AMANDA GRIEVE GETS NZ CUP PHOTO
By Jeff Scott
Former Kenuckiana Lodge foreperson Amanda Grieve fulfilled a dream on Tuesday, prepping until two weeks ago Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup winner, Cruz Bromac, and being there for a cup-winning photo.
Cruz” won the race on Amanda’s Victoria preparation, which included a top third second-up in a record run Victoria Cup last month.
She did make a commitment to being in Christchurch for the big day with wishful thinking that it could be a winning one.
“I did say i was going to get my photo taken today,” she declared weeks ago, a little tonque in cheek.
“It was unbelievable. It still hadn’t sunk in on Tuesday night,” Amanda said.
“I’m so proud of Tommy.”
Amanda, a valued member of the Cran Dalgety stable for three years before returning to Victoria to work for former trainer Dean Braun, due to family commitments in February, was entrusted with Cruz Bromac’s spring preparation by major Geelong owner, Danny Zavitsanos.
After Braun decided not to renew his licence this term preferring a more relaxed support role in the stable, Amanda Grieve became Zvaitsanos’s official Victorian trainer.
Cruz Bromac had remained in Australia after a rewarding season last term with NZ trainers, Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, which included a luckless fourth in last year’s NZ Cup, a win in the NZ Free-For-All, three Inter Dominion Heat wins, and a third in the Inter Dominion Grand Final.
The decision was made post the Victoria Cup third for “Cruz” to return to the Allstars stables for Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen at Rolleston for the cup, to defend his NZ Free-For-All title, and the Auckland Inter Dominions, from November 29 to December 14.
Amanda will turn her attentions to potentially winning the $A200,000 Golden Nugget in Perth with the former Terry and Glenys Chmiel-developed 4YO, Holy Basil, on December 13.
The stars aligned for Cruz Bromac on Tuesday, with a peach of a drive from NZ’s current champion driver Blair Orange, who reined him home a neck winner over front-running favourite, Spankem (Mark Purdon), the luckless Classie Brigade (John Dunn) and Chase Auckland, in 3:56.9 (3200m), the leaders last 800m in 57.5s.
Blair, also enjoying good success with the Kentuckiana Lodge team in recent seasons after the departure of Dexter Dunn to North America, will have ever-lasting “Tommy” memories.
This was his 11th NZ Cup drive and the pick-up drive from former boss Mark Purdon provided him with the elusive holy grail cup of NZ harness racing.
Blair had four previous top-four finishes in the NZ Cup, including three previous dividend-bearing placings, twice placing with the $1 million Hazel Van Opzeeland-owned former Allstars performer, Highview Tommy (p2, 1:55.2, 17 wins), who finished third to Terror To Love in 2011, then went a place closer when the runner-up to the mighty “Terror” in 2012.
Orange stepped the big 8YO well from a wide, worked to head Classie Brigade at the 2500m, eased two and three back when the two favoured Allstars stablemates, Thefixer and Spankem, came calling, to take a breather from the 1700m.
When San Carlo (parked) dropped off at the 300m, Blair had Cruz Bromac out and looming while being careful to nurse him round the final corner.
The free-for-all veteran’s tough Group racing from the previous season was the telling factor at the business end, with “Cruz” out-toughing Spankem, who didn’t quite see out his first try over the extreme 3200m trip.
While the Kentuckiana Lodge team were delighted to see Blair and Amanda achieve their NZ Cup dream, they could only think what might have been had former stable star Pat’s Delight been in the race.
Pat’s Delight, a runner-up sitting parked outside Spankem in last year’s Kaikoura Cup at four, had stormed home late for fourth in Cruz Bromac’s NZ Free-For-All on Show day last year, and had also performed well at last year’s Victorian Inter Dominions.
He won a Ballarat 1710m Heat in 1:52.2, ran fifth in Tiger Tara’s Grand Final, then won the Shepparton Cup in January, before being rested and set for this year’s cup.be a strong contender at five, but cruelly died suddenly from a heart attack in late July, when training enormously.
