Day At The Track

John and Rebecca Mooney's run continues

01:59 PM 04 Jan 2016 NZDT
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Luisanabelle Midfrew

Harness racing is full of stories of owners persevering with a breed for many years with average luck only for their luck to turn and the winners to pour fourth at a great rate.

Such is the story of John and Rebecca Mooney of West Melton near Christchurch.

They inherited a couple of mares from Rebecca's late father, but initially success was hard to come by.

Their first sign of their luck changing was the emergence of the smart Live Or Die mare Lucinda Midfrew 1:56.9 ($52,599)

From the time she went to stud, the winners started to pour in, with her fifth foal the undoubted star of the tribe in the outstanding racemare Libertybelle Midfrew 1:53.9 ($566,547) who has been a star from the time she stepped on a track as two year old.

A big six figure offer as an early three year old was too good to turn down and shortly after Libertybelle Midfrew was on her way to Perth.

A half sister in Lulli Midfrew 1:56.8 won six in New Zealand and has joined the Mooney's broodmare band as has the race winning Mach Three mare Lucasta Midfrew whose first foal was the very smart Eyre Crusher 1:56.5 ($94,123) who ran second in the West Australian Derby.

A full sister to Libertybelle Midfrew that the Mooney's raced was Lulabelle Midfrew (5 wins) ($46,047) and her first foal was kept inhouse after failing to meet her reserve at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale.

Named Luisanabelle Midfrew, she has looked high class from her first start at two with the highlight last season being a game second behind the champion filly Dream About Me in the $138,000 Sires Stakes Championship.

Her run in the Harness Jewels was a poor run by her standards and a veterinary examination resulted in Luisanabelle Midfrew having a soft palate operation in the off season.

Worst was to follow soon after in July.

" We nearly lost her when she had a Colitis attack."

" It was touch and go for a while, but thankfully she pulled through," John Mooney told Harnesslink yesterday.

The problem now was she was getting well behind in her prep for her main early season aim, the PGG Sales Race in February. 

" We only put her in at Ashburton on Boxing Day to try to play a bit of catch up."

" She was fit enough but instead of a trial, Nigel thought a race would be better for her.

" We were thrilled that she only went under by a head in 1:54.7 and she came through that run great," John said.

Yesterday at Rangiora, Liisanabelle Midfrew added to her impressive record when she toyed with a field of mares in the slushy conditions.

Luisanabelle Midfrew

Driver Matthew Williamson is thrilled to be back on board Luisanabelle Midfrew this season.

" She is a beautiful filly to drive and she won that race yesterday with ease."

" She proved that she was up with the best at two and I think she has come back even better."

"I think she could be in for a big season," Matthew said.

The $150,000 PGG 3 year old fillies pace on February 12th at Addington is the main aim early on and with most of the topliners not eligible, Luisanabelle Midfrew will be hard to beat.

" There are still plenty of handy fillies eligible and Killer Queen looks the one we all have to beat."

" I think the draw will be critical in this race," John said.

February will be a busy time for John and Rebecca as they have a half brother to Luisanabelle Midfrew for sale on the first day of the New Zealand Premier Sale on February 23rd.

" He is a Bettor's Delight colt and without getting carried away, he is the best put together yearling that Rebecca and I have bred."

" He is just an absolute standout and we are excited to be be the vendors of such a great type of yearling," John said.

Just fifteen years ago, this family that the Mooney's inherited was at best a good bread and butter family.

Now it is leaving Classic horses all over the place and the future looks very bright.

What a difference a few years can make. 

Harnesslink Media

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