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Lifetime in racing honoured

(Val Christophers)

Val Christophers, who was honoured by the Otago Racing Club on Sunday (01/06/2014) for her lifetime in racing, has a long association with White Robe Lodge.  She bred and raced the first winner by champion White Robe sire, Noble Bijou. That was Double D'Or at Oamaru in May, 1979. Double D'Or was then a 2yr-old and she won a division of a 1200m maiden race when trained by Rex Cochrane and ridden by Jim Collett.  Double D'Or won the Inglewood Stakes for fillies at Rangiora and  a 2000m feature  for 3yr-olds at Cromwell  the following season.

Double D'Or was out of the Royal Student mare, Laristan.

"People were giving up on Noble Bijou  when Double D'Or delivered late in the season,'' recalled Christophers of Winton.

Noble Bijou was to become one of the great sires of New Zealand. He was the champion NZ sire four times and the leading broodmare sire five times. He has the distinction of being the only sire to lead the premiership and  the broodmare list in the same season,  1992-93.

Double D'Or left three foals, the best being Menier D'Or (by Tawfiq) and winner of three races.

Christophers and Lorraine Anderton, of White Robe, went into partnership to race a filly by As Before from Golden Honey in the mid-1970s. The filly, Valraine, won seven races when trained by Brian Anderton, who had Graeme Offen as a partner for some wins.

Valraine was mated with Noble Bijou and left Raineval, in turn the dam of Anquilla (by Random Chance), winner of eight races for the same connections. Anquilla is the dam of Belle D'Or, by Danzighill, a resident WR stallion. Belle D'Or has won six races and is owned and trained by Christophers.

Mesdames Christophers  and Anderton also bred Bluecliffs (by Tawfiq) from Valraine. Bluecliffs won on the flat, over hurdles and over country.

Christophers was honoured along with Diana Strang and Donna Green in the second year of the Show Gate awards, made by the Otago Racing Club, for females in racing. Strang is a former president and life member of the ORC. Green is a Marlborough stalwart.