More than 400 winners from Graeme Edgar’s Ryal Robyn family 

By Duane Ranger 


Tapanui breeder, Graeme Edgar, said he will be forever grateful to former Dalgety’s stock agent, Ross Wilson. 

The Southland sheep farmer said Wilson was the man that selected the Nevele Bigshot – Ryal Faye (Light Mood) mare, Ryal Robyn at the 1980 Southland Standardbred Sales.

Graeme Edgar

“Ryal Robyn was the horse Ross selected because of the family she came from. She was bred by Ross Dynes, and I often spoke to Ross when he came on to Dad’s (Alvan) farm in the late 1970s and 80s. 

“Dad never had horses, but anything Dad needed on the farm, Ross was able to provide it through Dalgetys. We often talked about horses and how I’d like to get into breeding,” Edgar said. 

“Now here I am some 42 years later breeding from the same family, which two years ago, had won 400 races,” he added. 

Ryal Robyn’s latest winner came via her 4-year-old great-grand-daughter, Snow Robyn, at the Winton Harness Racing Club’s meeting at Central Southland Raceway on Friday  September 1st. 

The Craig Ferguson trained, and Mark Hurrell driven 4-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven mare proved too smart winning the sixth race – the Pebble Beach At Alabar R56-R57 Mobile, as the hot $1.50 favourite. 

Snow Robyn is the third of five foals out of the Edgar-bred 2005 Life Sign – Robyns’ A Holmes mare, Jazmin Robyn. 

“Jazmin Robyn is the loveliest, kindest mare you could ever wish for. She has the best nature and temperament out of the entire family without a doubt – and there have been a few nasty ones. 

“She actually won seven races ($54,134) from 2009 to 2012. We leased her to five Christchurch guys but sadly after the earthquake they had bigger fish to fry after losing houses and businesses. She won her last three races for us and trainer Stephen McNally when we got her back,” Edgar said. 

“I have a close association with the McNally family. Stephen developed Snow Robyn, while his father, Ray, trained Ryal Robyn to her three wins,” he added.

Ross Wilson and Ray McNally who have both played significant roles in Graeme’s racing career

Edgar said his favourite mare was at Macca Lodge. He had stayed on the same 150-acre property that the Edgar family had resided on since 1944. 

“When she finished racing (March 30, 2012) I put her to Bettor’s Delight, but she missed to him in both 2013 and 2014 before she left a Washington VC colt in 2015. 

“We had her served by Washington VC, but sadly he was a dwarf and never made it to the racetrack, so we went back to Bettor’s Delight and Mary Robyn was born in 2016. 

“We sold her to David Litvinsky, and I see that she has placed five times (from 17) starts but has not bred yet.” 

Edgar said the third foal, Snow Robyn had the potential to be the best of Ryal Robyn’s family. 

“She’s a lovely black mare with a bright future who still has a wee way to be the best I’ve bred. That would still be Robyn’s Treasure 1990 Son Of Afella – Ryal Robyn) which won seven races and more than $150,000, including the 1994 New Zealand Oaks. 

“Snow Robyn has now won six races and we have no regrets whatsoever selling her soon after she qualified. She won very well on (NZ) Cup Day last year. We got an offer we just couldn’t turn down and we are so pleased for the owners (R.S and S.F Symons). The deal was done through Terry Chmiel. 

“I can’t keep holding on to horses for too long. I just have to keep moving them on. It’s a matter of economics,” Edgar said. 

“That was my biggest sale of any standardbred, and I have only ever bred from this family,” he added. 

Edgar said he liked to breed from his mares every two years, and that’s why Howie Robyn (2yo Sportswriter gelding) was born in 2020. 

“Sadly, he qualified but has severe tissue injuries in his hock and I’ve had to pull the pin. That’s the one thing I’ve found in racing, you just have to move on no matter how good or bad situations can get,” said Edgar. 

The Southland breeder said the last foal out of Jazmin Robyn was the Always B Miki weanling colt, Spirit Robyn, who was born on November 20. 

“Macca Lodge weaned him, and Hamish Hunter educated him, and he will head north to Stephen McNally next week.” 

Edgar has been with his partner, Michelle Kennedy, for just over 30 years. He has three stepsons one each in Alexandra, Christchurch, and Perth. 

He said although Ross Wilson got him into standardbred breeding, it was two Tapanui rugby mates that initially piqued his interest in harness racing. 

“The two were George Wallis, who later worked for John Langdon, and is the father of former horseman and now stipe, Scott. And the other one was Les White, the father of Waikato horseman, Matt. 

“Those two buggers niggled and niggled away at me for three years to buy a standardbred, and then I finally caved in. The horse was Ryal Robyn, who went on to win three races, but more importantly it gave me first-hand experience. Everything I have got is a descendent of her and they have now won more than 400 races between them in North America, Australia, and New Zealand 

“To be honest I got hooked and now the sport is well and truly in my blood. You can thank them for that,” Edgar said.