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Bluebloods : Karaka 2010 Yearling Sale Preview
90 BROWN EYED GRACE purchased at the 2008 Karaka Select Sale he famous American sitcom My Three Sons inevitably comes to mind at Wentwood Grange, established near Cambridge nine years ago by affable Welsh couple Des and Janet Hawkins. They brought their three young sons to New Zealand in 1990 and now take great pleasure in watching them manage the attractive 410-acre thoroughbred farm, the family's own broodmare band, clients' mares and foals, spelling racehorses and yearlings. The three brothers happily fill different, but complementary roles. Dean has managed the stud business since its launch in 2000, Leigh provides financial advice and expertise, and former dairy farmer Sean now has responsibility for the farm operations and marketing activities. Sean says, "I love the change, I've always loved racing and farming is farming." He and his wife Kirsty, a keen polo player, live on the 165-acre Maungatautari Road property acquired by the stud in 2007. The family is supported by a small but dedicated team of permanent staff led by Melissa Bird and Rebecca Keyte, who manage the yearlings. They are assisted by Zoe Lines and Kayleigh Hatt, and Janette Mann is responsible for the beautiful stud gardens. "They all do a fantastic job, " says Sean. The star performer for Wentwood Grange in 2009 has been three-year-old filly Brown Eyed Grace (Van Nistelrooy-Lycsis), winner of the CJC Canterbury Belle S. LR. A $90,000 purchase from the 2008 Karaka Select Sale, she has now won three of six starts, including her debut as a two-year-old. Her dam, described by Des as "a very nice type of mare", is a half-sister to champion New Zealand two-year-old Lycra and has a colt by Towkay in the Wentwood Grange draft for the 2010 Karaka Select Sale. Other black type performers bred by the Hawkins family's Llanhennock Trust include Leigh Valley, Anna Carina and Xbert, all with yearlings in the stud's 2010 Karaka Premier draft. The Wentwood Grange policy of racing a small number of fillies to maintain the stud's broodmare quality has enjoyed further success this season in the shape of talented sprinter Miss Raggedy Ann (Faltaat-Miss Pollyanna). Her trainer Andrew Scott is now setting her for Group One races over the summer. KARAKA 2010 STANDOUTS: From the Premier Sale: Zabeel-Markisa colt -- "A lovely, classic Zabeel type, with length, style and presence, and a great stallion prospect." A member of the sensational Eight Carat dynasty, this colt is a three-quarter brother to 2001 Karaka sale-topper and subsequent Group One winner Shower of Roses. Dehere-Leigh Valley filly -- "The first foal of her dam and very like her, with a touch more class. A stunning, beautiful filly." Leigh Valley (5 wins, incl. WRC Cuddle S. Gr. 3) is just one of several T WENTWOOD GRANGE classy racemares in this family: others are Gr. 1 Royal Regatta, Gr. 1 Round the World, Gr. 2 Love in a Mist and Gr. 3 The Perfume Garden. UNDER THE RADAR PICKS: Sean selects the Volksraad-Minori Express colt -- "He's developed into a well-muscled horse with a lot of depth, a lovely Volksraad type." His relatives include the multiple Australian Group winners Show No Emotion and Grey Song, and Group One-placed stakeswinner Slanchyvah. Dean's pick is the Lucky Unicorn-Aine filly -- "A very athletic type with a beautiful walk." She's a half-sister to the promising three-year-old Carrie Ann, and descended from New Zealand Oaks Gr. 1 winner Aulyn. RACING HIGHLIGHT OF 2009: Sean says, "Having a horse we bred and sold, Commonage Close, start in the Victoria Derby, especially after a comparatively short time in the industry, was a real highlight for us. Dean went to Flemington for Derby Day and it was just so exciting to have a runner in such a big race." AT THE END OF SALE DAY: "At the sales we share a tent with Kendayla Park and Lime Country, and all of us get along really well. Mike Breslin is friendly with all of us, so along with everybody who helps us in the running of Wentwood and successful purchasers, we all gather together at the end of each sale day and enjoy a beer and a lot of laughs."
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