After raising a family of six boys, Noelene Bishop decided to buy a weanling filly to rear and race as a kind of substitute daughter.
That was 15 years ago, and now Bishop is as proud as any grandmother, with the granddaughter of that filly being Wrote To Arataki.
Last Saturday the talented five-year-old mare scored her fifth win in the Gr. 2 Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield, off the back of a third placing in the Gr. 2 Rose of Kingston Stakes at Flemington fortnight earlier. In her first appearance for the season two starts beforehand, she had finished third in the Gr. 3 Cockram Stakes, also at Caulfield.
Last season the daughter of Wrote, who is trained by Matthew Williams at Warrnambool, had been successful in the Gr. 3 Geoffery Bellmaine Stakes at Sandown as well as placing at Group Three level. With that formline, topped by her career-high win last weekend, she is now likely to be aimed at the Gr. 1 Empire Rose Stakes on the first day of Melbourne Cup week at Flemington.
Over the past fortnight Wrote, the under-rated son of High Chaparral standing at Highview Stud, has been represented by six winners. And We Danced and Morpheus Bragi were also successful in Australia, while Unscripted and Pulchritudinous won in New Zealand and Nineoneone won his third race in Singapore.
All up, Arion Pedigrees credit the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Juvenile winner with 76 winners from 137 starters. Wrote To Arataki, with five wins and stakes in excess of A$520,000, heads his list, while another first crop daughter, Best Seller, retired recently as the winner of the Gr. 3 Gold Trail Staes and runner-up in the Gr. 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas.
However, let’s go back to the beginning, when Bishop decided to go to the NZB National Weanling Sale and buy a filly.
“I wanted a foal of my own to potter around with. I wasn’t working any more and had time on my hands, my boys had all grown up,” recalled the octogenarian, who lives on a small block of land on the outskirts of Tauranga with her husband Bill.
“My father and grandfather had horses and I had always loved animals, so it was my time to have a horse. My father Jack Teague was a drover and could do anything with a horse. My niece Jackie trains horses at Waihi Beach.”
Bishop did some research and purchased a Reset filly out of Juncture, a placed Commands mare whose dam was the unraced Rhythm mare Love of Diamonds. She in turn was out of the Sir Tristram mare Sparkle ’N Shine, herself a sister to the stakes winners Tristalove and Antwerp, and a three-quarter-sister to Don Eduardo, Kaapstad and Peruzzi. This is of course the line founded by Cambridge Stud’s Hall of Fame broodmare Eight Carat.
Named Miss Reset, Bishop’s acquisition wasn’t keen on being a racehorse, so it was decided to send her to stud, and with her husband Bill being a friend of Brent Gillovic, she went to Align and the resulting foal was named Galloping Gerte.
“She didn’t have a great start in life,” according to Bishop. “Miss Reset wasn’t really interested in looking after her, so my husband and I did all we could to make sure she was getting everything she needed as a foal. We called her Milly, and she was quite the character but proved to be a good little racehorse.
“She was named after me, from when I was a little girl. I was always off running somewhere, apparently, they used to tie me to the table leg so I wouldn’t run off down the farm.
“Anyway, Milly won two Pearl Series Bonus races but then injured herself, so we decided to breed from her as well.”
When it came to picking a suitable mate, Bishop relied on knowledge she had picked up from her grandfather’s philosophy in selecting a bull to cover his dairy herd.
“My grandfather always said that size matters and in this case the mare was tall and slight, so I wanted something a bit more physical. Wrote is a lovely, strong individual and I thought he would suit her well.”
Wrote To Arataki was the result of that mating and after a trial placing under the training of David and Emma-Lee Browne, she was sold through renowned talent-spotter Phill Cataldo to clients of the Williams stable. Galloping Gerte’s next foal, also by Wrote and named Ring Jessie, has been retained by Bishop and is in work with Tauranga trainer Stuart Manning.
The mare has produced two more fillies to Wrote and is being served by him again this year.
“Milly resides at Highview Stud now. We can’t move fast enough anymore to have the horses at home,” Bishop said.
“I have leased a half-share in the mare to a friend and we jointly own the last foal. Hopefully we will get as many thrills with these fillies as I have with Wrote To Arataki.”