Day At The Track

Wellington teenager has a Sale to remember

04:09 AM 23 Feb 2010 NZDT
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Aimee Edmonds, of Motukara & the $140k  Aimee Edmonds with Itsinthegenes after
Shelley Caldwell photo
Aimee Edmonds with Itsinthegenes after - the colt was sold to Emilio & Maria Rosati, of Sydney.
Shelley Caldwell photo

Day two of the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales in Christchurch, is not one Wellington teen Christian Giannotti is likely to forget anytime soon. On that day Lot 286, a stunning trotting-bred colt, with French connections, named Itsinthegenes, was led into the salering by Aimee Edmonds, of Motukarara, and emerged a few minutes later a saletopping heart-stopper, sold for $140,000 to Emilio and Maria Rosati of Sydney.

Sometime before the sale the colt's vendor Ivan McNicholl, a Wellington businessman with a passion for harness racing, made a promise to Christian, his 13-year-old grandson, that he would give him part of the colt's sale price for his birthday in September.

While Ivan was ringside in Christchurch to see his pride and joy sold, Christian watched the colt's sale live on the Global Harness Racing's telecast on Sky Sports Three, at home in Wellington.

When bidding on the showy chestnut colt finally stopped at $140,000 Steve Davis slammed his auctioneer's hammer down to confirm it, and Christian raced to the phone to congratulate 'Grandad' on the sale of the colt he chose the name for.

"The name bit was Christian's idea as we always seem to say that when our familly discusses aspects of life,'' McNicholl said.

Christian is in his first year of college at St Patricks College in Silverstream.  His mother, Paula Giannotti, said Christian had raced home from school to watch the sale, and had only told a few of his closest mates about his windfall.

"They asked if there were prizes for being good friends," Paula said.

Christian intends putting most of his money in the bank, but is planning a small shopping spree first to buy his sister a tennis racquet and a new pair of soccer boots, as well as a few small things for himself.

McNichol is the managing director of Customs Agents Wellington Limited, but he is a man of 'many hats'' .

"I am a self employed trade facilitator, Honorary Consul for Portugal in Wellington, Regional Secretary of the Importers Institute, President of the Wellington Harness Club (in recess) a grandfather, a father, a husband, NZ representative of the Universal Freight Organisation (UFO), a punter, a breeder of harness (horses), gallopers and greyhounds, '' he said.

McNichol said he decided to sell Itsinthegenes at the Christchurch sale rather than at the Australasian Classic Sale at Karaka, near Auckland, because a 'good mate' Rod Croon was selling his Love You colt there. Croon's colt, Lot 53, called You Rock, sold for $107,500 at Karaka.

After You Rock's sale McNicholl put a $100,000 reserve on Itsinthegenes, "partly based around the price Rod Croon got for his Love You the day before.'"

However McNicholl also believed his colt was worth such big money "because of the dam's record, the sire's record in France, and his looks. He's the deadringer of his Dad, hence his name," he said.

"There was also interest and favourable comment about him from all the top stables which was reassuring."

McNicholl said he chose Aimee Edmonds, to prepare Itsinthegenes for him because "her father Craig, when based in Wellington, trained my first winner in 1986.''

"I have known Aimee and her family personally all that time. She also prepared another trotter I sold two years ago at the Christchurch Sales which set a New Zealand record (Mickey Rochfort) and sold for $160,000,'' McNicholl said.

"Aimee and her family work as team, feed their horses naturally and get results which other breeders have now recognised and utilise," he said.

McNicholl had more excitement later in the day at Christchurch when he, along with mate Pat Baker, of Lower Hutt, sold Lot 363 Bert Powell, an Earl colt from the Sundon Eilish Mac mare Harriet Hughes (5 wins), to Tim Butt for $45,000.

However, unlike Itsinthegenes, Ivan and Pat have retained shares in Bert Powell. Aimee Edmonds also prepared Bert Powell for the sale.

McNicholl chose Love You, a French-based stallion only available to breeders in New Zealand via frozen semen, for Eilish Mac because ``he seemed like an exciting sire standing here for a bargain service fee (NZ$7500) compared to his European service fee of Euro15K(NZ$30,000 plus).''

He went looking for a bargain but got far more when Itsinthegenes turned out to be an exciting young colt with such similarity in looks and temperament to his famous French sire that many top trainers wanted him in their barn.

Itsinthegenes will be broken in by a personal friend of the buyers in Sydney , McNicholl said. "A trainer will be decided after that. Several are under consideration."

Shelley CALDWELL

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