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Grant Beckett

Grant and Di Beckett had a weekend to remember and are probably lucky it was a long weekend all things considered. Three winners is a great feat for a breeder in any week, but three in fifteen hours is almost unheard of!! Juverna, the Beckett’s super broodmare had three of her progeny win races on both sides of the Tasman.

First it was Quite a Moment winning a Group 3 trot at Melton in a searing time. Next up was Duke Of The Moment won at Albion Park before Moment of Love went on a North

Island raid and got the chocolates at Manawatu. We caught with Grant who is also the president of the Cheviot Trotting Club to bring you another instalment of Breeder Profiles.

WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN HARNESS RACING?

My father and grandfather always seemed to have a horse or two around. I can remember spending time in the paddock with mares and foals as a 9 or 10 year old. Not many got much of a crack but I can remember going down to the TAB with a school teacher at lunchtime to back Phoebe Gee in the late eighties, he won 2 or 3. Dad’s last mare kept having colts and the family lost the breed. Upon leaving school I used to love going to Addington to watch on a Friday night probably should have been studying. Bellam was a horse I loved to follow then, ironically a recent shift from Cheviot sees me living just around the corner from Bellam Road. My first holiday from my first job was a 2 week trip to the 1991 Interdoms in Auckland, I backed Mark Hanover in the final and will always remember backing Russley Lord in the last paying $35, the trip was payed for!!!

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BREEDING STANDARDBREDS?

In 2003 I rung about a mare for sale in the Harness Weekly. She was advertised as a Sundon mare from Life Line. I knew she traced back to my late father and grandfathers breed so went to buy her. Frank Murfitt was really stoked to see her go back “home” to Phoebe.

Other purchases followed, Juverna, Kazzle Dazzle, Away Away and Kamwood Smarty, our first pacer, all on a limited budget but knowing that they fitted in well with the rest of our farming operation and that if you were careful with sire selection you could make a wee bit of income. Some would say I have never been careful with sires as I love trying the new ones, particularly if they have a northern hemisphere crop or two before we get them. A risk sometimes, yes, but as our racing changes to being more like NA racing(shorter and faster) I don’t think we will see sires come down under and fail after being successful in NA.

It amazes me how slow our trainers and buyers are at times to realise just how good these new horses are. Mach Three, Bettor’s Delight, Art Major and Somebeachsomewhere have all been slow to be accepted at first, but we are now getting the best of the best as opposed to the next tier down!!!

FIRST HORSE YOU BRED?

Continentalman had just arrived in NZ and to get that sort of a pedigree, by Malabar Man out of a Champion in Continentalvictory, down here was unheard of at the time. This first mating left us with Phoebe Sunset and the “Phoebe” name that was lost in the eighties was back!!

FIRST RACE WINNER YOU BRED?

We decided to race the first one and Phoebe Sunset went on to be our first winner, we have since bred many winners including a Group 1 winner in Quite A Moment but nothing will ever beat the thrill we got the day he won his first race at our local Cheviot meeting, the “Locals” nearly shook the Presidents room down when we were in the birdcage!!

WHY DO YOU BREED STANDARDBREDS?

We breed as part of our farming business, so ultimately to make a profit but also for enjoyment, it’s almost a hobby away from work, that has become an absolute passion. Having the top French sires available now along with sires like Muscle Hill and Andover Hall leaves all sorts of exciting possibilities in the future. I can’t wait to start breeding from Love You and Sam Bourbon mares!!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE HORSE (OR) THE BEST ONE YOU HAVE BRED (AND WHY)?

My favourite mare is Sunny Moment, she did a tendon at three and never raced but has a wonderful nature. We bought her mum Juverna with a 10 day old Sunny Moment at foot. At the time Juverna (1/2 sister to Take A Moment) had two qualifiers but none to the races, she has since left eight winners including Quite A Moment. A few years ago Juverna had 3 race on Victoria Derby day for a !st,2nd and third. She managed to top that feat over the weekend with Quite A Moment winning a Group 3 at Melton, Duke Of The Moment winning at Albion Park and Moment Of Love Winning at Manawatu, all within 14 hours!!

Quite A Moment is the best we have bred. She was sold on earthquake day to Wayne Stewart, he grew up just down the road from me and it has been great to see him having so much success with her.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE STALLION OF ALL TIME?

I don’t really have a favourite sire but have had good results with Monarchy, he is often underrated and has a lovely pedigree. I also love Sam Bourbon, his pedigree and looks are amazing. We have bred to him most years but only have the two live foals, the exciting Twice As Much part owned now by JP Dubois the legendary French trainer and owner of Sam Bourbon and Love You and a 2yr old full sister in work with Coaster Howe.

HAVE YOU BRED ANYTHING THIS SEASON?

Have bred two of the old mares to Peak after liking and selling one of his foals this year(out of Juverna), Andover Hall, He’s Watching, Sam Bourbon(2) and Love You have been used. Unfortunately the 3 bred to the French horses are negative, gutted about that!!

SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE CHANGE FOR BREEDERS?

I would love to see all clubs take up the Breeders Bonus scheme as a way of getting something back to the breeder that breeds quality (winners). I think it should be compulsory for all clubs to print breeder’s names in the racebook.

They won’t get much of my money unless they do, I don’t often bet but if I can see a breeders name in the book I will often back them!!

We need more foals on the ground, our age group racing is already suffering from a lack of numbers and this will only get worse. Racing more often is not an option for the babies, if more are bred on shear statistics more will race and we won’t see Derby fields with 7 runners and only 3 or 4 winning chances!!!

Courtesy of: Breeder weekly