2015 News


Timely win by Madame Jamai

Madame Jamai scored a timely win when she ran away with the second race at Riccarton today, the Paint Lab Hornby Premier.

The daughter of former Te Akau Racing stakes winner Minstrel Court showed a clean set of heels to her rivals in the 1100-metre contest to score by two-and a half lengths. At her previous start she had won a Rating 65 1200-metre race at Washdyke and managed the step up to Rating 75 with ease.

The Stephen Autridge-Jamie Richards-trained chestnut stalked the pacemaker Thwayya before kicking clear with 300 metres to run and hitting the line two and a half lengths clear of Dezzies Dream.

Madame Jamai is owned by Auckland couple Barry and Deirdre Neville-White, whose colours will also be carried later today by well fancied Sothys New Zealand 2000 Guineas runner Ali Baba.

Te Akau boss David Ellis paid a special tribute to senior staff member Pam Gerard, who has supervised members of the Matamata stable during their very successful southern spring.

“Pam’s father Mick passed away yesterday, but she’s here working today and she’ll take a lot of comfort from this win,” Ellis said. “This mare is one of her favourites and it’s also appropriate that she’s being strapped today by Pam’s son Jack.”

Sabin Kirkland was thrilled with the late closing second by Dezzies Dream, who he races with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and Grant McKenzie.

 “That was just what we wanted to see leading into the 1000 Guineas,” said Kirkland. “Steve’s not here today – I think he’s all peopled out – but he’ll be here next Saturday.”


By Dennis Ryan


Double Riccarton Delight

The winning continues – on Friday night it was Te Akau Singapore trainer Mark Walker who continued his stranglehold on the Trainers’ Premiership with yet another win.  This time the David Ellis purchased, Fortuna Syndicators raced King Savinsky – well done to the team!


We are so proud of our whole Te Akau Racing team in new Zealand too as Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards continue to lead the New Zealand trainers’ premiership.


The winning continued on Saturday – with two further successes recorded at Riccarton – by a lovely filly and a simply outstanding colt …. ladies first …


Underestimated mare Madame Jamai (4 m Minstrel Court – Palais Jamai, by Grand Lodge) started the day perfectly for premiership leading trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards with a massive win in the $30,000 The Paint Lab Hornby Premier Rating 75 1100 metres on Saturday at Riccarton.


Winner of the $30,000 Maiden 1200 metres on the middle day of cup week last year at Riccarton, a plan was hatched almost immediately for her to return twelve months later and the path was paved after a determined win in the Rating 65 1200 metres on 9 October at Timaru.


Away well to relax outside the leader, Madame Jamai took over under a hold at the 400m and quickened clear to win easily by two and a half lengths.


Now unbeaten in two starts on the course, Madame Jamai showed she could run time when clocking 1:09.4, last 600m 33.8, as a three-year-old; she broke 1:10 (1:09.5) again at Timaru, and the 1100-metre time of 1:02.1, last 600m in 32.5, was outstanding.


Outstanding also is the relationship she has forged with jockey Matt Cameron, who has been aboard in each of the three victories.


“She jumped and put herself on pace and although she doesn’t look much, she’s by Minstrel Court, has the DE brand of David Ellis stamped on her and away they go,” said Cameron.


“It’s great for these horses to really get going on a premier day and she’s backed up with a tough win.


Racing in the same colours as carried to victory by Kerry Lane in the (1986) Auckland Cup, for owners Barry and Deirdre Neville-White, Madame Jamai shares a liking with her dam for good footing and while Palais Jamai won two sprint races her daughter has surpassed her with three.


“With blinkers on, up in grade, it was a big-ask but she duly delivered,” said co-trainer Jamie Richards.


“[Assistant trainer] Pam (Gerard) has done a great job with her down here to graduate from a midweek meeting at Timaru to a 75 on a big day is a good effort.


“I’m really pleased for the owners, Barry and Deirdre Neville-White, who have been good supporters of the stable,” said Richards.


“It was wonderful that Deirdre was on course today with her daughter in law Rowan and Barry was straight on the phone from Auckland.  They are dear friends of Karyn’s and mine and we are just delighted for them,” said David Ellis.


Madame Jamai continues raising the bar with her performances and the times and manner of her victories would suggest there are more wins in store.


Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz


Pure Champion off to good start at stud

17th Oct 2015

South Islands newest addition to the stallion ranks Pure Champion (named Steinbeck when racing in Europe) has moved on to his new role with the same professional attitude he showed when traveling the world racing in Group One company.

The son of Footstepsinthesand had only recently retired to Willow Glen Stud at Waimate after a sucessful stint at Wexford Stables of Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott where he won the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate defeating a high class field of New Zealand's best Group One winners.

Mike Cooney of Willow Glen reports that Pure Champion is furnishing into a stunning looking horse who is a professional with the mares with the first mare he served returning a positive test.


Pure Champion Shifts South

This is a serious horse. Local breeders will remember his dominant front-running display in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate but some may not be aware that this attractive son of Footstepsinthesand was also successful in Group company in both Ireland and Hong Kong.


Thoroughbreds need to be physically and mentally tough to stand up to 36 starts in Hong Kong and for a stallion to do this is a remarkable achievement. Towards the end of his time in Asia his form did fall away but there are not too many stallions who retained their zest for racing to the extent that when he arrived in New Zealand at seven years of age he was more than making up the numbers at the highest level of competition.


Kiwi breeders may remember him as a front-runner but an examination of his best performances in Hong Kong show that he was a long way from being a one-dimensional racehorse. He certainly showed the ability to accelerate off a strong pace – a quality that many of us look for in assessing a stallion’s prospects. Any stallion with 50 starts on his resume must also have an excellent racing temperament and, as far as soundness is concerned, breeders would have few concerns with an animal which has competed in five different jurisdictions with widely varying racing surfaces.


