Menangle winner from bargain broodmare 

By Peter Wharton 

Heaven On High, who hoisted a fresh lifetime mark of 1:50.5 in his barnstorming success at Menangle recently, is out of a broodmare who was bought off a website by Christchurch breeder Kelly Edmonds for a paltry $900.

Heaven on High
(c) Photo // Club Menangle

The Rock N Roll Heaven gelding was bred by the late Val Nyhan, whose husband Barry, a son of legendary horseman Don Nyhan, of Lordship fame, conducted the Globe Lodge stud at Templeton, the home of USA import Dancing Master. 

Val purchased the Holmes Hanover mare Dancing Holmes, who became the grand-dam of Heaven On High, after she finished racing from her brothers George and Brian Hill, of Nelson.  

She bred three foals out of Dancing Holmes but only one raced – Eva Sophnally (by Christian Cullen). Another of her progeny, Cullen’s A Dancer, left A Better Dancer, who won three races. 

Originally trained by Kelly’s late husband Murray Edmonds, Eva Sophnally won a three-year-old race at Addington before being entrusted to Woodend Beach couple Greg and Nina Hope.  She who won a further five races including two at Ashburton and one at Addington, took a record of 1:55.3 and ended up with a stake tally of $65,350. 

Retired to stud, Eva Sophnally produced Heaven On High as her first foal. He won twice for the Hope’s before being sold to a large Australian syndicate including Menangle racecaller Fred Hastings last July. 

The brown gelding has now won three of his five starts on Australian soil – all at Menangle – and finished a close third in the $50,000 Carousel. He has earned $67,556 and has worked his way back to an NR73 mark. 

About 18 months Kelly saw Eva Sophnally listed for sale on the Gavilhouse website as an empty broodmare. She snapped her up for a bargain basement $900. 

“It was a sentimental thing. Murray finished breaking her in and trained her early in her career,” Kelly stated. 

Downbytheseaside filly

“I put her in foal to Downbytheseaside and she left a filly. She was not served this season, but I plan to get her mated next season.” 

Eva Sophnally is one of four broodmares owned or part-owned by Kelly. She also owns the Great Success mare Kiitos and jointly owns the three-win Sundon mare Unique Rose and Chivasion, an eight-time winning Armbro Invasion mare, with close friend Sue England. 

Unique Rose produced a Majestic Son colt and Chivasion a Majestic Son filly as their first foals this season, while Kiitos, the dam of the Victorian placegetter Gracias, has a positive test to Royal Aspirations.