Nice yarn about breeder and owner, Peter Lord, from Kristen Manning’s Victorian Thoroughbred Newsletter last Friday.
Peter is a great supporter of Eliza Park and is enjoying deserved success … most recently via Bel Esprit sprinter, Cleaver.
It wasn’t till he was 16 or 17 that Peter Lord first ventured onto a racetrack, on one memorable day tagging along with his father to Flemington. From the second he walked through the gates he was hooked and, he says: “fortunately or maybe unfortunately I have been ever since!”
From thereon pleading with his dad to take him to the races, taken in “by the excitement of it all”, Lord has been not only an enthusiastic racegoer but a keen owner and breeder and his latest thrill was provided by promising 2YO Cleaver.
Last Sunday winning one of Victoria’s best two-year-old events, the Jack Maher Classic at Wodonga, Cleaver became Lord’s second winner of that race – the talented Mr O’Hara winning the same race at his second start back in 2003.
A horse Lord liked from the moment he was foaled, Cleaver – a son of Bel Esprit – was taken to the 2010 Melbourne Premier where a bid of $85,000 secured him for the Colin and Cindy Alderson stable.
“Cindy really took a shine to him,” Lord recalled – not taking much convincing to retain a share.
“He was one of the nicest horse I’ve bred so I was happy to keep 20%.”
There is sentimental attachment to Cleaver also, he being a son of Lord’s very first broodmare Mill Lady.
Purchasing the two times winning daughter of Straight Strike in foal to Brief Truce in 2001, Lord was instantly rewarded – her first foal Long War winning three races.
Since that time she has proven a solid producer – Low Deposit also a three times winner whilst Cleaver’s full brother Diplomatic Strike (pictured below) gave his breeder a few thrills – impressively winning two provincial races before being sold to Singapore where he won second up at Kranji.
Lord’s most exciting moments however came from the very quick but sadly very lightly raced filly I Got Chills.
“It was amazing, having a trainer tell you your filly is a good thing for the Slipper,” he said, still marvelling at the speed at which the daughter of General Nediym increased her value.
(Notably, General Nediym stood at Eliza Park when I Got Chills was conceived).
After selling I Got Chills for $45,000 at the Melbourne Premier, Lord received a phone call from Mark Pilkington informing him that the filly had failed the scope. The stable were patient however, willing to give her a few weeks to respond to treatment for a mild infection and she soon recovered.
Making a great financial decision, Lord decided to remain in the ownership and it wasn’t long before he was in the winner’s circle – at her first start I Got Chills a 4.5 length winner of the Listed Maribyrnong Trial at Flemington.
Within a few days a half share had been sold to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum – placing an incredible value of $1.2 million on her – and at her next outing on Cox Plate Day she won another Listed race by seven lengths.
The joy soon turned to disappointment however: during the running I Got Chills chipping a bone in her knee. Unable to recapture her form after a long spell, she was sold to John Singleton for $540,000 – Lord again astounded by how his initial investment of a $7,000 service fee multiplied!
“Her career was shortlived but definitely exciting,” he said.
Currently in the ownership of several mares, Lord enjoys the challenges of breeding and racing, considering himself lucky to have been involved with some nice horses and to “have one sell for enough each year at the sales for us to keep our hand in.”
And, like all of us, he hopes the best is still to come, Lord particularly excited about an unraced Bel Esprit 2YO half brother to Mr O’Hara. In the meantime he is enjoying Cleaver’s career, hoping that his trainer’s assessment that there is plenty of scope for improvement is correct.
You can subscribe to the Victorian Thoroughbred Newsletter by emailing Kristen at email@example.com