Finally, those of you who have read my article about He’s Remarkable posted on 3 September will be well aware of my argument that we can easily be guilty of over-using a stallion’s own sire as a predictor of his likely success. If you are considering Pure Champion for your mare, the fact that Footstepsinthesand is not yet a noted sire of sires should not be seen as a negative factor. I’d be more interested in those statistics which tell us that the ability of Pure Champion is no fluke: his sire has produced 42 SWs and 565 winners from 1062 live foals – more than respectable figures.


Pure Champion is currently standing at Willow Glen Stud, Waimate, at the very reasonable fee of $4000 +GST. I am also impressed by Willow Glen’s agistment costs.


Philip Jeffreys

Cloughmore Pedigrees


Great Start for Saperavious


Saperavious New season campaign made a great start yesterday at Winton when just missing a win in the1200m open. Desperately looking for a run up the fence~ jockey David Walsh finally went wide and the mare pushed through but was held out by Our Bee Jay.  Trainer Sean Bellew is looking to give her another start before her goal The Couplands Mile at Riccarton in November.

Cairnsville by Minstrel Court later in the day led all the way to win the r65 1600m-  his fourth win for trainer/ breeder Kevin Cairns.  The big chestnut looks to have filled out and grown ~Racha Cuneen was the pilot this time and rated him to perfection.

Great stuff Kevin and Cairnsville!




Two Winners For MINSTREL COURT over the weekend!


Our Marvellous Madame


While a half head margin snared Madame Jamai (4 m Minstrel Court – Palais Jamai, by Grand Lodge) her second win, it provided owners and breeders Barry & Deirdre Neville-White their 193rd and not their first at Timaru.


Speaking from their home in Auckland, Barry Neville-White said: “I raced Kanga’s Lad and he beat Grey Way in the Washdyke Stakes. Tony Burridge trained him for me at Hastings.


“He (Tony) always stayed at my place in Auckland; I had a small farm. He came up one day to drop a horse off and he said to ‘old’ Fred who managed the farm for me, tell Barry I’ve taken it home. He (Kanga’s Lad) won 14 races.


“It’s the same colours carried to victory by Kerry Lane in the (1986) Auckland Cup,” said Neville-White.


Looking to utilize barrier three in the Equine Veterinary Services Rating 65 1200 metres, Madame Jamai was fourth before ranging with more to offer on home bend and held a late closer with a determined effort under jockey Matt Cameron.


She ran the trip in 1:09.5, last 600m in 35.5.


“She’s a well bred filly and she’ll win a couple more,” said Neville-White. “She could be one to go down and watch during cup week in Christchurch.”



Under the tutelage of assistant trainer Pam Gerard, managing the Te Akau team based at Riccarton, Madame Jamai won a $30,000 Maiden 1200 metres in November last year at Riccarton (clocking 1:09.4, last 600m in 33.8).


“She’s a tough wee thing,” said Gerard. “She’s pulled up like she needed a run. She’s had a blow and her coat is not completely out yet, but she still looks pretty good.


“The way she had been working I thought she would be hard to beat, anyway, and Matt (Cameron) said she just got a bit tired the last bit. So, there’s improvement still there.”


Madame Jamai had resumed 27 days earlier with a solid fresh up effort for fourth in the Rating 65 1200 metres on Slow8 at Ashburton, and she appreciated the good ground at Washdyke.

Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz



Full sister by Saperavi out of Southern Kash to Southlands 2015 Miler of the Year.

SAPERAVIOUS who won 5 races last season~ taking her tally to 7wins.


GARGAMEL by Sunray out of Hadaad mare Bernie (thus a true Willow Glen product) won the Southland Jumper of the year.


GARGAMEL also won the 2015 South Island Jumper of the year...

Congratulations to Leda Beck and Jason Spencer his owner breeders.


Break through!!


Spider Lily by Saperavi out of the Danasinga mare Shereigns enjoyed a great ride by the magic man Chris Johnson to win 1330m race at Gore yesterday with daylight to the second placegetter..!


Bred and owned by Australian ex kiwi Peter Duggan the mare is raced by Pat Collins and Lacy Stewart and trained by Len Stewart at Washdyke. Spider Lily has been unlucky in the past when blocked for runs at crucial stage ~several times" a certainty beat"!   Shereigns was a handy racemare for Peter Duggan and placed in Waikato Gold Cup~ she leaves a lovely type.


Congratulations to her connections ~ may by be the first of many!

Molly Browne has just missed placing in Singapore her last couple~ she will win again soon.

Morgan Bet is spelling after a bit of heat in a leg~ he''ll keep!  Te Akau has sent Madame Jamai south to start a new campaign she races at Ashburton tomorrow~ she has done well in the south in a previous trip..by Minstrel Court.


Stud career beckons for

Pure Champion

The Informant - Dennis Ryan


9 September 2015

A stud career beckons for international stakes winner Pure Champion following his retirement this week due to a ligament injury.

The Irish-bred eight-year-old reached the peak of his powers this season with a Group One victory in the Windsor Park Plate at Hastings in September. His defeat of Group One winners I Do and Soriano in the weight-for-age 1600-metre feature capped a career that began in Ireland at two, included a trans-Atlantic campaign at three and continued in Hong Kong before he was patriated to New Zealand last year.

All up the handsome brown won eight races for close to $2 million in stakes. As well as the Windsor Park Plate win for trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott, his six New Zealand starts also produced a win in the Gr. 3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes and a third in the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes.

Under his original name Steinbeck, he won on debut over six furlongs at two in Ireland and in his only other start that year finished fourth in the Gr. 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. First-up as a three-year-old he finished fourth in the Irish 2000 Guineas and after winning the Gr. 3 Solonaway Stakes over a mile at the Curragh, he was sold to clients of leading Hong Kong trainer Tony Cruz.

