Lord's southern connection
Levin Classic winner Southern Lord is trained and part-owned by former Southland jockey Alan Tait.
He left Riverton 19 years ago to set up a pre-training and breaking in business at Te Teko in the Bay of Plenty. Buying and selling horses is also part of the business. In 2000 Tait shifted his operation to Matamata.
Tait moved north because he had doubts about the future of southern racing.
''Things weren't looking good for (Southland) racing back then,'' the horseman said yesterday.
He bought Southern Lord as a weanling at the Magic Millions sale on the Gold Coast. A cyst on a fetlock prevented him from being re-sold at a Sydney yearling sale.
Southern Lord went into training with Tait and displayed talent in his first trial, winning by seven lengths 15 months ago. Nine days after the trial, Southern Lord went under by a nose in a 2-year-old race at Ruakaka. His second start - in the Wellesley Stakes at Trentham in October last year - was spoiled by a heavy track and he finished fifth of eight.
His six starts since have included Friday's Group I $250,000 Levin Classic at Otaki, a second in the Listed $50,000 Canterbury Stakes at Riccarton in October and a 2-year-old win at Ruakaka in July.
Southern Lord would have finished closer than seventh in the Two Thousand Guineas at Riccarton last month if he had not been squeezed up and clipped another runner's heel at the 250m.
Tait and wife Gaylene own Southern Lord, who is to leave later this month for Mark Walker's Singapore stable. The Taits are bringing Walker and his wife Julia into the ownership.
Alan Tait rode the winners of about 120 races when based at Riverton. Waronui and Lynda Mary were the best horses he rode in the South Island.
- © Fairfax NZ News