First Stakes Success for Kiwi Breeder

Media Release - Monday April 22

Aimee Peterken has only been breeding thoroughbreds for a few years, but she is already starting to leave her mark.

The Auckland-based marketing professional had previously been involved in competing and breeding sport horses, but a chance encounter at a social event led her to change tack and enter the thoroughbred world.

Sassy Merlot wins her first stakes race - Race Images

“I used to be a show rider,” Peterken said. “It was an introduction to Micaela Murray (that got me involved with thoroughbreds), we were out at an event, and we shared mutual friends. She offered to lease me a couple of thoroughbred mares which I was going to put across my sport horse stallion.

“It was only when I started looking into the lines that I realised I could probably do what I was doing with sport horses in a more commercial way.

“I love the science of it (breeding) and to come in and attempt something different excites me, so I thought I would give it (thoroughbreds) a go.”

Advantageous Ventures principal Aimee Peterken.  Photo: Supplied

Peterken has struck near immediate success, with the first foal out of her Savabeel mare Saveadance, a half-sister to Group Two winner Fire Song, being Sassy Merlot.


Peterken offered the Burgundy filly under her Advantageous Ventures banner at New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2020 Book 3 Yearling Sale where she was purchased by bloodstock agent Paul Moroney and Ballymore Stables for $24,000.

She has gone on to place in the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m), Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) and Gr.3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m), before her crowning achievement at Riccarton last Saturday when she won the Listed Easter Stakes (1400m).

“She was one of the first that I bred,” Peterken said. “She has done well for herself, which is absolutely awesome. It is pretty exciting to be so lucky so early on in my breeding career.”

Sassy Merlot is by Cambridge Stud’s ill-fated stallion Burgundy, and Peterken said she did a lot of homework before deciding that initial mating with Saveadance.

“It was the Redoute’s Choice line, which Saveadance had crossed well with in the past, that attracted me to Burgundy,” Peterken said.

“She had been crossed twice with Duelled (a son of Redoute’s Choice), with (six-win gelding) All the Rage her second foal.

“Burgundy on type was very athletic and tall, and was a very good offset to her (Saveadance) type - she is very short and stumpy. You needed something with really good leg, and Burgundy presented that type that I needed to cross with her to give her that length of leg. Temperament-wise he was great as well.”

Saveadance’s subsequent two matings were to Rich Hill Stud stallion Ace High, with the resulting foals being Texas Dolly, who was unplaced in the Listed Warstep Stakes (2000m) at Riccarton on Saturday, and two-year-old filly Line Dancer.

“I think Texas Dolly presents quite an exciting future as well,” Peterken said. “With her cross I chose Ace High because of Redoute’s Choice (damsire), and he presented all the right things of what I needed for her.

“Line Dancer is also coming through. She went into Book 1 but unfortunately, she injured herself a week before going through (the sale ring) and just didn’t show well. She will hopefully trial in the backend of this year.”

In subsequent years, Saveadance was left empty for a year before losing her Turn Me Loose foal earlier this year, and is back in-foal to the Windsor Park Stud stallion.

“We lost a foal this year, a colt, which I have been waiting for many years, so that was a bit heartbreaking,” Peterken said.

“She is back in-foal to Turn Me Loose and I am just weighing up who to send her to this coming season.”

Peterken said she is now fully immersed in the thoroughbred industry and is hoping to build her broodmare band in the coming years, but for now, she is enjoying concentrating on her small broodmare band and lives in hope of breeding another stakes winner.

“I am fully committed to the thoroughbreds now, I don’t even ride these days,” she said.
“I am breeding from the three mares and our horses are like part of our family.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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