Breeding authority Peter Wharton presents all the harness racing news on breeding from Australia, New Zealand and North America every week brought to you by Garrard’s Horse & Hound.
Fremantle Cup winner
Mighty Ronaldo (Alta Christiano), winner of the $300,000 Fremantle Cup at Gloucester Park, and one of the leading fancies for the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup on January 27, has a pedigree of more than usual interest in that he traces to the prized matron Black Watch on both sides of his family tree.
Black Watch was the dam of seven individual winners and founded a very successful branch of the noted Regina tribe.
Mighty Ronaldo is one of the third crop of a top colt pacer and Derby winner in Alta Christiano, a Christian Cullen horse who died when at the height of his stud career three years ago. Alta Christiano had built up an amazing siring score of winners-to-starters in both New Zealand and Australia.
Millwood’s Delight, the dam of Mighty Ronaldo, was sired by Bettor’s Delight, who left the minor placegetter in the Fremantle Cup, Diego, winner of the $100,000 J. P. Stratton Cup one week earlier.
MIGHTY RONALDO REPLAY
Mighty Ronaldo is the third foal and the second winner out of Millwood’s Delight, a dual Gloucester Park winner who took a mile record of 1:57. Millwood Delight’s dam, the Cambridge Cup winner Gliding By (1:57.4), was a Vance Hanover mare from Significant, by Out To Win from Black Watch.
Significant ranks as the dam of the Victorian Country Cups king The Unicorn, a winner of 29 races and $488,524, and Pacific Flight, a NZ Oaks winner who later raced successfully in America and finished up with a stake tally of $562,345. The Black Watch family is today as extensively represented in Australia, as it in NZ, where it originated.
Mighty Ronaldo was bred by Perth veterinarian Trevor Lindsay, who knocked him down for $22,000 at the Australian Pacing Gold Perth sale in 2019.
Cranbourne wins Shepparton Cup
Cranbourne (Lincoln Royal), who is under orders to go to America, won the $75,000 Shepparton Gold Cup at his first start on Australian soil, beating the Inter Dominion champion I Cast No Shadow.
It was his third success at Group level. His previous Group wins were the 2021 Methven Cup and the 2022 NZ Easter Free-for-all at Addington.
Cranbourne has not done a great deal of racing, having averaged nine starts a season. In five seasons of racing Cranbourne has won 13 races and has been eight times placed from 45 starts for $248,133.
By the Mach Three horse Lincoln Royal (now at the stud in Tasmania), he is out of Classiealba (TT1:59.8), by Christian Cullen from Lady Alba (TT1:59.4), by Alba Counsel from Kenwood Rowan, by Sly Yankee.
Besides Lady Alba, who won 10 races and was the NZ 2YO Filly of the Year in 1984, Lady Alba ranks as the dam of the Moonee Valley winners Awesome Diamond 1:58.5 ($103,986) and Awesome Alba 1:58.6 ($104,111) and to Lady’s Day (1:59.8), grand-dam of a top flight pacer in Highview Tommy 1:55.2 ($990,015), who is standing the NSW Riverina.
Lady Alba was a half-sister to the exported Precious Fella 1:53.8 ($311,520), In The Purple (1:54.2) and Le Fella (1:56.4) and the unraced Summertime Girl, dam of the thrice WA Pacing Cup winner and millionaire The Falcon Strike.
Won New Year’s Gift
Tasty Delight (Bettor’s Delight), a former outstanding juvenile who spent 15 months on the sidelines owing to a leg injury, made a triumphant return to the winning lists in the New Year’s Gift Final at Menangle.
The five-year-old gelding hoisted a new lifetime mark of 1:50.5 for the mile despite sitting parked most of the way.
TASTY DELIGHT REPLAY
Tasty Delight has an all-American breeding background and one which has been most successful. By the Cam’s Card Shark horse Bettor’s Delight, he is out of the Artsplace mare Gentle Audrey, a daughter of the American millionairess Caressable (1:55.8) and a member of the noted Shy Ann family.
In America, Gentle Audrey left a top flight pacer in Jeremy’s Successor 1:48.6 ($889,435) and in New Zealand, the Queensland Premier’s Cup winner Gentle Western (1:55), Feel The Money (1:57.3), Bettor Love Me (1:57.4) and the Albion Park winners Junior Johnson (1:55.6) and Allaboutdreams (1:56.4).
Tasty Delight was bred by well known Auckland trotting identity Rod Croon.
Feature winner by Lennytheshark
Heathbern Bruce (Lennytheshark), who won the Graham Head Memorial at Shepparton – Rocknroll Gig and Will He Reign filled the placings behind him – is a three-year-old of some potential.
He is a grand stayer and the best progeny left by the Four Starzzz Shark horse Lennytheshark, the former Horse of the Year and Grand Circuit hero who now stands at Wingate Farm, Wagga (NSW).
