A promise made by Janet Hepi to one day send a mare to Hallmark Stud produced Super Strike (Super Easy- Southern Touch) the winner of the Gr.3 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham.
“Dad had a farm right opposite Hallmark, and quite often I would wander over to see the horses,” explained Hepi, the daughter of prominent Auckland businessman and breeder Lou Fisher.
“Denny (Baker proprietor of Hallmark Stud) always knew how much I loved horses, and he would always say why don’t you send me a mare to one of my horses and I kept saying I will one day.
“I loved watching Prom Queen race and that prompted me to take a look at Super Easy. So, I phoned Denny and asked him about sending a mare. He said you mean you are finally sending me a horse, and Super Strike or Toby as I call him is the result.
“It’s wonderful for both of us, Denny is as thrilled as I am about Toby and I’m pleased for Super Easy.”
Hepi races Super Strike in the colours made famous by her father - an emerald jacket, black braces, cerise sleeves and cap, the colours were carried by the great sprinter Yahabeebee.
“I get such a thrill watching those colours,” Hepi said. “I had such a special Dad and Uncle (Sir Woolf Fisher) who introduced me to horses so it’s important to me that I use those colours and continue their dynasty.”
Trained at Pukekohe by Richard Collett, the now four-year-old has been to the races nine times for five wins, three seconds and a third.
Super Strike won on debut in November as a three-year-old. He was placed at his next two starts but severely injured his hindquarter and was out for a prolonged spell, and there was some doubt as to whether he would come back.
“Richard has been really patient with him,” said Hepi, “It was a matter of wait and see.
“When he came out and won his first race back, Richard was still saying let’s wait and see. Then he won his next race and I said to Richard perhaps he’s okay now.”
Super Strike was beaten a nose at his next start before coming out and winning an open handicap at Ellerslie. He returned in late September last year and won fresh up over 1200m at Ellerslie and backed up three weeks later on the same track and won over 1400m.
At his home track in late November he went down by a nose over 1400m, before returning to Auckland in mid-December to win at that distance. His next run was in the Stella Artois 1500 Championship Final where he chased home Mai Tai Before heading to Trentham where he got up to win the prestigious mile event by a nose in the last bound.
“He’s got a real personality, he loves to show off he has an attitude and is a bit of a naughty boy,” quipped Hepi, “l think he just loves going past all the other horses, and that’s why he settles at the rear.
“I am so proud of him I just love horses so much. I love to spend time with them giving them apples and carrots. I had his grandmother and his mother. His mother Becky (Southern Touch) I gave to Sue Ellis to train when she went to Australia, as she had trained a couple of horses for me before that. Well Becky did everything right on the training track, but on the race track I think she went out just to smell the roses, as she let everything go past her and kept tailing the field. In the end I sent her to Written Tycoon (AUS) and bought her back in foal after that.”
That foal was the placed mare Mills’N’Boon who Hepi raced. Southern Touch’s next foal was Gutsy Gussie (by Any Suggestion [AUS]) who was also placed, followed by Super Strike. She also left another youngster by Super Easy but he didn’t make it to the races, and that was to be her last foal.
“I got the grandmother from David Benjamin,” Hepi continued. “My family and his family go way back, and one day I took my daughter Jasmine out to the Karaka sales and went around to talk to Benji. I was busy talking to Benji and then we couldn’t find her! Anyway, we eventually found her in a box with a horse – J was only about 8 or 9 and that was Touche Amora, so I bought her, and from her I got Southern Touch (Becky) and she is the dam of Toby (Super Strike).”
Touche Amora (by Touching Wood[USA]) won one race and went to stud and produced five live foals, the first being Stark Touch by Stark South who won nine races in Australia, followed by Embrace (Prized) who didn’t race but has left a couple of winners and Prized Touch (Prized) who Janet also raced out of the Collett Stable.
“Prized Touch won six races,” she recalled, “I had so much fun racing Oscar (Prized Touch) and he’s still alive and enjoying life at the ripe old age of 20. He raced in Dad’s colours as well.”
Touche Amora was a sister to Touch of Force who won five races including the Gr.2 AJC Villiers Stakes, and to Tantalise (by Postponed[USA]) who was a stakes placed winner of four races. Their dam Amora (by Amyntor[FR]) was a winner and a half-sister to the smart group one placed two-year-old winner Milton Magic, both being out of the stakes placed winning mare Milton Leigh.
From another former Fayette Park stallion in Germano(GB), Hepi bred the 2009 Sydney Cup winner Ista Kareem who was out of another Touching Wood(USA) mare Princesses Touch. She doesn’t have any broodmares anymore, but she and Denny Baker are hoping to breed another Super Strike.
“I have been in touch with Gail Hughes who bred Touche Amora,” said Baker.
“She still has mares from that family and why wouldn’t we try and bred another one like Super Strike?” – Michelle Saba, NZTBA