Kaiapoi breeder Colin Hair is rapt he never took his vet’s advice and had his broodmare – Stardon – put down when she was a yearling back in 1998.
And because of that life-saving decision, Hair, who is the Treasurer of the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Association and also Harness Racing New Zealand, may get to fulfill a lifetime ambition later this year.
“It has always been a dream of mine to line up a young trotter at Redwood Day in Maryborough. It might not happen but I have already touched base with Matty Craven in Australia.
“I think I have a trotter who would go all right there,” said Hair, who is also the breeder’s rep on Harness Racing New Zealand.
The Hair owned and bred Sundees Son won his second race from two starts when convincingly winning the $8,000 Woodlands Racing Syndicates Mobile for 2-year-old trotters at Addington Raceway back in late February (23).
The Robert Dunn trained and Ross Houghton driven bay gelding bolted in by 4-1/4 lengths. He was the $3.40 favourite.
That victory came 13 days after the son of Majestic Son and Stardon won by 1-1/4 lengths on debut, also at Addington. That night he was the $4.40 second favourite.
"I've waited a long time to get a nice 2-year-old and I think I've got finally got one. I'd love to start him in the Jewels, but redwood Day would be a dream. That race-day has always been a bit special to me," said 65-year-old Hair.
Hair started breeding in 1996 from the late Pernod Eden squaregaiter, Chiquita Dee.
“I bought her at the All Age Sales for $1,500. She had left three foals before I purchased her. Stardon was my first foal and she was born in late 1997.
“But when she was one she rolled under a fence and ripped her leg to the bone. My vet said it would be best to put her down but I thought the breed was worth persevering with so I boxed her for six month and she got around on three legs for several months.
“When she was about three-and-a-half I put her on the jogger and then when she was four-and-half she won her first race at Nelson (June 2002),” Hair said.
“I rang the vet and told him soon after,” he joked.
The Bevan Heron (Rangiora) trained Stardon went on to win two more races at Blenheim and Addington in 2002 but two further injuries to her leg and shoulder ensured her retirement in February 2004. She won three of her 21 starts and ran second in two others.
“I bred another five foals from Chiquita Dee, and the last one - Uncas (by Sundon) was the best horse Ihave owned and raced.
"He won 10 races and more than $100,000 races for me in New Zealand before we exported him to Australia in December 2015. He's won another six for Matt Craven, and lined up on Miracle Mile night," Hair said.
"I would so much loved to win the double that weekend. That would have made my day but it was not to be with Uncas running a good third," he added.
[For the record the Craven trained and driven Uncas finished third behind another former Kiwi, the Nicole Molander trained Dead Cat Bounce in the $54,000 Group One Australian Pacing Gold Trotters Cup at Menangle.]
Stardon has left six foals for Hair. Sundees Son is the fifth while an unregistered full brother (by Majestic Son) was born late last year.
"I could race him or I might take him to next year's yearling sales. I've got high hopes for him after what his older brother has achieved in his two races so far," Hair said.
"I've always believed in the breed. I'm just so glad I never took the vets advice," he insisted.
Stardon's first foal, a 2006 Earl filly name Malbec was given away, while the next one - Latent (also by Earl) won two of his 61 starts and placed 15 times.
Foal three, Marianne (by Monkey Bones) was a lovely, beautiful grey filly, but according to Dunn just couldn't keep up.
Then came a 2012 filly who was appropriately named, Malia. She was by The Pres and was named after Barack Obama's eldest daughter.
"She was a dark bay but never made it as a racehorse. "
“I’m really enjoying breeding at the moment especially after Sundees Son’s consecutive wins. I’ve often wondered on frosty old winter mornings when I was feeding out whether it was all worth it, but on hindsight it sure has been.
For his troubles Hair won two NZMTC Met Breeder’s Bonuses of $500 each available to financial members of NZSBA as at 31 August. Last season the Met paid out over $90,000 in bonuses and has recently advised The Breeders that the scheme will be in place next season.
Sundee's Son has been nominated for this Sunday's two-year-old trot at Methven where he will look to improve upon his unbeaten sequence.