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Rockdale wins the Rough Habit Plate (Gr 3) at Doomben

According to Donna Logan watching Rockdale win is as thrilling as watching one of her own stable runners win.

"It's like he is one of mine. It was a great thrill to see him win again. I get just as excited watching him win as I do watching the horses I train win, " said the Ruakaka horse trainer.

Last weekend Rockdale (Danroad-Komplete Kaos), bred by Donna and her partners, won the Group Three Rough Habit Plate at Doomben, for three-year-olds over 2020metres. At the Brisbane carnival last winter he was an impressive winner of the 1600 metre Group One T J Smith Stakes, and was second in the Group Two QTC Sires Produce Stakes.

Rockdale is the first of only two foals from the stakes placed winning Desert Sun mare Komplete Kaos. She has a weanling colt by Golan, but tragically died while foaling.

Komplete Kaos was trained by Donna and raced in partnership with Gary Cossey, Gil Sutherland, and Gary Bennett. She won three races here and ran second in the Group Three Waikato Guineas, and third in the Group Two Great Northern Guineas, before heading to Singapore to race.

"We sold a half share in her to a Singaporean and she went up there to race. She won her first start by six lengths, but then failed to flatter and her Singaporean owner lost interest after that, and we decided to bring her home.

"There was no money left in the kitty to send her to stud after we had paid to bring her home, so I approached Russell Warwick and he said that Westbury would lease her for a foal for foal arrangement with Danroad – as he stood his first season at stud there.

"Anyway, shortly after she conceived Russell rang me and said it was my lucky day as they were sending the mare home, and they no longer wanted to persevere with the foal-for-foal arrangement. The resultant colt was born at Java Lodge – I had won a service to Occidental Tourist so we were sending the mare there, and Jo Mackie called me to say he was a real cracker - an absolute stand out.

"I called in to see him on the way home from Tauranga races one day, and following that I didn't see him until the Yearling sales in 2007, and he was a lovely colt. Phil Cataldo paid $55,000 for him, and then brought him back for the Ready To Run Sale where John Morrisey from the Gold Coast paid $135,000 for him.

"Unfortunately Komplete Kaos didn't get in foal to Occidental Tourist, but we did manage to get a nice Golan colt this year," she concluded.

Donna, a member of the Auckland branch of the NZTBA, is no stranger to breeding group winners and she has quite a band of broodmares.

Prior to Rockdale, her most recent stakes winning success being the 2007 Group Three Tatt's Cup winner, Ring of Fire (Anziyan-Setchell) and last season's listed Cornwall Handicap winner El Perez.

"Most of them we have raced and have kept for breeding, like Setchell (Westminister –Latido) the dam of Ring of Fire, and Celtic Spring (Victory Dance – Kaplydia) who is a close relation to Komplete Kaos. She won five and now we are breeding from her. In fact we might have to send her to Danroad now," she added.

Celtic Swing is a half sister to Kappadios (Great Charmer- Kaplydia) the dam of Komplete Kaos. She has a Keeper colt at foot and is in foal to Bachelor Duke. She is the dam of Work That Skirt (Cullen), a winner last season from the Moroney stable

Donna also has Keeper foals out of El Fugaz and her daughter El Ardiente, and it is undoubtedly this family that she has had the most breeding success with, along with her good friends John and Karen Sprague.

"I have a good positive and successful relationship with Karen and John, and it has worked for some time. We started breeding from El Fugaz in 1994."

El Fugaz won six races including the Matamata Cup, and ran third in the Group Two Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes. At stud she has left the multiple Group Two winner El Duce. The son of Lord Ballina raced in New Zealand as a three-year-old and won the Group Two Wellington Guineas, and finished a neck behind So Casual in the Group One New Zealand Derby, before heading to Sydney for an autumn campaign, which saw him run third in the Canterbury Guineas before failing in the Derby.

Later that year, he commenced racing in Singapore where he remained for two years running second in the listed Raffles Cup. He resumed racing in New Zealand in the spring of 2002 and went on to win another seven races including the Group Two Waikato Cup twice, the Queen Elizabeth Handicap, the Group Three ARC Lindauer Grandeur Stakes, and the listed Foxbridge Plate.

His younger brother El Perez has also won nine races including the Listed Cornwall Handicap – a race for which Donna has him nominated for again this weekend. She and the Spragues are also breeding from two full sisters El Diablo and El Reina.

An older half sister El Ardiente (Desert Sun) was also a winner, and she has produced El Presidente (Danasinga) and El Mauricio (Bertolini) both trial performers from Donna's stable last week. Also in the stable and performing well is El Pzaaz by Faltaat and he will be joined by her yearling half brother by Black Minnaloushe.

El Fugaz has a three-year-old son by Montjeu named Sunny Star, and is in foal to either Keeper or Viking Ruler.

"Karen does all the work with the mares, she handles the foals and the weaning, she organises the transport to the studs, and I leave that all up to her.

"The matings we work out together. I like to breed on type, and often I will choose a stallion because I have had something good in the stable by him. We all have lots of input and present our reasons why we like a stallion. We discuss them and somehow we always seem to come to the same decision. It's a good relationship and it's successful, and not just with the one family.

"We have another mare Mi Fidelia (Mi Preferido- Aro Ar) who is a half sister to the dam of Vinaka (Volksraad -Shepherd's Delight) she has left a winner and a placed three-year-old, both by Volksraad. She has a Fast'N Famous weanling.

"I enjoy the breeding side of the industry and it makes me appreciate the importance of breeders to racing. I know how important it is to get black type, and I know the importance for breeders of placing horses in black type races if they are competitive enough. I always try and do that for my clients.

"With 10 mares and the number seems to keep growing, its gets very expensive, but then I guess it's all worth it when you get that thrill when they produce those Group winners," she said cheerfully.

- Michelle Saba


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