Group 3 victory for "Dunstan Dave"

The win by Elblitzem (Elnadim-Arduous) in the Group Three Merial Ancare Metric Mile was a huge thrill for breeder and part-owner Dave Smith as it represents another good racehorse from a family which over the years has provided him with a lot of thrills and satisfaction.

"He's the third generation of this particularl family that I have owned. I bred and raced his mother Arduous and now him. It's not the flashest pedigree but it represents a good old strong New Zealand pedigree which has been good to me and has consistently produced good honest racehorses," he said proudly.

Dave Smith, aka "Dunstan Dave" or "Smithy", is no stranger in racing and breeding circles. He is Chairman of the Waikato Racing Club, a Director of NZTR and his company Dunstan Horsefeeds sponsors the NZTBA and the Trainers' Association and numerous races including the Dunstan Stayers Series. He is a racehorse and broodmare owner and a former stallion owner. He has raced horses for many years including Rainbow Myth (Cache of Gold –Mythical) who won nine races and whom he and Ralph Manning later stood at stud. He raced Arduous, also trained by Manning to win six races including a fillies and mares race at Caulfield the day Sunline won the Underwood Stakes. She was stakes placed in the listed Waikato Sprint and when it came to sending her to stud Smith's first choice of suitor was Elnadim.

"I was an Elnadim fan. I liked the horse and just loved his pedigree, and over the years I had done a lot of work with Russell Warwick. In fact he was involved in the mating of Arduous so it seemed logical to breed the first foal with him.

"As a yearling he failed to make his reserve at Karaka and Robert Priscott had some clients he wanted to put in a horse, and I kept a third share. My dear old friend Don Looker. who is one of the oldest and most prolific winning owners in New Zealand, took a share along with Terry O'Leary, Graham Peterson, Russell Scott and Ewan Wilson," he recalled.

Arduous remained at Westbury Stud and went to Cullen the next year and then to Captain Rio. The resulting Cullen colt, Little Lucas, won a trial at two, but died following an operation on a knee joint infection and, according to Smith, the resultant Captain Rio filly has a future as a polo pony. The mare had a Keeper colt in 2006 that died and then she went back to Captain Rio and produced a filly. Last week she produced a filly by Cecconi and she is to be mated with Sahkee's Secret.

Currently Smith only has one other mare, Halo Angel (Don't Say Halo- Impressionable), and she is in foal to My Halo (Southern Halo – My Swinger) and will visit Cecconi.

"I bought Halo Angel on the advice of Russell specifically to send to Rainbow Myth. She produced two winners by him, Hayella and Mythy, both of whom met with career-ending accidents. Latterly I have indulged my liking for line breeding by sending her to My Halo thus line breeding to Halo (Hail to Reason –Cosmah)," he said with a hint of glee.

So how did Smith initially get involved in the industry that he is obviously so passionate about?

During a misspent youth growing up in the environs of the Te Rapa racecourse he starting hanging out with the children of the local trainers, and in and around stables. The interest grew from there and it wasn't long before he was backing race horses, and owning a share in a few. He also struck up a friendship with Ralph Manning, and his father Ross.

"I was at the Claudelands sale in the mid eighties and saw Sandra Kae in the sale. She was a relatively young broodmare then and Ross suggested I should buy her as it was a family that produced good winners and she was a half sister to Oak Vue. At that stage Oak Vue hadn't really done a lot, so I managed to get her for a couple of hundred bucks."

Oak Vue duly won the New Zealand Cup for a very youthful Ralph Manning, and about the time that Smith purchased this mare, her full sister Mythical produced a colt by Cache of Gold – Rainbow Myth, who was to go on and win nine races for Ralph Manning including a Queensland St Leger and the Whakatane Cup.

"He was a great racehorse and we certainly had a lot of fun racing him. He even ran in a Melbourne Cup. When he retired we sent him to stud and he left 50 winners from 800 odd starters. He was at stud for 13 years.

"It was an exciting time for me. The first foal I bred out of Sandra Kae (My) Saturn Star (by Sun and Shine) was a stakes winner in Melbourne when she won the Zeditive Stakes. Then Beerescourt (Pompeii Court) came along and she won four and her full sister Garnett Court has left a couple of winners in Hong Kong.

"And then there was Arduous. By the time I came to breed her I was involved with the Waikato Racing Club and one year they were given about 10 stallion nominations in lieu of sponsorship, so to help the club out I thought I would use one. I asked my mate Russell Warwick which stallion would suit Sandra Kae?"

Russell picks up the story;

"As it turned out I was at the Oaks then and we had donated a nomination to Sky Chase, so naturally I just told him straight off that he was the one he should use. I then told him that actually the best mating was with Mohamed Abdu (Rusticaro-Investiture) and neither of us really knew anything about the horse. Anyway we jumped in the car a couple of days later and drove up to Bob Ennis's property and had a look at the horse, and he looked the part. As it turned out no one else wanted the nomination to Mohamed Abdu and so Smithy bought it for Sandra Kae!

"Arduous was the result and I reckon she was one of the best horses Mohamed Abdu left," he added, "and I am delighted that we have been associated with her breeding her first stakes winner."

These days the Smith Bloodstock portfolio isn't quite as extensive as it once was and is limited to the two broodmares, two racehorses in work, two two-year-olds and a couple of young ones, including some related to Elblitzem.

"I have had a lot of winners from this family and a lot of fun!"

- Michelle Sabe


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