Grandson of two Rowe Cup champions wins on debut

By Duane Ranger

When both of your grand-dams are former Rowe Cup champions, it therefore comes as no surprise that Paul Nairn has another first-up 2-year-old winner on his hands.

As well as training and driving Head Em up to victory in race two at Addington Raceway on Friday (July 21), Nairn also bred the 2020 son of Waterloo Sunset and Eva Longoria (Love You).

Head Em Up, living up to ancestry

The black gelding won by one-and-a-quarter lengths with a 2:10.2 mile-rate.

“I really like the Waterloo Sunsets. Not just because I trained him, but because I think he has temperament, build and gait to produce good off-spring.

“I’ve got about six Waterloo Sunsets and from what I’ve seen he really deserves a go as a stallion,” Leeston-based Nairn said.

“To be honest this 2-year-old is right up there with Above The Stars, Enthusiast, and Confessional, at the same time of their respective careers,” he added.

That’s a huge comment, but Head Em Up’s royal bloodlines endorse that sentiment.

His grandmothers were both Rowe Cup champions – So Long Eden (1988 Pernod Eden – So Long Logan – Regal Yankee mare) nailed the big race in 1995; and Inspire (2000 Chiola Hanover – Enthuse – Gee Whiz II mare) won it in 2006. They won 16 ($161,575) and 24 races $147,468 respectively.

Nairn explained that Head Em Up’s mother, the unraced 12-year-old Love You mare, Eva Longoria, was the last of seven foals left by So Long Eden.

The 2-year-old’s father, the 2009 Sundon – Inspire – Chiola Hanover seven win ($82,978) stallion, Waterloo Sunset is the first and most successful of the five foals left by Inspire.

Nairn (middle) no stranger to trotting success, pictured after Habibi Inta Grp 1 Dominion Cup win

“I can see both sides coming out in this fella. On raw ability he’s a good a 2-year-old that I’ve had after one start. I am also very aware not to rush talent.

“He can be a bit eager and wants to do everything yesterday. He relaxes well when he races and is a spirited gelding. The potential is there. Now I just have to harness it,” Nairn said.

He said he got into the family via Southland Roy Cleaver, who initially put the mare to CR Commando in 2014, and then six years later on October 15, 2020, Nairn bred foal two – Head Em Up.

Cleaver has since put Eva Longoria to Waterloo Sunset and she had a filly to him on September 30.

“Waterloo Sunset has only served a small number of mares, but has a really good strike-rate. I really enjoy breeding and I really believe in this family. It is so hard not to when you breed from a family like this.

“Gil Favor was twice placed here before going on to do well in Australia, while Full Of Hope won for me and Regan (Todd).

“I bred Bella Button. She is by Waterloo Sunset, and out of a Gee Whiz II mare, Gee Abby, who won seven races. She did a really good job. There’s quite a few Waterloo Sunsets going around.

“And then there’s Tu Tangata (5-year-old Waterloo Sunset – Time For A Leopard – Monarchy gelding, who has shown potential, winning three for me,” Nairn said.

Nairn remembers asking the late Jim Dalgety for breeding advice.

“I remember Jim telling me lots of good things to do and lots of things not to do. One thing he did tell me was that no-one really knows how good a stallion is until you give him a go,” Nairn said.

Nairn is married to Vangie and they have a five-year-old daughter, Danae.