IN Racing
Peterken savours first Book 1 opportunity
A life spent around horses has laid the groundwork for success in the thoroughbred world for Aimee Peterken, who is set to offer her first Book 1 yearling at Karaka later this month.
NZ Racing Desk | January 18, 2023
Photo: Supplied

A life spent around horses has laid the groundwork for success in the thoroughbred world for Aimee Peterken, who is set to offer her first Book 1 yearling at Karaka later this month.

Having bred and ridden sport horses from a young age, Peterken has dipped her toes into thoroughbreds in more recent years and made her yearling-sale debut at Karaka 2020. The first yearling sold under her Advantageous Ventures banner was Sassy Merlot, who was bought for $24,000 by Paul Moroney Bloodstock and Ballymore Stables.

The daughter of Burgundy has quickly become a quality early flagbearer for Peterken, winning three of her 14 starts to date along with black-type placings in the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m), Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) and Gr.3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m).

Advantageous Ventures returned to Karaka with a pair of Book 2 yearlings last year, and Peterken will move into the big league at Karaka 2023 with Lot 486 in Book 1 – an Ace High half-sister to Sassy Merlot.

“My background was breeding sport horses from a young age, alongside my competitive horse-riding career and becoming known for leading the way in horse presentation,” Peterken said. “My passion has always been horses, and making a difference is my mantra in everyday life.

“I was introduced to the industry by Micaela Murray, who offered me the broodmare Vargas Diamond. A new industry excited me, although it was challenging – I had to learn the secrets of success and couple them with my understanding of breeding and my experience of handling, training and showcasing youngsters. 

“I always felt if I could commercialise my love, I would never have to work a day in my life. Breeding racehorses opened up this dream to me, prompting me to put aside my marketing consultancy.

“I do my research, but type and temperament combined with a little bit of instinct, or intuition, plays an important part in my breeding decisions. My strength is training and handling youngsters, as I work with them every day from birth right up until the sales. I do no more than two yearlings a year, as for me it’s all about producing quality and doing it 110 percent well.”

Peterken’s early success with Sassy Merlot came through her online purchase of the Savabeel mare Saveadance, who was unplaced in seven starts on the track but is a half-sister to Group Two winner Fire Song and closely related to other stakes winners such as Singalong, Coup Ray, Zacroona and Penny Arcade.

“I took a risk with Saveadance, as she was unsuccessful as a racehorse, but I was drawn to her given her family lineage,” Peterken said.

“Understanding her type and successful family crosses, Burgundy was the perfect suitor at the time.

“Not being an established name in the industry, there were only about four people who came and looked at Sassy Merlot in the lead-up to that sale. But it meant a lot to me that she was noticed and recognised by Paul Moroney, and it’s been great to see her go on to perform on the track.

“With the loss of Burgundy and the introduction of Ace High as a new sire, I believe his Redoute’s Choice lines combined with High Chaparral lines presented an even stronger cross for Saveadance. I noticed that the similarly bred So You Swing was performing well in Australia.

“Karaka 2023 sees me presenting an upstanding filly again from Savedance, who I have handled from birth. Her progeny are consistent, they have the right attitude and are true to the Zabeel type. This filly has a bit more height than her previous progeny, including Sassy Merlot. So I am pretty excited about what her future holds, alongside what Sassy Merlot has achieved.” 

Advantageous Ventures Aimee Peterken Ballymore Stables Burgundy Coup Ray Fire Song Gr.2 Wellington Guineas Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes Gr.3 Rotorua Stakes Micaela Murray Paul Moroney Bloodstock Penny Arcade Sassy Merlot Saveadance Singalong Vargas Diamond Zacroona