The 2015 NZSBA Cup Eve Cocktail Function was held on the 9th of November at the Armstrong Prestige Showroom in Christchurch.
Breeders and harness industry participants were out in force to celebrate New Zealand’s breeding excellence. They witnessed the presentation of the miniature New Zealand Cup replica to Charles Roberts, the breeder of last year’s winner of the great race, Adore Me.
The spectacular Armstrong Prestige showroom & car dealership is more accustom to dealing in a different type of horsepower, however the venue, in glorious late afternoon sunshine, once again played its part in bringing together those from the breeding community for the 8th time.
There was an excellent turnout of around 150 attendees as guests were welcomed from all over New Zealand and across the Tasman to join in what is now a Cup Week calendar event.
"One of the pillars of the NZSBA is to provide recognition to breeders and their achievements" said John Mooney, NZSBA Chairman. "In hosting functions like these, it is hoped that the breeding community in New Zealand can reflect on, and be proud of their many wonderful achievements both here and in Australia."
The guests in attendance included Harness Racing Australia's Chief Executive Andrew Kelly & his Chairman, Geoff Want. Kelly and Want were in town to soak up the atmosphere of Cup week. They were also able to present nine Australian annual racing awards, and two breeding awards, to the connections in attendance.
Breeding a standardbred good enough to race over Cup Week is one hell of an achievement. Breeding one good enough to line up in the pinnacles of the pacing and trotting calendar is something different altogether! This year the NZSBA added to the evening recognition to the breeders of Dominion Handicap nominees. Many of the breeders & connections of the Cup and Dominion runners were on hand to receive their breeding recognition certificates.
NZSBA members who bred Group or Listed race winners on both sides of the Tasman were also duly recognised. On the back of stellar seasons from their progeny, Trevor Casey and Mary & Paul Kenny (on behalf of Charles Roberts)were almost in need of wheelbarrows to safely make their way home after receiving enough silverware and glassware to fill a small house. All in all, NZSBA members bred 61 New Zealand Group or Listed race winners with a total of 34 being won across the ditch!
Click here to see a complete list of award winners.
John & Judy Stiven were up next to receive the Broodmare of Excellence award from the sponsor’s representitive, PGG Wrightsons Peter Lagan.
“That came as a big surprise – it was a bolt from the blue and a bigger thrill than Arden Rooney winning the Cup” Stiven later said.
Winter Rose has been a fantastic broodmare for the Stiven family and to go on and see another of their ‘Arden’ progeny win the cup a day later was surely a tremendous thrill.
Last but certainly not least, attendees put their hands together for the connections of a mare that stole the hearts of racegoers throughout Australasia. Mary & Paul Kenny were back on their feet, on behalf of Mary’s father Charles, to accept from NZSBA Chairman John Mooney the miniature New Zealand Cup in honour of Adore Me's fantastic win in last year’s race.
While Charlie Roberts was unable to be in attendance, his daughter spoke to the audience about how much the grand mare’s achievements meant to Charles and the family, and how the horses have continued to give Mr Roberts a boost when his health has at times not been the best.
The NZSBA would like to extend its appreciation to it sponsors NRM, represented by Dougal Scott and PGG Wrightson with Peter Lagan, together with Armstrong Prestige for the use of their facility.