The powerful Ryal Robyn progeny still winning Cups for Ross Wilson
By Duane Ranger
The best standardbred Ross Wilson has bred and owned, proved too smart in the feature event at Central Southland Raceway, in Winton on Saturday, January 28th.
Robyn’s Playboy (1:56) returned to form on January 28 in the 2023 Wairio Cup thanks to a lovely Mark Hurrell drive. He is trained by Wilson and his son Chris at Whiterig, near Gore.
Wilson, thanks to his longtime mate, Graeme Edgar, has been breeding from the 1979 Nevele Bigshot – Ryal Faye (Light Mood) mare Ryal Robyn since the mid-1980s.
“Robyn’s Playboy is the best we’ve had from the breed…so far. Robyn’s Treasure won a couple of Group Ones but she didn’t have the engine this fella has got. Ryal Robyn’s great-great-son, Robyn’s Playboy,” Wilson said.
“Robyn’s Playboy was a very good horse, who was ranked sixth for the New Zealand Cup two years ago. After that we sent him to Australia and he actually raced in the Interdoms but then copped a virus. He got real crook and that was the end of him for six months,” he added.
It was his first win since he won the Tuapeka Cup in October last year, and driver Hurrell later termed it as one of his most satisfying wins in the sulky.
For Wilson the 7-year-old Shadow Play’s gelding’s three-quarter length victory was both satisfying and sentimental.
“I’m from this part of the world and this is the track where I got hooked on the sport. I also have fond memories of Robyn’s Treasure winning at Wairio as well. She was a wonderful mare who seven races (21 placings) and just over $150,000 in prize-money,” Wilson said.
The Southland identity trained Robyn’s Treasure to her only win on the track from 20m behind in a fillies and mares pace on April 1, 1995. Phil Williamson was in the bike.
A year earlier she won two Group Ones within a week with Ricky May doing the driving. They were the New Zealand Oaks winner and DB Draught Fillies Series final.
“It all goes back to Ryal Robyn and Graeme Edgar. Ross Dynes bred Ryal Robyn, and Graeme bought her, and I think Ray McNally trained her. In human terms Ryal Robyn would be Robyns Playboy’s great-grand-dam.
“Anyway Graeme and I did a 50-50 breeding/owning deal and I trained all the progeny and the family grew from there,” Wilson said
Wilson trained Robyn’s Treasure (foal four) and Maree Robyn (foal six,) – who is the grand-dam of Robyn’s Playboy.
Wilson said the late 1994 Son Of Afella mare, Maree Robyn, won three races and left him and Edgar another eight foals between 2001 and 2012, with foal three Robyn Maree (2004 Holmes Hanover mare) being the mother of Robyn’s Playboy.
“I own Robyn Maree and she has left us five foals so far, and only three of them have been to the races – and between they have won 31 races and $286,437 between them,” Wilson said.
He then explained Robyn Maree’s progeny saying the 2011 Badlands Hanover gelding, Robyn’s Bad Boy, was her first foal. He raced on both sides of the Tasman winning 10 races $80,294 before fracturing a pelvis.
“Then came the 2013 Santanna Blue Chip gelding Rake, who is still racing in the Michael House colours. He’s had 145 starts, nine wins and netted $94,313 in purses.
Monica, Ross, Rob and Hannah Wilson and Ben McLeod celebrate Robyns Playboy’s win in the Tuapeka Cup at Forbury Park. Photo: JONNY TURNER
“Foal three Robyn’s Playboy came next, and thankfully the mare has left us two more foals, because she missed to Always B Miki and then they put her to Rock N Roll Heaven, but she didn’t take to him as well.”
Those two other foals out of Robyn Maree are 3-year-old black Shadow Play colt, Robyn’s Hustler, and Rock N Roll Heaven yearling filly, Robyn’s Playgirl.
“Robyn’s Hustler is very much like his full brother Robyn’s Playboy even though Robyn’s Playboy isn’t black. This fella has had a couple of quiet workouts. He will qualify okay but is still very green. He goes ok out in front but for some reason he hates following horses.
“I’m sure the penny will drop in time. As for Robyn’s Playgirl, well she’s a lovely looking filly, and I’m going to keep her because she’s the only filly I’ve got left out of the mare,” Wilson said.
Wilson bred his first horse in the 1970s – a 1974 maiden pacer named Will Butler (Lord Butler – Mary Bank) and his passion for breeding has all snow-balled from there.
“I’ve always enjoyed breeding standardbreds. It’s become a real passion thanks largely to Graeme and the Ryal Robyn breed,” Wilson said.
His sons Rob and Chris have now taken over as directors of the Gore-based rural business – Advance Agriculture – a company Wilson established 22 years ago, and boasts a staff of 36.
Wilson, who has had three driving successes, but no longer drives, has 23 horses on only his 40 hectare property, eight broodmares and two foals at Macca Lodge, and trains a team of 13 racehorses (four 2-year-olds) at Gore, with his son Chris.
They have jointly conditioned 25 winners in just over three seasons, while Wilson has won 113 races solo ($1,037,519) since 1980.
Robyn’s Playboy is owned by Wilson, his wife Yvonne, his sons Chris and Rob, daughter Monica and Mrs H F Wilson, Mrs L R Wilson, and B E MacLeod.