Llanacord winning the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m).  Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

Former top filly to be offered on Gavelhouse

Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
28 June 2024

Former top three-year-old filly Llanacord will be offered to the public through gavelhouse.com’s National Online Breeding Stock Sale, which will go live at 5pm on Friday, June 28.

The daughter of Contributer gave trainer Stephen Nickalls and her fellow owners a massive thrill, particularly over a golden couple of months in her three-year-old term.

Bred by Mapperley Stud’s Simms Davison, Llanacord was purchased at New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2019 Book 2 Yearling Sale by Nickalls’ stepfather Kevin Hopson after she caught his eye at an on-farm yearling inspection earlier that year.

“Stu Hale did his yearling tours and Kevin drove the bus. He couldn’t think of anything better, getting able to drive around and look at horses at the same time,” Nickalls said.

“They went to Mapperley and she was one of the later ones to come out. He was sitting there thinking he had to go and get the bus ready, and she came out and he loved the way she walked. He said he was late coming back with the bus because he couldn’t take his eyes off her.

“When he went to the sales, he managed to buy her for $15,000. Initially she went to Glynn Brick, he broke her in and did all the early education with her. He passed away and she came down to us as a late two-year-old, we gave her a jump out and she took us on a ride you don’t get to experience very often.”

Llanacord won her maiden at Wanganui over 2040m as a three-year-old before repeating the result in the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings at her next start. She backed that up with a third placing in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham before heading across the Tasman where she was runner-up in the Gr.3 South Australian Fillies Classic (2500m).

While she didn’t reach the same heights as an older horse, Llanacord still placed in the Listed Wanganui Cup (2040m), and Nickalls said she has retired a sound and happy mare ready for an early service in the new breeding season.

“She has been a wonderful mare for us, she has given us all sorts of thrills,” Nickalls said. “She has taken us to Australia, she was Group One placed and was a Group Two winner in the Lowland.

“We are only a family run stable and to share that journey with my mother, step-father, wife and kids, it was amazing. When she won the Lowland, we were stuck under COVID rules so we couldn’t celebrate too much on course. The thrill and joy of doing that was amazing.

“The only thing Kevin said to me when he sent her down was that he wanted to get to the Oaks. I remember the morning of the Oaks, and Kevin was as nervous as anything, and I said to him we have actually achieved what you wanted to achieve, so the rest is a bonus. It was a huge run to run third that day in one of the real Classics of New Zealand racing.

“She ran some super races as a older horse. She ran third in the Wanganui Cup and we thought we were ready to go on and then she cut her back hock and that put everything on the backburner, and then you are chasing your tail for the rest of the season.

“The following season she had the odd little niggle, we could never quite get her to the races at 100 percent. I was hoping that her ability would carry her through, but she ran some fantastic races, she ran second over a mile at Ellerslie and came from a long way back.

“She has given us a great journey. She is there ready for an early service, and someone will have a lot of fun with her as a broodmare.”

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