A giveaway mare has provided Euroa horseman Chris Rentessis and a group of owners with some massive achievements as the talented gelding, King Of Hastings.
Rentessis bred King of Hastings from the mare Handcut which was given to him when owner Terry Martin retired the daughter of Danerich in 2012 with a record of one win and two thirds from 12 starts.
Rentessis, who has done stallion work on local studs for more than 20 years, sent the mare to llovethiscity when he was standing at Neville Murdoch’s Larneuk Stud.
The result was King Of Hastings which was purchased at the 2018 Adelaide Yearling Sale by Anthony Freedman for $32,000.
The now four-year-old brought up his fifth win from 13 starts with a return to form when he won over 1200m at Randwick on the 9th of January to take his prizemoney to $475,050.
The gelding also had a start in last Saturday’s Magic Millions Sprint (1200m). The race was worth $1 million dollars.
Rentessis, who has a 50 acre farm, says he basically survives by contracting himself out and doing work on various other farms, as well as breeding from his four broodmares.
And it was his work for Murdoch which led to him breeding King of Hastings.
“I was actually involved at Larneuk before Neville bought that farm and he wanted me to stay involved and was happy to and we have had a good relationship for all those years,” Rentessis said.
“I have always done the stallions there and was happy to keep doing that. I then used to swing over to Rangal Park and pretty much did yearling preps and weanlings for about 10 years for Graham Burley and Eric Butler.
“I am sort of connected with all those guys and it was through all those connections actually that I managed to get King Of Hastings in a funny way because Handcut was owned by Terry Martin and he was a client of Rangal where he sent mares to Danerich.”
When Burley retired, Martin sent Rentessis a couple of young horses to grow out and one of them was Legcut (Danerich x Pentiara) which won seven races and was Handcut’s older full sister.
Another of the youngsters was a Danerich colt which Martin bought as a weanling and later raced as Neat Feat which won four races in Victoria, including one at Monee Valley, before being sold to Darwin where he won 17 sprint races.
Although Handcut had plenty of ability, she didn’t make the cut and was a bit of a handful on the track and Martin asked Rentessis if he’d be interested in having her for free.
“I knew her dam Pentiara (Pentire x Lady Acumen) and I liked her and I loved Danerich,” Rentessis said.
“And even with all her unruly behaviour, Handcut did run third to Platelet at Flemington and I thought she had some real ability and was only about two lengths off her.
“I took her on and by this time llovethiscity had come onto Neville’s place and he was just a genuine racehorse and would put his ears back and have a dip. I just thought in my own mind that if Handcut was disingenuous then I needed to put a genuine horse to her if I could.
“The stallion was a lovely horse, the mare was big and strong and the Danehill with the Showdown line, I just thought it was going to work.”
Rentessis said Handcut had developed into a lovely producer for him.
He took King Of Hastings to Adelaide to sell but usually puts his horses through the Melbourne autumn sales because he says that’s the grade of horses he has, but this time he thought the colt was a above that in terms of a type.
He also had a filly by llovethiscity which also went through the Adelaide sale.
Although he was happy with the colt’s sale price, he was pleased that a trainer like Anthony Freedman was the winning bidder.
“If you can get your horses onto nice sales, that just helps you along,” Rentessis said.
“You know they are going to get every chance going to a trainer like Anthony Freedman.”
Rentessis said he was happy to accept Handcut as a “freebie” because Martin always wanted to find homes for his horses but is not silly and would sell them if they could run a bit.
At the time Handcut’s sister Legcut, which scored five of her six victories in the city, was unraced.
Rentessis said he did get an offer for Handcut before last spring but rejected it.
He said there was a great curse when an offer is made for a horse and you just should take it because something usually goes wrong.
“But she is the best mare I’ve got,” he said.
Rentessis is sending a full sister to King of Hastings to next month’s Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale. Handcut also has a filly at foot by llovethiscity.
“I’ve got her back in foal to llovethiscity,” he said.
“I’ve had a few scribes telling me I need to go to more commercial stallions, but I don’t know whether anything could do as good a job as what he is doing.
“With King of Hastings, you couldn’t get a more genuine horse and I think with a bit of luck in some of those other races that he’d be a stakes winner already.”
Already with million dollar-plus llovethiscity progeny recently sold to Hong Kong – Ilovemyself and Barocha – the syndicated King of Hastings’ owners are also understood to have rejected big offers for the gelding.
Rentessis is hoping that Freedman will buy his filly at Melbourne Premier because he believes that’s where she needs to go and says she is a bit stronger than King of Hastings was at the same time.
He sent Handcut almost exclusively to llovethiscity but the one exception was when he mated her to Larneuk Stud stallion O’Lonhro which resulted in a gelding named Red Cut Rock which has had one start for a second at Albury and is raced by Rentessis.
With llovethiscity now standing at Noor Elaine Farm, Rentessis trades his services at the farm for the service fees to llovethiscity.
Rentessis has another three broodmares – Recession Buster (Ne Coupez Pas x Rip Trice) which produced Lady Solly (O’Lonhro) which he sold for $700 and as at her last run at the Valley last Friday when she won over 955 metres, has won just shy of $150,000 for her connections, Financial Miss (Danerich x Belloto Belle) and Roman Belle (Bel Esprit x Ticket To Rome) which has had two fillies by llovethiscity, one is leased out and the other will also be sold at Melbourne Premier.
Rentessis said it was a great as a breeder to see his horses take to the track and become so successful.
And as Racing.com revealed recently, there is plenty of sentiment attached to the horse’s name.
Katherine Henderson told Racing.com how her late father, Richard Everist, was a local business man and a legend of the Hastings Football Club, who dubbed himself King of Hastings.
She got a shock when her husband, Marty Henderson, told her to have a look at the form guide just before the gelding made his debut at Cranbourne in May of 2019.
She was shocked to see her father’s “name” in the maiden field, but then Marty told her that they owned 10 per cent of the horse and he agreed to buy a share only if he could name the horse King Of Hastings.