Pure Champion’s Hong Kong career comprised 34 starts over three and a half years and was headed by wins in the Listed January Cup and Centenary Vase and seconds in the Gr. 2 Jockey Club Cup and Listed Jockey Club Mile.

“When he arrived in New Zealand early last winter he went virtually straight into work and three months later he was at the races,” said Lance O’Sullivan. “That he was able to be placed in a Group One 1400 metres in his first start for us and then win a Group One 1600 next time out tells you what a talented galloper he was.

“We would have loved getting him a couple of years earlier - imagine what he could have done. He adapted well to our different conditions and it’s just a shame that time and racing has now caught up on him.

“He was heading to the Darley Plate at Ellerslie tomorrow but he pulled up from his Tuesday gallop with a bit of a tweak in a ligament, so given his age and the time of year, that’s enough for us to make the decision to retire him.

“He’s a great type, beautifully balanced, and will be magnificent when he lets down. With his record and conformation he should be able to find a worthwhile home to stand at stud.”

Pure Champion is by the Northern Dancer line stallion Footstepsinthesand, who won the English 2000 Guineas, from a Danehill mare. Reflecting his own international career, close relations include Hong Kong Horse of the Year Indigenous, champion English female miler Nannina, star Japanese galloper Fenomeno, leading European stayer and successful New Zealand stallion Sea Anchor and Sydney Cup winner Jessicabeel.



Pure Champion service fees to go towards cancer research

The Informant - Dennis Ryan


9 September 2015

Cancer research is set to benefit from the stud career of Group One winner Pure Champion, whose retirement to Whangarei nursery Totara Park Stud was announced last month.

The Irish-bred stallion arrived in New Zealand just over a year ago as a stakes winner in his homeland as well as in Hong Kong and was handed to Matamata trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott in an endeavour to resurrect his career.

In one of the feel-good stories of last spring, the seven-year-old not only recaptured winning form, but did so in Group One company when he won the Windsor Park Plate on the middle day of the Hawke’s Bay carnival.

That victory came in just his second New Zealand start and followed a debut third in the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes. In December he added another win in the Gr. 3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes, but had just one more start before his career was halted by suspensory ligament problems.

Pure Champion raced in New Zealand for an O’Sullivan family partnership comprising Lance, his wife Bridgette and parents Dave and Marie. Sadly Marie, the family matriarch, succumbed to cancer earlier this year, a second tragedy for one of racing’s best known families after the death only months earlier – also from cancer – of Lance’s sister Lisa Chittick.

Out of tough times, however, has come an inspirational decision for a significant portion of stud fees earned by Pure Champion to go towards cancer research.

The agreement for Pure Champion to stand at Totara Park Stud includes ownership retention by the O’Sullivan family and 50 per cent of income derived from services sold outside the contract with Totara Park will be donated to cancer research.

“In the first place we wanted to find a good home for the horse, one that would not only guarantee his care but also give him the chance to prove himself as a stallion,” said Lance O’Sullivan. “The deal we’ve struck with Dirk and Nicci Oberholster at Totara Park worked out very well in that respect and the bonus is that they’re right behind the idea we put to them.

“We realise that the breeding game has become very competitive, but at the same time the horse owes us nothing and my family are only too happy to channel any income we get from him to a worthy cause.

“Cancer remains one of the great unsolved challenges facing the world. Knowing only too well the impact it has on individuals and their families, if our contribution can help it will be worthwhile.”

With his day-job as a general practitioner and a long-time member of the Whangarei community, Dr Dirk Oberholster is well aware of the need to in some way come to grips with cancer in its many forms and fully backs the O’Sullivan initiative.

“I think it’s a wonderful gesture and one that Nicci and I are only too happy to support,” he says. “We lost a very dear friend, Dean Logan, to cancer earlier this year and there are times when you feel surrounded by it, so we’re just happy to play our part.”

Oberholster reports that Pure Champion, who will stand at a fee of $5,000 this spring, has taken no time to settle into his new home in the temperate northern climate.

“He’s letting down beautifully and I just love watching him swaggering around his paddock; he’s a character and really is impressive. We’ve already had bookings to him, some local and one even from a breeder who lives in Australia, so all the signs are good.”



The Informant - John Richardson

9 September 2015

Thoroughbred breeding is full of champion stallions whose race careers could be described as a shade inconsistent and we have to look no further than the great Nasrullah and closer to home the likes of Oncidium and Hermes to know that they were very high class on their day, but very frustrating, no doubt, to their connections.

Such a one may have been the new sire in Northland, the very handsome and scopy PURE CHAMPION. The Irish-bred, now eight years old to northern time and then named Steinbeck, started on a long race career with a successful juvenile debut at Naas.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien thought a fair bit of him as he did not race again for five months until fourth in the Gr. 1 Newmarket Dewhurst Stakes, a race traditionally contested by the best of the Ballydoyle two-year-olds. The following season he commenced with a fourth to Canford Cliffs in the Gr. 1 Irish 2000 Guineas, but next up disappointed at Royal Ascot followed by a second in the Gr. 3 Leopardstown Meld Stakes and an abortive foray across the Atlantic.

Back in Ireland only a couple of weeks later he scored in a Listed race and then won the Gr. 3 Curragh Solonaway Stakes over a mile, thus concluding his European career.

Four months later, having been sold to Hong Kong, he reappeared with a new name for Tony Cruz and over the next year he had a dozen starts in a variety of races from HK-Gr. 1 downwards, winning just a minor 1800 metres and being second twice including a second in the Gr. 2 HKJC Jockey Club Cup to Thumbs Up.

It was much the same story as a five-year-old, starting with a HK-3 win in the HKJC January Cup over 1800 metres, second in the HK-3 HKJC Centenary Vase, third in the Gr. 2 HKJC Jockey Club Mile and fourth in the HK-1 Hong Kong Gold Cup to Ambitious Dragon.

