Kiwi Chronicles

Murphy’s law strikes again

Plenty to celebrate but nothing to take advantage of. That’s the outcome of a big Saturday for the Chitty family’s Haunui Farm. However, knowing the family, they will be delighted for all those who have enjoyed recent results. Haunui Farm has a loyal base of breeders’ support of their stallions over a long period of time.

Be assured, the needle is not stuck in the same groove of this record. It just seems that way as this column is in repeat mode as to the plethora of recent winners by Belardo (Lope De Vega). He just keeps kicking goals but due to a lack of response is not shuttling to New Zealand this season. Murphy’s Law strikes again.

A series of fairly recent race card doubles were followed by a Listed stakes win by Southern Warrior (Belardo) in the Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1600m) at Pukekohe on May 25. The very next Saturday, at Wanganui, both Listed stakes, the AGC Training Stakes (Listed, 1600m) and the Castletown Stakes (Listed, 1200m), fell to his sons Belardo Boy and Belardi, the latter his maiden stakes success whereas Belardo Boy had already established himself as one of the country’s leading winter horses.

And so to Royal Ascot and Belloccio (Bellardo). Returning to the flat after impressively winning his debut over hurdles, Belloccio, a former Listed winner at two in France and at four at Kempton Park showed up at Royal Ascot for the Copper Horse Handicap (1m 6f) and duly added to his win total which currently stands at seven from 19 starts. Not counting his hurdles win, four of his six wins on the flat have been 11 furlongs and beyond. There is no doubt he stays.

What is significant about this win is that Belloccio’s connections are keen to head to Melbourne for this year’s Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) and the way he stayed on over the 14 furlongs at Ascot suggests that he would not be without a chance.

Haunui Farm managing director Mark Chitty concurs: “Belardo has certainly been on a run. Going forward Whiskey ‘N Roses looks to be one of his best and we are thankful that we have a good shareholding in him.” 

Whiskey ‘N Roses was an impressive winner at Ruakaka in early June plus Belardo sired a winning double at Ruakaka this past weekend including Dupont, a juvenile who won on debut. 

Path with a New Zealand twist

We’re not done. From Rosehill, last Saturday, is Belardo’s newest stakes winner, Golden Path (Belardo). Attempting stakes class for the fourth time, in the WJ McKell Cup (Listed, 2000m), he ranged alongside the leaders at the 300
metres, put two lengths on them past the 200 metres then ran away for career win four from 11 starts.

Golden Path was bred by Ardsley Stud and studmaster Jim Wallace initially passed in Golden Path at Book 2 of the 2021 NZB Karaka Yearling Sales for $37,500 but accepted $35,000 outside the ring.

Purchaser Michael Rogers gave him two trials at two for a Ruakaka win then another at three, which he also won (at Avondale) after which he was sold. From the stable of Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr, Golden Path won another trial (at Werribee), then made his race debut a winning one at Pakenham at the end of May last year.

Two starts after that he indicated a bright future with a runaway win at Flemington by three lengths in the Silver Bowl Series Final (1600m). However, the gelding was not himself last spring and has taken a few runs to find form and was brave at Benchmark 88 level at Randwick in late May. Over the 2000 metres Golden Path wore down the leader in a gutsy win, nothing like the much easier McKell Cup victory.

He is the only winner from his dam, twice winner Golden Destination (Dubai Destination) who had a chequered stud career, producing just four live foals before she passed away in 2021.

Golden Destination’s half-brother is Enthusiast (Flying Spur) who won ten races, headed by three Listed events in Brisbane. Beyond that, the family is all American with a New Zealand twist.

Golden Path’s granddam is a half-sister to four stakes winners including Summing (Verbatim), winner of the Belmont Stakes (Gr 1, 12f) and six other races. They were from Sumatra (Groton), a Group 3 winner at Pimlico.

The New Zealand twist is that Sumatra’s dam, Sunda Strait is by a graduate of the 1954 Wright, Stephenson & Co Trentham National Yearling Sale. He was Lot 6 and his name was Aboukir. He was a son of Gold Nib (Dastur) from Egyptian Rose (Iliad) and was sold through the Alton Lodge Stud draft.

Aboukir was highly successful, winning 15 times, six of them stakes races including the Canterbury Guineas and the Maribyrnong Plate before being exported to stand at stud in USA.

Aboukir’s family is still going. Travelling Light (El Roca), winner of the 2020 Levin Classic (Gr 1, 1600m), descends from this family. Her fifth dam is a half-sister to Aboukir.

Fondly remembered

Although foaled in Australia, Saturdays’ Tattersall’s Gold Crown (Listed, 2143m) winner Princess Rhaenys (Iffraaj) was conceived in New Zealand. She is a former shuttler to Haunui Farm, Iffraaj (Zafonic) who was a great servant to the New Zealand bloodstock industry. He is still with us but not shuttling now, simply due to age. Princess Rhaenys
was his 99th stakes winner.

