Day At The Track

Southern sales perspective

09:11 AM 27 Feb 2017 NZDT
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Arden Roanoke
Photo - Bruce Stewart

Southland breeders once again had mixed results at the harness racing Sale Of the Stars in Christchurch early this week.

From a general sales perceptive there were a good number of top end yearlings sold. But on the other side of the ledger a number of horses were passed in and the fillies in the catalogue sold relatively cheaply.

Leading the southern charge though, were John and Judy Stiven from Arden Lodge in West Otago who took seven colts and one filly to this years sale.

Their top lot Arden Roanoke sold for $155,000 and was bought by Cran Dalgety while Arden Crest (sold for $80,000) and Arden Voyager (sold for $52,500) made up their top three lots.

“We were very pleased. We thought we had three colts that could go to $100,000 and if one of them did we’d be alright. When you average the three of them out they basically did." said John.

Arden's Crest and Arden Rumours went to Australian owners, Arden Surf was picked up by Southland trainer Nathan Williamson, Barry Purdon has Arden Voyager in his barn and Arden's Pearl was bought by Woodlands Stud. The rest of the lots will remain in Canterbury. 

“It was a very good spread geographically and everyone that's got them has the ability to do a job with them.”

Arden Roanoke was the sale's second top lot, only bettered by Franco Stallone ($190,000). 

“He was always the favourite as Rocknroll Arden (his dam) is my favourite mare. To leave a colt like that first up was pretty good. He looked good from when he was born.” 

This is the first time the Stivens have had a sizeable number of well bred colts at the sale and John says the SBSR tour helped sell his draft. 

“We had some very good comments on the tour. I guess that put a bit of buoyancy into our trip up there. We had a number of people coming along and saying that your Mum and Dad would be proud of you. The result we got made us proud for them as well as us.”

The Arden name is also starting to become more prominent on the other side of the Tasman and Arden Rooney's win in the 2015 New Zealand Trotting Cup has been a great promotional tool for the next generation.

“I think we’re going to get a rub off for some time. It’s hard to quantify. We had Geoff Webster (Australian trainer of Southland pacer Franco Ledger) looking at quite a few of our draft before they went to the ring and he ended up buying Arden's Crest. I said to him 'you must know a bit about Arden Lodge with Franco Ledger racing against Arden Rooney' and he said 'sure do.' It’s huge what Arden Rooney has done for Arden Lodge - there’s no doubt about that.”

The Stivens had one lot passed in - Arden In Flight - but he's gone to Canterbury trainer Grant Payne who's taken up a partnership deal with the Stivens.

“Grant did that with Arden Rooney. He's been a good part of what Arden Lodge does for many many years. I’ve known him since I was a lad at school.”

When asked if there were any disappointing results Stiven pointed to his well bred filly Arden's Pearl (Somebeachsomewhere - Ardenart).

“I was surprised she only got to twenty. I thought she was as modern a breed as people could get. It was nice that the people at Woodlands Stud could see that and basically snapped her up. They’ve bought her for the long term.”

Stiven says that what lifted this draft above others he has taken to the sales, were the number of colts they had to offer. They were undoubtedly better sellers than fillies.  

“Having colts makes a horrendously big difference. To have Macca Lodge ringing up saying you’ve got another colt is music to your ears at that stage.”

Stiven says one noticeable trend this year was that buyers were concentrating on buying at the top end of the market and were not so interested in spreading their purchasing dollar to horses in the lower price range.

“I think the way multiple ownerships are set up now, trainers are targeting horses for their needs and the number they want. They’re putting more people into the horses they buy.”

Other Southland bred horses fared well too. These yearling were all in the top twenty selling lots:

Cheer The Major (Art Major- Cheer The Lady) $150,000; Dream Major (Art Major - Christian Dreamer) $120,000; Harmony Delight (Bettor's Delight - Gotta Go Harmony) $120,000; Findlay Road (Art Major - Priscilla Shard) $80,000 and Hopeing For Glory (Mach Three - Breath Of Life) $70,000.

On the buying front Invercargill lawyer Murray Little, his nephew Malcolm Little and his wife Sandra of Cromwell invested in a nice range of fillies.

Leading the purchases was Bettor's Delight filly Pembrook Ruby which is a full-sister to Pembrook's Delight, the winner of nine races and the winner of the Four Year Old Mares Diamond. They paid $41,000 for her.

Major Joy (Art Major - Jumpforjoy) is now also under their ownership. They paid $27,000 for the daughter of the seven win mare.

They also purchased Carrera Caress, a filly by Bettor's Delight out of Gentle Audrey. She's had eight foals to the races all of which have been winners including the ill-fated Gentle Western which won five of his ten starts and holds a Southland track record for three years. 

At the lower end of their spend was Rocknroll Robin a A Rocknroll Dance filly out of Classy Fleet. This filly is from the Black Watch family.

"Malcolm spent a lot of time studying. The A Rocknroll Dance we bought in the ring, because at $8,500 we thought it was a good buy. It was a buyers sale. If we'd bought those fillies last year or the year before they would have cost us another forty percent," said Murray.   

Malcolm Little used to train horses in the mid eighties early nineties at Murray Gray's property at Ryal Bush. He's now retired but looks after the family cherry orchards in Cromwell.

"He got back into them when I bought Popular for about $1,500. I broke her in and said to him I'll give you a fifty per-cent share for $1,500. Now he can't keep his hand down (went he's at the sales)."  

Murray also, under the Havtime Breeding banner, purchased the Mach Three filly Movin Right Along - the first foal of the Bettor's Delight mare Bettor Move It. She won four races and was placed in a good number of age group stake races. He paid $36,000 for her.


Movin Right Along

Local trainer Wayne Adams, who's had marked success with his sales purchases, bought four between $10,000 and $18,000 while the Whatever Syndicate got back into the game buying The Mighty Cullen (Christian Cullen - Themightykendall) for $24,000. He's out of a full sister to I'm Themightyquinn.

They also paid $52,000 for Bettor's Delight colt Stingray Tara a full-brother to Tiger Tara.

 

Bruce Stewart
Southland Harness Racing

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