A similar pattern was set by the now six-year-old entire, this time winning the Centenary Vase from Dan Excel, then second in the HK-1 Hong Kong Gold Cup and third in the HK-2 Chairman’s Trophy, but after that his form was indifferent in Hong Kong, albeit in good company. He had received the high World Thoroughbred Ratings of 117 at both five and six years and 115 at seven years. And so he came to New Zealand for grass to work its usual miracle.

Now co-trained by former champion jockey Lance O’Sullivan for members of his family, he caught the eye first-up when just over a length third to I Do and Pussy O’Reilly in the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes. Three weeks later in the Gr. 1 Windsor Park Plate he turned the tables on I Do to score an impressive victory with such as Soriano, Sacred Star, Zonza, Nashville, Costume, Pussy O’Reilly, Shuka and Veyron behind.

His next two starts were anti-climactic, beating himself by over-racing, but just prior to Christmas he was impressive in defeating Diademe in the Gr. 3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes. His final start in the Gr. 1 Thorndon Mile was ruined by racing keenly once again from a very wide draw. He retired as winner of eight of his 50 starts for earnings equivalent to just under NZ$2 million and his form shows that he was best at around a mile although he could stay a little further when everything went right.

Pure Champion’s sire is the unbeaten Footstepsinthesand, who won his only two starts at two years and then scored in the Gr. 1 English 2000 Guineas against a field that included Dubawi, but was injured in the process and never ran again. A largely unproductive stint on the shuttle to Australia followed and he stood in Ireland and latterly shuttled to Argentina.

He has had 44 stakes winners so far including Argentine champion miler and older mare Infiltrada, champion Irish miler Chachamaidee (Gr. 1 Leopardstown Matron S.) and Italian Group One winner Shamalgan. Four other stakes winners including Chachamaidee have been out of mares by the great sire and broodmare sire Danehill, who is also our subject’s damsire.

The granddamsire is a much less usual one to find in pedigrees these days. With an Annual Timeform Rating of 137, Grundy was a great racehorse almost 40 years ago, winning the English 2000 Guineas and Derby, Irish Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, but at stud he was a relative failure with just 13 stakes winners of which three won at Group One level, including Oaks winner Bireme (a close relative of Pure Champion) and the Ascot Gold Cup winner Little Wolf. He doubled his stakes winner total as a broodmare sire, although only the Adelaide Cup winner Water Boatman (also from Pure Champion’s family) won at elite level.

This is the No. 11 female line, well known here through the deeds of such as the good sires Hermes and Sea Anchor and in Australia through Buoy. It traces to the Ribot mare Ripeck, the Big Game mare Kyak and the Nearco mare Felucca – this latter being an important facet of the entire’s pedigree. The family through a number of generations was developed by Dick Hollingsworth.

The dam of Pure Champion is Castara Beach (Danehill), who has left three winners including Italian stakes placegetter Varenka. She is half-sister to six winners including stakes winners Water Boatman and Hill Hopper (Gr. 3 Newmarket Criterion S.; dam of Nannina, won Gr. 1 Newmarket Fillies Mile and Royal Ascot Coronation S.).

Granddam Sea Harrier (Grundy) was also a non-winner but was half-sister to five winners including Sea Anchor. Their dam Anchor won the Gr. 3 Newmarket Nell Gwyn Stakes and was also ancestress of a number of stakes winners including Cavalry, Star Pupil, Fenomeno, Jessicabeel and the Hong Kong Horse of the Year


The family further back is full of class including Buoy, Bireme, Talent (2013 Oaks),Good Faith, Daffodil, Mail The Desert, Dash For Cash, Ark Royal, Longboat, Bolas, Sharp Edge, Cut Above and Force Ten – all elite winners.

Pure Champion’s extended chart reveals two different patterns

on the sire’s and dam’s side of the equation. The sire of Footstepsinthesand, the tough Giant’s Causeway, is outcrossed and bred on a Northern Dancer/Blushing Groom combination, whilst his dam Glatisant has Blushing Groom over Northern Dancer with a daughter of Raise A Native to provide the balancing nick.

The closely related Storm Bird and Nijinsky also appear in the fourth and fifth removes, which invites the addition of The Minstrel in his mates. Footstepsinthesand is balanced line-bred to Native Dancer, Bull Page and Spy Song.

On the distaff side Danehill is bred on the Northern Dancer/Ribot nick and is inbred to Natalma. Castara Beach is strongly reinforced by the female line of Ribot through her third dam Ripeck, which provides a rare enough sex balance of Tesio’s finest masterpiece. She has other sex balances through Hyperion and Nearco.

Pure Champion is indeed very strongly influenced by Nearco, with 10 lines on the sire’s side alone plus five more on the distaff side including female lines through Felucca and Grundy’s sire Great Nephew, whose granddam is by Nearco out of Sister Sarah (therefore a very close relative of Nearctic). Other sex-balanced line-breeding is to Natalma (4 lines), Native Dancer (5), Wild Risk (3), Menow and Hyperion (7).

To add further sex balance we might look for male lines of Danehill, Rahy, Roberto, Rainbow Quest, Green Dancer, Grey Sovereign, Raise A Native, Major Portion and Worden (or Wilkes), and daughters of Northern Dancer, Storm Bird, Storm Cat, Giant’s Causeway and Danzig, also Nijinsky, Red God, Nasrullah and Court Martial.

So which among the younger broodmare sires might suit Totara’s fine looker, who was victorious in at least one good race every season from two to seven years? Obviously Danehill male line sires will suit him, especially Redoute’s Choice’s sons, and breeders need have no fear of inbreeding here, as I can think of no safer vehicle to which inbreeding could be made.

