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Glory Days and the Hunt factor

G2 Avondale Cup winner Glory Days (Red Giant   (USA) - Bilancia) photo Racing Images
G2 Avondale Cup winner Glory Days (Red Giant (USA) - Bilancia) photo Racing Images

Over the past month Glory Days (Red Giant[USA]-Bilancia), On The Rocks (Alamosa- Cold Shoulder), and He Kin Fly (Darci Brahma – Shi Kin Fly) have all won black type races, however that’s not all they have in common, their common denominator is the involvement in their breeding by Graeme Hunt.

Trading as Cambridge Hunt Limited, Hunt a member of the Wellington branch of the NZTBA, currently owns the dams of Glory Days and On The Rocks, and bred He Kin Fly. Regardless it has been an exciting and satisfying month or so watching the three horses win.

Glory Days is the latest winner, taking out the 2400 metre Gr.2 Avondale Cup at her first race right-handed and is currently joint favourite in the 3200 metre Gr.1 Auckland Cup. A six-year-old mare she was recording her ninth win, for her trainer and part-owner Bill Thurlow.

At her last start she ran second in the Listed Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes, over 1600 metres, after being freshened since failing in the Manawatu Cup just before Christmas. Prior to that she had put together a winning streak of four races including the Listed Whanganui Cup and the Waverley Cup, plus she had also won two races earlier in the season.

Glory Days was bred by the late Jack Georgetti and his partner Gloria Kenny from Bilancia (Montjeu[Ire]-Mistaurian) after they had borrowed her from Hunt for a year.

Over the years Hunt who has been associated with a number of good horses including the group one winning mare Barinka, Melbourne Cup winner Efficient, his half-brother Guillotine, and Shi Kin Fly to name a few, kept his mares and foals at the Georgetti’s Marton property. In fact the Georgetti family’s 2005 Avondale Cup winner Creil was bred by Hunt and sold to them for $500.

The association going further back to the 80’s when Hunt and his brother Barry raced Globetrotter the group two winning son of Balmerino who later stood at stud, which was bred by the Georgettis.

According to Hunt, Bilancia had a few quirky traits and although she had ability she had an issue with going into the starting gates so was banished to the broodmare paddock. She was a half-sister to another good filly that Hunt bred and raced in Kasumi a stakes winner at two who succumbed to hoof problems at three.

“Jack always liked Bilancia and she was at his place in Marton at the time, and he asked me what I was doing with her that particular year,” recalled Hunt.

“As it happened earlier that year Barinka had won the Westbury Classic  - she then went on to win the Gr.1 Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha – and part of the stake was a nomination to Westbury’s stallion Red Giant(USA).

“I decided that she did actually suit Red Giant(USA) on pedigree.  There is a double of Mr Prospector(USA), she has it through Straight Strike (USA) the sire of Maustarian Bilancia’s dam and he had it through his dam Beyond The Sun(USA) who is by Kingmambo(USA). She goes back to Rockefella (GB) through her dam and he does through Sharpen Up (GB) so there is plenty of Hyperion coming through. I don’t think there is enough of that coming through in pedigrees these days.

“Jack said to me if I wasn’t going to use it then he would like to, and it was only for one foal, and that is how Jack and Gloria bred Glory Days. I think it’s awesome and I am pleased for Gloria. Unfortunately Jack died not long after the foal was born.

“I can honestly say some good horses have been bred on that place. Some places have a higher percentage of winners than others and the horses from there always seem to be relatively sound. Most of my good horses have been raised there.”

Gloria Kenny a talented horsewoman in her own right and a member of the Central Districts branch of the NZTBA raised the foal along with others she bred that year, and a couple of years later mentioned to Waverley trainer Bill Thurlow that she had a few horses in the paddock if he wanted to lease them and try them out.

Glory Days was one of those he leased for himself, his brother Grant and his wife Patricia, along with fellow Taranaki farmers Brent and Sue McAree. It wasn’t long before they soon exercised their right of purchase on the bonny young mare.

“Bill Thurlow has done a wonderful job with Glory Days,” said Hunt.

“She had an injury early on and they couldn’t pin point it and when they did she had to be box rested for three months, and had almost a year off the scene. He has been brilliant with her and she has come back and look what she has done.