Pat’s Delight had been expected to be a strong contender at five, but cruelly died suddenly from a heart attack in late July, when training enormously.
At three, he showed his class, being beaten a nose by Sheriff in the 2018 NZ Derby, won in a record 3:05.4 (mobile 2600m), then reversed the roles with Sheriff in the Group One Harness Jewels 3YO Emerald at Cambridge, winning in 1:52.7 (1609m).
Cran has gone close twice in two NZ Cups, firstly with Bettor’s Strike slightly late working clear when the runner-up to Monkey King in 2009, and third with Christen Me in 2013,. Winning the race will remain on his bucket list in the years to come.
Strength in numbers resulted in Nathan Purdon’s father, Mark Purdon, achieve NZ Cup-winning training history on Tuesday.
This was the seventh time he had, or co-trained, a NZ Cup winner, one ahead of superstar trainers of yesteryear in Cecil Devine and James Bryce.
Cecil Devine, who trained his last cup winner in 1979 with the exceptonal pacer of that era in Lord Module, was so proud of his multiple cup-training achievements he never thought the feat would be bettered.
However, Mark Purdon has taken the craft to an unprecedented level over the last 10 years.
The new Cup king started his NZ Cup quests with a back-to-back double with Il Vicolo in 1995-96, then had to wait until 2014 to salute with champion mare, Adore Me.
The following year, it was a former Allstars pacer in Arden Rooney (Nathan’s first driving winner) who returned to win and credit Victorian horsewoman Kerryn Manning with becoming the first woman to win a NZ Cup.
It’s been an Allstars Cup domination for the last four years, Mark and Natalie winning them in a row with Lazarus (twice), Thefixer in 2018 and now the Victorian-owned, Cruz Bromac.
“Cruz’s” ebullient major owner Danny Zavitsanos, who races him with wife Joanna, NSW-based Peter and Zilla O’Shea, and Tasmania’s Warren Viney, couldn’t hide his post-race excitement, lifting Mark Purdon and twirling him three times above his shoulders.
FORMER $12,000 YEARLING RE-SOLD BY MARK JONES
Cruz Bromac, initially a spec $12,000 buy from the Bromac Lodge draft at the Australasian Classic Yearling Sales by Canterbury trainers, Mark Jones and Andrew Stuart, was developed by Mark Jones for a re-sale profit.
As a late 3YO, Cruz Bromac was sold to clients of the Dean Braun stable in Victoria, just on the Jones word alone, stating then he was one of the best he had trained.
“He was a big horse but always had wicked speed,” Jones said.
Terry Chmiel drove him to win a stand start 2600m workout in 3:23.8 (last 800m in 55.6) at Rangiora in his first public outing on July 13, 2015.
He then won easily but was 0.5 seconds outside qualifying time at Rangiora on July 20 when first driven by Blair Orange at his first official trial, then qualified at Timaru five days later for Kimberly Butt, rating 2:00.6 (2000m), the leaders last 800m in 56.8s.
He was flown to Sydney two days later, making an immediate impact with a luckless fourth first-up in a 1:54 mile at Menangle on August 1, 2015.
Cruz Bromac showed his class second-up, scoring in a 1:55.7 rate over 2300m, a week later.
Within a month coming out of the NZ winter, his potential was highlighted at Menangle on Saturday, August 22, 2015, leading and clearing out by 18.8 metres for Luke McCarthy to win in 1:51.6 (1609m) in a $A20,400 3YO pace (Australian 3YO season ending on August 31).
BOB McARDLE ACHIEVES BROMAC DREAM
The other highlight from Cruz Bromac’s victory was the culmination of a breeding dream for the late Bromac Lodge founder, Bob McArdle, who posthumously achieved his ultimate goal of a Bromac-bred becoming a New Zealand Cup winner.
Mr McArdle, who died in his sleep in January 2018, set up breeding farm Bromac Lodge in 2005, following a 30-year involvement with Nevele R Stud at Prebbleton.
