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Racetrack performance the key for Cunningham

Curraghmore principal Gordon Cunningham. - Photo: Trish Dunell
Curraghmore principal Gordon Cunningham.

Photo: Trish Dunell

By Kevin Robertson, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Curraghmore principal Gordon Cunningham is quick to share what drives him as he prepares to present another quality draft at the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale when it kicks off at Karaka at 10am this coming Sunday.

The name Curraghmore is synonymous with some of the best Australasian racetrack performers of the past three decades with horses such as Efficient, Unforgotten, Mighty Boss, Tofane, First Seal, Ruthless Dame, No Compromise, Kovalica and Kahma Lass just some of the many elite level winners that have been associated with the iconic brand. 

It is a record that Cunningham is justifiably proud of and one that he strives to better with every Sale draft.

“We presented our first draft in 1995 and I believe our offering this year will be as big and as good as ever,” Cunningham said.

“Breeding and raising horses that win races is what gets me up in the morning and I can honestly say that desire is as strong as it has ever been. 

“I believe our record does speak for itself but there is always something to learn, to improve on and that is vitally important to maintaining your standards and lifting your game each year.”

Cunningham is delighted with the depth and quality of his draft and in particular, the variety of stallions and buying options he will present across the 27 individuals that will represent Curraghmore in 2024. 

“I think we have some excellent variety to provide buyers with a number of younger sires mixed with more established stallions and progeny from some exceptional families,” he said.

“Our first Lot will be a Hello Youmzain Filly (Lot 15) out of the stakes winning mare Distinctive Lass who is the dam of four stakes winners including Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Kahma Lass.

“Also, further back in her pedigree is triple Group One winner Special, who broke the Flemington track record for 1000m when she won the Gr.1 Lightning Handicap (1000m).

“Colin Hayes said she was the quickest he ever trained and this filly is a real looker, one who is physically strong and would be an elite filly in any catalogue.

Lot 227, is a Snitzel colt out of a daughter to Distinctive Lass, so he is closely related to the Hello Youmzain filly and he is also bred to perform at the highest level.”

With the progeny of Rich Hill Stud resident stallion Proisir stamping their mark on Australasian racing, Cunningham is keen to offer Lot 287, a filly from Ocean Park mare Pacific.

“To my eye Lot 287 has the length and stamp of all the good Proisir fillies like Levante, Legarto and Prowess,” he said.

“Her granddam is former top juvenile filly Good Faith and she also has multiple Group One winner Aegon in her extended family, so there is plenty to like about her.

“She is out of an Ocean Park mare and we have had good success with his progeny so I’m also expecting big things for Lot 366 who is a colt that is a half to Group One winner Ruthless Dame.

“He is another outstanding youngster and has a pedigree to match.

Lot 513 is a filly by Wootton Basset from a Fastnet Rock mare who has been popular during out on-farm parades while So Risque won again at Flemington on Saturday and he is in the extended family of Lot 423, our Wootton Bassett colt.

“We also have three Super Seth youngsters who have attracted lots of attention and especially after Shiny New Deal, who is a half to the Super Seth filly (Lot 427), won very well at Pakenham on Thursday.

“It is a nervous time now as the countdown to Day One approaches but I’m confident we have what buyers are looking for.”

The full Curraghmore draft will travel to Karaka on Monday morning and will be available for inspection from their traditional location at Barn G at the picturesque Karaka sales ground. LOVERACING.NZ News Desk


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