Septuagenarians Sylvia and Paddy Kay, race and breed horses for the fun of it, but over the years two families they have nurtured have kept popping up with some fabulous winners for the couple.
The latest star is Dolcetto (Per Incanto[USA]- Our Shiraz) the recent winner of the Group Three Marton JC Metric Mile at Manawatu. A five-year-old gelding he is trained by Sylvia Kay at Levin and was bred and is raced by her and her husband Paddy, and retired Christchurch veterinarians Chris and Helen Bishop.
“We raced his mother Our Shiraz with the Bishops, and they were there on Saturday to see Dolcetto win. We have had a great friendship over the years and had a lot of fun with them. When we had Sapio racing (more about Sapio later) we used to stay with them. We are only doing it for a hobby, and we have a lot of fun with them,” said a delighted Kay.
“She won races here in the Central Districts and then we sent her south to get some black type, before we sent her to stud.”
In fact Our Shiraz won six races including the Listed races the Great Autumn Stakes at Riccarton, the Waikouaiti Cup and the Invercargill Gold Cup, before she retired to stud to visit Howbaddouwantit(USA). Her next mating was with Captain Rio (GB), followed by a return to Howbaddouwantit(USA) twice and it was this third mating which produced her first winner Antonio. He won three races and ran an incredible 21 placings to earn in excess of $100,000 for the partnership.
Our Shiraz then went to Cecconi(AUS) and produced Amarone a winner of one race, before heading to Little Avondale Stud’s Per Incanto.
“Paddy saw Per Incanto at the Woodville races when Sam Williams bought him up to parade when he first got the horse. And Paddy who has a good eye for a horse said he’s the best looking horse I’ve seen in a while, we should send a mare there,” recalled Kay.
“Sam does a wonderful job at Little Avondale, it’s a great farm, and they are good farmers. The mares come home looking like show hacks. Amarone is going to Per Incanto this season, and we have a two-year-old full sister to Dolcetto in the paddock, as well as a Nadeem(AUS) yearling filly.”
“That filly was the last foal from Our Shiraz, and she also has a Road To Rock(AUS) four-year-old horse that we have broken in and will race. The stock of Road To Rock(AUS) are lovely horses but you have to give them time. With most of our breeds we have to wait for them to mature, so you can imagine how many young ones we have around, simply because they need time.”
Our Shiraz is by Nediym(IRE) and is out of Kotobuki a Vice Regal mare Kay purchased in foal from a Gold Coast sale.
“I was over there campaigning a couple of horses and got a bit bored and decided to go to the sales, and bought the mare. Paddy was a huge fan of Vice Regal so he didn’t stay mad at me for long, but she has turned out to be a great investment,” she added.
The next foal Kotobuki produced was Radio Rocket by Blues Traveller (IRE) who won three races, and in all she left five winners from seven foals. Radio Rocket went on to leave Spiro, the winner of eight races including the Gr.2 Wellington Cup and the Ashhurst Pohangina Cup, he was also second in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup, Gr.2 Wellington Cup, Gr.3 Taranaki Cup, and LR Wanganui Cup, and third in the Gr.2 Awapuni Gold Cup, Gr.3 Taranaki Cup Gr.3 Thomson Handicap and LR Feilding Cup. She also left Aunt Daisy six wins, Dr Paul, five wins and Selwyn 10 wins. Aunt Daisy is now one of the mares in the Kays broodmare band and she has a Jakkalberry(USA) two-year-old, a Road to Rock(AUS) yearling and is due to foal to Jakkalberry(USA). This is the only foal the Kays are expecting this season.
Any story about Paddy and Sylvia Kay, members of the Central Districts branch of the NZTBA, would not be complete without mentioning Sapio the 1997 New Zealand Champion Stayer, who won 16 races including the Gr.1 Doomben Cup, the Gr.2 New Zealand Cup twice, and was second in the Gr.1 Brisbane Cup and the HKGr.1 HKJC Queen Elizabeth II Cup. He was the first stakes winner they bred and was out of Sage the first horse they bred.
After a successful career in show jumping which included going to the Tokyo Olympics as a groom with the equestrian team, Sylvia married Paddy who was working at Wynthorpe Stud in Taranaki.
“When I got married I had a hurdler I raced with Ted Preston,” reminisced Kay.
“A bit later we bought a pretty rough farm in Taranaki and I had a steeplechaser. At that time a really good friend of mine Sally Symonds inherited two mares from her mother in Australia and she insisted I take Sagacious Miss(AUS).
“We were actually struggling to feed the stock we had on the farm let alone take on a broodmare, but I did, and Ron Nolan gave me a service to Allgrit(USA), and that was Sage. Sagacious Miss also went to Prince Bright and produced a mare I named Sally Symonds and she left Mr Solo who won 10 races”.
“That was what started it all off. By this stage Paddy was ready to leave the stud so we sold up in Taranaki, moved to Horowhenua, and sent Sage to Vice Regal, who he was such a fan of and that was Sapio.”
The Kays moved to a 200 acre farm half-way between Levin and Otaki, where they now run their four mares and various young stock, as well as fattening cattle. Their son Michael, a builder by trade, now helps with the stock and the horses. When they purchased the farm during the 1990’s it was originally a town supply dairy farm, and always had its own warm micro climate which is great for growing animals.
Sage produced one other foal Sapient by Victory Dance(IRE) who won five races. Even though she didn’t leave a filly the Kays still had Sally Symonds and her descendants.
Besides Mr Solo, Sally Symonds was also the dam of four other winners including Taggart(Vice Regal) who won five and Miss Marple (March Hywel- USA). A winner of one race, Miss Marple also left the Group Two placed winner Dashing Away (Vice Regal) and three other winners including Pensive (Pentire[GB]) who won two and is one of the mare’s the Kays are currently breeding from.
Pensive has left Sylvester (Road to Rock[AUS]) a winner of two races in the autumn and Veneto (Per Incanto) along with an unnamed three-year-old colt by Ekraar(USA) and a Road To Rock(AUS) yearling. Dame Ngaio another daughter of Miss Marple is the dam of Ngario who was unfortunately destroyed the day after Dolcetto won the Metric Mile, after breaking down in a hurdle race. He had won 10 races, she has also left Perry Mason(Zed) who has won three and Dr Watson (Handsome ransom [AUS]).
Making up the numbers in the Kays broodmare band is Keisano a mare they raced to win 11 races.
“We bred and race Keilib (Librettist[USA])from Keisano, her next foal was She Rocks (Road To Rock[AUS]) that Karen Parsons has won a couple of races with. We leased Keisano for a couple of years, and she has two foals by Shocking(AUS) and now we have a lovely Jakkalbery(USA) colt. He’s a smart horse, and she is due to foal to Sweynesse(AUS). She will visit Per Incanto(USA) as well this year,” according to Kay, “so I guess with all these foals around we are anticipating being around winning more races and having fun for a few more years yet.” - Michelle Saba