You could hear the cheers at Haunui Farm a mile away on Thursday afternoon.
Not only did their shuttle stallion Belardo post a winning double at Te Aroha, but his three-year-old daughter Bella Luce (x Luce in the City) credited the farm’s Administration Manager Diane Rushworth with her first win as a breeder.
It was the third start for the Shaun and Emma Clotworthy-trained Bella Luce and she left her rivals in her wake racing away to win her 1000m contest by three and a quarter lengths.
Rushworth, also the treasurer of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s Auckland branch, was understandably thrilled with the win.
“It was incredibly exciting,” Rushworth said. “I bred her with my partner Shane and it has always been the plan to race her.
“When Kelvin Zimmerman, our truck driver here at Haunui, and his wife Karen were looking for a horse to syndicate Mark (Chitty, Haunui Farm Managing Director) suggested our filly.
“We retained a share and she is raced with friends of theirs that they have raced with before and Julia, our receptionist here, and her husband Bryce Cottle.”
Bella Luce is out of unraced Elusive City mare Luce In The City, a horse Rushworth purchased as a weanling to act as a paddock mate.
“We bought Luce In The City as a weanling to be paddock mate,” Rushworth explained. “I asked Mark if there was one we could buy and he suggested her.
“We tried her as a racehorse but she had a bad accident in her trial at Ellerslie when a horse broke down in front of her which ended her racing career.
“When we decided to breed from her Shane and I talked to Mark and Ron (Chitty) and they said as an Elusive City mare she would be a good match for Belardo.”
Bella Luce is the only living foal out of Luce In The City who has since ceased broodmare duties to pursue a career as a sport horse.
Rushworth said Bella Luce was the product of a real team effort from everyone at Haunui Farm and she was exceptionally grateful to the Chitty family – Mark, Sara, Ron and Carolyn, and the staff at the Karaka-based property.
“We are very thankful for the advice everyone has given us here and the work the team have put into her,” Rushworth said. “She has been through the Haunui system right from foaling and her handling as a weanling.
“Right from the start we have liked her. The staff here loved her as a foal and when we took her home she was quite precocious in the paddock and quite cheeky. She was never scared of anything.”
Rushworth has always had an interest in horses and was thrilled when given the opportunity to marry her profession with her passion.
“I used to go to the races with my dad as a little girl and I have always loved horses,” she said. “Then I realised I could join my admin work with horses and applied for the job at Haunui Farm in 2011 and have been here ever since.
“Shane has followed the races nearly all his life so it is an interest we share.”
Rushworth is also looking forward to their three-year-old Showcasing filly out of Taylor’s Park commencing her racing career.
“We bred her out of a mare Mark and Tim Dixon gave us,” Rushworth said. “She is in pre-training with Kylie Grass at the moment but has been syndicated and will go down to Roydon Bergerson’s at Awapuni.”
Rushworth was quick to dismiss any notion of pulling Luce In The City from the showring and returning her to the broodmare paddock.
"Shane suggested that," she said. "But I don't think so." -Amie Best, NZTBA