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Juan Diva caps momentous season for Taylor family

Juan Diva storms to victory at Eagle Farm - Photo credit: Trackside Photography – Grant Peters
Juan Diva storms to victory at Eagle Farm

Photo credit: Trackside Photography – Grant Peters

A stirring victory by Juan Diva in the Gr.3 WJ Healy Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday provided Trelawney Stud’s Taylor family with a remarkable tenth stakes win as owners for the season.

Three of those wins have come in Australia with royally bred mare Zayydani contributing twice with her wins in the Gr.2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) and Listed Ballarat Cup (2000m) whilst their seven New Zealand black-type victories were shared between Pareanui Bay (2), Cheaperthandivorce (2) and the recently retired Two Illicit who bagged three including the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) and the Gr.2 Travis Stakes to round out an illustrious career.

Trelawney Stud Managing Director Brent Taylor was thrilled by the performance of Juan Diva, who overcame a wide barrier (12) in the hands of ex-pat Kiwi Jason Collett to dash home late for victory, just a week after they had taken the calculated gamble to scratch the Richard and Will Freedman-trained Snitzel mare just an hour before a similar race at Ipswich.

“That was a wonderful performance and thankfully it vindicated the decision we made the week before at Ipswich,” Taylor said.

“She was all set to run there but during the meeting they got a heap of rain and the track began to really deteriorate.

“We know she is at her best on a good surface so we spoke with Richard and Will and when the opportunity came to scratch, we took it and rolled the dice that she would be up to winning at Eagle Farm instead.

“She is a mare we bought privately from her breeder and she started off with Michael Freedman and then he and Richard before she stayed with Richard and Will when Michael went out on his own again.

“Brian Smith has been looking after her up in Brisbane and she has just thrived up there.

“She still has racing left in her so she will have another season before she heads to the broodmare barn.

“When she does, she will most likely spend a breeding season in Australia before we bring her back here to Trelawney.”

Taylor appreciates the good fortune they have had with their racing stock this year as they look to further refine an elite band of mares that the stud will breed from in the coming years.

“We’ve been very lucky with the results we have achieved and those stakes win are invaluable for the breeding prospects of our mares in the future,” he said.

“We took the decision a few years ago that we would attempt to get our replacement mares off the racetrack from stock we have bred or selected ourselves and that has been working well.

“To have mares of the quality of Two Illicit, Zayydani and Loire available to breed from this season is very satisfying given what they have achieved for us during their racing careers.

“We also know we have a racing team that has a lot of strength in it across the board with quite a few fillies coming through including six or eight rising two-year-olds and another half a dozen rising three-year-olds to complement our older mares like Juan Diva, Cheaperthandivorce and Samiam Seussie.”

Taylor advised that Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m) winner Cheaperthandivorce was making good progress in the early stages of a preparation to have her back racing again in the spring.

“Cheaperthandivorce is at the beach at Waiuku with Moira Murdoch at the moment and is loving it out there,” he said.

“She will have a month there before she goes back to Roger (James) and Robert (Wellwood) to get ready for a spring campaign.

“Another one of our promising mares is Samiam Seussie and she is also back in work after a pleasing season on the track.

“She had a knee injury as a three-year-old and it has taken her a little while to get to grips with the racing game again but she was very good in her last couple of starts and we think she can step up even further in her next campaign.” – NZ Racing Desk