Sentimental sale for Wentwood Grange

Lot 187, the Proisir colt out of Group One-producing mare Leigh Valley.   - Photo: Supplied
Lot 187, the Proisir colt out of Group One-producing mare Leigh Valley.

Photo: Supplied

By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

It will be a sentimental sale for Wentwood Grange at Karaka this year, with brothers Sean, Leigh, and Dean offering the final foal out of the mare that kicked everything off for the trio.

Leigh Valley was the first horse the brothers raced together, and she gave them a great introduction to the sport, winning five of her 18 starts, including the Gr.3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m).

They retained the daughter of Bianconi and bred some nice horses out of the mare, including Valley Girl, who won the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m), and placed in the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) for trainers Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs.

The brothers hold fond memories of the mare and are feeling nostalgic as they offer her Proisir colt through their New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft as lot 187.

“Leigh Valley was the first horse Dean, Leigh and I got involved in 20-odd years ago,” Sean Hawkins said.

“She went on to win a Group Three and she left a Group One winner in Valley Girl.

“This is her very last foal. We went to Proisir to get the Danehill Dancer, the same as Valley Girl. We were hoping for a filly that we could retain and breed from, but she gave us a colt. He is a really good-looking colt, and it is very special for us to offer her very last one at Karaka.”

Wentwood Grange will also offer a colt out of Valley Girl by The Autumn Sun, who will go through the sale ring as lot 505.

“The Autumn Sun is just starting to hit his straps,” Hawkins said. “We have done the mating twice and the first one, Usk Valley, has had three starts for two placings and looks very promising. Hopefully there will be an update there in the future. She has certainly shown that she has got a bit of ability.”

Hawkins is also looking forward to offering lot 280, the filly out of their Group Two winner Our Abbadean, from the first crop of Cambridge Stud shuttle stallion Hello Youmzain.

“She is a ripper. She is a good mover with a lovely, deep girth, a beautiful head on her, and she is very well balanced,” he said.

“We have got two Hello Youmzains in the draft and we are really happy with both.”

Manzoice became the first Group One winner for fellow Cambridge Stud shuttler Almanzor when he took out the 2022 edition of the Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m), and Wentwood Grange are excited to offer his full-sister (lot 654) through their draft.

“Stephanie Hole, the breeder of Manzoice, has bred a full-sister and we are lucky that she is offering her up for sale. It is nice to have such a well-credentialed filly in the draft,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins is also excited about the prospects of lot 399, the Circus Maximus half-brother to Group One winner Licketysplit.

“He is a fantastic mover, he has got a massive overstep. He is probably the best mover in our draft,” he said. “He is beautifully balanced.”

Wentwood Grange are offering 30 yearlings through their Book 1 draft by a variety of stallions, and Hawkins is buoyed by the level of enthusiasm at Karaka ahead of the sale, which kicks off at 10am on Sunday.

“We have got a wide variety of stallions. One of the benefits of not having our own stallion is that we can pick and choose the stallions for our mares, and that gives us a nice diverse range,” Hawkins said.

“The (stakes and NZB Kiwi slot race) announcements made earlier this week have been outstanding. Domestically there is a bit more chatter and excitement. The Australians have had it for a long time, but the way New Zealand horses have performed in Australia over the last 12 to 18 months has brought them over in their droves by the look of it.

“It is nice to see plenty of people floating about and the horses seem to be coming out of their boxes quite a lot, so we can’t ask for much more than that.” LOVERACING.NZ News Desk