If winning the Gr.1 J R & N Berkett Telegraph at Trentham with Mercurial (Burgundy) wasn’t exciting enough, the ownership group were celebrating another win with his half-sister Our Turn (Turn Me Loose) at Te Rapa on Wednesday.
According to part-owner Andrew Flexman it’s been a pretty amazing week.
“It’s very exciting,” enthused Flexman, “as owners and breeders we are tickled pink.”
“It’s incredible and beyond our wildest dreams to win a group one. We all aspire to that but as you well know plenty of people go a lifetime in racing and never get anywhere near winning a group one. So, we sort of feel like we have hit the jackpot a little bit with how it’s all played out.
“Without getting too far ahead of ourselves in this game hopefully there’s good stuff ahead of us as well.”
Flexman and his partners Colin Jones, Richard Wyeth, Tim Myers, Mark Darvill and Tom Phillips own Roxette the dam of Mercurial and Our Turn and also have an Embellish yearling filly in the wings as well so you can understand their optimism. The mare is now in foal to Noverre.
Trained by Stephen Marsh at Cambridge Mercurial is by the late Redoute’s Choice stallion Burgundy. A five-year-old he is now the winner of six races up to 1400 metres. He went into the Telegraph on the back of a gallant third in the Gr.1 ATR Railway Handicap on New Year’s Day, and earlier this season was third in the Gr.3 Hawkes Bay Spring Sprint.
His half-sister Our Turn, a four-year-old mare by Turn Me Loose, is also trained by Stephen Marsh. Prior to her win this week in the Pirongia Cup (2100) she had won two races up to 1300.
“It was good to see her back in the winner’s circle,” said Flexman.
“She had been a bit underwhelming so far this campaign, but Stephen said she was looking for more ground and she ran yesterday over 2100 metres and hit the line really nicely.”
Getting back to Roxette; she is an unraced Tavistock mare who was bred by Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan, and is a sister to Tannhauser, the winner of eight races in Singapore and Malaysia including the listed Perak TC Charity Cup.
They in turn are out of the Entrepreneur mare Foxette, who won two races at two and was second in the Gr.3 ARC Eclipse Stakes. This a family that traces back to the outstanding stakes winners Sovereign Red, Gurner’s Lane and Trichelle.
According to Flexman, Colin Jones had a relationship with Sir Patrick Hogan and along with a couple of friends purchased Roxette as racing proposition. It turned out she had a bit of a problem with a back leg and a decision was made to keep her as a broodmare.
Unfortunately for Jones his two partners passed away, however he wanted to keep the mare so called upon his friend Richard Wyeth and asked if he had any mates who would be keen in taking a 50 % interest in the mare.
“Richard Wyeth or Tilly as he is known, had the association with Colin and he approached the rest of us to see if we were interested,” recalled Flexman.
“Tilly, Mark, Tim and I had all been at Canterbury University together, and Tom joined our group a bit later, but we all thought it was a good idea.
“We all sort of had some interest in the game, Tilly’s father Ian Wyeth, was an owner-trainer from the Wairarapa, and in fact, Mercurial and Our Turn spent their early years down there. I had had a few small shares in syndicates and in we went with Colin retaining 50%.
“With Colin’s association with Sir Patrick, Burgundy was an obvious choice of stallion, and as well my first venture into racehorse ownership was in a Te Akau syndicate run by Chris Weaver that raced Burgundy.”
Flexman, a Cambridge based funds Investment Manager with Forsyth Barr and member of the NZTR board, has always had an interest in racing. His father Bill was a successful owner and that helped develop his enthusiasm for the game. From his position on the Board, he feels the industry has some great momentum at this point and is in a good position to pick up going forward.
He also had a small interest in Bankside Belle who was a stakes-placed winner at two who went on to win another seven races and was keen to get more involved when Roxette came along.
For a long time, he had harboured a dream of having a good racehorse and calling it Mercurial which the Oxford dictionary defines as tending to change mood suddenly.
Flexman picks up the story.
“When it came to naming the horse, I put up the name Mercurial,” he stated.
“The great Christian Cullen was my favourite rugby player of all time, and he was often described by commentators as mercurial and I loved him as a player.
“I remember saying at the time to my wife that I’m going to have a horse one day and it's going to be called Mercurial and it's he's going to be a champion. Now 20 years later we had great joy chatting about this the other night after the win in the Telegraph it's kind of all come to fruition so it's amazing how these things happen.”