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Fourth NZ Grand National Hurdles win for White Robe Lodge

(Jackfrost and Connections)

Jackfrost gave White Robe Lodge trainer Brian Anderton his fourth New Zealand Grand National Hurdles win at Riccarton on Wednesday (8/8/2018) and there was added satisfaction as he bred the son of Gallant Guru - Vital Note with his wife, Lorraine. Brian was quick to deflect the credit to training partner, son Shane as Brian and Lorraine have been on holiday in Queensland during the winter.

Jackfrost was perfectly ridden by Stuart Higgins (26) who was having his second ride in a National.

Brian and Shane combined to win the 2001 NZ National Hurdles with Narousa, ridden by Shane. Brian won the race with Bymai in 1980 and Lord Venture (co-owned with Dave Bedford) in 1986.

Brian and Shane took over the training of Jackfrost 16 months ago as a jumping prospect after he had won five flat races from the Levin stable of David and Emma Haworth and been minor placed for Riccarton trainer Andrew Carston. His switch to White Robe Lodge coincided with a change of ownership to the Frosty's Shoutin The Beers syndicate.

"I watched a race in the pub with Michael House (a previous owner). Jackfrost finished well back and Michael told me the other owners wanted to sell and he could be bought for $3000,'' said John Howe, manager of the syndicate. ''I did not know Brian (Anderton) but I phoned him and asked what he thought, otherwise I would not have pressed on."

Other were keen to join the ownership and the syndicate was formed with 16 shares. Howe, a licensed harness racing trainer, was joined by fellow trainer Jonny Cox. House, anther harness identity, retained a share.

Jackfrost qualified as a hurdler with Higgins the rider at Wingatui on July 5, 2017 and he won his first start over hurdles at the Grand National meeting that year, also winning there three days later. Jackfrost has now had four wins and three seconds in seven starts over hurdles. Jackfrost was originally bought privately as a yearling from Brian and Lorraine by the late Phil Bayly. He passed him on to Murray Scott, of Kingston, Tom Treacy, of Christchurch, House and Wellington trio Keith Gibson, David Wallis and Ron Dixon for whom he won his flat races.

Gallant Guru, the sire of Jackfrost, is resident at WRL. He has also sired Max, winner of the Waikato Steeplechase this winter. Max is bred on the same cross as Jackfrost.

Jackfrost was among five foals left by Vital Note, an unraced mare by deceased WRL sire Yamanin Vital, the sire of this year's Sydney Cup winner Who Shot Thebarman and National Hurdle winners Ready Eddie (2017), Counter Punch (2007) and Yourtheman (2006).

The unraced Vital Note was out of Sound Note, by Sound Reason from Ararat Note (Kurdistan - Fair Note), a sister to the 1970 Melbourne Cup winner Baghdad Note. Jackfrost is a grey like Baghdad Note.

Brian Anderton has long had a soft spot for grey horses after riding Kumai and The Wanderer, both sons of Kurdistan in the 1950s and 60s. He rode the great winter galloper Kumai in 22 of his 27 wins. Brian rode Kumai to finish second to Bagush in in 1965 National Hurdles and fourth  the following year behind Eiffel Tower. He rode The Wanderer, trained by his father Hector and later the Dennis brothers, in 12 of his 18 wins. Brian rode The Wanderer in two wins at two and his last win at 11 at a Winton meeting at Invercargill in May, 1965.