Habibti Ivy

By Duane Ranger

Gaby Maghzal has never bred or owned a Rowe Cup winner, but like toe jam, the retired podiatrist can already smell the fumes of victory – some five days out from the great race.

“Habibti Ivy is the horse to beat. She’s won all five of her races this season and the Rowe Cup field won’t bother her. I think she will just keep on winning even if Monbet and Speeding Spur were in the field,” a proud Maghzal said.

Beirut-born Maghzal and his wife Julie travelled from their home in Christchurch to watch their pride and joy win the sixth running of Friday‘s Group One $100,000 ANZAC Cup at Alexandra Park.

The 5-year-old Love You chestnut mare not only won the Group One event, but smashed the New Zealand record in doing so.

Habibti Ivy
Habibti Ivy looking more than pleased with herself after her win on Friday night.

Habibti Ivy set a new 2200m mobile mares record of 2:41.9 beating Sunny Ruby’s previous national record by one second.

It was Habibti Ivy’s third New Zealand record. She also holds the 2400m mares’ mobile record of 2:58.5 as well as the mares’ 2600m stand record of 3:14.8.

Her older full sister – Habibti also holds the New Zealand 2600m mobile mares’ record of 3:13.5 set back in April 2013.

“I’m proud to have bred them both. They both come from a very strong maternal line. Sadly their mother – Ten To One died a couple of months ago. She has left us some wonderful foals – even in death,” Maghzal said.

By that he meant Ten To One (Sundon – Ten Four) was still able to get in foal this season via embryo transfer to Love You.

“I kept the mare’s eggs and since we started breeding with her in 2007 we have used Love You semen five times now. In fact I was one of the first breeders over here to use Love You.

“I saw a video of him many years ago and thought what a wonderful well gaited strong horse. I was hooked on him after that,” Maghzal said.

Two of Ten To One’s Love You fillies ran at Alexandra Park on Friday night. As well as Habibti Ivy’s ANZAC Cup win, 3-year-old Habibti Inta finished ninth in the Group Two $60,000 Sires Stakes 3yo Trotters Championship. Both are trained by the master Paul Nairn and were driven by Blair Orange.

Maghzal explained that ‘Habibti’ meant “Love” in Arabic and ‘Habibti Inta’ meant ‘My Beloved”.

“Habibti Ivy and 4-year-old Habibti Sadie (by Pegasus Spur) are both named after my granddaughters. Derek Balle has ‘Sadie’,” Maghzal said.

He said Ten To One had also left the 2009 Love You multiple Group winning mare, Habibti (16 wins and $352,775) as well as last year’s New Zealand Cup Day winner, Lothario (by Love You) who has won six of his 27 starts and $64,150.

“I saw Ten To One advertised in the Harness Weekly and  knew she was from the same family that my father-in-law (Bob Barry) bred and raced from.

“In fact he raced a daughter of Ten To One’s grandmother – the 1966 Fallacy mare, Three Tens, who in turn left the 1981 Game Pride colt, Signor Gabrielli – one of the first horses we had.

“That’s what made me buy back into the family after all those years. I’m so glad I did, because she has been a grand old grand-dam.

“Ten To One won six races. I think she will leave her first Rowe Cup winner next week,” said a confident Maghzal, who shifted to New Zealand from Beirut when he was aged 24 in 1969.