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Allan Schaare's breed continues

Matamata horseman Terry McDermott couldn't have got himself a better mare to continue his uncle Allan Schaare's breeding heritage when he bought Dainty Eyes.

The Alvaro mare, bought for $3200 in 2001, became a black type producer for McDermott and his breeding partner John Newton of Rotorua when Valley Chief won Saturday Hawke's Bay Cup (Gr 2-2200m).

McDermott, 70, trained horses for many years, some for Schaare. When Schaare died in 2000 aged 93, McDermott was given the task of dispersing the horses owned by Schaare's estate, and put several through the Karaka sales ring.

By spring 2000, McDermott had eight of Schaare's mares to sell. He decided their value at the sale would be greater so he put all of them into foal – four to Slavic and four to Octagonal's brother Colombia, the $1.6 million yearling who didn't get to the racecourse.

In 2001, seven of them made it to the May mixed bloodstock sale, by which time McDermott decided he wanted to keep one of the mares to continue Schaare's family himself.

"I told John that I wanted to buy one of them but that because of the interest there was in them that they might be a bit dear for me, and John said that if that happened he would come in on one with me," McDermott said.

"As it happened I pulled out when one of them reached $6000 but later on Dainty Lace came up and I was able to get her for $3200.

"I told John after that not to worry because it was within my budget but he was still keen and he came in with me anyway."

McDermott's faith in the mare was understandable given the way he had seen the family perform for Schaare.

Dainty Lace's third dam Nataua, by Balloch, had been one of the better broodmares in New Zealand in the late 1960s, particularly of stayers. She produced Bright Chief, winner of the 1968 Auckland Cup and runner-up in the Wellington Cup, and Ringlock, a double winner of the McGregor Grant Steeplechase and twice placed in both the Great Northern and Wellington Steeplechases.

"I do remember Bright Chief winning the Auckland Cup, and especially Ringlock, who was a great jumper for many years. We had his sire Ringlight running around the paddock."

Another of Nataua's foals, Battalia, produced the stakes-placed Ogle, who would gain fame as the dam of the smart Murray Baker-trained Eagle Eye, winner of the Sydney Cup, Rawson Stakes and Bayer Classic.

Nataua was also the dam of Dainty Princess, an unraced Resurgent mare. Her progeny included Chief Commander, a winner of 10 and Rotorua Cup placegetter, and Dainty Lace's dam Dainty Eyes.

Dainty Lace was able to win on the racetrack but her efforts paled in comparison to most of her half-relations. The best of them was Regal Chief, a winner of 14 including the Avondale Cup, and twice a placegetter in the Auckland Cup. But she also produced Aim For Glory (a black type-placed winner of 11), Beau Hunter (a winner of seven in Australia) and two dual winners, Palace Lady and Cavellier Chief.

Another winner of one, Twelve Pennies, made her mark by producing Panagold, winner of nine and second in the Otaki-Maori Weight-For-Age (Gr 1-1400m). Only one of Dainty Eyes' eight named foals failed to win.

Dainty Lace had produced five foals, including the winner Raven Chief, when McDermott and Newton bought her in foal to Colombia. Later that year she delivered the pair their first foal – which happened to be Valley Chief.

"He was a plain horse as a foal, nothing stood out about him," McDermott recalled.

"But the whole family is one which you have to wait with, sometimes until they are five, and he did start to show something."

McDermott and Newton race the horse along with McDermott's sister, Susan Simpson, her husband Gary; Rotorua-based Terry Moore and Taupo's Anthony Byett, though they had a chance to sell him early in his career.

"We were offered $100,000 for him but once we would have taken out the trainer's 10 percent and bought out the others in the lease there wouldn't have been that much left.

"But we were also having fun and we were both getting on so we thought it would have been more fun to keep going with a good horse."

Valley Chief continued to get better with age, and this season has won six races. His form leading into Saturday's race was very good and he won well at Hastings, aided by a good rails run provided by jockey Reese Jones.

McDermott and Newton sent Dainty Lace to Stark South after she foaled Valley Chief and she produced Southern Chief, a promising type who has had a win and a second from his last two starts.

She also has a two-year-old colt by Colombia, a yearling by Sandtrap and is back in foal to Colombia, for whom Valley Chief is the first group winner. He now stands at Newmarket Lodge in Manawatu.

"You don't get a horse with any better bloodlines than Colombia," McDermott said. "He's been very good for our mare."

McDermott says he and Newton haven't been tempted to expand their breeding operation. Dainty Lace is their only mare, and the most likely way they have of getting any more is if she has a filly, which on past records isn't guaranteed – from 10 foals, all but one were colts.

"It's been a great thrill to keep the family going, but we're happy just to have her."

- Alastair Bull


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