“Never underestimate the little breeder!” – Jenny Paisley

By Duane Ranger

The youngest half-brother to 53-race winner, Washakie ($1.8m), won his 13th race in 120 starts at Ascot Park last Friday (June 9).

The ‘Big Stone Lodge Ltd’-bred Sagwitch, and Craig Ferguson, led all the way from gate one in race two – the South Express R40-50 Pace.

The Lis Mara – Shoshoni Sunrise (OK Bye) gelding is trained by Syd Breen at Gore. He also co-owns the 9-year-old bay with P.R. and N.J. Matheson.

Paisley has owned the Gore-based ‘Big Stone Lodge’ for more than 40 years, and now he believes he might now possess a few breeding records.

Lester and Jennifer Paisley

“I’m 73 now and have been breeding standardbreds since I was 21, and Washakie is the best horse that I have bred. I also believe he would be right up there as Badlands Hanover’s best foal in Australasia

“I can’t think of any other horse in any code that has won five straight Group Ones,  like he did when he won the Treuer Memorial from 2009 to 2013.

“He was the oldest of Shoshoni Sunrise’s seven foals, and now the youngest,  Sagwitch, is probably the most successful son of Lis Mara around  I certainly don’t know of too many that have won 13 races and $120,000 ($119,992),” said Paisley, a retired Gore District Council Plumbing and Drainage Inspector.

And on that siring theme he also believed he bred the best son of Devil’s Island that was born and raced in New Zealand.

“That was Megaland Bay (1:55.2), who is the first and most successful foal out of the Pass With Care mare, Jo Megs. He won six races here and then won 13 more in the United States,” Paisley said.

Paisley’s wife, Jenny, said such feats often went un-noticed simply because many “small-breeders” were simply ignored.

“Some of the small breeders in New Zealand are so underrated and don’t get any credit for breeding really good racehorses.

“I have been involved in the industry since I met Lester 18 years ago, and I know it’s usually about the ‘big well-known breeders. It’s so good to see someone like Lester dare to be different – and succeed in doing so,” Mrs Paisley said.

Sagwitch winning at Ascot Park
(c) Bruce Stewart – Harnesslink

“It was so satisfying for Lester to see Sagwitch still winning races for both Lis Mara and of course, Shoshoni Sunrise,” she added.

Her husband said Shoshoni Sunrise died on June 20, 2014. That was seven months after Sagwitch was born on November 12, 2013.

“After the fifth foal (Badlands Hanover unraced gelding named Cameahwait), the mare indicated to us she didn’t want to be a Mum anymore because she just didn’t want to push her last two foals out.

“We had to get the Kina Craig Stud vets to help deliver her last two foals. When Sagwitch was born we listened to the mare and retired her, and then sadly she died aged 18. We will never forget her,” Paisley said.

Paisley has done all of his breeding from Brighton, south of Dunedin and on a five-acre block in Gore and said he had never ever encountered a horse like Washakie.

“He was only a little fella and one moment he could be seen tearing around the paddock at a million miles an hour – and then the next he was sound asleep,” Paisley said.

Paisley bred from Washakie’s grand-dam – the 1980 un-raced Alba Counsel mare, Little Doll, who was owned by John Ford. She left eight foals – the best of them was foal number five and the first Paisley bred from – Washakie’s dam Shoshoni Sunrise.

Little Doll was a surviving twin. Shoshoni Sunrise ended up winning six races – the best of them the 2002 Roxburgh Cup when she was driven by junior driver Alister Black,” Paisley said.

“I think she still holds the 3200m mares track record (4:09.5),” he added.

He said he sold Washakie at the 2005 yearling sales for $40,000 and he was snapped up by ‘The Reidman’ (Steven Reid) and then John McCarthy took over the training in Australia 2011.

“I have always got a great thrill out of watching my progeny go on and do great things for their owners. I got so much satisfaction seeing what Washakie achieved on the racetrack. For a wee guy he certainly showed a lot of heart,” Paisley said.

The Paisleys now own and are breeding out of Zingara (15yo Christian Cullen – Corbie – Vance Hanover five-win mare).

“She’s out of the Black Watch family. We now have a yearling filly (The Captains Lady) by Captain Crunch, and a weanling (Always In Style) by Always B Miki. The mare is currently not in foal,” Paisley said.

For the record:

Washakie (1:50.5) won 11 races here ($142,535) and 53 of his 141 lifetime starts amassing $1.83m in purses. He raced from February 2006 until January 2014.

Washakie was actually a Native American chief of the 1800s who led a band of his Shoshoni people to council meetings of the Treaty Of Laramie. That was in in Wyoming in about 1851.

The equine version will go down as the only horse – harness or galloper in Australasia to have five straight wins in the same Group One race – the Truer Memorial at Bankstown in New South Wales (2009 – 2013).

In fact, you have to go back 40 years to even find the next closest achievement, which would be the legendary galloper Manikato’s five straight wins in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley from 1979-1983. The William Reid Stakes is now a Group One race, but it didn’t become that until 1987.