Day At The Track

The Kid is Foreal!

03:53 PM 23 Dec 2015 NZDT
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Field Marshal
Field Marshal winning the Prime Panels Mobile Pace comfortably in the hands of Dexter Dunn
Race Images Photo

Back when I was teenager, I played golf with a fella whose short game was about as good as his horse knowledge when I told him who I had backed in the cup.

The favourite that year was Flashing Red having just won the Ashburton Flying Stakes and almost every other lead up to the cup going in. One mare in particular that ran a cheeky race at Ashburton was the Open Class mare Foreal (2001 – Washington VC – Krystle).

Never the safest from a stand, she missed away in the flying stakes and ran a slasher for fifth. While she missed away in the cup and put pay to her chances at the barrier tapes, I always remember what he said to me regarding the mare.

“The difference between her and Flashing Red is that Flashing Red is a real race-horse.”

Really?

I wish I had infohorse on my old Nokia brick back then as I would have been able to spend the next 10 holes re-educating him on $664,800 in stakes and a career that spanned 5 Group race wins (2 at Group 1) and 12 Group race placings. The horse was quite literally, ‘Foreal’, and is now living up to that same moniker as a mother stamping her mark in the broodmare barn.

Syd Brown, the Mosgiel property developer who bred, owned and even trained Foreal for her first two 2 year old starts (both wins) was delighted to see the second foal he has bred from the mare winning his first start of the new campaign.

“It was a great win after all the trials and tribulations he’s been through really, and it was great to see a good outcome!”

Field Marshal (2011 – Art Major) won the Prime Panels Mobile Pace comfortably in the hands of Dexter Dunn after flying the gate to hold the lead before handing up and securing a trail. He buzzed up the passing lane in a very quick final 400 of 26.9 to win going away.

Syd’s wife Shona who shares in the breeding and ownership of the beautifully bred four year old entire said they were excited for what may lie ahead after the classy display fresh up.

“That was his first start since he had surgery on his pallet” she said. “While racing in Australia it was discovered that he had a very severe wind issue and the vet, Alistair Mclean of Werribee Clinic couldn’t believe he was winning with the issue that he had!”

Having run a super 1:54 mile at Menangle in February in the hands of Anthony Butt, he was then a disappointing 7th a week later in a heat of the NSW Derby. It was then the wind issue was discovered and the couple’s patience looks to have been rewarded since. For that a lot of the credit must go to Tim Butt who Syd say’s has shown his skill in placing the horse well and taking his time in bringing him back.

Syd’s first experience with Standardbreds was typical of most when they catch the bug we call harness racing;

“Umm really it was something that was way back when I was in my youth where I went up to Chirstchurch for the cup meeting helping out my next door neighbour Hector Anderton. And he took me up to Don Nyhans place because Hector had a horse there called Snow Globe (1958 – Johnny Globe – Snow Jane).”

“I was out there and Don gave me a drive on one of his pacers and I was hooked from tha moment on. From that we went to the Interdominion sale at Forbury Park when they were held there and we bought a mare in foal to Johnny Globe called Omylight (1960 Light Brigade – Scotomy) and that was my start in the industry” he said.

Syd was very understating in the success he and his wife have shared since when referring to the family he has bred from dating back to 1966.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have bred some horses that were a little bit above average and it gives you a great thrill but also when you’re in this game, when you’ve got livestock, you’ve also got dead stock as well so you do have the ups and downs and it’s never plain sailing. And that’s what you’ve got to learn when you’re in this game is you’ve got to be able to take the knocks as well as the good times” he said.

Members of the family to have given the Browns some of those good times mentioned include Sydney James (1968g – Johnny Globe – Omylight) which was the subsequent foal from the Dunedin sale. Syd credit’s the horse for getting him started and getting to the verge of cup class but it was a son of Lordship that took his family and friends on “many nice trips away and allowed me to meet many nice people in the game”. That horse was Regal Light (1971 – Lordship – Omylight) which was a high speed horse and won 11 races whilst under the care of Syd himself throughout the mid to late seventies.

Foreal’s dam, Krystle (1985 – El Patron – Diedre) raced with distinction and won five races and placed in 21 more but happened to run into another quality mare in Blossom Lady when racing in the mares classics.

Krystle was a broodmare gem leaving more winners in Clontarf (1992g – Vance Hanover), Regal Star (1993g – Smooth Fella – 16 wins & 23 placings in Queensland) and Checkmate (1997g – Jaguar Spur).

Like Foreal, her deeds as a grand dam have been replicated with the (1997) Holmes Hanover mare in Coming Up Roses who Syd bred in partnership with his wife Shona. While she was only placed four times in 14 starts for Syd as the sole trainer, her progeny have gone on to bigger and better things for the couple.

Regal Dash (2000g – Fake Left) was her first foal and was sold to Australia where it won its first nine of 11 starts including the Group 3 Bendigo Cup. Ask Me Now (2009m – Washington VC) ran a smart second in the Southland Cadeuceus Club Fillies race (Group 3) before going on to win 10 races in Australia and $112,344 in stakes. They have also enjoyed recent success with the smart 5 year old mare Delightful Dash (2010 – Lis Mara) who has won 11 races and had a stellar four year old season running in the money 13 times from 20 starts!

With all the success that has come from the family it is hard for Syd to go past the deeds of the super mare Foreal.

“To be honest she just couldn’t go from a stand, and some days was even a bit suspect from behind the mobile. She ended up costing herself a chance in the Mircale Mile at Harold Park as a four year old where she galloped on the gate and lost about thirty or fourty meters and flew home to be in a photo for the first four.”

“To my knowledge she’s still the only filly to have won the Triple Crown in Auckland (G2 Ladyship Stakes, G2 Sires Stakes Filles Championship, G1 Great Northern Oaks).”

She went on that year to win the NSW Oaks in a season where she won 9 of her 12 starts as a three year old.

Outside of breeding and training Syd also got into the administration side of racing where he spent 10 years on the board at Forbury Park and eventually became the President of the trotting club. “Under Max Bowden’s term I also headed up a handicapping subcommittee to look at a handicapping system for the industry so I guess you can say I’ve had quite an involvement in harness racing right from breeding to training and even administration.”

If Field Marshal’s fresh up win off a long layoff is anything to go by, Syd and Shona Brown will have quite a lot more involvement with the quality stock they continue to breed and race.

Story from Breeders’ Weekly
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Brad Reid
Executive Manager
New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Assn

 

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