Trots: breeders pursuing elusive crown

New Zealand raider Our Sky Major (Craig Demmler) is one of the star attractions in Australiasian Breeders Crown semi-finals in Ballarat on Saturday night. Photo: HRV

New Zealand raider Our Sky Major (Craig Demmler) is one of the star attractions in Australiasian Breeders Crown semi-finals in Ballarat on Saturday night. Photo: HRV

BRUCE Edward has a real love for the standardbred industry.

His passion is breeding.

Edward operates Durham Park - a trotting nursery south of Buninyong and home of some 24 Australian, New Zealand and United States-bred broodmares, and their offspring.

He breeds to sell.

So with around 20 foals hitting the ground each year there are numerous of the Durham Park breed on racetracks or waiting to hit the racing circuit around the country.

Crucial to any breeding enterprise is having quality broodmares and Edward has left no stone unturned in seeking out and purchasing impressive bloodlines.

This has included importing 13 from the US.

Edward acquires potential broodmares at all stages of their careers - some as yearlings, some as going racehorses and others at the end of racing days.

Edward will be trackside at Ballarat's Bray Raceway tonight watching three of his future broodmares contesting the Australasian Breeders Crown series semi-finals.

The Breeders Crown is one of the biggest age series in Australia and NZ, and as the name suggests winning one of its group 1 finals would be a jewel in the crown for any breeders - especially the breeder or owner of a filly or mare.

Edward has three three-year-old fillies engaged in Ballarat - the NZ-bred Ultimate CC (trained by Geoff Webster at Bannockburn), Tuscan Breeze (Emma Stewart, Smythes Creek) and Whatahottie (David Murphy, Dunnstown).

In each case Edward was highly impressed by bloodlines, with Ultimate CC out of a half-sister to grand circuit performer Slybye (31 wins); Tuscan Breeze a half-sister to five winners including Slick Bromac (32 wins), Smudge Bromac (29 wins) and Ardle McArdle (19 wins); and Whatahottie from a prolific-winning family including Reba Lord (17 wins), so made the purchases.

While winning a Breeders Crown title would be a massive boost to his breeding operation, Edward knows how difficult it will be just to get one of his trio through the semi-finals into the 3yo fillies' final.

Each has certainly drawn to put themselves in contention for a required top six finish, with Ultimate CC in the first semi-final, and Tuscan Breeze and Whatahottie coming out of gates one and two in the second.

This is the second year in a row the eight ABC 2yo and 3yo pacing semi-finals for colts/geldings and fillies have been in Ballarat.

They have again attracted an outstanding array of youngsters, with NZ unleashing an awesome line-up featuring Kept Under Wraps (2yo), Linda Lovegrace (2yo), Rocknroll Arden (3yo), Follow The Stars (2yo), Big Lucy (2yo), Joannes Delight (2yo), Katy Perry (2yo) and potentially the best of them all, 3yo colt Our Sky Major.

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