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Triumph in the Group 3 White Robe

(From left Wayne Stewart(WRL stud manager), Ian and Sue Nichol, Brian and Lorraine Anderton and jockey Shankar Muniandy at the White Robe Lodge WFA presentation.)

The $70,000 group three White Robe Lodge Weight-For-Age (1600m) at Wingatui on Saturday was a triumph all round for the race sponsor. The winner, Tommy Tucker and second horse Gallant Boy are prepared by WRL trainers Brian and Shane Anderton. Both horses are by the WRL sire Gallant Guru. The third horse, Princess Brook is by another WRL sire Raise The Flag. Tommy Tucker was ridden by the senior WRL jockey Shankar Muniandy. The 9yr-old out of the Yamanin Vital mare Lady Vital is raced by breeders, Ian Nichol and WRL principals Brian and Lorraine Anderton. Brian turned 81 five days earlier.

It was the 16th win for Tommy Tucker in 51 starts and the $43,750 first prize advanced his stake earnings to $403,295.

WRL had won the major race on the Otago Racing Club calendar last year with Coulee, a daughter of Gallant Guru. Tommy Tucker had finished second as he did in 2016. The race established in 1974 was previously a handicap. Tommy Tucker is the oldest horse to win a White Robe, surpassing Grey Way, who was eight when he won the race for the third time in 1979.

It has been a big week for WRL. The stud operation sold three yearlings by their first season sire Ghibellines for an average of $80,000 in Book 1 at the New Zealand Bloodstock yearling sale at Karaka with a top price of $115,000 for a colt out of Ears Carol. The stud managers Wayne and Karen Stewart also sold a filly by Savabeel out of Include for $230,000.  The stud sold two more yearlings by Ghibellines in Book 2. A colt out of Ali Rosa was bought by Wexford Stables, Matamata and Andrew Williams Bloodstock, Waikato for $80,000 and a colt out of Turn The Page was sold for $53,000 to Markwood Lodge Ltd, who have Zabay in the WRL stable.

The overall average for the five Ghibellines progeny was $74,600, a fine achievement. The stud will now turn its attention to preparing yearlings for the South Island sale in Christchurch on April 20.