|Te Akau Rose winning the Group Two Duke of Bedford Matamata Breeders' Stakes 22 Feb 2009|
Photo courtesy of NZ Thoroughbred Marketing
Te Akau Rose's win in the Group Two Robin, Duke of Bedford Matamata Breeders Stakes, last Saturday was tinged with a little sadness for her breeder Anne Storey.
Anne bred Te Akau Rose (Thorn Park – Straussbridge) with her father Evan Kerr-Taylor, a long term member of the Auckland branch of the NZTBA, who sadly passed away last October after a long battle with cancer.
"It was an exciting win, absolutely fabulous and wonderful for her owners, but it was a little sad that Dad wasn't here to see it, he would have enjoyed it too" said Anne.
However this is not the first group winner from this fabulous "Alberton" family that West Auckland farmer Evan Kerr-Taylor had nurtured and developed for his family and it looks set to carry on in more ways than one.
Evan Kerr-Taylor along with his brother Bruce and their sister Faye (Fletcher) purchased a filly in the early eighties for an interest to keep the family together. That filly was Alberton Lass by Adios II out of Magic Riverton a daughter of Riverton and the smart two-year-old of her year Marchere (Copenhagen II - Erin's Bridge).
"Dad, Bruce and Faye put a lot of thought into the purchase of that filly and together over the years it really kept them together as a family and Alberton Lass and her progeny have provided a lot of enjoyment for them. Now my Mum Ruth and I are carrying on with the "fillies" and together with my sons we are having a lot of fun and it's keeping our family together" she said.
The three siblings Evan, Bruce and Faye were grandchildren of Allan Kerr-Taylor, who arrived in New Zealand from Scotland in 1849 and purchased a farm on the outskirts of Auckland on the lower slopes of Mount Albert. Some years later he built a beautiful colonial mansion "Alberton" an Auckland landmark which is now a popular reception venue owned by the Historic Places Trust. So the family filly was named Alberton Lass carrying on the legacy of the original family farm name.
She was placed as a race horse and retired to stud where her first foal by Red Tempo was Sir Alberton, who won seven races for the family when trained by Colin Jillings, He won two races at two and went on to win the Group Two Wellington Guineas at three, and the Taumaranui Cup as an older horse. Around the early nineties Alberton Lass visited Straussbrook and the association with Mapperly Park Stud, which morphed into a relationship with Windsor Park Stud. She produced a filly named Straussbridge, who as a two year old won two races including the Listed Counties Challenge Stakes.
And to another Mapperley stallion Stylish Century she produced Alberton Star a winner of four races at two including the Group Two Taranaki 2YO Classic and Group Three ARC Eclipse Stakes. Both fillies were raced by the family and trained by the then Jillings and Yuill team at Takanini and now Richard Yuill continues to train for Anne and her sons Ben and Tom.
Alberton Lass produced 11 foals, 10 to race, seven winners, three stakes winners and the family continued to breed from her descendants including the two daughters Alberton Star and Straussbridge.
Straussbridge is the dam of nine foals, the eighth being Te Akau Rose. She has also left four other winners; the stakes placed Dancing Bridges, Storbaelt and Alberton Rose all by Danske and Porta by Volksraad. Her three year old daughter by Golan Alberton Princess which is raced by Anne and her father's estate is stakes placed, having run third in the Taranaki 2YO Classic last season but is yet to win a maiden race, although with three placings in her last four starts that seems imminent.
"We have a fantastic relationship with Windsor Park Stud, as you can see when you look at the progeny of our horses, they are marvellous and really look after us well," explained Anne.
"Our mares go there to foal, and our yearlings are prepared there and our breed has obviously clicked with their stallions."
Steve Till picks up the story.
"Evan, Bruce and Faye Kerr-Taylor were long standing clients of ours and have been wonderful supporters of our stallion for a number of years, going back to the time when we managed Mapperley Stud. We have had a terrific association with them, and that continues now with Ruth, Anne and Mac and their family. Over the years they have produced some really smart horses, which physically are all quite alike as well, they are strongly well made medium sized individuals who look like they will run at two – and they usually do. And it's a family that throws a lot of fillies!
"When Evan knew he was ill he decided to reduce the numbers of horses he had and we came to an arrangement whereby we acquired Straussbridge and her half sister Alberton Magic.
We bred Straussbridge to Thorn Park as well and offered the filly a full sister to Te Akau Rose at the Premier Sale last month, but she didn't sell, but now we are more than happy to keep her. Straussbridge missed following that mating and she is in foal to Falkirk.
"She's a special mare, as she developed a growth in her nose which caused her to have breathing problems, and subsequently had to have a tracheotomy so she now breaths through a hole in her throat. It's quite an eerie experience seeing her steamy breath coming out of her throat on a cold frosty Waikato morning!
"Alberton Magic (Danske – Alberton Lass) has a Thorn Park foal, and is in foal to Golan, we sold a nice Thorn Park yearling filly, to Donna Logan at the sales for $9,000. That's a three-quarter sister to Te Akau Rose and the foal she is carrying is a three-quarter relative to Lady Alberton," he said.
Lady Alberton the winner of the Group Three Eclipse Stakes last year, is raced by Anne and Evan's estate. The Golan filly was also third in the Group Two Eight Carat Classic on Boxing Day. She is the fourth foal of Alberton Star and her fourth winner, as she is also the dam of Red Square and Big Red Robe both by Danske and Golan Star (Golan). Her fifth foal a filly by High Chaparral was purchased by Tony Cole for clients at the Premier Yearling Sale for $60,000.
"Alberton Star is currently at home on the ten acres that Dad pottered around with in Taupaki where most of the progeny were raised, Mum is pretty fantastic she is in her late seventies and she is looking after her and her Thorn Park colt (a three-quarter relation to Te Akau Rose) which we are looking forward to racing. Breeding and racing is a neat interest that Dad shared with his brother and sister, before they passed away, and Mum and I were always involved in, now hopefully it's something we can share with my sons and the cycle will carry on," concluded Anne.
- Michelle Saba