Though she probably ran the worst race of her life in the New Zealand Oaks last night, Venus Serana has still being the trail blazer all season amongst the harness racing three year old fillies.
The Sandfords would have never dreamt of what was to come all those years ago when they purchased the Falcon Seelster filly, Inspiring Dash from the Australian harness racing breeder, David Shammal.
A very handy filly on the racetrack with five wins and six placings from just 21 starts it is as a broodmare that she has truly excelled and given the Sandfords so many great moments.
Going into a breeding arrangement with Ken and Ann Marie Spicer of Rosedale Farm on her retirement to stud, the first foal she produced was the Christian Cullen filly, Rona Lorraine who was sold at the yearling sales for $130,000 to Rona and Clive Mckay. Racing at two and three she won $133,268 with her biggest win being in the $127,000 Caduceus Club Classic.
Next up was the Presidential ball colt Carnival King who was sold to Graeme Rogerson for $72,000. He has not raced to date.
The third foal was a Christian Cullen filly Jen Marie who won once in a brief career for the Spicers and then joined their broodmare band.
The fourth foal was again a Christian Cullen,but this time a colt. He was sold at the Yearling sales to prolific Sydney owners, E & A Stride for $130,000. He showed real potential in a brief career going 1:55.8 before injury stopped him.
The next foal was the Mach Three filly who we now know as Venus Serena.
Passed in at the Yearling sales for $37,500, she was given by the Sandfords to their long time trainer, Geoff Dunn. The rest is now history.
A lot of the credit for her success on the track is due in no small part to her trainer who has managed her career with great skill. Several times she has had gut busting runs but seems to have taken it all in her stride over a long campaign.
A two year old season of eight starts for five wins and two placings for $265,782 has been followed by an even better three year old season of eleven starts for eight wins and one placing for stakes of $324,104 with the Harness Jewels still to come.
Not only has she displayed high speed on numerous occasions but she is as tough as they come as well.
A quick look further back in her pedigree and you immediately note the outstanding broodmare Witchlight who has had such a tremendous influence on the New Zealand breeding scene in the last thirty years.
Outstanding racehorses such as Trident (14wins) Bella Chip 1:52.6 Lento 1:56.4 Awesome Armbro 1;49.4 and Bettors Strike 1:55.7 all have Witchlight close up in their pedigrees.
So what are the chances of Venus Serena enhancing this brilliant family when she does retire to stud?
It wasn't that many years ago that many breeders believed that fillies that had arduous two and three year old seasons did not make good broodmares. But a quick look at the stud records of the top three year old fillies of the last twenty years clearly show that that is no longer the case.