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Long Acres Stud breeds the Taranaki Cup winner Capone

Noel Harris brings Capone back to scale after winning the Group 2 Taranaki Cup - Photo NZTM website
Noel Harris brings Capone back to scale after winning the Group 2 Taranaki Cup

Photo NZTM website

A remarkable coincidence went largely unnoticed recently when two New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association Council Members swept the black type races at Taranaki Racing's premier meeting at New Plymouth on the 16th of February.

Just eighty minutes after Girl of My Dreams (Gold Centre [Aus]) scored in the Gr. 3 Phoenix Park 2YO Classic to the delight of her breeder and Central Districts council member John O'Brien, Canterbury and districts branch president Myles Gordon and his partner Debbie Clark went one better by both owning and breeding the winner of the Gr.2 Hooker Pacific Taranaki Cup in Capone (Al Akbar [Aus}).

It was a fitting win for the son of Al Akbar as he had so often been the bridesmaid during his career to date where he has now earned seven victories and ten minor placings for stakes in excess of $169,000.

"While we weren't on-course to see him win they could probably hear us all the way up in New Plymouth as we screamed at the TV," laughed Clark as she recalled the events of the day. "My thirteen year old came into the lounge and asked what I was yelling about and all I could say was Rocky's won."

Whilst credited as the breeder, Clark pointed out they actually bought Capone's dam in foal at the Grangewilliam Stud dispersal sale in April 2006.
"We liked her breeding so we bought her in foal to Al Akbar who stood at Grangewilliam," explained Clark. "She foaled Capone but we missed getting her in foal to Senor Pete so we bred her to Remind in the next season as he was standing at our farm by then.

"She produced a colt that year but sadly died from complications four days later which was a real shame and a blow for us."

The farm that Clark refers to is Long Acres Stud which she and Myles Gordon have transformed from a bare block of land nine years ago into the breeding establishment it is now with ten of their own mares plus several for clients and of course their resident stallion, Remind (USA) (Deputy Minister [USA]).

Having stood Senor Pete for two years Clark and Gordon were looking for a replacement sire when they found the good natured son of Deputy Minister who had won at listed level in America.

"We bought him because we just couldn't fault his sire Deputy Minister and we felt he would be suited to our domestic mares," said Clark." Dehere, who is also a son of Deputy Minister, has done a fantastic job in Australasia so we thought it was worth the gamble to bring him to New Zealand."

Although happy with the progress of the stallion in the first two years of his career at stud, where he served books in excess of thirty mares, Clark is realistic about his current prospects.

"He generally produces middle distance types which is evident in that his first crop who are now four are starting to hit their straps as they mature and start to get over some ground," said Clark. "Whilst the demand for that type of horse was strong at the yearling sales recently, because he hasn't really had a strong performer yet, the demand for him by breeders has waned.

"We have had some great reports from trainers who have a Remind in their stable but they all say they take some time so we're hopeful that the next twelve months will start to see some results.

"Mind you, no matter what happens, he is a real cool dude and he is honestly just one of the family these days and we just love him to bits."
Located at Darfield outside Christchurch, Long Acres Stud managed to escape the majority of damage inflicted by the September 2010 earthquake, the first of two major quakes to devastate the region.

"We were lucky that the quake didn't really affect us although while I'm talking to you I have painters funded by the EQC (Earthquake Commission) currently repainting our house as part of our settlement," said Clark. "It is a minor disruption compared to the problems that thousands are experiencing but it does make you thankful as it could have been much worse."

As noted earlier Gordon is a member of the Canterbury/Marlborough/Westland Thoroughbred Breeders committee which is currently in the second year of an incentive scheme for fillies and mares that are raced in the district.
Called the "First Girl Home" bonus scheme the incentive programme is based around a series of six rating 65 or lower races held around the district over the Spring/Summer period.

The scheme is open to all financial or social members of the CMW branch at the time of nomination for the prescribed race with the first filly or mare home in the race scooping a $1000 bonus for her breeder.

Fundraising for the scheme is conducted each year with the 2012/2013 edition being supported by monies raised during a special screening of the Australian racing show "Off The Rails" that featured during New Zealand Cup Week at Riccarton.

- Kevin Robertson


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