Patience pays off for Kendayla Park

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  • December 20, 2023
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By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Patience paid big dividends for Robyn and Russell Rogers at Te Rapa on Saturday when their mare Zecora broke through for her maiden stakes victory in the Gr.3 J Swap Sprint (1400m).

Bred by the Waikato couple under their Kendayla Park banner, Zecora had shown plenty of promise, winning three and placing in four of her first eight starts, with a stakes tilt in the offing 12 months ago until disaster struck.

“We always thought she had the ability to get black-type. Things didn’t quite go to plan last year, so it was so lovely to see her tick that box and do it so early on in this campaign,” Robyn Rogers said.

“She had an amazing prep last season, she was first or second in every start. We were going to line her up in the Newmarket, which had black-type status at the time, on Boxing Day (last year). She did her last bit of work and galloped sensationally, but as she walked back we thought she didn’t look right.

“We took her over to Cambridge Vets who x-rayed her, and she had a fracture in her cannon bone. They did an amazing job and put in three screws. She walked out that night like she could go to the races on the weekend.”

The daughter of Power then underwent several months of rest and rehabilitation and had the perfect environment to do so, with rehabilitation making up a significant part of the Rogers’ Kendayla Park operation.

“We are lucky that we have got a big aquawalker and we do quite a lot of rehab work and a lot of pre-training for other trainers to get some base fitness into their horses before they start going around the track,” Rogers said.

“We also get a lot of horses to freshen-up between races. Once they have had a few runs and are starting to get a few niggles, we get quite a few that come for a short period of time to freshen-up, it’s a bit like coming to a spa. They go back and seem to have a burst of new energy when they get back to the trainers. It is an amazing asset to have.

“She (Zecora) spent four months in a box and then spent a little time in a paddock. We then had to take the top screw out because they (vets) said it might affect her if she came back as a racehorse. There was a bit of further rehab after that and everything else has been smooth-sailing.

“She has done a lot of her rehab on the aquawalker. We did get a fair bit of fitness into her before we started to put any pressure on the leg and she seems to have come through this race great.”

It’s not the first time the Rogers’ have been met with that injury, with Zecora’s dam C’est La Vie also fracturing her cannon bone as a racehorse.

“Her mother did the exact same injury,” Rogers said. “She won her very first race and broke the track record, but she fractured her cannon bone.

“We did exactly the same thing with her – she got screws in her leg and then we rehabbed her. She had a huge amount of ability and was unlucky not to get black-type, but she went on and won some good races.

“It was really nice to see this mare get black-type. She never runs a bad race and is one of those mares that puts in 120 percent every start.”

The Rogers have been acquainted with the family for some time, having purchased Zecora’s second-dam Iman from Australia two decades ago.

“It is a super family and one of those family’s whose page is littered with black-type,” Rogers said.

“C’est La Vie is a full-sister to Imananabaa, who won the Railway (Gr.1, 1200m). It is a lovely pedigree.

“We bought Iman (C’est La Vie’s dam) when we were over at the Magic Millions broodmare sale many years ago. We had gone and had a look at numerous mares and narrowed it down to six. Four had been through the ring and were well out of our price range and then Iman came in.

“She was in-foal to Anabaa, and we love Anabaa. We had A$100,000 to spend so we opened the bidding at $100,000. Someone else put in a bid, but it was too late and she was sold to us. If they had been a fraction of a second earlier we wouldn’t have got her because we couldn’t afford to bid again. We were very lucky.

“We got the credit for breeding Imananabaa, but she was already in-foal when we bought the mare.

“She was a super mare for us, everything out of her has won races and a few of them have been sold overseas. She was a very lucky buy.”

C’est Le Vie had just the four live foals, with the Rogers’ now breeding from her Reliable Man daughter Girl Of Steel, with Zecora set to join their broodmare band in the coming years.

“C’est La Vie wasn’t always the easiest to get in-foal, but she did a good job,” Rogers said.

“She had a few horses that had a huge amount of ability but one or two had soundness issues and didn’t perform to their ability. It is nice to see this one (Zecora) do that.

“Girl Of Steel has got a cracking Time Test foal on her. She is a lovely mare and with any luck she will do a good job as a broodmare.”

Zecora is still a few years away from joining her sister in the broodmare paddock and the Rogers’ are hoping she can add to her burgeoning record over the summer, with a number of black-type targets on the agenda.

“We might roll the dice again and step her up to a mile and have a crack at the Rich Hill Mile (Gr.2, 1600m) on New Year’s Day,” Rogers said.

“And the plan all along has been to try and get her into the Westbury (Gr.2, 1400m) on Karaka Millions night.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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