Bargain mare leads to Melton Free-for-all winner

By Peter Wharton

Bought in a swap for a truckload of hay by retired Christchurch soldier Neil Ure, Roydon Princess, an American-bred mare by the Albatross horse Roydon Albatross, ranks as the grand-dam of recent Melton Free-for-all winner Khaki Nui.

Roydon Princess, a multiple placegetter in New Zealand, was originally bred from by Roydon Lodge Stud for which she produced nine foals for three winners including Glenroydon, a winner of 10 races in NZ and who later took a record of 1:51.6 in North America, and the Moonee Valley victor Prince Fella.

The mare was later bred from by North Canterbury horseman Mike Stevens and his late wife Glenis, who raced Glenroydon, before being secured by Ure for a truckload of hay.

Then 21, Roydon Princess left two foals for Ure, one a colt by Man Around Town who died as a rising two-year-old and the other, Nui Thi Vai, a mare by Falcon’s Icon.

“I named her after a mountain range in Vietnam where I lost a few mates,” Ure said.

Nui Thi Vai won two races and was only a moderate, but as a broodmare she has achieved distinctions of the highest order. She left six foals to six different sires for four winners – all inside 2:00 – and a qualifier.

Khaki Nui (by Big Jim), her last progeny, looks to be her best. The gelding won one race in NZ before being sold 12 months ago to Victoria where he has won a further nine – including two at Melton – and has increased his stake tally to $102,210.

Khaki Nui leads throughout in the Young Pedro Free-for-all at Melton last Saturday – Stuart McCormick photo

Two of Nui Thi Vai’s progeny in Nui Noc Tien (by Man Around Town) and Nui Ba Den (by Gotta Go Cullect) were sold by Ure to Australia and America respectively. Both have earned in excess of $100,000.

Nui Noc Tien, who won six in NZ, notched a further 10 wins in Queensland and NSW and took a mile mark of 1:52.8 at Menangle, while Nui Ba Den, a winner of seven in his homeland, has won six in America this year and clocked 1:52.2 scoring at Plainridge Park, Massachusetts last month.

Another of Nui Thi Vai’s offspring was Nui Le, a mare by Changeover, who won two including a 1:57.5 effort at Forbury Park before being sold to NSW interests. She later died while foaling.

Roydon Princess, the dam of Nui Thi Vai, was out of Princess Arania, by Scottish Hanover from the NZ Oaks winner Hurrania, by Armbro Hurricane from the U Scott mare Arania, the champion mare of her day and the winner of 18 races including the NZ Oaks and two heats of the Inter Dominion. She later raced in elite company in the States, winning six races and took a time trial record of 1:57 at The Red Mile – the third fastest by a mare when set.

Arania founded a large and very successful family including the Derby winners Newsbreaker, Khan’s Thunder and Blueagle, the dual Oaks winner Swing Out Sister, Ananz (Aust. 2YO of the Year), the Breeders Crown champion Just Cala, Etoile (Aust. Pacing Gold 2YO), the Vicbred champion Marbles, Nandolo (1:48.8) and this season’s top WA juvenile Valedictorian.