The first physical step in breeding a champion racehorse, launching a sire to stardom, or bringing fame to a broodmare, takes place with the mating of the stallion with the mare.
Beforehand the compatibility of bloodlines, temperament and commercial considerations are among the preliminary planning.
Then again there’s the Ken Cheng and Gordon Fong approach. In 1987 the Aucklanders took broadcaster Jim Smith to lunch and during the meal asked him which stallion they should mate with their broodmare Lady Aythorpe, who was a resident mare at Haunui.
Smith strongly recommended Haunui Farm’s Crested Wave. The mare’s owners picked up the tab for the lunch and later gave Smith a share in the resulting foal. Smith, however, was only one link in a now famous chain of beneficiaries.
Racing as Surfers Paradise, the Lady Aythorpe foal gave Hall of Fame trainer Dave O’Sullivan his first Derby win and dramatically followed up by winning the 1991 Cox Plate, providing O’Sullivan with significant compensation for Our Waverley Star’s narrow, and famous, defeat at the hands of Bonecrusher in the iconic contest of 1986.
Haunui Farm imported Crested Wave from America in 1982. He created a big early impression, but when he failed to get precocious two-year-olds his popularity waned and service bookings had dropped off by the spring of 1990.
Two of his three-year-olds, however, brought about a dramatic change. Surfers Paradise won the Great Northern Guineas, New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas and the Derby, while his brilliant Filly of the Year, Plume won the New Zealand One Thousand Guineas.
Between them the pair won 13 stakes races to spearhead the Crested Wave renaissance which saw him crowned champion sire of the 1990-91 season. At Haunui Farm the phone was again running hot.
Just so a Surfers Paradise win would not go unnoticed Jim Smith, the colourful former racing director of Radio Pacific, had special lapel badges of support printed. They read: “I love Surfers Paradise, New Zealand Herald Derby winner 1990.” When the conquering hero returned to scale they were on show everywhere.