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Patience, persistence and perseverance pay off for breeder and trainers

"Without the patience, persistence and perseverance of Mark and Yolande Brosnan, Veloce Bella wouldn't be a group one winner and all the credit for her win in the Darci Brahma International Stakes at Te Rapa should go to them," according to a very proud and humble Margaret Hardy.

Margaret is the breeder of Veloce Bella and is a member of the "Case Lot" syndicate that races her. Despite her obvious excitement with the group one success, she couldn't stress enough that the accolades should be going to the mare's trainers.

"It was a great win, especially with what she has been through throughout her career. Mark and Yolande have been wonderful with her - they understand her and always put her first. It's their patience and persistence which has got her to group one glory.

"We have always felt that they have her best interests at heart and have always been very supportive of them. It's our first group one winner as well as theirs, and that first group one winner can make a lot of difference to a stable. It is so hard to get recognition in this horse business but they deserve it.

"We were all thrilled to bits last Saturday especially with the reception she got when she came back to scale. She was almost the people's choice, and she got a great ovation," enthused Margaret, a member of the Waikato branch of the NZTBA.

That great ovation was well deserved but could have had something to do with the excited and animated call from colourful racing commentator George Simon.
The commentary for the last 100 metres went something like this:

"Here comes Tell A Tale and Veloce Bella, could this be her group one moment, it is! Go girl you got there, Veloce Bella got there, what a win at group one level at last. If ever a mare deserved a group one win it was Veloce Bella and she has backed up from last week and got her group one glory in the Darci Brahma International Stakes."

The six year old Volksraad mare has now won 10 races, four of them at Te Rapa including the Group Two Sir Tristram Classic as a three-year-old, the Group Two Travis Stakes last April, and the Skycity Casino Hamilton Cup a week preceding her Group One victory in the Darci Brahma International. All four wins at that course have been over 2000 metres.

She commenced racing as a two-year-old with an inglorious start, she ran 18 lengths last after being left in the barrier.

"That barrier incident could have ended her racing career, but Mark took the time to figure her out and work through the barrier issues with her. Even now she still races with a barrier blanket. Fortunately we carried on," she added.

Veloce Bella was then placed twice at two in listed company, before coming out at three and winning four races in a row including the Group Two Avondale Guineas and the Group Two Eight Carat Classic. She ran second to Princess Coup in the Group Three Desert Gold Stakes, and then beat her in the Sir Tristram Classic. Princess Coup turned the tail on her in the Group One New Zealand Oaks, and also beat her for the title of New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the year.

As a four-year-old she won a Rating 94 handicap at Rotorua and failed to find form in the top spring weight-for-age events before succumbing to a tendon injury which saw her off the racetracks for over a year.

At five, she raced through the summer and followed a similar path to the programme she has followed this year, running third in the Skycity Hamilton Cup a week before running third in the Group One Whakanui International Stakes as it was previously known. Two starts later she ran third again at Group One level in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes, before going on to win the Group Two Travis Stakes.

A campaign in Queensland followed with a placing in the Group Three Tatt's Cup at Eagle Farm, before a spell and the start of her current preparation. Back at Te Rapa in December she ran third in the Group Two Lady Norrie Stakes for fillies and mares, and was then unplaced in the Group One Zabeel Classic. Two weeks later she won an open handicap at Tauranga over 1600 metres.

With a month between races she lined up at Te Rapa and easily won the Skycity Casino Hamilton Cup before backing up and winning the International Stakes.

So where did this journey to Group One glory begin.

Margaret Hardy and her husband Murray have always been passionate about horses, and both were keen riders in their younger days, so it seemed natural to add a broodmare to the horses on their lifestyle block at Ngahinapouri, south west of Hamilton.

They purchased Wave to Lottie (Crested Wave- Tiger Lily) in foal to Align for $5,000 from the 2002 National Broodmare sale, from fellow NZTBA member Paul Neilson who still calls to keep tabs on the mare. Tiger Lily (Sovereign Edition-Microwave) her dam was a half sister to two stakes winners in Tiger Jones and Fast Food.

They decided to send her to Volksraad in a bid to upgrade the mare's family and the resultant foal in Veloce Bella has certainly done that. Her first foal by Align sold at the 2004 Festival Sale for $22,000. Wave To Lottie's yearlings have now been upgraded to Premier.

"When we went to sell the filly as a yearling we didn't get a bid and Mark and Yolande approached us to lease her. We didn't know what to do so we decided to syndicate her ourselves amongst some fellow wine drinking friends (hence the name Case Lot Syndicate) and gave her to Mark and Yolande to train.

"We were very lucky to find them and very lucky to have such patient and understanding trainers. They have dedicated their lives to their horses. They take all the risks and have all the responsibilities. Veloce Bella has had injuries, she has had issues in the barrier and all those things have been worked through by Mark and Yolande. They certainly do the job well, we can't take any credit whatsoever.

"Wave To Lottie is a beautiful looking mare with a lovely temperament and she throws lovely foals, Veloce Bella certainly didn't get her dam's temperament , we are not sure how she became such a madam although our good friend and neighbour Gordon Cunningham from Curraghmore Stud has always described her as an independent spirit.

"Her two-year-old filly by High Chaparral called High Heels, is in work with Mark and she is a looker like her mother and a lovely big filly. We are racing her with a syndicate of friends as well," said Hardy.

"Gordon has been a wonderful support to us. When Veloce Bella was a two-year-old she got a hay prickle in her eye, and he was over here in a blink of an eye to fix it.
We are lucky to have him in the neighbour hood. He foals Wave To Lottie and then she comes back here with her foals. She went to Dagger's Drawn twice and the first one has been placed in Queensland. Curraghmore also prepared our Darci Brahma colt* yearling out of her for the yearling sales this year." (*NB Passed in $45,000)

Wave To Lottie has a colt foal at foot also by Darci Brahma, and as she was late foaling, the Hardy's decided to leave her empty this year. Next year they think they may send her back to Volksraad, and maybe next year they will have that Group One winning mare to send to stud.

"Yes maybe, but a committee meeting of the Case Lot Syndicate will have to be held to discuss it at length," said Margaret with a chuckle.

- Michelle Saba


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