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Bluebloods : Karaka 2010 Yearling Sale Preview
66 SIR SLICK defeats Xcellent in the Zabeel Classic Gr.1 hen eight-year-old Sir Slick returned home from a drama-packed trip to the 2009 Melbourne Spring Carnival and won his 21st race, the Tauranga S. Gr. 3, his proud breeder Paul Smithies was in the crowd that gave the marvellous campaigner a standing ovation. He quickly identifies what makes the horse so special. "His toughness, 106 starts from two to eight, that says it all. He had some x-ray issues as a yearling, but they obviously haven't worried him!" Sir Slick, the winner of six Group One races, is the best horse bred and sold at Karaka by Paul and his wife Cushla, but he's far from a solo act. In 2009 he's been supported by the brothers Fulmonti and Majestical, both sold at Karaka Premier, for $100,000 and $125,000 respectively. Already a Group 3 winner, Fulmonti scored his eighth win in the GCTC A.D. Hollindale S. Gr. 2 in May, and took his earnings close to $A660,000. Four months later 2008 Cranbourne Cup LR winner Majestical added a Melbourne Group 3 placing to his record. Monovale Farm is also represented in Singapore by Protégé (eight wins) and Dorado Joy (three wins), and in Hong Kong by the recent winner Royal Portrait. Other successful Karaka graduates bred by the Smithies are Gr. 3 Pride of the Class, Group One- placed winner of 9 races Manten, two-year-old Sydney stakeswinner Likefatherlikeson, and stakes- placed winner of 9 races Sleatbank. Paul took up commercial thoroughbred breeding after a successful career in the corporate world, as well as sheep and beef farming. He and Cushla established Monovale Farm on ninety acres alongside Cambridge's beautiful Lake Karapiro almost a decade ago, and sold their first yearlings under their own banner in 2006. They made a tremendous start, achieving their best price to date of $300,000 at that year's Premier Sale. Their approach to planning matings for the farm's thirty mares is uncomplicated. Paul says, "While we aim for compatible pedigree match-ups, we also look at stallions closely and try to match them to our mares on physical type. We also send a few mares to Australia each year, to spread our risk and to add a bit of Australian flavour to our drafts." Monovale Farm has become a shared family endeavour too, as all four of the Smithies children, aged from 15 to 23, help out during the breeding and sales season. Paul, a former NZTBA councillor and New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing board member, keeps a close eye on the success of Kiwi-bred horses around the world. "New Zealand bred horses have had a fantastic couple of years in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, their results have been outstanding." The Smithies are determined to keep contributing to that collective record with their Karaka 2010 draft, and beyond, as they look forward with special anticipation to the 2010 breeding season. After losing their only half-sister to Sir Slick in October, his dam Miss Opera has been confirmed in foal to champion Australian sire Encosta de Lago. W MONOVALE FARM KARAKA 2010 STANDOUTS: Savabeel-Stray colt - "An athletic, good medium-sized, very nice- walking, attractive colt." Stray (by Tale of the Cat) is a half-sister to outstanding Australian performer Maldivian whose three Group One wins include the 2008 MVRC Cox Plate. Perfectly Ready-Expressly filly -- "A very nice quality, near-black filly with plenty of scope." She's a half-sister to five winners, from the family of New Zealand Horse of the Year Altitude, and Gr. 1 Cosmetique. UNDER THE RADAR PICK: Lucky Unicorn- Zatsalady filly -- "A big strong filly, with a great walk, from a Zabeel mare, and half-sister to Michael Kent's promising stayer Montahlia and the impressive recent Tauranga winner Senor Zorro." RACING HIGHLIGHT: Paul says, "We're getting a real kick out of racing The Prophet this season. We bred him with the aim of selling him as a yearling, but he caught his leg in a fence as a weanling and needed surgery on his cannon bone, then nearly died under the anaesthetic and had to be boxed for three months. "His leg healed, but the surgery left an unsightly lump leaving him unsaleable, so we decided to race him ourselves. He's turned into a really nice horse, winning his last two starts. He's given us a real buzz considering all he's been through." AFTER THE SALES SERIES: "We come home and give our staff some time off, so we look after the horses for ten days or so, then go to the beach for a couple of weeks!"
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