Day At The Track

A bouncing baby daughter for Nearea Franco

04:11 AM 01 Feb 2011 NZDT
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Nike Franco ET
Nike Franco ET - pictured as a foal with her surragent mother
Nevele R Stud photo

The use of a surrogate mare has seen the arrival of a filly foal by McArdle from top harness racing mare Nearea Franco. Born on the 23rd of December the youngster pictured here at just 20 days old, bares many similarities to her dam says Spreydon Lodge Manager Peter O'Rourke.

"She's very log-barreled just like her Mum. Nearea Franco has really only really filled out into her frame now," O'Rourke says.

"We've repeated the process this year with use of another surrogate mare, but this time by Falcon Seelster. It will be his last season with the use of fresh semen and it would be nice to get another filly to breed on further down the line. We'll most likely keep the first two foals and then put the third one through the sales," O'Rourke said.

A possible mating with leading sire Rocknroll Hanover is on the cards. "We'll look at heading to the top end of the market and tentatively it could be Rocknroll." Nearea Franco continued her preparation for this Saturday's Summer Cup at Addington Raceway with a hit-out at the Motukarara Workouts three days ago, the daughter of Badlands Hanover not hurried over the concluding stages by her trainer Steven McRae.

"I didn't knock her around, but she is coming off the back of an injury," he said. The talented seven year old has won eleven races and over $400,000 in stake money, but McRae is uncertain of what to expect on Saturday. "Because of the amount of niggles we've had with her this time in she's spent alot of time swimming to take the pressure off her legs."

"She's had three workouts and has done alot of work in the pool, but it's really hard to get a line on her. We'll be going into this weekend hopeful more than confident, and really our main aim is the mares race the week after," McRae says. Nearea Franco has drawn eight of eight in Saturday's Group Three Summer Cup (5.35pm) which includes top class mare De Lovely as well as the return of the New Zealand Cup winner and $3.2 million earner Monkey King.


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