Racing: Excitement over first foal

Arden Lodge proprietor John Stiven puts Arden's Rockstar (a Rocknroll Hanover-Arden's Darlin filly) through her paces for trainers (from left) Brent Mangos and Michael House at Arden Lodge in Tapanui on Tuesday. Photo by Matt Smith.
Arden Lodge proprietor John Stiven puts Arden's Rockstar (a Rocknroll Hanover-Arden's Darlin filly) through her paces for trainers (from left) Brent Mangos and Michael House at Arden Lodge in Tapanui on Tuesday. Photo by Matt Smith.
There may be some debate about where the name of Tapanui's Arden Lodge came from, but John Stiven is unequivocal in his excitement about a first foal for Arden's Darlin.

The Rocknroll Hanover filly is consigned for the first day of the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in Christchurch next Wednesday. Her dam, Arden's Darlin, is one of Stiven's favourites, particularly as she provided great moments for Stiven and his mother, Noreen, who died last year.

Arden's Darlin won the 2yr-old fillies sales series final in 2008 before finishing second behind her former farm-mate, Arden Banner, in the 2yr-old fillies sires stakes final a week later.

While the filly, named Arden's Rockstar, has some of her mother's traits, Stiven is pleased to see the sire's side come through in the bay filly.

''She's thrown to the stallion as well,'' Stiven said.

''She's definitely a lovely-built filly and the potential is definitely there.

''We thought since it's her first one, we should be marketing that one now, and we can keep a filly down the line, at some stage.

Arden Lodge has been producing yearlings for sale since 1970, when Stiven's father, Doug, expanded his passion for breeding which began in the 1960s. The name Arden has two potential sources.

''There's a wee bit of conjecture to that,'' Stiven explained.

''It was to do with Arden House on [BBC TV programme] Dr Finlay's Casebook.

''That was apparently a bit of a Coronation Street of its time. The other [theory] is that there's the Arden Downs [in Pennsylvania, United States].

Arden Lodge had some success in the first 30 years, including breeding the 1986 West Australian Derby winner Arden Meadow, but after Doug's death in 2001, John and Noreen decided to ramp up their involvement.

''We thought that if we didn't step up with our stallion selection, we wouldn't still be going, so that's what we've done,'' he said.

''It's all followed on, and it's all grown, but as some of the returns have grown for some of the yearlings, so have our expenses with the type of stallions we're going to.''

All Hart gave the Stivens their second Derby winner when he prevailed in the 2001 Great Northern Derby, while the likes of Arden Rooney and Southwind Arden are performing well on the track at the moment.

Arden Lodge has four yearlings at the sale, including a full brother to Arden's Darlin, and two colts by the Macca Lodge-based sire, Panspacificflight. A half-brother to 2009 New Zealand Cup runner-up Bettor's Strike had to be withdrawn from the sale due to a rash.