Goodwood Stud principal William Fell received a late wedding present on Saturday when Nicoletta won the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha.
The 2017 New Zealand Breeder of the Year recently married central districts jockey Rosie Myers and he was delighted to notch another Group One as a breeder.
“It was outstanding, she certainly deserved it I thought,” Fell said of Nicoletta's win. "She’s a pretty tough mare.
“Last year she ran a pretty good race, where she ran third. It was her usual racing style and I think she just out-toughed them. She went to the front and they just couldn’t catch her.
“It’s nice for the mare (Celtic Crown). We have got a nice Tivaci weanling and she’s back in-foal to Tivaci, so it’s nice for her going forward.”
Fell offered Nicoletta through Goodwood Stud’s 2015 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale draft where she was purchased for $90,000 by bloodstock agent Bruce Perry on behalf of client Lib Petagna.
“She was a pretty big filly and correct,” Fell said. “She was probably a little bit plain, but she was a nice New Zealand-staying sort of filly and Bruce Perry is an outstanding judge and he really liked her.
“She was probably worth between $90-100,000, we thought, at Karaka. Overall, she was a nice, well-grown filly.”
Nicoletta provided her champion sire Savabeel with his 18th individual Group One winner.
Incredibly, the Waikato Stud sire was represented by six of the 11 runners in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes and his talented daughter Supera gave him a Group One quinella when closing late for second.
Nicoletta became Goodwood Stud’s second Group One-winning graduate on Saturday, joining three-time Group One winner Gingernuts.
“That’s the second Group One winner for Goodwood,” he said. “Gingernuts is the flag-bearer with Nicoletta and we have bred a few Group Two and Three horses.
“Since Gingernuts we have had a few nice horses, but it’s nice to get another Group One. They are pretty hard to come by. Gingernuts did a lot for us and our brand, so it’s good to carry that on.”
While Fell hasn’t been able to capitalise on Gingernuts’ success, having sold his dam Double Elle a few years back, he said he is happy that Nicoletta’s dam Celtic Crown remains in Goodwood Stud’s broodmare band.
“A few people texted me (after the win) asking if I still had the mare, and in this case I do,” Fell said.
“She’s an interesting mare, we bought her from America. We did the deal through New Zealand Bloodstock.
“They were contacted by an agent who had a few mares for sale and we were in the market for some mares.
“She had won a Listed race in Washington State and she’s got a quite American odd-ball pedigree, but she’s been a good producer, obviously highlighted by Nicoletta.
“It was something a little different, a bit of American form and it seems to have paid off.
“She’s been a good mare to us. We might keep this Tivaci (weanling filly), we’ll see. But we certainly do want a filly to keep and race and keep the family going.”
Fell said he is enjoying married life and is hoping for continued success on the track for Goodwood Stud graduates in the hope his boutique Palmerston North operation can win back the New Zealand Breeder of the Year title.
“We have got 25 mares on the farm and there’s about 15 of our own. We just do a small group of clients and that seems to fit our model well,” Fell said.
“We have lost that Breeder of the Year title, so hopefully we can nab a few more stakes wins and try and win it back.” – NZ Racing Desk