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Big Plans for Barinka this Spring

Pictured above - Barinka comes back to scale after he win in the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes at Te Aroha on Saturday. - Picture by Equine Photographer Trish Dunell
Pictured above - Barinka comes back to scale after he win in the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes at Te Aroha on Saturday.

Picture by Equine Photographer Trish Dunell

As a youngster at school in Wanganui in the 1970's Wellington Branch member Graeme Hunt developed a keen interest in thoroughbreds, and one family in particular had him awestruck – and that was the family of the mighty Eulogy.

Forty something years on and Hunt's faith in that family was rewarded when a descendant of Eulogy, Barinka, bred by Hunt, won the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes, the only group one race for fillies and mares in New Zealand.

"It was a very exciting win and it gave me so much pleasure because she was not exactly bred "in the purple" or from a "KI" family, she is one of those good horses that come from relative obscurity," said Hunt who has tasted group one success before as the breeder and part owner of the 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient, and the breeder of the 2005 Avondale Cup winner Creil.

"She is from the good old Eulogy family, a family which I fell in love with during my days at school in Wanganui. It's the same branch as Sharif and Far Time –horses that were performing well when I was a youngster.

"Her mother Hay Barlu(Hey Baba Riba – Nalu) did win three races before she hurt a shoulder, and her mother Nalu (Crest of the Wave – Fairy Glen) was a winner of seven so they were honest race horses," he stressed.

Fairy Glen (Gold Sovereign – Beira) the grandam of Barinka was a half sister to Sharif and Far Time both by Pakistan II and trace back to Eulogy through her first foal Pennon by Coriander.

Eulogy (Cicero – Kelibia) was imported to New Zealand by George Currie in 1915 as a consort for his stallions Limond and Absurd, whom he stood at Koatanui Lodge just outside Wanganui.

She produced 14 foals and a dynasty of multiple stakes and classic winners throughout the years, right through until today. Eulogy is the only broodmare to be inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame. This season she has popped up in the pedigrees of Hong Kong stars Sacred Kingdom and Ambitious Dragon, Barinka and Showcause just to name a few.

"I have got four or five Eulogy line mares Hey Barlu, Blondini (Big Spender –Effortless)the dam of Shi Kin Fly, Anca (Howbaddouwantit –Sky Mist) and a Faltaat mare out of a half sister to Showella and Buster Jones.

"I love the Eulogy line it's an extremely good family that can be and is being regenerated all the time. Over the years they have just kept winning. For many years in every crop of good two and three year olds you would find a Eulogy descendant, Fury's Order, Kingdom Bay, Bonecrusher, The Pooka, Circles of Gold and her sons Haradasun and Elvstroem, given they descend from one family it's a pretty good effort.

"The emergence of Northern Dancer has given it another kick start in this part of the world with the likes of Elvstroem (Danehill) and Starspangledbanner (Choisir).With Shinko King, the sire of Barinka, the results speak for themselves. Clearly with this stallion you need to source a mare as an outcross preferably with no Northern Dancer blood. If you look at his stakes winners there is no Northern Dancer in the first or second dams, and he relishes an outcross, he crosses ridiculously well with Sir Tristram line horses and in the case of Barinka its Hey Baba Riba who brings in the Sir Tristram blood.

"He is a much underrated stallion who puts a lot of quality into his horses, and the Fairy King line works well with Eulogy as well. Sacred Kingdom is testament to that, he is by Encosta de Lago also by Fairy King and his grandam is by Sir Tristram.

"In my case I have now bred two stakes winners by Shinko King out of Eulogy line mares, the other is Shi Kin Fly out of Blondini (Big Spender- Effortless) she stems from the Praise line. She won seven races including the Manawatu Breeders Stakes last season.

"I think it's better to out breed a little bit, find some fresh blood that can attribute physically whether its speed or stamina, depending on what you think your horse needs. In New Zealand we are over populated with Northern Dancer line horses, it's not as bad as Australia, but it's a hell of a corner to have to fight from, you need to look for horse to outcross with.

"Traditionally New Zealand has done well out of making stallions out of unfashionable lines, Foxbridge, Summertime, Pakistan II, Oncidium and Sir Tristram are all testament to that. Some have come here with race performances but an unheralded stallion line, and something has clicked with our home bred horses and they have gone down well," he said.

Hunt's breeding operation which trades under Cambridge Hunt Limited consists of10 broodmares, a number of stallion shares and a small team of racing fillies and mares. He also has shares in the listed Waikato Stud Slipper winner Savabill whom he bred, and a Zabeel colt with Lloyd Williams in Australia.

"Stallion shares have helped me stay in the game, I have two shares in Zabeel, I did start with one but acquired another one a couple of years ago, three in Shinko King, two in Alamosa and with Scott Williams. I also own a decent share in Patapan and Handsome Ransom.

"It's one section of the industry where you can come out of it in the black if a stallion comes up you hit the jackpot. You pay a price for the horse initially in the first year and within three years you have bred three mares to that horse it's a free bet, and to me its worth having a go.

"I do feel that it's a good thing to invest in and I try to cater my broodmare band around the stallion shares, for example as I said the three or four mares that don't have any Northern Dancer go to Shinko King.

"I tend to buy mares from my favourite families usually nice types by not the most fashionable or expensive stallion and for not a lot of money, I can't afford to spend a lot. I like to buy them as yearlings and making them into broodmares for my broodmare band. Refused The Dance the dam of Efficient and the Group Two winner Guillotine (Montjeu) is a case in point. Having said that I bought Hey Barlu from her breeder John Norwood, and raced her with a group of friends, Barinka is her best foal."

Hunt keeps half of his mares with Gordon Cunningham at Curraghmore Stud in Hamilton, a couple with the Georgetti's in Marton, and those that are visiting Alamosa and Handsome Ransom reside at Wellfield. He tends to sell his colts as yearlings through Curraghmore, and keeps his fillies to lease out and race.

In the past five or six years he maintains that Cambridge Hunt Limited has managed to balance the books and attributes some of that to the Cunningham's ability to place horses to sell.

"Thanks to Gordon I have a better understanding of how to exit my stock, between us we have several meetings a year to decide what we are going to do with the stock, whether they are going to be auctioned or worked along and sold and sometimes we even change our minds depending on how horses or their families are developing. I have sold some nice weanlings at the weanling sales not as culls but I have put them there to sell because I know that there will be demand for those weanlings at the sales.

"I tend to lease out all my fillies so I can afford to race them, usually I keep about 25 to 50 %. They don't get put up for lease until I know they have some ability, they are broken in and worked along beforehand so people won't be turned off because they have been put into a dud. It's a great way to meet people, get people involved in the industry and its more fun with other people.

"The syndicate that races Barinka is great, they are a bunch of characters from all over the country and from all walks of life, and we have heaps of fun. Some were friends of mine and the others Karen knew, a couple attended her open day and were tipped into her by the track rider and one shareholder answered an ad on her website.

"Karen has done a wonderful job with Barinka who has now won eight races, four of them black type, and she has big plans for her in the spring, however she also has a date with Zabeel, so how her programme pans out will depend a lot on that. In the meantime we are all looking forward to her next assignment in the group two Travis Stakes and another great day out at the races."

- Michelle Saba


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