Replication of the breeding patterns noted above seems always to give one the chance of breeding a superior runner. Individual potential broodmare sires that I particularly liked included Captain Rio, Falkirk, City On A Hill, Scaredee Cat and Howbaddouwantit. Others that had something extra were Align, Any Suggestion, Ekraar, Electronic Zone, Golan, Gold Mine, Iffraaj, Keeninsky, Keeper, No Excuse Needed, Perfectly Ready, Postponed and Thorn Park.

Breeders would do well to give this horse their serious attention – he is a grand type with size and scope, considerable ability at ideal distances for a sire, being a stiff miler who can impart both speed and ‘stickability’, has proved very sound and has an excellent pedigree coming from a tried and true distaff line.


'Exciting' stallion settling in at Willow Glen

8 September  2015


Photo by

Matt Smith

Otago Daily Times


The name is Pure Champion, and the proprietors of Willow Glen Stud hope their new stallion can live up to his name with his upcoming duties.

Mike and Jimmy (Barbara) Cooney welcomed the well-performed son of Footsteps-inthesand to their Waimate stud in the last fortnight.


They plan to get him to work in his new role by the start of October.


''He's just arrived and we're just getting to know him at the moment,'' Jimmy Cooney said.


''We will probably serve the odd one before then if we can.''


The Irish-bred stallion was set to stand at Totara Park Stud in Northland before health issues overtook Totara Park part-owner-operator Dirk Oberholster, which forced the stud to find a new spot for Pure Champion.


Out of a Danehill mare, Castara Beach, Pure Champion also boasts the champion English miler Nannina, Hong Kong Horse of the Year Indigenous, Sydney Cup winner Jessicabeel, Adelaide Cup winner Water Boatman and Fenomeno, who headed the extended 2013 world thoroughbred rankings, and successful sire Sea Anchor in his pedigree.


Pure Champion began his career in his native Ireland under the name Steinbeck.


There, he won the group 3 Solonaway Stakes, the listed Ruby Stakes, finished a very close fourth in the Dewhurst Stakes and a fourth in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas.


He continued his career in Hong Kong, where he was the multiple stakes winner of the January Cup and the Centenary Vase and runner-up to Military Attack (Oratorio) in the group 1 Hong Kong Gold Cup.


Pure Champion ended up in New Zealand under the care of Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott, and raced six times.


His New Zealand highlight was clearly his win in last year's group 1 Windsor Park Plate and the group 3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes.


The O'Sullivans have retained their share in the stallion, and have pledged to donate their proceeds to cancer research after the deaths of daughter and sister Lisa Chittick last year and family matriarch Marie earlier this year.


Mike Cooney was thrilled to get a stallion with an outstanding track record across three countries.

''He's a pretty exciting horse,'' he said.

''When you look at his race record, he was pretty impressive.''

The Cooneys described Pure Champion as a striking big horse with a lovely head.

Pure Champion will stand for $4000 plus GST, alongside the stud's other stallions, Minstrel Court and Saperavi.


Mike Cooney is also the president of the Waimate Racing Club, and said Alister Wilson, who died last month aged 78, would be sorely missed.


Wilson was secretary of the Waimate Hunt Club from the early 1980s to 1988 before returning to take up the secretary's role for the Waimate Racing Club in 2003.

He retained that role until his death on August 26.

''He was one of those cheery fellas who always had a smile on his face and nothing was a problem,'' Cooney said.

''He was great to have a secretary, really. We'll miss him.'


Earlier 2015 News  -  Click Here




The first day of spring.

The  international race horse Pure Champion (formally "Steinbeck" In Europe) has entered the next phase of his life with arrival at Willow Glen.

Trained in Europe by Aidan O'Brien his two starts at two netted a win 1200m and a neck 4th in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket 1400m after a checkered run...!


At three he won the Gr 3 Solonway Stakes 1600m the Listed Killarney Ruby Stakes. Ran 2nd Gr 3 Meld Stakes and 4th in Irish 2000 Guineas Group 1.  (In only 4 starts)

An unplaced run in USA followed before he was sold for huge money to Hong Kong to be trained by Tony Cruz


At four he had  a win 1800m And Goup 2 second in the HKJC Jockey Club Cup though not entirely happy in HK environment.


At 5 this tough durable competitor won the HKJC January Cup Gr 3. Ran 2nd in the HKJC Centenary Vase 3rd in the HKJC Jockey Club Mile Gr 2 and 4th in the Hong Kong Gold Cup Gr 1 2000m


At 6 won the HKJC Centenary Vase Gr 3 1800m ran 2nd Hong Kong Gold Cup Gr 1 ran 3rd in HKJC Chairman's Trophy Gr 2


At 7 yo European time this wonderful traveller relocated to New Zealand on the advice of HK trainer Paul O'Sullivan to the stable of Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott at Matamata where he defeated a high class field to win the Group 1 Windsor Park Stakes 1600m~ he also won the Gr 3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes 1400m and ran 3rd in the Gr 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes 1400m in only six starts in the southern hemisphere .

Pure Champion s owners are donating their portion of service fee to Cancer Research. ..!

Pure Champion is a striking big horse with a lovely head~  very Athletic and retired sound  !   Pure Champion (orSteinbeck! )will serve a limited book this season at 4000+gst~ ~ his pedigree is international and features successful nz sires Hermes and Sea Anchor. A great option for all those Danehill line mares out there.  Sire Footstepsinthesand is By Giant's Causeway from daughter of Dancing Rocks he is suitable for a wide range of mares.


Late move south for Pure Champion

24th Aug 2015

We are standing PURE CHAMPION at Willow Glen Stud New in the 2015 season...


Unforeseen circumstances have resulted in a late southern shift for the first season sire Pure Champion (Footstepsinthesand).

The Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate winner has been relocated to South Canterbury’s Willow Glen Stud after his initial retirement to Totara Park Stud at Whangarei.


“We had committed to another horse, but our deal fell through after Totara Park had secured Pure Champion,” said Barbara Cooney, who runs Willow Glen with her husband Mike.

