The next time Sue Westend asks her husband for some money to buy a mare the reply from Peter should be “How much do you want?”
The couple own and manage the Cambridge-based Norwegian Park and Sue has proven she can spot a good mare and a good buy.
In 2016 Sue purchased Platinum Elle (Elanidim [USA]-Lady Tee), the dam of the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) and New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year winner Jennifer Eccles (by Rip Van Winkle [IRE]).
A year later she purchased Eleesha (AUS) (Encosta de Lago[AUS]- Modelista[AUS]) the dam of last year’s New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Imelda Mary (by Ferlax [AUS]).
“I don’t know how she does it,” said Peter Westend, “But to have the dam of the Filly of the Year one after the other really is something, she is the one with the eye.”
“Jennifer Eccles certainly provided us with an exciting weekend, she’s done very well.
You just don’t know when you sell a horse what it is going to do. Obviously, Adrian (Clark) has a good eye for a horse, and so has Sue.”
Clark purchased Jennifer Eccles as a weanling from the 2017 Weanling and Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka in May for a mere $5,000 and put her into the Challenge Number 10 Syndicate of which he is the manager.
Trained by Shaune Ritchie at Cambridge, she has had 11 starts and won four races, been placed second twice, third four times and fourth once. As a two-year-old she had two starts finishing third on debut at Matamata in early May and later in the month finishing third in the Listed Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie before being tipped out for a spell.
In her first start at three she finished second over 1100 in a three-year-old special conditions event at Hastings, before finishing fourth in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m). At her next start she was third in the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) before finishing second in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).
Six weeks later, while still a maiden, she won the Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie, followed by a trip to Trentham where she finished third in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m).
At her next start she stepped up to 2000 metres and easily won the Gr.2 Fillies Classic at Te Rapa, before heading south to Hastings for the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) which she won by an impressive four lengths.
Jennifer Eccles’ win in the Oaks was no walk in the park. A testament to her toughness, Jennifer Eccles clipped a heel on the home turn, stumbled, and still got herself up to find clear space and went to the lead to win by a length and a half.
“She was very brave,” said Waikato branch member Westend. “I thought it was all over when she went down. It’s a good horse that gets up and wins after that.”
“I have to attribute the purchase of Platinum Elle to Sue. Sue analyses the pedigrees.
“At the May sale in 2016 we had had a pretty good sale, and she said she wanted to buy a mare, so I gave her $10,000 and five minutes later she came back and said she had bought Platinum Elle, in foal to Rip Van Winkle. The resulting foal was Jennifer Eccles.”
Platinum Elle was the winner of four races and was placed in the Listed Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m). She is a daughter of Zabeel mare Lady Tee who was also placed at stakes level in the Gr.3 Eulogy Stakes (1600m).
Lady Tee is a half-sister to Tesoro the dam of the Group Two winner Puttanesca. The third dam is the Crested Wave mare Waikiki who won nine races including the Gr.2 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) twice. This family has also produced the dual Hong Kong Group One winner Sacred Kingdom.
“Platinum Elle has since produced a Sweynesse (AUS) colt which we also sold as a weanling to Michael Rogers for $20,000,” Westend said. “She missed and then had a filly to What’s The Story, which we will keep.
“I think Sue would kill me if I said we were going to sell her, unless of course it’s a crazy offer. Now she is back in foal to Rip Van Winkle.”
“The What’s The Story foal is a stunning foal, she’s very nice, we are so pleased with his first foals,” said Westend who stands the son of Savabeel at Norwegian Park.
“We are taking four colts and one filly to the weanling sale in May and they are impressive. He is leaving a superb foal.”
The Westends had previously had a mare called My Amnesia that they lost foaling in 2015. Sue had vowed to get back into that family if she could and succeeded when purchasing Eleesha, the dam of Imelda Mary.
Eleesha is an unraced mare by Encosta de Lago out of Modellista, a two-time winning sister to Fashions Afield and half-sister to My Amnesia
“In 2017 Sue came in to my office and said she had seen a mare on gavelhouse.com and wanted to buy her,” Westend said.
Westend purchased her for $2,000, she produced a colt by Sweynesse that they sold last year for $40,000 before on-selling the mare in foal to Tarzino.
It is no wonder Peter Weston is happy to give his wife free rein at a broodmare sale or let her scroll through the latest gavelhouse.com listings. -Michelle Saba, NZTBA