Princess Rhaenys is in the form of her life, coming off a huge win at her previous start when she was wide throughout and yet won with great courage. For her maiden stakes success she lay mostly second, took over at the 300 metre-mark but then had to withstand a great fight back from the pacemaker for win six and earnings of $584,150.

Her bank account is now in the black, ahead of her purchase price of $460,000 at the 2019 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. She warranted her place at the Easter sale with her being a sister to another gutsy type in Jon Snow (Iffraaj), the 2017 Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m). His courage was apparent too when finishing a solid third behind Gingernuts (Iffraaj) in the 2017 New Zealand Derby (Gr 1, 2400m).

At four Jon Snow won a Moonee Valley Group 3 and recorded a third in the Caulfield Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) and at five a third behind Grunt (O’Reilly) in the Makybe Diva Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m).

Princess Rhaenys’s breakthrough at stakes level makes her a valuable mare. She already had a great family behind her as her great-granddam is triple Group 1 winner Solveig (Imposing), the winner of 14 races including the New Zealand Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m). Solveig’s dam is Soliloquy (Sobig), also an outstanding mare and winner of 13 races including the Lion Brown Sprint (Gr 1, 1400m).


Haunui Farm’s day was not over as earlier on the Eagle Farm card two-year-old Depth Of Character (Deep Field) took out the Tattersall’s Stakes (Listed, 1400m), his second win in three starts. The youngster signalled a stakes win was close when
he finished third at his previous start in the Oxlade Stakes (Listed, 1300m) two weeks back and he had to be good on Saturday, switching ground for a run and once clear near the 100 metre-mark, before racing away to score well.

His connection to Haunui Farm is via his dam Caricature (Power), a Listed placed daughter of Haunui Farm-bred, Group 1 placed Octapussy (Octagonal), the producer of three stakes winners. One is Pussy O’Reilly (O’Reilly), the dam of recent South Australian Fillies Classic (Gr 3, 2500m) winner Positivity (Almanzor).

This family goes back to Foxona (Foxbridge), the foundation mare that put the Chitty family and Haunui Farm on the map. A total of 49 stakes winners and 28 stakes-placed performers trace directly to Foxona, a filly they purchased privately from Seton Otway and his Trelawney Stud as weanling in 1951. “Our foundation family just keeps on producing, evidenced by the impressive win by Depth Of Character.” said Chitty.


The new season will see four new stallions in New Zealand for their first seasons. Northern
hemisphere stars Chaldean (Frankel) and Paddington (Siyouni) will shuttle to Cambridge Stud and Windsor Park Stud respectively, while Mozart (Snitzel) will begin his career at Highview Stud, all in the Waikato region.

Further south, in Southern Taranaki, Fastnet Rock’s (Danehill) son Hilal will take up duties at Grangewilliam Stud and studmaster Mark Corcoran is very excited about the prospects of the stud’s latest acquisition who is settling in at his new home.

“You must come and have a look at this fella,” Corcoran said. “He’s all racehorse.” So a visit was arranged and what is clear is that Corcoran has that glint in his eye. “There is something about this guy. He is fast, very fast. When he sees the feed bucket he accelerates into top gear very quickly and tares across his paddock.”

“I am reminded of a sign I once saw on a large paddock holding a bull. The sign on the gate read: Thinking of cutting across this paddock? If so, you had better run it in nine seconds because the bull can run it in ten.”

Corcoran sees his new charge as a refined Fastnet Rock. He has plenty of size and muscle but is neatly put together. “He has yet to really let down but he already knows why he is here. He has an eye for the ladies.”

“There is no doubting he could run,” said Corcoran. “His best winning performance was the Group 2, the Stan Fox, but his second placings were as good. At two he was a top second to champion Anamoe in the Sires’ at Randwick and second to Captivant in the Champagne but at three his second in the Hobartville Stakes, again to Anamoe, may have defined his career. He gave Anamoe all sorts of grief right to the line. I can watch that replay over and over.”

Corcoran continued: “He ran into Anamoe again in the Randwick Guineas for a third but if he’d won any of those Group 1s, he wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t have had a look in against the powerful Australian syndicates.”

Corcoran relays that interest in the stallion is good, especially due to an innovative breeding rights platform. For $15,000 (plus GST) breeders can send two mares each season for the first four years then one mare per season after that. As the service fee is $7,500 (plus GST), breeders are even in year one. The breeding rights are available but limited and only a few remain.

Breeders with one mare are also catered for as they can purchase a half-share and send one mare for four seasons then alternate years after that. As Corcoran points out, the platform gives the stallion good numbers early on yet breeders are in the black after the first year. “It’s a bit of no-brainer really,” Corcoran said.

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