First pacing foray leads to Menangle star

By Peter Wharton

Well known Ashburton breeder-owners Dave and Gay Luke have been indelibly linked with top flight square-gaiters in New Zealand.

Gay and Dave Luke

The National Trot and dual Derby winner Houdini Star, Prince Sundon, an Inter Dominion heat winner, the Victorian Group winner Mon Star and Starza Rising are just a few of the top trotters they have been associated with over the years.

However, the purchase of the Stand Together pacing mare Til’Us du Part in the late 1990’s ‘changed the mould’ for the husband-and-wife team.

“Until then we only had trotters. We decided to branch out into pacers and Til’Us du Part was the first one we bought,” Gay said.

Til’Us du Part won a single race and earned a modest $5,315.

Retired to the stud, she produced four foals for three winners in Heza Roo Star (1:52.7), a winner of seven races including two at Menangle, Nor West Star and the Village Jasper mare Shikaka.

Shikaka, who won two races, became the dam of one of the most consistent performers racing in NSW at present, Jazzy Star.

The Auckland Reactor gelding has won five races at Menangle to date – four in 1:52 or better – including a career-best 1:51.5 effort in November 2021 – with eight placings from 24 starts for $72,710 in stakes.

He boasts lifetime earnings of $143,008.

Jazzy Star began racing in NZ as a three-year-old and won seven races at Addington for Brent White and Michael House.

“He wasn’t suited to the standing start racing here, so we sent him to Sydney to take advantage of the mobile mile racing,” Gay said.

The seven-year-old is now prepared by north-west Sydney horseman Trevor Munday.

“Trevor has done a terrific job with him. He is suited to the smaller stable and one-on-one care,” Gay stated.

Jazzy Star.
Photo Credit Club Menangle

Jazzy Star is the only winner produced by Shikaka so far.

Her three-year-old colt by Sunshine Beach and a yearling filly by Downbytheseaside are both in work with Brent and Tim White.

“The filly broke in beautifully and is on her second prep. She looks very promising,” Gay said.

Shikaka is heavily in foal to Downbytheseaside.

Nor West Star, a Sands A Flyin half-sister to Shikaka, has thrown winners with her first two foals in Hot Starff (5 wins) and Nordy Star.

The Luke’s are currently breeding from six mares, having scaled back their involvement in the last few years.