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The Pollard's family mares still working just fine!

At various times Liz Pollard of Rosehill Farm in Te Awamutu has been advised to forget about the Rose female thoroughbred line which has served her family so well.

Each time she has ignored them, and on Sunday she got a great vindication for doing so when Lim's Prestige won the Singapore Derby (2000m Sing GR 1) at Kranji.
Lim's Prestige, out of Stirling Jo, comes from the Wee Rose line which the Pollard family bought into in the 1920s. Her father Joe continued on with the family, selling some of its members as part of a 63-year streak as a National Yearling Sales vendor from 1943.

Lim's Prestige (NZ) powering away for the win in Sunday's Gr.1 Emirates Singapore Derby (2000m).
Photo: Jo Adams, STC
In most generations they bred a good winner from it. Winners included group one equivalent winners Fearless Fox, Golden Galleon, Najimi, Rose Of Summer, Quite Able and Ziema. Through the 70s and 80s they bred top horses like Haymaker (Victoria Derby) and Minuetto (Rawson Stakes), and Liz was determined to continue the tradition.

"I have been criticised by a lot of breeders who said that you want to introduce some new blood but I wanted to stick to this family, and it seems to come up with the goods," she said.

"It only needs to come up with a couple of good horses and it's away again."
Pollard didn't need to look far for vindication before Lim's Prestige won the Singapore Derby anyway. Just down the road in Cambridge is Whakanui Stud, which did particularly well out of buying a sister to Lim's Prestige's third dam Oakwell. That mare, Summerosa, won a Waikato Cup and was the granddam of Melbourne Cup winner Empire Rose, and last month Empire Rose's grandson Empire's Choice won the Queensland Derby (Gr 1-2400m).

Oakwell was no mug on the racetrack, winning five and earning a stakes placing. Her daughter Stirling Rose, by One Pound Sterling, was a winner and among her produce was Joe Hero, winner of the Stewards Handicap (Gr 3-1200m) at Riccarton.
Joe Hero's half sister Stirling Jo, by Centro, was unraced. When she began her breeding career in 2001 as a five-year-old Pollard decided to send her to Waikato Stud's second-season sire Pins.

"There weren't any theoretical reasons for the mating," Pollard said. "I tend to go on compatibility a lot and I liked Pins' race record and he was a good type."
A year later, Stirling Jo produced a colt foal. "He was a nice type but he was a late foal – he was born in November – and he was always a little behind the eight-ball," Pollard said.

"He was a little immature when we got to the sales and I didn't make any money on him but we went there to meet the market."

Lim's Prestige was bought for $16,000 as a weanling at the Karaka Select Yearling Sale by Auckland agent Doug Rawnsley, who had bought from Rosehill Farm before.
"I'd had a really nice filly called Arrow out of Stirling Rose who was a very promising three-year-old filly until she got hurt," Rawnsley said.

"It made me very interested in this family and though Lim's Prestige was a little behind some of them I thought he had a lot of staying potential."
Rawnsley had the colt broken in by Leigh Wills, the New Zealand representative of top US horseman Monty Roberts (aka The Man Who Listens To Horses) and then prepared for the Ready To Run sale by Janine Dunlop of Phoenix Farm, who sold the colt for $47,000 to former top Australian jockey Mick Dittman.

"I was delighted to make the profit we did on the horse," Rawnsley said. "The Derby win was a great thrill but I'm just a small part – it's great for Leigh Wills, for Janine Dunlop, for Mick Dittman, and especially for Liz Pollard, and for every horse transport driver, stable lads and vets. For every good horse there's a lot of people behind it and all of them should be thrilled with this."

Pollard said she was only half-aware of the race. "I had all but gone to sleep and I got a phone call at 10.30pm from Brian Corbett. I think he had an Istidaad in the Derby and wanted it to win but he called after the race and was thrilled for me. I had several cups of tea and stayed awake some time after that."

It's been a good season for Pollard, who also bred and owns Rosetti Bay (also by Pins), winner of the Evergreen Stakes (Gr 3-1400m) for fillies and mares at Hawera this season. She also has Lim's Prestige's year-younger half-brother Kariad, by Shinko King, who is also trained by Rosetti Bay's trainer Robert Priscott.

"Robert took him to Queensland this winter with Rosetti Bay and Diamond Deck. He was well backed at his first start but stood in the gates, was still well backed at his second start and won despite being slow out of the gates, and then ran sixth in the Grand Prix.

"Leith Innes got off him after the Grand Prix and said 'take him home, he'll be a really nice four-year-old in the spring'."

Because Kariad was also a late foal Stirling Jo was left empty in 2004. She then missed to Istidaad in 2004 and Handsome Ransom in 2005 before getting in foal last year to Ishiguru.

"Ideally I'd like to get her back to Pins this year but he's now up to $50,000 and I don't know that I can afford him, which is a shame."

- Alastair Bull