But my mate came back and said I'd drawn Special Mission."

McDermott said he was elated with the prize as it allows him to send his only broodmare, Dainty Lace, to a stallion that stands at a fee more than twice what he's ever paid for a service.
"I think I paid $7000 for St Reims once. Otherwise I've been to Colombia about three times for $3000, and Stark South for about $4500."
Dainty Lace, however, will not be the odd mare out when she visits Keeper, who this year will stand for $15,000, at Sir Patrick Hogan's Cambridge Stud.She is the dam of Valley Chief, winner of last year's Hawke's Bay Cup (Gr 2-2200m) and is from the famous family of his uncle Allan Schaare that has produced Regal Chief, Bright Chief and Eagle Eye, all group one cup winners.
"I hadn't decided where to send her this year, so this kind of made my mind up for me."
McDermott owns Dainty Lace along with his friend John Newton of Rotorua. They race Valley Chief along with McDermott's sister, Susan Simpson, her husband Gary; Rotorua-based Terry Moore and Taupo's Anthony Byett.
He was given the task of dispersing Schaare's horses when Schaare died in 2000 aged 93, and put several through the Karaka sales ring.
Eight of Schaare's mares were put into a sale in foal in spring 2000, but by 2001 McDermott decided he wanted to keep one of the mares to continue Schaare's family himself.
"I told John that I wanted to buy one of them but that because of the interest there was in them that they might be a bit dear for me, and John said that if that happened he would come in on one with me," McDermott said.
"As it happened I pulled out when one of them reached $6000 but later on Dainty Lace came up and I was able to get her for $3200.
"I told John after that not to worry because it was within my budget but he was still keen and he came in with me anyway."
Dainty Lace is now 20 but McDermott is confident the visit to Keeper will be worthwhile. "She's produced a foal three of the last four years so she's got a good chance of giving us another one."
However, he's not that confident about getting a filly to carry on the family line. "She's produced 11 foals so far and she's only had one filly," he said."But I'm not sure if I want another broodmare. I'm a dairy farmer and there's more money in cows at the moment."

- Alastair Bull