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Jungle Rocket epitomises the influence of Overseas Investment

Overseas investment in New Zealand Thoroughbreds is an essential part of the thoroughbred industry and it's not just about overseas buyers purchasing our weanlings, yearlings or racehorses, it spreads further into investment in breeding stock, racehorses, and in some cases stud farms, agistment properties and training facilities.

Jungle Rocket (Jungle Pocket – Gu Li) the winner of the Group One New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Oaks is a filly that epitomises some of that investment. Even though she is New Zealand bred and raised she is Australian owned, was bred by a Hong Kong based businessman, from a mare bred and raced in New Zealand by a Chinese businesswoman.

Both she and her dam are by stallions that are overseas owned and shuttled to the Southern Hemisphere, the Japanese owned Jungle Pocket , and the Irish owned Last Tycoon.

Roger Lam is the breeder of Jungle Rocket and at the time of her mating her mother Gu Li (Last Tycoon- Lady Cimarosa) was resident at Haunui Farm, along with six other mares Lam owned. However in late 2005 Lam decided to disperse his considerable bloodstock interests in New Zealand and they all went on the market and were sold over the next 12 months.

According to Mark Chitty of Haunui Farm, Mr Lam who Chitty has never met, wanted to concentrate on his business interests elsewhere and decided to get out of bloodstock in New Zealand, as is often the case two of his mares have gone on to breed Group One winners.

Zabelette (Zabeel – Mrs Coobee) produced Art Success (Pentire) to win the Brisbane Cup in 2006 and Gu Li has now left Jungle Rocket.

Enter the Australian investment into the equation. New Zealand Bloodstock agent John Cameron was approached by a Sydney couple Craig and Louise Betts to buy a nicely bred filly to race in Australia that will go on to have some residual value as a broodmare. For $21,500 he selects the Jungle Pocket –Gu Li filly from Haunui's draft.

Chitty picks up the story.

"She was always a quality filly right from the time she was born we were delighted to have her return to the farm when Louise bought her. They were new to the game and very enthusiastic owners, and it was some time before they were able to visit us and see their lovely filly.

"Louise had encouraged her mother Cynthia to take a share along with her husband David Pleasance, and when they eventually saw the filly they were so impressed that David went on to purchase Gu Li, who was in foal to Don Eduardo. She foaled down a lovely filly and returned to the stallion," he said.

The Don Eduardo filly is now a two-year-old and is also in work with Jeff McVean, and the next foal a colt by the same sire is at Haunui Farm and will most likely go to the Ready to Run Sale in November. Gu Li's earlier matings produced a winner in Hong Kong by Faltaat (Top Speed) and another in Singapore by Van Nistelrooy (Rooy), giving her a good record of three to the races for three winners. The mare is now in foal to Savabeel.

"Originally Jungle Rocket was destined to race in Australia, but the McVean's were doing such a great job with the filly the owners decided to leave her here, and now she has been joined by her half sister. It's no mean feat to go from maiden winner to Group One winner in the space of five weeks, and to boot the Pleasance's have had a great holiday in New Zealand as well.

"They came over to watch the filly run in the listed Sunline Vase on Auckland Cup day and were delighted when she finished second and picked up black type there, they then headed south to Wellington to the Oaks ten days later, taking in the scenery and testing out our beautiful golf courses along the way. Louise and Craig joined them in Wellington for the Oaks victory and met the McVean's for the first time," he said.

Along with his wife Cynthia, David Pleasance, a retired builder, is establishing a boutique breeding establishment in Armidale in the tablelands of northern New South Wales, so having a group one winner to eventually add to their broodmare band is a terrific boost. However Mark Chitty is quietly confident that Gu Li will remain in New Zealand and produce foals with (NZ) after their names, because after all, why would you change a Group One winning formula!

- Michelle Saba


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