Highden Park graduates shine in Hong Kong
Sunday evening’s Hong Kong International race meeting will be one that Highden Park’s Libby and Sam Bleakley will remember for some time.
The Feilding couple were already on cloud nine after experiencing their first win as owners on Sunday, but their day got a whole lot better when Highden graduates Beauty Generation and Werther added to their back-type tallies.
|Beauty Generation at Karaka Photo: Trish Dunell|
Beauty Generation secured his first Group One victory in the Longines Hong Kong Mile (1600m), while the farm’s poster child Werther put in a strong runner-up performance in the Gr.1 Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000m).
“It was an amazing day,” Libby Bleakley said. “The cherry on top was that Sam and I had our very first win as owners, with a horse we bred (Cornerstone), at Waipukurau. We are absolutely delighted and it’s so surreal.”
Bleakley was also pleased for Road to Rock, the sire of Cornerstone and Beauty Generation, who gave the Wellfield Lodge stallion his first Group One win as a sire.
“We have shares in the stallion, because I just loved him when I saw him at Wellfield so we took a share,” she said. “We have supported him with mares the whole way through, so to get a result like that is awesome and especially for the central districts as well.”
Bred by Greg Tomlinson under his Nearco Stud banner, Beauty Generation was sold out of Highden Park’s 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling sale draft for $60,000 to Kylie Bax’s Hermes Syndications.
He went on to race in Australia for trainer Anthony Cummings as Montaigne, where he won two of his seven races as a three-year-old and was runner-up to Tarzino in the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) before being sold to Hong Kong.
Bleakley said Beauty Generation’s win was made even more special given Nearco Stud has been a huge supporter of Highden Park.
“They sort of set us up and got us going. When we bought the farm it was a huge leap and we didn’t have any owners, we just started it and hoped the owners would come.
“Adrian Clark (bloodstock consultant) rang me and within a couple of days we had ten mares on the farm and that helped pay the mortgage.
“From then there has never been a day that we haven’t had horses for them and we always prepare horses for them for Karaka. They have been hugely supportive.
“I was talking with Adrian last night and it’s so nice to share something like that with him. It is one of their biggest results as breeders.”
Meanwhile, the farm’s star graduate Werther put in a strong performance to finish second in the Hong Kong Cup for trainer John Moore.
Formerly prepared in New Zealand by Andrew Campbell, Werther won four races and collected two Group One placings before his sale to Hong Kong.
The Tavistock gelding has gone on to be crowned Hong Kong Horse of the Year and his tally of Group victories includes the Gr.1 Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m), the Gr.1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m), the Champions & Chaters Cup (2400m) and the Gr.2 Jockey Club Cup (2000m).
His dam Bagalollies resides at Highden Park where her progeny have been foaled and raised.
“She has been something else,” Bleakley said. “She is a beautiful mare, she is so nice to have around, we really enjoy her.
“She is what you dream for as a breeder, she’s lovely to work with, she’s never a problem, she’s a beautiful Mum and raises her foals well.
“While we would have loved for Werther to have gone one better, the race just wasn’t run to his style. It is still a huge pedigree update.”
Bleakley has nothing but praise for Bagalollies and believes astute buyers should take interest in her Tavistock yearling filly at New Zealand Bloodstock’s upcoming national yearling sale.
The full-sister to Werther and Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) winner Gobstopper is one of six yearlings in the farm’s Book 1 draft for the sale.
“This filly is the most like Bagalollies herself we have had out of the mare. This filly is her Mum down to a tee. I’d be encouraging breeders if they are looking for their own Bagalollies, this is the one.”
A past recipient of an International Management Scholarship, administered by the New Zealand Breeders’ Association, Bleakley said she is proud that she has been able to add to the success of the central districts breeding industry.
“The central districts is flying, with William (Fell, Goodwood Stud principal) awarded Breeder of the Year. -NZ Racing Desk