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Homebred mare building dream record

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Celtic Dream is developing into a valuable broodmare.

Bred by long-serving Waikato New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (NZTBA) members Lloyd and Heather Monehan, Celtic Dream is now the dam of two runners for two stakes winners after La Romanee overcame a slow start to win the Listed Welcome Stakes (1000m) at Riccarton on Saturday.

Celtic Dream is also the dam of Listed Galilee Series Final (2400m) winner Won Won Too.

"It’s a good feeling to breed another stakes winner," Lloyd Monehan said.

"We are very happy and we are very proud. It is great that the win has brought so many people together to enjoy the success.

"We were confident of a strong performance and Daniel (Miller, trainer) was confident as well. He has done a good job with him and looked after the horse."

La Romanee is the fourth generation of a family the Monehan’s first became involved with more than 20 years ago. The couple purchased a mare called Song Queen for $700 in 1995 at the New Zealand Bloodstock Autumn Sale with an Oak Ridge filly at foot. That filly was Glocca Morra, the granddam of La Romanee.

When it came time to breed from Glocca Morra, Monehan was working at Cambridge Stud and Sir Patrick Hogan offered him a nomination to Casual Lies.

The resultant foal was Celtic Dream who eventually headed south to trainer Pam Robson.

"Casual Lies wasn’t very fashionable at the time but it was a good cross," Monehan said.

"Pam Robson had purchased the first foal out of Glocca Morra, Finian’s Rainbow, and we got to know her quite well through that. "We sent Celtic Dream down there on lease and took a share. Since then we have built up a really good relationship with Pam and with people in the South Island."

Celtic Dream went on to win six races before returning to the Monehan’s Waikato property to begin her broodmare career.

As well as La Romanee and Won Won Too, Celtic Dream is the dam of unraced four-year-old mare Miss Adelaide. She is in work with Robson and Monehan admits there was never any chance she would step into the auction ring.

"You have to keep your fillies" Monehan said. "If you sell them you have nothing to carry on breeding with as your mares get older.

"She is down with Pam Robson at the moment doing steady work. She has had a couple of trials but is still learning her racing craft. We are looking after her because she is a very valuable filly now.

"She will come home eventually to join the broodmare band to carry the generation forward. I wasn’t going to let her go, she was the last Tavistock I had."

Celtic Dream was not covered in 2018 but has been served by Eminent this season. Monehan has a formula for his mating decisions and isn’t swayed by marketing hype.

"When looking at stallions I go on type, performance, price and the people I have to deal with," he said.

"I do pedigree references on my horses but my theory is you still have to look at the horse.

"When we bred La Romanee, Burgundy hadn’t produced a lot at that stage but he is a lovely stallion and he could run. I knew him personally. I was a great believer in the cross.

"After La Romanee’s win I got a call from Sir Patrick and he was so proud as well."

The Monehan’s send their mares to foal down at Brighthill Farm and have developed a strong relationship with Nick King and his family. "I have been associated with Brighthill from the day they set up at Tauwhare," Monehan said. "I used to do the night watch for them, that was before I was at Cambridge Stud.

"I live just five minutes away and it is a relationship I will never break.

"I’m retired now but I go to Brighthill every morning and help with the vet work and then come home and if I need help, they will come and help me."

It may not be everyone’s definition of retirement but Monehan, who is in his seventies, likes to keep busy and has an obvious passion for working with thoroughbreds.

"You have to keep busy, I’m never going to be one to join the bowling club.

"I have horses to work so there is always plenty to do. I get the foal in once a week for some handling and I have a Perfectly Ready two-year-old that I am going to train myself.

"I have the yearling that comes in every weekend for a little bit of work but he will go to Brighthill next week to start his yearling prep."

That yearling is a full-brother to La Romanee and will head to Karaka in 2020 with the Brighthill Farm draft.

As well as a love of the horse Monehan gets great joy from the people involved in the thoroughbred industry.

"I have been very fortunate to have been associated with Brighthill Farm, Sir Patrick and Cambridge Stud," Monehan said. "It is a long road and the people involved mean a lot."

"You learn from everyone you deal with all of the time." - NZTBA

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