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Bruce Gray says "I Do"

I Do - Photo: NZTM website
I Do

Photo: NZTM website

Karaka breeder Bruce Gray was among those cheering on I Do (No Excuse Needed(USA)- Freequence) when she won the listed Windsor Park Rotorua Stakes recently as he is the proud owner of her dam Freequence.

In fact, Bruce actually bought Freequence (O'Reilly – Freequent) while she was carrying I Do, knowing that the foal was to be kept by Alan Sharrock and Waikato Stud who had leased the mare for two seasons.

"Freequence was owned by Shirley and Ross Hayward who have been friends of my family for over 40 years. My father used to race horses with them, and they knew I liked the mare and offered her to me.

"She was a daughter of their good mare Freequent (Mistral Dancer [CAN]- Freequently) and only had eight starts before she broke a hock, but she managed to win two races and was only out of the money once in that time. Anyway we settled on a price and that was that," said an obviously proud Bruce Gray.

Freequence raced for the Haywards, members of the Taranaki branch of the NZTBA, out of the stable of Alan Sharrock. They bred the first foal out of Freequence – Gracie Rose a Montjeu (IRE) filly who won two races for Alan Sharrock, before then leasing her to Alan Sharrock. Sharrock then approached Mark Chittick of Waikato Stud and he takes up the story.

"Alan and I have been mates for years and he approached me and said he had a mare he could use for a couple of years and would like to mate and so we decided to send her to Pins, followed by No Excuse Needed.

"We sold the Pins filly Femme Feroce for $220,000. When it came to the next filly we knew that the No Excuse Needed – O'Reilly cross was pretty good (Daffodil was bred on that cross as is No Excuse Maggie who was second to I Do in the Rotorua Stakes) and we decided to keep the filly and race her and have a bit of fun. It was a family I quite liked so I was happy to keep a filly from it.

"She was very weak early on. Alan always said she had ability, and she is a good example of what can be achieved if you are patient with a horse, she's in the paddock now and will come back in the spring for a crack at the group three fillies and mares race at Hawera (Taranaki Breeders Stakes) with her long term aim being the group one Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha in the autumn," said Chittick.

Freequent was purchased by the Haywards as a weanling for $3250 from Waikato Stud before it was owned by the Chittick Family. She was trained by Ross at Hawera and won seven races including the group three St Leger at Trentham. She still holds the national track record for 2500 metres.

From seven foals she left five winners including Freequence with the best of them being Kindle (Kapstaad) who won seven races, including two at Doomben and one at Moonee Valley. She was also a half sister to Free Court (Pompeii Court [USA])a winner of eight races and the dam of the Queensland Derby winner Court Ruler (Viking Ruler[AUS]).

Following the birth of I Do, Gray sent Freequence to Savabeel and she produced a colt, Iggi Pop, that he sold as a two-year-old off the track. He has since won two and been stakes placed. Her next foal was a filly by High Chaparral which he sold at the 2012 Premier Yearling Sales for $220,000.

"She was a cracking filly and her new owner John McArdle is absolutely raving about her," enthused Gray.

"After she foaled the High Chaparral I was going to send her to Rios and I was at Waikato Stud with the mare in the serving barn, and Mark Chittick came out and said that I Do was showing so much promise that I should send her back to No Excuse Needed so I did and I got a filly. She is a strong, good-boned, muscular type filly quite different from I Do and at this stage I am keeping her and she is being broken in at the moment.

"Freequence has since had a Pentire colt that I will sell as a yearling and unfortunately she missed to Savabeel. This coming season I want to send her to Ocean Park.

"This mare has been good to me. If it wasn't for her I think I would have been right out of the breeding game by now," he added.

Gray obviously has faith in this family as he has leased Ghia (Kapstaad – Frequent) a half sister to Freequence and she is carrying a Savabeel foal, and will visit Rip Van Winkle (IRE) this year.

Other mares currently on his Karaka property include Showusyourpins, a Pins mare he bred and raced from the American mare Wusool(USA), a daughter of Gulch and the Champion Filly in South Africa, the Fairdale Stud-bred Petrava (Imposing[AUS]- Silver Lining). She has a cracking colt by Rip Van Winkle at foot and is in foal to Iffraaj.

Innocense (AUS) (Mr Henrysee – Miss Guilty) is a sister to Mr Innocent, a stakes winner of 14 races in Brisbane, and to Verdict Declared, a listed winner of 10 races in Sydney, and dam of the group three winner A Country Girl. She is in foal to Jimmy Choux.

While the Gold Brose mare Miss Monk (ex Budding Success) is the dam of two winners.
Gray sold her Postponed(USA) weanling filly at the recent weanling sales and Miss Monk is will hopefully produce a much anticipated Pins foal.
"I have to give a huge plug to Waikato Stud here - in 2009 Wusool was carrying a Pins foal when she dropped dead a week before she was due. Waikato Stud gave me a free service back to Pins so I sent Fuji Walk to him and that foal died, and once again they extended the free service so hopefully it will be third time lucky," he added.



- Michelle Saba