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Hawke's Bay breeders Murray and Jo Andersen are having some fun!

It's A Dundeel - Photo: NZTM website
It's A Dundeel

Photo: NZTM website

"Racing is about having fun". That seems to be the mantra of Hawke's Bay breeders Murray and Jo Andersen and the members of the Transtasman Syndicate that race It's A Dundeel (High Chaparral [IRE] – Stareel), the recent winner of the ATC Gloaming Stakes (Gr 3) at Randwick.

And the members of the syndicate who were present in Sydney when he won that event, his fourth from four starts, certainly had quite a bit of fun.

"He is a pretty exciting horse. We were delighted with his performance, and the way he is improving all the time," enthused Murray Andersen, who is no stranger to being involved with good horses, having bred the 1992 Champion three-year-old filly Staring (Fiesta Star[AUS]-Sweet Violet), the grandam of It's A Dundeel.

Andersen and his wife Jo are part of the Transtasman Syndicate which races It's A Dundeel from the stable of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsam. Their daughter Tracy is also in the syndicate along with her husband Gavin Chaplow, and another Havelock North couple Jenny and David Morrison.

Andersen's sister Sharyn, another Havelock North resident, is also in the syndicate with her husband Mike Craig, whose brother Tony is responsible for coercing the rest of the syndicate together. This includes his wife Wendy, business associates Max and Jo Brown, and Tony and Jenny Joyce from Wellington. There is another Tony in the syndicate, Sydney based Tony Muollo junior and his wife Gina, along with Demetrius (Dino) and Angela Frocas from the Gold Coast, who make up the Australian side of the Transtasman equation.

"We have all been involved in racing horses over the years," said Tony Craig, "Tony (Muollo) raced Presday, Wendy and I were involved in Twoeezy with Murray and Jo, and Sharyn and Mike, and he won half a dozen races. He is a half brother to this horse so Wendy and I were keen to get involved but convincing the rest of the syndicate was a little bit harder.

"They are pretty happy with him now though and when he races in the Spring Champion Stakes we will all be there. They are such a good bunch of owners and we are all out to have some fun and, of course, give the Aussies a bit of a shake up.

"He has settled in so well at Warwick Farm with Bjorn (Baker). He has outstanding facilities there and It's A Dundeel's strapper Emily totally spoils him. She is unbelievable with the horse - she knows him so well and gives him the ultimate treatment."

It's A Dundeel went to Sydney in August to race fresh up following a spell after his debut win at two in April. He lined up at Wyong in a three-year-old event over 1350 metres and won easily. At his next start a fortnight later he met the older horses at Canterbury over 1550 and again showed a good turn of foot to win going away. His next start was in the
Gloaming Stakes over 1800 metres where he came with a withering run from last to first to win by nearly two lengths.

Murray Andersen has been racing horses for about 35 years. His first horse was Grand Zam (Zamazaan [FR]-Lady Shelia [GB]) whom he owned with prominent Hawke's Bay owner trainer, the late Michael Peacock. Unsuccessful on the racetrack, she left the New Zealand Cup winner Exocet (War Hawk II[GB]).

"I started out owning a few with Michael, but I think Murray Baker started training for me about 30 years ago. I have had quite a few good horses, too many to recall off the top of my head, and then I bred Staring," he added.

Staring was the Champion three-year-old filly of her year, winning eight races including two at group one level, the New Zealand Oaks, and the 2000 metre weight-for-age Auckland Classic (currently the Zabeel Classic) as a four-year-old.

"I used to have a share in Byerley Thoroughbreds with Arthur Ormond and together we owned Fiesta Star. Through my association with Arthur, I have had a lot of fun and together we raced Gussy Godiva with Mick Ormond as well, and she went on to leave an AJC Derby winner Roman Emperor (Montjeu [IRE]).

"Arthur Ormond suggested I purchase Sweet Violet. She was a mare from a family made famous by the Symes Family of Hawkes Bay, but I didn't think that the mare's family had been well mated over recent years."

Sweet Violet was by In The Purple (FR) out of Sugar Doll (Sucaryl GB- Money), and was unraced. Her dam was a sister to the New Zealand Cup winner Gold Bullion and a half sister of the Hawke's Bay Cup winner San Juan (Rocky Mountain). They were out of Money (Targui[FR]- Exchangeable) who was a winning sister to another Hawke's Bay Cup winner Dalvui. This family traces back to the mighty Eulogy through Epitaph.

Sweet Violet produced six foals to Fiesta Star with Staring being her second foal. Three others won races but none showed the class of Staring.

"At one stage after she won the New Zealand Oaks we had a buyer for Staring from America. However we had her nominated for the Sir Tristram Classic at Te Rapa and the buyer flew down from the States to watch her run and close the deal. On the morning of the race she blew up in both front legs and had to be scratched – she had always been sound up until then – anyway the deal was off. The next day the legs were back to normal and we ended up with her and look how that's turned out.

"After her race career she went to stud and I bred her in partnership with Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan. We put her to Zabeel a number of times and we were going to race a filly but even before she was broken in she spread herself in the paddock and couldn't race. About that time Sir Patrick decided to cull some of his bloodstock and he offered me his half share in her, and that's how I ended up with a Zabeel mare."

Staring produced two other foals to Zabeel, and both were winners. She had 10 foals in total before Andersen ceased breeding from her. Her best performer to date is the High Chaparral gelding Mackadoo who has won five races from Murray Baker's stable.
Andersen has syndicated her two- year-old Guillotine (NZ) (Montjeu[IRE] –Refused The Dance) filly Cutluse, and she will be raced by the Initforfun Syndicate which includes the Andersens, the Craigs and Tony Muollo Senior.

Her last foal is a filly by Nom de Jeu (Montjeu[IRE] – Prized Gem), the AJC Derby winner trained by Andersen's good friend Murray Baker.

Stareel's last two foals are also by that sire and there is little surprise to find tha,t given Andersen's obvious love affair with Sadler's Wells, she is visiting the Epsom Derby winner Pour Moi(IRE) (Montjeu- Gwynn) this year.

"He is a lovely horse and physically he will suit the mare, and it's a fantastic sire line. I liked High Chaparral when I first saw him and loved his bloodlines, which is why I sent both Staring and Stareel there.

"Stareel's first foal was by Keeper, and was named Twoeezy. He won six and was second in the Great Northern Guineas. Another by Keeper, Aseegai (Happy Score) has won in Hong Kong. Getreel has won four in Singapore, and her four-year-old Volksraad mare Vaayla who the Morrison's race with us, had six starts as a two-year-old and won one and was tried against the best three-year-olds in the Sunline Vase before being spelled. According to Murray (Baker), she has come back enormous.

In the meantime however, all the focus for the Transtasman Syndicate will be on the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick on Saturday 6th October.

"If we win that then we will have to consider a shot at the Cox Plate. He is still a colt and does have some stallion potential, so from an owner's point of view are you doing yourself a disservice by not running in the Cox Plate and running in the VRC Derby. Savabeel was the last horse to win the Spring Champion Stakes/Cox Plate double, before running second in the VRC Derby.

"I know this family and he will only get better with time. All Stareel foals have got better with time. He is a lovely horse - he is not too colty, and Bjorn has him sussed. We just want him to do well in Australia. It's great for the breeding industry here, and it's good to beat the Aussies on their turf. I just can't understand why they don't rate stayers, and have such a love affair with their sprinting horses," mused Andersen. "Bring it on - we will be there to have some fun."

- Michelle Saba