Ross and Corrine Kearney took an instant shine to Satono Aladdin and first impressions have resulted in the South Waikato couple adding Australian stakes success to their domestic achievements.
Relative newcomers to the thoroughbred game, their homebred Bankers Choice (Mongolian Khan x Signorina) set the ball rolling at Trentham earlier this year when he won the Gr.3 Thompson Handicap (1600m) while his half-sister Jodelin Gal (Swiss Ace x Signorina) is a black-type placegetter.
They also bred the unbeaten Grand Impact (Satono Aladdin x Serena Slam) under their Okaharau Station banner and retained an ownership interest in the colt by Rich Hill Stud’s Satono Aladdin after he was sold to clients of trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr earlier this year.
He had attracted offshore interest after winning a two-year-old trial at Ellerslie from Stephanie Tierney’s Matamata stable.
Grand Impact won his first two starts before stepping up in grade at Caulfield on Wednesday to claim the Gr.3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) and continue on a path toward the Gr.1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 29.
“It wasn’t a bad day was it, for New Zealand-bred horses in general, and Grand Impact can’t be doing much better than he is and it was a massive thrill. It’s absolutely huge for us,” Ross Kearney said.
“Satono Aladdin is a good stallion and even better now. When we first saw him he was a free moving horse and we liked his breeding, being by Deep Impact.”
They are breeding from a small band of broodmares on their 90-acre Okoroire, south of Matamata, property which they operate as a beef finishing unit.
“We are newbies really and only been racing horses for five or six years. I do what I think is right and we love horses. We generally get about five or six foals a year,” Kearney said.
“Everyone tells me that our mares are not very well bred, but we’ll see. It gives anyone a chance and you never know where the good ones are coming from.”
Grand Impact is a son of the late Swiss Ace mare Serena Slam (x Black Cat), who was out of a half-sister to the Listed Toy Show Handicap (1300m) winner Catreign (Tale of the Cat x New Victoria).
“Unfortunately, she passed away and her son is doing her proud,. We are absolutely rapt the way he is going and he’s an easy-going horse, just fantastic,” Kearney said.
However, they are continuing to breed from the Conatus mare Signorina (x Donna Rossa), dam of Bankers Choice and Jodelin Gal.
“We’ve still got Signorina and she’s not due to foal to Ace High until mid or late November so she might miss this year,” Kearney said.
“We’ve got a Time Test two-year-old and a yearling full brother to Bankers Choice.
“Our system is to take them through to the trials and then sell them or race them, it just depends what’s going on at the time.”
By Mongolian Khan, Bankers Choice won five races from Stephen Marsh’s stable and similarly to Grand Impact, the couple retained an ownership interest in the five-year-old after clients of Michael Moroney’s Flemington stable bought into him.
He has made half a-dozen Australian appearances with his best effort to date a fourth in the Gr.1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.
Carl Henderson trains his half-sister Jodelin Girl, who has won six times and the Swiss Ace mare also ran third in the Listed Tauranga Classic (1400m) and two runs back was a respectable sixth in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m). – NZ Racing Desk