This once-strong family put out a succession of excellent winners of classic and major Cup races in New Zealand in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century, after which it fell into decline; the last horse in tail-female to win any kind of good race was Saint Nicholas (1959, by Belvedere), winner of the WRC Gloaming Stakes in 1963.
The family is sometimes named for Lady Ann, a mare in New South Wales, and sometimes referred to as the Spray Family, for her daughter, imported into New Zealand. Lady Ann was owned by John Single, a free settler who in 1819 purchased land from the original grantee, William Tonks, near Castlereagh, east of the Nepean River (Cumberland County), one of the five townsites founded by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1810 in the Evan District of New South Wales. In 1822 Single built his impressive Georgian-style farmhouse on land south of the Great Western Road that he called Nepean Park. A year later he received a crown grant of a further 240 acres from Governor Brisbane; he conveyed this acreage to Sir John Jamison, which became part of Jamison's famous Regentville estate. Single was a prominent farmer and grazier in the district, known, like Jamison, for applying "new" scientific methods in agriculture and grazing. Single took part in racing in the district, his best known horse the famous chestnut gelding Ben Bolt (by Aether), undefeated in his first year of racing and later known for beating the mare Lauristina in a famous match.
Lady Ann was by the short-lived, but famous, Whisker (1828, by Whisker), imported as a yearling by Henry Bayley in 1830. He became such a successful runner that he was sometimes barred from competing, and serviced mares while a racehorse (see Jorrocks, Family C - 15). Bayley's stud at this time was located at South Creek, Cabramatta. Lady Ann's dam, was a mare by Toss (1822, by Bourbon, imported 1829), an influential early stallion that stood at the Scott brothers' important thoroughbred nursery, Glendon Stud, in the Hunter River Valley, near Singleton. The dam of the Toss mare was, according to Spray's pedigree, an arabian mare, about which nothing else is known. Lady Ann's female antecedents, therefore, were probably in the same general geographic vicinity for several generations. The family was abruptly relocated in 1851, when New Zealander Henry Redwood ("Father of the New Zealand Turf"), secured Lady Ann's offspring -- a chestnut yearling filly, Spray, her half-brother, St. George -- and the mare Symphony (1848, by Trumpet or Slender) and exported them to his Hednesford Farm near Nelson. Symphony became a successful racehorse and later broodmare in New Zealand for Hon. Edward Stafford (see Princess Family).
Spray, bred by Single, was by Donizetti, a horse whose breeding is unclear, although it is generally accepted that a pedigree supplied by Benjamin Richards, his one-time owner, is the correct one: by Cantator (1836, by Rubini) and out of an arabian mare. Cantator was imported in 1841 by George Hill, who had landholdings at Liverpool and elsewhere with partner Charles Roberts, who had his Wallgrove Prospect stud in County Cumberland. Richards, a wealthy wholesale butcher and cattle dealer and later a chairman of the Hawkesbury Jockey Club in the 1880s, had a well-known stud at Richmond.
Spray, one of the best of the early New Zealand matrons, went right into Henry Redwood's stud, and in 1855 she dropped the bay filly Wetsail, by Sir Hercules, the great stallion Redwood imported from New South Wales in June of 1852. Wetsail won the 1861 Canterbury Cup for Henry's brother, Charles, and in the stud bred two winners of the Canterbury Jockey Club Handicap (16 furlongs, in 1883 re-named the New Zealand Cup), and Spritsail (1870, by Traducer) that continued this branch of the family, which included Minnow (1905), a winner in Queensland; Wanganui Cup winner Spindrift (1891), and the sturdy and long-running west coast stayer British Lion, who took the Hawke's Bay St. Leger in 1887, and went on to win the CJC Metropolitan Handicap, the ARC Handicap, and, in 1891, the New Zealand Cup.
Spray's next foal, Fairy (1856, by Glaucus), produced the good, sturdy Cup winners Opawa (1870, see below) and Lara, and daughters that bred on. 1898 Launceton Cup winner Sortie (1893) and 1881 Wanganui Cup winner Sir George (1877) descended from Fairy.
Spray's next five foals were bred by W.H. Harris, a prominent Canterbury owner and breeder whose stud manager, Hood Williams, himself was later an owner of good winners and influential in Canterbury racing. These were Scud (1858, by the important stallion Riddlesworth), Sailor (1859, by Priam), Stormbird (1861, by Sledmere), and the chestnut sisters Belle of the Isle (1862) and Little Lady (1863), both by Malton. Harris had imported both Sledmere (1857, by Daniel O'Rourke) and Malton (1858, by Rifleman) from Great Britain into Canterbury in 1859; in 1861, when Malton was old enough to breed, Sledmere was sent to Queensland, but later came back to Canterbury.
