Liz Hodson remembers
Liz Hodson, who stepped down last week after 41 years working for White Robe Lodge, has fond memories of the first yearling she prepared for sale ------ Our Sophia, winner of the 1985 AJC (Australian) Oaks.
Hodson (57) has switched jobs to assisting with milking 300 cows on the Taieri.
"It will be a bit easier. The horses were just starting to get a bit strong for me to handle,'' she said.
Hodson began working for White Robe Lodge in 1975 as a stablehand when the operation was based in Wingatui Rd.
"I had been working for Ali Robinson but the four or five horses he had in work went shin sore and he suggested I take another job until he had more in work," recalled Hodson.
She left White Robe after 20 years as a stablehand but returned after six months. That coincided with the transfer of the operation to North Taieri in 1981.
"I started back working for the stud preparing yearlings, weaning foals and breaking in horses and not so much riding track work.
"I remember the first yearling I prepared for sale was Our Sophia."
A filly by Noble Bijou from Mellition bred by Brian and Lorraine Anderton, the Dennis brothers, Jim and Shirley Murray and the White brothers, Our Sophia was sold for $70,000 at the 1983 National yearling sale at Trentham to trainer George Hanlon.
"Two other yearlings I remember were a filly by Noble Bijou from Brown Satin sold for $375,000 and Tawrrific who won the Melbourne Cup."
The filly was sold to Malaysia trainer Teh Choon Beng at the 1985 National yearling sale and remains the top price for a yearling sold in a White Robe Lodge draft. She was later named Regal Topaz. She had two minor placings in four starts in NZ before she went to stud. Her brother, Be Noble, who had been sold for $55,000, won the South African Derby later in 1985. Their dam Brown Satin won the last NZ Oaks run at Riccarton in 1972.
Hodson got a big thrill leading the WRL -trained Bymai back at the head of the field after his win in the 1984 New Zealand Grand National Steeplechase.
"That was another highlight. He (Bymai) was my favourite and I was in Christchurch with horses for the South Island sale and was allowed lead him back after his win.''
Hodson was at White Robe when later champion sire Noble Bijou commenced stud duty in 1975.
"I remember Joyarty was a good mare from his first crop. I never served mares with the stallions but Noble Bijou was a good horse to handle."
Joyarty to a mating with WRL sire Tawfiq left Tawrrific, winner of the Melbourne Cup in 1989. Tawrrific, the first foal of Joyarty was sold for $50,000 soon after he was passed in when in the WRL draft at the 1986 National Yearling sale.
"Liz made a big contribution on night watch delivering foals,'' said Karen Stewart, co-manager of the stud operation.