There is no better advertisement for a staying stallion than a Darren Weir trained horse winning over ground at Flemington, according to White Robe Lodge Stud manager Wayne Stewart.
And when the stallion concerned Raise The Flag (GB) and Weir strike the quinella it’s an even bigger boost.
This happened at Flemington recently when Yogi (ex Malozza) got up to beat Chequered Flag (ex Star of Mulwala) in the 2500m Oliver St Plate. Both horses started their racing life in New Zealand and were purchased by Weir once he realised the staying potential of Raise The Flag’s stock. Now he has around a dozen of his progeny from all ages in his stable including Listed Tasmanian Oaks winner Parthesia, and multiple Stakes placed mare Unfurl.
“We have a fantastic relationship with Darren and his racing manager Jeremy Rogers, and we know what kind of horses he likes. We have even sent staff over to him, and he has asked for more of them as well,” joked Stewart. “In fact my nephew (leading South Island apprentice) Jacob Lowry is heading to his stable for a few weeks holiday after the Grand National Carnival. That will be a new experience for him.”
It has been a great year for Raise The Flag who commenced stud duties in 2011, his oldest horses are now six.
“His three-year-old crop of last season was his biggest crop and we all know that our stayers take time to mature so we are expecting big things to come. He left a smart horse in the Gore Guineas winner Raise You Ten.”
However Yogi, now the winner of five races, was not sourced from the team at White Robe, but from Timaru trainers Warwick and Mel Coles. He is the fifth foal of the unraced Grand Lodge mare Malozza and was bred by Canterbury NZTBA branch members Hazel and David Voice.
Malozza who descends from the same family as the Sydney Cup winner Linesman, and the Great Northern Oaks winner Bound To Honour, is one of four mares owned by the Voices, and she will return to Raise The Flag again this season. She currently has a Ghibellines (AUS) yearling filly, which they will probably retain.
”I have already had some inquiry on her but I think I will hold on to her just in case her mother has fertility issues from here,” Voice said.
“There is quite a story behind how Yogi got to Australia. It’s sad in a way. I became very sick with a melanoma tumour and was in hospital at the time he went through the South Island sale and my future didn’t look very good”.
“I decided to sell two yearlings at the South Island sales. At the time neither the stallion nor the dam had a high profile, and he had a slight swelling in his fetlock, which we weren’t sure if it was a joint disease. We couldn’t get the swelling down, but it hasn’t hindered his progress”.
“He subsequently sold for $1000 to Warwick and Mel Coles at Timaru. They progressed him through further and initially he didn’t do a hell of a lot, but showed a little promise. He ran a good third coming from a long way back as he does, then at his next start he annihilated his opposition over a mile, he was last on the turn and won by six lengths".
“The offers came after that and he was sold to Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Limited and their partners. As it turned out he was disqualified from the race, after he returned a positive test to caffeine”.
“He is definitely the best horse I have bred. I have had one or two winners, but he’s rather extraordinary with his strong finish. I enjoy following his progress you still get a great thrill out of seeing the horses that you breed perform. We weren’t really expecting this level of success and we get really excited when he races”.
“We are in touch with Danny Dance and the new owners and they keep us informed and involved, we just about yelled the house down in the Phar Lap room at Riccarton when he won at Flemington. It was all rather exciting”.
“If you hang in there as a breeder, you don’t have to use the high profile stallions, eventually genetics may come out on your side as a whim of nature. It’s a very satisfying thing, if people are thinking of getting into breeding, that the rewards that you can get can be very satisfying,” added the entomologist who got into horse breeding through his daughter’s love of horses”.
“My daughter Madeline was involved in the local pony club, and Hazel was really involved with her, and after a while I thought it might be nice to get a bit of land, and maybe have a go at breeding a horse”.
“We bought a 10 acre lifestyle block near Lincoln about 22 kilometres from Christchurch, and leased a further 10 acres for the purposes of horse breeding. It’s a small operation and it’s just a hobby, an expensive hobby funded by my income as a scientist for MPI and Hazel’s role as a midwife. Although that skill does come in handy if we are foaling at home, that and the fact that veterinarian Donald Arthur lives across the road”.
“Initially the vet and I went to a clearance sale and brought a Casual Lies(USA) mare called Taradiddle, and sent her to Yaminin Vital and we had immediate success with Wellsey but then she got bone chips so she went to stud. She is due to foal to Ghibellines (AUS)”.
“After that I braved going to Karaka. It was very much learn as I go, but there were lots of people willing to help, especially people in the local Breeders Association, they have certainly made it easier”.
“I bought Malozza in foal to Viking Ruler(AUS), and bought her back down here. Initially I didn’t have any luck, she is rather a rotund mare and I thought Raise The Flag(GB) was quite an athletic horse, with an outstanding pedigree. Sadlers Wells(USA) on the sire line, and Dansili(IRE) on the dam side. The only thing missing was performance but we know he was injured which curtailed his racing career.”
Chequered Flag (ex Star of Mulwala), who finished second to Yogi, had won his previous two starts including one over hurdles. He has now won four races, and was sourced out of the stable of Mark Brooks last December. He is a White Robe Lodge graduate and descends from the same family as A Gordon For Me. – Michelle Saba