NZTBA members celebrate Golden Slipper placegetter

NZTBA Waikato members John and Jacqui Todd of Darley Park, Cambridge were at Te Aroha on Saturday but much of their attention was on Rosehill, where they had more than usual interest in the $A3 million Golden Slipper Stakes.

They own Silken Whisper (Diesis-Yaguda by Green Dancer), dam of the two-year-old colt Churchill Downs (by Danehill) who not only ran in the race, but also finished an excellent third, just over four-and-a-half lengths from the dominant winner, Miss Finland. Afterwards, Churchill Downs' jockey Darren Beadman, was highly enthusiastic , if a touch ungrammatical: "He ran super and if he had a better draw he really could have pushed for it. He's a serious horse."

Jacqui explains the thinking that led to their purchase of Silken Whisper, and what's happened since:

"We went to the Gold Coast sales to purchase a mare and like most small breeders, set our sights on 'the best'. Of course, the best went for $300,000 or thereabouts. So back to Plan B.

"I then thought about all the mares that had been brought down to New Zealand and Australia in foal to Danehill. Many had only been bred to get the foal and then put back on the market, so I reasoned that a mare with a Danehill foal running for her might be in with a chance.

"We inspected several mares in that category, then decided we liked Silken Whisper best and would go for her. She's by Diesis which I loved, out of a stakeswinner and was a winner herself in Great Britain. She's also a big, roomy mare, with good bone, a kind disposition, and a nice head, so we were delighted to buy her for $A67,500 from Strawberry Hill Stud." In foal to Danehill Dancer, Silken Whisper foaled a colt which the Todds sold this year at the Magic Millions Sale for $A180,000. Like Churchill Downs, he'll be trained by David Hayes.

Jacqui continues, "We had left Silken Whisper at Coolmore Stud and put her in foal to Johannesburg to whom she left a quality filly last spring. Then we watched enthralled as Churchill Downs came on the scene, won his first race, won a stakes race, ran second in the Magic Millions Classic, and now third in the Slipper."

Last season Silken Whisper visited One Cool Cat at Cambridge Stud. "He has a lot of quality and refinement which I thought would complement her size and strength. We're leaning towards a mating Stravinsky for her this year, and hope for another filly but have made no commitments at this stage."

Jacqui and John, who established Darley Park in 2001 on the lovely property formerly owned by Phil and Mildred Bayly, are best-known as the breeders of 2003 champion New Zealand two-year-old Maroofity.

- Susan Archer


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