Kiwi Chronicles

Old friends enjoy shock win 

A family friendship that has endured for more than half a century was celebrated in spades (and a few cocktails, no doubt) when Hezashocka (Shocking) did exactly that and caused a huge upset in the Championship Stakes (Gr 2, 2100m) at Ellerslie on Saturday. 

The gelding was making just his third start, having finished runner-up on debut over 1400 metres and an ordinary fifth of seven over 1500 metres at Ellerslie as his lead-up. Judging from the 75-1 odds he was not expected to win, but as is sometimes the case, he did not have a clue about his odds and stuck to his task very gamely when challenged hard over the last 100 metres, clinging to a nose victory. 

Part-owner Keith Haub is best known as a long-time Northern race caller and who is fondly remembered as one of the great characters of racing. His friendship and close association with Kim Clotworthy, father of Hezashocka’s co-trainer Shaun Clotworthy, dates back many decades. 

It was Kim who introduced Keith to master trainer Colin (Jillo) Jillings. Jillo would later train two top-class horses for the race caller. The first was Tiger Jones (Ruling), winner of the 1980 Clifford Plate (Listed, 2000m). Haub’s innate sense of humour was on display at the line that day: “and it’s Tiger Jones to pay the rent.” 

After Tiger Jones was sold to race in the USA, Haub purchased the great McGinty (One Pound Sterling) out of the paddock. The colt was no goat. In his first season he started six times in New Zealand for five wins. Near the finish of the Great Northern Foal Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m), Haub commented: “that’s Mr McGinty now Haubie,” as the colt had to race under a new name before his next start, scheduled against Sydney’s best including their champion Marscay (Biscay). 

(Mr) McGinty would defeat Marscay in the Todman Slipper Trial Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m), the traditional curtain-raiser to the Golden Slipper (Gr 1, 1200m), but broke down during the race, showing remarkable courage to bag the win. Rubbing salt into the wound, Marscay would go on to take out the Golden Slipper. 

McGinty returned to racing at three and would ultimately score 14 victories, including six at Group 1 level. Two were in Sydney, the Rawson Stakes (2000m) and the Canterbury Guineas (1900m), and one was in Melbourne, the Caulfield Stakes (2000m). He also finished third in the 1983 Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2050m) behind Strawberry Road (Whiskey Road). At stud he sired a more than respectable 26 stakes winners. 

After Hezashocka’s win, Haub commented: “What a thrill. I’ve been lucky enough to stand on the dais a few times over the years, and raced some fantastic horses, but it’s been a long time between drinks. This is probably one of my greatest moments in racing. I’m just so grateful to the Clotworthy family for inviting me to be involved and giving me a share in this horse.” 

Haub’s mate Kim Clotworthy has not exactly stood around in the shadows. He trained and sold jumpers to The Queen Mother and visited Her Highness several times. As an owner, he had one that was as good as Haub’s McGinty, named Uncle Remus (Bandmaster II). 

Uncle Remus was the New Zealand Champion Three-Year-Old of 1977-78 and under the guidance of Colin Jillings secured ten successive wins and 13 of his 15 starts at three. He was a truly exciting galloper and wore the same orange, with a black band, blue armbands and cap that Hezashocka carried in Saturday’s upset victory. 

Hezashocka becomes the 13th stakes winner for Shocking (Street Cry), winner of the 2009 Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) and the next season, the Australian Cup (Gr 1, 2000m). The Rich Hill stallion currently sits tenth on the New Zealand sires list (by earnings). 

Kiwi Chronicles spoke with Rich Hill’s John Thompson about their successful weekend, with Shocking (an Ellerslie double), Proisir (Choisir) and new boy Vadamos (Monsun) chiming in with his first winner.

“Yes, a really good weekend for us,” Thompson said. “You need weekends like that every now and then. A Group 2 for Shocking. Proisir had five winners at Ellerslie, two at Awapuni yesterday and two in Australia and of course Vadamos kicked off with his first winner.” 

Referencing the Group 2 win by Hezashocka, Thompson said: “Funnily enough, if you look at the Karaka results this year, Shaun (Clotworthy) bought a Shocking colt from us out of Book 2, probably for the same owner, and he said then that they had an unraced Shocking at home and were really happy with him. So, they put their money where their mouth is by buying another one.” 

Discussing Hezashocka’s performance, Thompson added: “The filly he beat was a last start winner of the Group 3 Manawatu Classic and is probably one the better staying fillies in the country so you can’t knock the form.” 

Bred by Anne Corcoran of Grangewilliam Stud, Hezashocka was purchased out of Book 3 at the 2019 Karaka Yearling Sale from the Grangewilliam draft for $18,000. He is the only named foal of his dam who produced a Haradasun (Fusaichi Pegasus) colt in 2018, missed the following year and a Derryn (Hinchinbrook) colt last spring. She was served by Derryn again in 2020. 

Hezashocka has something in common with the champion mare Winx (Street Cry) as they are bred on a very similar pattern. Winx is by Street Cry (Machiavellian) and from a mare by Al Akbar (Success Express). Hezashocka is by a son of Street Cry from a granddaughter of Al Akbar.

