Sister Cherie is best horse ever bred by Pete Molloy

By Peter Wharton

“Chris McDowell told me when he broke her in – and he’s had all my breed – that this is the best one I’ve had.”

The speaker is Sheffield pig farmer and hobby harness breeder Pete Molloy, the breeder of crack Bettor’s Delight three-year-old filly Sister Cherie, who is undefeated in four starts in Western Australia to date including two at Gloucester Park.

Sister Cherie winning at Gloucester Park

She is rated one of the best of her age and sex in the State.

Sister Cherie began her career as a two-year-old with West Melton horseman Ken Barron, winning at Tuapeka in 1:58 and qualifying for the Sires’ Stakes Final. Returning to the fray at three, the filly was placed at Oamaru and Wyndham and finished fourth in the Southern Oaks at Invercargill before being sold to a Perth syndicate in June.

The Sister Cherie story actually started at the NZ yearling sales in 1991 when Molloy, his brother Pat and good friend Ray Seebeck bought the Holmes Hanover colt Franco Squall from the late Wayne Francis, the co-founder of Nevele R stud.

“We renamed the colt Three Little Pigs as we were all pig farmers,” Pete said.

Three Little Pigs won eight races in NZ and Victoria for $59,810.

Sister Cherie at four months

Two years after purchasing Three Little Pigs the partners bought his Talk About Class half-sister Spellbound Franco at the sales. She was a sister to the 1990 NZ 2YO Filly of the Year and Caduceus Club Classic winner Seaswift Franco, the dam of a high class Brisbane pacer of an earlier decade in Majestic Major.

“We’ve been breeding from this line all the way through since,” Pete said.

A granddaughter of Spellbound Franco in Sheza Grunter (by Badlands Hanover) has really established this family to some purpose.

Sheza Grunter, who won three races and took a mark of 1:59.8, has left five foals of racing age and four have emerged successful, all inside 2:00.

Besides Sister Cherie, Sheza Grunter produced Reaza Grunter, who won 13 races including eight at Menangle and $110,047 and took a record of 1:50.8, and others in Bettor Grunter (1:57.2), who won six races and $72,309, and Gotta Grunter (1:56.7), who won five.

“The only one that never won was Spandal (by He’s Watching). She had a throat problem and I ended up putting her down,” Pete said.

“Bettor Grunter had a throat operation too. He was a real nice horse. He’s still going around but he’s not the horse he used to be.”

Since producing Sister Cherie in 2019, Sheza Grunter has left the yearling filly Doodiemouse (by Art Major), who has been broken in.

“She’s down with Chris McDowell at Leeston at the moment doing a prep for a month. I’ve got four now with Chris just working along. He’s great with the young ones,” Pete stated.

“I loaned Sheza Grunter to two of my sons and she missed to Locharburn last year and so far she’s missed again this year.”

Molloy is also breeding from Hannah Jaye, a half-sister by Dream Away to Sheza Grunter.

“She only won two races and I had a lot of problems with her. She broke the NZ record for 2400 metres at 2:54.3 in her second win. She could go but was always thwart with problems,” Pete said.

“I’m breeding from Longview Lady who is a daughter of Hannah Jaye. She won six races and has left an Art Major rising two-year-old filly and an Art Major yearling colt.

“The filly’s quite a smart little thing.”