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NZTBA member Stephanie Hole makes the right Choice

Choice wins the Eulogy Stakes at Manawatu on 13/12/14
Choice wins the Eulogy Stakes at Manawatu on 13/12/14

A decision made in 2008 to upgrade to a commercial breeder is paying dividends for Blenheim based breeder Stephanie Hole, after Choice (Mastercraftsman[IRE]-Femme Britannica[ASU]) won the Group Three Eulogy Stakes recently.

And with a half-sister in the New Zealand Bloodstock Select Sale next month the timing couldn't be better.

A member of the Canterbury/Marlborough/Westland Branch of the NZTBA Hole sought the advice of Wairarapa bloodstock agent Bruce Perry and headed to Sydney to buy a commercial mare and returned with a Femme Britannica a daughter of Encosta de Lago(AUS) and Baroness Britney (AUS) the dam of Choice.

"She was my first venture into a commercial mare, I went to Sydney with Bruce Perry as my agent and she wasn't on our list. I saw her in the parade ring and really liked her conformation. She was a striking mare so I bought her. She was in foal to Fastnet Rock(AUS), but unfortunately she lost that foal at 10 and a half months, that was my introduction to commercial breeding.

"This is the first stakes winner I have bred, in fact she is really the first horse I have raced. It's pretty daunting really especially when you realise the significance of winning a Group race in this industry from a broodmare owners point of view. Although lagging your first big trophy – in this case a large bronze -home on the ferry is rather surreal," she enthused.

Choice is the winner of two of her seven runs and was placed in the Listed Soliloquy Stakes at Ellerslie in the spring. She is trained at New Plymouth by Robert Patterson, who will now take her on the same path to the New Zealand Oaks that was taken by Legs when she was trained by Kevin Gray, with whom Patterson worked for at the time.

She is the third foal from Femme Britannica, the first a colt by Stratum(AUS) called Buddy Merry is in Hong Kong, the second Mojo by High Chaparral(IRE) is in work with Robert Patterson and is raced on lease by a syndicate that includes Hole. Mojo is due to race debut over the next few weeks.

"I saw Mastercraftsman (IRE) and thought he was an awesome animal I really liked his physique and I liked the bloodlines together with Femme Britannica's. I like to follow special mares and go back through their lines.

"I have been judging sport horses for 40 years and that is all about conformation. If the conformation doesn't match in a mating it's not good, you have got to have good conformation," explained Hole.

Femme Britannica's next mating after Choice produced a colt to Rip Van Winkle(IRE) which had to be destroyed. She then went to Jimmy Choux and produced a filly who is in the Select Sale next month. She is currently in foal to the Coolmore stallion Excelebration (IRE) (Exceed and Excel [AUS]- Sun Shower [IRE]).

"I loved his conformation and as he is from a Danehill sire line with a similar pedigree to Mastercraftsman, I thought it would be a nice mating."

Femme Britannica is out of Baroness Britney (Barathea[IRE]-Folie Bergeres[USA]) a winning mare who is a half-sister to the stakes winners Latin Quarter (Danehill [USA]) and Elected (Bletchingly [AUS]).

Living on a large high country sheep station for a number of years before moving to a smaller farm in Marlborough, Hole was involved in breeding sport horses and at one stage stood four sport horse stallions.

"I had dabbled a little with breeding thoroughbred mares to my sport horse stallions. Breeding thoroughbreds seemed a logical step to take but I soon realised that you needed to be commercial to have any success, so I enlisted the help of Bruce Perry and purchased some mares."

Along with Femme Britannica Hole now owns three broodmares including, Virginia Key(IRE) (Mark of Esteem[IRE]- Bellarida[FR]) and her most recent purchase Lithograph(USA) (Echoes of Light[GB]-Forum Floozie).

Virginia Key was a winner in France and descends from a French family chock full of stakes winners, she is in foal to Rip Van Winkle (IRE) and has a Makfi(GB) colt at foot. Lithograph, was bred in the USA but is a granddaughter of that grand Waikato Stud mare Flying Floozie, her first foal is a Pins (AUS) filly and she is now in foal to Shamexpress.

Hole's mares and youngstock reside in the Waikato at Wentwood Grange in Cambridge and they are consigning Choice's half-sister at Karaka next month.

- Michelle Saba


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