Too good to refuse

NZ HARNESS NEWS

A tempting offer from American interests was too good to refuse for the connections of unbeaten Canterbury filly, Dixie Star.

The daughter of Bettor’s Delight left New Zealand on Friday bound for New Jersey.

“She’s gone to Peter Tritton’s stable,” said her trainer Stephen Boyd, husband of co-owner, Angela Boyd.

“It’s a shame, because she’s a really nice horse and it was a pretty hard decision for us to make.

“But when the moneys there you’ve got to take it because it gets a lot harder when you race against the good ones, like Princess Tiffany.”

Dixie Star debuted with a dominant five-length win at Winton on February 17, where she rated 1.56.2 for the mile, before backing that up with another win a fortnight later, at Ascot Park.

She wasn’t long home before she was booked on the next flight to North America.

“It was a good, quick sale and all wrapped up pretty quickly.”

Also, on the flight was two-time Group 2 winner, Dibaba, in-form West Auckland mare Misty Memory, and handy Canterbury filly, Sezana.

Boyd confirmed, too, that his stable star, exciting three-year-old colt Ive Already Told You, had been turned out for a spell and would not be seen for the rest of the season.

“He just started to get a crack in his hoof which could have turned in to a quarter crack and he was just going to miss too much work before the Derby.

“So, we’ll miss the Jewels and bring him back up for the Cup meeting.”

The winner of four races to date, and one of only three by his sure, Prodigal Seelster, to even qualify, will make a big impression next season, Boyd reckons.

“He’s a very nice horse and will improve a hell of a lot with this break.

“I’ve worked most of the good All Stars horses and he’s right up there with them, to be fair, and I expect he’ll come back a pretty nice four-year-old.”

Having him to go on with made the decision to sell Dixie Star a little easier, too.

“He would lap her, to be fair, and that’s no slight on her either.

“But he’s a flying machine and I reckon eventually he’ll be awesome around somewhere like Menangle.”

Comparisons to the All Stars stable horses trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen are common place for Boyd, who is now firmly entrenched as their breaker and pre-trainer.

He is about to do the last batch of their yearlings, which will bring the total over 30, though that’s less than one third of his total output.

“I think we’ll end up breaking in about 100-odd,” he said.

“The last seven are arriving for Mark and Natalie tomorrow, plus I have done or will do horses for Mitch Kerr, Phil Williamson, Sara Smith, Nathan Williamson and a few others.”

Boyd said the All Stars batch was hard to fault at this stage, and there was one stand out among them, and it should come as no surprise.

“They were all good; a really nice bunch.”

One stood out, though, and that was the next filly out of Adore Me, by Sweet Lou.

“She felt like a machine. Everything she did, she just did it so easily.”

On top of his breaking in and pre-training business, Boyd is escalating his training operation, mainly thanks to one client.

“I’m training a lot more thanks to Philippa Hanley.

“Quite often in the past, after breaking them, owners would ask me to train them too and I would say no thanks and pass them on.

“But Philippa has bred and bought quite a few nice young horses, including one out of De Lovely.”

Accordingly, Boyd is about to roll out a whole swag of juvenile race horses.

“I think we’ll have about seven two-year-olds up and racing by June, and maybe 14 or 15 race horses all together.”

Fair to say then that success has bred success for Boyd, who just three seasons ago had just three starters all season.

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