Paul and Mandy Pearce

Pearce Passion

Bruce Stewart

Waimumu breeder Paul Pearce has been a stock agent for the last twelve years, and was a wool buyer prior to that.  But outside of work he’s always had a passion for horses and this year he’s prepared two nice colts for the National Sale in Christchurch.

“When Brent (McIntyre) bought Jaccka Lodge (now Macca Lodge) I spent a lot of time up there. You just get the bug,” he said.

However Paul Pearce’s connections to horses and the McIntyre family goes further back when his father managed the Southland Farmers Co-op farm which was next door to the McIntyre farm. Paul said his father Trevor raced gallopers, although without much success.

He was also good friends with the late Kenny Milne from Balclutha and he went to Lincoln University with Milne’s son Johnny.

Kenny Milne bred horses for many years and owned and raced New Zealand Oaks winner Young Eden.

When he was young Pearson dabbled in ownership and the first horse he raced was Badland’s Hanover gelding Lets Go Frankie. He raced him in partnership with McIntyre and fellow PGG Wrightson’s stock agent Craig Milne.

Lets Go Frankie won a race at Wyndham for the trio in November 2005 before he went to Australia where he won another five races.

Pearce also bred from Young Jiggs a daughter of Young Eden sending her to Attorney General and the resulting colt Young Reggie had three starts for no rewards for trainer Lindsay Wilson.

“We were breeding stuff we shouldn’t have been but you’ve got to start somewhere.”

The trio also raced Washington VC mare Susie Blue (Washington VC – Ginny Dale) which they leased off Bill Keeler. She won three races before heading to Aussie.

“Mandy and I got married young, we had our children young and we couldn’t afford horses. But I followed Brent’s horses like Bonnies Lass and Just Jazzan.”

Paul and Mandy now farm 35 acres at Waimumu in Eastern Southland close to where Ken McRae trained horses for a good number of years, and just down the road from the site of the Waimumu Field Days.

“Mandy plays a big part in the hands on stuff with the horses. When they come back from Macca Lodge as weanlings we do as much work as possible. We box them every night over winter just to get that one on one handling of them. When they’re small they’re easy to do things with. A lot of people leave it until spring to get the yearlings in. I have no problems taking them up to Macca Lodge in the float during the day to get their feet trimmed and getting them to just stand there.”

Mandy is a school teacher at St Peters College in Gore but as her love for horses has grown she’s become more involved.

“Mandy actually took a year off teaching and did the foaling night shift at Macca Lodge this season. I’m really lucky she likes her horses because many (partners) don’t especially when the bills start coming in.”

But it’s not the first time the Pearces have taken stock to the sales.

Paul bred and prepared Cozin Change (Changeover – Corzanello) for the 2016 Sale of the Stars after borrowing Corzanello off Jill Smolenski. Cozin Change was a half-brother to big Australian winner I’m Corzin Terror. His wins included the 2014 Ballarat Pacing Cup.

Cozin Change was passed in on a reserve of $25,000 and he went to Australia where he won two races in a short career.

The couple now own three broodmares Tipsy Too, Luminesce and Elegant As and the two colts they’re presenting at the sales are by Bettor’s Delight out of Luminesce and Art Major out of Tipsy Too.

The Bettor’s Delight colt out of Luminesce – Photo supplied.

The Art Major colt out of Tipsy Too – Photo supplied

Tipsy Too is out of the In The Pocket mare Dontdrinkthendrive and is part of the Party Party family. She was bought at the Auckland Sales for $21,000.

“We didn’t race her. She just needed a bit of time. At that point things weren’t looking that good in the racing world so we decided to breed from her. I was at Diamonds Day talking to Hazel van Opzeeland and she talked to me about going to Sweet Lou at Woodlands Stud, and that’s who we sent the mare too.”

The resulting foal is Renegade Rose.

Renegade Rose winning at Wyndham – Photo Bruce Stewart

Luminesce was purchased in 2012 after they’d started to think seriously about buying some quality stock.

“We (had to) decide whether we were going to be in or out. It was in and we thought we’d give it a decent go and buy a good broodmare.”

So after months of study Paul headed to the Christchurch Sale with Brent McIntyre.

