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Just a Question of Time for Black Type Win!

'Time Keeper' comes home for a win in the Easter Handicap

Picture by Trish Dunell

'Time Keeper' comes home for a win in the Easter Handicap - Picture by Trish Dunell
The breeder of Time Keeper (3C Stravinsky-Organdy) Craig Harvey, NZTBA Hawke's Bay Poverty Bay branch committeeman, was not at all surprised when that horse won the Group One ARC Land Pride Easter Handicap recently.

"I am absolutely thrilled but not really that surprised I always knew he was going to be a good horse, he was bred to be one," he enthused.

Craig Harvey is a follower of the Tesio theory of breeding and used the philosophy of Frederico Tesio and a little encouragement from some breeding aficionados to breed Time Keeper.

Around ten years ago, Craig Harvey was looking for a new interest, and happened on a bus trip to Cambridge for the Waikato Branch Annual Stallion Parade, organised by the Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay Branch.

"I gave up playing club rugby in my early thirties, and spent a couple of years trying golf and a few other activities but I couldn't get too excited about them, and someone invited me on the NZTBA bus trip to Cambridge.

"I really enjoyed the camaraderie and always had an unrequited love of horses as my Dad was a blacksmith but he discouraged us from having anything to do with horses, anyway I thought this seems like a fun industry to get involved with.

"I began studying pedigrees and bought the Tesio power computer programme, and decided to test my theories. I knew it was going to be an expensive business so I coerced a couple of mates Duncan MacLean and Tim Morris to throw in some funds and away we went."

And now Craig is fully ensconced as a committeeman on the Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay Branch of the NZTBA and a part-owner of a number of mares and race horses.

Craig Harvey is a stock and station agent in Waipukurau, he grew up in the Hawkes Bay where his father was a blacksmith and spent a lot of time as a child going around helping him, but unfortunately Harvey did not gain a lot of the great horse handling knowledge and expertise his father had. He attended Flock House as a teenager and has worked in various agricultural fields ever since.

His partners, MacLean and Morris were both farming clients who became mates at the time Harvey got them involved. These days Tim Morris is living in New South Wales, and Duncan MacLean has become a "gentleman" farmer.

"Duncan farms at Kairakau Beach on the East Coast of Hawke's Bay, he has downsized his sheep and beef farm from 800 acres to 300 and between the two of us we do whatever needs to be done with the horses when they are not at stud or in work. My property in Waipukurau is only 15 acres.

"In 2005 when Fayette Park was selling up the last of their good mares, I combed the catalogue and found a mare I really liked that I wanted to send to Colombia as I had previously purchased a share in him.

"I discussed it with Duncan and we agreed on a price of $10,000 and I duly went to Karaka and paid $22,500 for Organdy (Our Emblem- Peau de Soie) an American bred mare in foal to Postponed. I came home and rang him and said 'we got her mate' and when I told him the price his response was 'oh well' so I knew the job was right.

"No sooner had I got home and I was chatting to Mike Moran from Windsor Park, and discussing matings and he said he had looked at the pedigree and the best mating in his opinion was with Stravinsky. I then approached Sir Patrick Hogan and he had a look at it and agreed it was a lovely mating on paper so that's where she went.

Time Keeper is bred on the successful Northern Dancer/Mr Prospector cross which appears to work well in reverse as well.

"He is 4 x 3 to Mr Prospector with that stallion featuring as the sire of Our Emblem the sire of Organdy, and again as the sire of Stravinsky's second dam Prospector's Fire. Stravinsky has two strains of Nasrullah and Organdy has one, and they both have female lines of Forli.

"I believe in duplicating lines but only if they are in the female line, because the strength comes from the female line. I like to pick up elite proven sires through the female side of the pedigree – sires like Turn-to, Nasrullah etc.

"He was always a lovely foal, when he was born, we took a trip up to the Waikato to see him as Organdy was going to St Reims, and he was a cracker of a colt. After the foal was weaned he went to The Oaks, where we had sent a couple of mares, with a plan to take him to the Magic Millions in their draft. At that time Stravinsky colts were averaging around $300,000.

"However EI intervened and we couldn't get into Karaka, so we ended up going to the Carnival Sale in March. The colt was passed in at $65,000. We were bitterly disappointed and thought we would be taking him home to race.

"We were approached by Graham Nicholson and I said to him if he would give this horse a go as a colt which he still is then we will sell him to you for $65,000. Graham has done an amazing job racing him as a colt and now he is a group one winner. He is out of a reasonably well performed family with plenty of black type in the third dam."

Organdy produced a filly to St Reims which the trio have kept and she is work with Lisa Latta, and a colt by the same sire. He is a rising two year old and was a very aggressive youngster. He was purchased by Dan Myers as a weanling and was gelded not long after.

"We finally sent Organdy to Colombia and she produced a filly foal this season, and she is a cracker. Without a doubt the best of her foals to date which backs up my faith in my breeding philosophy." added Harvey.

The partnership currently owns four mares and a number of race horses and Harvey advises on all the matings. He also takes great pleasure in assisting fellow breeders with their mating advice and so far has been instrumental in a few "good ones".

"We bred Belfast Lad (Colombia) out of Irish Wonder, but we sold that mare and purchased a couple of younger mares, Pennies in Heaven and Brimming."

Pennies in Heaven (Pompeii Court- Srikandi by Defensive Play), is a descendant of that great mare Hunza (Pakistan II-Chatty Lady), and was the winner of five races.She is the dam of Single Currency (Bachelor Duke) who has won two races from three starts this season.

Brimming (Danehill-Tearrunner) is unraced and as yet has only left a couple of placed horses, but Harvey is confident bred to the right stallion she will leave something, she is currently in foal to Bachelor Duke. She didn't have a foal last year and her 2008 No Excuse Needed colt broke his back.

The same year they bred Time Keeper they bred another colt out of a Mr Prospector line mare and they have him in work with Lisa Latta, so far he has shown a lot of promise. He is out of the Rhythm (Mr Prospector –Dance Number by Northern Dancer) mare Zahna, who is out of Zahn by Grosvenor out of Tiara a full sister to Prince Majestic (Noble Bijou – Princess Mellay). She has left a winner in Kasend (Danasinga) and has a Spartacus colt at foot.

"It has been a bit hard through the recession and we seem to have a lot of foals around us now so we decided to only breed the one mare this year. I guess Organdy will definitely be going back to stud next year, although I am not sure where. I am still prepared to back the under dog even if I do cop a bit of flak about under valuing my mares. If the mating clicks the results will be there on the racetrack," he concluded.

And if the theories are right then they will be experiencing that euphoric feeling of breeding a group one winner again.

- Michell Saba


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