It’s 3am. It’s raining and it’s cold. An alarm sounds and Lauriston Park’s Chris Bakker, who has already been up once again stirs.
He grabs his coat and within minutes is in the middle of a paddock he helps a mare bring a new life into the world.
Stud life is not easy; the hours are long, the conditions often trying. Things go wrong, horses are unpredictable. Nobody, Chris says, would choose such a lifestyle for monetary gain.
“At the end of the day it’s the love of it that draws you.”
The love, for example, of that moment when a newborn takes his first wobbly steps. There is, Chris says, nothing like it.
Despite having supervised hundreds of foalings, Chris never tires of the process. When a healthy foal arrives, when the mare turns around to nuzzle him, it is a relief and a thrill.
In no time at all the foal is up and facing the world and Chris loves that too – “you are the first person there to see their personality emerge, it is always amazing.”
Whilst always tired at this time of year Chris says he would not change a thing – “I love every minute of it.”
And the 2016 season is a particularly special one for Lauriston with the arrival of the first foals for the stud’s well credentialled young stallion Rock Hero.
A stakes winning son of champion sire Fastnet Rock and the outstanding race mare Gallant Tess, Rock Hero served a strong book of mares upon his retirement last year and his first outstanding foals are on the ground.
And Chris could not be happier with them.
“They are strong athletic types with lovely heads and great temperaments,” he said.
“It is still early days with his first foals just a few weeks old but we are very happy with them at this stage, they are correct with good hindquarters and they have plenty of personality.”
Hailing from one of the world’s great stallion families with his seventh dam (close up by today’s standards) being the incomparable Mumtaz Mahal, Rock Hero is the perfect VOBIS horse whose sire Fastnet Rock already proving his worth as a sire of sires.
Importantly, Rock Hero is nominated for the lucrative VOBIS Sires program.
A stallion who boasts outstanding statistics (around 69% winners-to-runners and just short of 8% stakes winners to runners), Fastnet Rock has five stakes producing sons. Foxwedge, Hinchinbrook, Wanted, Stryker and Smart Missile are all proving the value of this strong branch of the Danehill sire line.
For further information on Rock Hero contact Lauriston Park’s Chris and Kathie Bakker (0427 903 353) or LP Stallion’s Julie Nairn (0402 901 910) or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Story contributed by Kristen Manning