The Snow Show
Wyndham trainer driver Brendon “Snow” McLellan has been involved in harness racing since the mid-1980s and it was through his association with the late Jim and Irene Holland that he started to become interested in breeding.
“When they came back to Wyndham, Jimmy was jogging up a horse called Boyden’s Beau (Boyden Hanover – Honest Mistress). He’d been up at Terry Mays and had broken down. Jimmy brought him down to the racetrack and I carried on with him. He was the first one,” said McLellan when recounting a long and rewarding friendship with the Hollands.
Boyden’s Beau won his first race at a Southland OTB Trial dead-heating with Truth. It was McLellan’s fourth training win. Boyden’s Beau ended up winning four races.
Honest Mistress was by Honest Master out of Eden’s Pride which was a half-sister to Adios Adieu (11 wins) and Young Beau (5 wins). Also in the pedigree is Air Mail, the foundation mare to the wonderful family developed by Noel Drake.
But it wasn’t until 2002 that McLellan started breeding in partnership with the Hollands and the legacy continues today for Brendon and his wife Megan as six of the eight mares they’re breeding from descend from the two strands of the Holland breed.
“We started with Shania Patron. I said to Jimmy you send the mare to stud, I’ll pay for the service fee and we’ll go halves in the foal. That’s how we started off.”
Shania Patron was by Holmes Hanover out of the El Patron mare Patroness. Patroness also left handy types in No Return (9 wins) and Anna Patron (5 wins).
As a racehorse Shania Patron won seven races. At two she won the 2000 Sires Stakes Fillies Championship Final at Addington which was McLellan’s first group winner as a trainer. She also won the New Zealand Sires Stakes Fillies Championship at Alexandra Park that same season.
At three she won the 2001 Wayne Francis Memorial New Zealand Oaks beating Sparks A Flyin by a nose. That was McLellan’s first Group One trained winner. But at stud she hasn’t quite left stock that have matched her ability.
“She’s been average really. She hasn’t left anything as good as herself.”
The McLellans have a number of unraced stock from the mare so there’s still hope. The mare has a three year old colt by Bettor’s Delight, a two year old filly by Betterthancheddar, A Rocknroll Dance yearling filly and a Terror To Love weanling colt.
They’re also breeding from their quality Washington VC mare It’s Ella. She won sixteen races for Megan and Jimmy and Irene Holland.
She belongs to the other side of the Holland breed which started with Exmoot (Hi Lo Forbes – Tactwyn). It’s a pedigree that belongs to the much famed First Water family and has left champions Noodlum and Tactile and many other top race horses.
Exmoot’s 1984 foal by Son Of Afella was Just Ella which McLellan trained to win six races. Her last foal was It’s Ella.
“She (It’s Ella) showed a fair bit of ability as an early three year old. She had soundness problems all the way through with her tendons. The swimming pool (at the Wyndham track) prolonged her racing career, we were probably lucky to get what we got out of her to be honest.”
It’s Ella’s wins included the $100,000 Group One PGG Wrightson New Zealand Breeders Stakes and the Group Two Caduceus Club of Canterbury Premier Mares Championship (twice).
“The horses that she has left have felt like good horses. Tetrick (Art Major) was a nice horse but he had soundness problems and we couldn’t get on top of them. I think she’s capable of leaving quite a nice one.”
Joe Batters, an eight start maiden by Bettor’s Delight out of It’s Ella, looked promising in his first season of racing and he’s expected to improve when he returns as a four year old in the new season.
“He’s got a bit of ability. He’s just taken a bit of time to come to it. He’s above average.”
It’s Ella also has a two year old Somebeachsomewhere gelding called Running On Empty.
The McLellans are also breeding from one of It’s Ella’s daughters – Falcon Seelster mare Ellakazoo.
“She had a couple of starts and could run a bit but just used to get on her knees so we retired her.”
She has left three fillies – by Bettor’s Delight, A Rocknroll Dance and Terror To Love.
They are also breeding from Holly Patron, a Bettor’s Delight mare out of Shania Patron. Holly Patron won five races. She’s left colts by Mach Three and American Ideal as well as a Sportswriter yearling filly.
“I don’t mind the American Ideal two year old.”
A full sister to Shania Patron, I’m On My Way is also being bred from. As a racehorse she won once from seventeen starts. As a broodmare she’s left Barrack (Badlands Hanover) which won three of his fifteen starts here and another seven in Australia. She’s also the dam of Sammy The Bull -five New Zealand wins and another six races in America.
Also on the list of mares they’re breeding from is Lucy Legacy (Pacific Rocket – Some Legacy). She won seven races and also traces back to Exmoot. Some Legacy won the 1990 Group One DB Draught Fillies Series Final at Addington when trained by Terry May. She was by Niatross stallion Silk Legacy and ended up winning five races.
Lucy Legacy is also doing a good job at stud having already left Luciano the winner of five races. He’s recently been exported to America. She’s also left a colt and a filly by Bettor’s Delight.
Separate from the mares that trace back to the two strands of the Holland breed, the McLellan’s are also breeding from Soky’s Atom mare Vera’s Atom – bred by Bruce Stirling.
“I trained for Bruce early on. We raced Vera Lillian, Vera’s Atom’s mother. It’s a breed that leaves nice consistent horses so we’re just carrying on.”
This family has produced quite a few nice racehorses over the years including quality mares Eden’s Joy and Evamay.
The best of Vera’s Atoms foals to date is Vera’s Delight the winner of six.
Also on the McLellan breeding CV is the Mach three mare De Bruin which is out of Hilarious Blue Chip.
“We’ve had a bit of success with the family. Rathbone, Honiball, Happy Patron, Smart Boy, Not Holm are all out of that breed. She’s the only filly.”
Rathbone won nine races here and won a further eleven in America. He’s paced 1-52.1. Happy Patron won nine races in New Zealand with his major win being in the 1986 John Brandon Flying Pace. He also ran third in the New Zealand Derby a week later. He was exported to America in 1998 where he won another nine races. Smart Boy is another from the family. His lifetime record is 92-17-11-12.
So as you can see the McLellans have plenty of well – bred youngsters coming on line and because they don’t send them to the yearling sales it’ll be enough to keep Brendon busy at his Wyndham stable.
And of the youngsters; which one does he like?
“The Bettor’s Delight two year old filly out of It’s Ella. She’s probably the pick of the young ones and the Somebeachsomewhere out of her goes alright too.”
And with three times New Zealand Cup winner Terror To Love popping up on the pedigree page a few times he’s one trainer who’ll get an early indication of how this former champion’s progeny will shape up down the track.