The Matamata thoroughbred community celebrated another Group One victory on Saturday when Brutal took out the Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick.
The three-year-old colt was bred by Auckland-based Anne Storey and her mother Ruth Kerr-Taylor and was born and raised at Mapperley Stud near Matamata, who sold him through their 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale draft to Hawkes Racing for $220,000.
The Matamata connection runs further, with Brutal being by Waikato Stud’s deceased champion stallion O’Reilly and his dam Alberton Princess is now owned by local horseman Gary Hennessy and his wife Jenny.
Brutal is from the last crop of O’Reilly and became his sire’s fourteenth individual Group One winner with Saturday’s result.
He is the fifth foal from stakes-placed mare Alberton Princess, who was bred by Storey and her late father Evan Kerr-Taylor.
The family’s involvement in racing began in the 1980’s when Kerr-Taylor along with his brother Bruce and their sister Faye (Fletcher) purchased a filly for an interest to keep the family together. That filly was Alberton Lass, the grand-dam of Alberton Princess.
The three siblings were grandchildren of Allan Kerr-Taylor, who arrived in New Zealand from Scotland in 1849 and purchased a farm on the outskirts of Auckland on the lower slopes of Mount Albert.
Some years later he built a beautiful colonial mansion, Alberton, an Auckland landmark which is now a popular reception venue owned by the Historic Places Trust. So the family filly was named Alberton Lass carrying on the legacy of the original family farm name.
"Dad, Bruce and Faye put a lot of thought into the purchase of that filly and together over the years it really kept them together as a family and Alberton Lass and her progeny have provided a lot of enjoyment for them," Storey said.
When Storey and her mother decided to sell up their mares, Hennessy bought them to send to Ocean Park, who he trained to win five Group One races.
“I bought Alberton Princess and her three-quarter sister Lady Alberton at the Broodmare sale in 2016 to send to Ocean Park,” he said.
“It’s a great old family, it’s the same family as Hi Jinx. It’s a brilliant result and we have a lot to look forward to with these two lovely mares.
“Both mares produced colts to Ocean Park and we put the half-brother to Brutal through the sales but he wasn’t quite correct.
“We have decided to leave him as a colt and he just needs to grow out and mature, we will race him ourselves.
“The colt out of Lady Alberton didn’t reach his reserve, we have gelded him and we have nearly finished breaking him in. He is quite precocious and there is a good chance he will make a two-year-old.”
While Hennessy has supported Ocean Park with the two mares, he is also looking forward to supporting current stable star Ocean Emperor when he eventually heads to stud.
“Alberton Princess didn’t get in-foal after her Ocean Park, so we sent her to Darley and she is now in-foal to the European Champion Miler Ribchester,” Hennessy said.
“Lady Alberton produced an Ocean Park filly in the spring and she is empty this year. If we can find a stud to stand Ocean Emperor we will send her there.” - NZTBA