“Bilancia is a beautiful mare, and Glory Days has set her up and I have got a lot of the younger fillies coming through.”

Following Glory Days, Bilancia visited Alamosa who Hunt is a shareholder in, and produced Aniceta who has won one race to date. Her next foal also a filly by Shocking(AUS) is Nerve Not Verve a three-year-old who has been placed twice from three starts, the last start being at group two level.

Her two-year-old colt by Per Incanto(USA) has been broken in for Hunt and he has also retained her yearling filly by Shocking(AUS). She is has a Reliable Man (GB) filly at foot and is in foal to Belardo (IRE).

A stakes winning three-year-old this time last year, On The Rocks has matured into a serious racehorse this year. Following the Derby last March he was turned out and has only had four races since. He returned to the races in December with a fresh up third, then came out on New Year’s Day and stole the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile.

He failed in the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile, then came back three weeks later and showed an amazing turn of foot to take out the 2000 metre Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes.

“I can’t take any credit for that mating,” Hunt stressed, “but he certainly showed he has a fair amount of family ability and showed a tremendous turn of foot not unlike Efficient.”

Efficient (Zabeel- Refused the Dance) won the Gr.1 VRC Derby and the following year came out and won the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup, and the Gr.1 Turnbull Stakes. A year later his younger half-brother Guillotine (by Montjeu[IRE]) won the Gr.2 Dato’Tan Chin Nam Stakes and has proved to be a successful sire. Hunt owned Refused The Dance and bred Efficient and Guillotine along with Cold Shoulder.

“I owned Cold Shoulder with Wellfield Stud’s Bill Gleeson and we didn’t we always agree on what we wanted to mate her too so we decided he could have her for a few years and then I would take her. On The Rocks was his mating. 

“Eventually I bought him out and now share the mare with my brother Barry and his son Stephen, and she has a colt foal by Reliable Man(GB), and is in foal to Tarzino.”

Bill Gleeson also features in the He Kin Fly story, as he now owns Shi Kin Fly (Shinko King[IRE] –Blondini) his dam.

Hunt bred and raced Shi Kin Fly like Barinka she was by Shinko King (IRE) from a Eulogy line mare. Hunt being a big fan of descendants from that amazing Hall of Fame mare.  She Kin Fly won seven races including the Listed Manawatu Breeders’ Stakes.

He Kin Fly won his first two starts in New Zealand back in 2016 and was sold to Hong Kong where he raced as Big Flash, and won a race. He returned to New Zealand in late 2017, and commenced racing again in the South Island in the autumn of 2018.

He won his first race back here in August, and then recently added two more wins in the last couple of weeks including the listed Timaru Stakes at Riccarton.

“He was big for a Darci Brahma he had a lot of substance, he had great hips and a bum, a good type for a Dari Brahma,” he recalled. “I sold her to Bill, when I sold some of my mares, when I decided to cut down from eight a few years ago.

“Now I breed from Cold Shoulder, Kabuki (Shinko King[Ire]- Upstage[GB]) and a couple of what I call project mares, mares that I have bred and showed enough to breed from, Callista (Shinko King[Ire]-Chestnut), and Jumanah(Shinko King[IRE]-Yo Deseo).

Kubuki is a half-sister to Tavistock who won three races, and Hunt has a three-year-old filly out of her by Ekraar(SUA) in work with Alan Sharrock. He also has a Reliable Man(GB) filly from the mare.

Callista has the mighty mare Showgate (Gate Keeper[GB]-Minglow) as her fourth dam, and is another bred from the Eulogy line. This is a family Hunt was always keen to get a mare from. She was placed and this is her first season at stud and she is in foal to Sweynesse.

Jumanah has a Per Incanto(USA) foal and has returned to that stallion. Her dam Yo Deseo is a sister to the Gr.2 Hawkes Bay Cup winner King of Ashford who won 13 races, and a half-sister to Go Vicar who won the listed Whanganui Cup and eight other races.

With mares like these and Hunt’s passion for pedigrees and projects, it seems most likely that we will see Cambridge Hunt Limited popping up alongside lots more black type winners in the future. - Michelle Saba


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