Tremec keeps the Horlicks' family flag flying for the de Gruchys

The legacy of the champion mare Horlicks continues to live on, and recently her grandson Temac (Zabeel – Tipple), winner of the group two ATC Chairman's Handicap, added his name to her tally of stakes winning descendants.

"It's great to see her descendants excel in the hottest racing scene in the world at the moment in Australia. She has left a great legacy and it will live on," according to Hawkes Bay breeder Graham de Gruchy who bred and owned the great mare, and bred her grandson Temac.

"It was a great thrill, and a great result for a young mare, especially as it is Tipple's first foal and to get a stakes winner with a first foal really helps a mare. He is one tough little racehorse though, in his last prep last winter he raced six times in 60 days, winning a maiden over 2300 metres and backing up with a win over 2100 metres 11 days later. No doubt being by Zabeel helps."

Temec went into the group two Chairman's Handicap on the back of an impressive win in the listed Randwick City Stakes (2200 metres) in mid-March. Prior to that win he had run second at Warwick Farm over the same distance, and led into that with wins at Canterbury (1900) and Wyong (2100). In his only other start during this campaign he was unplaced over 1600 metres.

Temec, who is raced by Patinack Farm and will be included in their dispersal sale at the Gold Coast next month, holds a nomination for the 3200 metre Sydney Cup and if he wins will not be the first of Horlick's descendants to excel at two miles, as her son Brew (Sir Tristram [IRE]) won the 2000 Melbourne Cup.

Horlicks herself was a champion race mare winning 17 races from 1200 metres to 2400 metres including the 1989 Japan Cup in world record breaking time. Her world record stood until 2005. As well as the Japan Cup she won five other group one races, namely the L K S MacKinnon Stakes and both the ARC New Zealand Stakes and DB Draught Classic Stakes twice.

She was retired to stud and produced 13 foals including Brew (7 wins) and his sister Bubble who won four races including the Avondale Guineas and was second in the group one 1000 Guineas and third in the 2000 Guineas, before breaking down as a four-year-old.

Another sister Fly The Flag won two races and produced the group two stakes winner of four Solo Flyer (Belong To Me [USA]). Latte (by Maroof [USA]) was placed and went on to produce the AJC Derby winner Fiumicino (Zabeel). Her first foal Stella Artois, a daughter of Star Way (GB), produced the multiple group two winner Tusker (Volksraad [IRE]) and her half sister the group three placed Platinum Passion (Redoute's Choice [AUS]).

"Tipple was Horlicks last filly and she was quite badly turned out and we didn't think it was worth the risk racing her so she went straight to stud. She has proved rather difficult to get in foal, but she is now in foal to Darci Brahma. She has a three-year-old filly by One Cool Cat called Cocoa, and a two-year-old filly by Volksraad called Tilpilk."

Although de Gruchy, a former National Councilor of the NZTBA, is based in Mangatahi just out of Hastings where he is an active member of the Hawkes Bay Branch, his mares are based in the Waikato.

"Horlicks was based at Cambridge Stud and they have had a huge input in her on-going success. I supported their stallions, and not just because she was there either, but because of the huge influence of Selene in the blood of Sir Tristram, Zabeel and Stravinsky and a very strong influence of Selene in Horlicks' family," said de Gruchy.

Horlicks has Selene in both her top and bottom lines and through the same mare.
Her grandam Frill is by Agricola (Precipitation) who is out of a Hyperion (Gainsborough – Selene) mare in Aurora. Aurora is also the dam of Alycidon (Donatello II) the sire of the dam of Petingo (Petition – Alcazar), the sire of Three Legs.

Sir Tristram has Selene as his fourth dam, while Zabeel gets a line from him. He also has a double up of Hyperion in Nureyev his dam sire, and that same double up appears in Stravinsky as he is by Nureyev.

"My broodmare band consists of four mares, three daughters of Horlicks and a granddaughter. Mocha and Zambuca are both by Zabeel. Mocha's third foal by Mastercraftsman was purchased by Paul Moroney at the sales this year for $135,000.
She is in foal to that stallion again.

"Her first foal Caffeina – the goddess of coffee – by Holy Roman Emperor has won a race in New South Wales. I own her and lease her to a racing partnership from Jason Deamer's Broadmeadows stable, I have a 20% interest in that partnership.

"Zambuca missed, and doesn't have a foal. Her winning daughter Baltika, also by Stravinsky(USA), is in foal to Pour Moi.(IRE)," he added.

"My mares are all based in the Waikato at Wentwood Grange. They are all foaled there - the foals are weaned and any sales prep is done there as well. They are partly responsible for the success of Tremec. He was born and reared there and they did a fantastic job on him as a yearling. He was a lovely yearling and sold for $400,000. They are good people and they do a great job and do it with a smile on their faces.

"We don't have the stallions or the studs in the Hawkes Bay anymore. Everything seems to be based in the Waikato. On a pro-rata basis the number of mares we have is quite strong numerically. The Bay breeders still produce their fair share of champion horses with Jimmy Choux and It's A Dundeel both being bred by locals.

"It's A Dundeel's performance in the Derby was outstanding, and it's fabulous to see him performing so well in Australia. We need all the success there we can get, the gap is getting wider between our industry and Australia and it's getting harder for us to compete, with Zabeel getting older and Pentire and O'Reilly not getting any younger either. We need some good stallions coming through. It's great that a horse like Ocean Park can come back and stand at Waikato Stud, let's hope we can retain a horse like It's A Dundeel too.

"He comes from a good old Hawke's Bay family. Murray Anderson, one of his owners and breeders, has been involved for a long time. He had a good shareholding in Fiesta Star and raced the champion filly Staring who is the grandam of It's A Dundeel," he mused.

Through a good part of the last century Hawke's Bay was one of the strongest thoroughbred nurseries in New Zealand, with names like Stead, Lowry and Ormond featuring as prominent breeders.

"As a young breeder here in Hawke's Bay I had great aspirations of breeding a champion as we all do, and I was lucky enough to get one out of the box and a beautiful mare at that. She exceeded our expectations on the race track and we are lucky she produced a bunch of fillies, not just Brew, and that they have able to breed on. Through her daughters her memory lives on," de Gruchy concluded with a touch of pride.

- Michelle Saba


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