“Prince Teka is the best horse I have bred” – Gerard McCrea
By Duane Ranger
Prince Teka’s 12th career triumph on the Mt Harding grass at Methven Sunday 8th October was special for the best horse than Loburn builder-turned horseman, Grant McCrea, has bred.
Gerard and Caroline McCrea
The son of Majestic Son and Queen Catharina (Monarchy) went past $150,000 in purses when nailing McCrea’s first training success of 2023 in race five – The Pat and Pauline O’Reilly Memorial Handicap for the R35 to R60 trotters. It was also the 7-year-old gelding’s first win in 13 starts on the track.
All-up Prince Teka has now won 12 of his 149 starts, and placed in 39 others for $150,296 in stakes since making his debut fifth at Rangiora five-years-and-five-months ago (May 2018).
“He’s the best I’ve bred, owned or trained in 20 years of breeding,” McCrea said a few hours after his 18th training victory since taking out his trainer’s licence in 2005 aged 51.
“I’d become despondent with the building industry. It was all I had done since I left St Bedes, and I’d always loved the horses, and then as the years have gone on I’ve made this my main job.
“I’m 69 now and really enjoy training just a few (four). I also love breeding them. It’s something I find quite interesting. I enjoy the crosses and then watching then grow. Tending to them and then when they win it’s a real buzz,” McCrea said.
“Yep, He’s the best I’ve bred. His mother is the only broodmare on the property,” he added.
McCrea said he trained Prince Teka at Ian Cameron’s Fernside property.
“Ian drove him brilliantly today. To be honest I never thought he would win, but I did put $60 a place on him ($28.40 and $7.10), and Ian did a great job putting him in the race from gate 15.
I was delighted – I just wish I backed him for a win now,” McCrea said.
“It was a great drive by Ian – he’s a very good horseman,” he added.
A 22-year fan of breeding, McCrea bred his first foal from the 1984 one-win Stanley Rio – L’Trell Adios (Jerry Adios) mare, Miss Stanley.
Gerard with one of his beloved Standardbreds
“I bought a hack for the kids to ride, and her name was Miss Stanley. She was a very kind, placid mare you could do anything with, so in 2001 we decided to put her to Ambro Invasion and Imacow was the result. She won two races,” McCrea said.
He then put the mare to Armbro Invasion again four years later and James’ Jasmine was born on October 21, 2005.
“She was a lovely mare but sadly broke a pastern. She would have won more than five races had she not copped that injury,” McCrea said.
McCrea got one more foal out of Miss Stanley – that being the 2006 one-win Earl gelding, Bolton Earl.
McCrea said he got into Prince Teka’s family when he went to the 2011 yearling sales.
“I saw that Queen Catharina (Prince Teka’s dam) was from a good family and by a good sire (Monarchy), so I paid $5,000 and bought her. Her mother Valley Of The Moon (by Sundon) had won eight races and her dam, Wise Game (by Game Pride) had won four.
“I’d enjoyed breeding from Miss Stanley and bought this mare to race and breed from. She sadly only had one start in November 2012, and then I gave her a few more trials and workouts before deciding to breed from her,” McCrea said.
On November 20, 2015, Prince Teka was born.
“That’s his 12th win now, and he’s done a good job for us. We still own the next foal out of the mare, but Kyle Cameron trains him at Fernside. His name King Of Diamonds (2018 Majestic Son gelding) and he’s placed in two of his 19 starts so far.”
McCrea said he was impressed with the last foal out of the mare – a 2-year-old Muscle Mass brown filly named Sweet Caroline.
“She looks promising and I’m taking my time with her. She will race as 3-year-old.”
McCrea said he had just sent Queen Catharina to be served by Carlton.
McCrea was born in Papanui and educated at St Bede’s College. He is married to Caroline and they have eight children and five grandchildren.