When Lot 214 enters the ring at the inaugural Nutrien Equine Standardbred Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction on Sunday, April 11, it will be the culmination of a breeding program hatched in the Goulburn Valley nine years earlier by Gisborne breeders Ian and Kath Sutherland.
Realising that they needed to upgrade their small operation to remain competitive in the tough breeding business, Ian and Kath purchased a young, unraced Fake Left mare named Zoeyzoey from Shepparton horseman Ross Pike in 2012. She was a daughter of the broodmare gem Grace Robinson and a granddaughter of the champion filly Jasmarilla.
The other half of their broodmare band was the homegrown Indigenous Art, an unraced Art Major mare from the noted Ann Byrd family of the dual Inter Dominion champion Beautide, Ignatius and co. She was a close relative to the former Tasmanian 2YO of the Year Not John, the Hobart Pacing Cup winner The Grouse and the Tasmanian 4YO of the Year The Fat Controller which were all bred by Ian and Kath in partnership with good friends, Barrie and Denise Rattray.
In 2016 the Sutherland’s took two horses to the Melbourne sale, one a Mach Three colt out of Zoeyzoey and the other a Rocknroll Heaven colt from Indigenous Art which sold for $30,000 and $15,000 respectively.
The Zoeyzoey colt, which is now racing as Seeuinnashville, was purchased by Luke and Belinda McCarthy and has earned $127,172 from 16 wins and nine placings, while the Indigenous Art named Jimmy Lockewas secured by Josh Aiken and has returned $111,613 from 13 wins and 20 placings.
From the sale of the two colts the couple set their sights on the Brisbane sale looking to buy a well-bred filly with the intention of her becoming a commercial broodmare after she finished racing.
“We made a number of calls to find a suitable person in Queensland to look over our selections and to break the horse in. That person was local horseman John Cockburn,” Ian said.
“John could not fault one of our first options, a filly by Roll With Joe from the good racemare Art Start, a daughter of the Group 1 winner Sweet Clementine.”
Named Arts Treasure, the $21,000 purchase was broken in by Cockburn and later sent down to NSW to James Rattray who they had seen grow up from a three-year-old.
The following year the Sutherland’s went back to the Brisbane sale with the intention of securing another commercial filly. They were successful in buying their number one selection, Wha Hae, a Mach Three Filly out of the multiple Group 1 winner Good Lookin Girl whose dam, Goldrush Rush, was a multiple Group 1 winner and a noted producer.
Wha Hae showed above average ability but was hampered by leg injuries. Despite having to wear bar shoes on all four feet, she managed four wins and eight placings from 17 starts and took a record of 1:53.8. She now in foal to Betting Line.
Trained by James Rattray, Arts Treasure captured the Group 1 $100,450 QBred Triad Final and three weeks later ran second to Pinup Boy in the Group 1 APG final at Albion Park. Arts Treasure finished up with a stake tally of $152,542 and a mark of 1:50.9 set as a four-year-old at Menangle.
Meanwhile, Ian had noted that Arts Treasure’s dam Art Start had not been bred from for a year and had a Rock N Roll Heaven weanling colt on her. They subsequently purchased the mare and sent her down to Benstud Standardbreds in Victoria.
And, the colt with the mare at the time of her sale has turned out to be star youngster Expensive Ego, the winner of nine of his 12 starts to date including three Group races and $159,948 in stakes.
Art Start has since produced two foals by Betting Line for the Sutherland’s, the first a two-year-old filly which is close to trialling and the other, a colt which is Lot 214 at the Nutrien Equine sale. A colt by Captaintreacherous from Art Start’s daughter, Arts Treasure, has been earmarked for the 2022 Nutrien sale.
Ian was introduced to the sport in the late 1960’s by an uncle, Charlie Blanchfield, who along with friend Ron Morrison, leased the grand stayer and Inter Dominion champion Bold David.
Ian said he enjoyed going to Alf and Dorrie Simons’ stables every Sunday morning with his uncles after a Saturday night at the Melbourne Showgrounds.
“Bold David qualified for the final in 1970 and drew the outside six from the standing start. He pinged the tapes and I knew they wouldn’t get past him,” Ian said.
“From that night I thought that one day I wanted to not only own but breed a good horse capable of winning an Inter Dominion or a Miracle Mile.”
Ian and Kath, whose earlier winners include Bold Stefan(20 wins and $113,373) and Pajero Lass (5 wins), are proud of their record at the yearling sales.
“We’ve never offered a yearling at the sale and brought it back home. They’re all for genuine sale,” Ian said.
Ian said that there were plenty of incentives for people to become involved in harness racing.
“The average person can become involved with a syndicate of friends to race a pacer or trotter, unlike the gallops which is very expensive,” he said.
“Harness horses, if they make the grade, race on a lot longer than a galloper and for a third of the cost. It can fast become a way of life for people wanting an interest outside of their working life.”