“Totara Park’s Dirk Oberholster has sadly suffered a health issue and with the time required to make a stallion they have decided to reassess their lives and so we have taken Pure Champion with their continued full support.

“We will stand him in conjunction with them and the O’Sullivan family, who will donate their share of the stallion fees to cancer research.”

An Irish-bred son of the English 2000 Guineas winner and Group One producer Footstepsinthesand, Pure Champion is out of the Danehill mare Castara Beach.

His pedigree also features the champion English miler Nannina (Medician), Hong Kong Horse of the Year Indigenous (Marju), Sydney Cup winner Jessicabeel (NZ) (Zabeel), Adelaide Cup winner Water Boatman (Main Reef) and Fenomeno (Stay Gold), who headed the extended 2013 world thoroughbred rankings, as well as successful sire Sea Anchor (Alcide).

Pure Champion began his career in his native Ireland where he won the Gr.3 Solonaway Stakes, the Listed Ruby Stakes and ran Group One fourths in the Dewhurst Stakes and the Irish 2000 Guineas.

He continued his career in Hong Kong where he was the multiple stakes winner of the January Cup and the Centenary Vase and also runner-up to Military Attack (Oratorio) in the Gr.1 Hong Kong Gold Cup.

Pure Champion subsequently raced six times in New Zealand as an eight-year-old and he won the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate, the Gr.3 Manawatu Challenge Stakes and placed in the Gr.1 Makfi Challenge Stakes for trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott.

“He was a high-class racehorse, tough and sound, and he’s got a pedigree to suit our mares,” Cooney said.

Pure Champion’s fee has yet to be announced by Willow Glen, where he will stand alongside Minstrel Court (Danehill Dancer) and Saperavi (NZ) (Stravinksy)


Magnificent Morgan


Morgan Bet made it 2 wins from last 3 races when handling the step up in class at Oamaru  on Sunday.


The big gelding by Saperavi had impressed when breaking his maiden at wingatui earlier in the month then followed with a nice 3rd at Timaru with usual rider



Rebecca Black in the saddle. With Rebecca suspended the services of top jockey Chris Johnson was required and big Morgan Bet responded to a 'magic ride"!


Trained by his part owner Toni Hawe of Temuka who bred the horse in partnership with former sucessful South Canterbury breeder Eddie Thompson ~Morgan Bet rewarded her patience with her first and now second win as a trainer.

Out of Gold Brose mare Morgan Rose~ (who was bred by Eddie) out of Morgan Glory~ who left si filly of the year Belmont Cat who went on to win a good stakes race in USA. ~Morgan Bet is named after Betty Thompson~ Eddies wife and their family race the horse with Toni.



The race was worth $17500 so a good stake for the 2200m race on a good 3 track following the 1600m maiden win on a boggy 10. More will be seen of this fellow...!


A day of firsts at Wingatui

Winter meetings often throw up a few firsts and the Otago Racing Club's final meeting of the season at Wingatui yesterday was no different.

Leading apprentice Racha Cuneen gained his first win over the sticks; Emily Farr rode her first New Zealand steeplechase winner; Toni Hawes geared up her first training winner and Nicci Brown won her first amateur race 20 years after her last professional win.


Morgan Bet's win was a genuine thrill for Hawes, who trains the gelding and his full sister from Phar Lap Raceway north of Timaru. awes, who also works one day a week at the Temuka saleyards, has been involved with Morgan Bet from the time co-breeder Eddie Thompson asked Hawes if she wanted to breed the dam, Morgan Rose, to Saperavi.

''So we bred him and we've waited for a very long time, as you can see because of the size of him,'' she said.

Hawes broke in Morgan Bet as a 2yr-old but he was never going to be up and running early.

''I put him straight out for 18 months because he was too big,'' she said.

''He's slowly putting it together - he's still not 100% strong but he's getting better.''

Morgan Bet is only the third horse Hawes has trained in three seasons of training, and she won't forget yesterday in a hurry.


''It's awesome just knowing that I've waited such a long time.''

Brown was familiar with that winning feeling, but it had been a while between drinks - 20 years, in fact.

Brown adopted front-running tactics with Cairnsville in the Diana-Marie Strang Memorial amateur riders' race yesterday, and the bold approach - which she suggested to trainer Kevin Cairns a few weeks ago - paid off.

Brown's last win came on Race Around at Wingatui on June 2, 1995 - her 18th win from 189 rides as an apprentice.

''I was pretty puffed halfway down and was ready to give up but thought I could win this.''

Brown is happy with an occasional appearance in amateur races these days, having served herapprenticeship, when she was Nicci McDougall, with Len Casey before moving on to John Phillips. She also spent a winter at Wingatui with Graeme Mee.

She then married and finished off her apprenticeship with Peter and Dawn Williams at Riccarton as Nicci Batt.

''I've got kids and it's pretty hard once you've got kids,'' she said.

''And I'm a bit fatter - you see how tight the gear was. I burst the zipper on my boots and I was a bit worried about the zipper on my pants!''


Brown is a freelance track work rider based at Ascot Park and is the main track rider for Sabin Kirkland. She also rides out for Tommy Beckett and Jo-Anne Dalton.

''And I pop on whenever Kevin Cairns comes to town,'' she said.

Cuneen has 53 flat wins to his name, but the apprentice jockey added a hurdle win to his record when he got the best out of Harry Hill in a restricted open hurdle yesterday.

Cuneen's 3kg claim came in handy for the Brian and Shane Anderton-trained 8yr-old by Danzighill, who is a possibility for the Sydenham Hurdle during Grand National week, part-owner and co-trainer Shane Anderton said.


Kipkeino relishes return to favourite track

A return to his favourite track was all that Waipukurau based galloper Kipkeino needed to add another entry in the win column of his career record when he downed a handy open handicap line-up over 2100 metres at Awapuni on the weekend.


