Our Fa­mous Eve re­vives mem­o­ries

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - DENNIS RYAN Rac­ing colum­nist

TIME stood still for Philip Brown at Tau­ranga last Satur­day when Our Fa­mous Eve won the $85,000 Wind­sor Park Stud Ja­pan Tro­phy.

As the Glenn Old-trained race mare crossed the fin­ish line locked in bat­tle with an­other from Mata­mata, Vi­adana, her owner­breeder’s mind flashed back to 1974, when Our Fa­mous Eve’s grand­dam Bat­tle Eve won the same race. In­cred­i­bly, that win had taken place on the ex­act same day – March 23 – 39 years ear­lier.

Back then Philip, who races Our Fa­mous Eve with his wife Cather­ine and a group of Aus­tralian friends, was in his 20s work­ing on the fam­ily farm, An­croft Stud, where the cham­pion stal­lion Bat­tle-Wag­gon held court.

Bat­tle Eve, who was raced by Philip’s par­ents Bill and Eve­lyn, won no less than 25 races in a ca­reer span­ning 87 starts from two to seven years, most times rid­den by that ir­re­press­ible jockey, Grenville Hughes.

A pe­rusal of Bat­tle Eve’s ca­reer – when she was ini­tially trained by Jack McGreal and then by Clar­rie Robin­son af­ter the former moved to Aus­tralia – un­der­lines the qual­ity of horse­flesh that raced in that era. Balmerino, Grey Way, Tu­dor Light, Kiwi Can, Un­cle Re­mus, Black Rod, Blue Blood, March Le­gend, La Mer, Good Lord, Melody Belle, Count Kereru, Hi-Bing, Oopik, Pheroz Jewel, Curly Wave, Sil­ver Lad . . . Bat­tle Eve raced against them all, dur­ing an out­stand­ing ca­reer that also had 20 sec­ond plac­ings to go with her 25 wins.

On her re­tire­ment, Bat­tle Eve de­fied the mantra that says top race mares don’t make good brood­mares. All seven of her prog­eny to race were win­ners, headed by King De­lamere, her colt by former com­bat­ant Balmerino whose 10 wins in­cluded the Mem­sie, Fee­han and Lis­ton Stakes in Mel­bourne. He also fin­ished third in the Cox Plate and fourth in the Caulfield Cup.

Ex­po­eve, the last foal pro­duced by Bat­tle Eve when she was aged 23, won just a sin­gle race – by co­in­ci­dence at Tau­ranga – but has sub­se­quently added to the fam­ily hon­our roll as the dam of Our Fa­mous Eve and of Ir­ish Cru­sader, with six wins and sev­eral ma­jor plac­ings in Aus­tralia.

‘‘One like Bat­tle Eve is a hard act to fol­low and she will al­ways have a spe­cial place in our mem­o­ries,’’ said Philip as he re­flected on the mare’s achieve­ments fol­low­ing Satur­day’s big win.

‘‘At home this morn­ing I had a look at the tro­phy the mare won way back then and won­dered how good it would be to do it again.

‘‘I can tell you it feels great! Bat­tle Eve was one out of the box and it means so much for this mare to now come out and put her name on this race.’’

Eve­lyn Brown, the lady whose name is lent to var­i­ous mem­bers of the Brown rac­ing team, is in her 90s and not up to at­tend­ing race meet­ings th­ese days, but un­der­stand­ably shared in her son and daugh­ter-in-law’s en­joy­ment of Satur­day’s big win when they vis­ited her the fol­low­ing day with the cup.

Philip gives much of the credit for Our Fa­mous Eve’s re­turn to form to the mare’s trainer Glenn Old, who he de­scribes as ‘‘Mata­mata’s best kept se­cret’’.

Glenn cut his teeth in rac­ing with his fa­ther, former suc­cess­ful trainer Kevin Old, and gained fur­ther valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing as an as­sis­tant trainer for sev­eral years in Ma­cau.

Since re­turn­ing home he has had steady but un­spec­tac­u­lar success with his small rac­ing team, and Satur­day’s win at Group Two level was his most im­por­tant to date.

‘‘Go­ing down to the track of a morn­ing and see­ing Glenn go­ing about his job, I liked his at­ti­tude,’’ Philip said.

‘‘I had some young horses that needed prep work be­fore send­ing them across to Aussie and he was happy to take them on.

‘‘Our Fa­mous Eve was one of them. She wasn’t easy ei­ther – a real tart in fact – but through per­se­ver­ance, Glenn got her over the line.’’

The daugh­ter of Waikato Stud stal­lion Fast ’N’ Fa­mous was held back from Aus­tralia un­til the end of her three-year-old sea­son, when from a hand­ful of starts she had fin­ished sec­ond in the Group 2 Royal Stakes and fifth in the Group 1 Darci Brahma In­ter­na­tional Stakes.

Hopes of trans­fer­ring that form to Aus­tralia foundered when she failed to adapt to the more in­tense en­vi­ron­ment and she re­turned to Glenn’s care sev­eral months ago.

Her up­set win on Satur­day at the ex­pense of the Lance Noble­trained Vi­adana made it clear she was back to her best. Now she is likely to get her chance to do some­thing her grand­mother was un­able to do – win Te Aroha’s flag­ship New Zealand Thor­ough­bred Breed­ers’ Stakes.

Bat­tle Eve had to set­tle for sec­ond plac­ing on no less than three oc­ca­sions.

Don’t for­get to set your alarm for 5am on Sun­day to be in time to see Gary Hen­nessy’s Ocean Park pit­ted against some of the best from the north­ern hemi­sphere in the US$5 mil­lion Dubai Duty Free at 5.40am on TAB Trackside Chan­nel 35.

Mem­o­ries: Flash­back for Philip Brown as he and his wife Cather­ine savour Our Fa­mous Eve’s big win at Tau­ranga on Satur­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.