By Duane Ranger
Head-colds which swept through the Pukeoware-based McMurtry family wasn’t enough to stop them celebrating another victory 60km from Alexandra Park on Friday 21 July.
“We were all laid-up with the flu and it was a horrible, wet night. Throw in the extremely busy motorway and we decided to watch our horse from home.”
“We had already been up twice in the last month to watch the horse run and he showed nothing. We were all so happy this time around – even from home,” McMurtry said.
The pacer they were referring to was the Barry Purdon trained and Zac Butcher driven Thunder Mac.
The three year old son of Bettor’s Delight notched up his first win in three starts in the $13,000 Speight’s Maiden Pace. McMurtry, who bred the brown gelding, also owns him with her husband Jim and daughter Bronwyn.
“We always thought he would make a nice pacer because he’s out of Dad’s 2007 Elsu – Soky’s Colleen (Soky’s Atom) broodmare, Little Monkey. She won three races for her trainer Jeff Crouth.
“Dad owned and bred her and was going to take a share in her first foal but was too sick, so I took over the breeding, and included my husband and daughter in the ownership,” McMurtry said.
Her ‘Dad’ was the well respected Waiuku (Pukeoware) breeder, Charlie Hadley, who died unexpectedly, but peacefully at Middlemore Hospital on September 12, 2015. He was 82.
He had bred, trained and owned dozens of winners since the 1960s including 1967 New Zealand Messenger Championship winner – Governor Frost.
“All of Dad’s family go back to our 1992 foundation mare Lotto (Mercedes – raffles), who is actually Thunder Mac’s great grand-dam.
“I’m proud that Thunder Mac won. I’ve bred a few winners on my own, but this one is a bit special. He’s a nice horse and I know Dad would have been smiling down on the horse and us on Friday,” McMurtry said.
Thunder Mac is the first of two foals out of Little Monkey. McMurtry left her empty the following year and in 2015 she produced an Art Major colt.
“The colt is a rising two year old and hopefully will go all right as well.
“We were a bit disappointed with Thunder Mac after his first couple of starts but Barry said he had the equine dentist in and the reason the horse wasn’t feeling 100 per cent was because he had some bad teeth,” McMurtry said.
“Barry is a master trainer. I’m sure that won’t be Thunder Mac’s last win,” she added.