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Two Illicit honoured at Wellington Awards

Faith Taylor accepting the Horse of the Year Award at the Wellington NZTBA branch awards from Darryl Burrow. Photo: NZTBA
Faith Taylor accepting the Horse of the Year Award at the Wellington NZTBA branch awards from Darryl Burrow. Photo: NZTBA

Two Illicit, who races in the Trelawney Stud silks, picked up the supreme award at the Wellington Branch of the NZTBA awards evening held last Thursday.

Breeding Excellence Awards were presented to the breeders of six stakes winners, including Wellington branch member Faith Taylor who is the co-breeder/owner dual Group Two winner Two Illicit.

Two Illicit, who is yet to run out of the money in seven starts, was also the recipient of the Horse of The Year trophy, an award that Taylor was pleasantly surprised to receive.

“I wasn’t expecting to get the Horse of the Year award,” Taylor said. “It was a great thrill and it is sitting on my dining room table much admired.”

Taylor’s linage is marked by those passionate about the thoroughbred industry and can be traced back to her great grandfather John Duncan who imported mares from the United Kingdom and Australia in the 1880’s.

Her grandfather, Sir Thomas Duncan, her father Ken and members of the extended family bred thoroughbreds and Taylor was the first of her family to become a commercial breeder.

In 1980 Taylor and her late husband Keith bought a 170 acre property in Otaki named Waimanu. From there they bred thoroughbreds and marketed yearlings at the Trentham sales.

In 1993 The Taylor family purchased Trelawney Stud, which is managed by Taylor’s son Brent and wife Cherry.

A love of racing has been passed down the generations and Taylor enjoys sharing ownership with her family.

“It is special to race with your family,” she said. “If you are disappointed you aren’t the only one and if you are celebrating it is a really good party. I love racing with other people, particularly family.”

Two Illicit is raced by Taylor in partnership with Brent and Cherry Taylor, Jane Taylor and Scott Malcolm, with her runner-up finish in the Gr.1 NZ Derby (2400m) a standout performance.

“I actually thought her run in the Derby was wonderful,” Taylor said. “She was the only filly in the field and though she was beaten she fought every minute of the way and I thought she raced a bit like a colt.

“She’s got that personality, she is really tough, but is absolutely wonderful. I was very proud of her that day.”

The thrill of watching her horses succeed on the track hasn’t waned for Taylor who first experienced Group race success in the 1980s and she is regularly in attendance trackside to watch her horses race.

“It is a great pleasure of mine to be able to go to the races and watch my horses,” Taylor said.

“I have been lucky to win quite a lot of races but I think the first black type race my husband and I won with Josette Nicole would be a standout way back in the eighties. It was almost snowing that day at Trentham, it was freezing cold and there was no one there but we had a wonderful day. I can still remember the feeling of that.”

Taylor is also passionate about the education of the industry’s youth and sponsors the Keith and Faith Taylor Equine Scholarship. The scholarship, administered by the NZTBA, supports the recipient to travel to Ireland and complete the world renowned Irish National Stud Diploma.

“We are very proud of the success of the scholarship,” she said. “It is wonderful to see these young people go to the Irish National Stud and do so well.”

Two Illicit was to be aimed at an Australian campaign but, with the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, will instead concentrate on a domestic campaign.

The Jimmy Choux four-year-old will continue her build-up with a trial at Taupo on Wednesday and holds nominations for all three of the Group One features at Hastings during September and October.

“We will see where we go with her (Two Illicit) after the trial but Australia has been discounted under the current circumstances,” co-trainer Roger James said.

“It’s often not the worst thing for a four-year-old mare to have a quieter spring as it can be a hard time for them going from age group company to competing against the older horses.

“We will concentrate domestically with her and if all goes well, we could look at Sydney or Melbourne in the autumn.

“I’ve been pretty careful with her on the wet tracks at home so she is going to Taupo for a gallop to bring her on.” -Trelawney Stud