Keystone Del’s little half-brother wins at Cambridge
By Duane Ranger
The youngest grandson of a mare that never raced due to an ugly beat-up leg, won his second race at Cambridge Raceway on Thursday (October 13).
The Tim Hall-trained, and Zachary Butcher driven, Keystone Comet (Andover Hall Flipside), had no right to even exist, let alone win the third event, downing the warm favourite by 1.9m.
However, Cambridge-based horseman, Pat Hall, knows nice bloodlines when he sees it, even if the 1990 Roydon Glen – Keystone Charm mare, Turangi Lass, only had three workable legs.
Tim Hall, Keystone Comet, and Zachary Butcher pictured moments after their win on Thursday. (Cambridge Raceway Photo).
“She had a bend in her leg because I think the owner tried to patch up the break on his own without taking her to the vet. The leg had a big bow in it.
“I’m not sure if he realised if it was actually broken, but I took the horse anyway, and decided to breed from her.
“I only took her because she came from a nice family. She was never going to race with a leg like that.
“I liked her family, especially her mother, Keystone Charm (by Keystone Way). She was by Keystone Way, and she won seven races for Peter Wolfenden (MBE),” Cambridge-based Hall said.
Turangi Lass’s first foal Flipside won six races for the Hall family. Flipside has left four foals – the youngest of them – the 4-year-old Andover Hall gelding, Keystone Comet.
Flipside also left the best horse the Halls have ever bred, owned, trained, or driven – that being foal two, the 2007 Dr Ronerail gelding, Keystone Del.
He won 42 races from 71 starts, including 11 Group Ones. He netted $1.06m in purses.
“He was special, and his mother (Flipside) could also trot a bit. She was honest as the day was long and as well as her six wins, she had a lot of placings (13).
“She retired early at six and has had four foals now, but nothing since ‘Comet’ six years ago. We had no return to Majestic Son in 2019, and the mare is 25 now, so we might try and get an (embryo transfer) foal out of her.
“I’d like to put her to Timoko (Imoko – Kiss Me Coulonces) and introduce some nice European blood into the breed,” Hall (Tim) said.
Keystone Comet has now won two of his 32 starts and placed in eight others for $32,351. So, does Hall think he will go onto the dizzy heights of his older half-brother?
“No. He was a big fella as a 3-year-old and had a few niggles along the way. He’s a lovely horse, who will win more races, but not 42.
“He doesn’t have the same speed and stamina as what ‘Del’ had, but he’s still maturing into his frame and has much to learn.
He’s the sort of horse who needs to follow speed, and he prefers Cambridge. He doesn’t like the Auckland way-around at this stage of his career,” Hall (Tim) said.
“He’s a more than capable trotter. I was in Canada working for Darren McCall, when the progeny of Andover Hall were going great guns, and that’s why I suggested to Dad we put Flipside to him,” he added.
Hall said he was breeding from Flipside’s first foal – the 2004 Dr Ronerail two-in mare, Ronerails Lass.
He said Ronerails Lass was a nice mare but got too wound up when she raced, and as a result suffered from heart strain.
“We wanted to introduce the Dr Ronerail speed into the breed, and then later we were left with no option but to retire her as a 7-year-old after just 23 starts. She had her last race in May 2012.
“She’s also left a 7-year-old The Pres gelding named Keystone Cavalier (one win), and a 6-year-old unraced Pegasus Spur mare. She was also put to Majestic Son but didn’t hold the foal,” Hall said.
The only other foal out of Flipside is the 2009 Klondike Kid gelding, Aerus Maximus, who won two races.
Hall said he inherited the harness racing bug from his father, who in turn got into the sport via Neil Buchanan.
“Neil had Scottish Charm and Keystone Charm. He got Dad into breeding via Keystone Charm’s daughter, Turangi Lass.
“That’s where it all started, and we are still loving breeding and racing from the family. That was a lovely drive by Zac the other night. A lot of the credit must go to him too,” said Hall, who is also one of the best farriers going around in the Waikato.