The seven-year-old gelding has now won six times from 37 starts with five of those victories notched up at Awapuni including his last three appearances at the track.


Ridden confidently by apprentice Miranda Dravitzki, who has struck up a real affinity with the rugged competitor, Saturday’s win was achieved in typical fashion as Dravitzki positioned her mount close to the pace throughout the contest before defying her rivals in the run down the home straight.


“He just loves it at Awapuni and Miranda has really clicked with him so they are a tough combination to beat when he gets conditions to suit,” noted the gelding’s proud owner and trainer Lucy de Lautour.


“He likes the testing winter tracks and Saturday’s surface was perfect for him so I thought he would go a good race.


“He seems to be a lot stronger for this campaign which Miranda has also commented on so hopefully he can keep performing at this level over the next few months.”


De Lautour hasn’t thought too far ahead with the son of Sunray who she has kept up to the mark with some schooling over jumps to add some variety to his routine at home.


“He is a very quiet horse at home, so quiet in fact the kids can ride him but when he gets to the track he knows what it is all about,” she said.


“I haven’t really got anything planned for him but the way he is going I will have to take a look at some of the better races coming up as he deserves a shot at good prize if we can find one that suits.


“He also does some work over the fences so I think at some stage we will try him as a jumper but while he is going so well on the flat that isn’t an option in the near future.” – NZ Racing Desk



Marvellous Molly

Te Akau Singapore trainer Mark Walker and his team have again celebrated another weekend winner – this time it was the 3YO Saperavi filly Molly Browne who romped home for her first win at just her fourth start.


Lining up in the $65,000 Initiation 4YO and below 1400m on Friday night, the filly was beautifully settled and positioned by Te Akau’s champion apprentice Shafiq Rusof.


It was a patient ride on the short course D (turf), with the filly lying in about eighth position, he slowly but surely improved her to fourth with around 300 metres to run and then it was all on!  Urged on at that point, she dug deep to record a one length win.


Bred and raced by passionate Christchurch owners Leslie and Aussie Browne, it was great to see their terrific support of our Singapore stable so nicely rewarded.  The couple loves Singapore racing and are frequent visitors there.


Molly Browne has now raced four times and already has accumulated $43,413 in prize money.  Her three previous starts when finishing fifth, third and seventh had given every indication that her maiden win was close by and we are thrilled for the Browne’s.



This exciting daughter of Saperavi completed a hat trick at Riccarton this weekend.  Jumping from barrier 9 she zoomed to the lead for regular rider David Walsh keeping up a strong gallop and kicking clear in the $25.000 open handicap 1600metre to win by 3/4 length.  The Sean Bellew trained 5 year old was winning her 7th race her 4th from her last 6 starts. Her previous win was a $30.000 premier rating 85 mile at Riccarton with similar tactics.

The dam of Saperavious is the Kashani mare Southern Kash who won 2 races 1100 and 1200m for John McKay. She is out of Sitting Pat by Full on Aces who is a half sister to good galloper Royal Creation ~her third dam is By Sir Tristram.

Calling all KASHANI mares out there ===!!

Mated with Saperavi Kashani mares have produced the exciting 7 win mare Saperavious and====!

Stakes winning 3 year old filly OROVELA

Willow Glen bred mare Gwynethanne by Handsom Ransom has been flying the flag in the north~ group 2 Travis Stakes second and recently posted her 6 win and $113.000 for trainer KarenZimmerman . Sunray gelding Kipkeino won his 5th race and $70.000 for Lucy Delatour.

Pump up the Volume ran 3rd in the Cornwall under a big weight after winning the Rotorua Cup group 3 at his previous start. Aquila Azteca is keeping Minstrel Courts name to the fore in Singapore.



Southern star wins $30,000 premier mile at Riccarton.

SAPERAVIOUS and rider David Walsh ran their rivals ragged and won as they liked by 2 and a half lengths last weekend making this the mares 6 th win.

Trainer Sean Bellew was duck shooting while stalemate Saperavious and Sucre were bringing home the chocolates.

More to come from this mare out of Kashani mare Southern Kash...!


Cup winner follows in mother’s footsteps

9th May 2015

Pump Up The Volume (NZ) (Savabeel) continued a proud family tradition at Arawa Park on Saturday when he emulated his mother in claiming the feature staying event on the card.

The rugged Savabeel gelding mastered the trying conditions to take top honours in the Gr.3 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup.


Pump Up The Volume (NZ) (Savabeel)

Photo - Trish Dunell

He is a son of Nat The Brat, who won the cup in 1996 for trainer Bill Masters and returned the following year to run third.

Pump Up The Volume had finished runner-up to the four-time winner Indikator in the event 12 months ago and he made no mistake this time around.

“I thought we were in a bit of trouble 1000 metres out, but he kept fighting – it’s the survival of the fittest out there,” rider Danielle Johnson said.

Miss Mossman and Darryl Bradley employed daring tactics and were five lengths clear across the top before Pump Up The Volume made his move.

The Ralph Manning-trained six-year-old finished resolutely for the fifth win of his 35 start career.

“He’s a tough old boy,” Johnson said. “I thought he might have wanted a bit more rain to loosen the track, but he got through it well.”

Pump Up The Volume’s victory completed a double for Manning, who produced Retrospect to win at the New Plymouth meeting.

Miss Mossman made a bold play for consecutive wins after her success at Te Rapa a week ago, but she was running on empty in the closing 150 metres and second was her reward.

Decorah was also courageous under her topweight of 59kg to grind away for fourth ahead of Flying Orca with the field well strung out at the post. – NZ Racing Desk.


Stud News

Had a great week~ weaning~ handling~ leading the young ones and on the track our big boy Elusive Pete was very impressive beating a tidy field after several 2nds in 5 starts.  Now owned by shearing contractor Peter Lyon He is By Elusive CIty out of Blissful Dawn. I believe he is out for a spell now.

