Ray Reekie starting to hit his stride as a breeder

 Duane Ranger. 

The grandson and granddaughter of Ray Reekie’s foundation mare, the 1998 Tuapeka Knight, Show No Mercy, are proving to be the best of his breed. 

Leeston based Reekie, who bought into the family 17 years ago when Show No Mercy came up at a dispersal sale, said her three grandsons were all above average. 

Ray Reekie (left) with Michael Curragh,  syndicate’s manager

Ironically it was the granddaughter who won the feature event at Westport last Friday (March 10)-the R51 and faster Kawatiri Cup, 2 days later adding the Reefton Cup to make it 4 Cups won by her. 

The Brad Mowbray trained and Kimberley Butt driven She’s Tough notched up her 7th career win in 40 starts for breeder. Reekie who owns the 6-year-old He’s Watching mare with He’s Tough and I’m Tough Syndicates.  

“You can never tell what a racehorse is like but the youngest foal of the 4 that Cullen’s Mercy has left could be the best. His name is It’s Tough and he’s a Bettor’s Delight 2 years old.” 

“He’s a stunning horse who is now with Katie Cox at Leeston and she told me he’s the best horse she has had.” 

“That’s really satisfying for a breeder because the first 3 foals out of mare won”, Reekie said. 

“You take the risk out of it when you go to Bettor’s Delight, and I personally think he’s a better sire than He’s Watching and that’s why I rate the Bettor’s Delight colts slightly better than the mare who won on Friday”, he added.  

“It’s always pleasing to win any Cup and I applaud the work Brad has put into her. The girl is such a swift beginner and does things right”. 

“Brad’s a top trainer and he has got the best out of the horse. Kimberley also needs to be congratulated because it was a lovely, patient drive three-deep along the markers. The horse was in good hands”, Reekie said. 

The former Mairehau High School student, self-employed tree surgeon and scrap metal dealer, said Cullen’s Mercy (Christian Cullen-Show No Mercy-Tuapeka Knight) had left 4 foals, and was again in foal to Bettor’s Delight. 

He said her first foal, the 2015 Bettor’s Delight gelding, I’m Tough, had been plagued with injuries for much of his racing career but had still managed to win 5 of his 20 starts and more than $53,000, including a Kurow Cup! 

“She’s Tough came next and then in 2017 the mare left us a He’s Watching colt named He’s Tough, who has won 4 races ($32,605). He will be back racing this week. This fella has taken a while to mature. I like him though.” 

“The last and what could be the best foal, It’s Tough, out of the mare is with Katie. I’m confident the mare will keep leaving nice foals, not only because of her family tree, but because she was also a very nice racehorse”, 64-year-old Reekie said. 

He said Cullen’s Mercy who used to brush a knee won 5 of her 57 starts and placed in 15 others and $50,253. 

“She recorded a 1:53.7-mile, a track record at Winton (December 29, 2013), “the biggest race thrill of my career”, Reekie said. 

Reekie said he bought the grand-dam Show No Mercy (Tuapeka Knight-Sally Belwin-Royal Scotchman). “I wanted to breed to the best stallion around, Christian Cullen”.  

“I selected Show No Mercy, she had 6 starts for 3 wins and had left Chloe Hanover, 11 wins $93,076”, said Reekie. 

Ray thought by keeping a common name “Tough” in the breed it would relate to the mare. 

“I’m really enjoying breeding standardbreds. It gives me another satisfaction in the sport. I think It’s Tough is probably the best I’ve bred so far, but if you ask me in a couple of years, I may have a different answer for you”, Reekie said. 

For the record, when Reekie was in his youth he worked for legendary trainers, Cecil Devine, Jack Smolenski, Jack Carmichael, Derek Jones and a few more! 

Reekie trained 7 winners between 1987 and 2017. He’s also had 13 amateur driving wins since 2009. 

He represented New Zealand as an amateur driver in USA, Ohio, along with Steve Phillips, Tim Vince and George Simons.  

“It was a trip of a lifetime” he said. “I’m unbeaten at the Meadows one start, one win”!