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Kay Cee rescues Edwards' breeding dreams

8 min read
Hobby breeder Greg Edwards was on the brink of quitting over 40 years in the breeding industry, before Kay Cee’s (Playing God) brilliant win in last year’s G1 Kingston Town Classic over 1800 metres.

Edwards, 72, began his passion for breeding and owning thoroughbreds with the purchase of a filly named Star Boots (Star Moss {GB}) in 1977.

Star Boots, a winner of three races, became Edwards’ foundation broodmare.

Edwards persevered through “rain and drought” maintaining his breeding passion alongside running his farm at Lake Grace.

When Edwards sold the farm and moved into retirement on a 45 hectare property at Binningup, the horses came along.

But the combination of an exasperating drought of wins and rising costs to breed and own racehorses, was biting deep into Edwards’ retirement budget.

Until along came Kay Cee to the rescue, scoring Edwards’ biggest pay day of $605,200 from her victory in the $1 million Kingston Town.

Kay Cee can make another big contribution of $590,000, if she wins Saturday’s G1 Kirin Railway S., (1600 metres). The mare has earned $1,102,700 from her seven wins and three placings at 12 starts.

At the crossroads

“Before Kay Cee came along, I was at the crossroads of whether I could afford to keep breeding and racing,” Edwards said.

“You can’t keep breeding horses and then they do nothing on the racetrack.

“You can’t keep breeding horses and then they do nothing on the racetrack." - Greg Edwards

“Flirt N Hope’s first foal, Flirt With Hal, had 15 starts and never ran a place.

“Then we had mares, foals and retired horses at home to keep.

“Having land to run our horses reduced our expenses, but the general costs are still high.

“With the money Kay Cee has earned I don’t have to worry any more about where the money is going to come from.

“I can race horses for the rest of my life.”

Edwards said Kay Cee had impressed him from the first time he set his eyes on her as a foal, with her winning his first Group 1 making a dream come true.

“Winning the Kingston Town was something I never expected would happen to me,” he said.

“We never spent a lot of money on horses and just kept chipping away at it.

“I liked Playing God because he was a nice type and a good racehorse.

“He stood at Mungrup Stud and I have had a great association with Mungrup for over 30 years. Basically all of my progeny has come from Mungrup stallions in all of that time.

Playing God | Standing at Darling View Thoroughbreds

“When you are not spending big money on horses you don’t expect to win the Group 1 races.

“So Kay Cee’s win in the Kingston Town was a bit surreal on the day.

“I am not into the breeding and racing for the money but more as therapy for me. I enjoy going down to the horses, feeding and patting them. It helped me during the bad times on the farm – and there were plenty of them – to stay positive.

“We were breeding up to four and five yearlings a year when we were on the farm. Kay Cee had that 'look' about her from the start. From the first time I saw her I said 'This is the best horse I have bred.'

"From the first time I saw her I said 'This is the best horse I have bred'." - Greg Edwards

“Her conformation and temperament were just so good. And she has taken it to the racetrack."

Kay Cee underlined she was in top order for the Railway with her barnstorming second-up win in the Lee Steere S. at Ascot a fortnight ago.

The 4-year-old mare drops a kilo under the weight-for-age scale to 56kg in tomorrow’s handicap.

Kay Cee is only three kilos above the minimum and is two kilos under joint topweights Kementari (Lonhro) and Material Man (Vital Equine {Ire}).

The Railway lacks the depth in numbers of interstate contenders because of the WA border closures due to COVID-19 outbreak, causing disruption of flights.

Trainer Neville Parnham is confident Kay Cee has 'a bit in the tank' for her next assignments the Railway and Kingston Town on December 5.

Connections have booked stable-rider Jason Brown to replace Kay Cee’s regular rider Steven Parnham, who was injured in a race fall at Ascot on Wednesday.

Steven Parnham, Kay Cee and Neville Parnham (left to right)

Quietly confident

“I am quietly confident going into the Railway,” Edwards said.

“I think she gets a nice trail into the race and she’ll be pretty hard to hold out at the end of it.”

Edwards has high hopes Kay Cee’s half-brother Red Hot Hope (Red Hot Choice) can lift the family again next autumn when he runs in the G2 WATC Derby (2400 metres).

“It was funny because after Kay Cee won the Kingston Town, people came home to see her,” Edwards said.

