Could Holdontoyahorses foal Australia’s next big thing?
HOLDONTOYACAVIAR could be the name of Mackay's next great racehorse.
With this year's Mackay Cup champion Holdontoyahorses heading off to breed with Black Caviar's sire, Bel Esprit, trainer Russell Adair thinks the name would be a ripper.
But despite the pedigrees of the two horses, creating a champion requires much more than a winning name.
"The stallion (Bel Esprit) has thrown a lot of winners," Mr Adair said.
"But there are no guarantees. It probably increases your chances from 10,000 to one to 200 to one."
The sought-after stallion was only set to travel to Queensland for one year, when he would service more than 100 mares, for a going rate of $18,700 each.
Mr Adair trained seven-year-old mare Holdontoyahorses, known as Stompy off the track, for the last two years, and said her mentality led to her success.
"She won a metropolitan race in Melbourne when she was younger, and came fourth in the Blue Diamond," Mr Adair said.
"I trained her for six months but I call myself a seasonal trainer. I don't train during the hotter months, it's too hot and the horses don't perform."
Two other Mackay trainers took her under their wings at that stage, but after a performance drop and sore legs she came back to Mr Adair, with the idea she would be retired.
"But paddock life rejuvenates them. After four months I noticed her legs were better, and the rest is history," he said.
"Since February she has won four from eight starts, and she was really unlucky in a couple.
"She always finds a lot of trouble but her determination brings her through.
"She's my baby. Half the battle is getting them to trust you.
"Once you become mates, it's easy after that."
He said the winning attitude was something that could never be bred or trained.
But Mr Adair said mares fathered by Holdontoyahorses' dad Dane Shadow have "gone well" with Bel Esprit.
"Some bloodlines click better than others," he said.
"This bloodline has clicked in the past."
While racehorses of both sexes compete against one another, Mr Adair said gender could play a role in a horse's success.
He said about 80% of racehorses were geldings (male) and 20% were mares.
"But she's tough like a boy," he said.
"That's how she stays in there."
The mare first came to Mr Adair as a sprinter, but her success lately had been over the 1800m middle distance events.
"You don't look at bloodlines, you treat each horses as an individual when you are training," he said.
"She really settled into races and worked home well, that's why we thought we'd try her over the longer events."
Holdontoyahorses was retired after winning at Ooralea Races last Saturday and was set to head down to Eliza Park stud in south-east Queensland.
"She probably had a bit more racing in her, but we thought we'd get her down there for an early mating,"
Mr Adair said.
"That's a credit to the owners the way they thought of her like that.
"The mating is all scientifically done. They can tell if she's pregnant 21 days after."
She would then stay at the stud for a couple of years at least, although one day she might return to Mackay.
After relaxing in the paddock, she would head south in about a month.
"The tissues will certainly be out that day," Mr Adair said.
"You can't help but fall in love with them. If you don't you're not doing your job."