Linda Huddy had good reason to believe her multiple Group producing mare Pentamerous had come to the end of her foaling days.
Without a foal since 2013 and with plenty of misses and tears along the way, Linda’s hopes of the mare experiencing a trouble-free pregnancy and having another colt or filly were quickly fading.
After producing Shoot Out, which Linda and her husband Graham purchased at the 2008 Magic Millions yearling sales for $15,000, there was always plenty of motivation to get the Pentire mare Pentamerous in foal.
Shoot Out, who was a first yearling colt by champion middle distance performer High Chaparral, won five Group 1s, and amassed $3.2 million in prizemoney. He wasn’t the only success story from the mare whose progeny include Group 3 winners Cassandara Shadow and I’m A Princess who up until this year was the last foal produced by Pentamerous.
Linda admits she had to be convinced to keep trying with the now 19 year-old mare who defied the odds to produce a stunning colt by Swettenham Stud’s son of High Chaparral,IghH Toronado, on the second day of Spring.
“He is the most personality-plus foal that you’ve seen,” a delighted Linda said of the three quarter brother to Shoot Out.
“He is all over you and there is no backward step. He is a beautiful colt.”
Shoot Out was Pentamerous’ second foal and the mare was later purchased by Linda and Graham when she came on the market. Her first foal - Cassandara Shadow (by Johannesburg (USA) – went on to win the 2009 W.A. Oaks at Ascot.
Linda explains that getting a foal on the ground took a lot of work from several people and started with Melissa Copelin, stud manager at Torryburn Stud, recommending an operation suggested by veterinarian Paddy Todhunter at Newcastle Equine Centre who performed a uterus-lift procedure through keyhole surgery which would hopefully give the mare a 50/50 chance of carrying a foal to term.
Pentamerous missed to I Am Invincible in 2015 and was then given the following year away from the breeding barn before arriving in Victoria to Sally Watkins at Willaroon Thoroughbreds, at Lurg, near Benalla. Under the guidance of local veterinary Caroline Duddy, who specialises in problem mares, she was served by German import Lucas Cranach who the Huddy’s had raced, including victory in his final start in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield on 2012.
Unfortunately, after several months the mare slipped the Lucas Cranach foal and while Linda thought it was time to retire the mare, she was told by Sally and her vet Caroline Duddy that it wasn’t Pentamerous’ fault but more a case of Mother Nature stepping in.
“Caroline Duddy loves problem mares and was quite adamant that we would get her into foal again,” Linda said.
“We went to Toronado last year and with just one cover we’ve got a beautiful colt.
“I came down to see the foal and I’d never seen Toronado before but I was blown away. I just thought he was a fantastic stallion and I’m not surprised he is going well.”
Toronado on parade
Pentamerous, who is still under the care of Sally Watkins and Dr Duddy, returned to Toronado on the eve of the AFL Grand Final.
“I know Linda would dearly love another filly out of her,” Sally said.
“Linda is breeding out of two fillies from Pentamerous and already one (Silver Tiara) has thrown a stakes winner.
“Caroline was always confident we’d get the mare in foal. The mare is an absolute queen, the most beautiful, beautiful mare who is loved by everyone on the farm.
“Shoot Out (who died in 2017) was Linda’s favourite horse and she has nicknamed his ¾ brother by Toronado, Diego.
“We were lucky to have such a good looking fertile son of High Chaparral so close to us and Swettenham Stud was able to give us whatever time we needed.
“Linda sent the mare down to us a couple of years before she got into foal (to Lucas Cranach) so Caroline could start on her very early. Caroline is absolutely brilliant with what she does and loves a challenge.”
Following the death of High Chaparral in Ireland in 2014, Linda sent Pentamerous to high profile stallions Exceed and Excel, Redoute’s Choice and I Am Invincible - but she missed each time – and then lost the Lucas Cranach foal.
And with Pentamerous hopefully celebrating her 20th birthday with another Toronado foal in 2020, it won’t be long after that before she heads home to the Huddy’s Peachester Lodge on the Sunshine Coast to enjoy a life of luxury.