New horse has name change for race debut

J Scott Latest News


Overport Lodge trainer Mark Jones has a new horse for Gold Coast owner Greg Brodie kicking off his career at Addington on Friday night.

Whittaker, an impressive winning 2YO trial qualifier in 1:58.3 (1609m) over Rapid Flight at Ashburton on May 17 for Templeton trainer Leonne Jones, changed hands after winning again in a Rangiora workout on June 22.

Driven by Sam Ottley in the workout in 2:33.5 (2000m), Whittaker again stood the leaders up a big start at the 400m but unwound in style to win going away over the leaders last 800m in 56.3s.

Samantha Ottley, has the drive in the Greg Brodie owners colours behind first-starter Whittaker at Addington on Friday night.

Samantha Ottley, has the drive in the Greg Brodie owners colours behind first-starter Whittaker at Addington on Friday night.

Before changing hands, the horse stepped out as Tadpole’s Legacy but Mark said there were a couple of factors given for the name change.

“It went in front of the Board and we were grateful for their help in changing the name,” Mark said.

“Greg re-named him Whittaker as he was friends with Bill Whittaker (former long-time harness writer then turf editor for the Sydney Morning Herald) and the horse is by Sportswriter,” he said.

Bill Whittaker, who covered the highlights of harness racing at Harold Park during the halycon days of Sydney’s premier harness venue during the 1960s and into the late 1980s, died after being struck down by cancer in 2009 at the age of 79.

Greg Brodie, who formerly lived in Sydney and passionately followed harness racing during the Bill Whittaker era, became a successful real estate investor in the business world.

He relocated to the Gold Coast in the mid-1980s and around the same time began purchasing up and running NZ harness horses through one of Mark’s former employers, Bruce Negus.

His list of success stories include big winners, Ginger Man (1:54.6, 15 wins & $554,951), Jillbo (1:53.8, US, winner of 27 lifetime for $351,215), Franco Hat Trick (11 NZ & Aust. wins for $389,635), One Way Traffic (1:56.4, six wins & $112,590), Sly Flyin (1:53.6, 29 wins & $911,689) and former champion youngster, Courage Under Fire (1:54.2, 41 wins & $1.5 million).

When Bruce Negus relocated to Waikouaiti (since returning to Burnham last year), Mark became Mr Brodie’s Canterbury trainer, with the pair combining to win the last month’s $150,000 Harness Jewels 4YO Diamond on June 4 with Rocker Band.

Mr Brodie has had a stream of good winners prepared by Mark including Best Chance (four wins from only eight NZ starts), OK Courage (12 NZ wins from 40 starts for $104,389), Holme Fire (five wins & $69,484), Alexis (six wins from 19 NZ starts, big Victorian winner), Alex (four NZ wins, 1:54.8, Aust), Rockabella (1:56.2, Aust), Christian Seel (1:56.1), Courage Tells (sold after winning two of three 2YO starts), Atom Of Courage (1:52.1, Aust), McPocket (1:53.5, Aust) and Buzz Courage (1:55.5, Aust).

But Rocker Band, now the winner of $164,685 from nine wins in 24 starts, has been the stand-out so far.

New buy Whittaker, as mentioned earlier, is by Sportswriter (1:48.6 & $1.5 million), a former 2YO of the Year in American and Canada and now a successful sire in Australia, with his oldest being 4YOs.

He has a bit going for him a few generations back on his maternal side too.

He’s the second foal from Anarchy, a Holmes Hanover mare who won two and was five times placed in 10 northern starts.

Grand-dam Honey Trap (by OK Bye) won once from only eight starts, while third dam Precious Dina (by Mercedes) was a good northern mare in the 1980s, winning eight of 57 starts including the Group Two 1986 North Island Breeders Stakes.

Precious Dina’s first foal was Pacific South, the dam of upset 2000 Auckland Cup-winning mare Flight South (1:56.3, 12 wins from 47 starts), while she also left another smart pacer for Cambridge trainers, Andrew and Lyn Neal, in Where Eagles Dare (11 NZ wins, 1:51.8, US).

Further back Precious Dina’s grand-dam Portmadoc left Princess Nandina, dam of star 1980s American filly/mare Pacific (p3, 1:53, winner of $871,550) and Twice As Good (1:56.5).

The latter (Twice As Good) is the five-win dam in NZ of nine individual winners including Waitfornoone (1:55.7, 11 wins), St Barts (1:57, 14 wins), Fight Fire With Fire (1:56, seven wins), Mark Dennis (1:54.2, Aust), and Double Shot (1:57.9, five wins).

She is also the grand-dam through five-win mare Twice As Hot of last year’s Menangle Inter Dominion runnerup and this season’s South Australia Cup winner, Flaming Flutter (1:53.9, 19 wins & $A623,907).

Whittaker has an inside second row marble first-up over 1950m in the Diamond Creek Mobile Pace, following out Lucky Three, who likes to race forward.

However, All Stars entrant Stars Align (2c Art Major-Nosotros), who narrowly missed winning first-up from the second row last week in a 1:58.4 mile rate for the 1950m,  will be the one to beat from the four gate.

By Jeff Scott