Dragila's story no fairytale

LONGFORD trainer Ian Hay has won the rich Bow Mistress Trophy twice - with Dragila in 2004 and her daughter Isibaeva at Elwick on Sunday.

But, if it sounds like the Dragila story has been a breeder's dream, it's misleading. 

The highs have been outnumbered by the lows.

Hay's wife, Linda - part-owner of both mares with Bob Armstrong and Denis and Yvonne Jones - said yesterday that Dragila's time as a broodmare had been frustrating.

In fact, Isibaeva has been her only real success at stud.

Dragila was retired after winning 11 races and $212,000.

Her win in the Bow Mistress, then sponsored by Arrowfield Stud, earned her a free service to the stallion Orientate who stood for $30,000.

However, when Dragila's owners sent her to the New South Wales stud, Orientate hadn't yet arrived from America.

They asked if they could swap to another stallion.

``We were looking at Redoute's Choice, who hadn't taken off at that stage, and was standing for the same fee,'' Linda Hay explained.

``They said that we could go to him, but we would have to pay an extra $10,000.''

If they had known then that Redoute's Choice was about to become the hottest sire in Australia, they would have spent the money.

``But we were basically told not to look a gift horse in the mouth so we stuck with our free service to Orientate,'' Hay said.

``The resulting foal was Draginaut who won a race but was crazy.

``For some reason, that I can't recall, Dragila missed the next breeding season.

``Then John Cameron, of New Zealand Bloodstock, who had bought (Launceston Cup winner) Anzaas for us many years earlier, arranged for us to go to Coolmore Stud where the mare was served by Johannesburg.''

The result was Isibaeva, now a winner of nine races and $232,000.

However, since then Dragila's stud record has been disappointing, to say the least.

The following year, when horse movements were restricted by EI, Dragila went to Gonski but the foal was born with badly deformed legs.

He was saved but was never going to race.

``We stayed home the next year and went to Savoire Vivre, getting Manazieva (four starts to date, no wins),'' Hay explained.

``We then sent her to Statue Of Liberty at Eliza Park but the foal, now a three-year-old, also has problems and won't race.''

Dragila's second-last foal was a filly by West Quest (now a two-year-old called Udayan) and her last a yearling by Strategic.

``She's been retired from breeding now - she has foot problems - and will see out her days at home,'' Hay said.

``She's been good to us in a lot of ways but you couldn't say that she's been a good breeder.''


 ADMIRAL, winner of Sunday's $100,000 Elwick Stakes, is also out of a former top class Tasmanian racemare.

His mother, Reunification, was a short-course specialist, winning 12 races up to 1200 metres and almost $200,000.

However, at this early stage of his career, Admiral is already out-performing her.

Reunification never won a race as a two-year-old.

Admiral has now won three but trainer Barry Campbell believes that he won't be seen at his best for some time yet.

``He's not a real two-year-old,'' the trainer said. ``He will get better with age.

``He's by Mossman whose progeny usually need time and his mother didn't win until she was three.''

Admiral is likely to follow a similar path to Campbell's all-conquering two-year-old of last season, Grand Tycoon.

``He'll go to the Gold Sovereign next, then there will be plenty of time to freshen him up for the good races later in the season,'' Campbell said.


FORMER New Norfolk reinsman Josh Duggan, now forging a successful career in Victoria, has been selected to represent his adopted state in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship in Sydney.

And, Bridport trainer-driver Kate MacLeod will represent Tasmania in a $50,000 invitation lady drivers' race, also to be run on Inter-Dominion grand final day at Menangle on March 2.

MacLeod was the state's leading female driver last season, with 14 wins and 30 minor placings. Six of those wins were on her former stable star Hugo Play who she also drove to victory at Melton earlier this season.

Dylan Ford has previously been announced as Tasmania's representative in the junior driver series.

Jockey David Pires raises his whip in triumph after winning the Tasmanian Newmarket Handicap in 2003 aboard Dragila. Dragila's time since as a broodmare has been frustrating for her connections.

Jockey David Pires raises his whip in triumph after winning the Tasmanian Newmarket Handicap in 2003 aboard Dragila. Dragila's time since as a broodmare has been frustrating for her connections.


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