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Geelong win sends Williams down memory lane

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Memories of an outstanding mare and two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year were rekindled this week. Seachange (NZ) (Cape Cross {IRE}) won seven Group 1 races and travelled the world - accompanied by Jayne Ivil before retirement to her birthplace at The Oaks Stud, the Cambridge property of her Queensland-based breeder Dick Karreman.

She is developing a tidy record as a broodmare and at Geelong on Wednesday her daughter Our Sea Goddess (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}) opened her Australian account for David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

“I watched the race on my own and got quite emotional, it brought back great memories of great times.” - Rick Williams.

“I watched the race on my own and got quite emotional, it brought back great memories of great times,” The Oaks General Manager Rick Williams said.

“Not many very good race mares make very good broodmares, but she might be an exception.”

Her first foal was Thornton (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), who made NZ$500,000 at Karaka but only raced twice in the Lloyd Williams colours before injury curtailed his career.

“His brother Divan won three races and was Group 3 placed and his trainer Robert Hickmott and Lloyd said he was a Group 1 horse,” Williams said.

“Unfortunately, he had a heart attack and dropped dead when he was going out to pacework.” – Rick Williams.

“Unfortunately, he had a heart attack and dropped dead when he was going out to pacework.”

Seachange’s unraced 3-year-old daughter Away Cruising has placed in her only trial and her Fastnet Rock 2-year-old, A NZ$450,000 Karaka graduate, has also trialled encouragingly for Lindsay Park.

“We’ve got a Tavistock filly that will go the sales, but unfortunately she lost a Tavistock foal this year and she’ll be going back to Darci Brahma,” Williams said.

Thornton as a yearling

Mother Nature in play

Seachange didn’t make the sales due to conformation issues and was given plenty of time for Mother Nature to do her thing.

“Her off front was very offset and she was out on the hills for a fair while and I didn’t break her in until she was a late 2-year-old,” Williams said.

“She went to Ralph Manning and he got her in before the tracks got too hard. She won her first start at Paeroa and I’d seen Gavin McKeon, a former champion Queensland apprentice who was with John Wheeler, ride and I said to Ralph see if you can get him.

“Gavin rang me after that on a Sunday morning and said can I come and see you. He said she was a very good filly and he was going to go back to Australia, but he’d stay if he could keep riding her.

Seachange winning the G3 Mannerism S.

“I didn’t take him too seriously at the time, but they never stopped winning after that.” – Rick Williams.

“I didn’t take him too seriously at the time, but they never stopped winning after that. Gavin was a very good rider, he was tall and had weight issues but he was disciplined.

“It was only a very bad fall at Pukekohe that put him out of racing and we’ve remained good friends ever since and we went to his wedding. We still keep in touch.”

Her subsequent seven Group 1 wins aside, Seachange claimed the G3 Mannerism S., at Caulfield and was runner-up in the G1 Myer Classic. Further afield, she was also fourth in the G1 Falmouth S., at Newmarket.

Top partnership

McKeon successfully combined on 11 occasions with Seachange, who was also ridden to an open handicap success at Hastings and accompanied on her European travels by Jayne Ivil, these days broadcasting with racing.com.

Like her famous mother, Our Sea Goddess began her career with Manning who produced her to win one of her three starts in New Zealand.

“She missed most of her 3-year-old season with little things going wrong so we thought we’d chase some good money with her in Australia,” Williams said.

“She’s the quietest thing with a temperament just like her mother and only wakes up when she goes onto the track.”