First 4 for Breckon and Father Patrick at Group level

Rob Courtney

Something quite unique occurred at ‘The Park’ (17/5/24) when the first 4 home in the IRT Young Guns 2yo Trot Series Final at Group 3 level were all bred by Breckon Farms and all sired by Nevele R trotting stallion Father Patrick, (1:52.2 + $2.6M in stakes) the son of Cantab Hall.

Higher Power winning at Alexandra Park
(c) HRNZ

This is a rare feat in the trotting game at any Group level in New Zealand. Father Patrick joins Champion sire, Sundon, who sired the first four home in the Grp2 NZ Trotting Stakes in 1997. In the pacing ranks this feat has been achieved numerous times at Group 1 level. Bettor’s Delight sired the first four home in the 2019 Diamond Creek Pacing Derby, and also the 2020 Sapling Stakes.  Art Major sired the first four home in the 2014 Sapling Stakes. But none of the examples found saw the first four bred under the same ‘banner’.

For the record, Higher Power (2g Father Patrick – High Gait) came out of the trail to just nab favourite Meant To Be (2g Father Patrick – Luby Lou) who had taken over with 800m to run. Pretty In Pink (2f Father Patrick – Tickle Me Pink) stayed on for 3rd after racing handily throughout and early leader Illicit Love (2c Father Patrick – Cheeky Baby) ran on for 4th after losing a handy place midrace.

This quartet were clearly dominant over the other two race rivals.

Higher Power and Meant To Be were both high profile six-figure purchases from the 2023 yearling sales by the Purdon/Phelan barn after being offered in the Breckon Farms draft of that year.

Higher Power is the 4th foal/first colt and 4th winner from the highly credentialed High Gait (16 wins & multiple Group 1 winner) who is now establishing herself as a very commercial producer.

She has a Bold Eagle weanling filly on the ground and is back in foal to Father Patrick.

Meant To Be is the 2nd foal/first colt from Luby Lou who only had the 5 starts but won 4 of them including both the trotting Derby and trotting Oaks. She too has a yearling filly by Bold Eagle on the ground and is back in foal to Father Patrick.

Pretty In Pink, being a first foal filly did not go through the sales and was instead syndicated for racing. She is from the 9 win mare Tickle Me Pink (from only 16 starts) who is a full sister to Luby Lou, both mares being from champion sire Muscle Hill. She has a weanling colt by Bold Eagle on the ground and she too is back in foal to Father Patrick.

Illicit Love did go through the sales, but after not reaching the set reserve, was syndicated for racing with Breckon retaining a share. He is very much bred on similar lines to the other 3. He is from the Muscle Hill mare Cheeky Babe (5 starts for 4 wins) and is a ¾ sister to rising star Bet N Win (now 6 wins to date) and closely related to Group 1 performers in Stress Factor and Prince Fearless. Cheeky Babe has a weanling & yearling both by Father Patrick and she is in foal to King Of The North.

Success breeds success and with these bloodlines, Breckon Farms can expect to remain in the trotting headlines in the years to come.

Ken and Karen of Breckon Farms with Dunstan Horsefeeds principal David Smith

Father Patrick, the stallion, arrived in Australasia as a multiple world champion with great hype after winning 23 of 33 starts raceday starts in America. That reputation was further enhanced when he left a top horse in Greenshoe (1:49.4 & $1.35M) in his first American crop.

His oldest progeny in this part of the world are now 6y olds and after being well supported by NZ breeders especially in the 2019/20 season where he served 126 mares, his younger progeny are now starting to rise to the top of their respective trees.

Paramount Kiwi (5 wins from 7 starts), Isolate (1:56.6), High Energy (8 wins from 16 starts) & Confessional ($112k) have all been very good examples of the Father Patrick stock.

The leading trotting sire of 2yos last season, with record earnings, that crop has continued on in their 3yo season, Father Patrick is in a close tussle with What The Hill in the current 2yo premiership and is a top 3 stallion in the 4yo version.

Father Patrick at his North American base, Diamond Creek Farms

His stock is currently flying high in America and all this bodes well for his continued support at a time when breeders are being spoilt for choice in the trotting ranks.

King Of The North (son of Walner) took 25% of the broodmares here in his first season of availability and with the return of Volstead (another son of Cantab Hall) whose stock are low flying in Australasia and the pending arrival of Tactical Approach, competition for the trotting broodmare is going to be very interesting indeed