Horses bred in Victoria’s North East continue to excel and the region’s latest star is last Saturday’s G3 Bletchingly Stakes winner Mid Summer Music.
Mid Summer Music is a daughter of Noor Elaine Farm’s underrated sire Oamaru Force. The Peter Moody trained mare is one particularly tough lass, having to overcome the odds to even make it to the track.
Mid Summer Music (6m Oamaru Force – Samsara Lady by Nassipour) did not have an easy start to life – her dam died as she foaled.
Subsequently hand raised – a lamb her best friend – Mid Summer Music was not the easiest horse to educate, co-breeder John Ivill having the difficult task of breaking her in.
“She’d try to kick and bite,” he recalled, knowing even in those early stages that the chestnut possessed a tough personality – “she was the boss of everyone in her paddock.”
John had teamed with Noor Elaine’s manager Mark Calwell and fellow Noor Elaine worker Darren Astbury to breed Mid Summer Music, the trio purchasing the Oamaru Force nomination from a football club charity auction.
“The aim was to breed a colt to raise and hopefully sell to Asia,” John recalled – adding that “it was a bit of a disaster from the start!”
Samsara Lady, also dam of the six times winner Time To Shine, had belonged to one of John’s best clients Max Smart and her loss is now being keenly felt.
“She was pretty well bred,” John said – noting that the daughter of Nassipour was a granddaughter of the Irish 1000 Guineas winner Black Satin.
Selling the orphan filly to friends, John and Mark have thoroughly enjoyed the career of Mid Summer Music who kicked off her career with a Warracknabeal victory in February last year.
It was not a win that impressed trainer Peter Moody who admits that he would’ve been happy to move her on but both John Ivill and jockey Linda Meech convinced him that she had talent worthy of perseverance.
And connections have not looked back, Mid Summer Music now an eight times winner from 13 starts – amassing over $300,000 in stakes.
“She’s a serious racehorse who has just got better and better,” John said – “she just has that great will to win.”
Mark agrees – “she was always pretty tough and that shows in her racing.”
Mark is also looking forward to Oamaru Force, a Gr.3 winning son of Geiger Counter, attracting more mares this spring. “We have another one in the pipeline who looks like being stakes class and we are hoping people will really start to sit up and take notice.”
Also sire of the dual Group winner Diplomatic Force, Oamaru Force has never served large books of mares but he is doing, as Mark enthused “a helluva job!”
A handsome chestnut who Mark says is “jumping out of his skin and ready to go,” Oamaru Force is also sire of the talented Hong Kong based gelding Good Words who has won four races at Shatin and Happy Valley – having won by seven lengths at his only local outing at Moonee Valley.
Rocking Force is another good advertisement for the breed, the consistent gelding winning two in a row at Sandown in Moonee Valley earlier this year.
Lightly raced four-year-old Ben Zena also shows excellent potential with easy wins at Moonee Valley (nearly four lengths) and Sandown in June/July whilst in Perth Earl Of Vasse has won two of his last three at Belmont.
Taunt Pauline is also a last start metropolitan winner at Eagle Farm and there is no doubt that Oamaru Force – a stallion John Ivill describes as “a sleeper” – has the ability to upgrade his mares and sire a very smart galloper.