Archie Affleck bounces back after losing two broodmare sisters

By Duane Ranger

If anyone knows about the ups-and-downs of harness racing then it’s Central Otago breeder, Archie Affleck.

The 78-year-old longtime Northern Southland sheep and beef farmer, who relocated to Cromwell almost five years ago, is on the ‘bounce-back’ after losing two valuable broodmare full-sisters not long after his shift.

Archie Affleck, enjoying the spoils of Mossdale Connor

Bettor’s Delight sisters, Mossdale Sue (two wins) and Mossdale Rose (eight wins & 1:54.2), were the last two foals (of seven) out of the un-raced 2002 In The Pocket – Kute Jaccka (Holmes Hanover) mare, Mossdale Kara.

Mossdale Sue was put down after breaking a leg in a paddock accident on June 20, 2019. Then exactly three months to the day after Mossdale Sue’s death (September 20), Mossdale Rose died.

“Friday’s Addington win was satisfying because Greg and Nina (Hope) have both said Mossdale Ben possesses quite a bit of talent. He’s the last foal Mossdale Sue left, so as an owner I’m keen to see how he progresses. He has a great gait and good acceleration,” Affleck said.

Affleck was referring to his 4-year-old brown A Rocknroll Dance gelding, Mossdale Ben, who notched up his sixth win in 21 starts ($72,382) in race seven at Addington Raceway on 25 May.

“It would be nice to think this fella (Mossdale Ben) could one day win a Group race at either Addington or Alexandra Park,” Affleck said.

Half of Mossdale Ben’s six wins have now been at Addington.

The Greg & Nina Hope trainee won by half-a-head. The 4-year-old brown gelding with driver, Ben Hope, paced the 1,980m mobile in 2:24.2 with a 1:57.1 mile rate – home in 55.7 and 27.9.

“It was bad news when his mother died. It was very sad news when the staff from Dancingonmoonlight rang me and said Mossdale Sue had to be put down.

“But it was devastating when they told me the best mare (Mossdale Rose) I’ve bred had to also be put down due to scours,” Affleck said.

Mossdale Rose won eight races including the Listed Mares Classic at Addington in 2018.

“The following year (March 1), I flew to Auckland to watch ‘Rose’ record her last win in the North Island Standardbred Breeders Stakes at Alexandra Park,” Affleck said.

He said Mossdale Rose and Mossdale Sue were full-sisters to the best standardbred that Affleck had bred – Mossdale Kara’s second foal – the 13-win (1:49.1) USA) gelding, Mossdale Connor.

“He won almost half a million dollars here (2012-2017), when he was trained by Greg and Nina from 2012 to 2017. He was a Noel Taylor Mile winner Auckland in 2015. He’s the best horse I have owned or bred.”

Affleck said he got into the ‘Mossdale’ breed through Neil Timms of Gore back in the mid 1980s.

“Neil bred a Gaines Minbar mare named Keyali, who was out of Keyanau (by Key Club). Charlie Smaill teed it up while we were at a Lions meeting one night and before long, I was halves.

“She was trained by Hori Lee and won seven races before we bred from her. She is the great grand-dam of Mossdale Rose, Mossdale Sue, and Mossdale Connor,” Affleck said.

He said the name ‘Mossdale’ derived from his grandfather, Thomas Logan, who had a Clydesdale Stud back in the 1880s which he named ‘Mossdale’.

“My brother, Bill, still runs the ‘Mossdale Stud’ west of Tapanui. It’s a proud family tradition,” Affleck said.

As to the future of the ‘Mossdale’ breed, Affleck replied.

“I leased Mossdale Sue’s only other foal – Mossdale May (4yo Mach Three mare) to Andrew and Lyn Neal in Cambridge.

“She’s had nine starts up there and won and placed, and it’s not out of the question that she might come home to breed one day, but she is only a little mare.

“I’m also breeding from Mossdale Art (2015 five-win mare). She’s a Bettor’s Delight mare out of Mossdale Major (Major In Art), who was out of Mossdale Kara (In The Pocket).

“Mossdale Art has left an American Ideal yearling black colt named Mossdale Frank, and a full weanling sister named Mossdale Marie. The mare is back in foal to American Ideal.”

“I’m also breeding from Mossdale Major (12-year-old Major In Art – Mossdale Kara two-win mare). She has left seven foals since 2015, and all but two have been by Bettor’s Delight – and five of them fillies.

“She is in foal to American Ideal this time. She’s left  an un-named weanling, a yearling named Mossdale Bella, a 2yo named Mossdale Shona, and a 3yo named Mossdale Margaret.

“They have yet to race yet, but 4yo Mossdale Art (gelding) has won two starts for the Hopes and the first foal, 7yo Mossdale Art won five races. She was also by Bettor’s Delight and also trained by the Hopes,” Affleck said.