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MacRury gets a good one in Travelling Light

Travelling Light winning the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes - Trish Dunell
Travelling Light winning the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes

Trish Dunell

A passion for pedigrees and a love of racing seem to be paying results for Coll MacRury the breeder and part-owner of the smart three-year-old filly Travelling Light (El Roca-Cissy Bowen).

Currently favourite for the Gr.1 gavelhouse New Zealand 1000 Guineas, Travelling Light has been to the races on three occasions and has won each time, with her most recent success in the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).

MacRury, who works in the meat industry and divides his time between Perth, Goulburn in New South Wales and Tauranga, is enjoying the success he and his father Ian are having with Travelling Light. Like any breeder, while he is excited about his filly’s achievements on the racetrack, it's when he starts talking about her pedigree that his real pride and passion shows through.

Travelling Light is the third foal from the Colombia (Zabeel – Eight Carat{GB]) mare Cissy Bowen, a mare raced by MacRury and his Dad from the stable of Ben Foote, who is now charged with her care.

“As a family we always had a love of racing,” recalled MacRury, “I liked horses all the way through and during the late 70’s I started looking at breeding in depth and so for the last 20 or 30 years I have studied a lot of pedigrees.

“I have read Tesio and followed Ken Beer and the late Harold Hampton and Jack Glengarry, I have a really inkling for it and enjoy that part of racing a horse.”

During the mid-90’s, when funds allowed, father and son ventured into racehorse ownership. One of the first horses they raced was a Kingdom Bay mare Bay D’Ore in a Te Akau syndicate. She won two races and was sold on and eventually went to stud.

Bay D’Ore was from a good honest Central Districts family that over the years had produced a number of good racehorses without having a host of black type performers, which was something that resonated with the MacRury’s. Bay D’Ore was out of Ace High, a winning Crown Lease (GB) mare who left nine winners including Sovereign’s Ace whose eight wins included a Listed Anniversary Handicap at Trentham.

In 2000 they saw Bay D’Ore pass through the sale ring and they tracked down her owner Joan Scott who had sent her to Colombia, a stallion that MacRury was rather keen on due to his bloodlines.

They bought the resulting filly and as Electra Dee she won three races, they liked her so much they went back and purchased her younger sister who they named Cissy Bowen.  Bay D’Ore went to Colombia five times, and the mating in between the two successful fillies produced Tiger King, who won four races in Macau including the Listed Macau Derby Trial, and was placed second in the Listed Macau Guineas, and fourth in the Listed Macau Derby.

 However, when it came time to begin their breeding venture it was decided to persevere with Cissy Bowen, the better performed of the two mares, and she went to Jimmy Choux, and produced The Great Southern who as a three-year-old won a race and was placed third in the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas, and Gr.3 Bonecrusher Stakes before being sold to Singapore.

Cissy Bowen returned to Jimmy Choux and produced another colt, who unfortunately died following a paddock accident on Guy Fawkes night.

The next mating produced Travelling Light and MacRury was happy to discuss the theory behind her mating.

“Cissey Bowen has two lovely strains of the successful sire Dante (GB)( Nearco[ITY]- Rosy Legend[FR]) on the filly side” he explained.

“She gets one through Eight Carat (GB) as he is the grandsire of Pieces of Eight (GB) and another through Kingdom Bay as the grandsire of Golden Plume (GB) the sire of Kingdom Bay’s dam Golden Praise, through her dam Bay D’Ore.

“I always look at why a pedigree works and why it is successful, I wanted the successful Fastnet Rock [AUS] and Zabeel cross which has produced a number of Group One winners and is very successful with fillies as well, having produced Atlantic Jewel, not that I necessarily wanted a filly but I am pleased to have one.

“The big thing with El Roca (AUS) (Fastnet Rock[AUS] – Rubimll[AUS]) was he was a good racehorse that should have won the Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas. I liked him as a racehorse and I liked his pedigree. I liked his size, he is a lovely big horse and Cissey is a small mare. He was a fast horse. He was a nice young stallion as well as he was only a five-year-old at the time.

“Atlantic Jewel was a big rangy filly and fast, Cissey Bowen was quite fast and I wanted to inject speed and try and not take too much speed out of the family.”

The theory obviously worked, and Travelling Light became the first stakes winner for the young Westbury Stud stallion. 

El Roca (AUS) was bred by Peter Newsom who has a long association with Westbury Stud and was sold through their 2012 draft at Karaka to Trent Busuttin.

He won on debut at three and backed that win up with a win in the Listed Westbury Stud Challenge Stakes at Ruakaka. At his next start he finished second in the 1400m Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude but struck traffic problems in the Caulfield Guineas, recovering to finish a gallant fifth.

Returning in the Autumn he won the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes and was placed second in the Gr.1 Randwick Guineas, and the Gr.3 Liverpool City Cup, and third in the Gr.1 George Ryder Stakes.

El Roca is by the Champion Sprinter and Champion Sire Fastnet Rock (AUS)(Danehill[USA] -Piccadilly Circus[AUS]) out of Rubimill (AUS)(Rubiton[AUS]-Mill Rani) who is a sister to the Group Three winning mare Millrich, the dam of the Champion Australian Sprinter and dual Everest winner Redzel.

“Colombia mares have done well at stud,” continued MacRury, “outside of Winx (AUS) two of the best mares in Australia in recent times have been out of Colombia mares, Viddora (AUS) (I Am Invincible(IRE) – Snow Flight) the triple group one winner and Mystic Journey (AUS) (Needs Further[AUS]- White Gold), this has influenced my breeding of Cissy Bowen as well.

“She has a two-year-old filly by Proisir (AUS), a lovely big chestnut she is quite physical, she has shown a bit but will need time, she has a nice cross and is bred 6 x6 to Special (USA) (Forli[ArG] – Thong[USA]) which is exciting for a filly, she has a beautiful attitude and that is half your battle with a filly.

“Mystic Journey is by Needs Further (AUS), a son of Encosta de Lago, and Prosir provides Encosta through his dam Prophet Jewel (AUS) who is by Encosta de Lago. Viddora was influential in the mating of Cissy’s next foal which is a yearling colt by Charm Spirit (IRE). Viddora, being by the Invincible Spirit (IRE) stallion I Am Invincible (IRE), as is Charm Spirit.

“He has a lot going for him he is nicely line bred for a colt. He is in paddock at Club Med Lodge, all my horses are with Vicki and Terry Pascoe where they are very well looked after, and Cissy does her foals so well, her foals just thrive.

“She had a year off and is now in foal to Sacred Falls. I wanted to access the O’Reilly influence especially Last Tycoon (GB) as he has Dante’s brother Sayajiro (GB) in his pedigree so if I get a filly she will be 6 x6 x7 to Dante (GB) and Sayajiro. There are also five or six really good crosses through Round Table (USA), Nearco (ITY) and Nasrullah (IRE) if it’s a colt.

“I like to look at the mare’s strongest strain, Dante is the top strain for her and Sacred Falls brings that through nicely, in fact he also appears on the dam side of El Roca, a bit further back.

“I have been happy to breed to young sires; Cissy Bowen is the only mare I have so I have all my eggs in one basket. Who knows if these two fillies I’ve got going now, and all things being equal will carry on with these two fillies and increase my broodmare band?

“Anyway,” he concluded, it’s a great game if you get a good one.”  -Michelle Saba, NZTBA



 

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