Day At The Track

European flair for Alabar

02:43 PM 11 Jun 2015 NZST
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Peak Peak Peak Peak A head shot of Peak after winning the big race
Peak is an example of the ever increasing impact European trotting is having around the world
Peak in the Group 1 NZ Trotting free-for-all at Addington on New Zealand Cup Day
Peak winning the Group 1 NZ Trotting free-for-all at Addington on New Zealand Cup Day
Peak NZ Trotting free-for-all presentation
A head shot of Peak after winning the big race
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Alabar have added some European flair to their harness racing line up with the arrival of the exciting trotting sire, Peak.

If travel truly does make you more interesting, then breeders should be infatuated with Peak.

He was born in Denmark, his father is French, his mother is Danish and her father is American. He raced around Europe and scored his greatest success in the Group 1 Danish Trav-Derby in Denmark as a 4yo.

As a Group 1 winner of 8 races, Peak headed a daring syndication package put together in 2013 by New Zealand trainer Tim Butt and his reinsman brother Anthony.

Peak was magnificent in his New Zealand debut against the open class trotters in the Group 3 Ashburton Flying Mile.

He hadn't raced for over three months, he'd spent several weeks in quarantine in Europe, had travelled around the world and then spent another two weeks sitting in quarantine in New Zealand - but he was still good enough to work hard for the lead, be taken on and stick to his guns to win by a neck in 1:57.6.

Two weeks later he raced in the Group 1 NZ Trotting free-for-all at Addington on New Zealand Cup Day. He was parked for the first 800m and then had to work hard for the lead. Given no peace in front, he was headed half way down the straight but - as only the best horses can - he found the stamina to fight back and win (in a 1:57.7 mile rate).

"He had every reason to get beaten but he just refused to lie down" was what Anthony Butt enthused on returning to scale.

Next up came the Group 1 Dominion Handicap where his two outstanding performances installed him as one of the favourites. Shuffled back early, Peak mounted a run around the field to be right in contention only to break with 200m to go.

The reason for the uncharacteristic break was soon apparent with Peak sore in a hind leg after the race.

Cruelly, this was to be his last start.

It is thought the lameness was the flaring up of an injury that stemmed from him kicking out at a stable wall not long after he arrived out of quarantine.

The Butts have been fighting a losing battle to get their star trotter back to the racetrack ever since.

Peak actually served 40 mares in New Zealand last season while continuing to be trained and rehabilitated - this is a very solid result considering only two trotting sires served more mares than this in New Zealand for the season.

Now officially retired, Peak will no doubt serve a much greater book of mares - being on full time stud duty and based at Alabar with his semen promoted in not only New Zealand but also across the Tasman.

Anthony Butt described Peak as: "The most clean gaited trotter I have ever driven. The perfect trotter - speed, gait, heart and manners. When I ask him to go he goes - and keeps going."

Tim Butt is equally taken with him: "He's such a beautiful horse with a massive heart and superb attitude. He has an unbelievable gait - far superior to any other trotter I've trained. His will to win was his biggest asset."

Peak is an example of the ever increasing impact European trotting is having around the world.

The likes of the 1:49 trotter Sebastian K and the $5 million winner Commander Crowe have come from Europe to conquer North America. The top free-for-all trotters from North America are venturing to Europe for races like the Elitlopp - as they know this is the Holy Grail. And in Australia and New Zealand, the deeds of Love You as a sire and the likes of Peak on the racetrack have certainly opened the eyes of many to the quality that abounds in Europe.

Of note, the great Commander Crowe - the European champion who franked his greatness by venturing to North America as an 11yo and winning the US Breeders Crown - is by a son of Buvetier D'Aunou, the sire also of Ganymede - the sire of Peak.

Both Peak and Commander Crowe are flashy chestnuts with a thin white blaze.

Ganymede is a super-sire in Europe. In 2014 he was the champion sire of France (for the second time) and runner-up champion sire in Italy. He also has a number of successful siring sons at stud.

In Australia, Ganymede has a handful of foals bred from frozen semen. They include the $195,000 winner, Vincennes which won the Vicbred Final as a 4yo and was placed second to Stent in the final of this year's Great Southern Star.

Peak is from a daughter of the outstanding sire Sugarcane Hanover - a grandson of Arnie Almahurst. Sundon is another notable grandson of Arnie Almahurst. This link certainly lends weight to the feeling that Peak is an attractive option for daughters of Sundon - something that is vital for any trotting sire in this part of the world. (Of note, Stent is a current superstar that carries a double-up of Arnie Almahurst in his pedigree)

Peak will stand at Alabar's Auckland farm at a fee of NZ$2,500 (plus GST). His semen will be available in Australia at a fee of A$2,500 (incl GST).


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