Focal Point nets Group win for Bob & friends

Now that the Auckland suburb of Remuera isn't quite so fashionable, maybe it's okay to admit that I live there. And, yes, I shop there too, meeting a fair number of racing people around the traps.

Happy owner Bob Lovett in his Remuera fish shop
People like Bob Lovett at Remuera Fisheries, who has every reason to smile this week after his very good five-year-old mare Focal Point (Kashani-Key Issue by Sir Tristram; bred by Veda & the Estate of the late Jim Morris) won the Waikato RC Lady Norrie S. 1600m G2 at Te Rapa on Saturday. Mrs Morris, who died earlier this year, and her husband achieved considerable success as breeders and owners at Rodmor Stud, near Cambridge.

"Very scary" is how former racing journalist Bob describes Focal Point's prospects, as her trainers Donna & Dean Logan plan her summer programme. The Zabeel Classic G1, City of Auckland Cup G2, the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes G1 and a trip to Australia are all possibilities.

Bob and a group of friends are part of the Rising Star Syndicate which bought into Focal Point after Donna Logan purchased her for $5,500 at the 2002 NZ Festival Yearling Sale. "We're trotting people, really", Bob tells me, but Focal Point and CJC Winter Cup G3 winner Don't Ya Lovett, trained by Allan Sharrock, are surely bringing him back from the dark side!

Focal Point is a grand-daughter of Lattice, a well-bred, unraced American mare imported by Trelawney Stud in the heady late 1980s. From the family of Group One winner and champion sire Miswaki, and more recently outstanding European Group One-winning two-year-old Tobougg, Lattice made little of her generally excellent opportunities in New Zealand. Of her nine named New Zealand-bred progeny, four were by supersire Sir Tristram, but only two, Golden Flag (Dance Floor) and Pentagon (Sir Tristram) managed to win.

Her daughters are doing better. Palace Dancer (Palace Music) has left five winners from seven named foals, and Key Issue has left three winners from five named foals. All of them are fillies: the talented Our Tristajet (Jetball), Strawberry Affair (Star Way) and Focal Point, winner of five races, all at 1600m, and placed four times from only 12 starts.

Focal Point's sire, Kashani has steadily built a respectable record during the eleven years he's stood at Highview Stud, Hamilton, and he can now claim 12 stakeswinners (3.5%), and twenty stakes-placegetters, from 346 foals (excluding his crop of just-turned two-year-olds, only one of which has raced). The range of their performances indicate Kashani's versatility as the sire of classy three-year-old Kainui Belle, durable handicappers Go Thenaki, Kash Is King and Betta Watch It, smart juvenile Validify and Victorian country Cup winners Altiero and Kounthekash. Kashani is currently 15th on the New Zealand General Sires' list with prizemoney of just over $207,000. There are two yearlings by Kashani catalogued for Karaka 2006, both in the Festival Sale.

And, by the way, Bob's fish is pretty good too.

Grateful ackowledgement as always to Arion Pedigrees for pedigree, performance and statistical data.

- Susan Archer


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