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Dorabella delivers delight for Peter & Nancy Izett

"Life couldn't get any better." That's how Peter Izett describes his feelings after Dorabella (Postponed-Caserio by Kaapstad), the filly he bred and races with his wife Nancy, won yesterday's CJC New Zealand 1000 Guineas 1600m G1 from Princess Coup (AUS) (Encosta De Lago) and Velvet And Satin (Carnegie). The victory also gives Dorabella the lead in the New Zealand Bloodstock-sponsored NZ Filly of the Year series with 12 points.

Peter & Nancy Izett's NZ 1000 Guineas G1 winner DORABELLA.
PHOTO: Race Images South Island/NZ Thoroughbred Marketing
The strapping bay filly, who had previously won two races, including the CJC Canterbury Belle S. 1200m LR in September, is trained for the Izetts by their friends of 25 years, Howie and Lorraine Matthews and was ridden by Canterbury jockey Jamie Bullard. Peter Izett says, "I asked Jamie before the race if he was nervous and he said he wasn't, but I was!"

"Dorabella hadn't faced the best fillies like Naturo and Imananabaa, but her last start third was better than it looked, because she wasn't at peak fitness and it's very difficult for a three-year-old to win a handicap."

Peter adds, "It's unbelievable. People down here have been so wonderful. We took Howie and Lorraine, and track rider John O'Benner out for a quiet celebration last night. It was a very tiring day – once we'd won it was all on!"

NZTBA members Peter and Nancy retired to Otaki two years ago after operating the New World supermarket at Turangi for almost 30 years. They have bred and raced horses since Peter's first, unsuccessful, ownership experience with his father John, in 1964. Their best performer before Dorabella was the Jeanette Broome-bred multiple G3 winner and G1 placegetter Doyle, winner of 12 races and $397,900.
The Izetts have owned up to six broodmares, but had to cut back for economic reasons and now work with just three mares. Dorabella's dam Caserio, bred by Velvet And Satin's owner-breeders Peter & Philip Vela, was a $26,000 purchase at the 1998 New Zealand Broodmare Sale. A daughter of the Group-placed winning mare Dalmator (by Western Symphony, and herself from the Velas' VRC Wakeful S. G2 winner and VRC Oaks G1 placegetter Our Lafite), Caserio won four races from the O'Sullivan stable. The mare Peter describes as "nearly black, not over big but quite solid and feminine" is proving an outstanding stud success, with Dorabella and G1-placed stakeswinner Crusoe (by Volksraad and purchased for $65,000 by Bob Emery as a yearling) from three foals to race. Caserio's third dam Watch Valdi (IRE) was imported to New Zealand in 1976 by Auckland breeder Dick Moore.

The Izetts will offer Caserio's Black Minnaloushe colt at the 2007 New Zealand Premier yearling sale, but plan to keep the Volksraad filly she foaled at Windsor Park Stud last Wednesday. Like their other two mares, G3 winner Delightful (Omnicorp-Ichiban Lass) and Celestial Heights (St Covet from Deodata; grand-daughter of 1981 NZ 1000 Guineas winner Noble Heights), Caserio boards at Windsor Park and mostly visits their stallions, including High Chapparal who will be her mate this year. The Izetts made an exception for Postponed after reading about his importation by David and Masey Benjamin. Peter explains, "We loved the pedigree, especially Storm Cat and Royal Academy, and we loved the stallion, he really appealed to us. As it happened, we then bought Delightful in foal to Postponed and she had a chestnut filly, although a very different type from Dorabella."

Postponed now stands at Stoney Bridge, Karaka and unsurprisingly, with three sparkling stakeswinners from his first crop of 69 foals, is fully booked this season. His G2-winning daughter and Guineas favourite Naturo was almost certainly unlucky not make up the quinella with Dorabella, running on bravely for fifth after suffering what may be a career-ending injury in the home straight. A third daughter, Post Thyme, won the ARC Champagne S. LR last season.

Dorabella is one of 25 stakeswinners from mares by Kaapstad who died at Windsor Park Stud earlier this year. His daughters have now left eight Group One winners, two of them this season: Dorabella and Jurys Out (by Faltaat), winner of the WRC Captain Cook S. G1.

Nancy and Peter have one other horse in training, St Dude (Black Minnaloushe-Celestial Heights), who has shown ability in two trial wins. Like Dorabella, he has been pre-trained by Phil Stevens at Matamata, because there are no barriers to educate young horses at Otaki. The Izetts are also grateful to Windsor Park's Mapperley Stud division, where Dorabella spent 18 months, but Peter adds, "I need a few accolades myself, because I look after her when she's spelling!" However, that task isn't especially difficult because the filly has a magnificent temperament. "You could walk her through the middle of Baghdad and she wouldn't blink an eyelid."

She has come through the Guineas well, despite a few superficial cuts, and will now be set for the Levin Classic 1600m G1 on 30 November. Her sixty-something owners intend to keep right on enjoying her, their active retirement and what Peter describes as "the extra sense of achievement you have as an owner-breeder."

- Susan Archer


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