Raging Whitebait….what’s in the name ?

Well, someone who has strong connections with the West Coast of NZ and who gets excited every year when the ‘delicacy’ is running during the whitebait season and owner/breeder Chris Craddock is just that person.

Belonging to the famous Craddock family, for so long a cornerstone of the Westport Trotting Club, Chris Craddock, himself, is these days based in the North Island, but never misses the opportunity to put his ‘stand’ back in the water of his favourite Buller retreat.

Chris Craddock and Whitebait at Hawera

Raging Whitebait (Raging Bull – Starry Delight – Bettor’s Delight), the horse, did him (and trainer Anne-Marie Best) proud at Addington on Friday night, when in the hands of Sam Ottley, he powered down the outer to win the R45-50 ‘Rewards Mob Pace.

Craddock and Best are actually related through their grandmothers (they are sisters) and the Rolleston trainer has had the horse in her care for about seven weeks.

To be fair the 5yo son of Raging Bull had been battling in and around the Central Districts for some time, good enough to win at two but winless at four and now under Best’s care, has won three of his last four starts.

“He does have some quirks and we haven’t done too much out of the ordinary but we have cut back his work during the week and he has put on some weight. I have noticed he has gone quite a bit darker in his coat and he seems to be thriving with Sam (Ottley) sitting in the cart” Best explained.

“Just before his latest win, we knew he was well as he was proving a bit of a handful at the stables” she added.

Raging Whitebait at Addington with Sam Ottley

Effectively, he went as well as he looked in the prelim and just got his nose in front of a game The Real McCoy on the line.

His record now stands at five wins + 13 placings and $65k in the bank from 47 starts for his proud owner.

From the Bettor’s Delight mare Starry Night (also 5 wins + 13 placings but from 80 starts) Craddock has Whitebait Delight (unplaced in four starts to date) and a full brother, Whitebait Boy, following up in behind.

When one explores the pedigree further, there is some fine blood behind their latest winner.

Starry Night was from Welcome Star (8 wins) and was part of a highly sought after family ‘back in the day’ established by another identity with a strong West Coast connection in the late Bill McDonald

Welcome Star left Marshal Star who won 15 races and was by Holmes Hanover from Star Rhapsody (4 wins) The later left a staggering 14 winners from 16 foals. The best of them arguably Rocket Star (by Badlands Hanover) who won 15x from 34 starts & $310k before being exported to Australia.

Many of her daughters then bred on to establish solid branches of their own.

Star Rhapsody (from Venetian Star) was a half to the very good open class pacer trained by Bob Cameron in Anvil’s Star (15 wins + $444k) and in turn Venetian Star was a Lordship daughter of Star Nurse.

The latter left the very smart Ian Mac and Starship (16 wins + $342k) in her first two mating’s as a broodmare in the early 80s when this family was considered ‘highly commercial’.

Starship won six races at two (+ another 9 placings) and would have been considered a champion in any other season but for running into one better in the form of Tuapeka Knight (nine 2YO wins from his 10 starts)

For now Best will just keep things ticking over as they are and see where it takes the horse. Their good trotting mare Make My Sundon (7 wins) has been retired and is in foal to King Of The North.

“Three in the stable at any one time is enough for me at my stage of life”, she chuckled