Heathbern Bruce is a three-year-old gelding from Lorimerjane, by Metropolitan (son of The Panderosa) from Imbula (1:59.1), by Walton Hanover from Zanzibar, by Armbro Aussie from the Gay Reveler mare Mozambique, a descendant of Miss Tommy, who founded one of Australia’s foremost families of cup and classic winners.
Interestingly, Lenntytheshark is also a member of the same branch of the Miss Tommy tribe to which Heathbern Bruce belongs.
Central Victorian Championship double
The second round of heats of the time honoured Central Victorian Championships at Maryborough last Monday produced an historic breeding double, according to well known Bendigo historian Noel Ridge.
The winners of the trotting heat and the pacing heat both trace to foundation mares bred by the Allen family who were then (late 1890 – early 1900) based at Glenloth, north of Charlton, heart of the Central Victorian Championships.
The trotter’s heat was won by Just A Bit Touchy (Father Patrick), a direct descendant of Allen’s mare Lady Venture (Classic Families No. A63). It was a spectacular win as she missed the start by a conservative 100 metres, caught the field and came very wide on the home turn to win going away.
The pacer’s heat was won by Double The Hunter (Camlach), who is a direct descendant of the thoroughbred mare Darkie, a daughter of Allen’s Hambletonian Bell Boy Mare (Classic Families No. A61).
To add to the central Victorian intrigue, Double The Hunter is trained at Carisbrook by Tim Mortlock, grandson of the late Korong Vale trainer-driver Jack Hargreaves (of Adaptor fame), and part-owned by his daughter Helen.
The gelding was bred by Dr Greg Hargreaves, of Wedderburn, who at the time was using the sire Camlach (son of Western Hanover) as a free range stallion running with a herd of mares that included Double Header, dam of Double The Hunter.
One of the most promising trotters racing in Australia is Interview (Traders), trained by Anton Golino at Ballarat. A five-year-old, Interview is in his third season of racing, but from 15 starts he has won nine and been three times placed.
The entire hoisted a fresh lifetime mark of 1:56.7 for 2300 metres from the mobile barrier at Menangle last weekend – only 1.1 seconds outside Tough Monarch’s Australasian record.
Interview has a background of trotting blood second to none. His sire, Traders, is a fast Italian-bred son of the immortal Ready Cash who won multiple Group races in the sulky and under saddle.
His dam, Saorse (1:54.6), is by Andover Hall, a leading sire in America for many years.
Interview ranks as a half-brother to the brilliant but injury plagued Dreamcatcher, now at Haras Des Trotteurs’ stud in NSW.
Saorse, the winner of $369,854, ran third in a World Trotting Derby. The family, which traces to the prized matriarch Minnehaha, produced a champion trotter in Ariana G (1:50.4), the winner of $2.4million, and other top American trotters in Chapter Seven (the current leading USA sire), the Breeders Crown champion Jujubee (1:49.6), Special Way, Workaholic and Holiday Credit.
Devonport Cup to Sunny Sanz
The most important race of the Devonport Club’s season, the $40,000 Devonport Cup, run at Launceston, was won by the Sportswriter gelding Sunny Sanz, who downed the hot favourite He’s Ideal.
Sunny Sanz, who is raced by Nathan and Sandra Bennett, who bred him, showed some real ability earlier in his career, but has had his share of injuries over the years.
He has now won 17 races and $180,760 in stakes.
A seven-year-old gelding, Sunny Sanz is out of Soho Summer, a lightly raced mare by Western Ideal, a Western Hanover horse who won the Breeders Crown and Canadian Derby and belonged to the noted Miss Duvall family.
Soho Summer, the dam also of the Dandy Patch winner Colby Sanz, was out of Lombo Portrait (1:59.9), by Perfect Art from the Oaks winner Lombo Adreamin (1:56.8), by Classic Garry from the Windshield Wiper mare My Image.
Other members of this family have been Soho Burning Love (1:48.2), the equal fastest racemare ever bred in Australia, Persimmon 1:49.8 (NSW Inter City Pace), Tosca Lombo ($110,695) and Lombo Lady Bird (Tas. Belmont).
First two-year-old winner
Bronski Zulu, a well developed Sweet Lou gelding who was bred and is owned by Stuart Hunter, won the first two-year-old race of the season at Albion Park recently.
BRONSKI ZULU REPLAY
The gelding had been successful in three trials earlier. Bronski Zulu is the 12th foal and 11th winner out of a fine racemare in Bronski Gorgeous 1:57.3 ($210,622), whose dam, Promise, was a sister to the dual QBred Triad winner Benefactor 1:56.4 ($263,798).
Bronski Gorgeous, who won twice at Group level, left others in Brigadier Bronski (1:51), Admiral Bronski (1:51.6), Bronski Mackenzie (1:51.6), General Bronski (1:53.7) and the Victoria Derby heat winner Major Bronski, now at the stud in Tasmania.
by Peter Wharton, for Harnesslink