Mare an ode to late father

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

It will be a sentimental moment for Auckland horseman Roydon Downey when Sans Au Revoir makes her debut at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday.

The daughter of Love You was the last horse bred by his late father Errol, who was tragically killed in a car accident.

In tribute to his father, Downey named the resulting foal Sans Au Revoir, translated to ‘Without Goodbye’.

“She was the last horse he bred before he passed away, that is why she is named the way she is,” Downey said.

It is a breed that means a lot to the Downey family, with Errol having trained both the dam, eight-win mare Sanchipola, and grandam, 15-win mare Sanchiola.

Sanchipola also played a pivotal role in Roydon’s driving endeavours, having driven the mare in all eight of her victories.

Downey said Sans Au Revoir shares similar qualities to her dam, and he is hoping she has inherited some of the family talent.

“She is a similar type of horse, her mother was a big mare as well. Time will tell but she has definitely got the ability there,” Downey said.

Although excited about the mare’s future, Downey is keeping reserved expectations heading into her debut run in the Hire A Venue At Cambridge Raceway Trot (2200m), where he will also take the reins.

“She is going well but she is a trotter having her first start,” he said. “She might need the experience, but she has got ability.

“She tries hard enough, she is pretty honest. You don’t know how she is going to react in her first start, but I think she will go alright.”

Downey is kept busy with his farrier business, but still makes time to train a handful of horses in the morning.

“I am down to three racehorses,” he said. “I am a full-time farrier, which keeps me busy. I do the horses in the morning and then go shoe for the rest of the day.”

Downey is still keeping his hand in the breeding side of the industry, sending a few mares to Woodlands Stud stallion What The Hill over the last couple of seasons.

“I breed out of a mare called Micro Chip. I put her in-foal to What The Hill,” he said.

“I do a bit of work on What The Hill and he is a nice horse, he has got a good temperament and I think he will do the job.”

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