Casey remembers his fallen champion
By Garrick Knight
Former champion trotter Stent has died prematurely.
The million-dollar earner, rising 11, had been enjoying a new life as a riding horse in Timaru.
“He had a paddock accident yesterday and, unfortunately, the only humane thing to do was put him down,” said his breeder and owner, Trevor Casey.
“The lady that had him was most upset when she rung to tell me.
“It’s a real shame but unfortunately that’s what can happen with livestock.”
Stent had a storied career under the tutelage of Colin and Julie DeFilippi, though one that was cut short through injury.
“He certainly was a talent, though I don’t think we ever really saw the best of him,” said Casey.
“He could have gone a lot further had he not broken down when he did.”
Stent suffered a leg injury as a seven-year-old and then after nearly two years away from the track returned for one final run at the start of last season before the same injury reoccurred.
His watershed year came in the 2014-15 season, when he won Trotter of the Year in both Australia and New Zealand.
He recorded seven Group 1 wins that term, including the Rowe Cup, Great Southern Star, New Zealand Trotting Championship and New Zealand Trotting Free For All.
For Casey, winning the two-mile Rowe Cup at Alexandra Cup was a personal highlight amongst his 30 wins.
“Winning the Rowe Cup was a special moment after people said he couldn’t stay.
“The Great Southern Star was another great win; he won that really well.
“He was just head and shoulders above them that year – he really was just playing with them.”
Casey is immensely grateful for all the time and effort the DeFilippis put in to Stent and said they would be keenly feeling his loss as well.
“He will always be remembered as a big part of all our lives for a long time.
“Colin and Julie did such a fantastic job.”
And while the unforgettable ride of owning champion pacer Lazarus is probably at the forefront of Casey’s racing memories, he has very personal reasons for being enamored with Stent, a horse he bred.
“Yes, I’ve had Lazarus, but Stent still holds a special place in my heart.
“In fact, he is named after a stent that was put in my heart ten years ago.”
Casey is still breeding out of Stent’s dam, Belle Galleon, and his half-sister, Arya.
“And I’m racing his full brother, Lone Star Lad.”
Casey has quite an elite band of trotting broodmares at his Christchurch property, but it’s a group of 21 other mares that have him excited for the coming breeding season.
They are all in foal to his former star pacer, Sky Major, who he brought home from North America last Spring to stand at Wai Eyre Farm.
“I’m backing him. I advertised for mares and got offered about 50, so I picked out the best ones and put them all in foal.
“So, there will be a few going through the sale ring in the next few years, and I’ll try a few myself.
“The first ones are due in August and that’s a really exciting time for us.”
As for Lazarus, Casey says it is unlikely he will be breeding any mares to him in his first season at stud, in New South Wales.
“Unfortunately, I won’t be as all my pacing mares can’t go to him.
“They’re either from his family or by Bettor’s Delight and Christian Cullen.
“So, I guess I’ll be looking at the sales instead.”