The Magic continues for Anderson

When you sell 11 colts at the 2024 yearling sales in Christchurch and gross in excess of $1 million, you might think that the result couldn’t be ‘topped’ but Winton farmers Fleur and Todd Anderson (aka Taffy Ltd) had a weekend to remember when two horses that they bred, won high profile races at opposite ends of the country.

Fleur and Todd Anderson at ’23 Breeders Cup Eve Function

Merlin (4h Art Major – Imaginary Bet) won the $1M Race By Grins at Cambridge then a day later at Winton, the half sister Captains Mistress (2f Captaintreacherous – Imaginary Bet) created a super impression when winning the Group 2 Entain fillies pace at only her 2nd start to the races.

Merlin was a $120k yearling purchase for Queenslander Dean Shannon and after 18 wins in just 26 starts has well and truly proven to be an astute buy by the Australian who has been a massive supporter of the Barry Purdon/Scott Phelan stable in recent seasons.

The filly was sold for an undisclosed price to one of Nathan Williamson’s major owners in Mick Boots from Australia, who is quickly creating a horse empire all of his own, with big numbers now racing under his ownership brand. After just two starts, Captains Mistress is really looking like a ‘bargin’ buy.

Merlin winning The 2024 Race by Grins

For Anderson, who modestly describes himself as a first generation farmer, the desire to be recognised as a genuine commercial seller, willing to meet the market at the annual yearling sales, has been a journey of both personal passion and belief and that pathway, over a relatively short period of time, has accumulated a high profile broodmare band now totalling 19 with 16 currently in foal, mostly to Bettor’s Delight or Captaintreacherous.

There are three trotting mares in that 19, (by Love You, Muscle Hill & Pegasus Spur)

Group 1 performers such as Spanish Armada, The Orange Agent, Safedra, Supersonic Miss and Delight In Me (just to name a few) head a star studded cast which has produced healthy returns for ‘Taffy’ in recent years.

One can hardly begrudge the genial Anderson his success considering his considerable investment to secure such quality broodmares in the first place and the added expense each season that goes towards stud & vet services.

“All the mares are at Laura Smith’s in Cust and she does a fantastic job with our equine interests. I cannot praise Laura enough for what she has done for ‘Taffy’ over the last few years” Anderson explained.

“From taking care of the pregnant mare to preparing their offspring for the yearling sales, Laura and her team do it all”, he added.

The Anderson philosophy has all young stock heading in the direction of the yearling sales, colt or filly.

“The odd filly may not make it to that sale but we would still consider looking to sell at a later point.”

There is currently one exception to that ‘rule’…’Taffy’ has a full sister to top trotter Muscle Mountain (Muscle Hill – Paramount Faith / Pegasus Spur) and because the stallion semen is no longer available, she will be retained.

‘Mare of the moment’, Imaginary Bet was bought off the late Ian Dobson when he was looking to downsize his own broodmare band. She currently has a colt at foot by Captaintreacherous and is in foal to the same sire this season.

“Imagine Me (grand dam of Merlin) won 9 but was placed 7x at Group 1 level. She gets overlooked sometimes when her breeding record pales when compared to close relatives such as Splendid Dreams”.

Full sisters Delight In Me (Bettors Delight – Splendid Dreams) and Dream On Me give ‘Taffy’ a strong representation in what is arguably NZ’s hottest commercial family currently running around our tracks.

Success breeds success and Todd Anderson is investing in a manner which supports his personal thinking and employs a well thought out business model. There is much to admire about his approach to the racing industry (and of course he has been very willing to share these philosophies as a board member of HRNZ).

The progeny of Imaginary Bet look likely to keep his breeding profile in the limelight for some time to come.