“She was in the same paddock as Red Hot Hope. They would think Red Hot Hope was her – that is how much presence he has.

“Neville (Parnham) said; 'We need to go to the derby with him', after his second start over 1500 metres, and he was sent to the paddock.

“He is filling out and looking good.”

Full relation

Edwards is waiting on a full-relation to Kay Cee to be born next September, after having Flirt N Hope (Mcflirt {NZ}) covered by Playing God this year.

“Mungrup Stud have her young brother at their property,” Edwards said.

“It was part of the deal I did with them that they took her last foal in exchange for a free service.

“They felt guilty after Kay Cee did what she did in the Kingston Town, but I told them that was the deal and they paid for Flirt N Hope’s service this year.”

“They felt guilty after Kay Cee did what she did in the Kingston Town, but I told them that was the deal and they paid for Flirt N Hope’s service this year.” - Greg Edwards

Edwards had tried to give away Flirt N Hope after she was retired because of injury at one start.

“She had an issue and it was going to cost quite a bit to get it fixed with no guarantees it would work to keep racing her,” Edwards said.

“I tried to give her away but couldn’t find anybody to give her to. So I mated her to Hala Bek, who produced Flirt With Hal, who was no good.

"She is the only broodmare we have now, along with our racehorses, a few retirees and a rescue horse.”

Kay Cee and her connections after winning the G1 Kingston Town S.

Edwards and his wife Kathy derived Kay Cee’s name from their daughter Kendall (32) and son Curtis (30) names.

“Lizzy Long Legs (dam of Flirt N Hope) was named after a niece, who had short legs,” Edwards said.

“Lizzy was our best horse prior to Kay Cee and the kids wanted to have this one named after them.

“They are enjoying the ride and boasting the success is because of her name.”

A Railway win by Kay Cee or stablemate Platoon (Playing God), who ran third in last year’s Railway, would be a feather in the cap for Darling View Thoroughbreds, who purchased Playing God during Mungrup Stud’s dispersal sale last August.

“Kay Cee must be a top chance in the Railway and Platoon ran a top race in it last year,” studmaster Brent Atwell said.

“Platoon’s form this year shows he can again play a big role in the finish.”

Feather in the cap

Darling View also bought Mungrup stallion I’m All The Talk, whose daughter Watch Me Dance won last Saturday’s G3 Champion Fillies' S.

Watch Me Dance will attempt to emulate Arcadia Queen’s effort of two years ago by winning the Champion Fillies-WA Guineas double today.

Atwell is delighted at how well the two stallions are doing at their new home.

“They came up to Mundijong in late July,” Atwell said.

“Mungrup kept them for a few weeks following our purchase and they have settled in here really well.

“Playing God was close to serving his biggest book at 96 mares, but he had a colic attack. He is okay now after surgery, but he was due to cover 120. That was his biggest book.

I’m All The Talk | Standing at Darling View Thoroughbreds

“I’m All The Talk is due to cover 90 mares. I think moving the stallions up from Narrikup to Mundijong has worked well.

“A lot of breeders had not seen I’m All The Talk and now they have, they have been impressed. He produces a forward type of horse and has had a good few winners, including All Banter at Morphettville last Saturday.

“I’m All The Talk was a top 2-year-old in Sydney and when we chose to buy him, the trainers I spoke with told me they thought his progeny would be better at three years.”

Playing God covered Watch Me Dance’s dam Coventry To Rio (Oratorio) this season. Other leading broodmares covered by Playing God were Russian Playmate (Dr Johnson {USA}), dam of Group 1 winner Come Play With Me (Blackfriars), Special Kiseki (Special Bond), dam of Special Reward (Demerit) and Flirt N Hope, dam of Kay Cee.

Leading mares covered by I’m All The Talk include Bantry Bay (Tale Of The Cat {USA}) dam of All Banter (I'm All The Talk), Portrait (Octagonal {NZ}), dam of Leonardo Da Hinchi (Hinchinbrook), Nishikawa (Fuji Kiseki {Jpn}), dam of Takanori (Vital Equine {Ire}) and Southern Princess (Southern Image {USA}), a half-sister to Shining Knight (Blackfriars).

“I’m All The Talk covered 71 mares at his first season in 2016 and only 24 mares last year,” Atwell said.

“With his success he has bounced up to 90 mares.”