Southern Lord in scintillating form
and developing them for resale – has come up with such results as The Heckler, who won the 2009 Karaka Million and Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes.
He was purchased by the Taits in Australia and resold at the National Yearling Sale.
Southern Lord is another sourced as a young horse in Australia, only to go unsold, hence he is now racing in the Tait colours. The son of leading young sire Stratum cost A$125,000 as a weanling at a sale on the Gold Coast in mid-2010 with the intention of reselling him as a yearling.
Taken to the Sydney Easter Sale the following autumn, he failed to make his reserve.
Being left holding a rather expensive baby has finally worked in the Taits’ favour, with his record from eight starts now standing at two wins, four seconds and stakes a few dollars under $200,000.
‘‘We’re just in front now,’’ said Southland-born Alan as he reflects on his career-high, one that he compares with his first win as an apprentice jockey back in the 1970s.
‘‘My first winner was a horse called Woodridge, who was trained by my father back in the days down in Riverton.
‘‘I won my next two on him as well and when we moved to Matamata we named our farm after him.’’
Although Southern Lord was at odds of better than 20-to-one in his Levin Classic success, there was no denying the popularity of the big win, both for the horse and his hard-working trainer.
Southern Lord had finished second in three of his lead-up races – twice to the unbeaten three-year-old star Sacred Falls – and had no luck when clipping that horse’s heels in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton.
He returned to Matamata after that race with the intention of some time resting up, but that lasted only a few days before he returned to training.
‘‘He was tearing around his paddock and Galene said if I didn’t do something with him he was going to hurt himself, so we brought him back in and thought again about heading down to Otaki. I gave him a gallop last Wednesday morning and that told me enough.’’
Having notched that first Group One victory, Alan will now hand Southern Lord over to former Matamata trainer Mark Walker with major three-year-old targets in Singapore on his horizon.
‘‘I did the deal with Mark when he was out here for the Ready to Run Sales and we’ll stay in the ownership,’’ said Alan. ‘‘The only thing that will change that plan is if someone offers us a million bucks for him, but at this stage he’s set to go into quarantine and fly up there before Christmas.’’
The Levin Classic quinella wasn’t the only Otaki success by Matamata trainers. Jason Bridgman produced classy colt Burgundy for a plucky freshup win in the Levin Stakes, while training brothers Paul and Kris Shailer continued their run of form by winning the two-year-old race with Any Suggestion filly Fantastic Honour, her second from as many starts.
The Bridgman and Shailer stables carried their form into the following day’s Whanganui meeting, where Jason won a treble with Gunsmoke, Cold Snap and Imperial Miss, while the Shailers scored with Casual Fling.
All three Bridgman-trained winners were ridden by Cameron Lammas, with the last of them taking his career tally to 500.
Cameron, who served his apprenticeship with Jim Gibbs, has from the beginning of the season been the Number Two rider for Te Akau Stables and
Top form: Southern man Alan Tait poses for the Chronicle camera with his Levin Classic winner Southern Lord.