Patient Ken Hannah breeds his 13th winner

By Duane Ranger

Dunsandel breeder, Ken Hannah, has had to wait 4,119 days since his last breeding success, but the Mid Canterbury horseman says it has been well worth the wait.

On Sunday 16th July at Addington Raceway,  the Hannah trained and co-bred, Waihemo Hannah, notched up her first win in 11 starts in race three – the Phil Shatford Maiden Trot.

Hannah co-owns and bred the 7-year-old Peak – Waihemo Sam (Armbro Invasion) mare with his wife Karen, and his former training partner, and daughter, Lee Chappell.

“It’s been a long patient process with this mare. She has had a few issues and only started racing when she was four. She’s now seven and still only had 11 starts.

“She hasn’t been the easiest mare to train either, but I think the penny has finally dropped. Generally speaking, sons and daughters of Peak usually need time, and this girl has sure had plenty of that,” Hannah said.

Hannah’s last breeding victory also came via his last training triumph. That was when Waihemo Hanna’s mother, Waihemo Sam (2004 Armbro Invasion – Waihemo Rhapsody – Sundon) mare scored at Motukarara on April 15, 2012. Hannah and Lee Chappell did the training.

Hannah’s last individual training success was when Mike De Filippi drove Billy Barthgate to win at Nelson on June 21, 1998.

“I’ve done engineering work over the years and am a qualified mechanic, and I’ve always had a horse or two over the years.

“It’s a great feeling training and owning a winner, but it’s even more satisfying when you breed them and watch them develop from day one. It’s something I’ve enjoyed since I got my licence in 1997,” Hannah said.

Hannah has bred 13 winners since his first breeding success with the 1994 Sundon – Waihemo Chance (Meadow Roydon) mare, Waihemo Queen, who won at Addington on November 5, 1999.

As a trainer, Hannah has conditioned two winners on his own, and 14 more with Chappell between 2000 to 2021.

Chappell said he got into breeding via a Roydon Lodge Clearing Sale in Christchurch in 1993.

“I bought an unraced mare named Waihemo Hanover’s great-grand-dam, Waihemo Chance (1986 Meadow Roydon – Waihemo Del – Armbro Del), who was in foal to Roydon Boy, with a Sundon foal at foot.

Waihemo Rhapsody

“She missed to him (Roydon Boy), and the weanling was Waihemo Rhapsody. The first foal I bred was Waihemo Chance’s second foal, Waihemo Queen (by Sundon). She won just one race, and Waihemo Chance won four. They were the only winners from the mare,” Hannah said.

He said Waihemo Rhapsody was his second most successful horse he had bred. She had four wins and Waihemo Sam, five.

“I actually had a few problems with her early on. Being a Sundon, she trotted early and then would break. That’s when Mike Austin had a look at her for me and then he got her up and pacing.

“In fact, Waihemo Rhapsody won her debut race as a pacer at Rangiora (April 18, 1998) and then three more in that gait. Mike did a great job with her early on before Lee and I took over the training half-way through her racing career (74 starts, 4 wins, 4 seconds, 9 thirds, $26,324).

The Sundon mare who paced sadly only left two foals.

She died when giving birth to Waihemo Sam on November 28, 2004.

“We are lucky to have ‘Sam’ and any of her progeny at all really. She was an orphan foal, and luckily we found a surrogate Mum for her not long after she was born, and thankfully she took to her.

“Waihemo Rhapsody’s only other foal, Waihemo To Die for (2002 Live Or Dive mare) only raced five times and sadly died as a 5-year-old in a paddock accident in 2007,” Hannah said.

Waihemo Sam has only left one foal – that being last Sunday’s winner, and $19 outsider, Waihemo Hannah.

“I last bred from the mare in 2015, so it might be time to go again now that Hannah’ has won her first race, and quite impressively too by seven-and-a-half lengths.

“It was very pleasing. Hopefully she will be a nice broodmare one day too,” Hannah said.

Hannah was born in Lyttleton and educated at Christchurch Tech. He and Karen have three daughters – Lee, Kim, and Paula, two of which played rep rugby for Canterbury.