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Indiana Arden Adding To The Stiven Legacy

by Rob Courtney The Breeders

The Arden name and the Stiven family have been indelibly linked together for many decades and their latest winner, Indiana Arden

(5m Panspacificflight – Southwind Arden) provided them and their ‘Night Sky’ Syndicate with yet another race day highlight on the grass at Motukarara last Sunday.

Indiana Arden making it two from two at Banks Peninsula Trotting club meeting at Motukarara 17th March 2024

From their highly successful mare Southwind Arden (9 wins + $150k) and a half sister to the very smart South Coast Arden (13 wins + $504k + 1:49.1), the 5m mare benefitted from a top drive by leading reinsman Blair Orange and after getting buried along the inside back past midfield, took the short way home to come clear of her rivals in the last 50m for an emphatic second win.

“That was a great result” enthused John Stiven as he took up the back story of his Tapanui nursery’s latest winner.

“We recognised the great pedigree of Panspacficflight well before he became available to NZ Breeders. He was a top horse before going amiss and went to stud in Indiana. Being a grandson of the great mare Rodine Hanover was a real attraction for us and now notably she also features in the close up pedigrees of super sires Art Major & Captaintreacherous.

We actually saw Panspacificflight in the flesh about 10-12 years ago standing in Indiana, America, when we visited with Brent McIntyre (Macca Lodge) who was in the process of getting him over to NZ at the time. That’s where this mare’s name comes from” he explained.

“Grant Payne did all the early education with her but she was quite immature both in the mind and in the body for some time and it was Payne who suggested a change of scenery. We were able to secure a spot in Hayden’s (trainer Hayden Cullen) stable and she has really thrived recently, winning a couple back to back”.

There are 10 shareholders in the mare, mainly couples, spread throughout the country and while some were at Motukarara for their win, others were spread far and wide and only able to enjoy the success from afar.

Indiana Arden on her way to her first win at Ashburton on 24th February 2024

Eventually ‘Indiana’ will join the select broodmare band at the Stiven’s Tapanui property, so anything she does on the track at this time will further boost the value of her future progeny considerably, especially when one peruses her current pedigree page.

That ‘band’ currently includes Group 1 winners Arden’s Choice and Venus Serena (who has a ‘cracker’ of a colt at foot by Tall Dark Stranger according to his breeder)

Southwind Arden is by champion sire Bettor’s Delight from broodmare gem Winter Rose (12 to race from 14 foals + 2014-15 Broodmare Excellence award

winner), the latter mare being a cornerstone of the Stiven breeding operation for several seasons now.

John, along with his good lady Judy, are certainly doing their bit to keep harness numbers afloat and in the new season ahead will await the arrival of some 16 foals (from 18 services) !

“The game of breeding is a risk for sure but its more fun that way and we are in the game to breed top racehorses.

While our stallion selections sometimes do not correlate necessarily with what the buyers are wanting at yearling sale time, that’s the way we operate.”

After visiting America in 2023, Stiven thought he was on to a winner with the progeny of ‘freshman’ stallion Tall Dark Stranger in 2024 but was left more than bewildered when buyers here did not jump at the opportunity to snare one of only four on offer across both Auckland and Christchurch sales yet in America his yearlings were in strong demand and sold accordingly. Now they eagerly await his arrival on the track.

It can take a long time to prove a stallion and Arden Lodge has historically been prepared to support well credentialed stallions right from the time they are available” Stiven added.

Stiven is well placed to comment on the American breeding scene, as already mentioned above, he and Judy, along with a small contingent of prominent kiwi and Australian breeders, made a month-long return trip to America courtesy of a tour set up by former kiwi John Curtin of JC International.

Crossed off the Stiven ‘bucket list’ were attendances to three major yearling sales at Lexington, Indiana and London (Ontario) along with visits to key stud farms Diamond Creek, Seelster Farms (home to the world’s fastest ever pacer Bulldog Hanover) and Tara Hills.

Stiven had a particular interest in ‘Bulldog’ since he has 6 mares in foal to him this coming season, at his first availability in this part of the world.

The point was made that Arden Lodge did support the likes of Bettor’s Delight, Art Major, Somebeachsomewhere, Rocknroll Hanover & Captaintreacherous amongst others when they first came to NZ.

The Stivens were also thrilled to see a 2yo they had bred, successfully competing against the American 2yos.

Rock The Captain (Captaintreacherous – Rocknroll Arden / Winter Rose) has been a winner in 1:52 and his 3yo campaign is awaited with great anticipation. Ironically, he was bought by John Curtin from a Christchurch yearling sale.

The American tour extended to Mohawk in Canada and heats of the time honoured Breeders Crown back in Indiana. Three days of racing at the ‘Red Mile’ saw them see the latest USA horse of the year in Confederate who John Stiven described as ‘a machine’ and certainly one to patronise when he arrives here next season.

The Stivens were able to reconnect with good friends in Indiana, met initially so many years previous and an insight into the ‘Amish’ way of life was also listed as a highlight.

Stallions to make an added impression in America (but not necessarily well supported here in NZ) were Cattlewash (the fastest ever son of Somebeachsomewhere) and Capt. Midnight whose yearlings were proving very popular in Indiana.

Stiven himself has been a huge fan of Somebeachsomewhere and his siring line for several years and well before they became popular with others.

“You can’t go to them all and in the end you pick what you want,”

Stiven explained “look at the ups and downs experienced by Sweet Lou here in NZ; how long has it taken to get to this point and now everybody wants them.”

Stiven bemoaned the ever-shrinking buyers’ bench at the sales just gone and acknowledges that the racing industry is in a complex and tricky economic situation at this time and for many kiwis, racing a horse is a luxury they cannot afford.

The Stivens remain positive about their involvement (& commitment) to the harness racing industry and their visit to America, especially, just reinforced their passion for a sport that has been so good to them for such a long time.

With horse interests spread throughout Australasia, one can imagine Arden Lodge will continue to be at the forefront of the ‘breeding scene’ for several years to come.

Footnote: Group 1 winner Arden’s Choice (by Panspacificflight) is in foal to Captaintreacherous and this will result in a ‘double up’ of Rodine Hanover blood in the resultant foal. After 2 colts, the excited Stivens are hoping for a filly !


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