Good looking gelding All Black Bourbon (NZ) (Highly Recommended) made a winning debut at Avondale on Wednesday for trainer Stephen Marsh.
The two-year-old son of Highly Recommended had been placed in all three of his trials and rallied under a strong Danielle Johnson ride to defeat well-bred three-year-old Kurt (NZ) (Kingman) in an 1100m maiden.
Purchased for $110,000 as a yearling at the 2019 Karaka Select Sale by Bourbon Lane Stable LLC, the youngster was identified by bloodstock agents Mike McMahon and Jamie Hill on behalf of American investor Dennis Foster who heads the Bourbon Lane partnership.
All Black Bourbon is one of six horses owned by the US partnership in training with Marsh, consisting of four two-year-olds and two yearlings, and the first runner to the races.
“He’s a horse with a bright future,” Marsh said.
“He is a lovely horse. I know he is nearly three, but taking on those older horses first-up, I thought it was a gutsy effort.
“He got knocked over coming out of the gates and Danielle said he got really tightened, but he picked himself up. He did a lot wrong, but I thought he was really good through the line.
“He is a cracking type of horse and his trials have all been good, so the writing was on the wall. We will probably keep him going through for a little bit. He has got a lovely action, but he seems to go through those wetter tracks too and he will definitely get further.
“I think he will get a mile at short notice and he is a horse that might have a couple more runs and be aimed fairly high in the spring.”
Foster is a former pilot and corporate chief executive and has owned thoroughbred farms in Florida and Kentucky and been involved in the horse business since 1973.
His passion for New Zealand has grown with his daughter Shaune and son-in-law David Blackwell, who was on-course on Wednesday, residing in Auckland.
“They’re big players in New Zealand,” Marsh said. “They love New Zealand racing so it’s great to have them investing here.
“They’re a great team of people. We have a WhatsApp group and I speak to Dennis a lot.
“None of them are any fuss. They pay us to do a job and it has started off in brilliant fashion.”