By Duane Ranger
Racing Queensland and Haras des Trotteurs’ initiative to breed more trotters in the Sunshine State bore fruit at Egmont Park Stud last Friday (August 30).
The first of 14 broodmares offered - 6-year-old Muscles Yankee mare Yankee Duchess, gave birth to a Used To Me filly at 4.20pm (pictured). She was due on September 15.
Used To Me is a French stallion, who won almost $650,000 in stakes. He and the unraced Yankee Duchess were part of the breeding concept initiated last year by Racing Queensland and international breeders, Haras des Trotteurs.
Racing Queensland’s Harness Development Strategy Manager, David Brick said the partnership gave participants the chance to win and take ownership of one of 14 well-bred broodmares.
“The offer was open to breeders, trainers, owners and trotting enthusiasts, and includes the ownership of a mare, with a free service to one of Haras des Trotteurs’ stallions for the first year.
“The winners could have gone to any stallion but they were offered a free service to Used To Me, Dreamcatcher, and En Solitaire,” Brick said.
Shane McConnell, of Boondall, went into the draw and landed two mares. The first name read out was his and Yankee Duchess.
“I couldn’t believe I was the first person to win, and then I also drew out Ganymede (France) mare, Parisian Dancer, and she is in foal to Dreamcatcher. She isn’t due until mid to late October. I’m hoping for a colt this time, but we are over the moon with our filly.
“I am delighted that she’s healthy and doing well. This is a fantastic concept and I want to thank all the parties concerned. This is the start of more trotting races in our State. We are no longer being pushed to the last race on the programme.
“This should also see more trotters go through the Sales ring. This can only be good for the sport and everyone concerned needs to be commended. I personally love the trotters more than pacers,” McConnell said.
He also paid a tribute to Peter and Leean Bell of Egmont Park Stud.
“They always do an exceptional job and our foal looks amazing. Hopefully the filly will make a 2-year-old, but regardless of what happens we will have both a racehorse and broodmare to call on one day. I can’t thank all those that initiated this concept enough. The rise of trotting here was long overdue,” McConnell said.
“She’s a well-bred filly too which makes it all a bonus. I’m excited and pumped,” the 49-year-old Queensland Government employee added.
Three days after McConnell’s filly was born, foal two came into the world. This time Gerard Maloney’s Dreamcatcher colt was foaled by the one-win Muscle Mass mare, Bigonluck.
Brick also paid a tribute to Haras de Trotteurs and Yabby Dam Farms principal, Pat Driscoll, and prominent trotting owner Jeroen Nieuwenburg for initiating the concept.
“Many thanks must go to Pat for this generous offer to help stimulate breeding in Queensland, and to Jeroen, who has been pivotal in helping to get it off the ground,” Brick said.
Nieuwenburg said he initially made contact with Driscoll.
“The participants are extremely grateful, and it has provided the baseline for the confidence to go forward. The number of trotting foals are booming, and I can't wait to see improved aged-racing coming here for trotters. Good luck to all the trotting breeders. Show us your photos,” Nieuwenburg said.
Driscoll too, said he was a passionate supporter of the trotting gait and was delighted that the initiative had kick-started the breeding of trotters in Queensland and the introduction of two-year-old trotting races in the state.
Driscoll said the offer was open to breeders, trainers, owners and trotting enthusiasts, who wanted to includes the ownership of a mare, with a free service to one of Haras des Trotteurs’ stallions for the first year.
Driscoll said the concept was a ‘no brainer’.
“I personally love trotters and wanted to provide a more solid base for them here in Queensland. They are a much more majestic animal than pacers.
“Trotting is international whereas pacing seems to only be run in Australasia and North America. There is huge potential to be had here in Queensland,” Driscoll said.
He said each mare that was offered must remain in Queensland for at least the initial breeding season to ensure offspring are QBRED eligible - with a minimum expectation that the foal’s first race start be in Queensland.
Further updates on the other mares offered as part of the promotion will be provided over the coming months.