Bromac Lodge’s administration secretary since 2004, felt a huge buzz for her father watching “Cruz” win the nation’s famous race.
Bob had entitled the Bromac name with horses he, and wife Denese, had bred since 1973, and bred Cruz Bromac by crossing the unraced Crown Defender (Life Sign-Classic Blue Jeans), with former Nevele R sire, Falcon Seelster, who died two months before Cruz Bromac’s birth in 2011.
Mr McArdle subsequently passionately promoted stored chilled semen straws from Falcon Seelster in both NZ and Australia, until 2018.
Mr McArdle played a part in a previous New Zealand Cup victory, proudly finding in Tasmania and selling, as agent, the 1976 New Zealand Cup winner and 1977 Brisbane Inter Dominion champion Stanley Rio, to his late Nevele R Stud business partner, Wayne Francis, and the late George and John Noble.
The 1985 NZ Harness Racing Personality of the Year, and an Addington Hall Of Fame inductee in 2008, passionately built up a quality broodmare band, but both Cruz Bromac and Attorney General (1:48.4, US, $434,952), formerly NZ’s fastest-bred pacer, were the two best pacers he bred, both being from the same family.
Attorney General, also a son of Falcon Seelster (Warm Breeze-Fashion Trick, by Overtrick), a 1:51 winner of $1.2 million in America in the 1980s, was co-bred by Mr McArdle, then operating as Glomach Holdings, with Malcolm Shinn, in 1999, from Classic Blue Jeans, a US-imported daughter of Camluck and Oh Please (by Albatross).
Cruz Bromac, became the latest $1 millionaire earner with Tuesday’s win, his 22nd win in 44 starts.
The Cup winner’s dam Crown Defender was sold, in foal to Courage Under Fire, to Australian interests during the Bromac Lodge dispersal sale last year.
Other daughters of Cruz Bromac’s grand-dam, Classic Blue Jeans, to have bred on include Crown Counsel (by Western Hanover) and Classic Art (by Artiscape).
Crown Counsel (TT, 1:58.1) is the dam of the winners of 67 races, headed by Our Cullens Crown (1:52, US), winner of 46 races (five NZ, 11 NSW, and 30 in the USA), for $490,044.
She’s also the dam of Attorney Stride (1:57.5, 13 wins & $80,258), Falcon Crown (five wins & $44,876) and last season’s debut Australian 2YO winner Desirable Stride (1:58.6, mile rate, 1650m, one win from four starts).
Classic Art (by Artiscape), who time-trialed in 1:55.1 but did not win in just two starts, left only one foal, smart West Australian winner Art Connoisseur (1:58.5, 14 wins & $83,660).
Classic Blue Jeans, who died in June aged 24, was a year younger half-sister to Falcon’s Blue Jean (1:51.8, US; 28 wins & $441,188), who initially won six in NZ, running second to Stars And Stripes in both the Group One NZ Sires Stakes 3YO Final, and Great Northern Derby, under the guidance of Mark Purdon.
Classic Blue Jean, also a half-sister to another $100,000 winner in The Majority (1:59.6, 15 wins), left 10 individual winners, nine in 2:00.
She then left the quality winners, Cullen Bromac (1:55.1, 20 wins), Crown Counsel (TT, 1:58.1, one), Crown Bromac (1:54.1, 15 wins), Captain Bromac (1:57.8, 15 wins), Chay Bromac (1:59.2, three wins), Chiquita Bromac (1:58.7, five wins), Mink Stride (five wins), Cindy Bromac (1:56.6, four wins) and (Our) Charley Bromac (one win).
Chiquita Bromac (McArdle-Classic Blue Jeans) has left a smart first foal winner in Celerina (by Pet Rock), who has won four this term in Australia, including the Kevin & Kay Semour 3YO Fillies Evolution Series Final at Menangle in late April, in 1:57.5 (1609), and the Listed $25,000 Vicbred 3YO Silver Pace at Melton in July.