Thank you Nicole – love Dad  aka Ian Thomas

By Duane Ranger

Canterbury horseman, Ian Thomas, can thank his daughter, Nicole, for any success that comes Taittinger Rose’s way.

The 13-year-old Live Or Die – Fizz (Badlands Hanover) mare, who won five races for the Thomas & Eginton families between December 2012 and January 2017, left her first winner from her first racehorse at Rangiora recently (May 7).

Taittinger Rose with Winemeup

Thomas and his son Jason train Winemeup at Charing Cross. The 5-year-old Sportswriter mare, who was driven by Sarah O’Reilly, got up by a head in the fifth event – the Anne Thompson Memorial Graduation (heat four).

It was Winemeup’s first win in eight starts for owners Ian & Susan Thomas; their daughter Nicole; and Darryl & Kath Eginton.

Thomas (Ian) said his daughter Nicole, who is now visiting Diamond Creek Farms just out of Nashville in Tennessee, obtained Taittinger Rose when she was a yearling.

Speaking from the United States, Thomas (Nicole) said she was so proud to see her former “’baby’ win back home.

“I’m currently the stud manager at Wai Eyre Farm, but am at Diamond Creek Farm for two months, which has been absolutely amazing.

“We got Taittinger Rose off Nevele R Stud when she was a yearling, so we have had her pretty much her whole life.

“I used to work at Nevele R Stud in my school holidays, so that’s how I got the mare. but when I left school, I went and worked at Wai Eyre Farm and have been there for 11 years now,” Thomas said.

“It’s just so pretty cool to see her grow, and now watch her baby, which I foaled winning,” she added.

Nicole Thomas who is currently based at Diamond Creek on secondment from Wai Eyre Farm

Her father said he always liked Winemeup from day one.

“The mare, Taittinger Rose turned out okay. She wasn’t a bad racehorse to be fair. She ran second behind Western Art in the 2016 Nelson Cup, and won just over $40,000 before we put her to Sportswriter in late 2016 and that her first foal was Winemeup,” said Thomas.

“We’ve had a few problems with Winemeup along the way but she seems to be sorted now”.

“I’ve always liked the way she can stay and also has the ability to unleash a big finish. She will go into the Graduation Final next week and can certainly win that as well,” Thomas said.

“She’s the best of the family and potentially the best horse that Darryl and I have bred,” he added.

Thomas said Taittinger Rose’s second foal, a 4-year-old full-sister to Winemeup named Winemearound, is a bit difficult to deal with.

“She’s like her Mum – cantankerous. This horse will eventually get there, but she’s just a bit panicky for now. We’re getting her sorted though and hope to have fun with her.”

Foal three, a Vincent 3-year-old filly named Partners In Wine, is currently in work.

“We’re taking our time with her because she’s still a bit nervy, but she does go around nice.  We hope to have her qualified by Christmas.”

Taittinger Rose’s last foal, a 2-year-old Sky Major colt named Major Bollinger, was sold to China.

“He was the easiest money I’ve ever made. He was a lovely colt and I wish him all the best in Asia,” Thomas said.

He said Taittinger Rose was served by Vincent on November 29.

“The mare has produced some nice foals already and we think she will keep doing so. She is the only mare Darryl and I are breeding from at the moment. It’s been a while since we last bred a horse – a long time between drinks.

“As you can see, we like to name our breed after wine. Taittinger Rose is named after an expensive French champagne, so we’ve tried to keep that theme.” Thomas said.

The Thomas father-and-son combination have trained together for four years.

“We have some nice horses in the barn at present.  Martha Stuart, who is seven-win 2016 Superfast – Dusky Wishes (Grant Our Wishes), a mare ($94,186). She is a very nice trotter that’s gone from strength to strength and one we’ll look to bred from in the future.

“Evangalist (a 5-year-old Shadyshark Hanover – Pretty Dollybird – Live Or Die mare) has won four races and just over $66,000. They are probably our best two at the moment,” Thomas said.

For the record Thomas and his mate, Eginton, have been breeding off and on for 30 years, but it was Nicole that enticed him back into it more recently.

Winemeup was their fifth victory of 2023.