Love is All Around Wanganui

Media Release - Tuesday November 28

It’s nearing that time where the movie Love Actually finds its way onto television screens around the world, but it’s a mare by the same name that is getting Thomas Russell and his partner Pip D’Arcy-Brain excited this festive season.

The Wanganui couple own the 11-year-old Swiss Ace mare and are enjoying plenty of thrills with her two progeny to date – King Of Hearts and Black Orlov.

King Of Hearts (inside) and Black Orlov during their exhibition gallop at Wanganui last Saturday. Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

Bred by Westbury Stud principal Gerry Harvey, Love Actually was initially purchased as a yearling at Karaka by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis for $25,000 and went on to win one and place in one of her eight starts for trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.

Her racing career was curtailed by injury and she was subsequently offered on gavelhouse.com where she caught the eye of D’Arcy-Brain, whose bid of $4,000 secured the mare.

Advertisement

A date with Novara Park Stud stallion Jakkalberry was quickly organised, with the resulting foal being King Of Hearts, with the couple electing to support local stallion Unusual Suspect for her next mating the following year, resulting in the Black Orlov.

Russell has trained King Of Hearts to win three of his 15 starts and he has entrusted Black Orlov to good friend and fellow Wanganui trainer Malcolm Hill.

Black Orlov broke through for her maiden win at the second time of asking at Trentham earlier this month, which was a standout day for Russell and D’Arcy-Brain, with King Of Hearts also scoring on the card.

Their success spurred the couple’s decision to get Love Actually back in foal this season.

“She is at stud and being served at the moment and we are just waiting to see if she is positive. We went back to Unusual Suspect,” Russell said.

King Of Hearts and Black Orlov had an exhibition gallop at Wanganui last Saturday and Russell was pleased with what he saw from the pair.

“They had an exhibition gallop on Saturday and went well and the jockeys were happy,” he said.

“King Of Hearts worked nicely this morning, so I am looking forward to Saturday.”

The five-year-old gelding was nominated for the Listed Steelform Roofing Group Wanganui Cup (2040m) but looks unlikely to gain a start, so will likely line-up in the Stella Artois 1500m Championship Qualifying Race (1600m) as a consolation.

“It looks like we are not going to get into the Cup, so we will likely run in the mile. It would have been nice to have a run in the local Cup, we think he is going to be a better horse over 2000m,” Russell said.

While King Of Hearts will likely miss out on a stakes tilt this weekend, if he continues on the same trajectory he is on, Russell has big plans instore for the gelding.

“We did chuck a nomination in for the Thorndon (Gr.1, 1600m), but he would have to win two races, and one of those would need to be an Open Handicap, to even have a chance of making it. It is a far off dream at this stage,” he said. – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Advertisment
More Reading...
Pike Juveniles on Black Type Missions
Two younger members of Tony Pike’s team will spearhead the stable’s representation at Matamata with higher honours beckoning the duo if they race up to expectations.
Strong international flavour to Feb (Late) Online Sale
Sisters to G1 winners, mares in foal on highly commercial covers and the stallion Winning Rupert are among the highlight entries in the Inglis Digital February (Late) Online Auction, which is now open for bidding.
Inglis Breeding Stock Sale Entries Open
Entries to the 2024 Inglis Breeding Stock Sales Series – the most progressive in the country – are now open.
Sires With Winners - Friday February 23
Here is the full list of 60 stallions which had winners throughout Australasia today with winners and result details.
Bargain Tattersalls Purchase Monbaher Triumphs in Torney Night Cup
Given a peach of a ride by Craig Newitt, the bargain-priced European import Monbaher (IRE) made his first attempt at stakes level count in Friday night’s Listed PKF Torney Night Cup (2500m) at Moonee Valley.
$250,000 Dundeel Colt Tops Perth Magic Millions Day 2
The record breaking form of the 2024 Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale continued today with the Book Two auction posting more lofty benchmarks
Sires With Winners - Wednesday February 21
Here is the full list of 43 stallions which had winners throughout Australasia today with winners and result details.
Winx's Half-Sister City Of Lights Impresses at Canterbury
A Deep Impact (JPN) half-sister to Winx, City Of Lights appeared for the first time in fifteen weeks to claim a benchmark 72 over 1550m at Canterbury on Friday night, encouraging connections to target black-type in the near future.
Headwater 2YO Wins Black Opal Preview
There was a short-priced favourite in the $50,000 Canberra Black Opal Preview (1000m) on Friday, but Capitalist colt Amazing Eagle came up short when beaten by the local home town hero Vella’s Best.
Sires With Winners - Thursday February 22
Here is the full list of 45 stallions which had winners throughout Australasia today with winners and result details.