Congressman shapes well

Wally O'Hearn - The Informant - 27 July 2013

The spotlight was again thrown on the little-known Queensland sire Conatus when his son Congressman raced away with the Universal Beef Packers 2YO at Te Rapa today.

Trained at Pukekohe by Nigel Tiley, Congressman was bred by Gerry Harvey and races under his NZ Thoroughbred Holdings Ltd banner. He is the second son of Conatus Harvey has raced in New Zealand and continues a 100 per cent strike rate.

The other winner was Conceptual, who was also trained by Tiley. He won two trials and was fourth on debut at Avondale before beating the promising Vitesse Rose at Te Rapa. He has since been sold and will do his future racing in Hong Kong.

Harvey bought Westbury Stud a few years ago and the dams of Congressman and Conceptual were among a group of broodmares he sent over to be based at the Karaka property.

“He sent over a half-dozen in-foal mares in the initial batch and they were all in foal to Conatus, a horse he bred and raced,” said Westbury Stud general manager, Russell Warwick. “Conatus wasn’t a commercial sire so we didn’t prepared the yearlings for the sales. Instead we decided to put them in work and try them.

“Conceptual and Congressman were the two colt foals and the four fillies haven’t been tried yet.”

Conatus is a son of champion sire Danehill from the multiple Group winner Light Up The World, who is from the family of ill-fated champion sire Thorn Park. He won four minor races from 13 starts.

Congressman was initially prepared at Matamata by Karyn McQuade, who produced him twice at the trials for two placings. “Karyn broke him and pre-trained him,” said Warwick. “She took him through to the trials with the view of him going to another trainer.”

Since entering the Tiley stable Congressman has made three public appearances for two wins and a third. He won at the Avondale trials last month then finished third on debut behind the exciting Cauthen at Te Rapa.

“Nigel thought he’d be very competitive in that first start, but we didn’t expect to run into a horse like Cauthen,” said Warwick. “He felt there was a fair bit of improvement in him. It was a very good training effort to win today.”

Congressman enjoyed a good run in the trail, third behind Zeina and the favourite Dilly, but rider Danielle Johnson had to push her way out on him after being held in early in the run home by Dilly, who was ridden by her partner, Opie Bosson.

Once into the clear, Congressman drew ahead to win by two and a quarter lengths from Cursive, who ran on well after being last on settling. Royal Dominance also ran on to finish two and a half lengths away in third placing.

The Listed Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie in the spring is a race being considered for Congressman. “We’ve got an open mind, but Nigel said he’d like to go for some of the spring classics with him,” said Warwick.

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A horse will often out run its pedigree but seldom outbreed it.

—Federico Tesio