Day At The Track

Melton honours champion mare

04:27 PM 12 May 2015 NZST
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angelique.jpg
Angelique

Another of harness racing’s greats will be honoured at Tabcorp Park Melton on Friday night with the running of the Angelique Club Cup.

The Club is named after the former outstanding pacer, with the feature part of the unofficial Mares’ Triple Crown.

A star in her own right, Angelique’s name goes side-by-side with the late champion horseman, Gordan Rothacker, who passed away in November 2010.

Although linked with many top class performers, Rothacker is best remembered for his association with Angelique.

Bred and owned by Rothacker’s wife Jean, Angelique held the mantle as the premier pacing mare in Victoria during the 1960s.

Retired at the age of nine, Angelique registered 45 wins and 50 placings from 138 starts for just on $70,000.

Included in her wins are the Victoria Oaks, the Lady Brooks Cup (twice), SA Trotting Club Cup, two heats of the 1964 Inter Dominion (runner-up to Minuteman in the Final) and 21 Free-For-Alls.

A bay mare, Angelique was foaled at Rothacker’s Doreen property on October 2, 1958.

She was by Avian Again - a half-brother to 1952 Inter Dominion champion, Avian Derby - from the New Zealand-bred mare Worthy Stavely, which descended from the famous Thelma family.

Thelma, Angelique’s sixth dam, is regarded as one of the greatest foundation broodmares within the realms of harness racing being the ancestress of more than 300 winning descendants.

Angelique remained Rothacker’s favourite, with the late great quoted in a 1980’s interview as saying: “She was a true champion. She used to try her heart out, and she could go just as well free-legged.”

Upon her retirement, Angelique became a successful broodmare.

Her first foal was Gallagher, which was by the ill-fated Grand Monarch. By Light Brigade, Grand Monarch enjoyed great success on the racetrack when driven by Rothacker in the majority of his wins.

Grand Monarch was tragically burned to death in the Victorian bushfires at Lara in 1969 – the same year Gallagher was born.

Gallagher went a long way towards emulating his mother, winning 37 races, including 20 at the Showgrounds - two more than his dam.

He also became the 16th member of the once exclusive ‘Hundred Grand Club’, retiring with earnings of $127,236.

His feature wins include the Ballarat, Bendigo and Cranbourne Pacing Cups, Bendigo and Kilmore Derbys, Victoria Youthful Stakes, the Milk Board Cup as well as a heat of the Victoria Pacers’ Derby.

Gallagher became a handy sire, with his first crop including 1980 Victoria Oaks winner, Racy Rita.

Angelique’s second foal, in 1971, was Archibald, by Arrival, which recorded 16 wins.

A ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ type, Archibald showed glimpses of brilliance, but was just as well-known for his bad temperament.

Angelique’s offspring include Pepperstorm and Almonda, both by Arrival and unraced; Katherine, by Kentucky, which raced five times for a second at Cranbourne; and Spanish Angel, by Black Gamecock.

Pepperstorm is the dam of prolific winner Rhetoric (1:58.7, $156,000), while Almonda left Captain Smith (2:04.6).

Heirloom Angel – an unraced two-year-old by Gotta Go Cullen – is a fourth generation filly from Angelique and shapes the last ongoing link to the grand mare.

  • PAUL COURTS

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