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Wall Street's Thorndon Mile victory another chapter in NZTBA member Jo Wilding's list of successes

North Canterbury breeder Jo Wilding is no stranger to breeding winners. Under the Te Mania Thoroughbred banner she has bred numerous group winners including the outstanding filly Analie, Champion three-year-olds Zonda, and Joker's Wild, Magnolia Hall, Fiscal Madness and Whey To Go, and it turns out she had a hand in breeding the recent Group One Thorndon Mile winner Wall Street (Montjeu- Villa Wanda).

The spritely octogenarian was at the Karaka sales this week overseeing the Te Mania draft and talking about the deeds of Wall Street was a welcome distraction.

Although Jo, a stalwart member of the NZTBA, doesn't own Villa Wanda (Grand Lodge-Gisarne) she was responsible for buying him for his owner Chun Win Wong and gets involved in the discussions surrounding the matings of the Wong mares.

The Wildings first met Chun Wong about 14 years ago when he was attending an Angus beef Open Day at the Te Mania property in Cheviot in North Canterbury. As well as discussing the beef industry, he expressed an interest in thoroughbreds. He purchased a half brother to Zonda and raced him in Singapore and before too long, in partnership with B T Hoong, he purchased a farm across the river from the Wildings.

"The whole family was involved in setting up the WH Holdings (as the partnership is known) "boutique stud". My son was involved in the designing and building of the yards and barns etc on the property, and my daughter Robbie initially managed the farm before Kelvin Mahood took over," she said.

"Mr Wong had a dream to own a Melbourne Cup winner. He has had a few good horses - he raced a colt called Braeloch who was just beaten by Starcraft in the AJC Derby. Anyway, I told him if he wanted to get serious about breeding, he should buy some quality mares, and the next thing you know, I am at the Sydney Broodmare sale with a budget and a buying order.

"That was about 10 years ago, and believe you me, it wasn't an easy task. I sorted out a few mares and didn't get them, and finally I decided to look at a young Grand Lodge mare that was in foal to Octagonal, as I thought the foal would have some residual value. Grand Lodge was a hot sire having left the Queensland Derby winner Freemason and, of course, Shogun Lodge and that was how I selected Villa Wanda.

"Although she only raced twice, she was out of a stakes winning Diesis mare so she had nice bloodlines. She was bred in England and her owners had sent her to Australia where they were intending to migrate too. However, luckily for us, they changed their minds and stayed inEngland.

"I hadn't completely spent the budget so I bought a Rory's Jester mare in foal to Desert King as well - that was Miss Rory and she left Joker's Wild (Black Minnaloushe) who was Mr Wong's first group one winner," she added.

The resultant Octagonal foal was a colt, and sold for $200,000 at Karaka, named Usage. He won three races in Australia. The next foal was a Stravinsky filly, Wahaha, also a winner and now a broodmare in the WH Holdings portfolio. Her first foal, The Dow Jones, was narrowly beaten at her second start this week. A Carnegie filly named Hi Shanghai was placed in Australia and is at stud there.

Mr Wong was a big fan of Montjeu and sent a number of mares there and Villa Wanda visited him twice. The first mating produced Montaperti and he was placed in Australia, and the second produced the group one winner Wall Street, who from 11 starts has won seven times and been placed once.

Less than a year ago he broke maidens at his third start. He followed that with a narrow defeat, but bounced back to win five in a row culminating in the Group two Couplands Bakeries Mile at Riccarton in November. At his next start fresh-up in the Group One Telegraph he almost came down after clipping heels but made amends for that run with an impressive and easy win in the Thorndon Mile a week later.

Wall Street was sold by Te Mania at the 2006 Premier Yearling Sale for $100,000 to Paul Moroney. He was syndicated to a group of Moroney clients and commenced training in Matamata. A problem with a tendon saw him put aside for a lengthy spell and despatched to MasseyUniversity for treatment.

His owners decided to keep him in the Manawatu to recoup after the treatment and he eventually ended up in the stable of Jeff Lynds. Their patience and belief in the horse's ability have certainly paid off.

Villa Wanda's next foal is a two-year-old filly by Black Minnaloushe which has been retained, and she has a Spartacus colt foal at foot and is in foal to Gallant Guru.

According to Kelvin Mahood who manages the WH Holdings property and stock, they are breeding from around 14 mares with four of those in partnership with Jo and others. The matings are discussed at length, but both he and Jo are great believers in matching physical types rather than following pedigree fashions.

As well as the Group One winners Joker's Wild and Wall Street, they have also bred Miss Millbrook (No Excuse Needed- Arche) and Millbank (Keeper-Woodini),both stakes winners last season, and they can be added to the names on the extensive honours board already produced by Te Mania Thoroughbreds.

- Michelle Saba


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