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Out of control hobby reaps Group Two rewards

Group Two winner Self Obsession. - Photo: Trish Dunell
Group Two winner Self Obsession.

Photo: Trish Dunell

For any breeder losing a mare or foal during foaling is devastating.

Every now and then that sad tale has a good outcome, often thanks to Phillip Smyth’s Foster Foal Service.

Self Obsession (Shocking [AUS]-Mawaakib) winner of the recent Gr.2 Waikato RC David and Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) is one such success story. Having lost her mother at birth, Self Obsession was then reared by a mare who had lost her own foal.

She was foaled at Hallmark Stud under the watchful eye of Mark Baker, where her dam Mawaakib (O’Reilly-My Hangover) was a resident.

According to Baker it was a pretty straightforward foaling, but shortly after the mare died.

“We kept the foal alive overnight,” Baker recalled, “Then we got on the phone to Phillip Smyth, and soon after Mark Chittick came to the party with a mare and she was off to Waikato Stud. That mare obviously did a good job raising the foal.”

That mare was another O’Reilly mare Forty Two Below (ex Icy Calm) the dam of the Gr.3 Eulogy Stakes winner Cold Play.

Raced by her breeder David Price, Self Obsession is now the winner of three races from four starts.

She debuted for Te Akau Racing trainer Jamie Richards at Tauranga in late November and finished a creditable third over 1400m. Three weeks later at the same track over 1600m she broke through for her maiden win, racing handy to the pace throughout and running away to win by three and a half lengths with a further three-quarters of a length back to the third horse.

On New Year’s Day she stepped up to 2000m in the Gr.2 ARC Valachi Downs Royal Stakes where she settled in second position until taking the lead on the Ellerslie turn. A dog fight down the straight ensued and she got the better of Princess Lowry on the line, with a further three and a half lengths back to the third horse Aquacade.

With a space of over a month between races Self Obsession dictated the pace in the Fillies Classic, and when challenged at the 600 once again dug in for a battle from the fast finishing Glory Bound, hanging on to win by a head with another wide margin back to the third horse Achieve.

All going well Self Obsession will now head towards the Gr.1 WRC New Zealand Oaks at Trentham in March, and she sits in second place in the NZ Bloodstock Filly of The Year Series behind Belle En Rouge.

Speaking from his Hong Kong base, her owner-breeder David Price is certainly very excited about the prospect of racing in the New Zealand Oaks.

“I love her race pattern and I think that she will easily get the distance,” he said.

“I love that she races on the speed and shows heart and that she is up for a fight. She may not win her races by much but there is always a big space back to the third horse.

“She has had some feet issues, but Jamie is managing those, she is in good hands and we are just crossing our fingers that she will get there.”

As a form analyst from Australia, Price ventured to Hong Kong over 25 years ago and soon after established Price Bloodstock which specialises in supplying tried horses to Hong Kong and Macau.

He is looking forward to further developing his relationship with Jamie Richards when he gets to Hong Kong in April.

“I came for the gambling and expanded into bloodstock, it’s a business that is really an out of control hobby,” he said.

“Mainly we buy yearlings and test drive them for the lucrative Hong Kong market. We usually buy in New Zealand but it has been a little bit difficult since Covid with our Australian based agents who buy for us not being able to get there.”

It was on one of his buying trips to New Zealand that he became associated with the team at Hallmark Stud and decided to send Mawaakib there after he purchased her to send to Shocking.

“Breeding is not really a big part of our operation,” he explained, although he is a shareholder in Shocking.

“Shocking is such a reliable stallion; I can’t understand why he serves such undersized books each year. With his credentials and results he should be front and centre of attention for breeders but I guess they are all looking for something shiny and new.”

“We have a handful of mares in Australia and we only have the one mare in New Zealand - Prado Red (Exceed and Excel (AUS)-Sunflower Street (AUS)). She has also been to Shocking but hasn’t been as successful as Mawaakib.

“We bought Mawaakib in foal to Nadeem and she was always going to go to Shocking and in the end we fluked a good horse. We went to a stallion we liked and plumbed a good one, who was always going to stay in New Zealand and race, end of story. 

Mawaakib was herself a winner and she is the dam of one other winner Generation Gap (Nadeem). She in turn is out of My Hangover (by My Halo [USA]) a winner of five races who was placed in the Gr.2 CRC Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes and Gr.3 ARC Kings Plate. – Michelle Saba, NZTBA



 

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