Leaf Stride Extend Fabulous Family Record (2)

Leaf Stride Extends Fabulous Family Record (2)

Bruce Stewart

30th August 2020

Debutante three year old trotter Leaf Stride lived up to his reputation when he won easily at Addington on Friday night.

The Love You gelding was bred by Winton breeder Michelle Caig and is out of Sun Mist, a Sundon daughter of champion mare Merinai.

Leaf Stride as a yearling – Photo Chelsea Faithful

From gate one driver Matty Williamson pushed Leaf Stride out of the mobile gate and straight to the front. He had to withstand a lightning move by Venus Tyron in the last 800 metres, then a late run on the inside by Royal Pride, but he held out the latter to win by a  length and a quarter.

“He had to show a bit of bottle to cope with it. Sometimes they can show good ability at home but when the race pressure comes on its different. He showed us he can handle it, which was good,” said trainer Phil Williamson.

Leaf Stride was bought at the New Zealand National Yearling Sales last year for $90,000 by Emilio and Mary Rosati (at the time named All Heart – named after Merinai) and Williamson says he was a bit of a handful to get organised.

Leaf Stride with Michelle Caig at the SBSR Yearling Parade – Photo Bruce Stewart

“He had a lot of behaviour issues to start with. Stephen and John Boyd broke him in and a big thanks must go to them because they did all the hard work to get him sorted.”

Leaf Stride had won three of his four trials prior to running at Addington.

The Rosatis also own Ultimate Stride, the winner of the 2019 Group One Breeders Crown at Melton which he won by 37.8 metres. Both horses are by Love You out of Sundon mares but that’s where the comparisons end.

“Ultimate Stride was big and powerful, liked to assert that over you, great mannered and he didn’t have any issues around manners. Leaf Stride was the opposite and was very tough to get going but now he’s pretty normal. Although when we took him to Addington he was very hesitant, like he didn’t want to walk across the pavement. Just little things like that. I think he has a fear of things but we’re getting there and he’s a lovely horse. I like him.”

Williamson says Leaf Stride will have his next start in the Haras des Trotteurs New Zealand Sires Stakes at Addington on September 25th.

“He’s a big horse and needs to fill out. We’ll only have three races this side of Christmas and that’ll be it. He’s a talented horse who is quite fast, trots nicely so he ticks all the boxes really but he just has to keep developing in the right direction.”

As a broodmare Leaf Strides’ mother Sun Mist has left eight winners from ten foals of racing age.

Her biggest winner has been Sonofearl which won twenty two races and $117,798. Other winners include Pretty Sunday (15), Stuey D (12), Rosemma (10) and He’s Like The Wind (6).

In all Sun Mist has left the winners of seventy two races.

And in a fortuitous move her latest foal, a yearling colt by Pegasus Spur named Flying Without Wings, was purchased this week (prior to Leaf Strides debut) by Riverton fisherman Neville Cleaver. He’ll be broken in and trained by Nathan Williamson.

“Neville’s been a very good client of mine and he deserves a top trotter. He’s been under bidder twice on two of my horses at the sales. I didn’t really want to sell him before the yearling sales but one good turn deserves another and that’s the way I work. Nathan and Neville always come down and check out my weanlings and yearlings,” said Caig.

Caig said Sun Mist is currently empty and will go to Ready Cash stallion Bold Eagle in October.

“She’s got one or two more foals in her and she loves having babies. She didn’t want to be a race horse and often those unraced mares can be the best to breed from.”

And once Sun Mist is retired the succession plan is to breed from She’s Like The Wind, a one win Majestic Son daughter of Sun Mist.

“Arna Donnelly has done a great job sorting her out. She’ll have her last start at Auckland on Friday night and then go to Speeding Spur.”

Shes Like The Wind winning by eight and three quarter lengths in track record time at Omakau

Meanwhile qualifying trials and workouts were held at the Central Southland Raceway at Winton yesterday.

A Rocknroll Dance gelding Jaccka Cooper beat The Hustler in his qualifying heat. The four year old is trained by Brett Gray and was driven by Brent Barclay.

Jaccka Cooper (outside) beating The Hustler – Photo Bruce Stewart

Mr Clooney a recent transfer to Tony Stratford’s Gore stable lead all the way to win a Non-Winners Workout from Arizona Doll.

Mr Clooney winning his workout – Photo Bruce Stewart

Bridesdale Robyn got up in the last few strides to beat pacemaker Tact Maggie in the up to R83 heat.

Bridesdale Robyn (outside) beating Tact Maggie – Photo Bruce Stewart

Promising type The High Ruler won his Non-Winners Workout easily for Brent Barclay. The Bettor’s Delight gelding impressed when qualifying earlier in the month.

The High Ruler winning his heat – Photo Bruce Stewart