Pedigree put to test

White Robe Lodge stud groom Matt Anderton with the Raise The Flag-Living Doll yearling colt. The...
White Robe Lodge stud groom Matt Anderton with the Raise The Flag-Living Doll yearling colt. The colt is one of five being sold at Karaka next week. Photo by Matt Smith.
Even in the cut-throat world of commercial thoroughbred breeding, there is still business being done based on old connections.

The North Taieri breeding and training operation, White Robe Lodge, has five yearlings by its stallion, Raise The Flag, consigned for the New Zealand Bloodstock festival sale starting at Karaka on Monday.

Raise The Flag is owned by Juddmonte Farms, the equine project of Prince Khalid Abdullah, of Saudi Arabia. So how does the impeccably bred son of Sadler's Wells end up in the South Island of New Zealand? White Robe Lodge stud manager Wayne Stewart takes up the story.

''Ric Wylie rang me and asked if we would be interested in standing him,'' Stewart said.

''As soon as he mentioned his pedigree, our ears pricked up and we thought it would be a great chance to stand a horse like that.''

The connection comes from Juddmonte's racing manager, Lord Teddy Grimthorpe, who is familiar with White Robe Lodge and Brian Anderton.

''He worked for [Sydney trainer] Tommy Smith many years ago when Alibi and some of the good Noble Bijous that Brian sold were there,'' he said.

''He knew of us, and knew we don't just raise great horses, we train them and race them so you get the whole package.

It's no wonder Stewart and his wife Karen - the daughter of Brian and Lorraine Anderton - got excited about Raise The Flag's pedigree.

His sire, Sadler's Wells, has left some of the world's great sires including High Chaparral (sire of So You Think), Montjeu (sire of 2008 AJC Derby winner Nom Du Jeu) and Scenic (sire of 2008 Melbourne Cup winner Viewed). Raise The Flag's dam, Hasili, has done an equally brilliant job, leaving five group 1 winners - the only northern hemisphere mare to do so.

''It's a great asset to the South Island and New Zealand breeding industry,'' he said.

Raise The Flag has covered more than 100 mares in each of his three seasons standing at White Robe and the early signs have been good, especially after matching up with mares of the quality of Lesley Brook (three wins at 2) and Sea Island, the dam of 2010 Metropolitan winner Herculian Prince.

''They're just good, athletic, clean-boned and correct horses with good temperaments,'' Stewart said.

''We've had them all X-rayed and checked before they left, and they're all good clean horses. They've grown out very well.''

The Raise The Flag-Living Doll colt gained a boost after Blood Brotha's Wellington Cup win on Saturday. Both horses trace to Lal's Gift, who is the grand-dam of Blood Brotha and the third dam of the yearling.

Stewart is quite keen on the Raise The Flag-Of The Essence colt, considering Of The Essence won 10 races in her career.

''If you could leave something a bit better than her, it could be a real top-notch horse,'' Stewart said.

''He's a lovely colt, and quite an athletic sort of a horse.''



White Robe Lodge's draft
for NZ Bloodstock festival sale:


• Raise The Flag-Living Doll colt

• Raise The Flag-Of The Essence colt

• Raise The Flag-Pernote colt

• Raise The Flag-Stage Flash colt

• Raise The Flag-Star Of Mulwala colt



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