The Janitor: One of the last bred by Lester Smith

By Peter Wharton

The Always B Miki gelding The Janitor, who has won three consecutive races at Albion Park and is regarded as Queensland Derby material of the highest order, is one of the last horses ever bred by Invercargill solicitor and hobby breeder Lester Smith.

Smith, who passed away in March, bred The Janitor from the Badlands Hanover mare Weka Lass, a daughter of the outstanding racemare and four-time Group 1 winner Oaxaca Lass.

“Dad won six races with Weka Lass. She was trained by Wayne Adams and Sam Ballantyne,” Smith’s son Matthew, a Cromwell cherry grower, said.

“My brother-in-law Michael Allardice, who played for the Waikato Chiefs, and Brad Weber, the half-back for the Chiefs, formerly owned The Janitor.

“Dad loaned them the mare to breed to Always B Miki.

The Janitor
(c) Dan Costello Photgraphy

“Michael and Brad later headed off to play Super Rugby in Japan and, after receiving an offer from Queensland for The Janitor, they decided to sell him.”

The Janitor is the 10th foal and seventh winner – six in 2:00 – left by Weka Lass.

Matthew said that Reciprocity, a mare by Panspacificflight, was perhaps the best of Weka Lass’s offspring. She won 16 races including six at Melton and one at Albion Park and $158,400 in stakes and took a mile record of 1:53.

Others from Weka Lass to win were the Albion Park winner Demeter 1:52.8 ($379,224), who is still competing successfully in America, Sweet Southern Lass 1:57.6 (3 wins from 7 starts to date), She’s Got Issues (1:58.3), Beach Start, a winner of three at Gloucester Park, Sally Maclennane (1:59.3) and now The Janitor.

Since producing The Janitor in 2020, Weka Lass has left a two-year-old brother named Sent, who Brent Barclay qualified at Winton in February and is now spelling, and a weanling filly by Lazarus.

“I have a half share in the filly with my mother Julia Smith,” Matthew said.

Weka Lass, who earned $73,924, ranks as a half-sister to nine winners including the Kapunda Cup and dual WA Listed winner Condrieu 1:51.5 ($269,520), Acuto (1:55.5), a winner of 14 races and $169,754, the Devonport Cup victor Illegal Immigrant 1:55.2 ($157,343), Intrepid Traveller (1:54.8), a winner at Menangle and Albion Park, and Senorita Margarita (1:55.5), who won 10.

Another broodmare that the late Lester Smith bred from very successfully was the Christian Cullen mare Galleon’s Honour.

She became the dam of seven individual winners headed up by the smart performer Duke Of Cornwall (1:49.4), a winner of 14 races in NZ, Australia and America and $133,478, the NZ

Southern Supremacy and Melton Plate winner Duke Of Wellington 1:53.6 ($109,360) and the NSW Golden Easter Egg winners Venice Beach (1:52.1) and Rise Above This (1:52.2).

The Art Major two-year-old filly Duchess Of Kent, the last progeny of Galleon’s Honour, has been retained by the Smith family.

“We are going to race her and will be breeding from her later,” Matthew said.