In this week's Dunstan Meet the Breeder, we catch up with Angenita Moore who is just one third of the trio that make up Soliloquy Lodge.
What is Soliloquy Lodges core focus and who is it made up of?
Soliloquy Lodge is my father-in-law Richard Moore, myself (Angenita Moore) and my husband David, who works as a full-time Science teacher so Richard and I do the bulk of it.
Together we run 8 – 10 mares. We breed some horses for the commercial yearling market and then there are some that we take further through to the ready to run or trial market. So really, we try and breed really fast racehorses and place them in the best place to market them.
What made you interested in breeding horses and how did you get into it?
Richard started breeding he was really born into it, his father was more into racing than breeding so Richard was surrounded by horses from an early age. He started breeding as a teenager, Sir Woolf Fisher from Fisher and Paykel used to have Ra Ora Stud and he gave him an old mare which started him off in the breeding barn. Then he leased a mare called Princess Patine which is the dam of Soliloquy, our foundation broodmare. We still have horses and Sakura Girl is one of them, and her mother Soltina who descend from Soliloquy and are the sixth or seventh generation now.
I am from a not very horsey background at all. I was born in Germany and not at all horsey but have always been horse mad. I ended up doing an equine studies course after university and went to Haunui Farm for a work experience as it was part of that course. That was where I met David 20 years ago and the rest is history!
How many mares do you breed from:
Between 8 and 10, we always try and keep it around that number. We have four foals from our broodmares this year. A couple we chose not to breed from for various reasons.
Do you identify early on what you are going to do with your foal crop?
When we finish foaling and are handling the foals, we go through them and look at them and say well this one is a yearling sales type as maybe it is by a first season sire and is a cracking type so it will be quite a commercial one. Or a later foal or a not so great on type might be sold as a weanling; or there are some that’s nice but it is going to take a little longer so we take it to the Ready to Runs. So certainly, we go through as most commercial breeders do and try to identify where to best place each horse.
Tell us about Soltina?
She is one our loveliest mares, she is really quite sweet, and we raced her together with Trevor McKee. She won a couple of races but then she had a soft tissue injury that prevented her from showing more but she had a lot of ability, and she is now passing it on to all her offspring really.
What else do you have in your bloodstock portfolio (youngstock, racehorses etc)
We have some racehorses that we lease out, we don’t have any that we race ourselves at the moment, but we are looking to keep a couple of fillies including the half-sister to Sakura Girl. Leasing out enables us to possibly have a few more future broodmares. We have a friend in Australia who we have been leasing horses to for 15 years, and has horses trained here and then if they show enough ability they will go and race in Australia too. We have several that he has leased from us and that have done well and have come back to our broodmare band. It is a perfect as it gives the horses the opportunity and allows us to get more of them tried.
Apart from the mares and foals, we have a few yearlings that we will set for the ready to run sales and a couple of geldings that we will set aside and produce later on to trial or race. We also have a couple of 2yos that we had set for the ready to run sale but didn’t make it for one reason or another but both show ability so they are horses that we know we will be able to move at a later stage.
How do you make your mating decisions or do you receive/seek advice?
Between the three of us we start making lists now, then we make more lists and then we cross out those lists and then make more lists as quite often we change our mind. Sometimes we change our minds right up to the last minute. We had a mare in the crush last season and we will still deciding as we were scanning her and going ok we need to serve her tomorrow morning and then we managed to book her in and hopefully it will be a champion. We have had one that we had to change our mind the morning of. It was Rip Van Winkle’s first season at stud and I took a maiden mare down to him and she kicked him and he wouldn’t hop back on, we tried for an hour so we ended up having to serve that mare with Volksraad. And then I said look I’ll bring my old mare down to Rip Van Winkle and it ended up being a Gr.2 placed horse – a half-brother to Soltina.
We are very much big on type, we aren’t big on mix and crosses, pedigree goldmines and this and that. If crosses work, like Jon Snow was Iffaaj out of an O’Reilly mare and so is Sakura Girl so that is obviously a cross that has worked in our family. So if it works go for it, but we are not looking through to the fourth and fifth pedigree to replicate something. We look at the mare physically and what she needs physically to correct her foals. Does she lack size and strength, or need something with a good temperament, that is the biggest thing for us, the physical attributes.
What do you love about the NZ thoroughbred breeding industry?
The people and the passion people have. It is a very niche industry in a lot of ways. Sometimes it can feel like a fragile industry as there can be things troubling it at times but the people in the industry are very resilient. I think they are battlers but they are also innovators that keep on trying to do things in new and exciting ways; and trying to do things for the good of the people and for the good of the industry. There are people coming up with ideas and ways of doing things to make other things happen and I think that is neat.
What advice would you give to someone entering the industry as a breeder?
Get some experience, get involved in different areas of the game - see the racing side, see the sales side of it. Look at different parts, get lots of advice and surround yourself with good people.
Proudest moment as a breeder?
For myself, it would have to be Jon Snow winning the ATC Derby, that was super exciting. If you talk to Richard, he will probably put Solveig up there when she won the Oaks and was filly of the year in the late 80s. He raced her himself so no doubt that was a huge thrill. You win those big classic races and that is a huge thrill.
Finish this sentence…the best part about being a thoroughbred breeder is….
Watching the foals that we have bred and have seen from day one and handled, weaned and everything; and then seeing them on the racetrack performing with our brand on them crossing the line in those big races – that is just super exciting.