Thompson takes up the story: “Of course, the Corcorans of Grangewilliam bred Winx’s mother (Vegas Showgirl by Al Akbar) and they stood Al Akbar. Anne obviously followed Winx and mating Shocking with Shezakiwi was quite deliberate. She bred a member of Winx’s family to Shocking last year, I think it was. Prior to breeding Hezashocka, Anne visited us with a spreadsheet explaining why it was such a good mating.” 

There are plenty of winners within the first three generations of Hezashocka’s family but he is the first Group or stakes winner. His dam is a half-sister to three-times Group placed Kiwi Lady (Ruby’s Jester), the winner of four races, and to the Macau Listed performer Oriental Profit (Mastercraftsman), who had eight wins to his name. 

His dam’s sister, Brilliant Kiwi (Brilliance), produced Brilliant Terror (Guillotine). He bagged a victory at Rosehill at two before a stint in Hong Kong (as Brilliant Shine) where he scored a further six wins including four in succession. At six he was returned to his place of birth and from the Peter and Pawn Williams stable won an Ellerslie open handicap and finished third in the Waikato Sprint (Gr 1, 1400m). 

Hezashocka’s grandam, Luscious Lady (Al Akbar), won four and ran second in the Desert Gold Stakes (Gr 3, 1600m) while her sister, Hi Yo Wassup, was a Listed-placed Ellerslie winner. 

This is the family of Wiremu (Arctic Explorer), winner of the Avondale Cup (Gr 2, 2200m), and Sandown Cup (Gr 2, 2400m) winner Rich Brother (So Vain). Also related are full siblings Ruakiwi Lass and Wiri, both by Resurgent (The Phoenix). Both were Te Rapa specialists, the former won 13 and latter 14 races. 

Let the battle continue 

Shocking’s barn mate Vadamos (Monsun) got his Southern Hemisphere career off and running on Saturday when Art De Triomphe provided him with his first winner at Riccarton. 

Headed after co-leading at the top of the straight, Art De Triomphe did what good horses do, she rallied and came back hard to nab a solid win by a long neck. A strong finish for third, beaten a short head and a neck, on debut combined with her fight-back qualities in Saturday’s Riccarton Two-Year-Old event, the filly may have a bright future. 

Rich Hill Stud’s John Thompson said: “It’s always good to get that first win. Going back to her first race, she missed the jump, ended up last but came flying home, so it was a totally different pattern. 

“On Saturday it looked like they were going to go past her but she picked herself up and fought hard for the win in the worst of the going. All going well she is headed for the Listed race at Riccarton next month.

“The sire has made a good start in the Northern Hemisphere. We didn’t have any great expectations but if we can get another couple of two-year-old winners that will be really good,” continued Thompson. 

“My namesake, Sydney trainer John Thompson, has a nice Vadamos colt called With Your Blessing who was third on debut then ran fourth in the Pago Pago Stakes to Shaquero.” 

Art De Triomphe’s sire Vadamos might be by Monsun (Konigsstuhl), the sire of three recent Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) winners, but he was a high-class miler. His second trainer, Andre Fabre, declared that the stallion was too brilliant for distance races, in which he was tried earlier in his career. The evidence is when he ran the final 200 metres in his four-length Chantilly Prix du Moulin (Gr 1, 1600m) win in just 10.47 seconds.

Karaka 2020 had Vadamos and Waikato Stud’s Tivaci (High Chaparral) in a tooth and nail fight for leading New Zealand-based first season sale honours. Tivaci gained the higher price of $500,000 (Tivaci – Ruqqaya colt, offered by Trelawney Stud), however Vadamos topped the averages with 21 sold at an average of $125,714. Tivaci was a smidge behind with 28 sold averaging $124,821. 

Shuttle stallion Vadamos’ initial Northern Hemisphere crop (now three-year-olds) includes 20 winners, a nice start to his stud career. Two have achieved black type with Spycatcher being Group placed. 

Windsor Park’s shuttler Charm Spirit (Invincible Spirit) had similar results with his first NH crop but his New Zealand two-year-olds took until late summer and autumn before making their mark. 

The blood in our New Zealand Stud Book is not the early-maturing type. This current season, the best two-year-olds here were all bred in Australia. 

It is a strong bet that we will not have to wait much longer for Tivaci to join Vadamos. The High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells) stallion has had placegetters, but being that many are bred out of some of Waikato Stud’s best families, the winners will soon begin to flow. 

And why wouldn’t they? Mapperley Stud’s High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells) sire Contributer is making a noise with his first two crops, which includes Group 1 winner Lion’s Roar and Group 2 filly Llanacord. In Australia, Toronado, whose oldest are four, is firing on all cylinders, represented by recent Group 1 sprinter Masked Crusader. 

So You Think (33 stakes winners) and Dundeel (11) have established themselves as among the top echelon of Australian sires, therefore it is just a matter of time for Tivaci. 

It is certain that Waikato Stud knows the following but many readers may not be aware that their former Champion Sire Centaine (Century) shares the same female line as Tivaci. Rainbird (The Buzzard), the 1945 Melbourne Cup winner, is the fourth dam of Centaine and the seventh dam of Tivaci. 

