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Melbourne Cup Week success for (NZ)

If there is one week in which a breeder, studmaster, owner, trainer or jockey wants the favourable attention of the cosmos, it's Melbourne Cup Week.

Any race on the four fabulous days at Flemington is worth winning, but especially the 24 Group & Listed Stakes races, among them eight of the 13 Group One events staged by the Victoria Racing Club during the season. New Zealand-bred horses have been part of Cup Week for more than 130 years, and particularly since World War II. It's been an invaluable showcase for our thoroughbred industry and has undoubtedly played a key role in expanding the market for New Zealand horses.
Waikato Stud's filly SPLASHING OUT, parading before the VRC Ascot Vale S. G1 on 4 November, in which she finished second.
PHOTO: Racing and Sports
Some years have produced better results than others, but this year's tally (see the table below) of five Group & Listed Stakes wins (from 1000m to 2500m) and 12 placings by Kiwi-breds compares well with those of ten and 20 years ago.

In 1996 horses bred in New Zealand recorded three wins (by Portland Player, Gold City & Mouawad) and eleven placings in 24 available races. Ten years earlier, in 1986, our score was two wins (by Sea Legend and Coober's Gold) and 13 placings in 23 races. Admittedly, two of this year's five winners carrying the (NZ) suffix are what might be termed incidental Kiwis, foaled here when their Australian-owned dams were visiting New Zealand stallions. However, horses with that kind of mixed status are nothing new, and the benefits cut both ways. Saintly, by Sky Chase from All Grace by Sir Tristram has a mostly New Zealand pedigree but was foaled in Australia, so has never appeared in any list we've compiled of New Zealand-bred champions. 1996 Victoria Derby winner Portland Player (by Theatrical) was born here when his mother, Spirit of Kingston was sent here from the United States to be mated with Nassipour and then Zabeel before returning to Australia.

It's for the same reason that VRC Queen Elizabeth S. G3 winner Gallant Guru (by Montjeu, but born in Australia) doesn't appear on the list below.

Group One performances are, of course, the best results, and New Zealand breeders have good reason to be pleased with Efficient's stunning Victoria Derby win, and five very fine Group One placings, by Gorky Park, Growl, Kosi Bay, Seachange and Splashing Out.

It's true that only six of the 15 stallions represented on this list are currently standing in New Zealand: Zabeel, Stravinsky and Keeper at Cambridge Stud, Pins & O'Reilly at Waikato Stud and Bahhare at Rich Hill Stud. However, four of these are wholly New Zealand-owned and Keeper, O'Reilly & Pins are still relatively young, with much to like about their chances of continuing success.

In addition to the 17 Group & Listed Stakes performers listed below, the New Zealand breeding industry was represented by three non-black type winners during Melbourne Cup Week this year: Southern Courage (Bahhare), Utility (Flying Spur) and Watchyerback (Daggers Drawn). Utility, bred by NZTBA Auckland members Don & Rochelle McLaren, has since won the MRC Eclipse S. G3 at Sandown.
Melbourne Cup Week
4, 7, 9 & 11 November 2006

EFFICIENT (Zabeel) 1st VRC Victoria Derby 2500m G1
TUESDAY JOY (Carnegie) 1st VRC Wakeful S. 2000m G2
ROYAL ASSCHER(Stravinsky) 1st VRC Ottawa S. 1000m LR
CREPE DE CHINE (Pins) 1st VRC Century S. 1100m LR
STORM SIGNAL (Keltrice) 1st VRC Maybe Mahal S. 1400m LR
Gorky Park (Montjeu) 2nd VRC Victoria Derby 2500m G1
Growl (Montjeu) 2nd VRC MacKinnon S. 2000m G1
Seachange (Cape Cross) 2nd VRC Empire Rose S. 1600m G1
Splashing Out (O'Reilly) 2nd VRC Ascot Vale S. 1600m G1
Kosi Bay (Spinning World) 3rd VRC Empire Rose S. 1600m G1
J'Adane (Danehill) 2nd VRC Wakeful S. 2000m G2
Pin Up (Pins) 2nd VRC Matriarch S. 2000m G2
Purde (Bahhare) 3rd VRC Matriarch S. 2000m G2
Mr Ubiquitous (Tale of the Cat) 2nd VRC Chatham S. 1400m G3
Fooram (Maroof) 3rd VRC Queen Elizabeth S. 2500m G3
Hasta La Ciao Ciao (Unbridled's Song) 3rd VRC Maybe Mahal S. 1400m LR
Sender (Keeper) 3rd VRC Batman H. 1800m LR

- Susan Archer


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