The McRae Way
91 year old former Invercargill trainer and breeder Don McRae can be proud of the breeding legacy he has left his two daughters.
On the one hand Diane Cournane is enjoying a tremendous run with Fight For Glory whose pedigree goes back to McWay, a Knowing Bret mare bred by McRae senior.
On the other side of the family equation his other daughter Wendy Blakie who runs horses and beef cattle on a 15 acre lifestyle block with her husband Bruce at Oturehua in Central Otago, has had a fantastic run breeding from trotting mare Princess Della; a horse she bred using her father’s Lordship stallion Last Lord.
“When I was driving to Christchurch one day we stopped off at Charles Hanna’s to see how Last Lord was getting on. When I was there I said to him that I would love a horse by Dad’s stallion. I asked him if he had a mare I could breed a foal from using Last Lord. He showed me an Armbro Del mare (Della Ann) which he owned. I rang Dad and told him about the mare and he liked the pedigree and said the Armbro Del’s mares were doing a good job. I thought I‘d get a pacer but I got a trotter, but Dad said Lordship had left a few trotters,” said Blakie.
Last Lord was by Lordship out of Last Chance a Majestic Chance mare. He raced from the age of three to seven, winning nine races.
“He could really run but had arthritis.”
As a stallion Last Lord left thirty foals. Only two raced – Princess Della a trotter, and Last Realm a pacer. Last Realm trained by Steve Lock won one race before being exported to Australia where he won five.
Princess Della trained by McRae won two races and was placed seven times. She ran second to Whizzing By in the Group Two New Zealand Trotting Stakes and was named 1992/1993 Three Year Old Trotting Filly of the Year.
After Princess Della was retired Blakie decided to breed from her and her first foal was Just Incredible which she took to the 2001 yearling sales in Christchurch. He was by Sundon and was bought by Michael House for $10,000.
This set the Blakie ball rolling.
At only his third start be won the 2002 New Zealand Two Year Old Trotting Stakes at Addington. At three he also won the listed 2003 New Zealand Yearling Sale Trot in those days worth $58,500.
After a relatively short career here he was bought by Joe Mascara and raced successfully in America.
The mare’s next foal was Just A Cracker.
He won eleven races when trained by Blakie’s brother Donny McRae junior. He also campaigned in Australia winning a further two races. He was trained in Australia by Lance Justice and was retired there.
In one of his wins at Melton in June 2012 his sister Dealornodeal ran second.
The next foal was Kyvalley Mac which was sold for $37,000 to Australian Jim Connelly. By Earl he won twelve races there. He ended his career in 2012 having won $142,369 from 116 starts. And he was placed in a number of group races.
Off The Rails followed on, but didn’t make it to the sales or the race track as she was unfortunately injured when she got caught in a fence.
Dream Vacation filly Dealornodeal was next and she was sold to Graeme Rogerson for $32,500, going on to win seven races. As a five year old she campaigned in Australia winning five races including the Group Three La Coocaracha.
Tragically she died on the operating table in Australia after suffering from colic.
Rare Opportunity by Pegasus Spur was also sold to Rogerson for $21,000. So far he’s won eight races and is still racing in the North Island.
Millions To Spare (Majestic Son) was a buy back for $24,000 but was later sold. He races out of the Jamie Gameson stable and has won just one race. He last raced a year ago.
The next foal was a filly named Somethingtotalkabout. She was bought by Emilio Stride for $35,000 but never raced.
“I rang Emilio one day to see what had happened to Somethingtotalkabout and he said that he’d changed her name to Dusk Stride. She never raced over there but has a (filly) foal by Majestic Son.”
Another filly by Skyvalley was named The Enforcer but she suffered from wind problems and was never tried.
“I haven’t had much luck in getting The Enforcer in foal so that’s why I’m hanging onto the mare’s last foal, I’ve Got Attitude.”
Blakie took Princess Della’s most recent colt foal Dunithard to the Christchurch Sales last year.
“He was bought by Peter Blanchard at last years sale for ($14,000). He called the other day asking about the mare’s last foal (I’ve Got Attitude) and why it wasn’t in the sale. He said Dunihard was a beautiful trotter but was big and was just going to take a bit of time.”
Of the seven yearlings presented at the sales over the years, six sold with earnings for Blakie of $146,500. whilst another was bought back and later sold for $25,000.
Not bad for a mare that was bred on sentiment and chance!