Just over a decade ago, Australian Peter Chambers made the bold move of purchasing a 2YO trotting filly from France for a six figure sum and his instincts have proven right on the money, with the mare, subsequently named Glenferrie Unixa, having now produced multiple group one winner Une Belle Allure and good performer Beau Garcon.
Glenferrie Farms’ Chambers was, looking to replace brilliant trotting filly Kahdon, who had gone amiss, and had heard of a promising 2YO filly in France through Canterbury horseman Craig Thornley, who knew the trainer’s daughter, Laura Hue, then working in Prebbleton, New Zealand.
Thornley, was employed nearby at Spreydon Lodge, where Chambers was a client and understood he had wanted to purchase a trotter with maternal lines from what he considered the best trotters in the world, France.
Chambers sent Thornley to France for a week and he was on hand when Unixa was sent to the Normandy port city of Caen to qualify as a 2YO, which entailed trotting flawlessly over 2000m in under 1'22.0 km/h.
As Thornley recalled recently: “I went to Caen and watched her trial. There were nearly 200 horses there, all 2YOs and she was the fastest filly on the day and after that I had a few drives of her. She was a really lovely filly.”
Indeed Unixa was not only was she the fastest filly on the day, she was actually the fourth fastest overall, trotting home in 1’19”5, which is a respectable time on the sand track at Caen.
Thornley says Chambers secured the filly from the trainer, Marion Hue for a six figure sum which as those who have purchased from France know is what you have to pay for a lovely French filly who had qualified well.
"He got a really good deal with her, they really looked after him. He actually ended up racing another couple of horses with Mr Hue in France, but he didn't bring those ones back," recalls Thornley. Hue has won some big races in France including the country’s top race for 2YO fillies, the Prix Une De Mai.
Unixa is a daughter of Onyx du Goutier (by Franco-American Buvetier d’Aunou) out of Life Sign, by another successful Franco-American-sire in Corot (Workaholic). Both Workaholic and Buvetier d’Aunou’s sire Royal Prestige, are by Speedy Crown, who has proven an absolutely superb nick with the French breed.
Life Sign was also a half-sister to the very good performers in O’Donnell (T1.53.4MR, 11 wins, 426.150 euros) and Mister President (T1.56MR, 9 wins, 361,840 euros), a monte specialist.
Renamed Glenferrie Unixa, the filly was trained in New Zealand Thornley’s partner Joanne Burrows, and quickly placed three times although she had developed some issues.
"She must have injured herself on the way out, must have hurt her stifles or something, because she was not the same horse when she landed here,” says Thornley.
“She couldn't stretch out fully, and could not trot as fast as she did when I drove her in France. She only raced a handful of times and she went to stud.”
Chambers bred a filly by Angus Hall but after Glenferrie Unixa missed in two subsequent breedings, the mare was put on the market.
“I really wished I’d bought her myself, I always thought she’d be a super broodmare, with those French bloodlines, which of course was why Mr Chambers bought her originally,” says Thornley.
French enthusiast and Yabby Dam Farms proprietor Pat Driscoll snapped her up, while he also secured the Angus Hall filly (soon to be named Une Belle Allure) as a yearling not long after.
Une Belle Allure went on to win four Group Ones, proving Chambers instincts to have been correct all along and both mares are in Yabby Dam Farms broodmare band and have progeny in the Nutrien Standardbred Yearling sale on the weekend.
Lot 177 is a colt by Father Patrick out of Une Belle Allure while Lot 178 is a filly by Trixton out Glenferrie Unixa, and should be two of the most sought after trotting yearlings in the sale.
Lot 178 is a filly by Trixton out Glenferrie Unixa
Lot 177 is a colt by Father Patrick out of Une Belle Allure