One of Southland's most prolific harness racing breeders - Noreen Stiven of Tapanui - died in the early hours of Saturday morning (September 1) after a long battle with cancer. She was 70.
Noreen was famous for the ‘Arden'' breed which she started with her late husband Doug more than 40 years ago.
The first horse the Stiven family sold at the national sales was New Zealand Kindergarten Stakes winner Arden Bay, while other notable sales have been West Australia Derby winner Arden Meadow and Great Northern Derby victor All Hart.
When Doug Stiven passed away in 2001, John joined Noreen in the breeding of horses and he took on the responsibility of the purchase of suitable mares and the culling of any non-performing lines.
For his handling and preparation of yearlings for the national sales and support of his mother in general, John was given a half share in Achieve a Dream.
Out of Arden's Dream, she was the winner of three races and is the dam of Arden's Darlin, still owned by Noreen and John and the winner of the group one $150,000 PGG Wrightson New Zealand Sales Series Fillies final at Alexandra Park.
About a week later, Arden's Darlin finished second in the group one $140,000 Magness Benrow Sires Stakes fillies championship on the same track.
The victor was Arden Banner, out of Arden's Dream, bred and sold by Noreen.
The Stivens were involved with Southern Bred, Southern Reared sales group, and the Arden breed makes a meaningful contribution at national sales.
Noreen was the Gore workouts committee secretary for a couple of decades and a steward at the Gore race meetings.
Her baking for the weekly workout raffles has a reputation of its own.
She also had horses with Mark Purdon at Rolleston.
He had the following to say about the sad loss.
"Noreen was one of the finest of the ladies of the turf. Because of Noreen's illness, Southwind Arden is now back in work.
"One of her breed Arden Rooney which she owned, qualified for Grant (Payne) last week," Purdon said.
Doug, Noreen or their son John bred stars like Arden Bay the first horse they sold at the National sales which won the Kindergarten Stakes, Arden Meadow (WA Derby), All Hart (GN Derby) Arden's Darlin (2yo Filly of the Year) Arden Banner (Sires Stakes Filly Final) and broodmare gem, Arden's Dream among many others.
The 2009 Victoria Cup champion and New Zealand Cup runner-up Bettor's Strike, who was out of the 2012 Southland Broodmare-Of-The-Year Winter Rose, was another Arden-bred star.
Twelve-year-old Winter Rose has produced four winners, with the best being Bettor's Strike, who won the Victoria Cup and finished second in the New Zealand Cup.
Bettor's Strike won the also 2009 Winton Cup at his only appearance in Southland. He was trained in Christchurch by Cran Dalgety, who also prepared Winter Rose for all of her nine starts.
Winter Rose raced at 2 and 3 and gained only win, in a heat of the Sires' Stakes 2-Year-Old Fillies' Series in 2003.
Noreen is survived by her son John (and Judy), two daughters Leanne (and Terry) and Nadine, and six grandchildren.
Her funeral will be held at 1pm at the West Otago Community Centre in Tapanui on Wednesday (September 5).
By Duane RANGER (editor)
The Noreen Stiven bred Bettor's Strike winning the Victoria Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton on December 11, 2009: