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Saint Cecile wins her second NZ Bloodstock Breeders Stakes

Saint Cecile led all the way to win the Racing Te Aroha New Zealand Bloodstock Breeders' Stakes G2 last year. Today she won the race again in much the same fashion - with a few differences.

Last year Lisa Mumby rode her; this year David Walsh was the pilot. Last year's race was worth $100,000; this year the stake was $120,000.
And this year's field was arguably the strongest collection of fillies and mares assembled in New Zealand for some years.

The reason for that wasn't hard to find: the race gained Group One status for the first time this season, 31 years after its inaugural running in 1971.

Saint Cecile is a magnificent mare: a big, strong, gorgeous type that anyone would be proud to breed. Her Wanganui breeders Nigel and Adair Auret also own her and Nigel trains her.

By Pompeii Court (USA) from the Spectacular Love (USA) mare Delgatie Queen, Saint Cecile is a grand-daughter of Tricky Spi, purchased as a yearling by the Aurets for $4,000 in 1974. She left seven winners from eight foals to race including Pearl Harbour, the first horse Nigel trained and later the dam of the Aurets' champion two-year-old Pompeii Pearl (also by Pompeii Court). She was sold after her juvenile season and as Nigel says, "put us financially on our feet."

In all the Aurets own about twenty members of Saint Cecile's family but they sell plenty of horses too, among them four-year-old Senorita Lucy (Senor Pete (USA)-Court Striking), who's been a winner in Sydney for the Gai Waterhouse stable. "Breeding horses is our core living and if we don't make money we don't put Weetbix on the breakfast table."

The Aurets were shareholders in Pompeii Court and have received valuable support over the years from former Waikato Stud managers Rick Williams and Gordon Cunningham.
Says Nigel, "Everyone is pretty good to deal with and some of the nicest people we know are in the thoroughbred business."

Nigel and Adair met during their pony club days in Wanganui and milked cows for fifteen years after their marriage. They have lived on their present 200-acre property at Whangaehu for the past eleven years, raising three children alongside dry stock and horses. Their daughter Melanie is an economist with the Department of Inland Revenue; Hamish has his own horse-breaking and pre-training business; while younger son Fraser is also an accomplished rider.

Nigel Auret doesn't claim special insights into horse-breeding, though he and Adair enjoy studying pedigrees, and Nigel omits to mention his own considerable training skills. "We very much believe in using proven sires and good families produce good horses."

This is indeed a good family: Saint Cecile's fourth dam is 1965 New Zealand Broodmare of the Year Gold Spi, and her distant relatives include champion Australian racemare Dane Ripper.

Elevenses, who won last season's New Zealand 1000 Guineas G1, was second in today's big race, and Saint Therese was third, with Honor Bound fourth.


- Susan Archer