Scud was one of the first New Zealand-bred stallions to be of use in the country; he got Knottingley (1863), a great galloper and winner of both the Canterbury Cup and CJC Jockey Club Handicap (New Zealand Cup) twice. Stormbird won the Canterbury Cup for Harris, as did Belle of the Isle. Belle of the Isle later produced Templeton (1870, by Traducer, see below), "the best horse of his time," and through his sister Miranda (1876), she was second dam of the two good sisters Enchantress (1885, by Bundoora), winner of both the Hawke's Bay Cup and the Wanganui Cup in 1892, and Crown Jewel (1887), who won the Canterbury Oaks Stakes.
Spray went on to breed seven more foals, five of them for William C. Webb, who arrived from Great Britain by ship in New Zealand in 1862, in charge of the stallion Traducer and the good broodmare Mermaid for Lance Walker of Canterbury. He found work with Harris, training Belle of the Isle, Enchantress and Knottingley, among other Harris horses, and later training on his own account at Riccarton. Spray's last foals were Wave (1871, by Malton), and Seadrift (1872, by Sledmere, after he came back to New Zealand). Spray was put down in 1878.
Seadrift became second dam of Pallas, a winner of the WRC Handicap in 1903. Wave had two daughters that established branches of the family: Veno (1881), produced three good winning daughters, Pauline (1887, Hobart Cup), Starshot (1893, Dunedin Cup, and later dam of Dunedin Cup winner Margerine), and Diadem (1887), who won the CJC Oaks Stakes for Webb; she also bred the colt Ruby (1883), who won the CJC Champage Stakes, and the gelded Springston (1884), winner of the 1888 CJC Great Autumn Handicap. Wave's daughter Virginia Water (1877, by Traducer), became third dam of a trio of good fillies by Demosthenes in the second decade of the twentieth century: Impediment (see below) and Pente, both classic winners, and Cup winner Karo. These sisters bred on, but their descendants did not include any winners of merit.
Impediment ch.f. 1914
(Demosthenes - Kautuku)
Impediment and her two good sisters -- Karo (1915) and Pente (1917) -- were bred by G.P. Donnelly, whose Flaxmere Stud, near Hastings at Hawke's Bay, had been established before the turn of the century by William Russell and then owned, briefly, by Wilfred Stead, the son of the prominent owner-breeder of the late 19th century, George Stead. Impediment was sold to J. Walker, and for him she beat a big field in the Rimutaka Handicap over 7 furlongs at Wellington, and the next day won the Tararua Handicap over a mile by three lengths, carrying the heaviest weight at 9 st - 2 lbs. She then went to Canterbury, where she won the New Zealand Oaks (1-1/2 miles), beating the favorite by five lengths. She ran into Devotion in a 10 furlong handicap at Wairarapa, and was beaten by a length in that race. After, this she changed hands, and in the colors of a Mr. Baracq, she won the Great Northern Oaks, beating the good filly Binnie Maid by a length, and the next day she won the St. George's Handicap (1-1/2 miles). With this record, she was champion three-year-old filly of the 1917-18 season. Her sister Karo (1915), sold as a yearling to J. Hart of Hawke's Bay as a juvenile, won Wellington's Taita Handicap over four furlongs, but went unplaced in Canterbury's Welcome Sakes. She was repurchased by Mrs. M.A. Perry, Donnelly's daughter, and won some good races at age three, after which she was purchased by trainer R.J. Mason for one of his owners, G.D. Greenwood. In 1919 she won the Auckland Cup (2 miles) by four lengths in record time, which stood until 1927, when Rapier won the race. Three days after her Auckland Cup victory she won the ten furlong Summer Cup by 2-1/2 lengths, giving away 6 lbs to New Zealand Cup winner Vagabond. Greenwood took her to Australia, where she won, after which she was put up for sale. The third sister, Pente (1917), won the Great Northern Oaks. None of these mares were able to pass on their own high-class winning ways in the stud. Oingo (1895, by Torpedo), the brother of their dam, Kautuku, won the Hawke's Bay Guineas in 1898.
