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Group One Reward for Passionate All Rounder

As Waikato breeder/owner/trainer Kristine Stead, ponders whether to start her Group One performer Jacowils (Diamond Express-Patch My Eye) in the $1,000,000 Telegraph Handicap at Wellington, she reflects on the magic that was winning the Group One Waiwera Railway Handicap at Ellerslie on New Year's Day.

A jubilant Kristine Stead leads Jacowils back to scale after winning the Group 1Waiwera Railway Handicap at Ellerslie on New Year's Day
Photo: Trish Dunell

"It was magic, the stuff dreams are made of, I have only had a couple of attempts at running horses in Group One races so it was amazing to win one. Now I am pondering whether to go to the Telegraph, as it's not everyday you get to run in a million dollar race. Jacowils is very well and also there is that added $200,000 bonus put up by Cambridge Stud and the Auckland Racing Club if you can win both the Railway and the Telegraph," she mused.

At the end of the day it will be the welfare of the horse that will help Stead to decide.

Stead is passionate about her horses, and their health and welfare are paramount to her. She has, after all, nurtured Jacowils from conception through to Group One victory.

Jacowils is the ninth foal of the Purple Patch (Pakistan II-Micheline) mare Patch My Eye and is by Diamond Express (Success Express-Tudor Light). He is the second stakes winner from the mare, she has also left the listed VATC WW Cockram Stakes winner Chillies, who was also owned and trained by Stead, and is currently the only mare she breeds from.

Patch My Eye was put down last March at the grand old age of 23 after suffering a number of health issues.

Stead purchased Patch My Eye as a weanling from her father, a doctor specialising in sports medicine, when he decided to relocate to Australia. She was out of the Romantic mare Fun In The Sun out Sun Bonnet by Fair's Fair.

"I purchased her specifically to breed from. As a foal she had an accident and lost an eye so was never going to be a racing proposition. However I really liked her type, she looked like a real sprinter, very muscular, she looked like she would have a lot of speed.

"She was like her mother in type, and she won three races at two, and two of them were listed. Fun In The Sun had also left Le Fun who was a Stakes winner at two, and two stakes placed winners."

It's not surprising that Patch My Eye had the look of a sprinter being by Purple Patch as this son of Pakistan II – noted sire of sprinters - won 20 races including a AJC George Main Stakes (1600m), and is a half sister to the sensational Surround.

So with a philosophy of speed on speed, coupled with plenty of muscle, Stead set about mating Patch My Eye. Her first foal Harmonics, was by Bletchencore (Bletchingly-Sing Again), and won two races at 1200 metres. Her next live foal was the Wild Rampage (Bletchingly-Frivolous Lass) mare Chillies, an out-and-out speedster who won six times up to 1300metres including the WATC Cockram Stakes.

Patch My Eye left fillies to Vyner's Orb and Imperial Seal and they both raced in Singapore, before leaving another filly to Straight Strike – Paedo who was placed at three before injuring herself. She has a Zabeel filly in New Zealand Bloodstock's Premier Sale this month.

"I sent Patch My Eye to Diamond Express for a number of reasons. Initially when I retired Chillies to stud in Australia, I tried to get her into Success Express (Hold Your Peace – Au Printemps) but he was full and I sent her to Last Tycoon instead. Anyway I had always had a great relationship with the Bakers at Hallmark and as they were standing a son of Success Express out of that great mare Tudor Light – another noted speed family - it seemed like a good idea to send the mare there.

"Jacowils was from that mating and I also have a full brother to him in Mochachos in work as well. Patch My Eye has a two-year-old Rainbow Myth filly and a gorgeous Falkirk yearling running around, with my Falkirk yearling out of Chillies.

"The Last Tycoon –Chillies mating produced Wind Chill who has won seven races in Australia and Macau and was stakes placed in Australia before going to Macau. She has also produced Chimichangas (Pins) who was a sickly foal, and had an abscess in his stomach which drained for over two years, finally after about six visits to the beach it cleared up and he has now won two races. In his last race at Waikato in May he ran fourth a nose, a neck and a long neck behind Jacowils and Rudd Van Slaats – and they are now both Group winners."

Chimichangas is also trained by Stead, with assistance from her husband Marshall, a leading farrier in the Waikato. They live on a 12 acre block where there horses are kept, and also have another 50 acres round the corner where they raise cattle. Stead varies her training methods, using the farm, the Te Rapa track, Raglan beach and the aqua treadmill at Russell and Robyn Rogers' property.

As a child Stead was passionate about horses and competed on the pony club circuit. On leaving school she worked for a couple of years for the late Bill Winder in the twilight of his career and also rode work for Wayne Morris. As a former athlete herself she relies on what she was taught about fitness, nutrition and physiology and relates that to her horses.

"In the good old days when I was at College I competed in the Waikato, North Island and National Championships as a sprinter, I just apply the techniques that I learnt to my horses. I train by the feel of them. I like to leave a bit in them to sprint that last 200 metres, that is where the race is won or lost, and I want them to be able to dig deep in that last bit. All my horses manage to race that way and have a little bit left for the end," said Stead.

Regardless of whether Jacowils chases the million dollar Group One Telegraph Handicap Stead will continue to pursue her hobby of breeding and training and with her philosophy one both she will no doubt have more success in the winners circle.


- Michelle Saba