IN Racing
Timely win in Desert Gold Stakes for Sudbina
It was a timely win by Sudbina in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham last Saturday.
Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | January 23, 2024
Sudbina returns victorious following the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes Photo:Race Images

It was a timely win by Sudbina in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham last Saturday, with co-breeder and part-owner Haunui Farm gearing up for a busy week ahead of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sales at Karaka, which kick-off on Sunday.

The win also broke more than a half century drought in the race for the Chitty family, bringing even more satisfaction to Haunui Farm Managing Director Mark Chitty.

“Winning a time-honoured race like the Desert Gold is fantastic. My grandfather won the race in 1970 with a filly called Brookby Hill, so it has been a long time between drinks,” Chitty said.

“Winning any race is exciting, but when you get into that Group company with a filly that you have bred is very exciting.”

By Cambridge Stud shuttle stallion Almanzor, Sudbina is out of English-bred mare Destined, who Chitty bought out of the United Kingdom and subsequently bred Group One performer and New Zealand Filly of her Year, Fix.

“We are a shareholder in Almanzor, so that result was very timely given the sale,” Chitty said.

“Paul Moroney bought the mare (Destined) for us as an unraced mare out of England. We managed to breed Fix in the first crop of Iffraaj, and she ended up being filly of the year.

“The mare (Destined) became a difficult breeder. We had a nice O’Reilly mare (Tinnelly) that we retained who was unraced, she has got a Savabeel filly (lot 489) in the sale, so the result of Sudbina on the weekend was timely.

“The partner in the horse alongside ourselves is Cathy Franich of Frantic Bloodstock. Cathy named the filly Sudbina. She has got a Croatian background and Subdina means destiny. It is nice to share the moment with her.”

Chitty subsequently sold Destined in-foal to Almanzor and is pleased to have retained a daughter that is performing so well on the track.

“It is good for the farm to have produced a good progressive filly,” he said. “All you want is for people to look at your yearlings, knowing they can buy a good horse off you.”

Chitty is looking forward to offering 27 yearlings through the Book 1 session and 28 yearlings through the Book 2 session of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale.

While the sale will commence on Sunday, Chitty is excited about the TAB Karaka Millions race meeting on Saturday where the farm will be represented by two graduates in the $1.5 million TAB Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m).

“Going into the Karaka Million we have got two full relations to Karaka Million 3YO runners – Orchestral (464) and Grande Gallo (833),” he said.

Orchestral was purchased out of Haunui Farm’s 2022 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $625,000 by her trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood, for whom she has won two and placed in two of her four starts, including a runner-up result in the Gr.3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe last month.

Wexford Stables went to $85,000 to secure Grande Gallo out of Haunui’s Book 2 draft in the same year, and he has gone on to win two and place in one of his six starts to date.

Orchestral is a $4 second favourite for the $1.5 million feature in the TAB futures market, with Grande Gallo rated a $16 chance behind market leader Molly Bloom at $3.

Meanwhile, Haunui Farm have a number of other high quality lots, including the first colt (lot 360) to be offered out of their Group One performer Rondinella.

The daughter of Ocean Park won four and placed in 11 of her 33 careers starts, including placing in the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m), Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m), and Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m).

“She was a very good race mare and was good to us,” Chitty said. “The colt is a ninth generation Haunui product and he is a really nice Snitzel colt who will be met by a good amount of interest.”

Chitty said the farm will once again offer a wide variety of yearlings by different stallions.

“We have got a lot of nice horses. We always have a lot by different sires and the same can be said this year,” he said.

“We have got a good smattering of Savabeels in the draft, two fillies both slightly different to one another. A filly that is closely related to Sudbina and filly out of Stolen Gem (lot 442), a young Snitzel mare, who is a very nice type.

“We have got a couple of Wootton Bassett colts in the sale that are nice horses (lots 142 and 359). They are nice colts by a son of Iffraaj.”

Chitty also welcomed Monday’s announcement by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing about the introduction of the slot race, The NZB Kiwi, as well as a revamped summer racing calendar with a raft of stakes increases from next season.

“It gives confidence to the buyers and confidence to the breeders with the stock they have bred,” Chitty said. “It also gives a lot of confidence to people who have horses in the paddock going forward.

“It is a real shot in the arm that New Zealand racing and breeding has needed."