They had a number of fillies marked to view and possibly bid on, but the Mach Three filly Luminesce who was out of class mare One Dream, initially wasn’t one of them.

“We had no intentions of buying her. Of course we saw her in the catalogue. Mac and I looked at a few others. Jill (breeder Jill Smolenski) had no photos on the website and the horse wasn’t at the parade. So on the day of the Sales I said to Mac that we’d better go and have a look at this filly out of One Dream. We walked round the corner and thought ‘shit.’ I couldn’t stop thinking about her.”

On pedigree alone Pearce thought Luminesce would go for in excess of $50,000 and that was making him nervous so as any good man does, he rang Mandy to get final sign off on the budget.

“I could ring her 100 times and never get hold of her. But I got hold of her this day and said I’d found a horse I really want to buy but it was going to be out of our league. I was hoping she would say no but she said she’d just go with what I said.”

When Lot 123 entered the ring the nerves were starting to ramp up.

“There was really only me and another person bidding on her. It was the most nerve racking thing I’ve even done in my life. I remember standing against some trellising and my heart was going and the trellising stopped it from jumping out.”

Pearce was ultimately the last man standing and Luminesce was theirs for $45,000.

She was broken in by Brent McIntyre and entrusted to Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adams. Paul’s father Trevor when to school with Adams, and they liked the way he turned his horses out.

“She qualified by a second and there was nothing flash in that. We talked about whether we should turn her out and bring her back as a three year old. But Wayne said the speed was there so he worked her harder in the next week. She went to the Workouts and bolted in so we went to Forbury for a heat of the Sires Stakes which she won.”

She beat Raksdeal by a neck running the 1700 metres in 2-04.6 – it’s still a track record.

At the end of her first season she raced in the 2013 Two Year Old Diamond at the Harness Jewels finishing eleventh behind winner Venus Serena.

As a three year old Luminesce won her first two starts before running a fifth and a third. She was then taken north to Addington.

“We went to Christchurch for the Sales Series race and she got a virus. We thought she was going to die that night, it took her quite a while to get over that and she only had five starts as a three year old.”

She came back at four and only had another four starts.

“She ran on Invitation Drivers Day at Ascot Park and Kerryn Manning who drove her said she was a bit knobby in her prelim. In her next two starts she went terrible but we didn’t realise she’d split a bone in her knee.”

Luminesce warming up at Ascot Park with Kerryn Manning – Photo Bruce Stewart

Consequently Luminesce was retired and sent to Art Major.

She lost that foal after he was born premature and only lasted a few days. Her second foal, a filly by Bettor’s Delight got to the stage of being weaned but developed septicemia and also died. So the Bettor’s Delight sales colt is actually her first foal beyond weaning.

The Pearce’s also own six year old Rocknroll Hanover mare Elegant As which is out of Tuapeka Maddy. She was purchased from Dan Cummings at Tuapeka Lodge. Her first foal is an Art Major filly.

Not one to stand still, Paul was also at the Christchurch Sale last year and bought another filly – Millwood Kelly (Bettor’s Delight – Idolise) for $27,500.

Idolise is by American Idol and won one race from thirteen starts. She’s a half-sister to Idealindiamonds (8 New Zealand wins and 5 Australian wins), Am Opulent (18 wins) and Dibaba (7 wins including the Sires Stakes Northern Mares Classic, Premier Mares Championship and Southland Oaks).

Idolise is out of the Life Sign mare Imprint, was bred by Aidan Johnstone and is owned by Katie Carville.

“When I bought Luminesce the one I had my eye on was a horse called Idolise which is Millwood Kelly’s mother but it was withdrawn.”

They also have two horses in work with Gore trainer Tony Stratford – Renegade Rose and Braeview Kelly (formally Millwood Kelly).

“We actually entered her (Renegade Rose) for the Sales and she didn’t make it. I was told it was because it was by a first season sire from an unproven family.”

Paul still gives Bloodstock Agent Peter Lagan plenty of stick about that decision.

From just seven starts this season Renegade Rose has won once, run second twice and third four times. Her placings have been behind quality fillies Stylish Memphis, Sugar Loaf and Plutonium Lady.

“She’s a big filly but she’s always been in proportion.”

Paul and Mandy Pearce are a fine example of a couple with a shared passion, using resilience and optimism to make their way in the harness world.