Owner-breeder celebrates a Choice weekend

Melbourne breeder Robert Anderson had a big say in Redoute’s Choice’s outstanding weekend, thanks to a Group winner at Flemington and a juvenile stakeswinner in South Africa.

Robert and his wife Deborah bred & race Bonaria (Redoute’s Choice-Decidity by Last Tycoon), who carried topweight of 58.5kg to victory in Saturday’s $150,000 VRC Matron S. 1600m G3, a race she also won last year. Bonaria’s record now reads 7 wins, 9 placings and $579,109 from 32 starts over four seasons.

Some hours later in South Africa, 2YO More Than Ready colt Banaadeer, bred by Robert from the Redoute’s Choice mare Provence, won the Turffontein Storm Bird S. LR by more than three lengths. A $700,000 purchase by Shadwell Australia from the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale, he’s unbeaten in two starts from the Mike de Kock stable.

Robert recalls, “I bought Provence as a yearling from Arrowfield, I love a great walker and I thought she was the best walker in your draft that year.”

That assessment proved accurate. Provence, a daughter of Arrowfield gem La Bamba (like Decidity, by Last Tycoon) won four including a Listed Race at Flemington, and has left top Hong Kong performer Admiration & Banaadeer from only four foals to race.

However, Robert has no doubt about his best moments in racing. They are what 5YO Bonaria has given him, especially in the past three weeks when she has won two Group races in Melbourne.

Robert says, “She’s all heart, she puts her head down and she just goes. When you breed a horse, watch her grow and then win Group races…it’s pretty satisfying.”

All going well, Bonaria’s trainer Pat Hyland will now prepare her for a pair of Group 1 tests during the Sydney Autumn Carnival, the $600,000 Coolmore Classic on 22 March and the $1 million Queen of the Turf S. on 19 April.

Robert remembers Bonaria’s beginnings. “I bought Decidity from Ron Gilbert, a great mate of mine, at Highrove Stud, and sent her to Redoute’s Choice in 2007.

“She was a lighter-framed filly, and I was unsure whether to keep or sell her, but I’ve always liked the smaller Redoute’s Choice fillies and Decidity was getting older, so luckily I kept her. And she’s grown, got better and stronger each year.”

Robert has a busy and successful professional life as director of GWA Group Ltd and active investor in several other businesses, but breeding and racing thoroughbreds has been his enthusiastically pursued hobby for around 30 years.

“I always loved horses as a kid, played polo cross and studied breeding around the world. I started with tried horses, then bought cheap yearlings and won a few races with them.

“Later I was able to buy into better families and I now keep about 25 mares, buying a couple of yearlings and a couple of US mares each year, sometimes in partnership with Widden Stud.”

Decidity, also the dam of Group winners Time Out and Legally Bay, has a yearling filly by Stratum which Robert retains, and is in foal again to the Golden Slipper-winning son of Redoute’s Choice.

The Redoute’s Choice/Last Tycoon cross which produced both Bonaria and Provence has an impressive strike rate. So far the combination is responsible for 10 stakeswinners, including Group 1 winners Dariana and Master of Design, from only 40 named foals.

There is just one yearling bred on the same cross in next month’s Inglis Easter Sale. That’s Lot 389, the full sister to Group 3 winner Shaaheq, in the Arrowfield draft.

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