Another star for Paul Bielby?

By Peter Wharton

Christchurch businessman and breeder Paul Bielby and harness racing royalty go hand-in-hand.

Paul with daughter Kate

Bielby figures as the breeder of the mighty Christian Cullen and his brilliant half-sister Kate’s First, classic winners in Scent (NSW Oaks) and Cigar (NZ Kindergarten and Sapling Stakes) and numerous other smart performers.

However, after the initial onslaught he ‘took a sabbatical’ from the sport for about 10 years.

“I got re-bitten by the bug in the early 2000’s and decided to have another crack at the game,” Paul said. “I have since bred a number of winners but nothing that’s racing in the derbies or NZ Cups.

Carrera Sunset after winning at Menangle – credit Club Menangle.

Enter Carrera Sunset, a lightly raced, highly promising four-year-old mare by the Woodlands Stud siring success Downbytheseaside.

She is the seventh and last foal of the well-bred Badlands Hanover mare Harmony Franco and the second one out of her bred by Bielby.

The first one Paul bred from her was Kate’s Carrera (by Raging Bull). She was trained by Tisbury horsewoman Kirstin Green and won one race and was twice placed from six starts in NZ before being sold to NSW interests.

“Like Carrera Sunset she had real stamina but probably lacked a bit of speed. Unfortunately she broke down before she could make too much an impression on the racing ranks in Sydney,” Paul stated.

Kate’s Carrera notched a 1:55.9 Newcastle success and six placings from nine attempts on Australian soil.

“After producing Kate’s Carrera I leased Harmony Franco out for a couple of seasons to Woodlands Stud and they bred from her and I got her back and bred Carrera Sunset,” Bielby said.

“I tried to sell her as a weanling on Gavelhouse but she didn’t make the reserve of $6,000. I received an offer for her but I wasn’t going to give her away.”

Carrera Sunset was broken in by Greg Payne at Dunsandel.

“She always looked like she would make the grade but she just needed a little bit of time,” Paul said.

“We were patient with her and gave her two or three preps and on her third prep I contacted Kirstin Green and asked if I could send her down to her on a deal.

“Kirstin got her up and qualified and said that she had some nice ability. She gave her a decent spell and brought up back up and on her second racing campaign we got a phone call from Peter Lagan and he negotiated her sale to NSW.”

Trained by Jason Grimson, Carrera Sunset served notice of bigger things to come when she came from worse than midfield to win in a career-best 1:52.3 over the flying mile at Menangle recently.

It was her third success from four starts at the Sydney headquarters’ track and lifted her stakes tally to $46,746.

Carrera Sunset is the last foal of Harmony Franco.

“She was getting on in age so she was deregistered as a hack,” Paul said.

Bielby bred from 12 mares in NZ last year and two in NSW with good friend Dallas Harvey.

“They’re all bred to sell at the sales. We sold a nice American Ideal filly to Dean Shannon at the Nutrien Equine Sydney sale in March for $57,500,” Paul said.

Among his starstudded NZ broodmare contingent are L A Confidential, a daughter of Under Cover Lover; Courage Aplenty, a three-quarter sister to Christian Cullen, and her daughter Real Courage (dam of Carrera Rapido 1:57); the talented racemare Amazon Lily; Summer Change, a daughter of the NSW Oaks and Breeders Crown champion Dancingonmoonlight; and Smiley Sophie, a half-sister to Stunin Cullen and Coburg.