Local Owners Win Aussie Group One

Local Owners Win Aussie Group One

Bruce Stewart

21st November 2021

There’s a McKenzie family in Southland that has long been associated with thoroughbreds.  However, one of it’s members, Gordon (Boof) McKenzie ventured into standardbreds as well.

Gordon, and long-time friend and standardbred trainer Tony Barron have forged a great partnership, and a successful one. And last night they won a Group One race on Breeders Crown night at Melton in Victoria Australia with their trotting filly Queen Elida taking out the Group One Cobbitty Equine Farm Breeders Crown Series 23 for three-year-old trotting fillies.

She’s owned by McKenzie, his sons Graeme, Blair and Brad, along with Tony and Cheryl Barron. She’s named after McKenzie’s granddaughters Elsie and Ida.

Queen Elida began her career with Barron before he sent her to Australia and former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley.

“It’s terrific when a plan comes off. We planned this sixteen months ago. She was always a very nice filly with a good gait and beautiful manners. People say what a great job Lil (Brent Lilley) has done but we didn’t send over a mug. We sent her over there with the expectation that she’d do a job,” Barron said.

Driven by Chris Alford, Queen Elida settled seventh in the outside running line. At the 700 metres Alford hooked out and pushed Queen Elida forward before managing to slot her into the one one. Just before balancing up for the run home Alford angled the filly out and she let down to the winning line nicely to win by 2.8 metres.

Queen Elida has won ten of her nineteen starts, has earned $123,455 and the win was her third Group One victory in Australia. She also won the Victoria Trotting Oaks and Need for Speed Princess.

After last night’s win Barron and McKenzie have some thinking to do.

“I’ll have a talk to Brent. She’ll have a good spell but I’m not sure whether I leave her there and potter away. I’m actually keen to send her to America and bring her home in foal to the best stallion over there. That’s the big picture. I want to talk to Lil about it and Dexter (Dunn) as well.”

The McKenzie Barron partnership started in 2019 when McKenzie approached the then Southland based trainer to see whether he could get into the sport.

“Boof was always keen to buy a horse. He wanted a pacing horse or gelding, a two or three year old. I watched Queen Kenny go at Wyndham one day. There were a couple of false starts and she still stepped away. My horses were in the day at Wyndham and I asked Phil (who bred Queen Kenny with his wife Bev) if the mare was for sale. He said yes, but he’d want plenty for her. The rest is history.”

Queen Kenny won nine races for the new partnership including the Group Three Greenlane Cup at Alexandra Park in March 2016. She also ran third in the 2016 Group One Rowe Cup won by Monbet.

Queen Kenny after her win at Winton

Queen Elida is the mare’s first foal. Her second foal King Cabbl was taken to the 2020 National Yearling Sales in Christchurch and was a sale topper.

“Her second foal (renamed Toro Stride) broke an Australasian record ($280,000) at the sales.”

Toro Stride qualified for Williamson before transferring over to Australia where he’s had one start running seventh.

“He went awful. He’s been gelded and turned out, which is what he needed. He will win races.”

Barron and McKenzie have a two-year-old full sister to Queen Elida out of the mare.

“She’s named Queen Bee. She hasn’t got the gait or the manners that the other filly has got but she has got a big motor.”

McKenzie has a share in Queen Bee, maiden pacing mare Mary Austin, and he bought into a Bettor’s Delight colt out of Christy Breanna which Barron didn’t sell at this year’s yearling sale.

Since buying Queen Kenny in 2019 McKenzie has won thirty-one races with horses he’s raced with Barron, including Queen Kenny, Queen Elida, Regal Ideal and Cullen Who.

“We’ve had a great run in a very short time.”

Regal Ideal

The Williamsons have had further success with Queen Kenny’s dam Nice One Kenny who’S produced good Australian performers Princess Kenny, the winner of eleven races and Here Comes Kyvalley which has won four.

Nice One Kenny has plenty of pedigree depth. She’s a sister to millionaire trotter One Over Kenny which won thirty-two races, One Under Kenny which won eleven, and One Kenny the winner of nineteen.

Meanwhile Barron’s quality three year old Lifes A Beach has finished her Australian campaign with a disappointing ninth in her Breeders Crown Final on the same night.

“She just went fair. Josh (Dickie) text me and said she pulled a bit. She’ll come home and go to Auckland and race in the Queen of Hearts and the Northern Breeders and then she’ll come back down here for a couple of big races like the Breeders Stakes.”