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Three generations of the Rogers family rejoice in Stolen Dance

Stolen Dance winning the Cal Isuzu Stakes at Te Rapa 12/12/15 - Photo courtesy of Trish Dunell
Stolen Dance winning the Cal Isuzu Stakes at Te Rapa 12/12/15

Photo courtesy of Trish Dunell

Stolen Dance(Alamosa-Songbird) is a real family horse as was evident by the crowd on the presentation dais after her win in the Group Two Cal Isuzu Stakes 1600 at Te Rapa recently, with three generations of the Rogers family revelling in the glory.

Not on the dais but looking on very proudly at his daughter Jackie Rogers, grandchildren and great grandchildren, was former Waikato Racing Club committeeman and racing stalwart Gerald Shand, who also shares in the ownership of the mare and had a hand in her breeding.

A four-year-old, Stolen Dance has now won eight races from 12 starts, and her recent Group Two win gave her a hat trick of 1600 metre races, being on the back of a win in the Group Three Eagle Technology Stakes, and an open handicap at Te Rapa her home track.

She is the first foal of the Black Minnaloushe (USA) mare Songbird, a daughter of the stakes placed winner Drama Queen, and a half-sister to Group Three Geelong Cup and VRC Blamey Stakes winner The Fuzz.

"It's a bit of a dream come true," enthused Jenna McLeod, who is credited with breeding Stolen Dance with her brother Brian.

"When I was 15 Gerald gifted Drama Queen (Prince of Praise – Lady Ukiah), a mare he had bred with Mum – Jackie Rogers, to Brian and me, but we couldn't breed from her ourselves as we were too young. Mum and Dad (Philip aka Fuzz) bred The Fuzz and he would have to have been the most successful horse in the family especially with what he did in Australia.

"Gerald was really keen to send her to Black Minnaloushe(USA) as he was all the rage at the time. So I made him sign a piece of paper that stated that if it was a filly he would race it and then pass it back to me, and if it was a colt it could be sold. As it turned out she didn't race but that is how we got the mare".

"She went to stud when she was only three, my husband Dane had studied the pedigree and thought Alamosa would suit, it was his second season at stud from memory, so the natural thing to do was ask Gerald who was a shareholder for his nomination. We were always going to keep her to race, so it seemed natural to include him in the ownership as well".

"Gerald is a big part of our family and that is why we are involved in racing. So we are glad that he is involved in Stolen Dance, we wouldn't have it any other way. He encouraged us to use David Greene as a trainer as he was local and he said that is a big part of the fun in being involved, watching your horse work and seeing them in the stables. Heidi and David have been fantastic in that regard and they are great communicators."

Also in the ownership of the Alamosa mare are Jackie and Philip Rogers, Philip's cousin Tim and his wife Margaret. Jenna McLeod's husband Dane and his father Ross and his friends Graeme Day, Anthony Dobbyn and Kenneth Mitchell. Sam McLeod, Jenna's brother-in-law has a share and works as a strapper for David Greene, while the final member of the syndicate is Andrew Swales a first time owner from Sydney, who met Jenna and Dane while they were travelling overseas.

"It's really a family affair," she explained, "I am the sixth generation Rogers to be a horse breeder. It all started back in the late 1950's when my great grandfather Vinny Rogers went to Trentham and bought a yearling called Khorazure (Khorassan[IRE]- Blue Riband). She is the fifth dam of Stolen Dance, and it has carried on from there".

"My grandmother Erica raced a mare called Even Azure (Even Stevens – Khorazure) and she ran second in the 1000 Guineas behind Porsha, so when Kainui Belle (Kashani [USA]- Lady Ukiah) ran second it was like déjà vu".

"Gerald bought Ukiah (Five Arrows[GB]-Koralu by Syntax out of Khorazure) off my grandmother, Erica, and gave her to mum and they bred and raced Megabucks (Schweppeshire Lad [GB]). He won 12 races including the ARC Great Northern Challenge Stakes twice, and the Jurango who ran second in the Derby. Her last foal was Lady Ukiah by Straight Strike(USA), the dam of Drama Queen and Kainui Belle and grandam of Stolen Dance".

"So it started on Dad's side and ended up on Mum's side, and now with Stolen Dance winning it's like history repeating itself."

Jenna credits Kainui Belle with kindling her interest in racing. As a youngster she was a competitive rider and started pony club when she was five, riding right through until she went to Otago University. She can even lay claim to a placing in the Horse of the Year Show.

"Racing and breeding was in my blood on both sides of my family, growing up Dad was a trainer and Gerald was a huge influence. It wasn't until I was about 18 when Kainui Belle came on the scene and was placed in the 1000 and 2000 Guineas (2004) that I really took an interest. She also won the Group Two Eight Carat Classic".

"Funnily enough that was the year I met Dane at Otago University, and that was his introduction to racing as well. Since then his interest has really spiralled especially in the breeding side, he just fell into it and now his knowledge is unbelievable. He also manages the Stolen Dance syndicate and has a great relationship with David Greene".

"For a city kid he does alright, we handle all the horses at home with Dad, and he has had to pick all that up as well. His day job is with Sport Waikato on Project Energize which deals with health, fitness and nutrition in Waikato schools."

Jenna and Dane live on the Rogers 1000 acre "home farm" at Taupiri in the north Waikato, with their one-year-old daughter Keira. They returned to the Waikato after spending a couple of years in London doing their "OE" previously both working for the New Zealand Racing Board. Jenna went to the Racing Board as a graduate and stayed for seven years working closely with racing clubs, and now finds herself doing a similar role part-time with NZTR working on their Stakeholder Relationship programme.

Stolen Dance was born, weaned and raised on that Taupiri farm and that is where her mother Songbird is resident. She is currently back in foal to Alamosa, and has also left a Keeper yearling colt. He is currently at Shand's Waiua Pa farm running with another of Shand's colts and will be broken in in the New Year to be raced by another family syndicate.

The McLeod's are also breeding from the stakes placed winning mare Pretty Vegas (Viking Ruler[AUS]-Straight Show) another mare gifted to Jenna and her brother Brian from Gerald. She has already left a winner in Pretty Good Excuse (No Excuse Needed[GB]), but Stolen Dance is the jewel in the crown being the first stakes winner bred by the pair.

- Michelle Saba


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