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New Zealand-breds quinella Hong Kong Champion Mile Gr 1

It's all good when there is a Group One winner in sight.

Patience and faith are just two of the attributes that you need in abundance to be a small breeder but every now and then you are rewarded with a little bit of luck and a group one winner in the family.

Over the weekend Sight Winner(Faltaat-Kinjinette) added his name to the New Zealand Bred Group One honours board when he won the Hong Kong Champions Mile, one of the coveted few international Group One events in Hong Kong. Against a very talented international field of milers he got up to beat fellow New Zealand bred Egyptian Ra (Woodborough-Egyptian Queen) by the barest of margins.

However, but for the sharp eye of Silverdale breeder Margaret Watson of "Keeper Special" fame, the New Zealand breeding industry may have lost the dam of its latest Group One star to the life of a sport horse producer or worse. Margaret spotted a rather nicely bred mare for sale in the Trade and Exchange in 2005 and returned Kinjinette to her rightful place in the thoroughbred broodmares paddock.

Sight Winner was bred by Westbury Stud and according to Russell Warwick, the General Manager of Westbury Stud, his dam was sold at their 2005 dispersal sale.

"We bought the mare Kinjinette (Kinjite-Duanette's Girl), after we had bred a couple of foals in partnership with her breeders Tina and Bill Farr. Tina had raced the mother
Duanette'sGirl out of Jim Gibbs's stable. Kinjinette matched up well with Faltaat and we thought she would suit Pyrus as well who we had just purchased. Subsequently her 2004 Pyrus colt MissionPerfectus has been placed in Singapore. We sold the mare in our dispersal sale in 2005," said Warwick.

Kinjinette was one of seven horses purchased by a couple from Tuakau who bred sport horses. They paid around $800 for their package and were subsequently advertising Kinjinette for sale in the Trade and Exchange for that amount when Margaret Watson spotted the advertisement.

She picks up the story.

"The breeding of this mare rang a few bells so my daughter Di Webster and I got in my trusty old horse truck and went way out the back of Pukekohe to look at this mare.
She was a lovely mare and Di instantly fell in love with her and her floppy bottom lip so I negotiated with the sport horse breeders and bought her for $500.

"When the breeding season rolled around I realised I couldn't really afford to send her to stud as I really do have too many mares. I approached Peter Jenkins and he thought she would suit Postponed so I leased her to Stoneybridge for a couple of years. They sold a lovely Postponed colt out of her to Hong Kong at Karaka for $110,000 this year, and then a client of theirs bred a Royal Gem colt that was foaled last spring. In the meantime Sight Winner has appeared and now I am breeding from her and she is now safely in foal to my favourite stallion Keeper," explained Margaret.

Now a five-year old, Sight Winner only commenced racing as a four-year-old and won five of his first seven starts. He was awarded the honour of the Most Improved Horse in Hong Kong last season and very quickly found himself in the top grade.

"He won a race in that class last November, but has struggled in group company up until now," according to Russell Warwick.

"However, he has now won seven races and gives Faltaat his fifth individual group one winner and 17th stakes winner. It's not a bad record for a stallion that doesn't perhaps get the recognition he deserves. He has left a Horse of the Year in Sedecrem and a champion three-year-old filly in Taatletail and yet he still only serves about 50-60 mares a year.

"This win caps off a great year for Faltaat and for the farm as well. We have bred six stakes winners this season, Stand Tall(Zabeel), Hoorang (Zerpour), Light Vision(Zerpour), Accardo(Elnadim), and the two Faltaat's Bellini Rose and now Sight Winner.

"Sight Winner was a nice colt – I thought he may have fetched more as a yearling, but at the time he was sold, the Faltaat's had not done a lot in Hong Kong. He was purchased by John Foote who we bought Faltaat from, and he has always supported the stallion. Foote also purchased Sedecrem for his owners," he added.

Margaret's faith in Kinjinette's family demonstrates that patience is required in the breeding industry and small breeders are often rewarded with families coming back into "fashion" and producing good winners.

Although Kinjinette was unraced she is the half sister to four winners. Her dam Duanette's Girl (Balmerino –Sacaya), was a game little race horse that won nine races and was placed 13 times. Her wins include the Group Two AJC St Leger, and Group Three Chairman's Handicap, Wellington Stakes and Avondale Classic. She was Group One placed in the Auckland and Wellington Cups and the New Zealand Oaks.

At stud she left four winners including Zabuan (Zabeel) a winner of 11 races including the Listed VRC Duke of Norfolk Stakes, and Shorty's Pride (Danzatore) who won three and was placed in the listed Avondale Classic. She in turn left Danamania (Danasinga), the winner of the listed SAJC Hill-Smith Stakes.

Sacaya, the dam of Duanette's Girl, was by Sovereign Edition from Pacaya (Psidium), she was a stakes-placed winner of three races, and a half sister to Society Bay (Zephyr Bay) a multiple stakes winner and dam of Society Beau (Bigstone), the winner of 12 races including the Group Two Japan –New Zealand International Trophy and the stakes performers Irish Belle and Zamfir. She is also the grandam of Champion three year old filly Final Destination and subsequently a group winner in the States.

Margaret is quite guarded when asked how many mares she does own, and immediately moves the subject onto how much pleasure she gets from breeding horses, and how they have all got something going for them.

"You have to have faith in yourself and your horses. I've had people saying to me, 'what are you breeding that for' over the years but you just have to believe in what you are doing," she adds.

"Where would I start culling and where would I stop. I had the great Aussie dream but it all went pear-shaped, with EI and they were all stranded there. At the time it seemed awful but now they are all home and the mares are safely in foal and the young stock healthy and fat," she says with obvious excitement.

"I just love racing, I adore it, it's so much fun. I have had my share of bad luck and then wham a Group One winner comes along and it all seems worth it."

- Michelle Saba


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