Trans-Tasman celebrations following Group 3 win

There were whoops of delight on both sides of the Tasman when There You Go (Niagara – Not A Dancer) won the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton last weekend.

The three-year-old filly is raced by her Melbourne-based breeder Steve Bruhn while Kaitaia breeder Adrienne Gemmell is now the proud owner of her dam Not A Dancer.

It was the Tony Pike-trained filly’s second win from just four starts. She finished third on debut in the Listed Futurity Stakes (1400m) in May and did not start again until September when she ran fourth in the Listed O’Leary Fillies Stakes (1200m) at Wanganui.

A month later she blitzed a maiden field at Riccarton by five and a half lengths before going on a fortnight later to win stylishly at Ashburton. Now she is the current favourite for the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas, to be held in mid-November.

There You Go is the third stakes winner by the Encosta de Lago stallion Niagara who initially stood at Lime Country Thoroughbreds in Hawke’s Bay but transferred to The Oaks Stud when the Jo and Greg Griffin relocated to Australia.

The winner of the Gr.2 Ajax Stakes, Niagara is the sire of over 150 winners including the Waikato Guineas winner Xbox who later raced in Australia as Precious Express, and of Beyond The Fort who won the Listed Warstep Stakes.

Niagara is the reason that Bruhn is now the proud owner of a stakes winner in New Zealand.

“It’s very exciting,” said an obviously thrilled Bruhn earlier this week. “It was pretty exciting watching her win on the weekend, fortunately I could watch it online as Sky 2 only switched to the race halfway through.

“There is quite a long story around how we got to race her. I had a share in Niagara when he raced in Australia and kept a share when he retired to stud and thought I might have a try at breeding.

“I leased a mare in New Zealand and purchased Not A Dancer and sent her there and it was a case of fourth time lucky. Up until now all it has been is a money pit.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time to do something a bit different and try breeding. There You Go ended up at The Oaks and once there I tended to leave everything in Rick’s (Williams) capable hands. She was originally trained by Clayton Chipperfield and he did all the preliminary work on her and when he gave up it seemed like a good idea to go to Tony Pike where Rick’s son Dean is the racing manager. She hasn’t looked back since.”

Bruhn grew up in South Australia’s Mount Gambier, approximately half-way between Melbourne and Adelaide. His family was always involved in racing somehow with his Mum working at the TAB and cousins riding out at the local track. Going to the races was a regular outing and although he rarely had a sick day off from school, Bruhn would always take the day off on Melbourne Cup Day and Mount Gambier Gold Cup Day.

“I got into ownership about 22 years ago,” he recalled, “and still have a few shares in a few going around. I have had some success like with Niagara, but these days I prefer to race them more than punt on them. I just love racing.

“I am interested in pedigrees and do study them a bit, but there was no specific pattern or match I was looking for when I bought Not A Dancer to send to Niagara. It was more putting some Australian bloodlines into New Zealand and also so her pedigree would be recognisable to any Australian buyers who may have been interested in her stock.”

The Oaks Stud’s General Manager Rick Williams, on the other hand, said it was always a great pattern match on paper. There You Go has two strains of Danehill in her pedigree, one through Redoute’s Choice and his son Not A Single Doubt on her female side, and the other through Niagara as the sire of his grandam Twyla. She also has two strains of Mr Prospector up close as well through Geiger Counter being the sire of her grandam Count The Dance and Fusaichi Pegasus being the sire of Niagara’s dam River Song. You can throw in another line of Northern Dancer through Fairy King the sire of Niagara’s sire Encosta de Lago.

There You Go is the fourth foal of Not A Dancer who was a winner of seven races up to 1200m and was placed fourth in both a Group Three and Listed event. Her first two foals by Niagara, both colts, have been winners in Australia.

Williams recalls There You Go as a standout foal.

“She is the best of all that the mare had produced,” he said. “I liked her from the beginning. It was the last roll of the dice for Steve and it paid off and I am so pleased for him.”

Bruhn would go on to sell Not A Dancer before There You Go raised her profile as a broodmare.
“To be honest things weren’t looking too prosperous,” Bruhn said.

“One of her foals was over here that we raced and won at a few picnic meetings and I had a yearling and a weanling on the ground. My feeling was if this last (There You Go) one was any good, we still had the bloodlines to carry on.

“Hey, there you go, that’s what happens in racing.”

Not A Dancer was sold on Gavelhouse.com for $500 and was purchased by shareholders in Embellish, when she didn’t get in foal to him they decided to quit her and she was offered again on the online auction house when purchased by Adrienne Gemmell for $250.

Gemmell has been revelling in the There You Go’s result since the weekend.

“It been an extremely exciting few days,” she enthused.

“The day after There You Go won Not A Dancer produced a magnificent colt by Proisir. He is a lovely big colt and the spitting image of his mother.

“We are over the moon, we are way up here north of Kaitaia and can’t get to see him yet, but on the video, even now he has a lovely walk on him.

“When I purchased her, they said that they hadn’t been able to get her in foal, but my friend Don McKinnon in Cambridge said he would fix that, and he did.

“She will go to Circus Maximus now and I’m sure that will be an exciting mating. I’m just a small-time breeder from the Far North who took a gamble on a $250 mare on gavelhouse.com who  is now the dam of the favourite for the 1000 Guineas. Fingers crossed she can win the Guineas.”
Bruhn too is hoping for a win in the Guineas.

“We will be watching on TV, as there is no way we can get there with the border closed,” he said.
“We have actually organised a weekend away with some friends so that will add some fun, it’s very exciting and I can hardly wait.” 

-Michelle Saba, NZTBA


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