With the spring carnival almost upon us, the big trainers and top gallopers are hitting the headlines.
But a little-known racehorse, by a lesser-known stallion, for a trainer with only one horse in work, certainly made his own headlines on Saturday amongst his circle of loyal supporters.
Affectionately called Kev, Cooter Cha Cha flew the flag for small breeder Rochelle Thompson with a well-deserved victory in the first at Kilmore for Bendigo trainer Daryn Drust.
Rochelle, a passionate devotee of the racing industry with a keen interest in breeding, loudly cheered home her first homebred winner.
Rochelle has been horse-mad from the time she was a young girl, but it was her brother that really sparked her fascination with thoroughbred pedigrees, when he gave her a volume of the Australian Stud Book that Rochelle happily poured over for hours on end.
“Other young girls would have pictures of pop stars and movie stars on their walls whereas I had photos of Phar Lap and Gunsynd – they were my idols,” Rochelle said.
Sired by Delightful Choice who stands at Ray Jones’ Meadow Farm at Bayles, Cooter Cha Cha is out of the unraced Sir Tristram line mare, Calvary Lady.
Rochelle is based at Shelbourne, just south-west of Bendigo, on 80 acres and keeps a small band of five mares. It was a fateful meeting with Kristen Manning that then developed Rochelle’s knowledge to help her cleverly breed a couple each year.
“She is my mentor. She taught me about line breeding and how to find a top value mating each year using pedigree’s to get the best match,” Rochelle said.
“It is through Kristen that I lease Calvary Lady, Kev’s dam. Delightful Choice is a beautifully bred stallion, with one of the best female lines you would find, but being unraced, he is an attractive and affordable option.”
After nine patient starts, Kev he is now at a distance that suits his staying abilities.
“Kev is very lucky to have found Daryn Drust, as he wouldn’t have survived at a large stable. He fights fire with fire, so Daryn had to put his thinking cap on and stay one step ahead of him,” Thompson said.
If he put as much energy into his racing as he does fighting everyone, he’s going to be a very promising stayer. He likes a soft to heavy track, so we will put him away until the autumn and then find a race in the city.”
With two foals due this season, Rochelle is looking forward to another by Delightful Choice, who will be a three-quarter to Cooter Cha Cha, and the other is by Darnik Park stallion, Jayemzed.
Meanwhile, Ray Jones will cover about twenty mares with his stallion Delightful Choice this season and already a breeder has rung up after Saturday’s win and booked in another two.
“People who have foals by the stallion are all coming back, and he is getting better mares each year,” Jones said.
“I sold one to Colin Rees for only $700, called Automatic Choice. He won a stakes race at Flemington and was sold to Hong Kong for $700,000.
“Delightful Son won six races and earned over $100,000 in prize money and the Here’s De Hussy’s 2015 colt is headed off to (Darren) Weir.”
Delightful Choice will be standing for $2500 this season at Meadow Farm, negotiable for well-bred mares. For more information contact Ray on 0417 235 753.