Bavin brothers still making their late Dad proud 

By Duane Ranger 

The progeny of the late Ian Bavin’s 1973 Brad Hanover mare, Nicotine Princess, is still kicking goals, some 40 years after he purchased her. 

His Auckland-based sons Steven and Michael have carried the family line on, and now some five generations later, her great-great grandson, Flyng Scotsman (Superfast Stuart – Emma Bella Jay, Continentalman), has recorded his third win in race one at Cambridge Raceway last Thursday (July 11).

Steven Bavin

David Butcher did the driving for Cambridge trainer, Ross Paynter. The 6-year-old brown gelding is owned by his breeders – the Manurewa-based Bavin brothers. He won easily by almost three lengths. 

Bavin (Steven), who has run 26 marathons and been in every North Shore Marathon since its inception 11 years ago, was delighted with the fitness and progress of Flying Scotsman. 

“Like most of our horses, especially the Superfast Stuarts don’t hit their straps until five or six. It has taken a while for the penny to drop for this fella. 

“Dad had shares in horses, but Nicotine Princess was the only mare he bred from. It all started with her. He bought her on the recommendation of John McQuibban. Dad also raced horses with the late John Carsons, including Tom Pepper (1979 Thames cup winner) as well as the five-win Alray gelding, Lord Jodasc. 

Nicotine Princess had six foals before Dad bought her. In 1983 she produced his first foal – the Tay Bridge gelding, Albany. 

“She left two fillies after Albany. They were the 1983 Tay Bridge mare, Burning Bridges, and the 1985 Shicker mare, Bavin’s Comet. It all started from there,” Bavin said. 

Flying Scotsman is the second of three foals out of the unraced 2004 Continentalman – Miss Coxhead (Tuff Choice) mare, Emma Bella Jay. North Canterbury horseman, Don Burrows, told Bavin at the time she was very quick, but became unsound after a training accident. 

“Her first foal, a 2013 Monkey Bones gelding showed a lot of ability but then broke down. She has also left us a 4-year-old Master Glide filly (who qualified as a three year old and is about to return to training) after Flying Scotsman.  Emma Bella Jay is currently in foal to Creatine. 

“I like to space out the pregnancies. I think it’s good to give the mare an opportunity to thrive and be a Mum,” Bavin said. 

He said Flying Scotsman had always been a lightly framed horse until recently. 

“He was skin and bones once because he never ate much, but now that he’s six he’s finally turned into a racehorse. He’s filled out nicely and is quite strong. 

“He’s still hasn’t got many brains but with maturity and more racing he should develop into a very nice trotter. On his day he would eat that field, and he did. 

“He’s a good trotter who just needs time. He’s only six so in trotting terms that’s not old,” Bavin said. 

Bavin said Flying Scotsman had the potential to challenge In Shot as the best horse that he and his brother had bred. 

That 1994 grey Chiola Hanover – Camera Shy mare, who was trained and driven by Burrows at Balcairn, won 10 of his 79 starts ($56,856). Don and Peggy Burrows picked out Chiola Hanover to put Camera Shy to that year, so Steven says he cannot take much credit there. 

“She was a lovely trotter who ran fourth in 2001 Dominion Handicap and ran second in the Group Two Canterbury Park Trotting Cup behind Take A Moment. She left three foals with Lightworkofit (six-win Sundon gelding) being the best of them,” Bavin said. 

Burrows and the Bavin brothers have bred and raced from In Shot’s family since they bred from the maiden Tuff Choice – Blue Pine (Game Chip) mare Camera Shy. 

In Shot is the first and most successful of the 10 foals Camera Shy left. 

Snowed On and Chosen Path were other good winners out of Camera Shy. They were the first two horses  Ross Paynter trained for the Bavins. 

“We are still breeding from that line down south in Balcairn with Don. We will probably breed from two mares down there this season 

“We will put Brat Attack (2003 Courage Under Fire – I’m Angela Anne) to either Superfast Stuart or Carlton. Superfast Stuart clicks well with the family – Two foals for two winners. 

“Brat Attack is a great-grand-daughter of Nicotine Princess. We are also going to breed from her eldest daughter, an unraced 2013 The Pres mare named Front Runner. 

“Front Runner’s only sibling so far, the 2015 Superfast Stuart filly Morgana died as a 3-year-old shortly after winning at Cambridge Raceway on July 8, 2020. 

“That was devastating because she was a very nice filly. She had untapped potential. We also bred Flying Scotsman and Silverlinings all in the same year. 

“Silverlinings is a grey daughter of Majestic Son and Tuinfro (daughter of In Shot). She has won three races for trainer, Don Burrows,” Bavin said. 

“The way Flying Scotsman and Silverlinings have been racing there are more wins in them. I put their ability (and the reason they are a bit erratic) down to Tuff Choice which I had owned a share of. Most of my mares go back to Tuff Choice which has converted families from pacers to trotters,” he added. 

The Bavins also bred Our Rich Choice (1989 Tuff Choice – Idle Rich, Locarno). 

“I borrowed the Locarno mare (Locarno was my favourite pacer – and Basil Dean my favourite trotter) so that I could use my free service to Tuff Choice. 

“We sold Our Rich Choice to Australia after racing him in New Zealand. He went on to win 16 races in Australia. 

“I also bred pacers before Tuff Choice, but he changed that. Breeding pacers became to difficult as you have to compete against the big studs and the service fees are too high.  

“I always think I’ve got a chance to breed a top trotter. Also, I like to think outside the square with sires, as you have got a chance of getting something better,” Bavin said.