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Viddora just what the Doctor ordered

6 min read
Dr Terry Hodgson, the breeder and part-owner of Viddora, is enjoying the ride of his life ahead of the mare contesting The TAB Everest on Saturday.

It was a moment of inspiration nine years ago that led Viddora (I Am Invincible) to The TAB Everest and Dr Terry Hodgson on the journey of a racing lifetime.

When I Am Invincible powered to victory in the 2009 G2 McKay S at Morphettville, SAJC club doctor Hodgson was a very interested on-looker.

Two weeks later, when the son of Invincible Spirit ran Takeover Target (Celtic Swing {GB}) to within a length in the G1 Goodwood, Dr Hodgson, who owns Riva Ridge Stud at Kyeneton in the Barossa Valley, resolved to keep the name in the back of his mind.

"I saw I Am Invincible win the McKay Stakes and he dominated and I thought 'what a terrific looking horse'. Then he gave Takeover Target, a horse I had been lucky enough to see win at Royal Ascot, a pretty good go in the Goodwood," Hodgson told TDN AusNZ.

Hodgson and his son John, who manages Riva Ridge, take an assessment every year of which stallions are best suited for their mares.

"My son John is a bit of a pedigree expert and we work these things out together. I tend to go on conformation and racetrack performance and he is more into what crosses well with what," he said.

Soon after, Hodgson saw an opportunity to send three of his mares to Yarraman Park to I Am Invincible, who was then in his second year at stud.

"I saw I Am Invincible win the McKay Stakes and he dominated and I thought 'what a terrific looking horse'." - Dr Terry Hodgson on I Am Invincible

Taking Flight

One of them was Snow Flight (NZ), a mare by Colombia (NZ) who Hodgson had bought in 2008 to race and then breed with.

"The reason why we bought her was because of the Eight Carat family and Colombia. If you look at (Colombia's) stats, he was a shy breeder. His stats were very good for the limited number of racehorses he had."

"We raced her for a year. We thought she'd be competitive in the distance races in Adelaide. She was just about placed in every race we ran her in and we were getting her ready for the Adelaide Cup and she got a tendon injury, so I put her to Southern Image."

That foal, Blitzing, had conformation issues and never placed in four starts, but the second time around Hodgson decided Snow Flight would go to I Am Invincible.

"My son wanted me to keep the whole horse. He thought that while she wasn't overly big at that stage, she was very athletic." - Dr Terry Hodgson

John Hodgson wanted to keep the resultant filly, now a dual Group 1 winner, but commercial considerations saw her go through the Adelaide Magic Millions Sale where she was sold for $40,000.

"My son wanted me to keep the whole horse. He thought that while she wasn't overly big at that stage, she was very athletic. You have to pay bills though and when Lloyd (trainer Lloyd Kennewell) bought her off me, I said 'Can I have a share?' and he said 'Sure'."

Only just hitting her peak

Since then Viddora has built from a promising 3-year-old into a stakes-winning 4-year-old, into a Group 1 winner at 5 and 6. She is now arguably the best sprinting mare in the country and seems to be only now hitting her peak.

"Joe Bowditch felt the run in the (G1) Moir S. was the best she's ever been. This is the Colombia line coming through. If you look at that Zabeel line, they get better when they race when they are older," Terry Hodgson said.

Joe Bowditch and Viddora returning after their win in the G1 Moir S.

The part-owner and breeder admits he has been on a terrific journey, one he could never of imagined when he bred the filly.

"There's one group involved in the horse who are a syndicate who have got 12 of them in it, and they’ve got one per cent each and they are enjoying it so much," he said.

"For me, in my middle 70s, they get me partying and we have a great time. The camaraderie and the texts are fantastic."

It will certainly be a big weekend for Hodgson, who also owns a share in Noire (Foxwedge), who contests the G1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield.

Viddora's connections getting ready for a party after her win in the G1 Moir S.

Best of the breed

The rest of Snow Flight's progeny have yet to live up to the deeds of their bigger sister, Viddora. A colt by Statue of Liberty races in Hong Kong as Relentless Me and has won three from 14 starts.

"Snow Flight was served by I Am Invincible a couple of weeks ago on a foal share." - Dr Terry Hodgson

Kennewell races the Hard Spun (USA) mare Star Flight, who is a maiden after five starts, while the 3-year-old Fiorente (Ire) filly Snowplough is with Michelle Payne but is yet to debut.

The Magnus filly was bought by John Foote for $100,000 at this year's Adelaide sales and is being prepared by Kennewell, who is now based at Caulfield.

"I've also got a Super One colt to sell in the Magic Millions in Queensland, so he's the three quarter brother to Viddora," Hodgson said.

"Harry Mitchell is preparing him, while Snow Flight was served by I Am Invincible a couple of weeks ago on a foal share."

I Am Invincible

The next I Am Invincible

In the meantime, the Hodgsons are looking out for that next emerging stallion for their other mares.

Overshare, the son of I Am Invincible who stands at Spendthrift in Victoria, is one they have already utilised through the stud's Share the Upside program.

Overshare, standing at Spendthrift

"I've got a mare by Blevic and once again we were looking at putting a bit of speed in there. My son was keen on a son of I Am Invincible. For the price, we thought he was round the mark and she's already been served," Hodgson said.

Woodside Park's Rich Enuff as well as Swettenham Stud's Highland Reel (Ire) also appeal, and Hodgson has supported the local stud, Cornerstone in Angaston, by sending mares to Zebedee (GB) and Sir Prancealot.