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Proud breeder on hand to witness Guineas thrill

A colt that that his proud breeder thought may have been "a little on the small side" as a foal showed he had grown into a force to be reckoned with as he tore off a stunning win in Saturday's Gr. 2 Sacred Falls Hawke's Bay Guineas.

Hauraki Plains farmer Barry Brown and accountant son Tony bred the Thorn Park colt, now known as Amarula, with Brown senior admitting he wasn't the most rugged individual he had laid eyes on when produced by the pair's well related broodmare, Shortblackmini.

Raced by the Brown's, Shortblackmini is a daughter of Miss Opera who numbers multiple Group One winners Sir Slick and Puccini amongst her progeny.

"He wasn't a very big foal and I was a little worried he might not grow up too much either," said Brown.

"The mare's first foal was by Volksraad and he was quite small so it did worry me a little that there wouldn't be any commercial appeal for her progeny."

He needn't have worried though as while that first foal didn't grow into an imposing figure there was a big motor under the bonnet that more than compensated for a perceived lack of size. Raced under the name Little Wonder the Stephen McKee trained galloper won six of his 22 starts including the Gr. 3 Darley Plate.

Amarula had begun to furnish into a more substantial individual when offered for sale by the Brown's under their Kaihere Bloodstock banner at the 2014 National Yearling Sale Series, where he caught the eye of Matamata trainer Peter McKay. McKay outlaid $80,000 for the youngster with the trainer having plenty of first-hand knowledge about the family potential through his experience with 2014 New Zealand Derby winner Puccini.

"We had thought about keeping him but the reality of New Zealand racing is that you have to sell to keep going so we went to the sales where Peter McKay bought him.

"We've kept a close eye on him all the way through and I was at Hastings on Saturday to see him run. He has really grown up nicely and it was such a thrill to see him win a race like the Guineas.

"As a breeder, winning a race like that is what makes it all worthwhile."

The victory has also added further value to the Shocking filly produced by Shortblackmini in 2013 which has been retained by the Brown's to race in their interests.

"We have kept the mare's Shocking filly and will race her ourselves under the name Agent Provocateur," he said.

"Even if she doesn't do much on the track she will still have plenty of potential in the breeding barn through the performance of the other two so far.

"We'll have some fun with her though as that is what racing should be about. I owned my first horse back in 1979 and once it's in your blood it's hard to shake." – NZ Racing Desk


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