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Proud moments for the breeders of Veronic Franco

Waikato Branch member Vicki Pike knows all about the ups and downs of the breeding industry and this season has really experienced it first hand.

So far this season, they have produced the two Group winners from their boutique stud Longlands in Cambridge; Rangirangdoo (Pentire - She Wishes) and Veronica Franco (Johar - Crystal Hailey), but tragically, the dams of those two group winners have both died.

Even so, Vicki remains upbeat and remarkably proud of the achievements of their stock and optimistic about the promising future for both Rangirangdoo and Veronica Franco. Sydney-based galloper Rangirangdoo had an incredible spring winning five races including the Group Two Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley, and the Group Three Tramway Stakes in Sydney. He also ran second in the Group One Epsom Handicap, and Group Two Shannon Stakes.

Veronica Franco on the other hand, had two starts as an autumn two-year-old, and commenced her spring campaign with a third over 1400 metres. Stepping up to a mile, she completed the hat trick of wins at that distance with her stunning win in the Group Three Ezibuy Eulogy Stakes recently.

On the subject of Veronica Franco Vicki is positively ebullient.

"Isn't she lovely," she exclaimed, when contacted after the filly had won the Group Three Ezibuy Eulogy Stakes.

"We really are very proud of her, she was a beautiful foal, a really elegant yearling and now she is developing into a lovely race horse.

"I am thrilled for Roger. He loved her as a yearling and I am so pleased with the way he has managed her. He has done a wonderful job – he knows she is something special and we are all sure she will just continue to go on with it.

"And it's also wonderful that my good friends Maureen Hood and Pam Brindley ,who put so much into racing, are shareholders in the syndicate that owns her."

"Even though we lost Crystal Hailey foaling recently, we are blessed in that we have a lovely Darci Brahma filly that we will keep and race and eventually breed from. And thanks to the team at The Oaks she is successfully being fostered by Ballet Queen who lost her foal.

Crystal Hailey (Greinton – Little Hailey) was brought to New Zealand by Ray Knight and mated with Blues Traveller. She had won a race in America for her trainer and breeder, the legendary Charlie Whittingham. She was a winner and a half sister to a couple of stakes performers out of a stakes winning mare Little Hailey (Blushing Groom – Fact)

The Pikes went to see her after she was advertised for sale, and immediately fell in love with her.

"She was a beautiful looking mare and we bought her on the spot. The Blues Traveller colt she was carrying was sold to Macau and won four races, and then she went to Zabeel for a few years and left three winners including the stakes winning Diamond Hailey and The Bomb who was also trained by Roger James, but died from colic after he had impressively won a couple of races.

"About six years ago she had a really traumatic foaling, and after that she was extremely difficult to get in foal. After she had missed for a couple of years we sent her to Johar because he was young and fertile, and an exceptionally good type of individual - one of those lovely staying types we like - and she got in foal first time and produced Veronica Franco.

"She went back to Zabeel, Stravinsky and Montjeu and no joy there either, so we decided to try a young fertile stallion and plumped for Darci Brahma and bingo, in foal first time again and that was the filly she foaled this year.

"The last foal, 'She Wishes' (Kenfair-Miss Saigon) produced was a filly by O'Reilly and we will race her and add her to our broodmare band as well. That's how we do things around here. We like to race the fillies and prove them ourselves then add them to the broodmare band.

"Take Grace (Pins-Clara Duthie), for example. We bred her and she raced out of Tony's stable. She was a gutsy mare; the type that we think will leave good racehorses. She produced her first foal this year, a filly by O'Reilly and she is in foal to High Chaparral," explained Vicki.

Longlands Stud is a family affair with husband Wayne involved along with their son Tony and his wife Kirsten. As well as their 50 acre property on the outskirts of Cambridge they have the racing stables in town where Tony trains 40 horses in partnership with Mark Donoghue.

They currently have around 12 mares, including Miss Saigon who has gone to O'Reilly, a stallion they have supported since he first commenced stud duties.

"We really like him as a stallion. We have four O'Reilly's in the sales and no two are the same. There are two fillies in the Premier sale, one of which is out of Tattinger, a half sister to She Wishes, the dam of Rangirangdoo, and to the former good group winning filly in Satinka (Stravinsky), and the other is from an imported Gulch mare Springtime Sunray who hails from a good winning European family. The two colts are in the Select session.

Also in the Premier session is a Pentire colt, out of Charmed (ex Seraphic), an unraced O'Reilly filly they bred, who is a three-quarter sister to Irlanda (O'Reilly – Cenphic). The Pikes have already produced two group winners by Pentire; Rangirangdoo and the Adelaide Cup winner Pantani, his half brother St Basil (by Vettori) is another group one winner raised at Longlands.

"We always seem to have a good horse around, whether it's in Tony's stable or one that we have sold. This spring has been particularly good. We keep ticking along, so I guess we must be doing something right."

- Michelle Saba


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