Riccarton beckons The Good Shepherd

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  • July 27, 2023
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By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

A trip to Karaka five years ago is well and truly paying off for southern trainer Stephen Blair-Edie.

A chestnut colt caught the Southland farmer’s expert stock eye in Phoenix Park’s New Zealand Bloodstock May Sale draft, and he went to $9,000 to secure him.

At the fall of the hammer, the words uttered by the auctioneer led to the naming of the now five-year-old gelding, who on Wednesday won his fifth race for his owner-trainer.

“I knew the auctioneer when I bought him as a yearling at Karaka. He knocked the hammer down and said ‘that goes to the big shepherd in the deep south’,” Blair-Edie said.

“I had been married for 45 years at that stage and I said to the Mrs we better call him ‘The Shepherd’. She said ‘you’re naming the horse after yourself?’

“She sent the form away and it came back ‘The Good Shepherd’, so she must still like me.”

The son of Power has been in great form of late, scoring his second consecutive win when taking out the Easymade Marmalade (1200m) at Oamaru on Wednesday by 4-3/4 lengths.

“I was chuffed with how he went. He won by four lengths today and three at Riccarton, so it is really good,” Blair-Edie said.

“The handicapper will probably put weight on him now.

“I will find a race for him at Riccarton. I’ll have to find good company to keep him down in the weights and you can’t do that anywhere else in the South Island now.

“He has proven to me that he can run there so that is where he will be going.”

Blair-Edie trains The Good Shepherd on his Riverton farm and believes it has been telling in his performance over winter.

“It is more or less Kenny Brown stuff. We gallop them up a 1400m airstrip that is on an incline up a big hill. It seems to work,” he said.

“In the winter, when we have got a bit of mud, we have got four or five blocks we can go on.

“We have got no caretaker telling us where to go and what to do and the horses get used to the sheep and cattle around them, just like a stock horse really.”

Blair-Edie was also pleased to score runner-up results with Choux Maker and Anafternoondelight.

“On that run, Choux Maker is looking like he will be going to Riccarton as well,” he said.

“Anafternoondelight went well and handled the (Heavy) ground well. I will probably give her a break now, she is only a four-year-old and she has got a bit of a future.”

Blair-Edie now has his sights set on Riccarton in the coming months, with his long trip north to the Christchurch track aided by his Waimate property.

“It is 625km from our cattle stop to the Riccarton tie-ups,” he said.

“I have got my halfway house, a 10-acre block at Waimate racecourse, which helps a lot with the trip.

“I am looking forward to heading to Riccarton with a couple of runners.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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