If you had asked Mark Chitty at the start of August if he thought that Xpression (Showcasing[GB]-Xpress) could win the Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes, he would have had his doubts, but he did have a sneaky little plan at the back of his mind.
Chitty who last week was elected President of the Auckland Branch of the NZTBA bred Xpression with his old school friend Iain Renton and for that reason decided to send the horse south to Hawkes Bay where Renton resides to be trained.
“I had always wanted to give a horse to Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen to train, and with Iain being in the Bay it seemed like a good idea. I had looked after her and had her broken in and worked along so thought it was time Iain pulled his weight so suggested he get some friends together to race her.
“Over the past few years the Wakefield had not really attracted a very strong or large field and I had thought that if we could get this filly there we might be competitive. She was pre-trained at Luke Pertab’s and left there on August the third, and she hasn’t looked back since, everything that was put in front of her she has improved on,” Chitty explained.
Xpression made her race day debut just eight days before the Wakefield Challenge Stakes when she lined up in a 1000metre two-year-old race at Otaki and was beaten into third by a half neck and a neck.
“With the wide draw we knew we would have to drag her back and come across to the rail at the crossing. Sam (Collett) is riding so well at the moment and rode her with so much confidence. It was a pretty special day, especially for part-owner Paul Bayes a friend of Iain’s as this is his first racehorse.”
Chitty and Renton no longer own the mare after selling her last year at the national broodmare sale for $5.500 to Alan Windle of Nala Park in Shannon.
“Haunui sold the mare as a yearling to Iain’s father David who also bred the 1977 Melbourne Cup winner Gold and Black, and she won one race,” recalled Chitty.
“He gave her to Iain and we bred three Showcasing foals from her, the first one was quite small, Xpression was the best filly and we decided to keep her to race and sell the mare. It looks like we might have kept the right one.”
It was a family that Haunui Farm had a lot to do with through their long term client Taranaki branch member Bill Hurlstone the breeder of the Karaka Million winner Hardline a three-quarter sister to Xpression.
Xpress is the third foal of the Housebuster(USA) Midnight Breaker a winner of two races, who has had seven foals to the races and the have all won including Hardline. She in turn is out of the stakes winning mare Midnight Madam, the dam of the stakes winners Perlin and Almodovar.
Midnight Madam and her stakes winning sister Midnight Babe are out of the stakes winning mare Midnight Lady.
“The mares have been here and we know them well, and we still have quite a bit of the family here on the farm,” added Chitty.
“Hardline was a particularly nice horse, and Showcasing nicks well with Don Eduardo mares, it could be the Zabeel factor, but I actually think it might be something more likely to be the Diamond Lover factor. Stakes placed winner La Mouline is also out of a Don Eduardo mare.”
Besides the excitement caused on track and at Haunui Farm Xpression’s win is like a dream come true for first time Karaka vendor and Central Districts NZTBA member Alan Windle who will offer her full-sister at the sales this summer.
“She’s the second to last horse in the book on the second day of Book 2, so I’m not sure how she will get on, but Xpression’s win has certainly given us a boost,” enthused Windle.
“I am very new to the thoroughbred industry but not new to horses as I come from a showing background. I breed ponies have a beautiful pony stallion and have over the years won 37 Horse Of The Year titles.
“A couple of years ago I decided to switch out of show ponies into a boutique band of thoroughbred broodmares and as the ponies disappear I will replace them with thoroughbreds, I have three at the moment and two of them have progeny at Karaka.
“Karaka will be a learning curve for me, I will make sure they are looking as good as they possibly can and by the time I come home I will be like an old hand. I really have been thrown in at the deep end in this industry but I am having so much fun meeting people and they are all very helpful.”
“Luigi Muollo has been very good to me and has been a mentor to me when it comes to pedigrees I don’t have a huge budget when it comes to stallions I need to climb the ladder step by step but this little windfall with Xpression has certainly upgraded Xpress’s pedigree.
“Xpress is now in foal to Burgundy and Sir Patrick assures me this is a fabulous cross, with the Zabeel factor coming through Don Eduardo.”
Xpress currently has a Jakkalberry(GB) foal at foot. -Michelle Saba