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Zennista gives Budgie a thrill


NZTBA Auckland Branch member John Berger, or Budgie as he is often known, is a self professed bit of a battler when it comes to his horses, so was rapt recently with the win of Zennista (Zenno Rob Roy [JAP]- Zarnitsa) in the listed James Bull Rangitikei Gold Cup.

"It was an awesome great result - she is the first stakes winner I have bred. I was pretty excited when she ran second in the Oaks and that certainly helped her pedigree and upgraded her from Festival to Select. That helped at sales time this year when I sold her half brother," he said.

Zennista is now the winner of four races from 18 starts. She commenced racing as a late two-year-old from the stable of leading Central Districts trainer Lisa Latta. She won at her second start before running second in the listed Ryder Stakes on the last day of the 2009-10 season. Her three-year-old season started with a second placing in the group three Hawkes Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes, and she went on to win her next start against her own age group over 1400 metres.

On a firm track at Riccarton in November she finished seventh in the group one 1000 Guineas and was then put aside. She resumed in late January with a third in a rating 90 1200 metre event and three starts later ran second behind Midnight Oil in the group one New Zealand Oaks. At her next start, the last for her three-year-old season, she finished fourth in the listed Manawatu Breeders' Stakes.

She ran fourth in the spring, and was then put aside until January where she ran fourth fresh up again. She ran in the Wairarapa Breeders' Stakes, over 1600 metres, and then ran third at Trentham over 1400 metres. Stepping up to 1600 metres, she won an open handicap on that track three weeks later. Her next run was in the listed Windsor Park Stud Rotorua Plate for fillies and mares over 1400 metres, where she finished second before taking out the 1600 metre Rangitikei Gold Cup a week later.

Zennista is by the Sunday Silence (USA) stallion Zenno Rob Roy who stood here for only one season at Java Thoroughbreds, before being caught up in the EI epidemic in Australia. From his limited career in the Southern Hemisphere Zennista and Enjin Number Nine are his only stakes winners, but he has left a number of other good winners including Allanah ( four wins from seven starts) Zankuro ( 5 wins), and Tenno (4 wins).

She is the third foal from Zarnitsa (Maroof [USA]), a winning daughter of the Sir Tristram(IRE) mare Imzadi. She in turn is out of the well performed Touching Wood (USA) mare Najaba (IRE), who was imported and raced by Peter and Philip Vela.

Najaba won the listed South Island Thoroughbred Breeders; Stakes and six other races before leaving Imzadi and five other winners. Imzadi also left Chartreuse (St Petersberg [AUS]) who won three listed events including the Castletown Stakes and Wanganui Owners' Association Stakes.

Back in 2005 John Berger, a horse fan from way back, was reading the now defunct Friday Flash, when he saw an advertisement offering two mares for lease, and one of those mares was Zarnitsa.

"I liked Maroof's bloodlines and this mare had great bloodlines, being out of a Sir Tristram mare, so I arranged to lease her. At the time I had shares in Occidental Tourist with my good friends Peter Setchell and Ross and Jo Mackie, so I sent the mare there.

"She produced a lovely colt, and we sold him at Karaka in 2008 for $14,00.,He races in Malaysia as Honest Man and has won a couple of races. The next year Java stood Zenno Rob Roy and I just fell in love with him. He was a great looking horse, so I sent her there and the result was Zennista. She went through the Festival sale as well and sold for $20,000.

"She missed the next year and then went to Perfectly Ready and produced a colt. He didn't sell and is currently in the South Island with most of my horses at Greenacres Stud.
Then I sent her to Thano and she produced a lovely colt, which sold this year at Select for $42,500 which was an awesome result. She missed again before producing a filly by Thano last November and I am rapt with that, but she is empty at the moment.

"Zarnitsa lives at Grangewilliam, Mark Corcoran does a fabulous job looking after her and did a great job with her yearling. The rest of my 23 odd horses, are down in the South Island at Greenacres Stud, and I plan to go down and work there myself in the near future," he added.

Berger inherited his love of horses from his mother, who he said had a great eye for a good horse; something he said has also been passed onto his daughter Shelly. Shelly was strapper for the group one winner Prince Kapstaad and currently rides work at Byerley Park.

"Our family always had horses. There were always ponies around when we were growing up, and Mum bred a few good horses as well, that's how I got involved and interested in pedigrees, and now I have all these mares and their offspring.

"I have a few mares in foal to Kingmaker who stands at Greenacres Stud, and most of my young horses are there. Angelique Hyde and her partner Bruce Smith do a wonderful job down there, and look after the horses well. The farm is set up so the stock can be looked after from conception right through to the race track. Bruce even has his trainer's license now.

"It's pretty tough for a small breeder now they haven't really got a chance trying to sell at Karaka. At least with an operation like Greenacres Stud, you can get an opportunity to get them to the track and sold that way," he concluded. - Michelle Saba


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