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A.S.K. Partnership remembers Graeme Lowe with Lowland Stakes win

Miss Selby wins the Group 3 Lowland Stakes at Hawke's Bay - Photo:  NZTM website
Miss Selby wins the Group 3 Lowland Stakes at Hawke's Bay

Photo: NZTM website

Miss Selby's stylish win in the Group Three Little Avondale Lowland Stakes was a very emotional one for the family of the late Hawke's Bay philanthropist Graeme Lowe CNZM, QSM.

A pioneer of the meat industry and the head of the Lowe Corporation, Lowe bred the well-performed, lightly-raced O'Reilly (NZ) filly out of his Waikato Cup winning mare Singing Star (Danasinga[AUS]- Jelignite Jenny), and she is now owned and raced by the ASK Partnership made up of his children Andy, Sarah and Kate.

"Our beautiful father had a passion for horse racing and breeding. When he died in July 2012 he left his bloodstock to us -, that's my brother Andy and sister Kate - to do as we chose," according to Lowe's daughter Kate Stace.

"The three of us have never raced a horse. Dad always did and we would just follow them and have a bit of a bet on his horses. When he did pass away we decided that we should keep it all going because of his passion. We like to think he will be watching down on Miss Selby and be as proud of her as we are so proud of him and the legacy he has left us.

"We gave some away and sold some but we kept Singing Star and Miss Selby. We formed the ASK partnership and decided to honour Dad by carrying on his hard work and commitment, and his love of racing.

"And anything to do with the partnership will be named in his honour. Miss Selby is part of his name Graeme Eric Selby Lowe, Selby being the surname of his maternal grandfather Robert Emphraim Selby. Singing Star's two-year-old is called Turkey Lowe (No Excuse Needed) after Dad. That was a nickname of his – something to do with an incident with some turkeys on a boys' trip to the South Island many, many years ago."

From six starts from the stable of John Bary in Hastings, Miss Selby has won twice and been placed four times. She won her maiden at her third start in November and followed that with a second placing in theGgroup Three Ezi-Buy Eulogy Stakes in December. A month later she finished second in the Group Three Tiger Prawn Desert Gold Stakes at Trentham before easily taking out the Group Three Lowland at Hastings.

Miss Selby is the sixth foal from Singing Star who won eight races for her owner-breeder Graeme Lowe. She is the second winner from the mare. Her first foal, Randy Andy ( Volksraad[IRE]), has won two races.

Lowe bred Singing Star from the Crested Wave [USA] mare Jelignite Jenny whom he also raced. According to Mark Chittick of Waikato Stud, she arrived at their Thornton Park Stud property in 1993 having been injured as a three-year-old and went to Kinjite (AUS). That began a successful and long association with the Chitticks and when they moved to Waikato Stud she went as well. All her 12 foals were by Waikato Stud sires, with Singing Star being the best.

She did however leave two other stakes performers; Brave Flyer, a brother to Singing Star, won three races and was placed in the Group Three Cambridge Breeders' Stakes and the Listed Kelt Memorial, Waikato Guineas, and Waikato Sprint, and Written By A Queen (Masterclass[USA]) who won four and was third in the Listed Ryder Stakes and Wanganui Waikato Stud Stakes.

Jelignite Jenny produced 11 named foals, 10 to race and nine winners including Yeah Nah from one of her three matings with Kinjite. Yeah Nah is of course the dam of the multiple Group One winner Viadana.

"Graeme was a bloody fantastic client. I really valued our relationship. In the latter years when his health was suffering he would fly up for the day to see the horses, and he really enjoyed a day out on the farm. I am so pleased that we have been able to maintain the relationship with Andy, Sarah and Kate since he passed away, and I am wrapt that Miss Selby is carrying on his legacy," Chittick said.

Kate also stated that her father got a lot of pleasure out of his horses.

"He used to love going to the races and would fly up to the Waikato to watch them race or be driven up in the latter years when his health was deteriorating - he just loved it. Mum used to tease him about them. They didn't always come in and weren't all as good as Singing Star," she mused.

Miss Selby races in the same colours, black, white and orange diagonal stripes with orange sleeves and cap, that belonged to Lowe and which Singing Star raced in.

"It's so exciting and fortunate for us to be able to keep Dad's colours. It certainly gets the emotional butterflies going every time we see them. When Miss Selby wins there is lots of screaming and crying - it's very emotional.

"When she won the Lowland Mum (Jenny) was in Fiji listening on the phone, I was in Hamilton and Sarah was in Auckland - we were scattered all over the country. But we were soon all ringing each other and there were lots of text messages from the trainer and his staff and the team at Waikato Stud. I will definitely be heading South when she runs in the Oaks and I am sure we will all be on course then.

"I live in the Waikato and see Singing Star and her foals fairly regularly at Waikato Stud. The people there are amazing. Mark Chittick and his team have been really phenomenal - we do feel a certain loyalty to them all, and we will keep supporting them. They have been so helpful. They are all beautiful and amazing people. They make everything seem so personal. I am sure they have dozens of clients but they really make us feel part of a team.

"The same with John Bary and his crew. Mum still lives in Havelock North and Andy lives next door and Sarah is in Havelock North as well, so they have the opportunity to visit the stables, while I have to rely on emails and phone calls.

"It's all new to us, it's an exciting journey. We are starting to develop our own Miss Selby library and have photos of Dad and Miss Selby and her wins," enthused Kate, "we have been blown away by the racing community - they are so delightful and we are already starting to build up a Miss Selby fan club."

- Michelle Saba


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