Genetics Key To Taffy Operation

Genetics Key To Taffy Operation

Bruce Stewart

Since 2014 Southlanders Todd and Fleur Anderson have been buying Standardbred bloodstock in a well-researched and measured way.

Five Bangles (Bettor’s Delight – Beaudiene Bad Babe filly)

Todd, who is heavily into genetics due to his stud stock background in sheep, cattle and deer, has applied that way of thinking to every purchase and over the past six years the Andersons have acquired some of New Zealand’s best broodmares.

Todd’s family background doesn’t feature harness racing at all. In fact he was a city boy with a yearning for the country, and it was a pathway he was determined to follow.

“I grew up in town (Invercargill) but wanted to go farming because I loved animals,” he said.

Racing was a feature in his early life.

“I’ve always enjoyed the races. Dad and my uncle Alister Hopkinson (former All Black) used to listen to races while they were peeling spuds when we were away on holiday in the summer.”

Fleur also fondly remembers going to the races. Her fathers’ family lived at Leeston where her grandfather was a stock agent for Dalgetys.

“Going to Motukarara was part of my racing experience that’s for sure,” she said.

After completing his secondary years at James Hargest High School Todd headed off to Lincoln University and living in Canterbury gave him access to racing at Addington.

“It was the time Il Vicolo was going well and we’d go to the Cup because we’d finished our exams,” he said.

Todd graduated in 1995 with a Batchelor of Agricultural Commerce, majoring in Farm Management and Rural Valuation and then he headed into the rural finance sector where he worked for ten years.

Based at the BNZ Offices in Invercargill he said he picked up lots of advice that would serve him well in later years.

“A client of mine said ‘an opportunity normally knocks once. You choose whether you take it or not’.”

After his time with the bank Todd has worked for local company Wrightson Real Estate selling rural property.

They moved to their current property east of Centre Bush in March 2009.

On their 325ha’s they run Romney and Southdown Sheep Stud, cattle and breed red deer for velvet. They also have interests in dairying.

So with all these commitments, is there room or desire to have mares and foals on farm?

“We have a busy family life, especially with the kids and their activities, I’m not saying never, however at the moment we haven’t got the time. We think we’re very lucky that we’ve got people looking after our horses who have great skills. I’m not professing to have those skills.”

So to the horses.

In May 2014 Todd and Fleur purchased their first broodmare Beaudiene Bad Babe. Bred in Western Southland by Dave Kennedy, the Badland’s Hanover mare was a true Southland favourite. She ultimately won twenty two races and earned $404,898 in stakes.

“We were really stoked to get her. One of the races I love the most of all her wins was when she won at Cambridge the week before the Jewels. She got parked three wide. We didn’t own her then but you could watch that a few times and get a real thrill. She was as tough as.”

Beaudiene Bad Babe’s wins included the Group One Harness Jewels Four Year Old Diamond, Southland Oaks and the Caduceus Club Premier Mares Championship (twice).

“I thought I might have done something with horses when I was in my 60s. Fleur has always been very supportive and she said ‘you never know what life brings.’ She’s probably rueing the day she said that.”

Beaudiene Bad Babe winning the 2011 Premier Mares Classic at Addington – Photo: Race Images

As a broodmare Beaudiene Bad Babe hasn’t had too much luck.

So it is so pleasing to see the very promising Bad To The Bone race, he has won two races and placed second in the PGGW Sales Final (Listed) in a short career  and is the broodmare’s first racehorse.

After Beaudiene Bad Babe, Cheer The Lady was Todd and Fleur’s next purchase.

“Someone said to me, what would be good now is to get hold of an Oaks winner. We bought her back from America. Barry Purdon trained her and she won the Oaks and The Breeders Crown.

Cheer The Lady winning the 2012 New Zealand Oaks at Addington – Photo: Race Images.

Through this early buying processes Fleur saw firsthand the amount of study Todd put into each pedigree and it reminded her of the early part of their relationship.

“When I first met Todd he wanted to get into the stud sheep game. One of the top breeders in New Zealand was selling his sheep. Todd had the catalogue and knew what he wanted.

“When I bought those stud sheep I basically bought the top families. I do look at type but I think you’ve got a better chance when you’ve got a pedigree as well,” Todd added.

The Andersons had the assistance of experienced Bloodstock Agent Paul Davies to do the negotiations and finalise the deals.

They also seek the advice of Bloodstock agent Peter Lagan who’s been in the industry for 45 years and there’s no one that knows pedigrees like Peter, Todd added.

Alabar’s Graeme Henley has also provided Todd with plenty of good advice.

“Graeme’s been amazing. There are just so many good people out there. You just hope coming into the industry that you can mix with some of those people. I think it’s really exciting.”

Another mare they purchased in 2015 was The Fascinator which was trained by Tony Herlihy.

After winning the Listed Northern Mares Classic, Todd and Fleur bought the Bettor’s Delight mare and at her first start for her new owners she won the North Island Breeders Stakes.

“Tony said we could still race her through the winter. We never got to see her race but Fleur’s family who in Auckland all went to the races and met Tony. They had two or three nights at Alexandra Park when she won. That was a fantastic experience,” said Fleur.

Safedra (Mach Three) is a mare they bought in 2017 and she’s doing a fantastic job for the Andersons. Her Bettor’s Delight daughter Dr Susan recently completed a successful three race campaign in Australia, winning the Group Two Raith Memorial in 1-52.1 and then taking out the 2020 Victoria Oaks Final – a $150,000 Group One race at Melton.

Other mares on the books are Tandias Bromac (Art Major), De Lovely (Falcon Seelster), Imaginary Bet (Bettor’s Delight), Shimmy Shoes (Bettor’s Delight), Gotta Go Harmony (Christian Cullen), Supersonic Miss (Mach Three), Te Amo Bromac (Mach Three), Joanne’s A Delight (Bettor’s Delight) and Spanish Armada (Bettor’s Delight).

