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First horse bred by Alistair Sutherland wins black type...

New Zealand Racing Board Thoroughbred director Alistair Sutherland became the breeder of the listed Wanganui Guineas winner Warrentherooster almost by default.

"I didn't set out to become a breeder it just evolved that way, this is the first horse I have bred and I personally only own one broodmare so it's a whole new experience to me.

Sutherland was at the Manawatu Sires Produce meeting shortly after it had been announced that Savabeel was going to stud, and he asked Graeme Rogerson if he could buy a share, but he declined.

"I liked Savabeel, he was a terrific racehorse, but I wasn't really seriously looking to get into stallions shares, but when he said no, being the type of person that I am, I like a challenge and a bit of a game so I thought I'll get one off Garry Chittick. I rang him and he said yes."

"So here I was with a share in a stallion with two nominations a year available to shareholders, and no mare. About the same time I was dissolving some racing partnerships that I was managing and I decided to buy Florida (Pompeii Court- Miss Daytona) to send to Savabeel and Warrentherooster is the result.

"I also have two full sisters to him and she was served by Fully Fledged last week! After we sent Fully Fledged to stud this season, I have gone from not really setting out to being a breeder to having shares in two stallions, a mare, yearlings, weanlings, the lot. I also have two mares that I raced with Peter Walker and Sir Patrick Hogan that are going to Fully Fledged," he said.

Originally from the South Island Alistair Sutherland always had a social interest in racing especially when he was an executive with Dominion Breweries and heavily involved with sponsorship of the Metropolitan Trotting Club. It was this association that he believes led to his appointment on the Racing Industry Board in the late 90's, which is where he got to know Garry Chittick who was also on the RIB during that time.

He dabbled in horse ownership and the first horse he raced was Celsius in the late 90's, with his then neighbour Zarina Sing and her sister and brother-in-law Fizzy and Jay Ahlers. Celsius won six races and since that time Sutherland has been involved in numerous syndicates racing horses and with a lot of success.

In fact after Warrentherooster won on Saturday he took the time to do a tally up of his statistics. That horse became his ninth black type winner from the 30 horses he has been involved with, and even more impressively it was gave Sutherland his 32nd black type performer from runners in 380 races.

Sutherland is a former Chairman and Managing Director of Philips NZ Ltd and has held senior international roles with TMP Worldwide/Morgan & Banks and Magnum Corporation/Dominion Breweries. He returned from Hong Kong to settle in Auckland around five or six years ago and started furthering his interest in racing. He managed a number of syndicates that had about 12 horses in work with Paul O'Sullivan, and Florida was in one of those.

She was from the second to last crop of Pompeii Court out of the Kinjite mare Miss Daytona (ex Santona), and won two races as well as being stakes placed in the listed Soliloquy Stakes. In turn she is a three-quarter sister to Ellakapella (Pompeii Court-Santona) the winner of three races including the Group Two ARC Championship Stakes, she was also the second highest weighted three-year-old filly of her year.

From his first season at stud Savabeel has left three stakes winners WarrentheroosterMy Emotion (ex Midnight Rock by Rory's Jester) and Queen Sabeel (ex Vanessatheundressa by Carnegie)

Around the same time as Sutherland was increasing his racing interests he became involved in racing administration. He was elected to the Board of the Auckland Racing Club which led to him becoming a NZTR director representing the Northern region, a position he held for two years and more recently to his appointment on the Racing Board.
He finds the new Racing Board set up more professional and workable than its predecessor. The RIB had 10 members, from a cross sections of industry groups, the Racing Board, has seven members, three from the three codes appointed by those codes, three independent directors and an independent chairman.

"In my view it's irrespective of where the directors have come from and there are very few incidents where code representation is pursued, generally the board works in the best interests of its core business. The directors are all professional in that regard," he added.
It was at the Auckland Racing Club that he struck up a friendship with fellow board member Peter Walker.

"Apart from Florida and her progeny most of my horses are owned in partnership mainly with Peter Walker, Sir Patrick Hogan and Tony Timpson. Of the 13 horses I am involved with, I really only own about three whole horses.

"Fully Fledged was raced by me with Peter and Tony, and the year we bought The Heckler Sir Patrick came on board. We have two four-year-olds, Heza Karma Karzi(Choisir) with John Sargent and Damewithnoname(Show A Heart) with Don Sellwood, our three-year-olds include The Heckler (Lucky Owners), Blonde Bombshell (Towkay), and two Scardee Cat's Full Choke, and Catostrofic and of course I have Warrentherooster. We also have six two-year-olds with different trainers and we bought three lovely weanlings in autumn, a Dehere filly and the colts we bought at the Magic Millions.

"I race Warrentherooster in partnership with Kim and Peter McKay, and Peter trains him, and he also trains the two-year-old full sister.

"She has been broken in and is in work now, but I haven't named her yet," he exclaimed.

Sutherland does have a tendency to label his horses with 'interesting' names which is demonstrated by some of the names listed above, and who could forget the stakes winning fillies Iflooxcouldkill and Howmuchyacharging? So how did he come up with Warrentherooster?

"Charlotte my wife and I were on a fishing trip in the Whitsunday Islands, the fishing wasn't much but the deckhand kept us entertained with tales about his rooster called Warren. I told him I would name a horse Warrentherooster, we have kept in touch, and now Warrentherooster the horse has his own fan club in Rockhampton, and they all back him as well," he said.

- Michelle Saba


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