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The 'Dating' Connection provides a great moment for breeders

Picture of Dating by Trish Dunell
Picture of Dating by Trish Dunell

Two-year-old filly Dating (O'Reilly – Darzam) became the 12th stakes winner bred by Waikato Stud this season, marking another wonderful year for the Matamata farm, but that stakes win meant a lot more to one young breeder in Gus Wigley. Earlier this year Gus had decided it was time he purchased a broodmare of his own, and selected Mandate from the catalogue of the National Bloodstock sale in May. "I liked her for lots of reasons, even though she was older, and to be fair I didn't have a big budget, so knew that I had to look at older mares. But this stakes win is an added bonus and very exciting. I am going to have to rethink my plans for the mare now," he said with obvious delight. "She was a stakes winner and had left a good stakes placed winner in Miracle Miss who is now at stud, and was from a family of good solid stakes winning horses, like Senator and Mister Pompous. "As well she had a couple of O'Reilly fillies in the wings and she was in foal to Towkay. I felt that if she left a colt he would be very saleable to Asia, and if she left a filly I could race her with a couple of mates. With Towkay being by Last Tycoon the resulting foal is now a three-quarter blood relation to Dating Gus is no stranger to the thoroughbred industry being a son of noted North Canterbury breeder and thoroughbred administrator Nick and a descendant of the Wigley's of Inglewood Stud fame. He is the editor of the specialist weekly racing publication 'The Informant' and due to production commitments was unable to make the May sale the afternoon that Mandate went through. He did his research though and had Peter Francis ask Murray Gregory what the Rogerson stable thought of Dating.
"At that stage she had won two trials and Murray reported that they thought a bit of her, so that gave her another tick. As it turned out Mandate was passed in by Raffles Farm and returned there immediately after the sale, so I went and purchased her from there and sent her down to Dad in Canterbury." "I called him after the win to make sure he was looking after her and he assured me that she had been upgraded to a better paddock and on to "special" feed!. I haven't decided about her mating yet this year, at 19 I think I will wait and see how she is after she foals, but Dating's win certainly makes it pretty exciting." According to Garry Chittick Dating being their 12 stakes winner this year is quite fortuitous and a great way to round off another successful season. "I never really intended racing her at two, as a rule we don't race our two-year-olds, we just get them broken in and worked along a bit, but Rogie annoyed me that much that I finally gave in and let him take this filly. It just goes to show that sometimes you do have to try your horses at two. "Rogie wouldn't let up until I sent her into work and so he had a bit to prove, she won two trials and was always well regarded and she probably should have won her first start but knuckled over in the gates before finishing fourth. She then went on and won at Counties and Te Rapa and we decided to give her some time off. "With all the mud about and the weather being so wet we decided to leave her with Debbie to work along quietly towards the Gold Trial Stakes. However that race is later than usual this season and Debbie called last week and said that she would like to give her a run in the Ryder Stakes just to take the edge off her as she was doing so well. And now she is a stakes winner. "We will chase the three-year-old fillies' races through the spring and then see where we end up. She does have a nomination for Melbourne but I think that is just Rogie being over optimistic." "We sold Mandate last year, so I guess it was always on the cards she would leave a stakes winner, and David Ellis who purchased Dating's younger sister, named Mandy O'Reilly tells me she is pretty smart too. Raffles Farm purchased the mare in foal to Savabeel from the 2009 National Bloodstock sale and have retained a yearling filly out of the mare. "Mandate (Sound Reason-Darzam) was in the package of mares that we purchased from Roy Potter when he decided to down size his breeding operation. "Bruce Perry was responsible for putting together Roy Potter's breeding stock and he did a dam fine job when you look at the results over the years. From the mares we purchased at least three have left stakes winners including the dams of Legs (Pins- River Century), Metal Bender (Danasinga-Jacqwin) and now Dating. "It was great to round off the season with a stakes winner and pretty exciting to think that we have another quality filly going into the spring, after all the Champion three-year-old fillies of the last two seasons Daffodil(No Excuse Needed – Spring) and Katie Lee(Pins – Miss Jessie Jay) have both been by Waikato Stud sires," he concluded.

- Michelle Saba