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Further Group 1 success for the "Gabardine" family

When you've got 15 mares from the same family on your farm, you've clearly got a strong belief in its ability to produce. But for Richard Moore of Karaka, south of Auckland, the family which traces back to his 1950s taproot mare Gabardine has given him no end of encouragement about its potency for many, many years.

That family was in the limelight again at Te Aroha last weekend when Captivate won the country's most prestigious race for fillies and mares, the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (Gr I - 1600m). For good measure, another family member, Culminate, ran away with a $50,000 race for three-year-olds the race before.

Moore, who also farms sheep and cattle at Karaka, has devoted his breeding career almost exclusively to the family.
"Sir Woolf Fisher (of Ra Ora Stud) gave me a couple of young horses in the 1950s," he said. "I sold one of them as a yearling at Trentham and put the money into Gabardine, and since then I've bred from the same family.
"She's the fifth dam of Captivate and I think there's one or two mares on the farm that might be a generation or two further on from that."

The family first took off when one of Gabardine's daughters, Princess Patine, produced Soliloquy to the top New Zealand-bred stallion Sobig in 1970.
Soliloquy won the Lowland Stakes (Gr 3-1400m) and the Nivea Stakes at Avondale (Gr 3-1200m), but her crowning moment on the track came when she held out top international performer Balmerino in the Waikato Sprint (Gr 1-1400m) at weight for age.
Left to right: Richard Moore holding Soliloquy (NZ) & Quibble (NZ),
Dick Moore holding Solveig (NZ) with Greig (NZ) at foot and David Moore holding Gaberton (NZ) with Prince of Praise (NZ) at foot

PHOTO: NZ Thoroughbred Marketing


Princess Patine also produced the stakeswinners Kubla Khan and Count Ajax, but it would be Soliloquy that ensured the family became one of the best in New Zealand.
Soliloquy produced nine winners from 12 starters, four of them stakes winners – Reasoning, Quibble, Soltanto and Solveig.

Quibble, a listed winner, made an impact at stud by leaving Sydney Cup winner Cross Swords, while the best of Soliloquy's produce, the dual group one winner Solveig, also proved a quality producer.

Solveig left the top Australian sprinter Greig, a three-quarter brother to Cross Swords who was a group-winning sprinter in Sydney and a useful sire. Solveig also left Zahra, whose son (Mr) Ubiquitous won at group three level in New Zealand at two and was good enough to contest Monday's Doncaster Handicap after winning the listed Royal Parma Stakes at Rosehill on Golden Slipper day.

Another of Soliloquy's daughters, Solstice, didn't join the black type winners list but won nine and was four times stakes placed. At stud she produced four foals before leaving Cappie, a daughter of Kaapstad.

Cappie was unraced but Moore believed in her potential. As he usually does with his mares, he sent her to a stallion in the upper reaches of the market – this time champion European sprinter Stravinsky, then in his third season at Cambridge Stud.
"I suppose I could be accused of over-mating her given her racing record, but I thought she deserved a good chance," Moore said.
"I've done it with a few mares but I think that if you believe in a mare it's worth giving her every chance.
"I'd been to Stravinsky in his first two seasons and he was a great racehorse so I thought he was worth sending her to."

Cappie's first foal would be Captivate, who he remembers as "a quite nice type of filly, a little small but still very nice".
As he has done for the past 25 years, Moore sent his horse to Trevor and Stephen McKee. She showed ability as a two-year-old, placing in a trial, before suffering a muscle injury.
"We knew it would be at least a year that we would have to wait for her," Moore said. "Because of that I asked Trevor whether it was worth persevering with her, and he said definitely."

McKee's faith proved justified when Captivate led all the way in the Breeders' Stakes, a result which will do plenty for Cappie's other foals. Moore also has a two-year-old on the farm by Traditionally, has a weanling by O'Reilly and is in foal to Black Minnaloushe. Not surprisingly, Moore is considering another trip to Stravinsky for her this year.

Moore's other Te Aroha winner Culminate was also the result of perseverance, only this time even greater as Solstice didn't have a foal for four seasons after Cappie.
"She was getting pregnant but wasn't able to hold onto her foal past 40 days," Moore said. "We tried several treatments which didn't work, but eventually I spoke to Andrew Grierson who gave me some different drugs and she was able to keep Culminate."

Richard Moore had followed in the footsteps of his father Dick in breeding horses, and the family name is set to continue on a larger scale as his son David has set up Soliloquy Lodge to rear and sell more members of the Gabardine family – and for the first time they have bought mares in numbers from outside the family.
"It's going to add some balance to the farm's broodmares – you can't really have a vendor selling horses from one family – and they should also help the farm commercially as well.
"David's going to be doing all the rearing and yearling preparation and it leaves me to concentrate on breeding from the family."

As with a number of successful private breeders, Moore's policy has been to sell colt foals where possible and retain most of the fillies. And with Captivate and Culminate set in time to join the family back on the farm, the family's name is likely to stay prominent for Moore for a few years yet.
"I've still got about 15 mares from the family here. Some of them even go to another branch of the Gabardine family – the one that produced Prince Of Praise," Moore said. "I'm still tending to the sheep and cattle as well. They're important to have, but if it wasn't for the horses from this family we may not still be here."
- Alastair Bull