On Saturday 12 November, I had the good fortune to be present at the running of the Gavelhouse.com NZ 1000 guineas at Riccarton. A long-time friend, Terry Archer, is the breeder and managing owner of what was the huge favourite for the event. Another part owner is RBA CEO, Mike Gibson, with whom I travelled to Christchurch.
The horse is called ‘La Diosa’ and won the Group 1 race very impressively… Now, clearly, the best filly in the country. All going well, big things are in the future for this team…Australian Racing beckons.
In 2008, Mike accompanied me to (Now CP Member) the Avondale Jockey Club. As I was on the Committee at the time, Mike had asked me to show him local racing first hand – we ran into Frank Ritchie (the trainer of the mighty Bonecrusher) and after a good chat, on to the President’s room to meet members of the Committee including current head, Allan Boyle.
Mike enjoyed the experience so much, he asked how he could get involved. Along came a horse called Showcause, also bred by Terry Archer. Mike became part owner of the gelding which was to achieve the title of ‘NZ Champion Stayer’, winning 3 major Cups races, trained by Frank.
In February 2000, Frank bought the Dam of La Diosa, Star Affair, for Terry Archer and together they won 4 races including a group 2 event, placing 7 times. Star Affair has been a terrific purchase, now possibly placing Terry in line for ‘Breeder of the Year’. Mike was offered a chance to purchase in a bundle deal, 2 of her offspring, both fillies, one called La Diosa.
Our visit to Christchurch certainly brought home stark evidence of the earthquake especially trying to navigate Cathedral Square on a rainy night with so many landmarks gone. And now, as I write, news of an even bigger shake in the area we had just visited in North Canterbury, Waipara, Culverton etc.
Southern hospitality is alive and well; we were shown such gracious goodwill as we talked with many people directly affected by the past disaster. Now again many with their lives dominated by this fresh shake…our hearts go out to them as the resilience of these hardy folk is tested again.
It is fair to say, I was glad I was back in Auckland before Sunday night.
“Timing has always been a key element in my life. I have been blessed to have been in the right place at the right time” – Buzz Aldrin