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Keyora 2000 Guineas bound

The first Southern Hemisphere stakes winner for Bachelor Duke (Miswaki-Gossamer), Keyora (ex Fairy Lights) proved that his win in the Group Two New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Hawkes Bay Guineas early in October, was no fluke when he repeated the performance three weeks later by winning the Group Two New Zealand Bloodstock Wellington Thoroughbred Breeders' Guineas.

The win came as no surprise to Rick Williams, general manager of The Oaks Stud where Keyora was bred.

"He was a great foal and a very smart yearling. He was the highest-priced Bachelor Duke yearling at Karaka - he was the real deal. We thought he might go to Japan following the success of his half brother Roc De Cambes (Red Ransom) up there, but fortuitously he was purchased by John Wheeler for Eddie Bourke, for $200,000" said Williams.

Keyora has now won three races and heads south for the $1 million Group One 2000 Guineas at Riccarton in early November. He has already hoisted Bachelor Duke to the lead in the three-year-old sires' premiership, hot on the heels of that horse winning the first season sires two-year-old premiership last season.

Williams, a renowned pedigree aficionado, gleefully explains his theory on the success of this mating.

"Apart from the fact that Fairy Lights produces great progeny from a wide range of stallions, in the mating of Keyora we have Gossamer (Seattle Slew –Lisaleen), the dam of Bachelor Duke out of Lisaleen (Northern Dancer – Lisadell ), a full sister in blood to Nureyev (Northern Dancer – Special) and also Fairy King, the sire of Fairy Lights, is a three parts brother to Nureyev being by Northern Dancer out of Fairy Bridge( Bold Reason-Special).

"It's a fabulous international pedigree and hails from the immediate family of Moon Solitaire, Germano, Pilsudski and Fine Motion. As well, Keyora's half brothers Roc De Cambes and Roman Chariot (also from a Mr Prospector line stallion like Bachelor Duke) were no slugs either.

"Roc De Cambes was a superstar in Japan. He won four races and was nominated for the King George Stakes and the Prix d'Arc De Triomphe before he shattered his leg.
He won a stakes race over ground as a two-year-old in Japan, and Roman Chariot ran second in the New Zealand Derby," added Williams.

Fairy Lights was selected by Williams for Terry Jarvis when he owned The Oaks, and her ownership passed on to Dick Karreman when he took over the stud in 2002. Her first mating was with Red Ransom and produced Red Baron who won a race in Hong Kong. The next foal by Gold Brose was Fairy Crown who went to stud unraced.

Her next foal was Roman Chariot (Faltaat), followed by the Traditionally gelding Centaurus, a winner in Western Australia. Roc De Cambes (Red Ransom) was her fifth foal, and she then returned to Faltaat producing Winning Scholar who was sold to Hong Kong. Keyora is her seventh foal.

"After Keyora she had a year off and was mated to Darci Brahma and that foal, a colt, will sell at Karaka this summer. She dropped a filly foal by Darci Brahma this season and returns to Bachelor Duke. We are going to keep the filly foal to race and breed from.

"I only paid 13,000 guineas for Fairy Lights at a Tattersalls sale, and really she should have sold for about four times that price, but at the sale they declared that she had a heart murmur and I think that put a lot of people off. She is fourteen now and has produced nine lovely foals, so the heart murmur hasn't affected her reproduction ability, or longevity," he stated.

Bachelor Duke commenced stud duties in New Zealand and in Ireland in 2005 and will serve around 140 mares here this season. Last year was his biggest book with 157 mares in New Zealand after having only 51 southern hemisphere foals in his first season, the year he produced Keyora. He has now left around 30 winners including Luminous Eyes who won the Group Three Leopardstown Silver Flash Stakes in Ireland, as well as the stakes-placed performers Prince of Wales and Bewitched in New Zealand, and Yorkster's Girl in England.

He stands along side Sakhee's Secret, Darci Bharma, Spartacus, and Keeninsky who had his first stakes performer recently when Botafogo ran third in the Listed Wellesley Stakes.

- Michelle Saba


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