More highlights ahead for Taylor

Cherry Taylor had no joy with Loire in last Saturday’s Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks, but she has plenty to look forward to within the next couple of months despite the Covid-19 travel restraints.

Taylor, Chairperson of the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame (NZRHOF), and her husband, Brent, race Loire with their friend Kate Plaw and, though the filly disappointed when finishing 14th in the 2400m feature, she had already given them a major highlight when winning the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton last November.

“She had a full vet check (after the Oaks) and is ok and just needs a spell so she has come home,’’ Taylor said.

The Trelawney Stud couple also co-bred and share in the ownership of Two Illicit, a Jimmy Choux filly who is a two-time Gr.2 winner and finished a game second last start behind Sherwood Forest in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie.

Two Illicit has pleased trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood since the Derby and last week a trip to Sydney was confirmed for a tilt at the Gr.1 Vinery Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 28 then maybe the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 11.

Four days before the Australian Oaks, the Taylors will be focused on the first day of the Sydney Easter Yearling Sales with two Trelawney Stud offerings, a colt by Savabeel from Lady Sayyida ( a winning half-sister to Ocean Park, the five time Gr.1 winner who was also bred by Trelawney Stud) and a colt by Lohnro from Okahu Bay (a Gr.3 winner from the family of Gr.1 Easter Handicap (1600m) winner Calveen).

The Covid-19 14-day travel self-isolation conditions introduced at 1am on Monday morning has resulted in alternative arrangements having to be made for both Two Illicit and the yearlings in Sydney.

‘’She (Two Illicit) is going well and will be looked after by Tony Pike’s staff,’’ Taylor said. ‘’Chris McNab is already in Aussie and Roger will speak to Chris each day to follow her training and progress.

‘’We are working through the Sydney Sales (arrangements).

‘’I’m gutted I can’t be there, but I understand. Two Illicit has to have a go at winning the big ones over there. At least we can watch on TV.’’

While restricted to New Zealand, Taylor will be focused on the NZRHOF bi-annual induction dinner on May 3 at SkyCity Hamilton.

‘’I’ve been a director of the Hall of Fame for eight years and this is my first year as Chairperson and I’m really looking forward to the night,’’ Taylor said.

‘’This year we’re already announced three of the new inductees, James McDonald, Sir Peter Vela and Mufhasa, and the other inductees will be revealed on the night.’’

Trelawney Stud has links with three members of the NZRHOF. Its founder, Seton Otway, was inducted in 2016, the same year as its champion sire Foxbridge, while eight years earlier the champion galloper Tulloch (bred by Trelawney Stud) was inducted.

Trelawney Stud celebrated a highly successful National Yearling Sales at Karaka, adding to the racetrack thrills this season for the Taylors.

‘’We had an enormous sale at Karaka with an average of $314,000 and were the leading vendor by average,’’ Taylor said. ‘’Our sales topper was an I Am Invincible – Sancerre colt who was bought by David Ellis for $625,000.

Taylor has a lifelong involvement in racing and has been in the insurance business for over 40 years. She now operates C. N. Taylor Consulting in partnership with Melanie Priscott, partner of Catalyst’s trainer, Clayton Chipperfield.

As an owner, she has had the thrill of racing four Gr.1 winners, Vouvray (Gr.1 Queensland Oaks, 2400m), Boundless (Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks, 2400m), Solzhenitsyn (Gr.1 Toorak Handicap, 1600m twice) and now Loire.

Taylor has a special fondness for Boundless, the daughter of Van Nistelrooy who she also co-bred and raced in a partnership which included co-trainer Trevor McKee.

Boundless won nine races and almost $700,000 in prizemoney and won three other Group races and was runner-up in the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m).

‘’She was amazing and so tough,’’ Taylor said. ‘’She is still the coolest as a broodmare. She is really special to me.’’

Once Boundless racing days were over she was sold and the Taylors bought her at the Sydney sales for $A700,000.

‘’I wanted her right or wrong and we put in just the one bid and got her,’’ Taylor said. ‘’Brent got a bit of ribbing about spending that much, but he told them it was cheaper than divorce.

‘’She’s done all right as a broodmare, but has had only one filly and we’ve named her Cheaperthandivorce. She’s a Savabeel two-year-old and has had one light preparation with Roger (James) and Robert (Wellwood). Boundless is now in foal to Charm Spirit.’’

Boundless’ second foal, Richie McHorse, won five races with the highlight being his win in the 2018 Gr.3 Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup (2200m), 10 years after Boundless also won the Hastings feature.

Now maybe Two Illicit could give Taylor another Gr.1 thrill, even though she won’t be able to enjoy the on-track excitement in Sydney for the occasion.

Words by Wally O'Hearn