De Lovely winning the 2011 New Zealand Breeders Stakes – Photo: Race Images

Joanne’s A Delight, Spanish Armada and Cheers The Lady all have Art Major colts in this month’s Auckland sale.

The Anderson’s philosophy when getting into Standardbred breeding was to target nice, well-bred mares.

“If you buy a nice page (pedigree page) it can never change. It does cost quite a bit to get a yearling to the sales therefore to make it more viable you probably needed to target the upper bracket. There’s an old saying – if you’ve got a dog in a kennel thats poorly bred it costs the same to feed it as a well-bred dog. So I’d sooner have the well-bred one. Horses can come from anywhere but I still believe in maternal lines.”

He says regardless of the pedigree page the yearling still has to be well put together and correct.

“You still have to have an article to sell which is not always guaranteed. I think that’s what we’ve tried to do. If you’ve got a strong page and an article it gives you a fair chance of getting a good result.”

Under their company name “Taffy” colts and fillies from their mares are on the market.

“We set ourselves up to be yearling sellers.”

But he said they may keep some fillies at some point.

At a time when a number of breeders have got out of the industry the Andersons have been a welcome addition to the breeding and yearling sales ranks.

“My grandfather used to say ‘when someone is going one way go the other.’ But we’re now at a stage where we don’t have to rush to buy mares.”

One thing he is passionate about is giving fillies and mares more racing opportunities because too many are being lost overseas.

In addition to pacing mares the Andersons own a number a well-bred trotting mares including Angus Hall mare Petite One. She raced only twenty nine times over five seasons, winning seven races. She was good enough to win a race as a two year old.

Petite One winning at Addington in November 2017 – Photo: Race Images

Her pedigree goes back to Pride Of Petite the winner of thirty five races, and globetrotting mare Petite Evander the winner of twenty one races in New Zealand, twenty six in North America and one in Sweden.

Anderson says Petite One has been served by Tactical Landing – a son of Muscle Hill who is out of Southwind Serena a daughter of Varenne.

“He (Varenne) was a French stallion who they reckon was the best trotter the world has ever seen.”

Other trotting mares include Eilish Aimee (Love You) who’s in foal to Father Patrick, San Diego Love (Love You) whose been served by Andover Hall and Angus Hall mare Missandei, which is in foal to Love You.

Missandei winning at Addington November 2018 – Photo: Race Images

“Love You is coming to the end of his career and when you go through (the stud book) most of his mares are in Australia.”

Most of the Taffy mares are located in the South Island and up until recently were looked after by David Shadbolt in Canterbury.

“David’s got to a stage where he didn’t want to foal mares anymore so we’ve got our mares out with Laura Smith at Cust. We’re very lucky. She’s a lovely lady and very good with the mares and the foals.”

In the past, good friends Robert and Sandy Mitchell at Raglan have prepared the Andersons yearlings for the Auckland Sales.

“This is their last yearling sale and they’re preparing one of their own. Robert said ‘I wish you’d driven up the drive ten years ago.”

Consequently this year for the first time Todd and Fleur’s North Island draft is been prepped by Logan Hollis and Shane Robertson.

Also for the first time one of their yearlings is being prepared in the South under the Southern Bred Southern Reared banner.

This came about when Todd was talking to fellow southern breeder Phil Creighton who was looking to find a mare with a filly foal to run with his mare who had a filly foal.

Todd has recently joined the committee of the Southland Standardbred Breeders Association and doesn’t rule out more of his stock being prepared in the area.

“I think SBSR is awesome. There are some really lovely horses being bred in Southland.”

The Andersons have small shares in the following two fillies,  Platinum (Art Major – De Lovely) which qualified recently at Cambridge and Mia Ragazza (Art Major – Te Amo Bromac).

They’re also members of the Own the Moment Syndicate formed by Southland trainer Kirk Larsen and his wife Michelle.

The syndicate have a promising two year old Somebeachsomewhere gelding Oneloveonelife  and a Mach Three gelding McLaren.

“Michelle and Kirk have done a great thing. We went into that solely because we thought ‘good on them for introducing more people to harness racing,” said Todd.

Between bringing up a family of teenagers, running a busy farm and thinking about their Standardbred breeding and racing stock life is pretty full on for Todd and Fleur Anderson.

With the yearling sales fast approaching the work has been done and in the next two weeks buyers will decide what their ten nicely bred yearlings will sell for.

The page will turn to a new chapter, and no doubt there’ll be more exciting times to come.

Taffy Limited Yearlings – 2020

Auckland 16th and 17th February

  • Lot 3: Hoppy’s Way – colt by Art Major out of Joanne’s A Delight.

  • Lot 42: Maddy’s Nino – colt by Art Major out of Spanish Armada.

  • Lot 77: Mitch (named after Robert Mitchell) – colt by Art Major out of Cheers The Lady.

Christchurch 18th and 19th February

  • Lot 239: Allegra – filly by Bettor’s Delight out of Safedra.

  • Lot 246: Dance Till Dawn – filly by Art Major out of Shimmy Shoes.
  • Lot 263: Take A Bow – filly by Captaintreacherous out of The Fascinator.
  • Lot 276: Taieri Express – filly by Bettor’s Delight out of Tandias Bromac.
  • Lot 313: Five Bangles – filly by Bettor’s Delight out of Beaudiene Bad Babe

  • Lot 337: Emmy – filly by Bettor’s Delight out of De Lovely.
  • Lot 378: Blameitonthenight – colt by Bettor’s Delight out of Gotta Go Harmony.