Hooray for Hooroo!

By Rob Courtney

Mid Canterbury farmer Ryan Cockburn doesn’t remember much about his emotions and what they looked like in the last 150m of his mare Hooroo winning a fortnight ago at Addington but does remember needing two hands to steady his beer as the excitement of the moment began to kick in just after passing the winning post at the head of the field.

Ryan and Bo, Hooroo and Jonny Cox

For Cockburn and his best mate Bo Houston , both Mid Canterbury lads through and through, its been quite a ride since having a small share in Hooroo’s mother, My Baby’s Laughing (Live Or Die – Mybabysha) who went on to win 4 races (from 15 starts) for Ashburton trainer John Hay.

“When no one in the ownership group wanted her as a breeding proposition, Bo and I decided to give it a go,” explained Cockburn.

First bred to Mach Three, she left Booraa who won three from the stable of Katie Cox before being sold to Australia where she did a good job before being sold again to America, finally finishing with 15 wins and close to $200k in the bank with a best MR of 1:50.6.

Hooroo, by Vincent and now four, is her 2nd foal.

On the ground, she has a 3yo gelding by Sunshine Beach, now spelling on the family farm in Mid Canterbury, a 2yo filly by Captain Crunch which just went back to trainer Johnny Cox this week to see if it might be 2yo material and a yearling by Downbytheseaside.

From the proceeds of Booraa’s sale, the boys went along to the 2021 yearling sales in Christchurch and bought 2 well bred fillies

An Art Major – Cheer The Lady filly for $26k and a Downbytheseaside – Crackabella filly for $20k were purchased within 30 minutes of each other.

“We didn’t think that was too expensive when you consider they come from modern commercial families”, Cockburn shared.

When you have a fully irrigated 600 acre farm, one assumes its not too difficult to accommodate a few more horses and with their pedigrees, they are most likely going to increase the broodmare band to 3 !

Cockburn remains grounded however and has already felt the ‘pain’ of owning a racehorse. While considered good enough to take on the likes of Millwood Nike as a 2yo when trained by Katie Cox, it was on Show Day 2022 in the Group 1 Sires Stakes final for 2yo fillies that their most recent winner severely damaged her rear suspensory.

“I’m amazed that she has been able to come back like she has” Cockburn added with some relief in his tone.

Now the winner of two from just 11 starts and placed in 1:54, with $25k in the bank, the plan is to now press on and to see what eventuates.

Cockburn has an important wedding coming up where Houston will be his best man (reciprocating what he did for his mate a few years back) but there will still be time to take in what is fast becoming an expanding passion.