Waikato Stud enjoyed a super Saturday at Randwick when, in their ownership, All Hallows’ Eve (Sacred Falls) bagged the James B Carr Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m). It has been well documented that her sire, Sacred Falls (O’Reilly), had to be euthanized in 2019. Sadly, the dam of All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween by Encosta De Lago) also died the same year. 

What a terrific producer she has been. Her 2014 filly Hasahalo (Savabeel) won the New Zealand One Thousand Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m). In 2015 she foaled Hasabro, a brother to Hasahalo who has three wins under his belt and on Saturday finished a game second in the Easter Handicap (Gr 2, 1600m) at Ellerslie. 

In 2016 and 2017 Halloween produced fillies to Sacred Falls. All Saints’ Eve scored the Tibbie Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m) last September and now All Hallows’ Eve has joined her older sister as a Group 3 winner. 

We have likely not heard the last from Halloween, as in 2018 and 2019, she foaled colts to Savabeel (Zabeel). 

On a positive note, Waikato Stud’s Ocean Park (Thorn Park) is very much alive and his son Kolding picked up another Group 1, his third, on Saturday. In a thrilling finish he got the better of Savatiano (Street Cry) in the last couple of strides, adding the All Aged Stakes (1400m) to his Epsom Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) win as a four-year-old and the George Main Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) last spring. Kolding likes Randwick a lot. 

Kolding’s biggest prize is, of course, Rosehill’s $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1600m) and accounts for his huge bank balance which currently exceeds $6.3 million. Not bad for a “quiet achiever,” prompting trainer Chris Waller to respond to that description: “Very much so,” said Waller. “He’s a ground-breaking horse with a Golden Eagle, an Epsom. 

“He’s a good horse that needs good tracks. I think he doesn’t get a lot of credit when he’s getting beaten on wet tracks, which has been most of this preparation. He’s a much better horse in Sydney on the right leg, so he’s a good horse and showed it today.” 

His dam, Magic Star (Danzero), is also the dam of Sampson (Dubai Destination), a dual Group winner in New Zealand, plus Listed Two-Year-Old stakes winner Miss Upstart (Snippetson). Her half-brother is the prolific Queensland performer Make Mine Magic (Canadian Silver), whose 14 victories included seven at stakes level.

The Kiwis ended the weekend with a win in the St Leger (Listed, 2800m) at Flemington on Sunday. Through Irish Eyes (Tavistock) had the right form to secure his maiden stakes win having finished a sound second at his previous start in the Galilee Series Final (Listed, 2400m). 

First home that day was Liqueuro (Fiorente), who beat Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Explosive Jack (Jakkalberry) at his previous start in the St Leger Trial at Bendigo (2200m). Through Irish Eyes took the lead inside the 400 metres, wobbled a bit at the 100 metres but steadied again to get to the line by a length. 

The local scene wrap up

Five of the six stakes races run in New Zealand this past weekend went the way of the locals, the Easter Handicap (Gr 2, 1600m) falling to the Australian-bred Demonetization (All Too Hard). 

Especially impressive was the explosive finish, now a hallmark of her race pattern, by Atishu (Savabeel) in the Warstep Stakes (Listed, 2000m). She did the same in her previous start in the Airfreight (officially Inglewood) Stakes (Listed, 1600m) two weeks prior and has now strung together four successive victories from her nine career starts. 

Out of Posy (No Excuse Needed), herself a sister to Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 400m) winner Daffodil, Atishu is exciting to watch. 

Riccarton’s Canterbury Gold Cup (Gr 3, 2000m) proved an easier win for Beauden (Bullbars) than it looked. The margin was a long neck but when he and Hypnos (Reliable Man) broke clear half way down the straight, Beauden always looked to have the upper hand. There was definitely more in the tank if needed. 

The six-year-old has banked more than $400,000 in prize-money and on Saturday made it back-to-back Group victories having strolled away with the Awapuni Gold Cup (Gr 2, 2000m) at his previous start. 

He is, by far, the best of Bullbars’ performers but the stallion has since been repatriated to Australia and stands in South Australia. 

The Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1600m) at Ellerslie went the way of Lady Maroal (Power), whose sire is another stallion no longer in the country. Power (Oasis Dream) is now in Queensland after serving five seasons at Cambridge Stud.

Lady Maroal represents his last New Zealand crop and is his 19th stakes winner. 

Sunday saw the running of the Anzac Mile (Listed, 1550m) at Awapuni and was won, comfortably, by the consistent Mai Tai (Atlante), adding her fifth success and maiden stakes win at start ten. 

Her sire, Atlante (Fastnet Rock) also has the very good galloper Callsign Mav, a Group 1 winner last spring, as his premier representative, however, Atlante was lost to the industry after just two seasons at Mapperley Stud. 

It is hard enough to breed stakes winners but even harder when stakes producing sires are no longer available, for one reason or another. In this week’s Chronicle, detailing seven individual group or stakes winners, only three of their sires remain available to New Zealand breeders.

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