Early Injury Provides Grp 1 Silver Lining

Date: 13 Sep 2023

Early Injury Provides Grp 1 Silver Lining


NZ Racing News reports:


A mishap as a youngster prevented Skew Wiff (NZ) (Savabeel) from making it to auction and that injury cloud has delivered a silver lining result for breeder Waikato Stud.

The Matamata farm-raced daughter of multiple champion stallion Savabeel downed a high-class line-up in Saturday’s Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) to realise the elite level potential she showed last season.

Skew Wiff was successful on two occasions and finished runner-up in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) and against the older horses in the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) to end her campaign.

The Mark Walker and Sam Bergerson-trained Skew Wiff resumed with a strong second behind Dragon Leap (Pierro) in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) before reversing that result on the opening day of the Hawke’s Bay carnival.

She had been among Waikato Stud’s Book 1 draft at the 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale, but was scratched from the travelling party.

“Over the Christmas-New Year period of that year she copped a kick in the paddock on her forearm,” Chittick said.

“It got pretty mucky and touched on a bone infection so we hard to sort that out. It was probably one of those things that if we worked really hard we could have got her to the yearling sale, but we wanted to take it easy and get it right.”

Her absence at Karaka was subsequently duly noted by Te Akau chief David Ellis.

“David approached me at the sale and was disappointed she wasn’t there to be purchased so I explained why and said when we get her broken in you can train her,” Chittick said.



Skew Wiff was on her best behaviour at Hastings, having previously done her best to live up to her moniker.

“For the first part of her racing career she was a bit skew wiff, but she already had her name by then,” Chittick said.

“The whole team at Te Akau have worked extremely hard with her and no-one has put in as much effort as Opie Bosson on race day, we really appreciate what he’s done.

“She’s a horse that could have gone either way and with the superior horsemanship of Te Akau and Opie we have got to where we are. All of that hard work and input paid off for all of us on Saturday.”

Skew Wiff is the first foal of Starvoia (Starcraft), who won on six occasions, including the Listed Mosgiel Stakes (1200m) for John and Karen Parsons.



“She was a good mare and at that time John and Karen had mares with us and in conversation said Starvoia was at the end of her racing career and was going to be sold and it went from there,” Chittick said.

Starvoia is currently in foal to Noverre after producing a filly last season by Super Seth, which the farm is almost certain to retain.

Starvoia is a daughter of the late Starcraft, a history-making graduate of Waikato Stud who was a five-time elite level winner and New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame member.

By Soviet Star out of three-time Broodmare of the Year Flying Floozie (NZ) (Pompeii Court), he was sold at Karaka in 2002 for $80,000.

Starcraft’s defining achievement came in 2005 when he became the first New Zealand-bred horse to win at Group One level in Europe when he claimed the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (1600m) in Paris for trainer Luca Cumani and subsequently the Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth ll Stakes (1600m) at Newmarket.

He was initially prepared by Gary Newham for the late Paul Makin and had posted Group One victories in the Australian Derby (2400m) and Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).

He made his mark in his homeland and was narrowly denied a clean sweep of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival features, after winning the Gr.1 Hawke’s Bay Mudgway Partsworld Stakes (1400m) and the Gr.2 Stoney Bridge Stakes (1600m) he finished a close second in the Gr.1 Kelt Capital Stakes (2040m).

Starcraft stood at Arrowfield Stud and Rosemont Stud and sired multiple Group One winners Star Witness and We Can Say It Now before he passed away in 2022.



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