Bach still strikes a chord

By Peter Wharton

The Bettor’s Delight gelding Bach, who proved himself among the top bracket in New Zealand – he won eight of his 29 starts – is now making a name for himself on the other side of the Tasman.

Bach winning at Melton
(c) Stuart McCormick Photography

After going offstride and finishing last at his Australian debut in the Cranbourne Cup, the five-year-old has notched consecutive wins at Melton including a career-best 1:53.2 performance after sitting parked over 1720 metres.

The gelding, who is raced by Bay Of Plenty kiwifruit grower Grant Eynon and his father Colin, was bought for $70,000 at NZ Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale at Christchurch in 2020. He has now banked $126,774.

The Bach story actually began in the mid 1980’s when Brian West, the founder of Studholme Bloodstock, received a phone call from Winky Foley representing a group including her long-time partner Peter Smith, the former chairman of the NZ Standardbred Breeders Association.

“They had Belle Jane racing in Southland at the time and Winky asked me if her group could send her to us to be bred from,” West recalled.

Belle Jane, a winner of nine races, ranked as a half-sister by Mercedes to the dual Group 1 winner Elmer Gantry.

“Peter, Winky and I then bred from Belle Jane,” Brian said.

She produced 13 foals for 10 winners including four in 2:00 headed up by the exported Seelster Belle, who won 35 races and $240,488 and took a record of 1:52.2 in America.

Several of Belle Jane’s daughters bred on with real distinction. Dead Ringer For Love, a sister to Seelster Belle, became the dam of five winners and the grand-dam of the dual Listed Perth victor Risk (1:48.4), Resonance left seven winners including the Te Awamutu Juvenile Classic and prolific USA winner High Calibre ($659,090) and Atom Bomb Belle produced the Group 2 Victoria Casey Classic winner Bettor Be The Bomb ($319,720).

Another daughter of Belle Jane was L’Escalier (by OK Bye). She won four races and left seven winners including the Menangle and Albion Park winner L E Operative ($224,354), the exported Kippenberger ($113,126), the Menangle winners Leave It To Me and La Soiree (5 wins) and the Melton victor Just Rusty.

Grant Eynon and partner Janine

La Soiree (by Dream Away) figures as the dam of Bach – her fourth foal.

“He was a lovely type as a yearling. A strong and handsome colt,” West said.

La Soiree produced earlier winners in Anthem ($260,932), a winner of 18 races in NZ and America where he took a record of 1:51.2, and Allabout Time, an Addington winner at three.

La Soiree has since been sold and is now being bred from by Alabar Bloodstock.

“I sold her after Peter and Winky decided to invest in the thoroughbred world,” Brian said.

Earlier this month West retired as principal of Studholme Bloodstock, passing the baton to his grandson Vinnie West-Pulu.

“We will still breed more than 20 mares each year,” West said.