Trans-Tasman double for Greg Brodie

J Scott Latest News


Overport Lodge pacer Whittaker landed the first leg of a notable Australasian double for Southport (Queensland) owner Greg Brodie at Invercargill on Saturday.

Mr Brodie’s colours were also to the fore with top mare Rocker Band at Melton, Victoria, on Saturday night, when she lowered her career best mile rate to 1:52.3 when winning a $18,000 M1-2 pace over 1720m.

Rocker Band, taken across the Tasman for a crack at some feature mares races by Clevedon trainer Barry Purdon in February, will return to Mark Jones for breeding at the end of her race career.

Whittaker, and Sam Ottley, make an impressive return to racing at Invercargill for owner Greg Brodie and the Mark Jones stable. (Bruce Stewart photo).

“Barry did such a fantastic job with her when I sent her up north in the spring that it made a good business decision to leave her with him to take over for these races in Australia,” said Mark.

Rocker Band, who settled three back on the inner from an inside second row draw in the DNR Logistics Pace, finished stoutly along the inner to by 1.5 metres, the leaders running their last 800m in 54.6s and closing 400m in 27.1s.

At Invercargill, promising Sportswriter colt Whittaker resumed his smart career by impressively justifying his hot favouritism in the C0 McKnight & Brown Mobile Pace over 2200m at just his third race start and his first since July.

Whittaker, despite being left in the open, proved too good for the All Stars pacer Grand Rainbow, who tracked him up but couldn’t run the winner down.

Driver Samantha Ottley had Whittaker travelling well, 1 3/4 lengths clear at the finish, in a swift 2:40.7 (1:57.5 mile rate), the leaders running their last 800m in 57.3s and final 400m in 26.9s.

“He’s a professional little racehorse and hopefully he can take the step up against the better 3YOs,” Mark said.

Whittaker was blooded for 3YO classic racing with a second to Pacing Major in an Australasian Breeders Crown Heat at Addington last July.

He ran Pacing Major to 1 1/2 lengths, and outfinished On The Rantan by a neck, in the Breeders Crown Heat, won in a 1:59.1 rate (1950m), with the last 800m that night in a fast 55s and closing 400m in 26.5s.

Mr Brodie secured Whittaker after he showed smart 2YO promise last term for Peter (Mark’s father) and Leonne Jones as Tadpole’s Legacy.

However, as the colt is by Sportswriter (p3, 1:48.6), Mr Brodie couldn’t think of a more appropriate name for the colt than Whittaker, the surname of his late friend, former long-serving Sydney Morning Herald turf writer Bill Whittaker.

He applied to HRNZ for a name change, which was granted.

Whittaker has “black type” on his dam sire, with third dam being the good northern 1980s mare Precious Dina (by Mercedes), who won eight of 57 starts including the 1986 North Island Breeders Stakes.

Precious Dina left Pacific South, dam of upset 2000 Group One-winning Auckland Cup mare Flight South, beating Yulestar and Holmes DG, over 3200m.

Flight South also numbered victories in the 2001 Premier Mares Championship at Addington (1:56.3 mile rate, 1950m, beating Kym’s Girl) and Group Two Franklin Cup (3200m) among her 12 wins for $292,566 in stakes for Cambridge trainers, Andrew and Lyn Neal.

Whittaker comes through Honey Trap, a half-sister by Ok Bye to Pacific South.

Honey Trap won once from just eight starts and left Whittaker’s dam Anarchy (by Holmes Hanover), who was also lightly-raced winning twice and being placed five times from 10 starts.

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

Twice As Good, in NZ, 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, 38 wins & $262,999), Double Shot (1:57.9, six wins) and Twice As Hot (five wins), the latter becoming the In The Pocket dam of Inter Dominion runnerup Flaming Flutter (1:53.9, 20 wins & $A669,115).

By Jeff Scott