Templeton b.c. 1870
(Traducer - Belle of the Isle)
Described as "the Southern crack of the year, having beaten all the best horses" in Canterbury, Canterbury sportsman Francis Delamain's chestnut colt, trained by Sam Haines, arrived in Auckland in 1874 and during the meeting took the first official running of the Auckland Cup, the Grandstand Handicap, and the Town Plate. He was so superior to the northern horses that the poet Thomas Bracken was inspired to write a poem about the game colt. After that year, his big wins were confined to the South Island. He won the DJC Town Plate and Dunedin Cup for Delamain, and then passed into the hands of Dunedin owner-trainer Robert Reay, for whom he won the CJC Great Autumn Handicap (1876), the DJC Queen's Plate (1877), the Dunedin Cup, again, and the Canterbury Cup (1878), and Canterbury's Christchurch Plate (1879). Raey also owned Maritana, a winner of the Wellington Cup, Danebury, a winner of the Great Northern Derby and Hornby, winner of the Canterbury Derby. His son, Robert Reay Jr. won the Dunedin Cup with Starshot, another member of this family.
Opawa ch.c. 1870
(Ravensworth - Fairy)
Owned by J.W. Jackson of Wanganui, he won the Wanganui Cup in 1876, and was walked the many miles along the coast to Taranaki to win the Taranaki Cup that year and several additional long races at that meeting; he was also servicing mares that year. In 1877 he made the trek to Taranaki again, winning the Cup a second time. He was later a stallion at Wanganui, and got a filly, Frivolity (1877) for the Durie brothers of Wanganui (Family C - 35). His half-sibling, Lara (1872, by Towton), raced by Frank Bolton, won the 1877 Auckland Cup (2-1/4 miles that year), and went on to win the 1878 Wellington Cup and the 1880 ARC Handicap, among other races.
Bold=winners of stakes races and important handicap and weight-for-age races
Arabian mare (f.)
Mare (f.) by Toss
Lady Ann (f. 183-) by Whisker
St. George (b.c. 1842) by St. George
Spray (ch.f. 1850) by Donizetti
Wetsail (b.f. 1855) by Sir Hercules
| Mainsail (b.g. 1863) by The Peer
| Flying Jib (b.g. 1864) by Leotard
| Spritsail (b.f. 1870) by Traducer
| Spinnaker (f. 1880) by Albany
| | Spinaway (f. 1891) by Nordenfeldt
| | | Miro (f. 1895) by Dreadnought
| | | Minnow (g. 1905) by Birkenhead
| | Spindrift (g. 1891) by Nordenfeldt
| British Lion (blk.c. 1883) by Leolinus
| Figurehead (f. 1884) by Ramarama
| | Bowsprit (f. 1894) by Vanguard
| | Martingale (f. 1907) by Sir Laddo
| | Yoma (c. 1919) by Camp Fire
| Masthead (f. 1885) by Ramarama
| Mainboom (f. 1892) by King Cole
| Spanker (f. 1907) by Day Star
| Raehu (f. 1928) by Cynic
| Miss Corvette (f. 1941) by Francis Drake
| Saint Nicholas (c. 1959) by Belvedere
Fairy (f. 1856) by Glaucus
| Harebell (f. 1860) by Bay Middleton
| | Diosma (f. 1878) by Maroro
| | Barosma (f. 1884) by Leos
| | Sortie (b.c. 1893) by Catesby
| Titania (f. 1861) by Bay Middleton
| | Sir George (ch.c. 1877) by Daniel O'Rourke
| Opawa (ch.c. 1870) by Ravensworth
| Lara (b.c. 1872) by Towton
Scud (ch.c. 1858) by Riddlesworth
Storm Bird (ch.c. 1861) by Sledmere
Belle of the Isle (ch.f. 1862) by Malton
| Templeton (b.c. 1870) by Traducer
| Miranda (br.f. 1876) by Traducer
| Vaultress (f. 1884) by Albany
| | Pitch and Toss (f. 1887) by Medallion
| Enchantress (br.f. 1885) by Bundoora
| Crown Jewel (f. 1887) by Bundoora
Wave (ch.f. 1871) by Malton
| Virginia Water (br.f. 1877) by Traducer
| | Como (b.f. 1887) by Vasco di Gama
| | Oingo (g. 1895) by Torpedo
| | Kautuku (b.f. 1905) by Gold Reef
| | Impediment (ch.f. 1914) by Demosthenes
| | Karo (br.f. 1915) by Demosthenes
| | Pente (f. 1917) by Demosthenes
| Veno (f. 1881) by Cadogan
| | Pauline (f. 1887) by Bundoora
| | Starshot (f. 1893) by Chainshot
| | Margerine (b.f. 1912) by Martian
| Ruby (c. 1883) by Albany
| Springston (g. 1884) by Albany
| Diadem (ch.f. 1887) by Bandoora
Seadrift (f. 1872) by Spray
Nellie (f. 1880) by Albany
Pallas (c. 1898) by Chain Armour