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River Century does it again for Waikato Stud

An Oaks winner one season, a Derby winner the next … a breeder could not ask any more of a broodmare. That's what River Century has done for Matamata-based Waikato Stud after Guyno wore down his opponents in Saturday's group one West Australian Derby (2400m). Just a year before foaling Guyno, River Century produced Legs, last year's New Zealand Oaks winner and winner this season of New Zealand's richest race, the Kelt Capital Stakes (2040m) at Hastings.
Both Legs and Guyno are products of Waikato Stud sires – Legs is by the farm's exciting Australian Guineas winner Pins and Guyno by the ever-reliable O'Reilly.
It's not surprising given that she's by former Waikato Stud stalwart Centaine that River Century was bred by Waikato Stud owner Garry Chittick. But she hasn't been in the stud's ownership all her career. She was sold at Karaka in 1996 and eventually ended up with Central Districts breeder Roy Potter before Waikato Stud bought her back in 2002 when she was carrying Legs.
"Years ago when I first started in this game I was told that if you have a mare you like you should never sell any of their fillies until you have two of them," Chittick said. "But I sold the first two fillies because I needed the money (River Century was the second of them) and then she had colt after colt so I had to buy back into the family. "It's been a very very fortuitous buy-back." Shortly after foaling Legs, Waikato Stud sent River Century to O'Reilly, and Guyno was the result.


Guyno was offered at the 2005 Karaka yearling sale but bidding only reached $40,000, $10,000 short of what Waikato Stud wanted. "River Century's not a big mare – she's a good, medium-sized mare – and Guyno wasn't quite there for buyers so we brought him back and gelded him. "Then these friends of ours rang one day and said they wanted an older horse to buy. We don't keep many so we only had two on the farm – a Pins gelding and Guyno – and they decided to buy Guyno because Lex Piper, a friend of theirs, had had some success in West Australia with another O'Reilly horse, O'Flirty."
Guyno's new owners were Bunbury businessman John Court and his wife Helen, along with Dr Peter Richardson and Shirley Richardson. "I was fortunate enough to meet the Courts at the Gold Coast yearling sales a little while back," Chittick said. "John had owned horses years ago but he became very busy with his business (selling mining machinery) and hadn't owned a horse for a long time. Guyno was his first horse for something like 20 years. They are great people and we've had them and about six others staying as our guests for a few weeks. They only went back last Thursday and two days later they won the Derby."
From the start, Guyno's trainer Lou Luciani thought Guyno had staying potential, telling the Courts and the Richardsons that a Derby was within his grasp. He showed ability throughout his three-year-old career and in December became a black-type winner, taking out the listed TJ Smith Trophy (1800m) at Ascot.
"Lou rang me after that and asked if he thought an O'Reilly would stay the derby distance. I told him he'd had a derby second in New Zealand and an oaks winner so he could take something from that."
Guyno had to be content with three minor placings leading into the Derby, battling a series of wide barrier draws and the exciting three-year-old New Spice, and went into the race at odds of $4.60. With the benefit of wearing blinkers for the first time Guyno's stamina came to the fore in the race and he was able to wear down another New Zealand-bred, Ballack. New Spice, who led into the straight, failed to stay and wound up fourth.
Guyno has now won three races and placed four times from 12 starts and earned more than $A380,000. He will now be spelled.
River Century does not have a two-year-old as she was not served in 2003 but she does have a yearling sister to Legs who has been kept by Waikato Stud. She also has a weanling foal by Savabeel and is in foal again to Pins. Both fillies have been retained by Waikato Stud. "She's already produced two group one winners for us, and not many mares do that, so I don't think I'll be selling many more of her fillies," Chittick said.
Also on the farm is Legs, retired after an injury was detected when she arrived at John O'Shea's Sydney stable this autumn. Chittick has yet to decide what stallion to send her to, but he hopes his own promising sprinter Fast 'N Famous can make the decision for him by winning a group one race this year before he goes to stud.
"Sending her to a group one winner by Redoute's Choice would be fantastic and they would be a great match on type."


- Alastair Bull