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Group 2 win a fine result for the breeder of Coalesce

Essylt with Coalesce - Essylt says hello to her new foal Coalesce 1/12/2000
Essylt with Coalesce

Essylt says hello to her new foal Coalesce 1/12/2000

Evelyn Hipwood despaired about her mare Essylt ever producing another live racing foal after losing three full siblings to Australian group one winner Bezeal Bay within a year.

But she was determined to get that full relation, and with the assistance of several Waikato horsemen Essylt was able to produce Coalesce, whose win in Saturday's group two Hollindale Stakes (1800m) showed just how valuable that effort was.

Hipwood, a jeweller, and her bookmaker husband Ray retired to New Zealand in the 1990s from their Queensland home, wanting to spend more time with the few broodmares they had. The mares were originally at the Wallace family's Ardsley Stud in Wairarapa but they chose to go to the country's dominant thoroughbred area, buying a farm near Cambridge.

"My husband had had bypass surgery and we loved New Zealand so we decided to move there," she said.

"It was a great experience. People were very good to us, we made a lot of friends and we loved our horses."

Soon after they bought Essylt, bred in England by noted aristocratic breeder Lord Howard de Walden. She was a daughter of Artaius, a multiple group one-winning son of Round Table. She had been in New Zealand for some years before the Hipwoods bought her.

"She was impeccably bred but had very bad laminitis," she said.

"We thought she was a good prospect, and after getting together with Patrick Hogan we sent her to Zabeel."

It proved an outstanding decision. The first foal she got from the mating was Bezeal Bay, one of the most exciting gallopers in Australia in the late 1990s. A dashing front-runner at his best, Bezeal Bay had a particularly good patch in spring of 1998. He won the Yallambee Stud Stakes (Gr 3-1400m) on Derby Day, was back a week later to win the Emirates Stakes (Gr 1-1600m) and a month later ran second to top international performer Jim and Tonic in the Hong Kong Bowl (Gr 2-1400m).

The only unfortunate thing for Hipwood was that her husband had died in July1998.

"It was always Ray's dream to breed a group one winner," she said. "It was quite sad that he wasn't around to see his dream come true but it was still lovely to watch him win his group one."

Hipwood was very keen on the Zabeel-Essylt even before Bezeal Bay's performances but her next three foals had horrible luck within a short period of time in 1999.

"We had two fillies and a colt which all died within one year," she said. "We lost a three-year-old filly that was with Paul Perry (Bezeal Bay's trainer), then a yearling colt broke a leg and a filly foal died of blood poisoning."

Hipwood could have been excused for giving up at that time on her 16-year-old mare but she was determined to get another foal from Zabeel.

"I have to say Patrick Hogan was fabulous the whole way through, and so were (Cambridge horseman) Tim Welch and Dennis Keenan, a vet from Matamata.

"Tim came every day and massaged her feet and he was there on our farm when the colt was born. We also kept a close eye on its blood after the previous foal died of blood poisoning."

Born in 2000, the colt was eventually sold at the Sydney Easter Yearling Sale for $140,000. Named Coalesce, he ended up in the stable of John Hawkes.

He has had a particularly good last 12 months, winning two group three races and two listed races, but Saturday's win in the weight-for-age Hollindale Stakes was undoubtedly his best yet.

Aided by a great Darren Beadman ride, Coalesce got to the lead in the straight and held of Dracs Back and the people's warhorse Desert War, a Horse of the Year contender in Australia who did not adopt his usual pacemaking role after missing the start.

Coalesce was Essylt's last foal, as she died in 2001. There are no family members left for Hipwood to breed from either – Essylt's only two fillies were the Zabeel fillies which died in that horror year.

Hipwood now hopes Coalesce can emulate Bezeal Bay and win a group one race. He'll get his chance in the Doomben Cup (2200m) on May 19.

She's likely to be close by when he attempts to join the group one honour card as she's now moved back to Queensland.

"I was heartbroken when I moved away from New Zealand but Ray had died and all the rest of my family was in Queensland so I moved back," she said. "But I made many friends and met many great people and I'll always remember my time there."

- Alastair Bull


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