Anna Furlong will take sole charge of Champagne Racing Stables from the new season.  Photo: Race Images South

Furlong to take sole charge of Champagne Racing

Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
9 July 2024

Riccarton horsewoman Anna Furlong will take sole charge of the successful Champagne Racing Stables operation from the beginning of the new term.

She is well prepared for the changing of the guard having trained in partnership for the last 13 years with Shane Kennedy, who has announced he will take a step back at the end of this season.

“Shane has taught me all I know, having started with him fresh out of school and I owe him everything,” Furlong said.

“I couldn’t be more thankful or grateful, and he will still be involved with shares in some of the horses and will maintain a huge interest in the stable, supporting me in the business and attending the sales.

“Shane will always be at the end of the phone and we’ll continue to talk regularly, he’s like part of my family.”

Furlong joined Kennedy in a training partnership for the 2011/12 season and they have since sent out 166 winners with 12 at stakes level.

“All the Listed winners stand out, we have been fortunate to have had wonderful owners who gave us some brilliant horses,” Furlong said.

“We’ve had opportunities to get black type for them and the highlight was probably when we trained a Listed double at Dunedin.

“We won the Gold Cup (2400m) with Pendleton and the Guineas (1500m) with Excelleration and my first win with Rush’n Prince at Riccarton in 2012 was obviously pretty special as well.

“We weren’t lucky enough to gain a Group win, but we had placings including Blue Solitaire who was third in the 1000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m).”

Furlong therefore has extensive experience to draw on when she takes over the training operation.

“It is really exciting and a bit daunting, but realistically nothing will really change,” she said.

“It will be a bit odd and more of an emotional thing than anything else.

“All of our owners have known that Shane will be stepping back and handing over the reins and we have been really grateful for their support during this transition period.”

Kennedy, who has more than 350 training successes to his credit, will now focus on his property development business in Auckland.

“I will maintain a high level of interest in Champagne Racing, along with continuing a supporting role to Anna,” he said.

“It’s been a wonderful two decades and working with Anna for most of this time, watching her develop her skills and establish her career as a trainer and a role that I am very excited for her to continue to excel at in her own right.

“Both Anna and I are truly grateful and humbled by the support we have received from owners and supporters over the years and looking forward to pressing on into the new season at Riccarton Park with a fantastic team of young and well-performed horses.”

Among the promising members of Furlong’s team for the spring will be stakes performers Betty Spaghetti, Quintabelle, Miss Layla and Lil Zena.

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