WA Group win Simply Stunning for tyro breeders

By Peter Wharton

The decisive end-to-end triumph of the American Ideal mare Simply Shaz in the Group 2 $75,000 Empress Stakes, one of the feature races for mares on the Western Australian calendar, completed a fairytale introduction to breeding for a group of North Island enthusiasts.

Close friends Janet Champion, Allan Nicolson and Barbara Ironmonger were part of a syndicate which raced Simply Shaz’s dam, Simply Stunning, on lease from breeders Chris and Tina Barlow.

Simply Stunning and Always B Stunning with Janet Champion and Allan Nicholson

The Art Major mare totted up six wins and 13 placings from 54 starts for $44,885 and took a mile record of 1:56.5 at Cambridge Raceway.

“When the lease was about to expire we heard that she was going up for sale and so we bought her, “Janet said.

“We loved her breeding. There are NZ Cup and NZ Free-for-all winners and placegetters and many other Group winners in her pedigree, however we wanted to modernise her breeding.”

Simply Shaz is the first foal out of Simply Stunning.

“She’s the first mare we’ve ever owned and the only mare we’ve owned. Simply Shaz is the first foal we’ve bred,” Janet stated.

Simply Shaz was knocked down for a modest $18,000 at the inaugural NZ Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka in 2019.

She began her racetrack career as a three-year-old, placing once in three starts before being sold to WA interests in December 2020.

Simply Shaz parades after winning the WA Empress Stakes at Gloucester Park
(c) RWWA

Trained in Perth by Peter Anderson, Simply Shaz has now won 14 races – including three at Gloucester Park – and $139,499 in stakes and is rated among the top bracket of mares in the West.

Simply Stunning’s second issue is Simply Sam, also by American Ideal, who has won six races to date in NZ and Victoria and was one of last season’s leading three-year-olds. The gelding is back racing with Pukekohe conditioner Ray Green after an Australian campaign.

Next, to the cover of Always B Miki, Simply Stunning produced the three-year-old filly Always B Stunning, who has qualified and is in full work.

She has since left a two-year-old colt, Always B Mine (by Always B Miki) and a filly foal, Simply Suzie, by the same sire and is carrying a positive test to Bettor’s Wish.

Simply Stunning’s dam, Sabelle, was by Tuapeka Knight (a top ranking juvenile by Smooth Fella out of the Rustic Maid family) from Birdie’s Belle, by Berry Hanover from the grand producer Birdie and tracing to a noted foundation mare in Harold’s Rest.

From the Birdie branch of it and to which Simply Shaz belongs, others in the NZ Free-for-all winners Dillon Dean and Dillon Dale, Elmer Gantry (Taylor Mile), Divine State 1:51.6 (Aust. 2YO mile record), Hei Shangri La (Vicbred 2YO Final), Risk (1:48.4), Two Under and last year’s Inter Dominion Grand Final runner-up Torrid Saint are also members.