In Macau Saperavi gelding Beautiful Illusion dashed to the lead over 1100m and ran away to win by 5 lengths~ out of Clear Expression this was his 4th win. (3 this season) for trainer Stephen Chou.

In Malaysia Royal Green also had a fourth win. By Saperavi out of Barrier Rise he was sold via the Ross Beckett stable.

Sales News

Parading lot 32 Dalghar~ Phantom of Paris colt at SI Sale for a potential buyer















Action from the auctioneers as our filly Lot 77 Per Incanto~Chatto Creek becomes the fourth highest price at the sale


tud News

Wow! we have had a busy few weeks~ Saperavi daughter Saperavious followed up some good form with a great win by 5 lengths over her favourite distance of 1600m at Riverton on Monday~ she has now won 5 races and this is her third win this season.  She is out of a Kashani mare as is the Canterbury Belle Stakes wiinner Orovela also by Saperavi.    Interesting cross for those Kashani mares out there Or maybe mares by Danzig line stallions!

Kipkeino the Willow Glen bred gelding by Sunray won his first start of the season for owner trainer Lucy De latour his fourth win- this week.

Our sales yearlings are shod and trimmed and ready to go~ looking fantastic all have improved even since photos were taken.

They will be ready to view Canterbury Park (sale grounds) from Wednesday 15th April.  We have a super draft this year check photos on sale page.


Colts by Dalghar, Minstrel Court, Saperavi and Forty Mirage

Fillies by Per Incanto,  Thewayyouare and Saperavi


South Island Sale Vendors Support Local Race Meeting

Eight yearlings have been catalogued from Mike and Barbara Cooney’s Willow Glen Stud. They are represented by progeny of resident sires Saperavi and Minstrel Court along with yearlings by Per Incanto, Thewayyouare, Forty Mirage and first season sire Dalghar. Click here for more information


Saperavi in Asia


One week ago Prosperity Star by Saperavi out of Sweet Dreams Baby was an impressive winner in Singapore his second win in Asia

This weekend the two representatives Browne's Anatomy in Singapore and Royal Green in Malaysia each got their third win to give Saperavi three wins out of three starters. All three winners were dominant and especially Browne's Anatomy was great as over the Sprint distance of 1200m when expected to be too short for him. He is out of Doctor David mare Patient bred by Lesley and Aussie Browne.  Prosperity Star was bred by Te Akau and Royal Green was sold out of Ross Beckett s stable.

A super trial win in the Waikato last week  for Saperavi filly out of A la Votre by Volksraad she was very dominant. Going to join Mark Walkers stable in Singapore as well.

Not to be outdone the Minstrel Court 3yo Filly Aguila Azteca, Having her first start in Singapore after trialing well in NZ started favourite with a difficult draw worked hard to get near the lead went clear turning for home and was just caught on the line to be a good 2nd~  next up written all over it!



Stud News


At Willow Glen we had a quiet season stallion wise - both boys had good success with their progeny however breeders in the south are using "the new kid on the block" which is the same in the north.


We are lucky to have both Saperavi and Minstrel Court with some talented individuals racing which allows us to breed to them in the knowledge that they can leave a good one.


Saperavi s stakes winning daughter Orevela has been retired after some filling in a leg which is a shame for Danny and Kezia and Rayand Jill Coupland as they had such high hopes for the magnificent mare this season.  Stepping up in the fillies department is Saperavious has won 4 -2 more in recent days including by 7 lengths over a mile  in a faster time than Southland Guineas and Open mile same day.  Brownes Anatomy, Reidel , Royal Green and Beautiful Illusion are flying his flag in Asia with results in the Informant every week.


Minstrel Court had a super winner in Madame Jamai and we are  waiting her return to racing - Karyn Fenton Ellis has a smart 2 yo Enshrine who ran a late finishing 4th in 2 yo  Gr 3 up north there are several more that will be showing up in the future.Cairnsville  ran some super races rewarded with 2 wins.


We will be watching the derby with more than a passing interest as we have Azabella the dam of "NZ best maiden" Prima  and her half sister by Volksraad  - exciting to watch Prima 3rd in Waikato Guineas and 2nd in Avondale Guineas after beeing told to back him at karaka!


Our SI Sale draft is coming along nicely we have colts by SAPERAVI- DALAGHAR- MINSTREL COURT- FORTY MIRAGE and fillies by SAPERAVI - THEWAYOUARE - PER INCANTO.

Per Incanto has made an amazing start to his stud career and in the sales ring and the filly in our draft is no exception.   Out of the Desert Prince mare CHATTO CREEK she is a half to good winners Stella Bella and Excellent Beauty in Singapore and from the great family producing Legs - Sixty Seconds - Hes Remarkable etc


The Minstrel Court - Spring Heel is a standout colt from the great family of Three Chimneys - Halls. etc owned by Merv and Andrea Hall of Glenavy.    Spring heel is Lord Ballina out of Star on Ice. that the Halls raced with great success.

There will be some nice horses catalogued at the south island sale this year - we just need a good buying bench.


Images from Karaka 2015

Jimmy and Mike seen at Karaka

Our colt by Street Sense at Karaka 2015



 © Willow Glen Stud
Website by Pete Smithies Media


Madame Jamai scored a timely win when she ran away with the second race at Riccarton today, the Paint Lab Hornby Premier.

Pure Champion off to good start at stud

Photo by

A return to his favourite track was all that Waipukurau based galloper Kipkeino needed to add another entry in the win column of his career record when he downed a handy open handicap line-up over 2100 metres at Awapuni on the weekend.

Te Akau Singapore trainer Mark Walker and his team have again celebrated another weekend winner – this time it was the 3YO Saperavi filly Molly Browne who romped home for her first win at just her fourth start.

Stud News