Miracle mare: Race winner’s dam beats the odds

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Flying Monty with Nurse Kitchen at foot.

Stylish weekend racewinner Nurse Kitchen, who took out the Fillies Classic for three-year-olds at Moonee Valley on Saturday, is lucky to be alive at all after a horror foaling by her dam, Flying Monty.

Trained by David Brideoake and ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, the Savabeel, surged to victory in Saturday’s Group 2 $A200,000 race for Sarah Moody, wife of breeder Peter Moody.

Although owned and raced in Australia, the filly is New Zealand bred, having started life courtesy of the care and dedication of the staff at Waikato Stud, who saved her dam Flying Monty when she experienced difficulty during a foaling in 2012.

Waikato Stud’s Mark Chittick said Flying Monty (by Montjeu and from the Vice Regal mare Anna’s Choice) had been sent to the stud in foal to Reward For Effort in 2012, with the thought of her going to one of the Waikato stallions after foaling.

“She was an early mare and started foaling late one Friday night in August. I think it was around midnight and things went okay to start with but it started to drag on and we found she had a real problem,” Chittick said.

A local contractor brought a Hiab Loader to get Flying Monty on her feet after she could not stand after foaling.
A local contractor brought a Hiab Loader to get Flying Monty on her feet after she could not stand after foaling.

“It was basically a foaling known as a “dogsitter” where the foal’s back legs are facing forward and not backwards.

“We managed to finally get the foal out after about 90 minutes but it wasn’t in good shape and our vet found that the mare couldn’t get herself up as she had a form of paralysis associated with her sciatic nerve.”

By this stage it was closer to 5am on Saturday and Chittick and vet Fauna Smith knew if they couldn’t get the mare up there would be no chance she could be saved. “I rang one of my mates at J Swap Contracting and within 30 minutes he was around with a Hiab Loader which we could get a makeshift sling attached to.

“We got it in position and managed to get her up.”

At that stage Chittick rang Moody and told him to hope for the best but expect the worst for the stricken mare. “I think I rang Peter at around 7am and when he rang me back at 10am things had started to get a little better,” he said.

“By noon the mare was improving and by around 2.30pm she had started to show enough movement that we started to breathe a little easier.

Flying Monty propped up with big bales of hay.
Flying Monty propped up with big bales of hay.

“Actually seeing her being able to move under her own steam was a very emotional moment for us all and one I won’t forget.”

Over the next 24 hours the mare was constantly monitored by stud staff, most whom had been there throughout the entire episode including those who had the day off. By Sunday Flying Monty was well on the way to recovery.

“She still had problems getting up so she and I worked an arrangement where when I saw her go down we would let her rest then I would take a large bale of hay on the front end loader and rest it up against her when she was ready to get up,” Chittick said.

“She would start to rise and I would wedge the bale against her to give her leverage. After about two days she could do it on her own and just went from strength to strength.”

After a further eight weeks of recuperation the mare was fit and healthy enough to be served by Savabeel with Nurse Kitchen the resulting filly foal.

“Some people asked us why we would even contemplate serving the mare after that trauma,” noted Chittick. “We had her fully checked and all the signs were very positive so we went ahead and look at how that has turned out.

“Moods has always said I should have a bronze statue of him at our place given his success with horses that we have bred but I think I will be telling him now he’d better get one of us for his place after that result!”

Nurse Kitchen has won two of her three starts, for total earnings of $A$134,300.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing

Flying Monty fully recovered from her ordeal.
Flying Monty fully recovered from her ordeal.
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