It has long been held that one of the compelling attractions to thoroughbred racing is the glorious uncertainty. To that could be added another truism – breeding and selling thoroughbreds will never be an exact science.
Chance will always play a part in the breeding game.
A big one that got away during Haunui Farm’s formative years was Australia’s champion three-year-old of 1984, Red Anchor.
The winner of both the Cox Plate and VRC Derby, Red Anchor was the result of a Haunui Farm mating between resident sire Sea Anchor and the imported mare Decoy Girl. But Haunui never got the credit for breeding the superstar because of selling Decoy Girl to the Setchell brothers, Peter and Graham, with the foal in utero.
An essential ingredient of Haunui policy has been to pay close attention to selecting mares suited to genetic matching with resident sires. This was very much the case when the stud bought Frenechie to be specifically mated with American import Racing Is Fun.
However, the resulting foal was hardly an awesome individual and she was offered unsuccessfully for sale as a weanling and then at two different Waikato yearling sales.
When she failed to meet her reserve on the final occasion auctioneer Peter Kelly asked Ron Chitty what he now planned to do with the unwanted filly. “Give her away I suppose,” was Ron’s response.
The ace auctioneer responded by leasing her with a substantial right-of-purchase to be raced by a five-person syndicate from the Awapuni stable of Noel Eales. She was named Fun on the Run and from then on it was fun galore.
Fun on the Run won nine of her first 14 starts and finished second on three other occasions. By the time she retired her wins had included the Group 1 Thorndon Mile and the Group One International Stakes at Te Rapa.
The final say goes to Ron Chitty: “In this game you win some and lose some. However with Fun on the Run everyone was a winner, another Group One winner was bred by Haunui and eventually a substantial right of purchase was exercised which made the whole wait more than worthwhile.”