Gift mare produces unbeaten WA star 

By Peter Wharton 

A friendship between Waiuku hobby breeders Henk and Nicola Harbraken and respected Kumeu horseman Les Pettifer paved the way for the breeding of the star Western Australian three-year-old Cotton On.

Henk and Nicola Habraken

“We’ve been friends with Les for over 40 years. We were both pig farmers,” Henk said. 

“Les was cutting back on his broodmares and asked if I would like to have Annie Mach. I told him that I would give her a go with breeding. 

“As soon as she foaled I phoned Les to advise that it was a colt, and as he had not had a colt from her, he would be interested. I said: if you want him he’s yours, we can still breed more. 

“I went to Vincent as I had done my homework and thought it would be a good cross. The filly Skye Queen out of Annie Mach that was born last December is bred on the same cross,” he said. 

The Vincent foal is none other than Cotton On. 

After racing only twice as a two-year-old for a third and a sixth at Cambridge Raceway, the gelding was sold to leading Perth trainers Greg and Skye Bond. 

Cotton On is undefeated in six starts on Australian soil to date including three at Gloucester Park and is shaping as a genuine contender for the $200,000 WA Derby in November. 

Annie Mach and Cotton On

Annie Mach, a successful half-sister to the dual Group winner Pocket Queen and the exported King’s Flight, produced the talented Delilaah (by Bettor’s Delight) as her first foal. The mare won 11 races in NSW including the Star Trek Series (Listed), $81,125 in stakes and took a mile mark of 1:53.2 at Menangle. 

Back to Bettor’s Delight two years later she left Ursula, who was unraced, while the following year, to the cover of Art Major, she produced Banter, who has been only lightly raced. 

Cotton On is her fourth issue. 

Annie Mach is currently in foal to the well bred Bettor’s Delight horse Thefasterthebettor, who stands as a private sire at the Harbraken’s property, Stiphout Farms. 

Henk said he had been involved in harness racing for more than 40 years. 

“We’ve bred and raced over 30 individual winners,” he said. 

Brother Tim, a winner of seven races including the 1999 Tauranga Grass Cup, Ozone Vance, Creva Dickie and I Expect Bettor are among other winners bred by Henk and Nicola.