Magic touch for first-time owner

5 min read

Written by Richard Edmunds

A newcomer to racehorse ownership savoured a dream result in the Listed Berkley Stud Champagne S. at Riccarton when All About Magic (NZ) (Showcasing {GB}) was a dominant winner of the juvenile feature.

She has now had five starts for three wins and a placing for her Canterbury owner-breeder Stephanie Rathgen.

“It was a hell of a day, really,” said Rathgen, who is a committee member of the Canterbury, Marlborough, Westland and Otago branch of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

“She’s the first horse my partner and I have ever raced, so we can’t believe our luck. It’s pretty awesome. You don’t really expect things like this from your very first racehorse.

“We went into it thinking that just one win would be a big bonus, so it’s amazing.”

“She’s the first horse my partner and I have ever raced, so we can’t believe our luck.” – Stephanie Rathgen.

Rathgen’s magic story begins almost exactly three years ago, at the 2016 National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka.

She paid NZ$7000 to buy the well-related Rosecroft (NZ) (Montjeu {Ire}). That mare was carrying a foal by Showcasing (GB), who would later be named All About Magic.

Rosecroft is a daughter of Soltanto (NZ) (Tights {USA}), from an esteemed New Zealand family made famous by Richard Moore.

Soltanto herself produced nine winners headed by the Group 3 winner Temple Hills (NZ) (Marju {IRE}) and the Group 1-placed Filey (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}).

Soltanto’s half-sister Solveig (NZ) (Imposing) won 14 races including the G1 New Zealand Oaks, DB Draught 1600 and Avondale Cup, and she produced four winners including two at stakes level.

Sire of All About Magic, Showcasing

Group 1 family

Group 1 winners to descend from this family include the Australian Derby winner Jon Snow (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}), VRC Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar (Hotel Grand), New Zealand Oaks heroine Savaria (NZ) (Savabeel) and elite weight-for-age winners Culminate (NZ) (Elnadim {USA}) and Captivate (NZ) (Stravinsky {USA}).

Rathgen was surprised at being able to secure Rosecroft for that NZ$7000 price.

“Along with a few others, she was one that I’d really specifically identified in the catalogue for that sale,” she said. “But I really didn’t think I was going to be able to afford her. She comes from a great family, one of the best ones in New Zealand, so I was sure she’d be out of my price range.

“But she got a bit worked up before going through the ring and got into a bit of a sweat, which might have helped us out a bit. To get her for the price we did was pretty incredible.”

“To get her for the price we did was pretty incredible.” Stephanie Rathgen.

Rosecroft produced All About Magic later that year and then Rathgen sent the mare to a new stallion at Otago’s renowned nursery White Robe Lodge.

“She went to Ghibellines later that year and produced a colt,” Rathgen said.

Ghibellines (Shamardal {USA}) is a half-brother to the multiple Group 1 winner Guelph (Exceed and Excel). He himself won the G2 Todman S.


His oldest progeny are now two, with two winners from seven runners. Ranger was placed in last month’s Listed Champagne S. at Ellerslie.

“The mare’s in foal now to Haunui Farm’s new stallion Belardo,” Rathgen said.

“The mare’s in foal now to Haunui Farm’s new stallion Belardo.” - Stephanie Rathgen.

All About Magic’s black-type heroics have set up a valuable broodmare career of her own, but first, Rathgen is looking forward to seeing what more she can do on the racetrack.

“We’re looking forward to racing her as a three-year-old, and hopefully she can carry on the way she’s been going,” she said.

“Then eventually we’ll retire her into our broodmare paddock. That was the main plan we had when we bought her, so it’s all fallen into place really well so far.”

Stakes double emphasises Showcasing loss

Both black-type juvenile races in New Zealand on Saturday were won by daughters of the former Haunui Farm shuttle stallion Showcasing.

In addition to All About Magic’s win at Riccarton, the Group 2 placed Rainbow Dash (NZ) won the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre S. at Te Rapa.

Showcasing shuttled to Haunui from 2011 to 2017, when it was announced that he would remain permanently at Whitsbury Manor Stud in England.

Showcasing is the sire of 338 winners from 585 runners, including 35 individual stakes winners. Heading that group are the English Group 1 winners Quiet Reflection (GB) and Advertise (GB).

His southern hemisphere progeny have included 147 winners from 259 runners with 16 at stakes level. Group 2 winners Xpression (NZ) and Showboy (NZ) top that list.

Co-trainer overseas with star sprinter

All About Magic’s win capped a successful day at Riccarton for the local father-son training partnership of Michael and Matthew Pitman, who were also successful with Nellie Bly (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) and Pinup Coup (NZ) (Pins).

But Michael Pitman was not there to see it. Instead, he was thousands of kilometres away with the stable’s flagship sprinter Enzo’s Lad (Testa Rossa), who is being aimed at Royal Ascot.

Bought by Pitman Racing for just $15,000 at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Enzo’s Lad has won seven races and more than $393,000.

Trainer Michael Pitman

Along with superb back-to-back triumphs in one of New Zealand’s biggest sprints, the G1 Telegraph at Trentham, he has also won the Listed Pegasus S. at Riccarton.

He was invited to compete in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Sha Tin last Sunday, but disappointed in finishing at the tail of the field.

Nevertheless, the team is keen to push on to Royal Ascot next month, with the G1 King’s Stand S. and Diamond Jubilee S. possible targets.