Steve and Steffi Cornwall have bred two Group One winning trotters, but it was last Friday’s low-key cold, old meeting at Alexandra Park that will forever stay in their minds.
For the first time in almost 30 years of producing squaregaiters, the Pukekohe couple bred their first quinella at ‘Northern Headquarters’ in Friday’s eighth race – the $9,000 Balle Brothers Handicap for the Maiden Up to R49 trotters.
Previously, with John Ewen, they had bred the Tuhimata Glass and Steffi Glass quinella at Cambridge Raceway in April 2009.
"We are 'trotting tragics' and Friday was so special for Steffi and me. We started breeding from our first trotting mare - Top Girl (William Tuft - Royal Matron) when we came up from the South Island in 1990.
"And I had the best seat in the house to watch the race. It was a hell of a way to watch a winner," Cornwall (Steve) said after leading then trailing Mass Destruction throughout the journey.
Cornwall almost trained and drove his first winner of the season but he and Anzac couldn't get anywhere near the Bernie Hackett and Michelle Wallis trained Mass Destruction (Maurice McKendry), who ran away to win by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
"Maurie told me later he was almost too scared to pull the plugs because I was making too much noise. It was a great feeling all right.
“I wasn't sure if we hung on for second or not, but when I did find out, it was honestly one of my most satisfying moments in harness racing," Cornwall said.
The Cornwalls own and bred Anzac, and also bred and co-own Mass Destruction with Nancy Hackett, Peter and Janet, and Alan & Donna Wapp.
Mass Destruction and Anzac are from different families.
Mass Destruction, who is by Muscle Mass, is the 13th and last foal out of the qualified, unraced Chiola Hanover mare, Tijuana Glass, who, being from the open class mare Kathy Glass, was a full sister to Darz Dream (T1.58.8) and Czech Me Out (1.58.2) and a half to Gypsy Glass (six wins), the dam of Reine Des Gitans (six wins to date and $53,000).
“Graeme Mackie bred the first four foals and then John Ewen with us bought the mare off him in foal to Dr Ronerail and Steffi Glass was the result. We sold her at the yearling sales to Kevin Walker and she won three races for him. She is currently in foal to Dream Vacation.
"Her earlier foals were quite successful as well. Titian Glass (by Pernod Eden) won three races and Titian Sun (by Sundon) won five in New Zealand both for Wayne Thomas.
“Titian Sun won a further five in Australia and over $50k. Susan (by Straphanger) won eight for John Ewen and was ‘Two-Year Old Trotting Filly of her Year." Cornwall said.
The next foal from Tijuana Glass was the 2005 Malabar Maple colt, Kyvalley Alley who won nine races in Australia.
The Cornwalls and Ewen put Tijuana Glass back to Malabar Maple the following year and Tuhimata Glass was the result. He won three of his 17 starts in New Zealand and finished a slightly unlucky third in the first 2-year old Ruby at the Harness Jewels. He then won a further 19 races in Australia.
His greatest success came in the Group One Breeders Crown 2yo Trot Final at Melton in 2009.
Tuhimata Glass raced 101 times and won $274,080 in stakes.
Tijuana Glass’s 2008 Sundon colt Aldebaran Shades sold to Duncan McPherson in Australia for $27,500 at the Karaka Yearling Sale and when trained by Chris Lang went on to win 17 of his 43 starts and $192,610.
His biggest win came in the Group One 2012 New South Wales Trotters Derby.
“She was a wonderful mare and Mass Destruction is the best of her remaining foals. Sadly we had to put her down due to old age in 2014.
“Her progeny have won 74 races and almost $675,000 to date. Mass Destruction has a nice future and Bernie and Michelle have got him going really well. He had a few too many tricks for me as a two year including destroying my race cart and jumping a fence at the Pukekohe training track hence the shift to Waiuku. They have done a great job sorting his head out.
“As for Anzac he is the grandson of our foundation mare, Top Girl. I'd love to win a race with Anzac because he is such a cool dude to have around the stable. He actually went back to the workouts at Pukekohe the next day to be a pacemaker for our unqualified two year old." said Cornwall.
Anzac is the fifth of six foals from the three win Evander’s Gold mare Immortality who won all her races at Alexandra Park, the first of which provided Cornwall with his first winning drive.
Her first foal was a gelding by Falcon’s Icon qualified at both gaits and her second the mare Immortal Beloved (by Pegasus Spur) who won two at Auckland when trained by Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett.
Immortal Beloved’s only foal to date is a two year grey gelding by Monkey Bones also trained by Bernie and Michelle who has had a couple of workouts to date and is showing promise. She may be put to stud again next season, stallion to be decided.
The Cornwalls together with old friends Tony Grayling (studmaster at Woodlands Stud) and his wife Leanne have been fortunate enough to have been lent Kamwood Elsie to breed a foal and she is safely in foal to Bettor’s Delight. The resultant progeny will be a full to four year pacing mare of the year and Harness Jewels winner, Lancewood Lizzie, and the Cornwalls and Graylings are understandably excited about that.
“Next step for Anzac is to be broken to saddle as the future for saddle trots looks very bright with an exhibition Monte programmed for Alexandra Park on May 26 and hopefully tote races to follow in due course.
“All and all the future of straight trotting particularly in north looks very promising. History was made at the Auckland meeting on May 5 with five races of each gait and more trotters than pacers in attendance,” Cornwall said.